Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Greece, here we come.

Canada's descent into economic chaos may not happen as suddenly and painstakingly as say, in Greece or Italy.

But is it coming?

I laugh, in a sarcastic, angry, I wanna go to a punching bag and hit it so hard it unhinges sort of way - when Stephen Harper stands in front of the cameras and boasts Canada's fiscal responsibility and position in the world - then announces, like they did today, that more debt is coming as far as we can see into the future.

So, how exactly should other countries should be more like Canada and follow our example?

Should they exploit massive amounts of natural resources to provide jobs, revenues, taxes - and yet still run deficits?

Oh wait, unlike the second largest country in the world, they don't have massive amounts of natural resources to squander.

Should they pollute the hell out of their lands for profit and not worry about the long term costs to the environment?

Yes, Canada is in the best financial position in the G7.

Is is because of the dwindling euphoria of Liberal economic surpluses?

Is it because of massive tax revenues from oil and gas industries, timber industries, and mining industries? Natural resource wise - on the international front, Canada's like they guy who won the lottery for life, getting a guaranteed long term boost other countries don't have.

Or is it because of the Conservative slash and spend policy. A policy that shows a Conservative-led Canada slowly but surely following in the footsteps of Greece, the US and Italy.

So next time, Stephen Harper, you stand in front of the Cameras and boast Canada's brilliant economic leadership - perhaps tell the truth - that despite winning the natural resource lottery for life you still can't manage to balance the budget.

Monday, October 31, 2011

First response - positive

I got a response from a publisher on my book, Beach Buggy Safari - my first positive response.

Previously, I got a lot of "no thanks," and, "we're not interested." It was the grounded before take off kind of responses and they came pretty quickly. Quickly enough to smarten me up anyhow.

I deserved those responses. In retrospect the book wasn't ready - or I wasn't ready. My writing wasn't good enough. It wasn't edited like it should have been. It hadn't been through the critique process like it should have been.

The Publisher's response was a long and thoughful letter, saying they liked the story but want me to change it before considering it for publication.

They want me to alter the story from, being about my frantic adventure to adventure - to a more historical and culturally immersed point of view to compliment the adventures I had.

There are chapters in the book that are more historically and culturally relevant. I think those chapters are some of the ones that I was most pleased with - enjoyed writing the most - and flowed most naturally.

Admittedly, with probing from a variety of readers, I got immersed in the good story conundrum - that there are three elements to a good story - conflict, conflict, and conflict. To that note, I played up each adventure and tried to make every significant incident an adrenaline rush.

I might have overdone the adventures at some point, at the expense of the fascinating people, history and scenery around me. I think this came to a head when I had different people reading the story every week. With some people yawning at the historical bits and pushing me to crank up the conflict to the max. Not to mention there were no people who read the story start to finish to give me overall objectivity.

I guess the trick now is to pare down some of the adventure, while playing up the people and history and tying them more strongly into the adventures that are left.

To do that, I'll need to read through the story, scratch this, add this, change this, flesh out this, leave this alone... You get the idea.

With two kids, full time work, sports that I'm just getting back into...

I'll need a couple writing vacations - A hard trick when your family is vying for your already tight attention.

There is one more publisher still mulling the book over. I'll wait and see what their POV is before taking too much action.

At the same time, reading books on Africa and familiarizing/refrshing my brain with all of the cultures and histories I may once again delve into will place me well for a rewrite.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Protesting your own folley

Protesting economic incompetence is a little like trying to save a cake once you've burnt it to a crisp - too little too late. Where were the protests when the government was handing out jobs and racking up ridiculous debts? Where were the protests when they increased spending and slashed taxes? When Greece showed the world what they could do during the Olympics.

There were no protests, there were votes!

People vote for what puts money in there pocket now, not tomorrow. When the government is involved, who thinks what might happen ten, twenty, thirty years from now. You pay for the biggest promises, putting no emphasis on fiscal competence.

It's time to pay up. Plain and simple. Higher taxes and lower spending. You can't change historical facts. Tomorrow Chernobyl will still be a disaster zone, Greece's finances will still be abysmal. Worst of all, too many countries are touting their own fiscal competence while hurtling down the exact same path as Greece.

Protests don't solve very much after the fact. After it's too damn late.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Extremism strikes!

Christian fundamentalist gunman posts manifesto about why he did what he did. He's against the concept of Eurabia.
Um, dude, you do know where Christianity came from, don't you?

We are reminded again that stupidity is a universal concept that doesn't discriminate between races and genders.

Had this happened in Iraq, or Pakistan, or Afghanistan, or Israel, or Palestine - I'd be glancing over the headline - same old story, read it a hundred times.

I don't know if that's wrong? It's just the way it is. I guess it's like the vagabond crackhead on the street spending another night in cells for some property crime or violent confrontation compared to a Hollywood star doing the same thing.

How many people died of thirst or hunger today making the trek through bone-dry southern Somalia to Kenya? Dozens? Hundreds? More... Let me check the middle pages of the newspaper, possibly buried, probably not.

My eyes remain glued to the freak tragedy unfolding. The conspiracy theories behind twisted motivations of mass murder. Neutral Norway in shock. Too neutral for some.

Book Status Update - No news

The first publisher was very keen on my book, but was either bankrupt or never had the money or business sense to get off the ground in the first place.
The second publisher asked for the complete manuscript then never got back to me for a year and a half now.
The third publisher seemed very interested, asked for the full manuscript, told me it was under consideration and in their pile of stuff they liked - then never got back to me.
So today, I sent off two polite letters asking for a status update. I'm going through the publisher research process again. I only wish I had more time to really apply to a few more publishers.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Dear Brian Burke, grow a pair....

So Brian Burke doesn't like front end loaded contracts which are all the rage in the NHL currently. Pay a player bucket loads of money in the first couple years, then around what there worth for a couple years, and finish it off with several years at peanuts salaries.

And Brian Burke doesn't like other teams poaching restricted free agents either. He doesn't like losing a good player and getting draft picks in return because a richer team has the cash to pay good players.

You know what I don't like...

Teams who intentionally suck ass for several years so they can poach the best prospects and then come out as contenders for the Stanley Cup. I don't like when my team doesn't have a single Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Andre-Fleury, or Lecavelier, Richards, St Louis, Stamkos or Hedman. Instead my team puts all their money in the bucket to get whatever talent they can and continually vie for mediocracy.

I don't like it that my team refuses to accept the little loopholes and take advantage of front end loaded contracts or poaching strategies so we perpetually miss out on top talent.

You know what Burke - it's business, and if you don't have the balls to go out and make my favourite team better in whatever way you can, then get out of the game and bring in someone with balls who will.

It's a business, not a popularity contest. If someone questions your ethics, point out you're playing by the rules. Aside from North American Pro sports, what other job rewards failure by giving the biggest loser the biggest prize---the future stars and a crack at the cup.

Here in Canada we have a ridiculous Stanley cup drought. It's because we're nice and want to win at the same time. It's time to get nasty.

So Stamkos comes to Canada. I'm sure all twenty Tampa Bay Lightning fans will be extremely disappointed. Perhaps their money losing management will breathe a sigh of relief that they don't have to pay for something they can't afford.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Peter McKay Vindicated!

Dear Canadian people
A slew of lightly censured material proves, beyond any doubt, that under Peter McKay's brilliant direction, that no inappropriate prisoner transfer arrangement was set up between Canadian Forces and Afghan Prisons. The following document in particular completely exonerates McKay from any involvement in the heinous allegations of the evil and completely hysterical opposition who tried to alarm the good Canadian public through falsehoods and outright lies.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Nitwit Parliament

In university, I remember a girl who was active in Politics - party memberships, the Students Union, etc. She was in some of my marketing classes. For the most part, in University, I was surrounded by people of university intelligence. A few brilliant people, but for the most part people who learned what they had to learn and got their degrees. People smart and driven enough to gain an understanding of a variety of subjects and get a pretty piece proving that they had.

This girl involved in school and other politics was the biggest idiot I'd ever met. I don't know if she made it past third year, which was when I met her.

There are some very clever people involved in politics, so I'm not trying to single this girl out as representative of politicians. For some reason though, I see her in a lot of politicians today and I naturally make comparisons.

We've had the Conservatives in power for five years now - Some of their decisions make me think about this girl. The changing of our census collection being a prime example. I don't expect every person out there to understand the impact of the Conservatives tampering with Census collection, if you can even call it a Census anymore. I'd rather call it a survey of anyone inclined to fill out the survey - which eliminates people who are "too busy, lazy, don't care, don't speak good English, can't read, etc. Or the opposite - church groups who pressure their kin to fill out the Census...

The point is that a voluntary survey goes against the point of a census - which is to collect accurate RANDOM samples of a portion of the population and extrapolate those numbers to be reflective of the larger population.

Census data then helps in hundreds of ways - so that politicians can create policy, so students can have a baseline of accurate information for research, so trends can be analyzed. A critical tool is now gone - replaced by an ineffective one that probably costs about the same.

There's more incompetence, much more incompetence, so much more that I can't help but think, Does Canada truly have an electorate of which 40% and more ignore the Conservative transgressions and vote for them anyway?

I really do have trouble understanding. Is it because gay marriage pissed people off? Is it because abortion is wrong? Is it really better to make it illegal? Should a young girl, terrified of her overbearing religious parents and with a sinful baby growing in her belly instead go into a back alley where a shady guy with elongated pliers will do the job because safe clinics are illegal? Do you really care if two homosexuals have a piece of paper officially saying they love each other.

Because what bothers me more is the fact that our government was complicit and possibly even committed war crimes. The fact is Canadian policy on prisoner transfers in Afghanistan led to abuse. A "War crime," sat at the feet of our most powerful decision makers. What did they do? 1) They tried to character assassinate the messenger. They sabre rattled like George Bush with slogans like, "Don't insult the honour of our soldiers, and, You're either with us or against us." Minority government limitations can get pretty heated. So, rather than face tough questions, they prorogued parliament! They stopped Canada's government entirely to hide from answering for their incompetence.

Jets. What's the total cost? Nine billion. Seventeen billion. Thirty billion? I don't know because the Conservative government is the first government in the history of Canada to be held in contempt of parliament for refusing to release the real cost. Pretty damn serious considering a thirty billion dollar price tag is around a thousand dollars out of every single Canadian's pocketbook.

The GST cut - great, easy on the pocket right. Not when we have a $50 billion dollar deficit, more than half a trillion dollars in debt.

My common sense. I borrow money and then I scrounge and suck it up to pay off that money so I don't have to pay off even more in the future.

Conservative common sense. We borrow money, we lower the payments and borrow more money, then more money, then more money, then more money.


We have the NDP as a completely useless official opposition. We have a bunch of impressionable random MP's, possibly not even vetted, put in constituencies they never seriously expected to win, who will be overwhelmed in the house of commons. At worst, we have more nitwits who fell into politics and are little more than a name next to an orange word on a ballot which the nitwit never expected to win.
If you were to ask someone with serious political aspirations five years ago if they'd consider running for the NDP in some staunch Liberal or Bloc Quebec riding they would have laughed at you. By some strange twist of fate, these are now the people representing us in the house of commons. A nineteen year old-blooming kid making $150,000 per year, because, probably as a joke, he took up a weak parties seat in Quebec and somehow rode a wave of outrage into power. It was always a theory of mine that a parliamentarian's only qualification was that he or she could sit behind their particular leader and clap when prompted. I think that's now been confirmed.

Jack Layton victorious? More like Jack Layton with a bunch of seats filled by unknown and unvetted nincompoops but no real power to do anything but sit in a tiny, low to the ground chair across from Stephen Harper's high throne. Jack Layton touting his gains as though splitting the left vote, railroading the Liberals into insignicance and handing Stephen Harper a majority is good for Canadian Politics. Damn, give your head a shake man. Tell it like it is - it's a bloody disaster! You've handed power over to a man who will do anything and everything short of becoming a Robert Mugabe to completely decimate the opposition.

Just like the girl from Univeristy, how many such nincompoops may be MP's in government. What vetting process did the NDP use? Or was it "Who is stupid enough to run for the NDP in a riding we don't have a chance of winning in a hundred years... unless... oops..."

Dark days are ahead for Canada.

Four years of unchecked conservative rule.

A government that treated a minority like a majority and will treat a majority like what, a dictatorship?

An agenda that conveniently plans to balance the budget in 2015, just in time for the next election.

An opposition with a few experienced members and a bunch of jokers who fluked into politics. How would you feel if you went to the hospital and your doctor said, "I'm not sure what I'm doing, I just applied for the job and a bunch of people who never met me gave me their stamp of approval."

So bring on the debt, mortgage our children's future, give tax breaks to the wealthy companies who can afford them and take 40% of MY salary to compensate for jets and other pocket lining purchases.

Trod on the rights of minorities, let them languish in foreign embassies without passports or consular support.

Cast away our role of peacemaker in return for unflinching support of Israel, even when their biggest ally, the US, is saying, Whoa, don't decimate Lebanon over spilled milk.

While your at it, follow in Bush's footsteps and use the Arab bitterness at our Jewish vote pandering as reason to curtail our own freedoms lest angry terrorists rise among us. Just add the price tag onto our children's future debt, if you don't mind...

Thanks for the tax havens I can't afford because I'm putting my pennies into my mortgage. Our rich and wealthy no longer need to hide money in Bermuda and Switzerland. The middle class family of four, like mine, can scarce afford $15,000 per year into tax free savings and educational savings plans. So, again, how will the budget be balanced in four years? The "rich" and money savvy investors won't be paying any taxes on eight years worth of $40,000 base investments thanks to your TFSA's. Psst. People aren't saving too much money, just the rich ones with lots already saved. They're shifting their savings into your tax free accounts...
So eliminate the GST, screw over capital gains tax revenues for the next government while boosting spending.
Our PM's an economist, so he must know what he's doing.

And in my last will and testament, to my beloved children, I leave you the pleasure of paying off Conservative government debts. Twenty-Five percent GST, fifty percent income tax and an inflation rate that makes Robert Mugabe blush. A small sacrifice to pay so that gays can't get married, women can't have safe abortions, and Israel can say, "See, someone agrees with our philosophy, ten thousand eyes for an eye."

Canada, welcome to a new era of nitwit parliament.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The top ten reasons that, in 1996, Jack Layton was caught in a massage parlour busted for inappropriate conduct.

10) For a massage, ;)

9) Not quite sure, but for some reason Layton seems to be locking up the oil patch vote, and it has nothing to do with his stance on pollution and industry ethics.

8) Jack Layton + massage parlour + unscrupulous partisan opposition in the right place at the right time = 1-800-222-TIPS

7) For a massage ;) ;)

6) Because his back was sore. ;) ;) ;)

5) Somebody had an “in” with the Chinese Massage community.

4) He was preparing for a surge in the pole…

3) One of the White House interns booked him the appointment.

2) So Stephen Harper can say, “Why didn’t you just roll over already!”

1) Seeking clarification, Jack Layton went out to discover just what opposition members meant when they referred to him as a "whack job."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Politics and Economics - Canadian Election

So you want to vote Stephen Harper. You like the fact that he's created these tax free savings accounts, these little tax havens where you can store, invest, and stow away a few grand a year without the government touching it. It's all good, right. Even if you can't quite save five grand per year and a couple more for the educational savings account, it's nice to know that you could, if you come into some money. But what about the taxes we are paying thanks to the conservatives? Here's a very rough look at Canada's historical debt.

Government Years Debt from govt Avg int % Prev int. Real debt/surp
billions other gov'ts

Liberal 1968-1984 100 11% 90 bn
Conservative 1985-1992 420 10% 90 bn 330 bn
Liberal 1993-2005 (100) 3.5% 160 (247)
Conservative 2006-2011 61 2.5% 0 61 bn

What the above numbers crunch down to is this.

The Liberal government started off a deficit of 90 billion dollars, more or less, mostly accumulated by the Trudeau Government between 1968 and 1984.

The conservatives got into power, and had to pay off that debt at historically painful interest rates. But, along with the Liberal debt interest payments of around 90 billion over their eight years, the conservatives accumulated their own debt of 350 Billion more to bring the total debt to 520 billion.

The liberals got back into power and went wait a minute, this is out of control. The Liberals paid off 100 billion dollars of the debt over their 12 years in office. This however is deceptive. On top of the 100 billion they paid off, they paid 147 billion servicing the previous conservative debt. If you consider the original Liberal debt was 90 billion plus 90 billion in interest payments, the Liberals paid off their original debt and were now strictly servicing the Conservative debt.

So the Conservatives get back into power. The debt balloons again.

We are now paying off more than half a trillion dollars in debt - all of it Conservative. At 2.5% interest that works out to 12.5 billion dollars per year in taxes just to service the interest payments. That's $416 per year per Canadian to service the debt. Considering there are 17 million employed Canadians, the interest on the debt is $735.00 per employed Canadian

If you're like me and want to pay off the debt, like you would on your house, and plan a 25 year timeline. You'd tack on another $1223 per year, bringing total the debt up to about $2000.00 per year to pay off.

So let me ask you a question. Who do you want in power? The guys who gives you a great tax break, if you can actually afford to save that money, and then mortgage your children's future, or the guys who actually started fixing the screw-ups and began to pay the debt off. Personally, I find it hard enough paying a ten grand per year on my own mortgage. I don't need to pay off Stephen Harpers and Brian Mulroney's as well.

Vote Liberal
Vote NDP
Vote Green.
Heck, Vote for the Bloc

Just don't vote for mortgaging my children's future so the rich can get another tax break.

A little disclaimer. My numbers aren't exact but estimates based on information that's available. For the most part I think they're pretty close, give or take a few percent. The point of the numbers is to show how fiscally irresponsible the conservative government has been.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Election Time

The only problem with an election right this moment is that Stephen Harper is going to end up with another useless minority. What's the point?

One thing I envy about the American system is it comes down to two parties, two choices. Not four, or five if your in Quebec. Nothing's more frustrating than losing a seat to a vote like this.

A - The party I really dislike - 26%
B - The party I really like - 25%
C - The party I like but don't think they have a chance - 25%
D - The party I'd vote for only if it meant the party I really dislike won't get the seat - 24%

In a nutshell, this is what Stephen HARPER means to me.

1) Stance on Israel Palestine - From Canada's former decades of peaceful resolution stance to a new let's support Israel no matter how many human rights they violate and even if their own population is up in arms about their excessive use of force.

2) Economists, like PM HARPER should certainly have some understanding of statistical analysis, right?
Apparently not. Let's scrap the long form census and come up with an optional census that all Canadians can fill out if they feel so inclined. A census that has absolutely no statistical reliability and will be skewed toward religious groups that urge their congregations to shape Canadian values by implementing their own values to skew our census data.

3) Let's take Canada's enviable financial surpluses from the previous government, raise spending, slash taxes, send the debt soaring (pretty much the US model that led them into their current financial disaster), then claim the glory that Canada's economy is the envy of the world thanks to the Harper government. But that's not enough, let's go on to claim that the other parties don't have the fiscal competence to lead Canada through the "still fragile" economy. Yes Harper, it was all you, not one bit Canada's commodity and resource rich economy that kept us afloat. Not one bit the Liberal surpluses that staved off economic disaster. It was all you buddy, all you.

So Harper's going to get his 30-40% minority government.
The 5-10% of all the votes the Green Party gets will eat up any chance of the New Democrats becoming more significant than about 15% of the seats.
The New Democrats will eat up any chance of the Liberals getting a minority government ala my previous example of the vote breakdown.
Finally, the Bloc will stop any and all parties from getting a majority government with their guaranteed pander to Quebec stance for 10% of all seats. Canadian politics, an exercise in frustration.

Prediction by # of seats.

Harper - 30-40% of seats.
Liberals - 20-30 % of seats
NDP - 10-20% of seats.
Bloc - 10-15% of seats
Green/independents - 3-5% of seats

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Cupcake Day!

I was in the basement, the Food Network channel on in the other room, as usual, when a request I've long cringed came from my beloved wife. "Honey, I feel like a cupcake from the cupcake store.".
Oh good God no! was my instinctive reaction. The Cupcake Store is where women go to seek refuge from testosterone tainted lifestyles otherwise known as healthy marriages. I can go to the drug store and buy feminine hygiene products, not a problem. Condoms and jellies and sex books, hey, look at me, I'm gettin' some. But the cupcake store...

It's, it's, it's akin to walking into the women's washroom by accident.

Off I went, over the bumpy snow with my man-ly four-by-four, pardon the masculine adjectives, I'm trying to compensate for what might be the equivalent of a month's worth of estrogen therapy. I pulled into the cupcakery parking lot, right between two huge American-made trucks parked outside. The two trucks dwarfed my Pathfinder in what felt like some feminine conspiracy to further tarnish my manhood dare I enter their sacred establishment.

I got out and went into the store. My first thought, "Oh, thank god, there's a man ordering at the till." As I walked closer I could tell, from his voice, the way he flicked his wrist, and the two earrings he wore that this man was far more in touch with his feminine side than I. The dainty little shiny black tables with two chairs each, the flowery cupcakes with swirling icing atop them, descriptions longer than novel blurbs.

I avoided eye contact with the man lest his gaydar compass be confused by by this sanctuary of femininity.

My avoiding eyes scanned the cupcakes, reading their elaborate article-length descriptions and scanning for my wife's directions. "Cream cheese icing." I found it after about my fifth placard reading, the only other word that registered in that description was bourbon although there were probably other words like heavenly, and divine, and girly...

I placed my order. "Would you like it in a box?" The girl asked.
"Yes!" I said, the request an obscure way out. If I was buying someone a gift, I was not here on my own account. I was forced to be here to make a loved one happy.

She rang the order through, $3.93. I had my out. The feminine man's gaydar need be confused no longer, I was buying this cupcake for someone else, male or female, it didn't matter, I was taken. Wait a second, did she say $3.93, for a F#$%ING cupcake that wasn't even that big.

Speaking of big cupcakes, back in primary school we had cupcake days. Once a month, one of the grades would have students in that grade bring a dozen cupcakes per student to school. The teachers would sell them at recess for twenty five cents.

It was the day that Dave Chaffey was the hero. Chaffey's mom made huge cupcakes. I remember them having blue icing and everyone idolizing Chaffey that day. If it were up to us kids, we'd rename it Dave Chaffey Day instead of cupcake day. Those cupcakes were like mountains compared to the mole hills our moms made. You needed both hands to hold them and they lasted all recess, if you were lucky enough to get one because there were only a dozen and seventeen boys with their eyes popping out and saliva dripping down their chins in the class. We all knowing which one's to ask for because we saw them in class beforehand and they were sold through the windows so you couldn't see what you were getting.

I paid my $3.93, enough for 15 cupcakes from public school days, and took the cupcake home to my wife. Another day, another ordeal, another gruesome chapter in the life of Dan complete!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Egyptian Politics - through their jokes

Police aren't the most popular people in Egypt. Baksheesh literally means gift in Arabic. The police will help you out for a gift. This is at all levels. To do an investigation, baksheesh. To drop a charge, baksheesh. Not write a ticket, baksheesh. Here's a look at Egypt through some of the Egyptian humour I know...

The Egyptian police had their big annual recruiting day. Hundreds upon hundreds of unemployed people formed a huge crowd outside the main police station in Cairo. The chief of police came out to the front steps of the police station with a loud speaker and said, "Everyone who can read and write, go stand on the right of the square. And everyone who cannot read and write, go and stand on the left of the square." The chief of police paused for a minute as people moved to the left and right. He then announced, "Everyone still in the middle, hello and welcome to the Egyptian Police Force."

Mubarak isn't the most popular leader. He's a sort of running joke among Egyptians, who until recently laughed off their dictator. I guess that's better than being too scared to laugh off a dictator, like in Syria, right? Joke number two...

An entertainer and his monkey were performing for Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak said to the entertainer, "I'll give you 100 Egyptian Pounds if you can make your monkey laugh." The entertainer whispered something into the monkey's ear and the monkey shrieked with laughter.
Mubarak, impressed and nodding, said, "Cool, but I'll give you a thousand Egyptian pounds if you can make the monkey cry."
The entertainer whispered something different into the monkeys ear and the monkey started bawling, with big tears running down his cheeks and wracking sobs.
Mubarak shook his head in amazement. "Okay, that was very impressive, but I'll give you one million pounds if you can get the monkey to commit suicide."
For the third time, the man whispered something into the monkey's ear. The monkey shrieked, jumped up, raced toward the window, jumped through the glass, and plunged to his death.
Afterwards, Mubarak needed to know what the man said to the monkey, so he asked.
"Well," The entertainer said. "To get the monkey to laugh, I told him you were the president of Egypt. To get the monkey to cry, I told him I was serious and that you'd been the president for thirty years. To get him to commit suicide, I told him that after you were finished being the president, that your son was going to be the president, and that's when he jumped out the window."

There's fair reason behind why Egyptian's are skeptical about Mubarak and promises of upcoming elections. Joke number three.

It was election day in Egypt and Saide went out to make his vote. He went to the local polling station where several police stood with batons and guns. They took his ID and rifled through the filing system for his ballot. They found it and handed it to him. It had his name, date of birth and address on it. Below that information it had wrtiten, "Reelect Hosni Mubarak for president," and below that it had, "YES," or "NO."
He checked off "NO." Handed the ballot in and left the building.
Once outside, his friend said, "So, you voted yes, right?"
"No," Said Saide. "I voted NO."
"Are you crazy?" His friend said. "They have your name and your address on that ballot."
"Oh no! You're right!" Saide said. He ran back inside the building and said, "I made a mistake, I need to change my ballot."
"It's okay," one of the police officers said. "We already did."

Mubarak's wife Suzanna asked Mubarak why it was that in the days of Sadat, Egypt received much more money from the Americans. Mubarak said, “Because Sadat's wife would go to America and Carter would kiss her here and here," he pointed to both cheeks, "and then Carter would give Egypt two billion dollars. You should go to America to help Egypt and be kissed by Bush.”
Suzanne said, "Isn't it forbidden?”
“No it isn't, but when you come back to Egypt you must go to the Nile and wipe both cheeks with Nile water immediately.”
Suzanne went to America and Bush kissed her twice and gave Egypt a check for two billion dollars. When she came back to Egypt she went to the Nile and washed her cheeks, whereupon she saw one of the ministers in Mubarak's cabinet washing his anus. She asked, "Where did you come from?"
He said, "Saudi Arabia."

Egypt has differing foreign relations. From my experience, they welcome most all countries and people with open arms, except two. The one obvious country being Israel. The other...

An Egyptian taxi driver drove a popular route from the big touristy souq Khan al Khalili to the Hotel area of town. Most of his clients were foreigners. He picked up his first client.
"Where from. Where going?" He asked.
"From Canada, going to the hotel."
"Ahh, Canada, best beoble, best beoble.(people). That will be five pounds."
And so the conversations continued. Holland, England, France.... Best beoble, best beoble, best beoble. Five pounds, five pounds, five pounds.
Then he picked up a different client. "Where from? Where going?" he asked.
"Saudi Arabia, going to the hotel."
"Fifty pounds," the cab driver said.

More to come... a penny for my thoughts, and no, I won't need change...

Friday, January 28, 2011

A National Debt

Population of USA = 307 million
Total employed people in USA = 120.5 Million
US National Debt = $14.1 trillion
US debt per citizen = $46,000
US debt per tax paying citizen = $117,000