Cat Videos and Other Strange Phenomena

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I didn’t sleep that well last night which always sours my mood. So today I’m mostly going to avoid politics as I need to degrumpify. Hey, if Shakespeare can invent words why can’t I?

I blame my lack of sleep on The Martian – so many ideas. It was a great film – about all the things that are possible when people use their brains and not their brawn to solve problems. A big high-tech thriller without a single gun in sight. People had to challenge themselves physically but not against each other. I heard one reviewer complain that the characters were not emotional. Nonsense – deep emotions were felt and expressed but they weren’t allowed to get in the way of people focusing, using their intellects and working hard to solve problems. I love to see the return of hard science to science fiction – while still remembering what science is all about. People working together to solve problems and help each other.

So, do you like cat videos? This is a different question than do you like cats. I know people who like one but hate the other. However, I love both. And I love aloof adult cats as much as their goofy, cuddly offspring. And I especially like it when they get the best of dogs. So here is a cat video.

Voting – so I couldn’t avoid politics altogether – is apparently a habit. Studies show that if you vote young, you are likely to vote for the rest of your life. Even eliminating the effect of general interest in politics, early voting can make a difference to later behavior. There is a campaign afoot to get voters to take non-voters to the polls. It’s a great idea, especially if the non-voter is 18 or 19.

Speaking of young people, here’s some good news for parents – and bad news. Studies of 14 year-olds show that the biggest influences on their social and political views are not their peers but their parents. When in conversation with each other, the most common point of reference begins with “my dad thinks…” or “my mom says…” So that’s a big responsibility. If you are by nature a racist, you should shut up around your kids. If not, you should understand that they can’t always tell if you’re joking. So be careful about casual racism and sexism.

Our trip to Istanbul is coming up in a few days so we spend a lot of time looking at two web-sites. The first is the weather site which tells me that it is expected to be sunny (mostly) with temperatures between 16 and 22. The second is the Canadian government travel advisory – which currently says you should avoid dark alleys and places where terrorists gather, but otherwise have fun.

I have to say the latest Conservative ad seems ineffective. It is a bunch of quotes from Trudeau, taken out of context, and generally made when he was trying to answer questions from regular Canadians. I guess we’re supposed to think he’s not ready. Of course, the Liberals can’t do that: Harper never answers questions unless they’ve been vetted. And besides I care less what Trudeau says at this point than what Harper doesn’t. Secret Trade Deals? Duffy Scandal cover-ups?

Told you I was grumpy. And that’s ten minutes.

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