Thursday, September 13, 2007


Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski, a member of the Commons standing committee on procedure and affairs, wants Mark Mayrand, the Chief Electoral Officer, to read between the lines of Bill C-31. You see, even though the law actually says nothing about Muslim women reveiling their faces, and even though everything Mayrand has mandated accords strictly with the law, Mayrand is in the wrong for not reading into the law so see what it actually meant. You know, like judges do...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Craig Chandler

Craig Chandler must be the single most comical guy in Canadian politics. Just two weeks ago he was suggesting that those who don't vote Conservative should leave Alberta. Now, Craig doesn't care which conservative party you vote for. Heck, he's run for all of them! But if you want to be Albertan, you must vote conservative. I guess the sad thing is that it's not the most absurd thing he's ever said.

I had an email exchange with Craig today which ended with him claiming that Stephen Harper asked him to run for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party in 2003 (a run which he did in fact make). This seems like quite an explosive claim. Chandler is asserting that he was put up for a leadership run by the leader of another party. It would actually be quite newsworthy, I should think, if it were to be believed.

PS Check out the sweet advertising on his website!

Monday, September 10, 2007

On a silly bike...

Mark Richardson has an article on Harleys in today's Star. Now, he's just returned from riding out to Sturgis on an HD, so I guess it's to be expected that his brain wouldn't be working terribly well. Mine often doesn't after a few days in the saddle. Nonetheless, for those of you unacquainted with the world of motorcycles, let me state my point up front: Harley Davidsons are not good motorcycles, if they ever were.

Richardson starts out the article by stating that a Harley can't really be compared with other motorcycles. This is true enough. It is worse than all of its competitors on every practical dimension. But then he somehow draws the conclusion that Harley's still (if they ever) provide value for the money and are still respectable motorcycles. Let me put this as clearly as possible. From every objective standard, Harley Davidson motorcycles are overpriced and provide incredibly poor performance. They can rarely reach even moderately high speeds, they do not handle well in corners, and they have quite substandard pick-up. They are comfortable, but so is a chesterfield. Then again, chesterfields only get about 1000 miles less riding each year than the average Harley.

For the money you pay for a Harley you could generally spend 75% as much and get a Japanese bike which did everything just as well. Now, it wouldn't be a Harley, and it wouldn't have that unique sound which indicates that you are riding on decades-old and antiquated technology. But it will do everything a motorcycle should do better.

This is admittedly just a rant a day after seeing about 1000 Harleys this weekend and probably not a good rider among them. But seriously, if I have to see another middle-aged man buy a bike which he spends more time polishing than riding, totally blissful in his ignorance of what a poor machine he owns, I am going to cry. Or I am going to ride away somewhere that he can't come, or would never think to try.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

On a bike...

I passed my 25,000th km on a motorcycle yesterday. My father came across from North Bay on Friday, and yesterday we rode down to Smugglers Notch and Stowe, then across the White Mountain forest and up Mount Washington. This was the single most enjoyable 8 miles of motorcycling I ever completed, beginning in thick forest and ending above the trees in clouds with 25 feet of visibilty.

All in all, it's been a wonderful first bit of motorcycling, of which I should hope for many more bits. I have been meaning for months to write up my trip reports - including the week my father and I took across Spain in March, the loop around Le Gaspesie and down to Halifax that Sam and I did in May, and the 9-day loop Sam and I just completed across the Trans-Labrador Highway, down Newfoundland, back through Sackville and then home. I shall write these soon, I promise. I've been put off only by the difficulty of trying to capture what it is I love so much about being on a bike, away from home and the grind of school. In short, I think it's two things. First, it's a time when I do some of my best and most clear thinking. And it's also time when I do less thinking that any other time. I think it's good for the mind. And I think, to cop Burt Munro, a man lives more in 5 minutes on a motorcycle than some men live in their whole lives. Anyways, more to come...