Saturday, April 23, 2005

Cheese with that Whine?

A couple of weeks - perhaps even a month - ago I read a story in the Metro commuter paper about a member of the Ontario Legislature (MPP; Member of Provincial Parliament) by the name of Lorenzo Berardinetti (Lib-Scarborough Southwest) who was all up in arms about an "eye-opening trip to the mall with his wife." It seems that the 40-ish (guessing - I imagine he is in his late thirties to early forties...) Berardinetti was stunned to learn that women pay more than men for such services as haircuts and drycleaning. Awesome. Groundbreaking.
He has even gone so far as to present a bill at Queen's Park to address the issue in law.
Now, I don't want to say anything untoward about "sort-of" lawyers because "sort-of" lawyers are often the most egregiously litigious, but, um, where have you been living all your life? When I first read the story I sort of chuckled and dismissed it, but now it looks like this doggy has legs and I am getting concerned.
Taking Mr. Berardinetti aside at Queen's Park, I might say, "Um, Dude ... that is the way of Things. It is the way It is, the way It has been and, God willing, the way IT shall always be."
My concerns are many. I am the first to admit that I look for the negative side of every situation, but I see nothing positive in this.
First, to the people of Scarborough Southwest (so near the Beach, but not quite...) I ask, "Do you really think that a man who is so out of touch with the fundamental workings of day-to-day life is adequately prepared to properly represent your interests in government?
Second, I wonder how it is that a man can come to graduate from University, work as a lawyer and enter politics with such an incomplete perspective of the world. I might understand if you had come from a humble working-class family and you didn't really have any exposure to drycleaning - but then, you would still have to have been aware of the difference between a barber shop and a salon!
Here's the thing. Traditionally, men's clothes have been easier to clean than women's. Usually a man gets a simpler haircut than a woman. Usually. If a guy wants something fancy he has to go to a stylist. Men have understood this since Fred chowed down on Brontosaurus burgers. Barber shops for guys, stylists for women. No problem.
Until now.
In the interest of fairness, we should pay the same for identical services. That is just common sense. What Berardinetti fails to grasp is that we don't get identical service.
I guess my fear is that rather than seeing women get a better deal on their fancy-schmancy services, I and every other man will just end up paying a lot more for our stuff.
Wealthy Barber indeed.
I was going to go on and on in this vein, but I think I will just end it here. It's a silly effort at legislation. Well-intentioned, perhaps, but foolish.
So foolish that I am sure we will see it pass. Ah, well.
Now I think I want to write about my barber shop experiences in my next entry.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Pope Idol

I put together the image of John Ratzenberger as the Pope as a joke. It was really just a moment of inspiration when I heard the name of the new pope over and over. Certainly I had heard of Cardinal Ratzinger before, but the increase in media mentions sparked the parody.
Now, it seems, some actual news outlets were reporting that John Ratzenberger had been named Pope. Incredible! That is so absurdly surreal that I can barely believe it. First for the irresponsibility of those news outlets (although it is in part due to their urgent efforts to distribute information immediately) and second for the coincidence with my own little effort at humour.
A quick and disorganised perusal of various weblogs, forums and sites around the WWWeb reveals many folks that share this misunderstanding. There are even other people that have made composite photos. Although mine is the best that I have seen, if I do say so myself.
And I thought I was being dreadfully creative. Ah, well. As I wrote in a previous post, there is nothing new under the sun.

Is There a Doctrine in the House?

Let me start by saying that Michael Coren got me thinking today. He is filling in for Jim Richards this week on CFRB Newstalk 1010 between 8:00 and 11:00 pm in addition to his normal stint between 6:50 and 8:00. Some of his show today was dedicated to issues of the Christian faith and specifically the Catholic Church in light of the recent appointment of Pope Benedict XVI. At one point a caller made a point of stating that he was an Atheist (now, should Atheist be capitalised?) and Coren asked him to explain how he had come to be an Atheist. The caller was not able to explain his decision beyond it being a matter of belief, but it made me realise that while I have described myself as an Atheist in a previous post, I am, technically, an Agnostic. I could go back and change the word in the previous post, but that would be revisionist history which would be at odds with the Truth and I can not abide that. Instead, I offer this correction.
I will describe myself as an Agnostic because I can not discount the possibility that there is a greater intelligence at work in the Universe. I choose, however, to believe that such an intelligence is so far beyond the scope of our human minds at this point in our evolution that we are incapable of fathoming the reason or intent of such a force. Thus far, our efforts to define this force seem little more than vain anthropomorphism of such Truths as our primitive souls have been lucky enough to comprehend. I also think that organised religion has largely stunted the intellectual momentum of the general public by spoon-feeding an accepted perception to the faithful rather than encouraging free thought and development. I am not Catholic, but I am pretty certain that there is very little room for creativity in the Catechism.
Is religious education a waste of time? Well, no. To further add to the confusion, I must also state that in order to disagree with any argument, a person must understand the counterpoint to their own assertion. Theologians are more accepting, or at least tolerant, of divergent faiths than zealous believers because they have given measured consideration to their own religion and found that it stood up to scrutiny. I don't think that many people can or will make that distinction and fewer still are willing to make the effort to understand their own faith, let alone the faiths of other people. Then again, many are called, but few are chosen (Did you recognise Matthew 22:14? The Bible is just chock-full-o'-truths).
I believe that statement. I believe it as I believe fervently in much of the fundamental Truth of the Bible and the essential Truth of the teachings of Jesus Christ. The call to be a seeker after the Truth is made to all of humanity. Few are willing to take up the challenge.
I might believe in a God, I just don't believe in worship. A God that demands that kind of appreciation is as flawed as any human. God needs no ego. He transcends that nonsense. In Freudian terms, God is pure id, but where a person has an id that is concerned with the primitive, instinctive, animal aspects of our nature, God is all about creation, life, energy and light. God can not help but express His id through the existence of all things. He is existence. Why create an entire Universe from nothing? Presumably God had been the Everything in the Nothing and had caused there to be a Something from that Nothing that is now our Everything. And so, from the school of thought that brought you the question, "If God is all powerful, could He create a rock that was so large that He Himself could not move it?" comes the question, "If God was the Everything, could He create a Something so vast out of an incomprehensible Nothing that it could also contain Him?" While the concept of the Creation myth is common to every developed culture on Earth and as such is part of my evidence for a Universal (hey, doesn't Catholic mean universal?) Truth, I prefer to believe in a continuum. A Universe without beginning and without end where energies play against each other in a never-ending ballet of the forces of physics. No Creation. Just a sprawling forever that may or may not include an unknowable Architect.
Naturally the question of the nature of God is not one that will be answered in a weblog. The mysteries of Heaven confounded society before the development of language and will follow humanity into whatever future we may devise. I will pick up this train of thought with the notion of salvation and whether the quest to be saved is in and of itself, salvation.
Until then, I remain a screeching monkey; trembling in fear at distant lightning.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Oh, I Hope God Has a Sense of Humour!

Sacrilegious? Irreverent maybe. But funny.

Rome- Vatican officials have been embarrassed to find that they have named the wrong man to become the new Pope. While the Cardinals who gathered to select the next leader of the world's Roman Catholic faithful meant to name Joe Ratzinger to the office, a clerical error resulted in John Ratzenberger's name being entered in the official announcement. Due to ancient and established church law, the name must stand as written and so the Church of Rome has sent emissaries to Hollywood to convince the Cheers star to accept this honour. John Ratzenberger could not be reached for comment.