Tuesday, October 31, 2006


OK...sometimes it's spelled differently, and:

I mean, I know they got there a little late to actually protect the thing, but isn't reassuring to know the bureaucrats are still active and on the job?

Heads up by SayUncle, courtesy of Two-Four...
Ah well, such stupidity couldn't happen here...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Now Here's a Good Read...

Albert Jay Nock (this article is something I guess you could call a life review).

Three quotes:

[t]he practical reason for freedom is that freedom seems to be the only condition under which any kind of substantial moral fiber can be developed -- we have tried law, compulsion and authoritarianism of various kinds, and the result is nothing to be proud of.

Another strange notion pervading whole peoples is that the State has money of its own; and nowhere is this absurdity more firmly fixed than in America. The State has no money. It produces nothing. It existence is purely parasitic, maintained by taxation; that is to say, by forced levies on the production of others. 'Government money,' of which one hears so much nowadays, does not exist; there is no such thing. One is especially amused at seeing how largely a naïve ignorance of this fact underlies the pernicious measures of 'social security' which have been foisted on the American people. In various schemes of pensioning, of insurance against sickness, accident, unemployment and what-not, one notices that the government is supposed to pay so-much into the fund, the employer so-much, and the workman so-much…. But the government pays nothing, for it has nothing to pay with. What such schemes actually come to is that the workman pays his own share outright; he pays the employer's share in the enhanced price of commodities; and he pays the government's share in taxation. He pays the whole bill; and when one counts in the unconscionably swollen costs of bureaucratic brokerage and paperasserie, one sees that what the workman-beneficiary gets out the arrangement is about the most expensive form of insurance that could be devised consistently with keeping its promoters out of gaol.

One of the most offensive things about the society in which I later found myself was its monstrous itch for changing people. It seemed to me a society made up of congenital missionaries, natural-born evangelists and propagandists, bent on re-shaping, re-forming and standardizing people according to a pattern of their own devising – and what a pattern it was, good heavens! When one came to examine it. It seems to me, in short, a society fundamentally and profoundly ill-bred. A very small experience of it was enough to convince me that Cain's heresy was not altogether without reason or without merit; and that conviction quickly ripened into a great horror of every attempt to change anybody; or I should rather say, every wish to change anybody, for that is the important thing. The attempt is relatively immaterial, perhaps, for it is usually its own undoing, but the moment one wishes to change anybody, one becomes like the socialists, vegetarians, prohibitionists; and this, as Rabelais, says, 'is a terrible thing to think upon.

For the most part, there's only one legitimate way to "change" anyone who is not acting in an overtly coercive manner--and that's by convincing them, which is to say, only when such change is a voluntary result of their free inquiry.

Anyways, I don't agree with everything Mr Nock has to say, but I agree with lots of what he had to say.

Evidently, Nock was a friend of H.L Mencken (about whom you can read about here, or check for a quote in "About Me" on the sidebar). I don't doubt they were friends. ;-)


Big Scare is Doug Biggs and Mishka Keir.


Check the link above and listen to a few Big Scare tunes (My faves? "Sarah" is wonderful, so is "Rounder Man").

Lemme tell ya about this duo...

I first heard Big Scare at a local jam in Courtenay, British Columbia. Now, Courtenay is chock full of great musicians, as it happens, so hearing something unusually good isn't all that uncommon, except...

...by the end of the first song, I was moved to tears. Right in front of my eyes and ears, an otherwise very ordinary day was becoming something I would remember forever. It's one thing to hear a great recording or see a great concert. It's entirely another to be so moved by witnessing sheer musical and (especially) vocal brilliance.

I'm not sure Doug and Mishka know this (well, they will if they read this) but although I loved speaking with them after their performances, I usually had to compose myself first. It isn't generally good form to gush teary eyed while talking to friends.

No insult to anyone else, but Mishka isn't at the top of her game...she's plain at the top of the game.

Doug is a consummate musical craftsman, a terrific singer is his own right, and a bloody wonderful arranger. The sum of the whole makes the ability to see Big Scare one of the things I miss most about the Valley.

If you have any connections at all: BOOK these folks, Danno.

Microwave Rice

I love rice. But before I got one of these my results were always kinda hit and miss.

Not now.

I know this is a horror to some folks but I like white rice better, usually--but no matter; this wonderful item does both, quick and easy. Mine's black but it's exactly the same item otherwise, and I got mine at Wal-Mart® for about ten or eleven bucks...

Anyways, I know this may be old news to some (it's old news to me; I've had mine for over a year) but a good idea is still a good idea.

I get perfectly cooked, fluffy, extra long grain white rice in 13 minutes, anytime I want. Brown takes about 20. No muss, no fuss. It makes a big difference, though, if I rinse the rice before cooking to get rid of the glumpy starch (pour cold water over rice, stir with fingers till the water gets milky, and drain the water--do it twice for great results).

Then nuke (2 cups of dry white long grain rice and 3 cups of water) for 13 minutes (1000 watt at high--your mileage may vary), let the rice sit with the cooker unopened for 5 minutes, open it up, spoon out the rice and: YUM.

Oh yeah, and the thing also doubles as a killer vegetable steamer.

...we now return to regular programming...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Jeff McCann

I've just finished the website for my good friend and fellow musician, Jeff McCann of Peace River, Alberta. The site promotes Jeff's latest CD: "Serpent on the Grass".

Jeff is a fine guitarist and vocalist, the host (with wife Suzanne) at Peace River's best weekly musician's jam, and a skilled songwriter. I was very pleased that he asked me both to do his site and to play a bit of harp on one of the tunes.

There's a high bitrate mp3 download of the complete song "Like A Chain" available on the music page (at the top), plus short clips of the rest of the tunes on this CD (a little lower).

Good songwriting is a difficult craft, and Jeff's tunes have catchy vocal/lyric hooks, and melodic guitar solos that fit the tunes rather than being just scale-derived fills. I think his CD is well worth a listen.

Good work, Jeff.

Monday, October 23, 2006

L. Neil Smith

"in economic terms...when two people are taxed for a lifetime, one whole human life has been used up, consumed by the ravenous state".

Anything else you want your government to do for you--with someone else's money?

Link to L. Neil Smith's Blog.

Link to the article where the above quote resides.

L. Neil Smith is one of my favorite authors. You can find his stuff--and much more--at Laissez Faire Books, whose slogan is (accurately) The Worlds Best Selection of Books on Liberty.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Kind of Thinking You Get When...

...someone speaks who considers those they disagree with as friends anyways.


Gorbachev, speaking--with wisdom--on a few things.

A note: Gorbachev is correct when he sees democracy as a tool, not and end. Democracy and about a buck and a half will getcha a cup of coffee. Like any tool, you have to use it only when and where it's proper and useful. In the case of democracy, it's a useful tool only when and where group decisions are proper--and that's not near as often as you might think,

Monday, October 16, 2006

If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words...

...a great video and a cool tune is worth a million.

This one is worth even more.

Two Fathers.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I Spent the Afternoon in Tears


Highly recommended, with no apologies for the things you will feel--and none for the way I feel.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Mine Your Own Business

Richard Evans blog Let Freedom Reign deserves your visit to read about Mine Your Own Business, and to watch the accompanying short video.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Two video posts of Wafa Sultan playing straight up hardball with the Islamic extremists.

HERE at Memri.Org from Al-Jazeera


HERE on YouTube from Danish TV.

Thanks to Celestial Junk for the heads up.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Found this at Scout's Blog: Harper Valley, submitted by Aunty Bertha.

Made my day. Happy Thanksgiving.

A rare thing - maybe worth a look


Folks who disagree in blogland often get into name-calling and other related ill-tempered shenanigans.

Richard Evans (of Let Freedom Reign) and I disagree about Canadian drug laws. But the debate (at least between the two of us) isn't sinking to what I described above. Instead, it's a good-natured and detailed exchange, and I'm enjoying it.

So maybe take a look.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Dignity and Grace.


Quoting Mr. Maher Arar:

"My wife, Monia, and I spoke with Commissioner Zaccardelli today on the telephone, and received his personal apology. We thanked him for publicly apologizing to us and for acknowledging that serious mistakes were made that caused my family and me serious harm...We also thanked the commissioner for accepting the findings and recommendations in Justice [Dennis] O'Connor's report, and urged him to ensure the recommendations that pertain to the RCMP are fully implemented as soon as possible."

That's a class act. A lot of folks could and should learn something from it.

Mr. Arar: Thank you, Sir, with my sincere compliments, and my sorrow for your losses.