A New Improved Way to Get Your Kids Off Your Back

Hey everybody!

It’s time for some great parenting advice from an obnoxious twenty something who doesn’t have kids!

Not sure what to do when your kids are out of control? Are they screaming in the back seat for the eleventh hour in a row en route to Aunt Ethel’s for that family dinner you’d rather not be at anyways? Do they have an annoying habit of yanking on the phone cord for your attention until they disconnect you from your long lost best friend in Alberquerque?

Well then, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that in the days of yore there were those of the opinion (probably including Aunt Ethel herself) that a quick shot of silly juice was enough to soothe just about any toddler ailment from teething pain to pesky bed time meandering.

Nowadays, we know better. Letting our children have booze is a bad idea. Letting our children have peanuts is a bad idea. Letting our children have milk products is a bad idea. As is sunlight, tap water, synthetic fibre and bubblegum. Not to mention letting them loose in a playground with outrageous gravel, now that we have brightly coloured squares of ubersafe chopped up former tire bits to cushion their feeble, feeble knees. And if you have the nerve to cover a boo-boo with any sort of non-antiseptic bandaid, or dare leave your counters bare of their daily recomended dose of Lysol, well then! You’re headed straight to the stocks, you bad parent you. At least if you believe those Brand Power commercials (because those no-name granola bars tell your kids you don’t care.)

Thankfully, the two modern worlds of over-sanitizing the crap out of kids and the occasional need to get said kids to shut the hell up have collided ad last. Yes, it’s true, kids are getting snockered on hand sanitizer. Now of course like most products designed to improve your child’s overall health, hand sanitizer should be guarded carefully to avoid overdosage. You know, kind of like Flintstones vitamins.

Look, I've got shoes! How toxic can I be?

But at least now you can enjoy the comfort of knowing that while your energetic little one is contentedly dazed, he or she is also being protected from all the scary germs out there by way of licking chemicals off of their clean little paws.

Of course, I guess you could also use soap….or even make use of this ‘immune system’ thingie. But hey, that’s just me.

except probably not


A Pot Smoking Vegetarian Hippie Votes Conservative. What Gives?

I voted Conservative.

It didn’t make a damn difference overall, but I did it. It’s the first time I’ve voted anything other than as far left as possible.

So here’s how Canada works. It’s not “one guy vs. the other guy” and certainly not a “winner takes all” sort of situation. The country is divided into ridings, and we each vote to select a Member of Parliament to represent us in the House of Commons. This is good, because you have someone with your local interests in mind who actually has a voice in the big playground. Of course the more friends your MP has, the bigger that voice is. And we don’t have Republicans vs. Democrats. We’ve got a few more options. We have the Conservatives, who are your traditional right wingers. Your Liberals who are the closest equivalent to the Democrats, except this year they’re whining, snivelling bastards. If you don’t agree with  me, fine. But go get your own blog to say so, I’m in no mood for arguing. We also have the NDP, left-wing social activists with hearts of gold but maybe not enough fiscal sense to run the country. They’re getting bigger though, and I do approve. We also had the Green Party this year, whose campaign was almost solely based on the environment. They didn’t even make it in their own riding, but their leader, Elizabeth May, fought to be included in the debates when she was first written off, and they ran a very determined little campaign. I am proud of them.

There is also the Bloc Quebecois whose sole purpose is turning Quebec into it’s own country. I’m French Canadian and I still think they should fuck off. So they don’t count.

Here’s the other difference. The party that wins the most seats in the House of Commons gets to lead the country. But this can lead to a Minority Government, where the leader has the most seats, but all the other parties combined still outnumber them. This means that if they get really pissed, they can decide to team up against their common enemy and put in a vote of non-confidence. That’s basically saying “fuck this shit, we’re calling another election.” It can lead to political turmoil, as we’ve seen just recently – not much can get done when we’re constantly having an election. But personally, I like the concept. I like the idea of whoever is in charge not being fully in charge. I like that they have to avoid pissing off everybody else’s reps or risk losing their job. Keeps people in line, I feel.

As I’ve mentioned, I usually vote as far left as possible. I like my social safety net. I look at my paycheque, and yes, I see that a little bit comes off the top. But in exchange for that, I like knowing that I can go to the hospital without breaking my bank. Yes, if I go with a broken arm, I will wait for hours while others with more severe injuries go ahead of me. That’s how it should be, because when I bring my baby in with a asthma attack or whatever the hell, I don’t want some rich fucker with a twisted ankle jumping the line because all the hospital cares about is money. If I lose my job, I’m not on the streets within two weeks. If I don’t make very much money and fall behind on say, my electric bill, I will get help and will not have to be on welfare to get that help. I don’t believe in hoarding my money – I believe that a properly elected government can take a little bit of my money and in the end give back more than I would be able to afford on my own. The problem is: who do you trust to do that?

This year, it happens to be Conservative.

Do I love everything they’re doing? No. But I don’t love everything anyone does. And the alternative to the Conservative party is the Liberals because as much as I’m all for the left wing, they never get higher than third place. Frankly, I don’t know if they’d have the chops to run the nation on their own, I just like that they get to pipe up once in a while with things like “Hey, go economy and all that jazz, but can we get some more doctors up in this joint while you’re at it?” The Liberals this year have come up with a fantastic plan to get our economy all sparkly fresh and green. A ‘Green Shift’ will essentially tax the fuck out of gas usage, but promises to give it back in other tax breaks.

Um, not so much? How about ‘what have you done for me lately before taking my money and promising to give it back later?’ I don’t have kids, I don’t make a ton of money, and what money I do have is not spent on things like child care. I live in an apartment so I can kiss those low-flo toilet tax rebates goodbye. And in the meantime, I may not drive but I do eat. Canada is a big ass country. Yes, we’ve seen other countries manage to put these measures into effect succesfully, but when your food is driven in from across the country, when your importing and exporting relies so much on transportation, I just don’t see the sense in taxing gas, making everything assloads more expensive and then promising me rebates later.

Yes, we need to get our asses off the oil. Seriously. And yes, we do need things like the arts and all that good stuff that the Conservatives are berated for not supporting. (Please note that they did scrap a plan to remove the tax credits for arts programs when the public cried out. Doesn’t exactly qualify them for a gold seat at the symphony, but it’s a decent gesture.) I just don’t think now is the time to focus on that. Right now, the next four years are about immigration, affordable housing, and then beyond that you’re talking marriage, kids, blah blah blah.

Right now, lets just try to avoid a recession, shall we? We’re not doing as poorly as the media likes to scream, but we’ve seen the danger of lulling ourselves into complacency. I need a little fiscal responsibility up in this joint.

And so I voted Conservative. I voted for ‘looks like a block of ice’ Mr. Stephen Harper. And they won.

Oh, and the election? Harper called it himself since the Liberals just kept whining and whining but never put in a vote of non-confidence, citing that they wanted to wait until they were sure they would win. Wow. Way to put a vote of non-confidence against yourself. And so, in not so many words, Harper essentially said “Fine, I’LL call for an election so I can kick your ass even harder.” And that’s exactly what happened. We Canadians are overly polite, but we don’t like sissies.

It’s still a minority government, but with less of a gap. It was really, really close. But my vote didn’t make a difference. Why? Because my riding has always, without fail, voted NDP. We’re hardcore hippie leftwingers in my hood, and I’m very okay with it! Remember, NDP has been my choice for a long time, so I’m more than happy that I get a nice local dose of political feel-good-fuzzies. The guy I normally would have voted for didn’t win, but my MP happens to be his wife, so I feel I’m in the good hands of not one, but two awesome lefties. But I’m still very glad that I’ve got someone who was halfway through fixing shit  back in the drivers seat to finish what he was doing.

So my vote didn’t really count. But I still exercised my right to democracy, and in the end, I get to have my federal cake and eat it locally too. Sweet!

Go Canada! We’re nowhere near as screwed as the U.S.

(Sorry honey.)