April 28, 2008

Quite sad

Saturday found me in a local upscale grocery store with the Girl Child to buy cupcakes to celebrate, later, the Boy Child's first little league game (he did great, more on that later). I ran into my neighbor, who I have not seen in some time. He lives right next door and just got remarried to a lovely French woman and they are raising her young children together. I was pleased to see him. I asked him how he was and he said, looking at the Girl Child, that he got some news but would call me later to discuss. I understood and sent her off to the smoked fish to find something yummy (her favorite stuff, really). And he told me that he was just diagnosed with lung cancer and it was in his lymph nodes. None of the kids know yet. He just found out this week.

His wife told me on Sunday that he is now taking anti-depressants. I was out in the yard practicing baseball with the Boy Child when her 7 year old son came running out with his glove to join in.

So, here's the question: would you take drugs to adjust your emotional reaction to devastating news? Or would you say, forget it, this may be the last ride of my life and I am going to fully experience the highs and the lows?

Posted by Random Penseur at 11:19 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

April 25, 2008

Free speech or racism in Canada

Have you, by any chance, been as fascinated as I have by the doings up North in lovely Canada where people like Ezra Levant are being prosecuted/persecuted for "hate crimes" or violations of Canada's revolting human rights statutes? Mark Steyn is also victim of a complaint brought by some jerk in front of one of the human rights commissions. Ezra's website is a damn good place to go to get some background. He's defending himself from some Islamic organization's complaint that he hurt their feelings by publishing the dreaded Danish Cartoons of Blasphemy.

Anyway, I have been following this, with a sick fascination, for months. I mean, Canadians are so very much like us, we think, only kind of cleaner and nicer and a bit more polite. Toronto v. New York. Mounties v. NYC Cops. You get it, right? So, when I read that they are prepared to accept all sorts of governmental interference with freedom of expression, I am dumbfounded. It is absolutely absurd. I just have not been able to wrap my mind around the concept.

Until now. Now, I get it. I was reading Mark Steyn's recent piece in Macleans when it suddenly clicked for me. Here's the excerpt that brought it together for me:

Last week's letters page included a missive from Jennifer Lynch, Q.C., chief commissioner of the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission, defending her employees from the accusation of "improper investigative techniques" by yours truly. Steyn, she writes, "provides no substantiation for these claims," and then concludes:

"Why is this all important? Because words are important. Steyn would have us believe that words, however hateful, should be given free rein. History has shown us that hateful words sometimes lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes. That is why Canada and most other democracies have enacted legislation to place reasonable limits on the expression of hatred."

(Emphasis supplied).

It is the bit in bold that triggered it for me. The need for HRC's (human rights commissions) is because the liberal, at his/her base, cannot and will not trust to the fundemental decency of the Canadian. In older times, and perhaps still, at least where I am, I believe that you would see people stand up for victims of hatred at an individual level. I believe that people, individually and en masse, would stand together and say: "No, your behavior is not acceptable when you called that other person a ______". I believe that we, as a people, individually and collectively, would not put up with witnessing blatantly racist behavior and not try to intervene on behalf of the victim.

The people who put the HRCs in place do not share my faith. They think that the only way to protect people from hurtful speech is to proscribe the speech and for the Government to take the place of the People (in loco populi?). They think that no one will protect anyone but them. In consecrating to themselves the rights of a free people to. . . No, the obligations of a free people to stand for themselves and to defend the limits of socially acceptable speech by engaging in spirited debate and in more speech, by saying, "no, no, no, dear people, don't bother, let us, the helpful anti-racist professionals do it", what you do is kill the spirit of the body politic. It is not necessary any more for Canadians to stand themselves and be counted in the face of anti-Canadian behavior. It is only necessary that they pick up the phone and ask the HRC to do it for them. Perhaps anonymously. Can you see how this is practically an invitation to abdicate your responsibilities as a citizen and an individual?

You may hate the image of the cowboy. Chances are, if you are European, you certainly do. But can you imagine a cowboy picking up the phone and not solving his community's problems himself?

To sum up, I hate the HRC because they are animated by the belief that the individual will not protect the weak. I disagree. That is not how I was raised. It is un-American. I bet it is also un-Canadian. But, who can say, maybe the welfare state and the multi-culti types have successfully whittled away at the concept of individual responsibility so well and replaced it with an over-reliance on the State as the beginning and the end of everything that the HRC's and the beliefs they represent will never go away.

I just hope it won't happen here.

Posted by Random Penseur at 02:22 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Preemptive lawsuit

An article in the NY Law Journal (a must read for everyone, I know) caught my eye a moment ago. A lawfirm filed a preemptive lawsuit against a former employee, a secretary, who has threatened to bring a $9 million sexual harassment suit. The lawfirm/plaintiff denies that she was raped but admits that she gave a partner a "consensual lap dance" in the privacy of his office.

Consensual lap dance. In his office. The lucky recipient has been practicing for 32 years and is a former assistant district attorney. Old enough to know better, you see.

When you hire a lawyer, you want someone with good judgment. Not someone getting free lap dances from the staff.

You cannot make this stuff up.

Posted by Random Penseur at 10:25 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Beis-a-ball, been berry, berry good to me

Baseball was huge fun. We had 8 kids show up. 7 of them bat lefty. What are the odds of that happening?

At the conclusion of practice, which I tried my best to make as fun as possible, I formed a prediction of what our first game will be like. Here's what I see happening. We have a runner on 1st and 3rd. Our batter makes contact. Every single player on the other team, including the first baseman, goes for the ball. Our batter makes it easily to first. Our runner on 1st runs across the diamond to go straight to third. Our runner on 3rd runs back to 2nd where he finds a flower he wants to pick to give to his mother later. Bases will be loaded and the coaches will be hiding behind the backstop so no one can see us laughing.

Thanks for the comments yesterday, y'all, I had no idea anyone still knew this poor neglected blog was still here.

Posted by Random Penseur at 10:04 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 24, 2008

Rumors of demise are exagerated

Nope, not gone.

Just so totally whip sawed between work and home and outside obligations that I have barely had time to think, let alone write.

So, if anyone is still reading this, I will try to write some more soon. Truth is, I miss it. Finally.

Off early today from work. I am going to coach the first practice for my five year old son's little league team. I am, probably, more excited than he is.

And I could use that kind of fun. I watched, yesterday, as they performed a funeral mass for my partner's young cousin. He was 20 and the cancer he had been fighting finally did him in. I know his mother and father, too, and have for years. The grandmother, too, come to think of it. As I watched the boy's mother walk into the church, behind the casket, all I could think was that grief had destroyed her face in a way I had never seen before. Usually, if there really is such a thing, grief eats away at the flesh and the fat and leaves the bones etched in sharp relief on the face. Here, her face, as she followed the body of her only child into the church, was collapsed as if grief had rendered the bones of her face brittle and they had shattered under the weight of her sadness. It was heart rending.

So, today, I go out into the sunlight with nine little boys and I teach them how to run, to hit, to throw, and to cheer for their team mates. It is a beautiful day and a blue sky and I am happy to be alive.

Posted by Random Penseur at 11:58 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack