Monday, October 26, 2009

When will a Politician just say what needs to be said?

"If Mr. Ignatieff gets into power, he'll raise taxes! So don't vote for him."

I hate paying taxes as much as the next guy, but let me get something straight, either we raise taxes to pay for our massive stimulus spending, or we let the debt grow and have our children and grandchildren pay it off, possibly in the form of a defunct economy.

It's pretty common sense to me. It's like owning a house. What would you rather pay, larger sums over a few years and get rid of the debt, or tiny sums that just make the debt grow and grow and grow?

If the government raises taxes now and runs surpluses, our debt goes down, our payments go down. Take a big hit now so we don't feel an even bigger pinch down the road.

Once, just once, I'd like a politician to admit this. "Yes, I will raise taxes because we have to pay off our huge debt."

And it is huge!

My share alone is almost $15,000

A family of four, $60,000

And the national debt increasing by $1,700 every second!

How do/did/would you pay your mortgage?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Walk in clinic poetry

With a one month old baby, and a toddler, I don't get much writing done at home these days. I just sat down now, and we'll see how long it takes before my wife calls me to do something.

I was at the shopping mall walk in clinic today, and had to wait for an hour. In that hour, I wrote five poems.

The first poem was based on getting something stolen from me yesterday.

Thieving prick

They'll steal your last quarter
When you need to make a call
They'll steal your glass slippers
When your going to the ball.

They'll steal your favourite shirt
That matched your favourite vest
They'll even steal your heart meds
As you're grabbing for your chest.

They'll steal your sunscreen
On the hottest, most hellish day
They'll even steal your glasses
When you look the other way

They'll steal your tire iron
And at some point later on
When you're scrambling to change a flatty
You will notice that it's gone.

I'm fed up and I'm angry
I've had it through and through
So I better hide this poem.
Before they steal it too.

Woe to be a Leafs Fan

Oh Woe to be a Leafs fan
A bunch of useless bums
They've lost seven in a row.
Are they twiddling their thumbs?

In any normal year.
I'd have an ounce of hope
But that is long gone now,
And I'm feeling like a dope.

For if your team is in last place.
Then don't worry, here's the trick.
Next year will be better.
With a first overall draft pick.

Oh wait! Oh Crap! Oh Jeez!
I've terrible news today.
The GM of the Leafs.
He traded that pick away.

Oh well, there's always next season
Oh dear, oh no, oh boo!
That idiot GM.
Traded that pick away too!


Baby is sleeping!

Can I play with my car?

You can play with the car, but no beeping!

No beeping! Then can I play on the trampoline?

No way! There's to be no leaping!

No beeping and no leaping. Maybe the baby isn't sleeping. Can I go peeping?

No! You'll wake baby up.

I won't. I promise I'll go creeping.

No creeping, no peeping.

No creeping, no peeping, no beeping, no leaping?


What about sweeping?

No sweeping.

Good, I hate housekeeping.

The Bumpkin

One time in Morocco
In the early autumn
I saw pumpkins with big brown spots,
sticking out the bottom.

This most strange growth,
on the underside of these pumpkins
looked like tiny bums.
And so I called them little bumkins.

Writers Woes!

Tis a fight, when I want to write.
I have to get away from the house.
For when I'm there, and have a moment to spare,
I'm hounded by my spouse.

Move that box! Pick up your socks!
In the end though, I got the last laugh.
For when she was on the loo, taking a poo.
I typed a substandard paragraph.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Baby Blog, Diapers and More

In two weeks, my wife and I have gone through relatively few baby products for our newborn daughter. She's breastfed, so I can't comment on any forumulas.

To me, ever since Nestle's horrifying third world scandal, followed by paint scares, plastic bottle scares, and other infant formula scares, I'm jaded toward baby products in general.

Products for newborns are almost designed to be shoddy and poorly tested. When you shop for a newborn baby, it's not an ongoing process where you use the products for life. Baby products are one of the shortest term items you can find, chances are you buy it once, and by the time you need it again for a second child, you've forgotten which products are good and which aren't.

We've used two brands of diapers so far, Pampers Swaddlers, and Huggies Little Snugglers.

Pampers new baby Swaddlers worked well. They generally kept Alia dry and were easy enough to change.

Huggies Little Snugglers were more of a nightmare. If we leave Alia for more than three hours, chances are she's wet. The real issue here is, if a baby is sleeping for a few hours, parents want a break from changing. I don't want to have to wake up Alia, or in many cases, myself, just to change her every three hours. Furthermore, they have a wetness indicator to tell when it's time to change. The wetness indicator is pretty useless when you have to take an outfit off just to check it.

We've got some Kirkland brand downstairs that we haven't tried yet.

There is a huge range of toys designed for babies, and 99% of them are useless in the first month. In fact, as I've found with Zack, and my nephew, the majority of toys are useless. They get played with for a few minutes, usually when they are given, then they end up in a closet, a drawer, and eventually a charity bin.

Thinking back to Zack's bottles as we diversified his diet to include formula and soups, the best bottles were the playtex brand.

I have to admit though, as a man, buying anything playtex for a son is a little bit awkward. If anything, the company could have changed the damn name to something I don't associate with women's menstration cycles.

One problem I found with bottles was that, moving between Canada and Morocco for Zack, it was a nightmare trying to replace the tops. In fact, our first bottles were sent from France by Siham's sister. We had more than a dozen of bottles around the house, and no way to replace the nipples once they went.

Siham wanted a baby monitor with a television screen. I was skeptical, but the fact that the monitor can later double as a spying device or security camera makes it a neat investment.

The first brand of TV baby monitor I bought, for $150 at Toys R Us, had a clunky black and white screen, and was very loud. It clicked and clacked and had a lot of static. I took it back and bought the Lorex video monitor from Costco instead for $179.99.

It works well, although the wires to connect it to the television are pretty poor if you want some space between the monitor and the reach of a toddler. It takes more effort that I'm willing to put in right now, but you can in theory hook it up to the television and have it as that little window while you watch your favourite programs, assuming you have a modern television and can figure out those windows.

We bought a Graco stroller, one of the ones where you kick a locking device at the back to release the stroller, and push it down to lock it. They fold up smaller than the bigger, clunkier strollers, however I quickly found out that they're also more fragile.
The third time I went to use the stroller, one of the metal folding metal braces at the back snapped. I returned it and bought one of the big clunky Graco strollers instead.

The government puts a time limit on how long a baby seat is good for. This is something that's always annoyed me. It also irks me that that companies sell the exact same, identical child seats in both Canada and the US, except for two major differences. In the US, they have the American safety certificate instead of ours, and is therefore not legal here in Canada. The second difference is they are half the price across the border.

We have a swinging chair that we haven't used very much yet.

Swaddle me wraps came in pretty handy. The baby is supposedly used to being wrapped tightly in the womb, and for anyone who's not a proffessional nurse or baby care giver, figuring out how to swaddle a baby with blankets that are usually too small can be a nightmare. Swaddle me products take care of that with velcro nubs that equate to swaddling for dummies. One or two in the drawer is a wise investment.

We had baby sleeping bags for Zack, but they seem harder to find in Canada for some reason. A great investment for the winter and something I'm keeping my eyes peeled for.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Productivity - the Freeroll waste of time.

In online poker, there's a game called the freeroll. In it, an online poker site will give away a prize of money, and everyone can play for free.

I was looking at the different freerolls, trying to determine how many hours are wasted by people trying to win money.

The most number of players I found vying for one prize purse was 12000 people for a prize of $100.

If each player averages twenty minutes playing the freeroll game, then that's 4000 hours total spent playing that particular freeroll game by all the participants combined.

Put another way, in a typical year, a hard working person works 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year. So a hard working person would work 2000 hours per year.

What I'm trying to say is, for the price of $100. Two years worth of productivity in terms of man hours are wasted on a freeroll game of poker.

I'm as guilty as the next guy for getting caught up in online gaming. It's something I'm trying to stay away from... For now...