Monday, November 29, 2004 

That Was Then, This is Then

While making the mad dash home from work today, I wondered if women's roles in society had changed for the better over the past 150 years. I came to the conclusion that, yes, they had changed but I'm not quite so sure if we're really better off.

The Victorian Age saw the lower class women giving birth to many children and often dying in childbirth from a young age. If they didn't die during childbirth, they looked forward to a long life of grueling, backbreaking work of cooking, cleaning and caring for a large family. And all of this accomplished without indoor plumbing or electricity. Education for women was about as easy to attain as summer vacations on Mars. As for the upper class women, their daily life may not have been as rigorous but their sole purpose seemed to be trophy wife baby machines. Providing their husbands with an heir and a spare was their first priority and being schooled in the art of social graces was their second. They had to make sure they didn't appear either too intelligent nor too dim-witted so as not to become a liability to their husbands at social engagements. Either way, both classes of women were under house arrest for the duration of the 19th century.

The 1900s saw a lot of changes for women. The suffragette movement enabled women to at least have the right to vote (although France and Greece didn't give women the vote till the 1950s) and with the advent of the World War I, some women found careers outside the domestic household either as nurses or gaining entrance to universities in greater numbers. World War II saw them taking over male-dominated jobs to allow their husbands to go fight. But now they were basically single mothers AND sole providers for their families. But at least, they got the taste of independence even if a lot of them returned to domestic life after the war ended. But some stayed the course and continued on in working life working as office and factory workers or teachers. Men still ran the show but at least now some of them got a paycheque for their efforts.

Even with the right to vote, the chance to work and free education, women still spent the 50s and 60s subjugated to the role of June Cleaver in the home...the "little woman", vacuuming in high heels and being overly attentive to her nuclear family's every need. At least they had electricity and indoor plumbing to make this mind-numbing job bearable.

Bra burning and equal rights protests ushered in the 70s. Feminism was the catch phrase of the decade and it was a label attached to any woman who dared challenged society's gender roles. You couldn't "just" decide to go to work, receive your equal pay without having to listen to accusations of abandoning family values, shredding the social fabric of society and causing the end of the world. Which brings us to the here and the now.

Are we better off? Most working women still don't have equal pay for equal work.And to appease the abundance of statistics (stating that working outside the home will result in a nation of latchkey children on the road to certain drug addiction, social retardation, and deadbeat parenthood) and the abundance of self-guilt, we juggle both work, marriage and motherhood. Is that so far from reality? For any of you mothers who work, who gets the call to leave work and pick up your child from school? Who stays home from work when the child is sick? Who is accused of bad parenting when the job demands a business trip? Not the men, I assure you. And because we do everything humanly possible not to drop the ball in this great juggling act, nothing seems to assuage the guilt and fear we feel that we did make the wrong decision by choosing work and family life.

It's a catch-22 situation. If we forsake the career track and spend all our time at home being doting mothers and wives, we can't guarantee that this decision will keep the nuclear family intact. Divorce can still loom on the horizon and after 10 years or more of being absent from the workforce, we find ourselves forced to get a job anyway and feeling remorse for having stopped in the first place. The best decision we can make is to do what works best for us. Since I am a firm believer of life offering no guarantees, I choose to be a working mother and wife. Whether or not my family is the better for it remains to be seen in about 30 years. As for me being better off than my Victorian Age counterparts...I think I am. At least I got the choice they never had and a little help from General Electric kitchen appliances minimizes my chances of being derailed off the career track.

Thursday, November 25, 2004 

Spinning the Statistics

Last night, I heard on the radio that Greece was ranked as one of the top countries in the world to live in according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. My husband even fell for it. A little bit of misrepresentation goes a long way. That one little factoid made him forget that Greece is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, has lied to get into the Euro zone and is still rife with corruption and bureacracy.

There are 101 ways to read statistics. In this particular case, Greece ranked #22 in the list with Ireland in the #1 position. At first glance, being #22 is nothing to be jubilant about but considering it was ranked #27 last year in the same report, at least they've moved up in the rankings. If you consider other country surveys (OECD, HDI), Greece is usually at the bottom or next to last in the European Union. Of course, they don't announce those statistics or even refer to them. It's all in how you present it. What you leave out is often more important than what you announce.

Another example is Canada. Canada is all proud of itself because it ranked #1 for the best place to do business in the world. Canadians can be proud that their country was listed #4 on the HDI Best Countries report. No one is reminded that for almost a decade..1992-2001, Canada was ranked #1. It fell 3 spots. So, it's actually worse than it was 10 years ago.

Israel also considers itself one of the best countries to live in because they place #22 on the HDI report. ..2 places ahead of Greece. So what if you're constantly being attacked and attacking, you made the Top 30!

You can spin these statistics any which way you want to make them work for you. If you're low on the lists, then you just rattle off the countries who are worse off than you without giving your actual ranking in the complete list. This makes it look as if you're the #1 country in the world to live in if the list is of 10 countries. It would read something like this:
  1. Egypt
  2. Azerbaijan
  3. Kazakhstan
  4. Vietnam
  5. Ukraine
  6. Pakistan
  7. Algeria
  8. Venezuela
  9. Iran
  10. Nigeria
Or if you're second to last on the list, you just tell the masses that last year you were at the bottom. And even if you're on the bottom of any list, you still have options. Don't mention the list at all or attack the people who made the list and have a big parade and a day off work to celebrate your complete independence from the lemmings who worry about the list. Or you can make your own list and place yourself at the top of it based on completely irrelevant or false indicators.

Author's Note: Sovereignty of SeaWitch has been named the Best Blog according to Blogger Intelligence Unit. (A subsidiary of Sovereignty of SeaWitch)

Wednesday, November 24, 2004 

The Blame Game

How to win the Blame Game. The rules are simple:
  1. A Blame Game participant is known as the Blamer. The person or entity receiving the blame is known as the Blamant.
  2. The object of the game is to accuse as many Blamants as possible without being disqualified.
  3. There are only 3 ways you can be disqualified:
    1) If you blame yourself.
    2) If you do not invent a plausible blamant. (ie., There is no paper in the fax machine. Blaming the cleaning lady is acceptable but blaming the Fax Fairies is not.)
    3. If you name a Blamant which can later be traced back to you thereby breaking rule 1 of blaming yourself. (ie., People have no money. The jews are to blame. You are a jew. You have just blamed yourself. Instant disqualification.)
  4. Use as many multiple blames as possible for maximum point value.
  5. All blames must have some degree of plausibility .
  6. The person with the highest point score wins the Blame Game.

To assist you in playing the Blame Game, listed below are several common Blame topics with Blamants listed. They may be used separately or combined for each topics. Some Blamants are multi-purpose meaning you can use them for more than one topic if you choose. Play to win since many Blame Game winners have achieved financial success and power within politics and religion.

Male Answers:
Women are working more. Women are promiscuous. Women did not work hard enough in the marriage.
Female Answers:
Men don't work enough. Men are promiscuous. Men don't pay alimony or child support. Men did not work hard enough in the marriage.

Other people drive too many cars. Corporations use too many chemicals. Other people don't recycle. Other people litter. (*Make sure the blame you use here does not get traced back to you...if you have a car or work for a chemical corporation, use the last two blames.)

The Jews own the banks. Other people don't work hard enough. There are too many immigrants. Too many tax breaks for Big Business.

Corporations are choked by high taxes and labour costs forcing jobs overseas. Too many immigrants steal jobs. (TIP: Immigration is a multi-purpose blame and can be used on many topics. "The only jobs available are manual labour"--this is not an acceptable blame if there are available jobs then you don't have an excuse for your unemployment.)

Too many immigrants in our country force us not to like them. Personal victimization stories (real or imagined) you have encountered by people at the receiving end of your racism are also acceptable. (TIP: Be careful not to admit being racist here, just concentrate on the blame. It's always good to start the blame with "I'm not racist but...")

Too many immigrants flood the job market and force salaries down. Lawyers, doctors, scientists, engineers make too much money leaving next to nothing for the pizza delivery drivers, fast food employees and retail clerks. (TIP: Do not EVER make a connection between education and higher salaries here because that's a blame which can be traced back to you.)

No intelligence required!
Hours of fun and entertainment for the whole world!
Blame your way to success and ignorant bliss NOW!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004 

Alexander the Gay?

This week, 25 Greek lawyers sent a letter to Warner Bros. studios telling them to make sure they let audiences know that the movie "Alexander" is a work of fiction and that Alexander the Great did not engage in homosexual sex.

Thank God. For a week now, I couldn't figure out why our personal lawyer is not returning our calls relating to our company. She was probably far too busy with those other 25 lawyers suing a director for a movie they've never even seen.

Imagine that, an ancient Greek having homosexual sex. The nerve of some people making a movie about someone no living person has ever seen and of whom there are a thousand different opinions about his life. These lawyers are no doubt 'in the know'. It only stands to reason that they'd write such a letter because they talked to Alexander himself last week and he said he never had homosexual sex. Most likely, the other 25 lawyers have the affidavit signed by Alexander stating his virginity before marriage, his heterosexuality and his penchant for healing the sick, raising the dead and walking on water.

If these lawyers don't get Warner Bros. to cave to their demands, the world will stop spinning on its axis and it we will all be incinerated by the wrath of Zeus and his lightning bolts.

Pixar better watch it. Shark Tale will soon be released in Greece and if they haven't written the disclaimer ' this movie is a work of fiction and that sea creatures don't possess human language capabilities" then they may end up getting sued by the Colossal Squid, Esq. off the coast of New Zealand.

(This blog is a work of fiction and is only the views expressed herein, are those of the author alone. This blog does not encourage or condone the use of lightning bolts by Zeus and persons close to Zeus. No Olympic Gods were harmed in the writing of this blog.)

Saturday, November 20, 2004 

Thinking of a Career Change?

Are you bored with your present job? Need a change? Then you might want to check out these job vacancies.

Polygraph Examiner
Salary: $44,553 to $93,991
All you need is a bachelor's degree from a college or university and an interest in polygraph examinations.
Pros: If you take this job, not only will you get paid well, you'd be the life (and death) at every party. Plus, you'd get to tell everyone that you work for the CIA.
Cons: Considering the CIA's track record, you'd probably end up telling people you worked at Wal Mart anyway.

Chief of Security & Safety Service
United Nations, New York
Salary: D-1 level, $126,713 (if you have dependants) and it goes all the way up to $148,024.
You have the overall responsibility for the protection of security and safety of delegates, staff, visiting dignitaries and other visitors within the UN complex including all UN leased properties and the Secretary General's residence.
Pros: You'd probably never have to pay another parking ticket in your life and since the UN is such a colossal behemoth of an organization, they'd never know where to find you if they wanted you to work.
Cons: They might find you.{734137B5-C99B-4EA0-A5ED-0E8B68D9F375}

Special Agent
Salary: $40,419 (GS 10) Academy Training. Upon graduation, locality and availability pay will also be added.
One of the ways to get fast-tracked is to have Foreign Language Proficiency (Arabic, Farsi, Pashtu, Urdu, Chinese [all dialects], Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese). If you have other background experience which they consider to be a critical skill, you will be "prioritized in the hiring process" as well. But the language thing seems like the easiest. So as long as you're a US citizen and can speak one of the above languages, this could be the career for you!
Pros: You get to see what the FBI is up to and get paid decently for knowing Pashtu. Where else could you get $40,000 a year for knowing Pashtu? You also get to tell people you work for the FBI.
Cons: You might have to tell people you work for the FBI.

Criminal Intelligence Analyst
Salary: Bangkok: from 47,560 (step 1) to 71,342 (step 12) Thailand Bahts (THB) per month
Buenos Aires: from 3,612 (step 1) to 5,416 (step 12) Argentinean Pesos (ARS) per month
San Salvador: from 1,526 (step 1) to 2,286 (step 12) US Dollars per month
You need to have a university degree and proficiency in either Thai or Spanish for the above positions. They also want you to have some experience in law enforcement and they consider being able to "exploit the Internet and other electronic sources for the collection of open source information relevant to criminal intelligence analysis".
Pros: You get paid to spy on criminals and you can do this from exotic locations like Bangkok and Buenos Aires. Since you've probably seen a thousand action movies, you could make up all your reports based on movies like "Blow", "Traffic" or "Goodfellas" and get away with it.
Cons: Even though 47,560 Bahts seems like a lot, I really don't think it is. I'm not sure if there are any good movies on organized crime in Bangkok so you might actually have to do some real work if you ended up in Bangkok.

President of the United States
White House, Washington
Salary: $400,000
You have to run the United States for 4 years unless you're impeached.
Pros: You don't really need any experience or a high IQ. If George W. Bush can do it, anyone can! You get to be the most recognized and reported person in the world. You learn about geography by invading countries you never heard of before.
Cons: You won't have many friends outside the White House and everyone will tell you they can do your job better than you.

Thursday, November 18, 2004 


Something's wrong with this world when...

...People spend more time making a decision about what clothes they will wear for the day than which president they'll choose to govern them for the next four years.

...It's easier to get people to vote for an American Idol contestant than it is to get them to vote in the presidential elections.

...People know more about Britney Spears personal life than they do about their children's education, their country's foreign policy or their constitutional rights.

...People will revolt over the score of a soccer game but do nothing when their government continually lessens their personal rights and freedoms.

...when many countries' democratically elected officials in 2004 have the same names as the people in power under autocratic rule in 1804.

...sentencing for a first time drug dealer gets a lengthier sentence than a rapist or someone convicted of weapons offences. (US Sentencing Commission, Special Report to the Congress: Cocaine and Federal Sentencing Policy (Washington DC: US Sentencing Commission, February 1995), p. 150; Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 1996 (Washington DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1997), p. 476, Table 5.58.)

...when the Land of the Free has the highest number of prisoners per capita in the world. (715 per 100,000. Russia is 2nd with 584 per 100,000.)

...the 38 most poverty stricken nations in the world are ALL in Africa.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004 

A Country By Any Other Name...

Greece got a major diplomatic slap in the face from none other then the US of A this week. The day after the American elections, United States decided to recognize FYROM (Federal Republic of Macedonia) as just plain "Macedonia".

Now, this doesn't sound like such a big deal, does it? Well, if you're Greek, it's apparently a huge deal. How dare this FYROM 'upstart' of a country try to call itself after Greece's northern province of Macedonia. The birthplace of the Alexander the Great...a name synonomous with Greece itself. They were trying to steal Greece's identity. That's how the Greeks feel. And for 13 years, Greece has refused to even entertain the idea of FYROM having any name for itself which includes the name "Macedonia".

This is a brief history of how the whole problem started. Since the breakup of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991, three new countries were created: Croatia, Slovenia and FYROM. The EU decided on the name FYROM, the UN even got involved and also agreed to call it FYROM and Greece was not happy about it at all. The president of this new country, Kiro Gligorov, only exacerbated the situation by trying to use the Vergina Sun on his country's flag. The Vergina Sun was the symbol of Alexander the Great's royal family. And Gligorov continued to refer to his country as Macedonia and not the agreed upon name of FYROM. And then the whole thing just took on a life of its own from that point on in Greek politics. They became obsessed about it. They even imposed an embargo on FYROM until it dropped the Vergina Sun from its flag in 1995 and since then there has been an arctic freeze on relations between FYROM and Greece.

But now, since George Bush has decided to recognize the name Macedonia, Greek sentiment is boiling over. The 9 billion euro Olympic debt didn't get them this riled up. The fact that Greece cooked the books in order to get into the single currency Euro zone didn't get them angry enough to protest. The fact that the Greek government owes billions to the state healthcare funds doesn't bother them enough to demand action. But a country's name does.

To add insult to injury, the Americans didn't even inform the Greeks that they were going to recognize the name. They found out with the rest of the world the morning it happened leaving the ruling New Democracy party red with embarrassment . They couldn't believe America would do this to them. What did they expect? They have never given the US any support in recent memory and have blamed them for most of the ills in this country and the world..from the military junta to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus to the bombing of Yugoslavia and the war on Iraq. They regularly stage protests outside the American embassy. They've burned the American flag at a soccer match. And then to expect the US to back them on the issue of a country's name.

The Greeks have the right to tell America how they feel about their policies and actions, but they can't expect America to be happy with it and pretend to be best friends with them either when it comes time for Greece to expect sympathy for its causes.

The Fat Lady has sung. Greece should now start cleaning up the mess in its own yard before continuing this prolonged obsession of what nameplate its neighbour chooses to hang over its door.

Monday, November 15, 2004 

SeaWitch's 10 Most Wanted List

The following list of people need to do themselves and the rest of the world a favour by resigning from their positions of power before they find themselves outside the political sandbox with no one to play with except other criminal and useless public deviants.

King Mswati III of Swaziland
Reason: For spending too much time asking for things he really doesn't need and not asking for the things his people really need. (asking Parliament for $45 million to get himself a new presidential jet when 1/4 of his population need food aid; asking for $15 million dollars to build palaces for his 11--yes, you read that right..E-L-E-V-E-N...wives while 1/3 of his population is HIV positive)

President Umar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir of Sudan
Reason: For single-handedly managing to destroy his country in a decade. For allowing his government sponsored thugs, the Janjaweed to systematically rape thousands of women and murder thousands of men and children so he can keep the word "president' on his dirty little business cards.

Former President Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia
Reason: For instigating an ethnic cleansing campaign against muslims in Europe's backyard and for wasting over two years of taxpayers money and time on the Hague tribunal while he's on trial for his atrocities. Just own up to your horrid past, Slobo, and take responsibility for what you've done you miserable little despot.

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe
Reason: For seizing white-owned farmlands and setting in motion his country's spiralling decline into starvation and economic misery.

President George W. Bush of the United States of America
Reason: For resorting to lies to wage war on a nation (at least the OTHER George admitted to chopping down the cherry tree) without fully thinking of the repurcussions nor having any viable restructuring plan. For promoting, playing with and capitalizing on the fear of his people to get himself re-elected. For not knowing that "Mexican" is not a language.

President Jacques Chirac of France
Reason: For being the very definition of hypocrisy. For exploding nuclear bombs and then claiming to be an environmentalist. For accusing the US of acting unilaterally and being warmongers while at the same time being Saddam's best friend helping him to build a nuclear reactor and supplying him with French weapons. For trying to bully the EUs accession candidates into agreeing with him regarding the US by threatening to block their accession.

Queen Elizabeth II of England
Reason: For still being a queen in a democratic country. For serving no other purpose other than to supply tabloids with scandal fodder for their cannons. For always being the worst-dressed person in England. For getting away with the scam of having the English people pay for her lifestyle and that of her royal litter of offspring.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy
Reason: For not knowing how to behave himself on the global stage of politics. (His EU presidency was marred by racist and sexist comments...who can forget his comparison of a German EU member to a capo in a Nazi camp?) For receiving a PhD in Hypocrisy from the Chirac School for Hypocrites by claiming to fight corruption yet at the same time rewriting laws to keep himself from being charged with corruption and bribery.

President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus
Reason: For being a former chairman of the anti-corruption committe and then holding elections which were criticized by observers as being fraudulent, unfree and unfair. For getting his country on the 2003 list of "10 of the Worst Places to be a Journalist" by suppressing free speech, muzzling independent media and forcing them in many cases to shut down or move abroad. He has also been accused of being involved in too many deaths of members of the opposition and media. Where there's smoke, there's fire, Alexander.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel
Reason: For allowing the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians in Lebanon to be murdered on his watch in 1982. For knowingly instigating the recent spate of violence against Israel by his visit to the al Aqsa mosque in 2000 and then promising to deliver peace and security...neither of which he has achieved since the intifada of 2000. Instead, it has escalated. Now that his arch nemesis, Arafat, has died, will this bull in a china shop finally be corralled?

Sunday, November 14, 2004 

Pornography: Harmful or Harmless?

After reading about yet another violent sexual assault on a mother and her daughter, I felt compelled to write an article on the link, I feel, there is between pornography and sexual assaults.

Pornography has always been a controversial subject. The majority of men seem to justify it and the majority of women are against it and both sides produce studies, reports and statistics to cement their beliefs. Even though the majority of men believe pornography is ok, 94% of Americans (both male and female) believe that Internet pornography should be illegal. ( This leads me to believe that even though most men like to view pornography, they honestly don't believe it is a good thing, hence they feel the need to have it banned. They're already at odds with themselves over it.

In order to talk about pornography, you must define it. And again, the definition is often subjective. If you believe pornography is a good thing then the definition is just 'sexually explicit material'. If you believe pornography is a bad thing then the definition becomes much more complex including the separation of erotica.

The following is a definition written by a recognized academic expert in the field of sexual violence against women, Dr. Diana E. H. Russell who has a Ph.D. in Social Psychology. She defines Pornography is material that combines sex and/or the exposure of genitals with abuse or degradation in a manner that appears to endorse, condone, or encourage such behavior.
Erotica refers to sexually suggestive or arousing material that is free of sexism, racism, and homophobia, and respectful of all human beings and animals portrayed.

These two definitions work for me since I do believe that there is nothing wrong nudity or sex when it's consensual and the parties involved are of the age to legally consent and there is no degradation involved with either party. Pornography is not just sex. It's the degradation and humiliation of one or more persons by another.

I am against pornography and many studies provide a link between pornography and the commission of a sexual crime. I don't need to requote them all here (but I will provide some links at the end of the blog for those of you interested to read them) for the simple fact that if I inundate you with all kinds of statistics, you'll only find other ones to refute it. So why can't we just use common sense and honesty to settle this issue?

In Europe and in North America there are bans on cigarette advertising because there's a direct link to it and the number of people smoking. People accept this to be a fact. I think the majority of you believe this ban to be a good thing. The message is that you don't encourage people to smoke by advertising it. So if that can be said of smoking, is the same not also true of pornography? You advertise it in magazines and movies therefore you encourage people into thinking that the scenes depicted in pornographic materials are normal. And when it becomes normal, then any inhibitions people may have to perform acts viewed in the material are undermined as well. They are more likely to act out what they see in pornographic material.

Another illustration is a recipe book. For those of us who aren't chefs and don't know how to cook, we will often refer to a recipe book in order to cook an edible meal. Even meals which I consider to be strange and would never want to eat like escargots, I could probably be encouraged to make it and even eat it if it was presented in a pleasing way with testimonials regarding its nutritional content and taste. So for people who normally wouldn't even think about a sexual assault, repeated viewing of such depictions in pornographic material will probably lead most men to think it's not such a bad idea and in the worst case scenario, lead other men to try it out.

Be truthful here men, how many of you have thought about or have tried acting out some of the acts you never thought about until you saw it depicted in a pornographic magazine with your partner? Pornography is a stimulus. Not all men will act out the violent scenes but some would. And the ones who would are the ones I'm concerned about. Why give them the encouragement which might be the catalyst for their predisposition to commit a sexual assault? It's like giving an alcoholic a bottle of whiskey for his birthday.

Pornography desensitizes people. What really is abhorrent behaviour becomes to normal behaviour if you see it often enough. I remember the first time the world saw the beheading of Nick Berg on the news. We were appalled. Horrified. We talked about it for weeks. Now, hostages are being beheaded almost weekly and it barely registers a blip on our social awareness radars. Why? Because with each murder, we become less sesitive to the act itself. I believe the same is true of pornography. We see the violence, degradation and humiliation of females often enough that soon these scenes become less shocking, less deviant and more acceptable.

What's even more interesting to me is that supporters of adult pornography seem to have no problem saying that all child pornography ought to be banned for many reasons. They will say that it does encourage pedophiles to act out their fantasies. That it puts the lives of children in direct danger. That it's just plain sick, which it is. But when it comes to adult pornography, then this rule does not apply? This makes absolutely no sense to me. Ifpeople are so willing to accept the link between child pornography and child molestation, why then, is that same link not established and accepted when it comes to adult pornography and sexual assaults or rape?

Therefore, the whole idea that pornography doesn't harm anyone and may actually keep sexual predators off our streets is rendered void. And anyone who tells me that the worst that might happen is that the sexual deviant will only act out the fantasies he sees in pornography on prostitutes is another weak argument. The prostitute is still a human being. The assault is still criminal no matter which member of our society is involved. We need to stop trying to find reasons to justify it and be honest with ourselves. We need to rely on common sense to realize just how much a negative effect it really DOES have on society.

Saturday, November 13, 2004 

So you think you know English?

We use these phrases and expressions almost daily in the English language. Did you ever wonder what their orgins were? I found a few common expressions that I've used over the years and researched their etymology (That branch of philological science which treats of the history of words, tracing out their origin, primitive significance, and changes of form and meaning.--Websters) Here is a list of them:

Let the cat out of the bag.
Meaning: To disclose a secret.
Origin: A favourite country trick used to be to substitute a cat for a pig at markets. If you let the cat out of the bag you disclosed the trick - and avoided buying a pig in a poke (bag).

Lock, stock and barrel
Meaning: The whole thing.
Origin: From the parts that constitute a flintlock rifle.

Pass the buck.
Pass the responsibility onto someone else.
Origin: From the card game poker. A buck was a marker that indicated whose turn it was to deal. Passing the buck moved the deal onto the next player. Silver dollars were later used as markers and this may have been the origin of the use of buck as a slang term for dollar.

Pop goes the weasel.
Meaning: From the nursery rhyme.
Origin: 'Popping' is a slang term for pawning, i.e. depositing articles with a pawnbroker in return for money. Weasel is a corruption of whistle - in cockney rhyming slang 'whistle and flute' i.e. suit. So, 'Up and down the City Road, in and out of The Eagle, that's the way the money goes, pop goes the weasel', describes spending all your money on drink in the pub and subsequently pawning your suit to raise some more.

Quid pro quo.
Meaning: Something given in return for a previous item of equivalent value - like tit for tat. Origin: Latin source - 'something for something'.

Rule of Thumb
Meaning: According to a rough and ready rule.
Origin: This has been said come from the belief that English law once allowed a man to beat his wife with a stick so long as it is was no thicker than his thumb. In 1782 Judge Buller made such a ruling in an English court. It has never been law though and there's no reason to connect the legal case with the phrase, which was in circulation well before 1782. Other explanations come from the numerous ways that thumbs have been used to estimate things - temperature of brews of beer, measurement using the estimated inch from the joint to the nail, etc.

Scot free
Meaning: To escape from pursuers or to get away without payment.
Origin: Ask an American where this phrase comes from and you are likely to be told that it refers to Dred Scott, a slave who crossed from a 'slave state' to a 'free state'. Other explanations are relate to the scot, which was the Scottish term for a unit of taxation. Poor people didn't have to pay tax and so got off 'scot free'. This system of taxation was in use in the middle ages and so pre-dates the Dred Scot story by several hundred years. A slate for marking up drinking bills in pubs was also called a scot. If you got free drinks you would be getting off scot free.

Son of a Gun
Expression of surprise.
Origin: Women on board sailing ships sometimes had sex with sailors between the cannons. A male child born of such a union would be a son of a gun.

Thin red line
Meaning: A line of British soldiers (who wore red jackets).
Origin: Jingoistic folklore in the UK had it that a small group of British soldiers were good enough to hold back a mob of warlike foreigners.

A fate worse than death
Meaning: Rape or loss of virginity
Origin: Probably originated in Victorian England and attested to the belief that a dishonoured woman was better off dead. Still used but ironically of late. Edgar Rice Burroughs used it in his Tarzan of the Apes, 1914. 'The ape ... bearing Jane Porter away toward a fate a thousand times worse than death'.

Molotov cocktail
Meaning: A homemade petrol bomb, usually thrown
Origin: Named after Molotov, the Soviet Foreign Affairs Minister - 1939.

Friday, November 12, 2004 

Conversing with an Immigrant: Basics 101

If you know any foreigners in your neighbourhood, here are some things you might want to be know before you start up a conversation with them. If you have already talked to them, and you receive strange looks from them, this blog might help explain why. I'm a Canadian living in Greece but any foreigner will be able to relate to them.

1. Which country do you like more, this one or the one you came from?
This is a loaded question for a foreigner. A lot of us will still prefer our home country to the new one because we're familiar with it. We grew up there, our families are there and for whatever reason we chose to live in a new country, the country in which we were raised will usually have an edge. So don't ask this question unless you're prepared for the answer. I always try to find something nice about my new country to say to them and then generalize the both of them and say that you can find happiness anywhere if you want to. They seem to like this.

2. You don't look foreign, you look like a Greek.
Some foreigners find this offensive. Is it really a compliment? It's more of a backhanded one if you read between the lines. What they're subconsciously implying is that they believe your nationality is inferior to theirs and what foreigner wouldn't love to hear that they don't look like the native population? These well-intentioned people don't stop to think that just because we're in another country doesn't mean we're ashamed of being foreign.

3. Are you American? Oh Canadian? Same thing.
Of course, if you're French, you don't want to be told that being Belgian is the same thing. Or if you're German, being Polish is the same thing. You should see Greeks have fits when I tell them, "Yes, we are the same as Americans...just like you and the Turks." If they don't turn their backs on you at this point, you've found a very tolerant friend for life. It's not that foreigners all have a problem with our geographic neighbours but each country IS different from the one next to it. I've lived in both the US and Canada and even though we speak the same language and share some of the same traditions, we are still different in many aspects. This comment is also a dismissive one...they don't know much about the two countries so they combine them according to what they've seen in action movies.

4. You shouldn't speak English with your son, he only needs to know Greek.
Call me crazy, but outside of Greece, who else speaks Greek? And even if my mother tongue wasn't english, it's always good for children to know as many languages as they can. All foreigners should attempt to learn the language of their new country but all their children should know both the language of his new country and his parents' language. It never hurts to be able to communicate with as many people as you can.

5. Your country has no history.
How many times I've heard this one, I can't count. I get so tired of hearing it that now my standard response is "your country has all the history in the world, and where has it gotten you?"

6. You're from Canada? I have a cousin in Chicago.
What do I do with that one? Chicago is in an entirely different country. Even after I tell them I'm from the east coast, they expect me to say something. Just what I don't know, but they wait for a response. Do they expect me to know their cousin in Chicago or tell them about my favourite restaurant in Chicago? I've never BEEN to Chicago. The people who tell me this are just attempting to find some common ground with me. I realize that. But after 7 years of being here, I still don't have a good answer for it. I can't give them a lesson in geography, that would be rude.What's worse is if they actually give me the name of the restaurant their cousin owns. I try to politely tell them that I don't know about their cousin's restaurant in Chicago any more than they would know my friend's school in Gdansk, Poland. It's that far away.

7. You're from Canada? It's a beautiful country. Not like here where we have so many foreigners.
Ummmm...the problem seems so obvious with this one that I can't believe people even say it. I'm not Greek. I am a foreigner as well. I'm part of that group which you believe is a problem for your country. Please, don't ever say this one to foreigners no matter how much you THINK it's a compliment, it isn't.

8. You need to get rid of your English accent in Greek.
Of course I do. I'd love to. They're right on this one. I'll do it today. Today, I will speak Greek without an accent. It's too easy to lose an accent in a foreign language, isn't it? That's why Greeks who speak English after 15 years of language institute training still speak with an accent. No wonder many foreigners feel embarrassed to speak a new language when they're constantly criticised. But don't give up my little foreign compatriots! Keep speaking the new language...your accent won't be as pronounced with more practice. Remember, we have to communicate first and become a world-renowned, grammatically flawless public speaker second.

9. Do you have your papers?
This question pops up when you've said something to them they don't like. It's intimidation. In my case, I hear this one mostly when people don't want to pay their bill in my stores. Their justification for not paying is the threat that they'll tell someone I'm illegal in this country. Just the assumption that I'm an illegal is amazing. It's strange. No policeman has ever looked at my residence permit. Just the thieving customers.

10. Can you get me into Canada?
I got into Canada because I was born there. Other than that, I don't know any other 'easy' way how to get anyone else "in". The Prime Minister and I aren't as close as we used to be so I can't guarantee you he'll take my calls anymore. I don't own a ship so I can't smuggle you there. What's next? Here's an idea...try Canada's Dept. of Immigration. Maybe, just maybe they might be able to help.

So, the next time you feel like striking up a conversation with a foreigner in your country, keep these things in mind and you'll be surprised how many NICE things we have to say about your country.

Thursday, November 11, 2004 

All Bark and No Bite

Well, we know they don't pay their parking tickets in New York City. Several UN countries also have a problem paying property taxes to the city of New York...some countries owing millions in back taxes to the city of New York.( They have lofty plans. The UN writes volumes of text about what they plan to do. They seem to have a major problem in actually implementing their plans.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The road to peace and security seems to be obstructed by reams of paperwork and UN ambassadors who see the UN as a Snitch & Bitch coffee klatch rather than a productive organization committed to stopping wars and keeping people safe.

They said it themselves in Article I of the UN Charter...

The Purposes of the United Nations are:
To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.

You be the judge to see if they've done their job and fulfilled the first article.

Let's start with Rwanda. 1994. 600,000 civilians slaughtered in a matter of weeks. General Dallaire of Canada repeatedly asked the UN for more reinforcements. Their response was to withdraw more forces. What did the UN do to prevent it?

Sierra Leone. Over 10,000 and possibly up to 40,000 civilians had their hands cut off by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in an effort to hamper their efforts to vote in the elections. ( The Economist also wrote an article on it as well. What did the UN do to prevent it?

Serbian-Bosnian war. The Srebernica massacre. Thousands of Bosnian muslims died at the hands of the Serbs. The US intervened after the conflict had started. Carla del Ponte did manage to get to Milosevic to trial in the Hague in 2002. He's still on trial...two years later.

Iraq. No explanation needed. 10 years of sanctions and countless resolutions didn't stop this war.

The Sudan. Thousands of women are being systematically raped and driven out of their homes. They've sent envoys to talk to the government and told the Sudanese to behave themselves. Did it work? "About 1.5 million who have fled their homes during more than 20 months of fighting in the arid western region of Sudan, creating what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis."--Reuters Nov. 11

The UN is a toothless dog barking away but no one is listening.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 

Rearranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic

What would YOU do?

Your country is on the verge of bankruptcy. The government owes billions to the national workers' health insurance funds. The government's deficit is double the EU limit. The education system is the worst of the EU-15 (European Union 15 member states prior to the latest countries who joined this year). Xenophobia is the highest in the EU-15. Over half the senior citizens live on less than 400€ a month. Unemployment is steadily increasing. The roads are abysmal resulting in many needless fatalities.

Would you blow 8 billion euros on the Olympic Games? Is that what your country needs? Apparently, that's what Gianna Aggelopoulou-Daskalaki thought her country of Greece needed.

She brought the games to Greece. She was the president of the Athens Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games. The one who was basking in the glory of a 'successful' (whether they were a success for Greece, remains to be seen) games while they were here. But where will she be when it comes time to pay for the Games? Where will she be when she has to answer to the people for spending more than 6 billion euros over the initial budget of 2 billion euros?

Of course, she'll explain away the extra costs because of delayed construction and extra security. The security costs alone were 1.6 billion euros. Even if you remove that expense, the Games still cost Greece over triple the amount originally budgeted. The fact that the construction was delayed still falls under Gianna's responsibilities. After all, what part about "organization" didn't she understand when she became president of the Organizing Committee?

Did Greece really need more stadiums which will fall into disrepair immediately after the games? (This has already happened...newspapers have already published pictures of the garbage strewn about the stadiums;) Or did Greece need better schools, better healthcare, better roads, less bureacracy and long-term employment options by re-training workers and investing in new businesses? If you were anyone but Gianna and her cronies in the government, I'm sure you'd choose the latter options.

And that's not all she's responsible for. She also set fire to the Filothei forest behind her house with fireworks which took 75 firemen to extinguish. (Click for pics... As far as I know, she has not been charged for this incendiary display which was not on the official Olympics program.

While Gianna and the members of the Greek government rearranged the deckchairs on their sinking ship this past summer, the Greek citizens worried the whole time about paying for such an expensive cruise.

Monday, November 08, 2004 

Canada's New Best Friend

Iraq is all about the US wanting and needing Iraqi oil for itself. Or is it?

My belief is that the US needs to control the Iraqi oil supply (while at the same time providing plenty of business opportunities for American industry) to keep the sleeping dragon, China from becoming too powerful, too fast. China consumes a lot of oil to keep the millions of cars on the road and to fuel the industries which manufacture just about everything for the West. But since 1993, China's oil supply has been in decline. "By some estimates, the country's current proven reserves will be depleted in as few as 14 years." (China's Quest for Oil, Oct.18, 2004, Time Magazine) And they're on the hunt for it from anyone who has oil to sell. They've tried Russia, Indonesia and various Middle Eastern countries. They even signed deals to develop two oil fields in Iraq but the UN sanctions scuttled that idea and the US occupation of Iraq buried it.

So they know that they need to find alternative sources of oil and fast to avoid being vulnerable in the coming years to the recent developments in the middle east.

When I first wrote this opinion several months ago, it was just an unsubstantiated idea. But as the years passed, I kept finding more evidence to support his theory. The latest being China's acquistion of Canada's raw minerals company, Noranda and they are poised to become a major investor in the Athabasca Oil Sands.( This latest piece of information, further proves that the USA didn't need to invade Iraq to get oil. They could have spent less money, maintained some semblance of foreign diplomacy and done it all peacefully had they just invested in the Tar Sands themselves. According to the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, the Athabasca Tar Sands is the largest oil deposit in the world, with an estimated 1.6 trillion barrels of oil.

Allowing for a modest recovery rate, the tar sands total reserves are estimated at 176 billion to 271 billion barrels. If extraction methods can be found to get at the deeper stuff, the estimates rise to as much as 2.5 trillion barrels. For the 20-year period between 1996 and 2016, some $87 billion in capital projects around tar sands development have been announced. All this positions Canada as an oil superpower, rivalling OPEC. (Ottawa Citizen, December 6, 2003)

It's not like USA didn't know about it. On May 7, Alberta received a letter from Spencer Abraham (George Bush's Energy Secretary) confirming 176 billion barrels. And they can't claim that it just costs too much to get the oil because I'm sure the war on Iraq is costing them more than just money. No, all these issues point to the USA's desire to control the exports of the second largest oil reserves in the world--not to take the oil for themselves.

"The world has the oil, and China has the money," says Chen Huai of the Development Research Center, a think tank in Beijing run by China's Cabinet. Soon, China will have both.

Sunday, November 07, 2004 

Artificial Intelligence

Almost 3 million people have various parts of their bodies prodded with gigantic needles or cut open or subjected to hours of needle jabs and weeks of constant pain sometimes resulting in severe infections or even death. No, I'm not talking about human rights violations done to people against their will in third world countries. This is United States. These people ASK and PAY for these things to be done to them. It's called plastic surgery. And more and more are doing it every year. It makes no sense to me. I could understand it if they actually ended up looking better as a result but in my opinion, they end up looking like cartoon caricatures of themselves. They would have been better off paying $5,000 to a Madame Tussaud's wax artist and saving themselves a lot of pain and the end result would look a lot better.

See for yourself. Look at pictures of L'il Kim, Mary Tyler Moore, Michael Jackson, even Cher. They look like they're permanently celebrating Halloween. It's frightening.

When did all this happen? Who is responsible for this artificial nightmare? The plastic surgery recipients themselves or society who have unrealistic expectations of beauty? I think it's a combination of both-- insecurity fueled by unrealistic expectations and pressure from both the public and the media to represent a very warped idea of beauty.

And of course, when the celebrities fall prey to this ideal of perfection, the sickness infects the non-celebrity as well. Usually women. The 16 year old girl who sees all the boys (and men) ogling Britney and decides that to become a better person worthy of attention plastic surgery is the answer...not education, not an improved personality, not hard work, not exercise. Just $20,000 and a few hours under the knife will solve all her problems. It's the housewife who feels she has to compete for her husband's attention from silicone, hair-extensioned Barbies who plaster the magazines and movies her husband watches.

But none of them stop to think that this subjective view of beauty is might not be the ticket to a happy life. The same celebrities who undergo such invasive procedures are also the same people who are in and out of drug rehab countless times, have 3 divorces under their belt by the time they reach the age of 35, and children who grow up as mirror reflections of their parents. All the money in the world doesn't cure them either.

But somehow, the first thing that people do when trying to improve their lives is to throw reasoning and good common sense out the window. The very things they DO need to improve their lives. The very things that ARE capable of leading them to contentment.

The only ones who really benefit from all of this, is, of course the plastic surgeons themselves. I've included a few statistics below to better illustrate my point. One statistic which really sticks out is the increase of reconstructive surgery patients as opposed to cosmetic surgery patients. People who don't need surgery are overwhelmingly more apt to choose it than the ones who really and truly need it.

So, before you look in the mirror and decide you need a nose job, just tape a picture of Michael Jackson there along with a side-by-side cost comparison of the nose job and an undergraduate degree before you dial 1-800-NEW-NOSE.

  • More than 2.8 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were
    performed by ASPS members in 2003, up 41 percent from 2002.
  • Over 12 years, from 1992-2003, the number of cosmetic plastic surgery procedures by ASPS members has increased 424 percent.
  • Botox® injection was the overall top cosmetic plastic surgery procedure performed by ASPS members, with nearly 900,000 procedures in 2003.
  • The top five cosmetic surgical procedures performed by ASPS members in 2003 were breast augmentation (246,930), liposuction (241,887), eyelid surgery (129,727), tummy tuck (97,698), and facelift (86,504).
  • Breast augmentation increased 657 percent from 1992 to 2003.
  • More than five times as many liposuctions were performed between 1992 and 2003, 241,887 procedures in 2003 from 47,212 in 1992.
  • Eyelid surgery increased 118 percent from 1992 to 2003.
  • Facelifts more than doubled between 1992 and 2003, 86,504
    procedures in 2003 from 40,077 in 1992.
  • In 2003, more reconstructive plastic surgery procedures than ever before were performed by ASPS members with an 11 percent increase over 2002, totaling more than 1.6 million patients.


Have You Publicly Spanked a Tyrant Today?

It was a mystery to me. How could millions of people around the planet organize themselves to feel so angry about the atrocities they were sure would be committed in Iraq and then all show up on the same day to protest it? I'm not saying the protesters were wrong...just questioning why they chose THIS war to be so angry? They never showed up at Russia's embassies to protest their 10 year long war with Afghanistan in any sort of significant numbers. 600,000 people died in Rwanda in a matter of weeks but millions didn't protest outside Rwandan embassies. Up to 40,000 Sierra Leonians had their hands cut off by fighters so the people would find it that much more difficult to vote in their elections but I didn't see anyone raise a picket sign outside Sierra Leone's embassies. Now, in both the Congo and the Sudan, hundreds of thousands women are victims of a systematic rape campaign while government officials visit the refugee camps, talk about sanctions while thousands more are becoming refugees in their own countries. Other than a few news items, no one thinks it's important enough to stage an organized protest a la Iraq?

If these kinds of atrocities were happening in any western country, the shock and horror followed by a high probability of swift military action against that country would result. But because it's Africa, and the media isn't priming us to 'care' then we don't?

Don't tell me that it's because Africa has no oil that the US doesn't intervene. That still doesn't excuse our own apathy. Maybe we don't care enough because somewhere deep inside ourselves, we don't think their lives are worth the trouble to protest? Is it because no one's leading us by the hand to take us to the main city squares around the planet to make sure we get to a protest?

NGOs should be making more of an effort to inform us all of how we can each, personally, find some way to help these people out by having their addresses published so we can at least send food and clothing. Anything. Every little bit helps.

The tyrants who run these countries and allow these atrocities to continue need a good public spanking in the form of massive protests and external pressure to behave themselves.

Saturday, November 06, 2004 

To Pay or Not to Pay: Charity or Begging?

On a daily basis, at least 5 people come into my store asking for money and I compiled the most common routines I hear below. And these are just people who walk into one of our stores. The rest can be found plying their wares/routines at coffee shops, bus stops and street corners.

"Good morning, I have just gotten out of drug rehab and would like to stay drug free so I support myself selling these candles for 5€ each. Will you buy some?"
The candles they buy at the dollar store around the corner for 99 cents. This is the newest beggars' telling you that they've been through drug rehab, they hope to get your praise for doing the right thing. By saying that the candles they sell is their means of support for staying drug-free, then the responsibility is upon you to keep them that way. Conclusion: Beggar by means of psychological extortion.

"Good morning, I have (insert number here) children and we are all hungry, will you give us money?"
Usually, they come in with the youngest child and the most sickly one to prove their dire situation. This is the most common line I hear. In the beginning I always felt bad for the children when I moved here and would give them the money. I figured if I was that child and was dragged from store to store with my mother, I'd be so ashamed and angry that no one cared. But then I stopped even giving to them since the day I saw a 'crew' of professional beggars with about 12 children getting out of a van at the central square. The same ones who came to my store except with different 'parents' this time. Conclusion: Professional Organized Beggars.

"Good morning (usually spoken with a speech impediment), out of your kindness, will you give me money to buy a loaf of bread?"
These people usually limp into the store and with one of their arms dangling as if its completely useless or bandaged up as if it had surgery. They want you to think they're survivors. By asking for a specific necessity like a loaf of bread or medicine they want you to believe they're not asking for money to squander but to use for a legitimate need. I also gave money to them in the beginning because I know the Greek state doesn't have disabled work programs or even satisfactory disability pensions for them. But then, when the same woman came into my store over a 6 month period and her disability would change each time, I stopped giving them money too. Many of them would also call you names for not giving them money as they stomped out of the store. The "disability" always disappeared when the money didn't appear. Conclusion: Beggars Employing Theatrics

"Hi! We're from (insert school name) of Argos and we're selling these calendars and postcards to get money for our school, will you help us out?"
This seems innocent enough but you have to be observant here as well. I was in a coffee square and it was August. What's a school doing sending children out to collect money in August? The things they were selling were from another island. If the scheme was legitimate, they'd be selling tourist items from their own area, not from another island. As with the candle beggars...these beggars buy a large amount of outdated and useless products at a very cheap price and sell them for 400-500% profit. Conclusion: Capitalistic Beggars

Even a priest has come into our stores asking for money and when I asked for a receipt he became angry and asked me if I was Christian Orthodox. Maybe he wasn't a priest but he certainly looked the part.

After 7 years of living in Greece, I have the whole Begging/Charity concept down to a fine science. Beggars always play on your sympathy to get money and become hostile if they don't get what they want. They never give receipts and 90% of the time, they will use one of the above versions to extort money from you. Charities will come with receipt books stamped with the name of their charity and are usually happy with whatever you give them. Sometimes, they also sell overpriced pamphlets, calendars or religious icons to justify the money leaving your till, but since it is a legal charity, I would have given the money with nothing in return so I don't mind. I also give senior citizens money as well since they've already been through so much in Greece and more than half of them are trying to get by on less than 400€ a month, I figure it's the least I can do.

Growing up in Canada, I was not accustomed to seeing so many beggars in what seemed to be such dire situations so I ended up giving a lot of money away. But then I got to thinking that my grandparents lived through the two World Wars and the Depression with 10 children and neither of them, no matter how bad things got, ever begged for money. They worked for their money. I would gladly give money to any of them if they offered to wash my car, clean my windows or provide some service of use to me. I would probably overpay them in this situation. But I guess it's just more profitable to them to walk around to 100 stores a day and my guess is that it works because there seems to be more and more beggars and NONE of them have ever offered to do any work for the money they want. They want it the easy way...selling overpriced useless products or exacting money for advertising in publications which will never be printed. There seems to be no end to the creativity them employ to force you to part with your money. If they only put that much effort into working, imagine how rich they'd be?

Friday, November 05, 2004 

Elections and the Pronoun "We"

Another election over and done with. I don't think it was much of a surprise for anyone. We all knew in our heart of our hearts that King George II would continue his reign and that's why the whole world was meddling into the American elections. I had my doubts about Kerry anyway. With the whole world against Bush and Bush's popularity eroding day by day with every new fiasco in Iraq and he STILL couldn't pull off a majority win? He wasn't the right man for the job...just a different man. The Democrats really need to take the next 4 years and find themselves someone capable of pulling in those extra 500,000 votes by 2008.

Since I live in Greece now, other issues bubble to the surface which I would have been oblivious to if I still lived in North America. One of them being the immigrants' perspective of themselves and America.

I was listening to a Greek morning news talk show yesterday and the hosts were talking to two "Greek Americans" who had voted in the elections. They referred to themselves as "we Greeks" and Americans as 'them'. I have no problems with immigrants retaining cultural pride but if you identify yourself more strongly with your birth country or your parents' birth country and not the country where you work, live and pay your taxes then you need to rethink why you're even there in the first place. Live in the country you love, use the pronoun 'we' and vote in those elections.

By the time I get the chance to vote here, I will definitely be more cautious when using the pronouns "we" and "them" when it's my turn to scratch my X on a ballot form. At that point, if I still don't consider myself to be part of the "we" then maybe it's best I don't vote at all.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004 


I've had enough. Enough lies. Enough hypocrisy. Enough greediness. Enough injustice. Enough racism. Enough whining.

It's time for me to try to do something about it. For over 10 years, I've scoured the remotest parts of the web to try to find out more about the world in which I live. The world that governments and media would rather give to me in palatable doses seasoned with plenty of spin so that the end result resembles nothing more than a diluted version of a half truth. I've written the letters to newspapers and magazines.I've called the tv and radio talk shows to give my opinion but it wasn't enough to satisfy my need to effect some sort of change.

Maybe now with this blog, I can reach more people. I welcome any serious, intelligent comments or astute observations regarding any of the above topics from anyone who happens to read my epistles.