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zapdara's Dewey Decimal Section:
035 In Italian, Romanian & related languages
zapdara = 6164181 = 616+418+1 = 1035
000 Computer Science, Information & General Works
Encyclopedias, magazines, journals and books with quotations.
What it says about you:
You are very informative and up to date. You're working on living in the here and now, not the past. You go through a lot of changes. When you make a decision you can be very sure of yourself, maybe even stubborn, but your friends appreciate your honesty and resolve.
Today I was standing outside the library eating the sausage I had gotten for my lunch because the library has a policy against bringing hot food inside and I didn't feel like blocking the way through the entrance way (because I hate it when other people do it to me). So I'm standing under this little overhang and there's this guy behind me smoking his cigarette and the smoke keeps blowing in my face, which gets me to thinking about a campaign some students have started here called Smoke Free Campus. This campaign is trying to get students to vote on banning the sale of tobacco products by businesses operated by the student government and restricting student smokers to designated smoking areas on campus; meaning more restricted than outside and so many feet from the doorway, etc. They are basically saying that students who smoke are infringing on the rights of non-smoking students by smoking in public areas in open air.
Now, I'm not a smoker and the smell of smoke makes me feel nauseous, but this seems to me this statement has a massive amount of baggage. Over the last several years the tendency of society has been to demonize smoking more and more. Governments are making the cost of smoking as prohibitive as possible by slapping huge taxes on cigarettes. Smoking is against the law in public buildings, in restaurants and bars, too close to doors of public buildings, in or near bus shelters, and, most recently, in cars carrying children
. This is an ever more slippery slope, as legislation creeps into the private lives of smokers.
They are increasingly being depicted as monsters victimizing the innocent bystanders around them. I've heard conversations comparing smoking to attempted suicide, and discussions on how much smokers are costing the health care system. This last discussion has been used to imply that smokers should have to shoulder the cost of being treated for their emphysema, lung cancer, mouth cancer, ulcer, etc, since they knowingly caused their own medical problems
. Which brings up an essential conundrum for me: can one group of society be asked to shoulder a larger share of the cost of what is supposed to be a universal
health care system here in Canada? Can we charge injured skydivers or boxers for treating their concussions? Marathon runners or football players (professional or recreational) for their physiotherapy when they strain/pull/rip ligaments? The elderly for being old
? Where does society draw the line on
'self caused' medical problems?
The comparison to suicide is also contentious for me. Those who commit suicide or attempt suicide are often cast as incredibly selfish or mentally unbalanced. They are villainized for causing pain to those around them. In some parts of the world (though not North America), the act of suicide itself, not just assisting suicide, is considered a felony, and those who do not succeed can be prosecuted. These points raise issues for me about the control one has over ones own life; individuals in North America are considered free to control their own lives inside the bounds of the law, even if their decisions displease or cause emotional pain to those around them, yet such is not the case for those who choose suicide. How much can you hold someone responsible for the emotional impact of their decisions on others? That parts of society are casting smoking as attempted suicide and then attempting to legislate a ban on smoking is essentially trying to legally control the personal decisions of legal adults, and simply using societal attitudes towards suicide to facilitate it.
Today, all these questions reduced to two major questions for me: should society be able to legislatively control what an adult chooses to do to their own body or punish them for these decisions? The only response I find myself able to live with is no. An adult should be allowed to do to themselves what they choose, a conclusion I find myself forced to extend to illegal drugs as well. The second, far more complex question is how far can society control how an individuals decisions affect those around them, including their families and children? I'm not sure a single, comprehensive answer is possible on this. While I supported the smoking ban in public buildings, bars and restaurants I'm now looking at it from a perspective of balancing personal freedom against impact on society. It's illegal to drive under the influence because your actions can have serious repercussions on someone completely unable protect themselves against them. It is illegal to expose yourself in public for reasons of personal privacy. Should we also control where someone can smoke? It has been medically demonstrated that second hand smoke can have a negative impact on the health of those who inhale it. Balance has me leaning towards saying that, yes, we should control where smokers can light up, but I think that the current laws may go too far. Would not well ventilated smoking sections have been the more balanced solution? As for smoking in a car carrying a child, current law does not exactly draw a clear line on how much control society has on how people raise their children. You cannot inflict abuse on your child, but does exposure to second hand smoke constitute abuse? Spanking as a form of discipline? While I'm sure many child protection advocates would tell me they do, I don't think so. I find a ban on smoking in your own vehicle transporting your own children to be a step over the line.
Which brings me back to the original cause of my musing. Do smoking students infringe on the rights of non-smoking students by smoking in public places in open air? No, they don't and I think those organizing this campaign are overstepping some serious bounds. I may not like smelling smoke while eating my sausage outside, but that doesn't mean my rights are being infringed. Stop villainizing those who choose to smoke. If you don't like it, maybe it's time you
found somewhere else to be.
When I got home last night a little past 5, the first thing I did was turn on the t.v. to CNN. It didn't go off until a little past 1am. I am not an American. I have never watched the American elections before this. And I know a lot of my friends who have never really followed politics like I do were watching this election very closely. Because despite the fact that this wasn't our election, that we get no say, this affects us too.
This election was hugely important not for its issues (which were pretty important), not for policies of the two candidates, but because as much as this has the potential to be a huge milestone for the United States of America, it has equal potential to be one for the entire world. The world looks down at America and all its citizens in a self-righteous way neither deserve. Other countries point and snigger and say behind their hands: "Americans are so stupid, look who they have for a president," "Americans are so ignorant," "Americans will never be as good as us because they will never get over all their prejudices." (Just for the record, I have never said, and do not agree in any way with these statements, and am not friends with anyone who does.)
America just proved them wrong, and more importantly, they didn't do it just by electing Obama. Either of the two candidates would have been better than the status quo (a personal opinion shown to be widely shared by the presidential approval ratings). While the electoral college votes don't look close, the popular vote is very close. It was the race itself that made the difference. I work in the gift shop at a pretty major tourist attraction. We get a lot of Americans in and over the course of this campaign many of them spoke to us about why Canadians as a whole seem to prefer Obama and about their own allegiances. A lot of them weren't voting for Obama, but their reasons for doing it were his policies, his inexperience, never the colour of his skin. I spoke to proclaimed Democrats voting McCain, and lifelong Republicans voting Obama, and not one of them was concerned over his ethnicity. There will always be those who can't look past prejudice, but that is the same everywhere, and any country that claims it doesn't have that problem is lying through its teeth. Americans as a whole seemed to look past fear and bigotry and focus on issues; the ignorant don't do that. The stupid cannot do that. And Americans are definitely as good as anyone else.
Of course I was impressed by Obama's acceptance speech. He's one of the best speakers I have ever heard. But I was almost equally impressed by Senator McCain's speech. He was eloquent, insightful, and incredibly gracious. Bravo, America. All of you.
Some people find Eeyore’s gloomy outlook charming. Others prefer the bouncy enthusiasm of Tigger. Who would you rather be trapped in an elevator with: Eeyore or Tigger?
Well, really, I don't think I would like to be trapped in an elevator at all, thanks very much.
However, since we are insisting on trapping me in an elevator for an indeterminate length of time (hello, claustrophobia, it's been a while) I suppose my answer would have to depend on just how long I was to be trapped and the durability of the elevator.
If I'm looking at three hours or less in an elevator with a very strong cable, I would much prefer Tigger. We could sing "The wonderful thing about Tiggers" and I would have him teach me how to bounce without getting sore feet after the first half hour. It would be great. Once the rescue team arrived we would walk out of there grinning like idiots.
Anything much longer than three hours however, or if I wasn't totally confident in the elevator cable's ability to hold, and my choice is for Eeyore, no question. I love Eeyore, and he would be just the kind of company I would need to get through a long stretch in an elevator. Aah, meditation.
I've just read a very interesting article about the inability of people to not only judge whether or not they themselves
are competent, but also whether others around them are competent. www.salon.com/env/mind_reader/2008/09/22/voter_choice/
This is one of my absolute pet peeves. When people are wrong, and refuse to acknowledge it, no matter how much you prove to them that they are wrong
, I sometimes think I may actually throw something at them. Like my fist. (Or, once, the cake sample that obnoxious bridezilla was picking apart. Grr.) It's not the fact that they're wrong, everyone makes mistakes. It's that they refuse to even listen to anything that might force them to change their opinion. Because they refuse to be wrong. Even though they are.
It's why I like this icon so much, even though it's old news. Because it feels a bit like triumph.
Anyways, it's a good article. Makes me wonder how I'd do.
The storm was, I have to say, spectacular. A total of 52 centimeters. Walking through it Saturday afternoon it was whiteout conditions. I could barely see 10 feet in front of me and I nearly walked into a 10 foot pile of snow. (It was all white! How was I supposed to see it!) And then there was the lightning and thunder, which was just cool to see. It was like a little section of the white would suddenly get brighter. Our window was plastered with snow. Walking to work on Sunday morning was an experience as well, considering the snow was up to my waist in places. Kinda fun, actually - it would have been great at the daycare, everybody absolutely swimming through snow.
Honestly, it was one of the best storms I've ever seen, and I've seen some whoppers visiting my grandparents in northern Saskatchewan.
My only problem with it, my only problem, is that it's March! March! For crying out loud, one week after I finally get tired of snow, just one week, and this happens.
With more on the way.
Has everyone seen
Sammy and Dean trapped in jail, surrounded by a demon force, with agent Henrikson on their
side? This one I will make sure I watch alone, so my (loud) squeeing doesn't disturb anyone.
Oh God, I think my heart may just beat out of my chest. Dean....and Sammy....! *whimpers* Oh, my poor Sam.
Eric, I take it all back. You are an evil genius of epic proportions, and I cannot wait to see where you take Sammy after this.