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Great New Conservative Ads!

I’m away from my computer so I can’t link the Conservative website. I did laugh though when I noticed on the first ad where the PM is in his office. I’m pretty sure he was drinking coffee out of a Beatles mug! Shake it up baby….twist and shout!!

Cabin Fever

I have just walked around the island in the kitchen for the 687th time. I have surfed the internet, read books, watched TV, watched the birds at the feeder, watched myself in the mirror, looked in the fridge and stared into space. When will Mr. Plow arrive so that I can get back to work?

(There…I just went and looked in the fridge again)

I have had to reschedule my flight twice and will now have to do it a third time. Blechhh!

I’m starting to channel Jack Nicholson. Help!!!!

William F. Buckley

I happened to pull from my bookshelf WFB’s Keeping The Tablets: Modern American Conservative Thought. I have read Buckley’s introduction several times before but I still laugh at the passage describing when Robert Welch of the John Birch Society accused President Eisenhower of being a communist. Buckely’s friend and a contributor to National Review Russell Kirk responded that Ike was not a communist, he was a golfer.

I love that line. It makes me wish I could have know both WFB and Kirk, whom together set in motion America’s modern conservative movement. One of the great essays in Keeping The Tablets is by Kirk and it is called the Idea Of Conservatism. it is an abridged chapter from Kirk’s towering The Conservative Mind. Without questions it’s the best short essay (4 pages) that I’ve ever read on the nature of conservatism. If you have someone who loves you then tell them their love will only be apparent if they buy you these books for Christmas!!

Walking Through The Universe

Last night I walked for an hour amongst the circles, ways, places and crescents that make up Dalhousie in north west Calgary. Cloud obscured most of the night sky with the happy exceptions of a muted half moon and a lovely and veiled Venus.

I made my way across Dalhousie Drive and walked northward toward the range of hills that were once Calgary’s natural and traditional boundary, before it gushed over its banks in the eighties.

Walking is always therapy for me (Yes I know, I really do need therapy). I don’t know what it is about the sensation of movement and pumping blood that makes ideas line up and fall into a context for closer and clearer examination.

And it’s never as simple as just going for a walk. To make it work its best to be alone, or perhaps even better with a good dog on an open field. Dogs prefer to keep their thoughts to themselves while also quite expertly reading mine. I leave it to you to decide what that says about the sophistication of my thoughts, but it certainly suggests something surprising and mystical about dogs. My golden retriever, may he rest in peace, was a better perceiver then he was a retriever. He seemed to see humanity more clearly than most humans, at least in a narrow sense of knowing that we were either burdened or happy.

For me it’s an obvious and true thing that this odd and noble relationship between man and beast really does exist. I don’t know what to make of it except to note that if the universe really is just math, matter and energy it has aligned itself in some very strange ways.

For instance these clumps of vibrating atoms that we call mom, dad, son and daughter, friend and man’s best friend have learned to relate to each other with an odd energy that in mathematical terms doesn’t seem to add up.

I know as I say this I will be accused of being anthropomorphic-the tendency for humankind to place ourselves at the centre of the universe and therefore to see the universe as being created for our benefit. That then further implies a personal creator etc. I certainly can see how that could be a fallacy in reasoning which reflects a warped sense of ourselves and the universe. But I also note that seeing the universe as just a jumble of numbers, energy, matter and anti-matter may only be a reflection of someone who refuses to consider that humanity may have a role in the universe, despite their own experience.

As Chesterton says in Orthodoxy it is hard otherwise to explain things like “mother-love or fear upon the sea”. (I know that this is from Orthodoxy but I can’t be certain that this quote is exact without looking it up, and I don’t feel like doing that right now!!)

It may be that matter and anti-matter doesn’t matter as much as we think, at least in explaining these odd connections that people have with each other. Then there is the series of odd coincidences that made this planet habitable. A million things had to go just right. Then somehow we became conscious. Then we became these people who developed this odd code of conduct that tells us what to do, and when we don’t we feel a pique of conscience. In fact we will even run into burning buildings to save the elderly and disabled which seems to contradict the idea that we are only driven to perpetuate the species.

You must be thinking that walking isn’t really therapy for me as much as it is a potent hallucinogen. Perhaps. All I know is that I did walk for an hour amongst Christmas lights and middle class aspirations, and I question that it’s all mere math. I did see six boys playing road hockey, and they seemed to me to be less animated matter and more a minor miracle. I can’t believe that physicists go home at night and hug their children because they are a particular arrangement of protons, neutrons, electrons and energy.

I admit that to me, when i take the time to actually look it’s all a marvel and a mystery, and no I don’t believe it can all be worked out with a calculator.

And God Smiled

It’s not entirely bad that the human race takes itself seriously. After all that implies that we feel some responsibility to try and improve things. Yet I do like it when the great forces occasionally conspire to remind us that really we’re not quite the big deal that we think we are. Witness the record cold snap in Cancun Mexico during the discussion on climate change! Ha Ha.

It’s just as well. One of life’s great pleasures is the ability to be overawed by the beauty and power of nature. Speaking of which I offer my year end plug for one of my favourite organizations, the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

I’m a supporter. I hope you’ll consider getting on board with them.

Escape From Anarchy

I have fled the shopping mall to hide in the car. Its not that I don’t like people. Its just that if I’m in large crowds of, say, 15 or 20 million I get a bit antsy. So Costco on a Saturday in December is out.

Sure, I still like Christmas but I want a simpler Christmas. I want Christmas music but fewer instead of more parties. I want fewer people. I definitely want fewer gifts. I’m starting to think the best gift would be to have someone come to the house on Christmas Day and take things away. I suppose I’m thinking of what it would be like if Santa was an NDPer.

You know, he’d be driving a Volvo, wearing brown corduroy and he’d certainly be looking dour, what with all the problems there are in the world. He’d also be very happy to take things away from you especially nice things that you like, and that he normally couldn’t afford.

Nat King Cole just sang Oh Tannenbaum, and I instantly felt mellow. As I get older I like my Christmas music from Bing Crosby, Sinatra and Andy Williams. What’s happening to me?

I think my favourite is Dean Martin. He easily does the best job of It’s A Marshmallow World In The Winter. He also has the best version of Baby It’s Cold Outside. Besides, who was cooler than Deano?

Time to gather round on the fire now, or at least the fake fire on channel 212 and wait expectantly for a glimpse of the guys arm as he moves the fire logs.

Enough Already!

I see that several U of C alumni have written a letter to the Calgary Herald condemning Tom Flanagan for “advocating” the murder of Julian Assange. They go on to write that “The University of Calgary should distance itself publicly from Flanagan’s initial remarks, condemn him in the harshest possible terms, and censure him for abusing the good name of the university and for the damage this has done to the reputation of not only the school, but of the 150,000 alumni and the degrees they hold”.

Did Tom actually “advocate” the murder of Assange? Hardly. His musings were obviously a failed attempt at being funny.

In terms of the reputation of the University of Calgary it would be a massive stretch to say that Tom has done the damage they attribute to him. Has he really hurt the reputation of the University? I see no evidence of that.

That’s because reasonable people wouldn’t take a single set of remarks, attach all kinds of weight to them that Tom never intended for them to have, and characterize them in the worst possible way. That’s what people do if they themselves are extraordinarily intellectually dishonest. In my view the writers of the letter to the Herald hurt their own reputations with their hysterical faux concern about the alleged damage inflicted by Tom.

That said I know that over the years Tom has been at the forefront of many important public policy debates where his comments were considered and persuasive to the point of helping shape the entire national agenda. Those are things that have undoubtedly enhanced the reputation of the University of Calgary.

Oh No!

At the Flames-Minesota Wild game and I forgot my primary blackberry! Thank goodness for the trusty backup, which I carry in my sock. 0-0 after one period. Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry.

Call Off the Cops!

Have located primary berry in seldom used chest pocket. Backup berry has been placed in sock holster.

Flames (my backup team!) Leading Wild 2-0.

Grey Cup Sunday

Sitting in the living room of Chateau Solberg Calgary watching the sparrows descend in a swarm on the bird feeder. Meanwhile the Atlanta Thrashers are likewise swarming the Bruins, who had a hideous first period (3-0 Atlanta after 1 period).

I don’t get why we start so poorly. Anyway, the Riders go to war in a half hour and that’s what really counts.