Thursday, 30 August 2012

of $20K Hammers and State Funerals

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons
I have mixed feelings about this story. $368K for a funeral?

Please don't get me wrong; he was one of the better political leaders that our country has seen in a very long time, and I admired him greatly. Truly, we need more leaders like Jack.

But $368K?

Certainly the man deserved  a send-off of state funeral proportions. I, for one, would never argue to the contrary. Nor am I suggesting that public money was wasted; in this case, it was not. It was very important for the public to have an opportunity to say goodbye, just as it would be for friends and loved ones to say goodbye at any funeral, regardless how well known the deceased was or wasn't. Perhaps the greater and more well-known the person, the greater the memorial. And if that is true, then it logically stands to reason, the greater the cost.

However, my real pet peeve here actually has nothing to do with this state funeral, but rather by reading this article, I was reminded of how governments seem to just sign off on expenses as if they were nothing. Everything governments touch seems to cost significantly more than they would if it were only the private sector involved. One need not look very hard before finding one story after another of incredible, and perhaps blatant, disregard and concern for the taxpayer's dollars.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons
By way of example, I can go to Canadian Tire store and buy a hammer for less than $20. Why is it that when we involve governments, the same hammer suddenly seems to cost $20K? OK, I may have exaggerated a little, but you get the point.

There's a classic line in the movie Independence Day in which Judd Hirsch answers the president's funding question by saying, "You don't actually think they spend $20K on a hammer, $30K on a toilet seat, do you?"

If governments don't really spend money like that, then why does it always seem to look on paper like they do? As the article says, "Until now, the cost of Layton's state funeral has been kept under wraps." I wonder what else they are keeping under wraps. Are they hiding other expenditures in the books that we, the public, have to fight to find out the truth about?  At the very least, one has to wonder.

Perhaps the greatest irony in this for me was that Jack stood for the welfare of the average working guy, yet when he passed, the government of the land stuck their hands into the collective pockets of the average working guy to the tune of $368K. Am I missing something here?

Anyway, that's the way I see it.

Monday, 27 August 2012

If the Shoe Fits ...

The English language has some wonderfully anthropomorphic collective nouns for the various groups of animals.

We are all familiar with:

a herd of cows,

a flock of chickens,

a school of fish,

a gaggle of geese.

However, less widely known is:

a pride of lions,

a murder of crows,

(as well as their cousins,
rooks and ravens)

an exaltation of doves,

presumably because they look so wise,

a congress of owls.

Now consider a group of baboons:

They are the loudest, 
most dangerous, 
most obnoxious, 
most viciously aggressive, 
and least intelligent of all primates. 

And what is the proper collective noun for a group of baboons?

Believe it or not ...

a parliament.

a parliament of baboons

That explains a lot of things.

If the shoe fits ...


Affectionately dedicated to our political system.

A Caveat: The preceding was sent to me in an email and I cannot attest to its origin, or credit would certainly be given where it is due. As such, I am not the author of this. I simply found it amusing and worth sharing. No offence is intended.

Friday, 24 August 2012

It Sounds Different Without Teeth, Doesn't It?

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons
An old friend of mine used to get great amusement from farting in public. The louder the fart, the better. If no one seemed to take notice, the whole experience was a wasted effort as far as he was concerned. Places like crowded coffee shops were his favourite. And if he could make others think that YOU were the flatulence offender instead of him, sort of a ventriloquist fart, well then he was especially proud of himself. It was always an interesting experience going for coffee with this friend. Some days you just wanted to crawl behind a newspaper, and once I actually did do just that. Still, I enjoyed my friend's company.

One winter day he and I and another mutual friend were sitting in a coffee shop chatting about who knows what when an older gentleman, taking a break from his job as a snowplow operator, asked if he could join us at our table. "Of course you may," we said.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons
He was a friendly gentleman and we enjoyed each other's company. Then, wouldn't you know it, part way through one of our guest's stories, my friend lets out a fart which, had it been much louder, I'm sure would have rattled the windows behind us. As I started to smirk, the old gentleman interrupted his story just long enough to say, "It sounds different without teeth, doesn't it?" He then continued on with his story as if nothing had happened.

Well we roared with laughter. None of us were expecting a come-back like that, and if memory serves me correctly, my friend's sphincter remained silent the rest of the evening.

Why do I tell you this? I do so in part because I firmly believe that most of us could tell our own story or two of this funny but often still socially unacceptable phenomenon, farting in public.  I also do so because I was reminded of the event when I came across another very funny fart story. If you have a twisted sense of humour like me, you owe it to yourself to check out this link:

The Fart that Almost Altered My Destiny

A bad sense of humour
is better than no sense of humour