Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Fitting Climax: NB Election Recap

Well, it's all over but the crying now. And Bernard Lord got started on his last night. Although, he shouldn't be sad. Now he gets to sit in opposition and do basically nothing except chirp away at every little thing the Liberals do. If I were him, I'd be licking my chops. It's payback time, Shawn!

But I have to give credit where it is due: New Brunswick voters managed to give one of the parties a reasonable majority with which to work. And with no "Tanker" Malley in sight, maybe the three seat advantage will hold.

I have to admit, less than 24 hours into his mandate, Shawn Graham is pretty damn impressive as Premier. He is already cutting gas tax, fixing up the bursary system for university students, and finally treating seniors with the respect they deserve. It bodes well for the province that he's not mincing words. The only thing I heard that had me worried was that they were backing off the auto insurance issue a bit. Don't do it, Shawn! There has to be a way we can ram a better plan down the insurance companies' throats. I honestly think that public insurance has to be a viable alternative at this point.

Now a word to the biggest losers of the night: the NDP. Well, what did you expect? I really don't want to kick anyone while they are down, but I couldn't help but feel really sad listening to Allison Brewer's concession speech. I mean, what can she say? New Brunswick just isn't going to take the NDP seriously in it's current configuration. You've got four years to re-shuffle, but the smart money is on the party folding in those years rather than coming back stronger. Unless Tommy Douglas is coming back from the grave, there is no NDP savior in sight. New Brunswick is just too poor to have the "us and them" environment in which socialist parties thrive. There is just too much "us" and not enough "them." But give this new premier some time. I think we just might get there.

Finally, let's talk about the tolls. Shawn, you knocked 3.8 cents a litre off the price of gas. I expect the gas companies will quickly move to gobble that up. But where are we going to make up the shortfall? You're in government now, so you know, you actually have to deal with this stuff. You can't spend if you don't tax -- unless you're George W. Bush, that is. So are you thinking what I'm thinking? Is it still political suicide? I think you guys managed to convince New Brunwick voters with those shadow toll figures...maybe that is really why you were given your mandate. Do you have the balls? Well, do ya?

Sunday, September 17, 2006


My neice is adorable!

I think I might devote the next few days to her just to cleanse my soul.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Against My Better Judgement

OK, after hearing about this from some friends and listening to it on the CBC, I have to weigh in on the latest Goth who fantasized about death story. Here's what I want to say:

  • Contrary to eye-witness reports, Kimveer Gill was not white. He was an Indian. I know we white males pretty much own the psycho killer realm, but this one was not one of us. Let's give credit where it's deserved.
  • Let's not delve into months of self-reflection about what this means. An idiot did an idiotic thing. We are not going to make sense of it.
  • Kimveer hated jocks. Was the one person he managed to kill a jock? Probably not. If you're going to be a psycho with a gun, at least be good at it.
  • I know we're going to blame computer games on this one. Normally, I would poo-poo the idea, but when there are sociopaths out there making games called Super Columbine Massacre, I think it's time we examine what is a reasonable expression of your programming skills. Right now I'm thinking "Exterminate the brutes."
  • Don't allow Kimveer to be another Marc Lepine. Let him die in ignominy and let's move on. Let's honour his victims while not speaking his name.
  • I think it's safe to say that nobody needs to wear a black trench coat when it isn't raining. I declare open season on black trenchcoats in fair weather.
  • You should insist that the next Goth you see who is obsessed with death volunteer at the morgue. It should be fun. Make sure they are there when families come to identify their loved ones.
I wish to extend my condolences to all the victims of this bullshit. Try to find comfort in the thought that, if there is a hell, Kimveer is in it right now.

Dell 720 Photo Printer

I bought a Dell computer earlier this year. The Dell had been strongly recommended to me by some well-informed friends and I considered it a pretty good deal. I even convinced my mother to buy one when she was ready to upgrade. Since I bought the Dell though, a few things have gotten me pretty worked up.

First, Dell is no different than any other PC company in that they pre-load their computers with all kinds of "free" software that is actually just a bunch of trialware garbage. I am pretty computer-savvy compared to the general populace, I suppose,(Now that is soime faint praise, if I ever heard any.) but it took me several frustrating minutes (I didn't count) to encounter, evaluate, and ultimately dispose of all the crap that Dell includes for free.

But the thing that drove me nuts from day one was the Dell 720 Photo Printer. I didn't ask for it, but it was included for free with my purchase of the Dell Dimension 5150. At first I thought, "How nice, a free printer." because I was pretty fed up with the Lexmark product I bought. NEVER buy a Lexmark unless you want to overpay for ink. Turns out, the Dell 720 Photo Printer comes with a few built-in caveats. First, you need to go out and buy the cable that will connect it to your computer. That will cost you about 30 bucks. Second, the ink they include is TRIAL ink. yeah, in addition to trial versions of Corel Office and Paint Shop Pro, you get itty-bitty trial ink with your printer. What a joke.

But it gets worse from there. The Dell 720 Photo Printer is absolutely the worst printer I have ever used. Paper repeatedly jams, it complains that something is blocking the cartridge carrier when nothing is, it's slow, and it wasn't able to print a range of pages from Microsoft Word. In all, it made me so livid, I decided to go "Office Space" on the piece of crap rather than even asking Dell for help.

No wonder they include it for free.

Dell, we're done. I wish I could undo this purchase, but I can't. But we are done.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Another Recipe

I'm a big fan of chili. It's versatile and contains all the food groups. Plus, you can eat it for a couple days and freeze the rest. I like cooking that allows me to not cook for a day or two afterwards. Anyways, I've always had this plan for a chicken chili using chicken pieces that have been stewed for super flavour. I finally got around to making it. So, here is the recipe in case you want to try it yourself.

Mexican Chicken Chili
by Skip Chase

Here's a tasty variation on your typical beef chilis.

All ingredient amounts are approximate. The chicken is the most time-consuming so I recommend making extra

6 chicken thighs (bone-in, with skin on)
2 cans of diced or chili-style tomatoes
1 bag of frozen, diced yams
2 cups of frozen corn
1 can black beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 green pepper
2 small onions

1 bay leaf
1 packet of taco spice
Tex mex mix
Franks red hot sauce
Black pepper
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
2 pinches of cumin
Whatever else you like in your chili


In a large pot of salted water, boil the chicken thighs until cooked. This takes about 45 min to an hour. Remove chicken from the water to cool. Put 3 - 4 cups of the resulting broth into another pot. I recommend a slow cooker. Add the bay leaf, tex mex, taco mix, garlic and some Franks to the water.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and pull the meat from the bones. Place the meat and a few bones in the slow cooker. Chop the onion and add that, too. Let it simmer on low for a few hours. I do this the day before I want to actually eat the chili.

In another large pot, add the chili ingredients and the chicken. I recommend adding the yams 15-20 minutes before the corn and the peppers because they take longer to cook, but since you should allow three hours or more for simmering, it probably doesn't matter.

Add more spices if you like. Remember, it will get a bit hotter the longer it sits. But as with an chili, the margin for error is pretty large. Let simmer until the yams are soft enough to eat. Serve with tortilla chips and a dollop of sour cream.