Category Archives: life

The Dog Park

One of the things which has kept me, relatively, sane through the whole COVID thing is Angus (pictured above). 40 pounds of surprisingly well trained, thoroughly mischievous, doggy delight. He is never more than six feet from me except when my boys take him up to get the mail.

We got him at three months late last November. Between the death of my mother, Christmas and snow, we did not get him into the vet for his second round of shots until COVID hit making it problematic to do non-emergency trips to the vet. But, finally, a couple of weeks ago he got his shots. Which meant he could, at last, romp with his fellow dogs.

There is a wonderful, fenced, five or so acre (with ocean beach) dog park about ten minutes from our house. Angus is a car professional so, dropping my youngest off at hockey practice, off we went.

Dog parks are interesting because they bring together lots of people all of whom have an interest in common – dogs. I was curious about how Angus would fare. Curious, not concerned, because Angus is entirely non-aggressive and often a bit shy. We got to the park and there they were, forty or so dogs ranging from miniature poodles to a couple beautiful golden retrievers and on to everything from beagles to bouviers. Angus stuck close to me but was happy to take a few runs and meet small and medium sized dogs. He was wary of the big guys.

Dog parks are very social in the sense that as the dogs meet so do their owners. Social distance was easy and we were outdoors. No one wore a mask. COVID came up in conversation a few times with most of the dog owners fed up with the whole thing.

It was the perfect thing to do to kill the hour and a half before it was time to pick Max up from his practice. Angus had a riot and was a usefully tired dog as he hopped into the backseat. He fell asleep on the five minute drive to the Rec Centre.

Interestingly, there were no “Social Distance” signs up at the dog park. In fact there was no official mention at all of COVID. This was the normal we all want to get back to. In fact, at the dog park, normal had never left.

[I’ll take some pictures on our next visit.]

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OED Here I Come

My pal Kathy Shaidle was kind enough to send me this link:

Apparently the good people at Wordspy thing that I coined “underbussed” as a verb.

It looks like Richard Warman has been underbussed by the Department of Justice as well as the CHRC.
—Jay Currie, “Panic Stations,” Jay Currie, October 28, 2008
That particular iteration of my blog is lost to history unless it is on an old hard drive or the Wayback Machine. But I am completely delighted.
I am also, I am afraid, just about certain that I did not actually coin the verb.
But, when greatness is thrust upon you…
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Smart Healthcare Delivery

Rather than hitting the walk-in clinic to see a doctor or a counsellor, Victoria Counsellor Dawn Cox.

The system is called and it’s as easy as a few clicks to get started. You simply log in as a patient and fill in what your concern or problem is and you will be set up with an appointment on the spot or for a time that suits you. They can evaluate your problem, write you a prescription or set up a referral all online.

This makes total sense to me. Especially on routine things like prescription refills. At the same time online consultations could, potentially, eliminate unnecessary office visit for the description of symptoms which will have to have tests run before the doctor has any real way of dealing with a problem.

Finally, an online system would let nurse practitioners take on a bit of the screening and refilling load. And, in some cases, could lead to timely referrals to people like Dawn who might be able head off psychological issues before they escalated to a level needing medical intervention.


Prostitution is not Illegal

(I posted this at Kate’s but it seems to be hung in moderation.)

The prior state of the law was that prostitution was legal but associated activities were not. This meant that smart, pretty, girls could engage in a perfectly legal business and did. Dumb, addicted, ugly or simply desperate girls were are the mercy of the streets, pimps and cops.

By striking down the laws surrounding prostitution as disproportionate to the “evil” being prevented, the Supreme Court was actually noticing the effect of the criminalization of what was, at its core, a legal activity.

Now, if you do not like the exchange of sex for money you can lobby the Cons to make prostitution itself illegal. This will have two effects: it will subject the less successful prostitutes to greater risk and more harassment and it will, to a degree, raise prices across the board. It will not, of course, eliminate or, in all likelihood, even significantly reduce the incidence of women becoming prostitutes.

If the Cons are unwilling to make prostitution illegal – and I can’t imagine why they would want to as there are not a lot of votes in it – the alternatives are to go for no legal regime at all or to actually consider what law might address the evils so eloquently stated by the moralists above.

“Living off the avails” is a silly way to attempt to curtail pimping. A more sensible solution would be to create an offence which makes it illegal to coerce people – and it is not just women – into the sex trade. Make it a serious offence that could be added to other criminal charges.

The communications offence is just dumb in the context of a legal enterprise and will stay dumb no matter how it is tweaked.

The “brothel” offence is more a matter of municipal regulation than a concern of the Criminal Law. It should not be impossible to restrict locations in a discriminatory way. Think neighbourhood pub regulations.

The happy thought that somehow girls will line up to be licensed, examined and taxed is more than a little crazy. However, it might be possible to require identification and medical certification in licensed brothels. But, realistically, most of the girls will continue to work in the legal, unregulated, sector.

The illusions of using the law to regulate sexuality is a hang over from the moralizers of the 19th century. Both in England and in the United States the use of the law for “progressive” ends lead to the attempt to make prostitution, gambling, drugs, pornography and alcohol illegal. In every case, the only thing these laws accomplished to raise the prices to the point where organized crime became focussed on these areas.

The Suppression of Vice and the Promotion of Virtue is the motto of the Saudi religious police and do gooders everywhere. It never works and almost always creates misery, tyranny and crime. The SCC has made the right decision, now lets see if the Cons are smart enough to leave well enough alone.

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Alice Munro

Alice Munro has given me afternoons of pleasure for years. For her to win that most political of Nobels is an unanticipated delight. (And not just because of the stack of firsts which are presently sitting snug in storage and heading skyward in value.) Here is a link to the write up in what used to be Munro’s hometown newspaper.

The best part is that millions more people will read her stories of relatively ordinary people trying to figure out the perplexities of love and friendship and, yes, even marriage.

(The second best part – Peggy is shut out…forever.)

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Kathy links to Megan Macardle’s article on the homogenization of America’s (and, realistically, Canada’s) ruling elite. Being the son or daughter of Harvard grads and a Harvard grad yourself is now, apparently, the ticket to alpha jobs in politics, law, the academy, journalism and finance. Which is a) likely more true than not, b) hardly surprising given the entrance requirements act as a ferocious cognitive screen, c) of less and less importance.

It is becoming less important because big government, the academy, big law, huge finance and big media are dying. Not quickly but they are on their way. Why? Because the mandarinate has not done much productive in forty years. And, in fact, the elite activities of governance, anti-trust litigation, climate action, tax law, derivatives and queered gender studies have largely left any possible reality. Spending a trillion dollars a year you do not have is a flight from reality, explaining why such spending is a good idea is financial surrealism, but actually financing the spending is an error that only a really well trained, Ivy League kinda of a guy could make. The rest of us are simply not cognitively capable of ignoring reality at that level.

As many people are starting to notice, the wheels are falling off the more cherished social tropes of the mandarinate. Cost benefit analysis of a black studies degree from Yale is being performed, legal analysis is being out sourced to India, banks are being bailed out to postpone the day when all those derivatives are going to come back and bite. Climate action is being quietly under bussed by smart politicians.

Smart parents are looking for ways to prepare their children for both the alpha cognitive world and the world where things are actually made and services performed. A trade makes a lot more sense than an internship at the end of a 200K debt financed “education”.

As with the end of the catastrophic global warming scam, the political elites will be the last to know because they are advised by mandarins.

It is instructive to look at what happened when the Chinese Manchu mandarinate was confronted with a changing world. The denial of the 18th century gave way to the decline of the 19th and the collapse at the beginning of the 20th. The mandarins did not become dumber nor were the examinations any less tough; the fact was that the modern, western, world arrived at China’s door and would not go away. The mandarins had no answer to a radical change.

Our mandarinate is, to a degree, innovative. But it is the phoney innovation of people who share precisely the same central world view and argue about the margins. Real change, radical restructuring in the face of a changing world is simply beyond the stunted imaginations of the test taking classes. It was not on the exam.

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Best name ever

While Wall Street floods and Atlantic City submerges I could not help but notice that this is the most appropriate to job description name I have ever seen:

Chris Landsea, the hurricane center’s science officer. wsj


So last night my damned big dog smelt a racoon who had crossed the somewhat busy street in front of our house. A leap, a bound and I crashed down halfway into the oncoming lane of traffic. No cars, no trucks – just a beaten up knee and a left hip which, at my age, could easily have broken. It didn’t. All that milk has kept me up calcium and the bones are not yet brittle.

Just sore.

We continued the walk. Had a pint at my local and came marching, with a slight limp, back up the hill.

But it was a reminder of just how fast age catches up. Twenty years ago the net recovery time would have been over night, now it is a week and a half.

At 56 I like to think of myself as in the early to mid stages of middle age. I easily keep up with the younger dads, run internet based businesses, tweet on occasion. But I also know that the idea of early to mid middle age is a bit of a joke from our parents perspective and insane from our grandparent’s point of view.

A doctor once told me that any injury over 40 was permanent. He was right. With luck my fall will simply make me walk a bit funny for a couple of weeks; but the fact is that this will be sheer, dumb, luck.

It will take months for the bruises to go down.

I hate getting older. I don’t think I am the least bit wiser. And I certainly am no more knowledgable – I was kidding my 11 year old at dinner that he knows pretty much as much as I do.

If there is a consolation – and why should there be – it is that I have somehow retained the excitement in what is going to happen next. When that goes my next fall will be my last and I will not get up again. And at 96 that will be the order of battle. I suspect I will own progressively smaller dogs. 80 pounds, 40, 20 and a 10 pounder to see me out.

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