Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Toronto Mayor Needs to Amp Up His Thinking Skills

From CNN.com we have this news about the recent shooting in Toronto:
"It's a sign that the lack of gun laws in the U.S. is allowing guns to flood across the border that are literally being used to kill people in the streets of Toronto," Miller said.

Miller said Toronto, a city of nearly three million, is still very safe compared to most American cities, but the illegal flow of weapons from the United States is causing the noticeable rise in gun violence.

"The U.S. is exporting its problem of violence to the streets of Toronto," he said.
Miller being the Mayor of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Now, lemme see if I got this right. America's lack of gun laws, gun laws that haven't become less lax over time mind you, are just now responsible for Canada's new gun crime problem. Heh. Now, if the American gun laws haven't changed over the last, oh, 200 years, then what has changed? I blame rap music. We're exporting our "rap culture," or really our gang culture. I guess America's lax gang laws or lax rap laws are really to blame. Condoleeza Rice, take note! Thpppt!

Stickwick's note: Canada will never be able to stem the inflow of guns across the border. With the restrictions and bans, they have created a black-market demand, and supply always follows. Where the Canadian government has really screwed itself is that an endless supply of guns can come through First Nations (Canadian version of Native American) reservations that span the border. The government legalized free passage of these First Nations members, who can go back and forth across the border at will and no one can touch them, so guess where all the guns will be coming through.

Monday, December 26, 2005

7 Things

Rusticus at Solarvoid has tagged us for the 7 Things Meme, and we're always happy to oblige. (Carnaby's on vacation in the Great White North, and will respond when he gets back.)

Stickwick's 7 Things...

Seven things to do before I die (not necessarily in any given order)

Get back into good shape.
Have children.
Learn to play the piano.
Speak Finnish with proficiency.
Write a science fiction novel.
Get a Ph.D. in theology.
Travel into space.

Seven things I cannot do

Cut my hair short.
See without corrective lenses.
Watch horror movies.
Eat oranges.
Sleep through the night.
Imagine my life without my husband.
Imagine my life without Christ.

Seven things that attract me to my husband

His goodness/integrity.

His strength, both spiritual and physical.

His appearance. I've got a weakness for Viking types -- he's got beautiful blond hair and blue eyes, and the face of a Nordic angel. He looks like a cross between a young Rutger Hauer and Dolph Lundgren.

His sense of humor. A little deranged at times, but few people make me laugh as much as he does.

His kindness. He can be pretty grumbly and gruff at times, but when it comes down to it, I've seen few people actually do more for others than he does, and expect absolutely nothing in return.

His honesty. There is not a duplicitous bone in this man's body. He is incapable of scheming, lying, plotting, or betrayal.

His bravery. I love that he is willing to stand up to anyone or anything, if his beliefs demand it.

Seven things I say most often

Sami! (my husband's name)
Good grief.
Kissa perkele! ("devil kitty" -- to our cat)
The black hole - sigma relationship. (my thesis topic)
How do you say _____ in Finnish?

Seven Books (or series) that I love

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
Space Trilogy, C.S. Lewis
The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
The Dream of Eagles series, Jack Whyte
Contact, Carl Sagan
Anne of Green Gables series, L.M. Montgomery
The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (actually, just about anything by Austen)

Seven Movies I watch over and over again

Star Wars (original trilogy)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Groundhog Day
The Lord of the Rings (Jackson, Bakshi, and Rankin-Bass versions)
Working Girl
Conan the Barbarian

Since this meme has already thoroughly made the rounds, I shan't tag anyone specific with it. If you are reading this and haven't already been called on, consider yourself tagged. :-)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:8 - 14

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Hollywood in '06

Via Iowahawk, we have this spoofy look at the 2006 movie lineup
The Reel World
Tinseltown Looks to '06 Rebound

Los Angeles
- As the box office closes on the US film industry's worst year since 1990, showbiz insiders are looking to a strong slate of 2006 releases to help the industry snap back from the financial doldrums.

"If we've learned anything this year, it's that the market is really hungry for more good, slow, imponderable stories and dim lighting," and industry analyst Tim Jarrard of the trade journal Hollywood Reporter. "The industry has listened, and I think the public will be pleased with the direction it will be taking in 2006."
Some of the features we can look forward to

Incident at Amity: Steven Spielberg directs this cerebral remake of Jaws slated for summer release. Insiders say the 31-year update will feature "additional points of view" and "be less judgmental to sharks." Starring Willam H. Macy as the anti-shark fundamentalist, and Tom Hanks as the Great White.

Silenced Wood: George Clooney stars and directs in this drama about the climate of fear among ventriloquists during radio's notorious Charlie McCarthy era.

Click on over for a good laugh.

[Hat tip: Libertas]

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Saturday Night Fun

I fell on the sidewalk last night, and sprained my ankle pretty badly. No breaks, fortunately, but I have to stay off my feet for a while, and then wear a big clunky walking boot for about a week. This, right after starting my big campaign to exercise on a regular basis. :-( Anyway, it could have been worse. I tripped on the sidewalk at a very busy intersection, and I fell into the road, narrowly escaping getting hit by a car, which honked at me as I laid in the road (like I threw myself there on purpose), swerved around me, and kept going. Thanks, pal. Luckily, my husband, who had just dropped me off, was still nearby and came to the rescue.

Well, our weekend plans are kaput, but the bright side of all this is that I get to lay on the couch for a few days while hubby does all the cooking and laundry -- it'll be like a mini-vacation! But I should get a bell. *rrrring!* "Bring me another diet soda!" *rrrring!" "Fluff my pillow!" *rrrring!* "Where's my mid-afternoon snack??" He'll probably start wishing he left me in the road after a few days of this. ;-)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Canada Gun Control Bunk

Well, I'm up in the land of the canucks, and my good buddy informs me of the following: The proposed Canadian ban on all handguns will not change anything as it stands in Canada. This is because, as written, the law will still allow people to own their handguns for "sporting purposes" or for collecting. In case anyone doesn't already know this, there is no other legitimate reason to own a handgun in Canada besides these, according to the law.

Now, my good buddy may be wrong, and he is a lawyer, so please let me know if he is mistaken.

UPDATE: I just remembered that this post had a point. The proposition of this "law," if the above is correct, is simple political grandstanding in an attempt to garner the votes of gullible Toronto GFW's in the upcomming elections. Nothing more, nothing less. I guess they figure it's worth it if it grabs a couple votes from fence sitters who are almost uncomfortable with the quagmire that the Liberal government is. Thppppt.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

For you chronic snoozers out there...

...stop hitting the snooze button!

For years, I have been setting the alarm for the time I think I should be getting up the next day, and then hitting the snooze button in the morning to get a little extra sleep. I would often hit it up to six or seven times, because I was just too darned tired to get up. I got an extra hour of sleep, but that hour was totally unrestful and as a result I felt tired and groggy all day. Now that the semester is over (I'm a grad student and teach classes) I have no fixed schedule, so I've been allowing myself to skip the alarm and just wake up when I feel like it. I end up waking up at almost exactly the same time as before, but that last hour is solid and uninterrupted. The result? I feel ten times better in the morning and throughout the day.

A friend of mine who is an expert in the art of sleeping says to skip the snooze button altogether. Just get up when the alarm goes off. And if you wake up a few minutes early, don't go back to sleep. Same goes for naps. If you take a brief nap during the day, get up when you first wake up and you'll feel recharged.

Neocons: Liars vs. Fools?

Via Libertas I found this commentary by New York Daily News' Richard Cohen. Cohen, an avowed liberal, comments on the Middle East "it's all about the oil" thriller, Syriana, and defies the convention that Bush lied us into war.
Still, if [Syriana] is going to say anything, then it ought to say something smart and timely. To read George Packer’s “The Assassins’ Gate” is to be reminded that the Iraq war is not the product of oil avarice or CIA evil, but of a surfeit of altruism, a naive compulsion to do good. That entire collection of neo and retro conservatives - Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and particularly Wolfowitz - made war not for oil or for empire, but to end the horror of Saddam Hussein and, yes, reorder the Middle East.
Color me amazed. But then we have this assessment
They were inept. They were duplicitous. They were awesomely incompetent and, in the case of Bush, they were monumentally ignorant and incurious, but they did not give a damn for oil or empire. This is why so many liberals, myself included, originally supported the war. It engaged us emotionally. It seemed . . . well, right - a just cause.

It would be nice if Hollywood understood that. It would be nice if those who agree with Hollywood - who think, as Gaghan does, that this is a brave, truth-to-power movie when it is really just an outdated cliche - would come up with something new and relevant.

I say that because something new and relevant is desperately needed. Neoconservatism crashed and burned in Iraq, but liberalism never even showed up.
Well, we're making progress. Bush didn't lie, he's just "awesomely incompetent." As I posted in the comments section at Libertas, I appreciate Cohen’s assessment of the reasons for the Iraq war, but I don’t understand his other comments. How did Neoconservatism crash and burn in Iraq? Saddam is ousted and on trial, Iraqis are voting like the dickens, and casualties are extremely low for a major invasion that has gone on this long (and nobody knows how many of the Iraqi casualties resulted from American troops or from Iraqi “insurgents” killing their own). Would Cohen have preferred the Clinton style of warfare, which is to retreat at the first sign of trouble, as he did in Mogadishu? Or to take the only military in the world capable of stopping the Rwandan genocide and do nothing while hundreds of thousands die? I’m rather disappointed with the Neocons in many respects, but they have conducted this war about as well as anyone could have.

I think this is the reason most liberals keep harping "Bush Lied!" When a liberal is honest enough to acknowledge that Bush didn't lie, that the war wasn't about grabbing oil or establishing an empire, then the only criticism he's left with (and he absolutely must criticize the Bush administration) is that Neocons are screwing up the war, which is indefensible when you look at the facts. Where the Neocons are plainly screwing up is on domestic issues, but since they seem to be channeling the spirits of Democrats-past in that respect, there isn't much for libs to pick on.

Incidentally, we have another prominent liberal who is now also claiming that he initially supported Bush, but apparently found his support waning after... what? I still don't know.

Update: Rusticus of Solarvoid comments
"...[L]iberalism never even showed up."

They were all too busy making signs to protest the war and marching in protests, and calling Bush every vile name they could think of. They showed up, alright, in all forms of vile and degrading manner in 'peace' rallies and so forth.

They are the ones that crashed and burned, all still in the comfort of America.
I think Cohen is engaging in the ancient practice of projection.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Best Christmas Cookies

OK, here's my mom's old Christmas sugar-cookie recipe. It is actually the best.

Cream together the following:

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add to this mixture:

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda (NOT powder)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix it up and gently kneed the dough and form into a ball. Now, here's the most important step... roll the dough out THICK, 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch (closer to 1/2 inch is better). Use cookie cutters to form cookies. Bake cookies on top rack at 400 deg F for 5 - 9 minutes, depending on thickness, to lightly golden brown.

Now frost with a yummy buttercream frosting etc. Voila!

Government Employee Follies

Just how uninformed do you have to be to work for the United States government? You be the judge.

My husband and I had an appointment with INS today (actually, it's now called USCIS) to get husband's new permanent resident card. The agent at the counter asks husband for his passport. It says "European Union" and "Finland" in big fancy letters on the outside. The agent looks at the passport, then looks at him.

"You were born in Pakistan, right?"

Husband stares at her and says nothing. He is the quintessential Scandinavian -- very blond and blue-eyed -- so she's not mistaking him for someone who was born in Asia and later emigrated to Finland.

Agent points to husband's passport. "It says here you are from Turkey."

Husband looks at me, pauses a moment, and looks back at the agent.

"TURKU. That's Turku, Finland. My home city in Finland. Not Turkey."


Now, I grant that there have probably been a few Finnish citizens born abroad. Maybe even in Pakistan. What I can't grant is that any english-speaking, grown-up, supposedly functioning member of society would not know that Turkey is a nation and not in Pakistan. And that it is spelled T-U-R-K-E-Y not T-U-R-K-U.

I suppose I should insert a government employee joke here, but this is kind of beyond satire.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Execution of Williams is Wrong

I think it is wrong at this point to execute "Tookie" Williams. I generally support the death penalty for people who commit crimes such as those of Williams (or worse), but I think there ought to be a time frame in which the punishment must be carried out. Twenty-five years later, you are not the same person you were, and the punishment no longer represents justice, but revenge.

Something must be done to speed up executions to, I would say, at most one year from the date of sentencing. If this cannot be done, then the case was not solid enough to warrant the punishment of death.

I'm sorry, Tookie, may you have peace when this is done.

Hyvä Herne-Keitto!*

In the interest of diversity and cultural sensitivity, Carnaby Fudge herewith presents the following discussion to help further understanding between disparate peoples.

As our regular readers know, my husband is from Finland. Over the years, he and I have noticed some of the cultural differences between Americans and Finns. These differences are difficult to notice at first, because they can be so subtle, but they're there. For instance, my paradigm was forever shifted when I first looked at a Helsinki newspaper. There was a big, splashy ad for a department store sale, which my husband translated for me. The ad read, "HUGE SALE ON POLKA MUSIC AND PEA SOUP!!!" (Do Finns know how to have a good time or what?) But the best examples of cultural differences are common expressions and names for things. It's amazing how close these can be and yet so far away. A few examples...

Let's say an American is getting irritated with some blowhard who just won't shut up. He might say to the offending person: Shut your pie hole.

A Finn would say: Leipäläpi kiinni. (Shut your bread crack.)

If the blabbermouth won't shut his pie hole, an American might tell him: Take a hike.

A Finn would tell him: Suksi kuuseen. (Go ski into the pine trees.)

If the gasbag won't take a hike, this would irritate the American. You might say: He's got a bee in his bonnet.

The Finn would comment: Herne nenässä. (He's got a pea up his nose.) (What is it with Finns and peas?)

But perhaps the blabbermouth who won't take a hike is just a little bit insane. An American would think this guy is: Off his rocker or One card short of a full deck.

A Finn would observe: Iso pyörä heittää. (The big wheel is wobbly.)

Now, all this arguing has made the American hungry, and he decides he wants to go to a restaurant that serves home cooking, in which case he might go to Marie Callender's.

The Finn, however, will seek home-style cooking at Pata-akka (The Pot Hag).

After all this the Finn goes home and "eats" some medicine to calm his stomach, "opens" the television to see what's on, and finally "closes the lights off" and goes to bed.

Thus concludes our first lesson in Finno-American cross-cultural understanding. In Lesson 2 I will explore some of the kooky and obscure Finnish proverbs and obtuse Finnish jokes.

[* "Hooray for pea soup!"]

Friday, December 09, 2005

Canada to Ban Handguns

Registration doesn't lead to confiscation, eh?

Canada (along with Britain and Australia) has a serious case of cognitive dissonance. Restrictive gun laws didn't work, so let's try to pretend that we can eliminate every handgun in Canada. Certainly, the kind of person who would commit murder is also the kind of person who would abide by every other law and turn in his handgun if so asked.

If any of our Canadian readers are feeling apprehensive about the gun ban, just keep repeating to yourself that the more vulnerable you are, the safer you are.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Bwa Ha Ha Ha Ha!

From "Stop the NRA" we have this note


Dear Washington StoptheNRA Member,

On October 1 of this year, the Shoot First Law went into effect in Florida, giving Floridians permission to use deadly force as a first resort when they feel threatened, even in a public place.

Our partners at Act for Change/Working Assets have put together an easy way for you to tell Governor Gregoire to "Keep Shoot First out of Washington" — and we encourage you to follow the links below to get this important message to Governor Gregoire.

Working Assets Act For Change [Logo]

In October, Florida became a more dangerous place, and if the NRA has its way, Washington could be next.

But the Shoot First doctrine isn't just staying in Florida — the NRA has made no bones about the fact that it plans to export Shoot First legislation to all 50 states in 2006. This will be a national disgrace, and will take us back to the days of the Wild West — unless you get involved.

Click here to tell Governor Gregoire that "Shoot First"
is a horrible idea for Washington

The Shoot First legislation is so overly broad and expansive that road rage incidents or a fistfight in a bar could have deadly consequences for the people involved and innocent bystanders. Moreover, innocent bystanders and their families would have no civil recourse against a shooter if they are injured or killed in the crossfire, even if the shooter initiated the confrontation and fired recklessly on a crowded street.

Click here to keep "Shoot First" from becoming law in Washington

Thanks in advance for taking a proactive stand to stop the spread of this dangerous legislation.

And thank you for working to build a better world.

A special thanks to Act for Change/Working Assets for helping us shed more light on this issue. To learn more, you can go to www.shootfirstlaw.org.

Together, we can make sure this doesn't become the law in Washington.

Your Friends at


What a bunch of blather. Since they apparently don't already know, Washington is ALREADY a "shoot first," or more aptly, "stand your ground" state. Knuckleheads.

And check out their assinine cartoon of Florida now that they can "shoot first."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Movie Review Haiku: The Dukes of Hazzard

Here is my review of The Dukes of Hazzard movie, which just came out on DVD. (Carnaby thought my first two haikus sucked, so here is my latest version.)

Much vulgarity
Spoils fond childhood memories
Waste of celluloid


The scriptwriter should
drive himself off a cliff in
the General Lee