Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Countdown to Super Sunday

Another year and another exciting final week before the big event. Sunday February 2, 2014 is GROUNDHOG DAY!!!

This year, the event will be an international affair with Team Canada squaring off against Team U.S.A.

Let's meet the players...

Team Canada

From Wiarton Ontario, the team leader is Wiarton Willey....

Willie has been on the team since 1956. He is the only "white" groundhog on the field, although many of his detractors are convinced that the "white" is actually hair colouring. No comment from this editor.

From Shubernacadie Nova Scotia, it's Shubernacadie Sam.

Sam, being the furthest east of any team member on either side of the border is always the first to make his prediction on Super Sunday. Of course, considering where he hails from, predicting six more weeks of winter is not a tough job.

The final member of the Canadian team hails from Winnipeg Manitoba. It's Winnipeg Willow.

Willow barely made the final team this year after his disastrous prediction of an early spring in 2013. Winnipeg hasn't had an early spring in recorded history and certainly didn't intend to have one last year.

Team U.S.A.

From Punxsutawney Pennsylvania, team captain Punxsutawney Phil continues to be the most famous of all prognosticating groundhogs.

Phil has led this team for what seems like forever. He is a good looking, good predicting groundhog who has the ability to carry a team single pawedly. He's the Go To Guy for Team U.S.A.

From Staten Island New York, it's Charles G. Hogg.

Chuck's claim to fame is the 2009 GroundHog Day Staten Island Festival when he bit through Mayor Bloomberg's glove and chomped down on the Mayor's index finger. Depending on which side of the political spectrum you reside, Chuck is either a hero or a terrorist.

The final member of Team U.S.A. is from the southern U.S., Liburn, Georgia. It's General Beauregard Lee.

 Beau, while having achieved great success in the military is considered the pretty boy of the contest. If Beau played U.S. football, he would be Tom Brady.

Those are the teams. Even as we go to press, each team is busy preparing for Super Sunday by trying to understand what the other side is talking about when they speak either imperial or metric.

My team of crack investigative reporters has learned that Willie is teaching his team the "quick method" of converting from Celcius to Fahrenheit. And, for the first time ever published ("on my blog"), we are going to make that conversion method public.

Given a temperature in Celcius, let's call it C, here is what you do to convert it to Fahrenheit, let's call that F.

1. Multiply C times 2
2. Take the result and reduce it by 10%
3. Add 32
4. And, that's F.

Complicating the learning experience for Team Canada is that while between the team they have 60 "fingernails", none of them can count past 20 ("fingernails").

May the best team win!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ahmad Tibi: Let's Celebrate a Non-Violent Protest

By now, every Canadian in the world knows that Ahmad Tibi walked out on Prime Minister Harper's speech to the Knesset on Monday.

As Dorothy said to the Lion, "My goodness, what a fuss you're making".

We need to celebrate Mr. Tibi's protest. It was non-violent, and, I would say, effective. Here is a link to the  9 minute interview on CBC news where Mr. Tibi gets to explain why he felt that he had to walk out. (editors note: It's not on youtube, so, there is no way to paste the actual video onto this blog).

Ahmad Tibi: Why I walked out on Stephen Harper's speech

When I listened to Mr. Tibi's explanation, I learned his point of view. While not in the same room together, I still was able to understand why he felt he had to do what he did.

If we don't take the time to listen to non-violent communication, what's the alternative? Suicide bombers killing innocent children?

Remember the 1968 Summer Olympics when the U.S., and even some black athletes from other countries protested the treatment of blacks in the U.S. Now that also drew a slew of protests from around the U.S. But, what people didn't do, was listen to what the Athlete's were saying.

What a pity, in retrospect, what an effective way for people who believe that they could make a difference, to tell the world. And, following that protest, I also remember "what a fuss everyone made".

That was followed by the riots during the Democratic Convention in Chicago and many a violent protest thereafter.

On the week of Martin Luther King Day, shouldn't we be saluting and listening to non-violent protest. If we don't, we are saying to the "violent", you're right, we don't hear non-violence, only violence.