Thursday, February 26, 2009

A True Story From One Of My Jobs

This is a followup to something that I posted on January 29. I actually went through with what I suggested in that entry.

The following is an actual e-mail exchange that took place yesterday between me and one of the administrators of the building where I work. The only editing I've done is to arrange the messages in chronological order, remove the repetitive subject lines, and replace the names of the people involved. "Admin" is the building administrator, and "Me" is… well, me.

From: Admin
Sent: February 25, 2009 12:19 PM
To: All Building Occupants
Subject: Fire Alarm

There are gentlemen from (our building service contractors) in the building doing the monthly Fire Alarm and sprinkler testing. If the Fire Alarm bell rings, please just ignore it. I will advise you when the testing has been completed.

From: Me
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 12:19 PM
To: Admin

What happens if there's actually a fire in the next few minutes?

From: Admin
Sent: February 25, 2009 12:24 PM
To: Me


From: Me
Sent: February 25, 2009 12:25 PM
To: Admin

You win.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of the train station platform from which my family watched the parade of giant electric fish.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Obamamania Comes To Canada

This article has been composing itself in my head for a while, but it's finally prompted by a CNN Breaking News E-mail Alert I just got, quoted here in its entirety:

In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, President Obama vows "we will recover" from economic crisis.
Really, now, CNN. We've been over this before: for something to qualify as Breaking News, there should be somebody, somewhere, who didn't see it coming.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there's a contingent who really expected him to come out and announce, "It's been fun, gang, but the American economy is over. Grab the canned goods and run for the hills!"

His Royal Awesomeness recently visited Canada. Observant Canadians may have noticed it mentioned in the paper, or when it was THE ONLY FREAKING THING ON ANY CANADIAN TV CHANNEL FOR THREE DAYS.

I'm glad he made it safely back home. Unlike my leftist friends, I have no wish to see harm befall the President because I disagree with his politics. I hope Obama fails in his goal of turning America into a politically correct commune with abortions and bailouts for all, but I hope he lives a long, healthy, happy (except for the incidental frustration of having his aforementioned goals thwarted) life. It would have been all kinds of bad if something had gone wrong during his visit here. It's bad enough our geese are taking down airliners over New York City; we don't need any more international incidents.

I'm normally a pretty security-conscious guy, and cooperative with people who are trying to keep us safe. This article, however, describes a security precaution that went way over the line for my inner libertarian (who usually isn't far from the surface):
Behind barricades, thousands of adoring fans will strain to get a glimpse of Barack Obama. Homeowners and the few businesses along the Colonel By Dr. route, which runs parallel to the Rideau Canal, will be told they can't open their doors or windows when the motorcade goes by.
Within those bold letters lies a major problem. If I were one of those homeowners along the route, I wouldn't be interested in sticking my head out the window to watch President Rockstar's limo go by anyway. I'm not one of those who believe that a mere glimpse of his glory could cure my dandruff.

Furthermore, if the security people suggested that keeping the doors and windows closed would be wise, or even if they politely asked me to do so, I would almost certainly comply happily. However, the moment that I'm told that I can't look out the window of my own house because of a celebrity driving by, we have a serious problem. I live in a free country, and my right to look out the window of my own house is sovereign and absolute.

I realize how ridiculous it may sound to draw a line at this sort of thing, but it matters, and most people don't even understand that it does. It's really very simple: if you don't want to risk my seeing you when I look out my living room window, then don't use the public street that goes by my house. I will not pretend to be a prisoner for anyone.

The Bible repeatedly scorns the idea of treating some people differently than other because of their social status. It's called "respect of persons" - perhaps counterinuitively, a phrase that means "having more respect for some people than others without a valid reason". Romans 2:11 (like a bunch of other passages) says that God shows no respect of persons, and neither should His followers. If I won't hide in my house with the curtains drawn to avoid upsetting any random passerby, I won't do it for President Godiva.

My other problem is with the President's choices of people with whom to meet. The Prime Minister, sure. The Governor General, OK (although maybe her agenda should have been about Canada, not Haiti...).

But waitwaitwait.

The guy's in town for one day, and is booking half-hour meetings... and he has time for Iggy?!?

If Iggy got half an hour, then I hope Don Cherry and Brent Butt each got a slot. For that matter, if Obama had time for Iggy, then he should have had time to stop by and see me.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of Cinderella's Castle as seen at night from a moving train through the lens of a digital camera with a very slow shutter speed. If you look closely on the right, you can see the Mothership landing.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Snow Day

We got thwackhammered by another snowstorm starting late last night and continuing well into this afternoon. My son and I got to skip school and work respectively. I don't quite feel like starting into a real entry, so I'll just make a few quick notes.

Our roof is leaking. Thankfully it's confined to an entryway, not a main living space, but it's still troublesome. You could take a shower by walking through that area just a bit slowly. The worst of it is that it'll be at least six weeks before winter has passed enough for a roofer to even consider taking a look at it. Then, we'll need a contractor to come in and replace a chunk of ceiling where the drywall panel has gotten soggy and begun to sag. Apparently there's a reason it's not called amphibiouswall.

I'm not complaining about the amount of snow I've shovelled this year, for one simple reason: I remember last year, which was much worse. There may have been more total snowfall this year - I don't remember the snow reaching the roof of our shed last year - but if so, it's been paced much better. Last year we had a long run of snowstorms every two or three days. I wouldn't even have finished cleaning up after one before the next one hit.

Another major difference in my shovelling this year: I haven't been the least bit sore the next day, even once. Before this winter, each snowstorm left me stiff and barely able to move for several days afterward. This winter, no problem (yet). That may be because I bought a new "ergonomic handle" scoop this fall, but I prefer to credit the exercise regimen I started in early 2008. It's laughable by the standards of anyone who's actually the least bit interested in fitness, but I guess any (regular) exercise is better than none.

My wife and son spent most of this Free Bonus Day working on a Beatles jigsaw puzzle. It includes the cover of Let It Be, so I thought it appropriate to put that album on for them (him, really) to listen to while they worked on it. He liked it, and spent much of the day hollering "Nothing's gonna change my world!" after hearing Across The Universe.

We went to visit Pastor Derek and family on Saturday. We had a nice but very short visit, although oddly we never did see the newborn boys. They're in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and there are very strict visiting requirements. Between our tight schedule and not wanting to bring more germs than necessary in around them, we stayed outside the unit while Homeschooler went in to do the feeding and whatever else goes on in there. Then we had lunch at a mall food court (swanky!), let the kids play for a while in the mall's play area, and came back home. Not an ideal visit, especially since Homeschooler was so busy with the boys that we barely got to see her, but far better than none, and probably the best we'll be able to fit in for a while. Adding two newborns to the mix will not simplify their family's social calendar.

Why do people always talk about the weight of newborns, anyway? I can only see two reasons for concern with something's precise weight: either you're planning to put it in a box and mail it, or you're calculating its cooking time. Call me old-fashioned, but I just don't think either of those should apply to newborn babies.

Even with the paucity of posting hereabouts of late, I'm averaging better than a post every four days so far for February. Not what I might have hoped, but I'm not terribly disappointed with it.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of a courtyard at the Holy Land Experience.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Legend Of The Five Rings

Apparently the Olympics are coming to my nation.


I think the Olympics, no matter where they're held, are little more than an embarrassing orgy of nationalism (hey, remember way back when I posted this?). There's no one whose ability to play a game impresses or even interests me. I think that we as a society should be ashamed to spend a dime on Olympic spectacle while there are still real problems to be solved and better uses for the ridiculous amounts of money that get poured into watching people lift things, jump over stuff, and whatever else they do at the Olympics.

I admit to one exception to my lack of interest: the luge is fun to watch, because those people - who are ballast, not athletes - are clearly out of their minds. Rational persons do not wish to go tobogganing at those speeds.

All that stuff a couple of paragraphs back having been said, I wouldn't bother actively opposing the Olympics if they were entirely privately funded. Get corporate sponsors, charge a fortune for admission and broadcast rights, merchandise the daylights out of it, rake in the cash, and keep your hands out of the taxpayers' pockets, and I have no objections. And the Olympics do all those things, except that last one. I'm pretty sure a chunk of my tax money will be paying for some people to jump, swim, and hop, and for other people to watch.

If the Olympics were privately funded, then they would not concern me overmuch. I'd still think they were silly and a waste of money, but I have no right to forbid other people to be silly or waste their money. I'm free to think their decisions are irresponsible, and say so, but my freedom of expression in no way overrules their freedom to be foolish.

Quick sidebar: it often occurs to me that I should be downright ashamed to have a penny in the bank (and I have a couple, albeit not many) if there is one person anywhere who is genuinely suffering solely due to poverty. There was a famous Christian of some years back who expressed this same idea, saying something like, "If I die with a penny to my name then I will have lived as a thief." I can't remember the exact quote, or who said it. Anybody out there know?

I rationalize my material comfort by choosing to suspect that few, if any, people in developed nations are really suffering due to poverty - they may have to drive an old car, or rent instead of buy, or live with a basic cable package instead of having HBO, but that's not suffering. And most of the suffering in the developing world cannot be resolved by simply throwing more money at it. Freighters full of donated food show up at ports in starving nations, and thugs with guns confiscate it all for the treasuries of their warlords. The problems are political, not financial.

This justification allows me to live with having cable television, a high-speed Internet connection, and a whole bunch of junk I don't need.

Don't burst my bubble. I'm not sure what's inside.

End sidebar.

So, totally privatize the Olympics and leave me, and every other taxpayer everywhere, out of it. I'll still ignore and / or mock them, but I won't consider them evil because they're funded by taxation / extortion.

This is all preamble to something I read today about the Vancouver Olympics security costs (which will be sucked out of my pockets as a Canadian taxpayer. Did I mention the problem with that yet? Oh. Never mind, then.). The funny part is in bold:

The federal government will pay $647.5 million, as well as cover any unexpected costs. British Columbia's share is equivalent to $252.5 million, but only a fraction of that will actually be spent on security.

Instead, the two sides struck a deal that sees Ottawa pick up a greater portion of the security tab but give B.C. less for new buildings and roads over the next three years.

Excellent negotiating, B.C.! Not long from now when the law of entropy rears its ugly head and your roads are in dire need of repairs, you can take solace in the fact that just a few short years earlier you got to watch people ride bobsleds. Good call!

I don't understand why any city (or nation) would want to host the Olympics. I've been paying a little attention to Vancouver's preparations, and it seems like a huge inconvenience for the administrators and a borderline nightmare for the city's residents. If I lived in Vancouver, I think I'd plan to go visit distant relatives during the games.

The problem is that the Olympics are essentially a giant party for athletes and their groupies. Imagine the loudest, most raucous parties you ever saw going on at the jock dorms on a university campus (or ever saw in a TV show or movie). Yeah, they look like fun, but would you want to host a party like that at your house? The Olympics mean all the top jocks in the world hanging out at your place. And they each brought two bimbos and a keg.

My condolences, residents of Vancouver. Remember to turf the city councillors who invited the football team to crash at your place when the next municipal elections roll around.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of the train station at Disney World, as seen from the street below. Regular viewers of my photos will notice that a way to adjust my camera's shutter speed woud be helpful.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Unclear On The Concept

So this poor guy, Robert Dziekanski, flew from his native Poland to Canada to see his Mom. He didn't speak English or French, and after a long day of travelling then an over nine hour runaround at the Vancouver airport from a whole bunch of people whose most commonly spoken phrase appears to be "that's not my job", he got confused, frustrated, and disoriented. Eventually Robert got agitated, the police were called, he got Tasered, and he died on the airport floor. His Mom had already gone home during his nine hour wait, unaware that he was even in the airport and thinking he must have missed his flight.

Now, I don't know the full details of what took place, and I'm not in the habit of second-guessing police officers. They aren't all angels by any means, but I generally give them the benefit of the doubt. This post is not about their actions, because I don't understand the situation well enough to comment on their actions. Not many people do, which is why there's an inquiry going on.

However, I can certainly comment on the logic expressed by the guy in this article. Robert Ginter is the "airside safety officer" at the airport where Robert Dziekanski (and you better believe I'm using copy-and-paste for that name, instead of typing it out) died on the floor. He's the man who decided not to dispatch an emergency response services (ERS) team to see if Dziekanski's life could be saved.

Ginter told an inquiry examining Dziekanski's death that the airport could have been caught flat-footed if ERS was dispatched while virtually the entire security and operations departments were already on-scene. "It would expose the airport on secondary issues. Our ability to respond to any other issue, whether it be a fire alarm, debris on the runway, any issue that required an operational response, we would not have had anyone to respond to that incident."

Translation: "If our emergency response teams are running around responding to emergencies, then they won't be available to respond to emergencies!"

You know what? This is too depressing even for me, and I don't feel like writing any more about it. If you don't get the problem here, then I can't help you.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of a huge electrical fish rolling down the street. I've never dropped acid, but I'm guessing this is what it would be like.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A True Story From One Of My Jobs

One of my jobs involved handling deceased clients. That is, when our organization found out that someone with whom we had dealings had passed away, I was the guy that took care of getting all the loose ends tied up and the client's file closed. I saw a lot of death certificates, and got even more informal notes or phone calls stating that somebody was dead, which meant I had to investigate further.

In a revelation that will surprise no one who either knows me or has read this blog's archives, I frequently encountered things in these duties that I found funny. As I've said before, you can either laugh at life or cry about it, and I made my choice a long time ago.

Today's story came about when I received notification that one of our clients who we hadn't heard from in a while had passed away. Specifically, he was killed by an animal. More specifically, the notification I received said, and I quote because I must, that "he was stampled by a bull."

That's right. "Stampled."

I take this to mean "half stomped, half trampled." I hope that the bull was merciful in deciding which half to stomp and which half to trample, but deep down inside I know he probably wasn't.

Most people who heard about this assumed that the unfortunate fellow was some sort of farmer or rancher. Oddly enough, he was an accountant. The bull came in for help with an audit, and lost his temper when he heard that some of his receipts weren't deductible.

The person who notified us seemed a bit too certain about the cause of death. Was anyone around when it happened? If I were a bull planning to "stample" somebody, I'd try to make sure there were no witnesses. Then when the investigators showed up, if they so much as glanced at me, I'd accuse them of unfair profiling. "Oh, sure. Every time somebody turns up stomped into a puddle in my neighbourhood, and I happen to have a little blood on my hooves, it's the same old story: blame the bull." This is the classic defense strategy known as "playing the bull card."

For a while after we got that notice, whenever one of my colleagues announced that they were going out and added the standard "I'll be back (whenever)", I replied, "Unless, of course, you get stampled by a bull. There's a lot of that going around. It's a full-fledged bull-stampling epidemic. Or half-fledged, at the very least."

The person was usually long gone before I finished. Sometimes they were already back.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of my son in Minnie Mouse's fireplace.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Musical Notes: Flying High To Sesame Street

Almost every day, I load up my MP3 player with two albums (or concerts) and listen to them through the day at work. I tend to run in themes - for instance, for several weeks, one of my two albums each day was by Larry Norman. I also expect to go into a Harry Nilsson phase soon, due mainly to having recently obtained the entire Harryties bootleg series .

One of my two albums one day last week was a tribute album called Flying High Again: The World's Greatest Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne, released in 2006. It follows the usual pattern for tribute albums in the hard rock / heavy metal genre - most of the songs are credited to a (reasonably) big-name vocalist with a (reasonably) big-name guitarist. For instance, the first track on this album is Mr. Crowley, performed by Tim "Ripper" Owens and Yngwie Malmsteen. Neither is a household name, but if you're a fan of hard rock you've probably heard of both of them.

Also like most of these tribute albums, the majority of the tracks are pretty much karaoke, with the arrangements not straying far from the original recordings. Since all the guitarists are veterans of the shred scene, the music is all perfectly fine but doesn't bring much new to the table. The vocals are where we get some interesting variations.

Most of the vocalists fall into one of two categories: high-pitched screamers the likes of which I thought had become extinct in the late eighties, or acid-gargling snarlers from the hardcore / death metal genre. The opening track shows Ripper Owens to be one of the former. After an intro that sounds carbon-copied from Ozzy's original, he begins the vocal by screaming the opening line an octave higher than Ozzy's version. If you're going to listen to this album at high volume, please extend the courtesy of providing any nearby dogs with earplugs first, and beware of bats showing up to investigate the frequencies.

For the first ten tracks of the album, it's a competent but forgettable karaoke night. It's interesting to hear Lita Ford perform Close My Eyes Forever live as a solo song (with a really lame joke at the start that she seems to regret as soon as she says it), and Dee Snider's rendition of Crazy Train with Jason Bonham on drums, but there's nothing on here that will make anyone forget Ozzy's original versions.

Until we get to the last two tracks, that is. I'm going to discuss them in reverse order.

The album closer, Goodbye To Romance performed by the Alex Skolnick Trio, is by far the greatest departure from the original arrangement, and an odd ending for the album. Knowing Skolnick from his work with Testament and his columns in guitar magazines, I had expected just another karaoke carbon copy. Instead, it's an instrumental jazz version that clocks in at over seven minutes. Skolnick turns on a distortion pedal for the last couple of minutes, but most of the song sounds like it could be played as background music in an upscale cocktail bar.

I don't mean that as an insult - this is lounge music, but it's very well-done lounge music, and fans of easy-listening jazz (I'm not one of them) would probably enjoy it. It seems an anticlimactic way to end such a loud and heavy album, but placing this track anywhere else in the sequence would probably have resulted in most listeners not hearing anything after it. It certainly would have been a disastrously atypical opener. In the final analysis, there was nowhere it could go except at the end.

The most interesting track, though, is number 11: Revelation (Mother Earth), performed by Novembers Doom (whose name sounds to me like a possessive but inexplicably does not include an apostrophe). On the day that I listened to this album, my second selection was a Rutles album. The Novembers Doom track (man, do I ever have a hard time not inserting an apostrophe into their name) was still the funniest thing I heard that day.

The lead vocal - well, most of it, but we'll get to that - is performed by a member of the low, growly death-metal school. However, it doesn't come off quite right in this song. The instrumental intro sounds pretty much like Ozzy's original, slow and soft. Then the vocal comes in, and sounds just like - I assure you I am not making this up - Cookie Monster.

Yes, this album includes an Ozzy track as performed by beloved Sesame Street character Cookie Monster. That alone makes it a must-hear. The vocal is so reminiscent of the beloved Muppet that I was surprised every time the first-person personal pronoun ("I") appeared in the lyrics. It sounded wrong, because everyone knows that Cookie (we're tight, I can call him that) has trouble with his pronouns and always says "me".

Then it gets better.

Around a minute and a half in, a second vocalist joins in. The line "Father of all creation..." is sung by what seems to be another celebrity impersonator. Actually, an impersonator of an impersonator. This second vocalist seems to have a thick eastern European accent. However, he doesn't sound quite like Arnold. Instead, he sounds like an Arnold imitator - Hans and Franz, or perhaps Ranier Wolfcastle.

The song continues for a couple more minutes, with Cookie and Ranier trading lines. To be honest, though, despite playing it several times, I never got to hear most of it because I was laughing too hard. Which got me odd looks from my co-workers, but I'm used to those.

If you're a fan of Ozzy, Sesame Street, or just weird stuff in general, you owe it to yourself to seek out this song. I tried to find somewhere to listen to it online for free, but all I could find (and get to work) were places like Amazon, where I could only get a short preview. That clip allows you to hear Cookie Monster, but ends before the duet with Ranier / Ahh-Nuld begins. More's the pity.

The real punchline came when I read a little bit about the band online. The death metal genre with its attendant snarly vocalists tends to be prevalent in northern European countries. Between Cookie Monster's vocal style and Ranier's accent, I was sure that Novembers Doom (must remember to go back and delete the apostrophe that my fingers refuse to omit on the first pass...) would be from Iceland, Finland, or Some-other-really-cold-place-Land.

They're from Illinois.

This song almost makes me want to embed the audio in this article so all my several visitors could hear at least a few seconds of the wonderful awfulness. However, two things prevent me from doing so.

Number one, I hate it when sites embed multimedia content. It's getting better now that it usually doesn't start up unless you explicitly ask it to by clicking a Play button. However, for most of the Internet's short history, sites that use multimedia content have usually started it automatically, clogging bandwidth, dragging your computer to a halt, and blasting you with something you probably didn't want to hear if your speakers were turned up. It'll take me a long time to warm up to embedded content because I've been thoroughly conditioned to hate it.

Second, I haven't the foggiest idea how.

If you're the criminal sort, there may be legally dubious places online where you could obtain this album for free. However, being a law-abiding blogger, I could never in good conscience suggest that anyone do so.

I could also never recommend that you could use a torrent client, like uTorrent, that allows you to only download the files you want and skip the rest.

Unless of course you live in a country where such things are legal, in which case have at it.

(Disclaimer: nothing on this blog should be taken as legal advice. The guy writing it may not even be a lawyer, for all you know. In the event that you are arrested and/or sued because you chose to do something that this blog said you shouldn't but you thought there was an implied nudge and/or wink, don't come around asking to borrow bail and/or settlement money.)

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of the cover of Flying High Again: The World's Greatest Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne - a tribute album that does not actually include a performance of its title track.

Monday, February 9, 2009

If It's Monday, We Must Be In The Gutters

I'm on my last day of a short vacation. We had intended to spend this weekend getting in one last visit with Pastor Derek and his wife, known around these parts as Homeschooler, before their newest children (yes, plural) were born and their lives became an unrelenting cycle of "feed-change-try to sleep for ten minutes then do it all again".

However, the kids decided to throw those plans into disarray by coming out earlier than expected. See this post over on Pastor Derek's blog for the details. Congratulations are certainly in order, but our visit got derailed for the time being.

That left me with a couple of days booked off work and nowhere to go. I spent the time sleeping, reading, preparing material for the Bible study I've been leading, and playing computer games. I had already intended to go a few days without posting, and so I did.

Now I'm back, at least for today, and thought I'd revisit (and finish) an old series. A looong time ago, I wrote about my number one and two reasons for liking Mondays on the Internet; today I present number three.

I've been out of the comics business for a long time (longer than I was in it). However, I still read a few comics news sites on a regular basis. My favourite comics column is Lying In The Gutters (LitG), an industry "gossip" column written by Rich Johnston. It's hosted on Comic Book Resources, whose main page is usually worth at least a a daily skim.

LitG is usually posted each Monday. It's not unusual for it show up late in the day, so I often wind up reading it on Tuesday, but its official regular schedule gets it into my "reasons Mondays aren't so bad" category without being too much of a cheat.

Some of the stories are a bit Anglocentric (Johnston lives in the U.K.), and you can usually count on a gratuitous-but-charming plug for at least one of Mr. Johnston's own published works somewhere along the line. However, the column is well worth reading if you have any interest in the behind-the-scenes workings of the comics industry.

The "gossip" isn't lurid tabloid nonsense about personal lives, but information about projects both proposed and cancelled and all sorts of insider information about the comics industry (the kind of stuff that doesn't get reported in Wizard magazine). The LitG forums are interesting, too, but I find that far more questions get asked than answers proposed over there. It's worth a look, but I don't bother checking in with the forum more than once a month or so.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of my son harassing Spider-Man in the Orlando airport.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Price Of Freedom

It has come to my attention that the threatened Canadian Human Rights Commission complaint against Andrew Lawton of Right Wing Canada, which was the subject of my last post, may be a hoax. That would be both good and bad, since it would mean that Andrew doesn't get to present his defence (with the attendant publicity for the cause of free speech versus Islamofascism), but on the other hand it would mean that he doesn't have to go to the bother and expense of defending himself.

Apparently the alleged complainant has the same name as a known terrorist. I read about this on a few leftist websites, some of which linked to me and other pro-freedom bloggers. I won't link back to them, because having read those sites, I prefer not to promote them. The reaction of those sites to Andrew's announcement of the threat, as well as my reaction and a few others on the correct side of the free speech issue, can be summarized thus: "FAIL! right-wingz iz the STOOPID! LOLZ!!!eleventyone!! they fell for da hoaks DANCE MONKEES DANCE".

They're failing a few basic logic tests.

First of all, they're assuming that no actual complaint has been filed. That may be the case; unless and until Andrew hears from the CHRC directly, there's no way to tell. (Unless, of course, one of them was the fake complainant.)

Second, they're assuming that if a complaint was filed (the prospect of which doesn't seem to bother them), the complainant's real name was Mohammed Al-Zahar, just like the terrorist. Right. Because nobody ever uses pseudonyms on the Internet. So sayeth Zirbert, The Irritable Saint.

An alternate possibility is that these amused-to-death folks assume that that the use of the same name as a terrorist "proves" the message is a hoax. Because, you know, it's unthinkable that two people in the world can have the same name. Given that there have been two famous professional athletes named Kareem Abdul-Jabar (phonetically identical, albeit spelled differently), I can't give that theory a lot of support.

Here's the real rub, though. Even if these people are right and it's a hoax, I'm still glad that I wrote what I wrote. I'm still glad that Andrew, The Canadian Sentinel, and Right Wing News all reacted publicly. It demonstrates that we're on alert.

Yes, this alleged complaint may be a hoax. (Or, as noted, maybe it isn't.) However, the threat is completely plausible. It uses the same type of mindless rhetoric and manufactured outrage as actual complaints against people like Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn. Laughing at people who actually care about freedom of speech for reacting to it is a lot like laughing at the fire department for showing up when a false alarm gets triggered.

As far as I can see, nobody overreacted. Nobody put expensive attorneys on retainer or even started fundraising. Nobody went into hiding, or took up arms and opened fire. A handful of people took a few minutes and wrote blog posts or e-mails. If that's your idea of monkeys dancing, then you've lost perspective and really need to hang around some less shiftless people.

I would have been far more concerned by a lack of reaction to this threat. Cynics may mock the notion that the triumph of evil requires only that good people do nothing; anyone with a basic knowledge of history (or human nature) knows it to be true.

As for those sitting in the bleachers, giggling like idiots at the prospect of people caring about the right to self-expression and being prepared to defend it, I have a message for you:

If this threat is genuine, Andrew will not face it alone. Even if it isn't, people like Andrew, Ezra Levant, and a plethora of others you don't respect in the slightest will continue to defend free speech, even when they disagree with it. Your words may be childish, irresponsible, even hateful, but they should be rebutted or ignored, not silenced by the power of the State. When the speech police accuse you of a Thoughtcrime, those you now consider fools or even enemies will oppose them on your behalf.

You're welcome.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of Cinderella's castle, as seen at night from a moving train.