Richard Nelson

Archive for February, 2015|Monthly archive page

All about Eve—the inevitable title

In Canadian politics on 2015 February 17 Tuesday at 13:33:30

I’m a little late to this party. Eve Adams, M.P. for Mississauga–Brampton South crossed the Floor of the House of Commons from the Conservative Party—who form our Government—to the Liberals, currently the lesser of the parties in the Opposition.

Crossing the Floor generally has a tawdry air about it. Yet the greatest hero of parliamentary government, Winston Churchill, crossed the Floor twice. Mentioning Churchill and Adams in the same post, however, is hugely bathetic.

Her motives were abundantly clear: the Conservatives had already said they would not permit her to be nominated as their candidate in the General Election to be called this year. The story behind this, reflecting poorly on her, is not of much moment: suffice it to say she was an unattractive candidate going forward.

The Liberals’ motives are impossible to discern. It’s hard to believe she can win a contested nomination as a Liberal; and the Liberals’ leader, Justin Trudeau, has disdained the use of directed nominations. The Liberals don’t need her vote (more precisely, the addition of her seat in the current House does nothing to improve their position).

My favourite commentators all have intelligent things to say: Paul Wells, Andrew Coyne, Chantal Hébert; but none of them can discern Mr Trudeau’s motives either.


How much should your employer care about your private life?

In policy on 2015 February 10 Tuesday at 20:26:44

I’m working through this, so don’t consider what follows my last word.

I think the general principle is that your employer shouldn’t care about your private life so long as it doesn’t undermine your work. Even in a secular organization your employer might care somewhat: if you’re a mailroom clerk then your ardent advocacy of leather fetishes and S&M to the bounds of criminal law or whatever are not of much moment to your employer. If you’re like me and represent the firm to clients than it might matter, at least a bit.

If you work for a religious organization, tho’, and public aspects of your private life—e.g., your marital status—go against that organization’s principles, then courts seem to be finding that your employer can care; that , in effect, you’ve violated the terms of your employment.

It may seem odd that an ardent secularist such as myself, someone that holds to no religion, would support the right of, e.g., a Catholic school board to demand its teachers not be divorced; but that’s where, so far, I’m drawing the line between public and private rights.

This weekend’s thoughts—such as they are

In quotidian bloggage on 2015 February 8 Sunday at 17:53:48

Cabot TrailWith my new smartphone I’m kind of getting into phone-based fitness tools. I recently installed both MyFitnessPal and Endomondo—and now I find that they’ve both been bought by Under Armour. I’d completely missed that Under Armour was getting into this space (sic).

We’re planning a trip to Nova Scotia this year, so I didn’t need encouragement, but these pix might’ve helped!

Finally, a Facebook friend posted this:

anatomy of songs

It’s true enough to make me chortle, but it reminded me that many of my favourite songs combine the features of more than one genre.

today’s self-improvement linx

In self-improvement on 2015 February 8 Sunday at 17:45:35

I can, unpredictably, have a lot of trouble falling asleep. Or I wake up after an hour and then can’t sleep for another hour or even two. If my neighbours three doors down are having their loud conversations on their patio it can be worse, even tho’, objectively, they’re not loud. I’ll admit I’m looking for a medication—when it was available in Canada zaleplon was great—but I’m also looking at non-drug approaches, such as what’s set out here. I’m probably worst at just admitting I’m not going to get to sleep and getting up. is almost always worth a look-in, even if you don’t find yourself always agreeing with what they write. This is certainly a good reminder, tho’ it takes the deprecated approach of telling what not to say (internally), rather than being more positive. Negative self-talk is certainly one of my banes.

“Selling” transit to “choice” riders

In professional on 2015 February 8 Sunday at 17:30:28

The subject of this post is an obsession with North American transit managers. I’m not so sure it’s wise.

The private Danish transit operator Midttrafik has posted a sequel to their famous (and very amusing) long-form commercial Bussen, called (of course) Bussen 2. (Google Translate tells me that bussen is Danish for ‘bus’.)

I found the sequel’s heavy-handed irony less amusing and more irritating than the first; tho’ the punchline made me chortle.

“Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

In quotidian bloggage on 2015 February 8 Sunday at 17:15:12

At least as long back as my single-digit childhood I’ve been fascinated by abandoned or disused works. The land around Welland, Ontario, where Mona grew up, is littered with the concrete remains of bridges and roads long since abandoned as development around the Welland Canal evolved.

This piece from a British site shows disused military works in Denmark, England, Scotland, the Netherlands, and France. The photographer’s Web site itself contains many wonderful pictures of abandoned sites.

More winter!

In quotidian bloggage on 2015 February 8 Sunday at 15:41:29

snowman on swing

You won’t find me complaining about the weather. I don’t have to live here. And today I’ll get to use my Yaktrax!

Environment Canada doesn’t like the weather, tho’.

The local club of the Canadian Automobile Association (of all people) posted a useful reminder on how to walk on ice (or even run on ice).

The inland sea that Toronto lies on “is sprouting bizarre ice formations”.

And a railfan in New Brunswick posted this epic video of a train pushing the snow aside like a boss.

Thursday bloggage

In quotidian bloggage on 2015 February 6 Friday at 00:51:33

A quiet day, a chilly day in Toronto. Well, it is February, our coldest month, so no surprise there.

Still working on trying to make “getting out quickly” in the morning take less than 2½ hours. An exploratory meeting with the folks at the TTC I’ll be working with for the next, gulp, many years. Seemed to go well.

My evening will end with another hour of Doctor Who (next up: story 201 “The Waters of Mars”), but my professional day ended with listening to Jeff Madrick give a talk from his latest book, Seven Bad Ideas. I got a copy, impersonally signed; after the talk, I’m actually looking forward to reading it.

Gregg Easterbrook’s last football column of the season is worth a read, tho’ I still think Seattle’s last play of the Super Bowl doesn’t deserve the opprobrium he reserves for it.

The Economist entices our attention with a discussion of cads v. dads. For the record, I consider myself much more a dad.

Memento mori (I)

In running on 2015 February 4 Wednesday at 22:55:09


Things I learn on the subway (first, perhaps, in a continuing series)

In random on 2015 February 4 Wednesday at 18:30:45

If this were true, wouldn’t Canadians be skinnier?