Sunday, June 19, 2011

On this Father's Day, let your kids believe in their dreams

For this Father's Day I thought I'd write about my kids.  They are 'Buddy Basketball Star' and his sister the 'Princess Raspberry' aged 6 and 12 respectively.

Kids are incredible, and when they're younger they're even more incredible.  There's a simple reason for that, its because kids haven't yet had life's hard knocks which tell them what can't be done.  So often parents believe they're protecting their kids by telling them to be realistic, that things don't always work out as planned.  The reason is simple, adults don't like to see their kids disappointed.  But there's a danger in being too realistic I fear, and the danger is that children stop dreaming, that they stop seeing the infinite possibilities that life affords. 

Instead, they learn to settle. 

I'm back for a weekend at my own father's place, and have Buddy and Raspberry with me.  Razz is happy mowing the lawn with me, nestling herself between my arms and pushing the mower.  She hasn't started dreaming about what she's going to be when she grows up, there's plenty of time for that.  Her brother though  has already decided, he's going to play in the NBA.  And you know what?  I believe him.

Some might suggest I'm setting Buddy up for disappointment, I don't think so.  There are over 300 guys playing basketball at the highest level, why shouldn't he be one of them.  Sure it'll be hard, but if he's prepared to work at it I don't see why not. 

I figure there are literally  thousands of kids with the same dream.  But I also figure the majority of them have adults in their life telling them...."It probably won't happen". 

If you start out on a quest figuring you won't succeed, chances are you won't.  If on the other hand you believe, then you're already head and shoulders above all the people who doubt they're abilities.

Roy Halladay is perhaps the best pitcher in baseball.  I heard a story about when he was in grade 7, he was told to write a paper on what he wanted to be when he grew up.  The teacher though said she didn't want any pipe dreams about being professional athletes.  Roy's father apparently went to the teacher and argued that his son should be allowed to write about what ever he wanted, that nobody should limit his son's dreams.

So Buddy, if you work at it and really want it bad....then you're already half way to playing in the ACC.  I think its a lesson those of us older could take to heart as well. 

Click the button below to vote for Canadian Soapbox at CanadianBlogosphere, then click green.

Canadian Blogosphere (You can vote once every day)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

No hidden meaning or lessons in Vancouver riots - Its just plain sad

I was in downtown Toronto when the Blue Jays won their first World Series in 1992, it was fun.  If there were isolated incidents of vandalism or violence I didn't see any, either live or reported.  People just running up and down Yonge Street high fiving one another.

Do I think the riots in Vancouver would have been avoided with a Canucks win?  Pfffft, no way.  Damn  we lost!!!  Let's wreck stuff.  Whooopeee, we won!!!  Let's wreck stuff.  Sad, just sad. 

The most upsetting video on saw was on CBC news, it showed a man trying to protect his place of business, and getting beaten up for his trouble.  Beaten up by a bunch of cowards.

So what is it?  Maybe all those violent video games guys love, where you get to drive around and wreak havoc on an urban environment?  The riot videos I've seen have 3 common denominators:   young, male and stupid. 

These idiots, most of whom I'd wager don't have the athletic skill for a game  of tiddly winks have severely tarnished Vancouver's image. 

Follow canukgord on Twitter

Click the button below to vote for Canadian Soapbox at CanadianBlogosphere, then click green.

Canadian Blogosphere (You can vote once every day)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

While waiting for Harper to destroy the country...a bit about me

If you've only just stumbled upon this little corner of cyberspace, then you won't be aware of my political leanings.  You see, like many who observe the political arena, I have leanings.  Leanings however shouldn't be confused with conviction, leanings are just what they imply...leanings, inclinations, a tilt in one general direction.  This might sound wishy washy, far preferable for many is to fully embrace something, but when it comes to politics I prefer being wishy washy. 

I didn't vote for or write supportively of our Prime Minister during the election, but at the same time I didn't view the election of the Conservatives to a majority as an unmitigated disaster.  It might end up being a disaster, but if it does I think it will be of the mitigated variety...of course like many things that depends on one's point of view.

It has occurred to me though that Stephen Harper is upsetting many who campaigned against him and railed against the prospect of that which we now have, a Harper led majority government in Canada. 

How is Harper upsetting so many of those who proclaim themselves to be "progressive". 

Simple, he hasn't destroyed the country yet.  DAMN!!!  Canada's left is just itching to scream:


But so far Mr. Harper is frustrating the bejeebers out of them.  He could at least toss the naysayers a bone, a morsel....something.  Outlaw public health care, jail single mothers, make Christianity the new state religion.  But alas nothing, just the usual differences on matters of policy and the nuance of general legislative direction.

In an effort to fill this void for the anti-Harper camp I've decided to write about a subject close to my heart. One with which I am neither wishy nor washy.  Me!!!  When it comes to yours truly, I don't have leanings, I am a complete and full convert.  

Regular readers already know I'm in the Canadian Forces, my element is Land.  For those uninitiated in Canadian military speak, that means I'm in the Canadian Army.  I joined at the advanced age of 43 as a buck private recruit and I am currently on a training course for my chosen trade, communications.

I'm not alone being a middle aged member who only recently joined up, but I am in a decided minority.  There are 24 of us on my course and I am the oldest with the average age being somewhere around 25, remove my age from the equation and that average drops to 20. 

Ahhhhh, the army.  Up at 5am, going for a morning 5k jog with a bunch of kids, half of whom don't even need to shave.  Its great!!!  The best part is learning, when you stop learning new things you start to die...well I've got lots more life left in me because I love learning. 

The worst part?  That's easy inspections.  I wasn't aware of it, but apparently the success or failure of a military operation is based on the ability of members to properly fold underwear.  Everything laid out the same as everyone else and in the exact same place, attention to detail, got it.  I'm contemplating putting a fluorescent yellow soap dish in my top drawer, a bit of colour for an upcoming inspection...I'll let you know how that goes.  I might not be able to type if  I do it, it depends on how many push ups a colourful display earns  me.

On balance though the past year has been great and I'm looking forward to finishing my course and being posted to a unit.  I'm excited at the possibility of getting the chance to do a tour in Afghanistan before Canada fully withdraws in 2014.

I'll still be writing here so do check back.  Yes the housing market in Canada is going to get its butt kicked thanks  to all the no money down 35/40 year sub prime mortgages.  Prime Minister Harper will continue his march along the tightrope that balances him between his neo-conservative Christian right base and the far larger progressive population.  But in between polarizing issues I'll share a bit of how my life is unfolding.

One last thing.  If you enjoyed reading and have 2 seconds could you scroll just a little further down to the button that reads Candian Blogosphere and give it a click.  Yes I like myself, but confirmation is always appreciated.  All you have to do is click one green button after that to vote for this blog.  Thanks to those who take the time.

Follow canukgord on Twitter

Click the button below to vote for Canadian Soapbox at CanadianBlogosphere, then click green.

 Canadian Blogosphere (You can vote once every day)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Should getting tough on crime include jailing drug users?

So the Harper Conservatives want to get tough on crime, including the building of new super jails.  The question of course begs, with crime rates falling who's going to fill all those cells.

Attitudes on drug use tend to run the gamut, with some in favour of legalizing certain substances while others take a more hard line approach.   Regardless of where or how enforcement is carried out, the harshest treatment is typically reserved for those on the supply side of the equation, the dealers.

I think most probably find this a reasonable approach.  After all, users are often seen as victims, the real criminals are the individuals profiting from the addictions of those buying the drugs. 

But is this the best approach?  Is jailing dealers really going to help diminish the amount of drug use?

Wouldn't putting users behind bars make more sense?

Huh???  What???  I can just hear progressiveness questioning this basic logic, but bear with me and follow it through.

Let's look at it from a strictly economic perspective, taking the laws of supply and demand into account. 

Putting dealers into jail and confiscating their drugs squeezes supply, that means higher prices.  Will other criminals be willing to step into the breach?  Of course, meeting demand means even higher profits.  We're talking about criminal activity here after all, and the motivation up and down the supply line is profit.  When competition is removed and supply squeezed, profits go up.  If anything putting the clamps on dealers merely makes things worse. 

Think about it, if there wasn't money to be made dealing drugs...why risk going to jail? 

But what would happen if it was users who bore the brunt of the legal system.  I wouldn't suggest a first time pot smoker being put in jail...but someone caught three or more times maybe.

Now the demand side would be taking a hit.  Less demand means lower prices, which in turns means less incentive for criminals to engage in the dealing of drugs. 

Its an academic argument based on simple economics.  If the government ever wants to get serious about reducing drug use and the criminal activity that surrounds it, there are only 2 options.  Either legalize, regulate and tax it, or go after the users. 

Follow canukgord on Twitter

Click the button below to vote for Canadian Soapbox at CanadianBlogosphere, then click green.

Canadian Blogosphere (You can vote once every day)