Via a friend of Mrs Varnson comes this greeting.
Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all.
Additionally, a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions have helped make our society great, without regard to the race, creed, color, religious, or sexual preferences of the wishes.
(Disclaimer: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others.)
Andrew Coyne has some fun suggestions in his recent column for all those that feel like they spent too much this Christmas. If nothing else, it’s a rare thing to read the words “Nash equilibrium” in the National Post, or any other newspaper column for that matter.
For those about to, or in the midst of, marking exams, comes this useful guide. (via Greg Mankiw)
Marion Cohen, a Toronto judge, has ordered the Christmas tree removed from the lobby of a provincial courthouse. Quoting the Globe story, Judge Cohen feels that the tree is “a Christian symbol that would make non-Christians attending the courthouse feel unwelcome.” This is, of course—how do I put this mildly?—nonsense.
Faithful (no pun intended) reader(s) of this blog have probably noted that Varnson is a Jewish name. As a Jew (full disclosure: in the words of Woody, I was born of the Hebrew persuasion, but I converted to narcissism), I have no problem with Christmas trees, though I prefer the proper term “Channukah bush.” And it seems to me that this obese character the goyim think lives at the North Pole, bears a striking resemblance to the Channukah Man, who lives in Brooklyn. Anyway, political correctness went too far long ago. This is just another example. But my question is how far Judge Cohen would take her relativism when hearing cases.
Yesterday I attended the presentation ceremony with other connoisseurs of the mixed grill. It was quite boring (I admit to briefly falling asleep at one point, but I blame jetlag more than anything. Jetlag and the interminable parade of MSc graduates from the European Institute–the place is a factory…though I am happy to say I recovered my stamina during a three hour lunch at the Ivy. Don’t ask me how we got a table; it’s a mystery that will, I am almost certain, never be repeated.) Anyway, fellow British Columbia boy and (not fellow, unfortunately) Nobelist, Robert Mundell received an honorary doctorate at the ceremony. He was introduced in a very entertaining speech by Danny Quah. Here is Mundell at his intellectual peak.
Stephen Harper is the latest to join the moral panic and political maneuvering (via Peter) around Stéphane Dion’s dual Canadian and French citizenship. I really don’t understand the problem. Do people actually think that a Dion PM would put France ahead of Canada? Is it a case of typical Canadian insecurity? Or is it just plain politics? It’s the sanctimonious tone of most of the complainers that really annoys. But then again, that’s my reaction to everything coming out of the mouth of the Used Car Salesman.
I am a fan of Stéphane Dion. He’s smart, decent and will, I think, be a formidable challenge to Harper in the election. However, two bits of news from the nascent Dion captaincy strike me as ominous. First, in response to the Tories, he has pledged to reinstate the Canadian Wheat Board. Clearly this is an attempt to win votes in the West. But continued protectionism on behalf of rent seeking farmers is too high a price to pay for votes in the West. Second, there is talk of Dion installing Pablo Rodriguez as his Québec lieutenant. Rodriguez, Ignatieff’s Québec campaign chair, was one of the bright lights behind the Ignatieff-led motion for the Liberal Party to recognize Québec as a nation. In other words he is foolish at best and Dion can do better. On the other hand, almost anything would be an improvement over Jean I’m a federa…no wait a sovere…no on third thought…a federalist Lapierre.