Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Well Done, Mr. Speaker

The federal government breached parliamentary privilege with its refusal to produce uncensored documents related to the treatment of Afghan detainees and must provide the material to MPs within two weeks, Speaker Peter Milliken has ruled.

In case you were wondering at all, that was an important and historic statement by the Speaker. To sum it up (the full transcript is here, Mr. Milliken ruled that Charles I Stephen Harper and his cabinet cannot refuse to do the bidding of Parliament, period, full stop. The notion that Parliament, not the executive branch, runs the show goes back a fair ways, probably at least to the above-alluded-to English Civil War, and it is really no exaggeration to say that, had the Speaker ruled differently, the Canadian political system would have been dramatically altered at a stroke. So, it was a big day for the country, and again, a hearty "well done" to Mr. Milliken.

Anyway, long day at work, so I'll wimp out at this point and let you go and read Dr. Dawg's excellent and detailed analysis of the situation!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hooray, Manitoba!

Question: What do Cree, Dakota, Dene, Inuktitut, Michif, Ojibway and Oji-Cree have in common? Well, apart from, obviously, being Native American languages, they're about to be given official status in the province of Manitoba. Apparently, they will be recognized as Aboriginal Languages of Manitoba, and efforts will be made to preserve their use.

This is a very good and encouraging thing. Indigenous languages have become notoriously fragile things (the tsunami of 2005 irretrievably eradicated five languages in the Bay of Bengal alone), and any official intervention to forestall the loss of them is more than welcome.

So here's to Manitoba, and may we see the same sort of project undertaken in other provinces soon! Oh, and the comments section for the story linked in the first paragraph is every bit, and I mean 100%, as non-ignorant as you thought it would be.

UPDATE: The Calgary Herald story seems to have gone away. I've replaced it with something form the Winnipeg Sun.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Well There's Your Problem...

First off, this is only funny because S├ębastian Buemi wasn't hurt. Anyway, this is what the catastrophic failure, at 180 mph, of an F1 car's suspension looks like from the driver's point of view:

Friday, April 16, 2010

New Fashion Statement?

Saw a nice gentleman pottering around in the bookstore today wearing a blue boiler suit, which isn't terribly unusual since there's a lot of construction going on around campus, plus the building services people do drop by from time to time. What was unusual was that this particular character had accessorized his boiler suit with about eight cowboy hats, which he was wearing stacked up on his head. Well, one must have one's own look, I suppose...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Well Thank Goodness That's Over...

The Oilers' 09-10 season summed up in one thrilling image

And thus endeth The Season In Which Everything That Could Go Wrong Did. Embarassing off-season shenanigans? Check. First game lost to big rivals thanks to comedy goaltanding moment? Check. Big-shooting defenseman injured early? Check. Most skilled player injured early? Check. Starting goalie injured early? Check. Just about everybody else injured? Or sick? Or both? Check. Big-shooting defenceman injured again? Check. Starting goalie injured and in jail? Check. Big shooting defenceman in hospital with life-threatening condition? Check. Promising new acquisition injured within about 0.000003 milliseconds of joining the team? Check. And so it went - trust me, we're barely scratching the surface of the awfulness here.

We'll get around to handing out Scalies a bit later, along with some less ranty discussion of what needs to be done. In the meantime, here's a sneak preview of two things that were NOT at fault for what happened to the Oil this season: A) The coaching. B) Dustin Penner. More, as I said, on that later.

In the meantime, at least we Oilers fans can relax a bit, knowing that, at least for the next few weeks, all eyes will be on the playoffs, and that we are relatively free from the danger of facepalm moments. Or not.

UPDATE! Oilers to big-shooting defenceman: "STFU." Quinn to big-shooting defenceman: "GTFO." And that last is actually just about verbatim.

Friday, April 9, 2010

R.I.P. The Man Who Helped Create British Punk

Well, we've lost Malcolm McLaren, and at the young age of 64. I think it is safe to say that, for a guy who founded a band simply as a means of drumming up publicity for his clothing store and then had that band manage to hang around long enough to record exactly one studio album, he had a fairly thunderous impact on popular music.

And here is that band:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hey, Whatever It Takes, Right?

The Oilers are pondering some lineup adjustments...