Six months ago, it was the beginning of spring. The sun was tracing the same route across the sky, yet now, the temperature and wind feels like an ending, rather than a rebirth. The 19 degrees (Celsius), which felt absolutely balmy now, has a chill to it. The wind seems to be a harbinger of the coming cold rather than a welcoming of summer warmth.
I suppose it’s the same as being able to shovel the snow in shorts and a T-shirt when it hits 0 degrees in the middle of winter, while the same temperature in the fall forces the long sleeves to come out.
Since I am taking a break from my cartoons, here is my “The Day Before” series:
That’s all the weirdness for today.
Oh yeah, tune in on Friday for my next conversation with another author. Who is it? Well, I’ll tell you on Friday.
I heard yesterday that Canadian comedian Norm MacDonald had passed away. I remember him on Saturday Night Live as host of Weekend Update and as Burt Reynolds on Celebrity Jeopardy. He had a weirdness to his talent and his delivery was like he didn’t care if anyone shared his sense of humor. Probably was what got him fired.
There’s always a sadness when a celebrity passes, but their body of work keeps their talent alive.
Since I am taking a break from my cartoons, here is my “Hide-and-Seek” series:
Sometimes I plan my blog posts in advance, but more often it is a night before/morning of kinda thing. The same goes for my cartoons, The Miniscules and The Untitled. Usually the ideas come from a current event (like the Olympics) or a thought that I have had that sparks an interesting idea.
Lately is seems that the weird cartoon ideas have been…well, not so weird, so that part of the blog will be taking a bit of a break. I’ll probably try to build up a bank of them so I have something to post when I need it.
Next week I’ll post a few of my favorites. This week, I’ll grab a cup of coffee and relax.
Psst. You still have to write something for tomorrow.
Two things you are not supposed to talk about at a dinner party: Religion and Politics. This is not a dinner party, so let’s discuss…elections.
There are many types of political systems around the world. Here is a brief synopsis:
Some work (sorta)
Some are corrupt
Now that we all understand global politics, let’s talk about elections—more specifically, the Canadian election. Let’s preface this by saying that I’m not an expert, but you figured that out by now.
The Canadian Prime Minister, once they and their party is elected—
Quirk #1: The leader of the party is the one to become Prime Minister, but if they don’t win their seat in government, it makes for an awkward situation. (I don’t think this has happened)
—have four years before they have to call a new election.
Quirk #2: They can call an election at anytime, even a few weeks or months after. There is no set date.
Usually, it is near the end of the term, but if the party in power is a minority—
Quirk #3: With 5-plus political parties all vying to be elected, the party with the most seats wins, but may have less than all the other parties combined. Ex. Elected party has 38% of the seats, Party 2 has 25%, Party 3 has 20%, Party 4 has 10%, and Party 5 has 7% of the seats. In this case, if Party 2 and 3 gang up on Party 1, Party 1 can’t pass any bills because 2 and 3 will just vote them down.
—they have to get one of the other parties to agree with their platforms to be able to implement any programs.
Quirk #4: If the other parties don’t like what the party in power is doing—usually when they try to pass the yearly budget—they can call a vote of non-confidence, which means an election has to be called. This can happen at any time.
So, you want a majority government which is not handcuffed by the other parties.
Which brings me to the fact that after only 2 years in power (with a minority government), the Prime Minister has called a new election in hopes of winning that majority.
This can and has worked in the past, but you need to to convince voters that having a minority government is not ideal and that a majority is stronger, stable, and more efficient.
It can backfire, and it has, if voters are pissed off that they have to do this again so soon and flip their vote to other parties.
Quirk #5: We could wind up with the exact same minority or a completely different minority, which means we could have another election at any time.
Early elections often have lower turnout, but with mail-in ballots (due to Covid) could increase the votes or increase the amount of paper to be recycled.
So, here we are, half-way through the 5 week campaign—
Quirk #6: Election campaigns are short. Not like the US where is seems to go on forever.
—and at the end of September, Canada will have either the same leader or a new one.
Last Quirk:The province of Quebec is French speaking region with a very unique culture of its own. In the past, it has come close to leaving Canada to become independent (51% to 49% referendum vote). It has a regional party that is able to run its candidates federally. This party is focused on what is good for Quebec, not the national picture. With a large population, Quebec can (and has) won enough seats in parliament to form the official opposition in government but not enough to form a majority or a minority government.
Confused? I’m still more baffled by the US system.
The keyboard configuration that is most common is the QWERTY keyboard, but there are different ones out there based on the frequency of keystrokes. I don’t think the QWERTY is the most efficient, but I don’t know which one is—I’m sure it would be hard to get all businesses and industries on board to change it, just like ignoring the metric system (Yeah, I’m talking to you, USA).
A few days later, I was reading a book which mentioned the invention of the typewriter. The reason for the conventional configuration was to slow down the rate of typing because the strikers would jam if adjacent keys were pressed too quickly in succession. The most common letters were spread out to achieve this.
There are keyboard configurations that concentrate most frequent letters under the fingers, that reduce effort by 95% and increase speed by 50% but this was done well after the QWERTY set-up was entrenched in the world.
Now, let’s move on to Part II: The Top Row (almost)
Most punctuation is found in the lower right section of the keyboard leaving the top row (when it was a typewriter) for numbers — which is odd since they are also on the backwards phone keypad on the right — and the symbols that we all know are used for when we want to use cuss words.
Here is a handy cheat-sheet for you to print out so that you will never forget the official nomenclature*.
The Symbols [crash!](not cymbals)
The Angry Eyebrow
The Wrong Symbol for Copyright
The Make Up Your Mind, Number, Pound, or Hashtag
The Can I Have Some More of This?
The I Better Not Have to Calculate That
The Funny Hat
The Fun to Say and Hear People Say the What?
The There’s Something Cool at the End
The Did You Catch That?
The Take-away or Joiner
The Space You Can See
The Easier Than %
The I’m the Same As
The How Do You Get That, I Don’t See That Symbol on the Keyboard?
It’s not a new thing, even after having to memorize the times table in elementary school, I still have to figure out (or double check) some of the math facts (Quick! What’s 8 X 6?)*. In music school, I wasn’t the best at memorizing the pieces that I had to learn. Not the most convenient attribute for a performer…
I write things down. Sometimes. But, then I have to remember to look at it.
I did realize that if you remember to remember, you remember things more often. We all have said to ourselves, “I forgot to remember that I needed to get [insert item here]”.
Some people are good at remembering/recalling, others are not. That’s just how it goes.
Where are “The Miniscules”? Yup. You guessed it. I forgot to do one this week. In my defense, my schedule was all over the place this week.
I nodded off and missed the men’s marathon finish. Darn it.
It’s odd not to have 10+ channels with Olympic coverage.
In the “It’s not over people” file:
Covid-19 is still here. It will probably always be present in some form or another. Some governments relaxed restrictions under pressure to restart economies only to have them reinstated due to spiking cases. Other governments are taking a more cautious approach, slowly increasing store and event capacities, requiring vaccine passports, and dropping mask requirements.
Here, while masks are not required, the health agency still recommends their use. Who is the authority? Bureaucrats or Doctors? The government says that smoking is legal. Doctors say that it is a hazard to your health. If your doctor tells you that you should quit or it will have an adverse affect on your health, whose advice do you follow?
I don’t have to wear a mask when I go shopping, but I do. So do a lot of people. I counted. It’s about 50/50. The cashier was wearing one and said she has a little brother at home, so she wasn’t going to take any chances. Good for her.
I’m fully vaccinated. I had Covid after my first dose. Thankfully it was mild, so mild that I didn’t realize it. Until the optimum percent of vaccinated people is reached, I’ll still mask in enclosed public spaces. It’s not worth the risk.
Like everything in life, there is a hierarchy. So, in the Olympics there is as well. What is the premier event? If you watched the women’s and men’s 100m race, then your question was answered.
The lights go down. A hush fills the stadium (easier with no spectators). Light show, moving graphics on the track, and athlete introductions go on for…well, a lot longer than the 9 or 10 seconds it takes to run it.
Did I watch it? You bet. Next is the 200m. Wonder what they do for an encore.
In most team sports winning gold and bronze are worth celebrating, but that second-place silver is a punch in the gut.
Watch the final game between third and fourth place and see an ecstatic group of players winning the third-place bronze medal. Then watch the gold medal game to see a dejected bunch of silver medal winners.
Second place is worth celebrating in most Olympic sports. You see smiles on the silver medal winners.
Is there a remedy? My solution would take longer and not but would make each medal a victory.
Top 4 teams are in the finals. 1st plays 2nd: Winner gets gold. Loser of that game plays 3rd: Winner gets silver. Loser of that game plays 4th: Winner gets bronze.
OK. I know there are massive problems. You will not be ending with the ultimate game and there is a possibility that one of the two top teams will play three times. But wouldn’t that bronze medal feel like an achievement?
From early on in history there have been spectator sports. Although are not all sports meant to be viewed by spectators? Why else would you go and chase a ball around on a field?
Watching sports is a personal choice. Some may see it as a waste of time (five hours times four days = I didn’t get anything done because of The Open golf championship), While others see it as a way to connect with co-workers (“That player was pretty good in that game, huh?).
I like some sports, but others—not so much. When the sport world ground to a halt because of that thing that should not be spoken, I watched a few of the re-runs, but eventually I got of the couch and went out for a run.
Since the Olympics will be starting soon (good idea or bad?), here are a few thoughts in no particular order or preference (I’ll make fun of my sports too):
Cycle racing (The Tour de France just wrapped up on the weekend): I’ll stand here for ½ and hour to see my favorite rider—Wait, they are all bunched up and look the same.
Nascar: Around and around and around…YAY! A crash! (that’s what you are waiting for, right?)
Soccer/Football: What an exciting game! What was the score? One Nil.
Marathons: Do I want to see them having fun (Mile 3) or not (Mile 25)
Hockey: There is an old joke, “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.”
American football vs. Rugby: Too much protection vs. Not enough?
Equestrian: I’ve always thought that the horse should get the medal.