Thursday, July 22, 2004

I'll Do It Too

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

"It is possible to defer paying tax on your accrued gains from TCP if you provide acceptable security to the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency."

Canadians Resident Abroad, Fourth Edition, Garry R. Duncan and Elizabeth J. Peck.

*sigh* I guess this is what you get when your father is an accountant.  I wonder if he's read the whole thing.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


- Yes, I am alive.

- The wedding has been postponed a year.

- No, we're not having problems in our relationship.

- I hate those signs that say "you just proved that bench advertising works!"  I hate proving them right and I keep wishing I had looked the other way with a sign on the back of my head that read "No I didn't, you stupid bench!"

- Incidentally, benches lack the cognitive ability to read or understand any sign that I put on the back of my head.

- I gave money to the nation of Islam.

- I shaved my head.

- Who shot J.R.?

- As much as hair might cause you to sweat or get caught in trees, it still protects you from the sun and acts as a cushion when you hit a tree-branch.

- I'm 22.

- This fingernail just will not heal properly.  I despise it.

- I love Laurianne.

- It wasn't a good idea to go for Chile in the Copa America, they got eliminated in group play.  The Mexicans were eliminated in the first round and now I'm forced to cheer for whoever can beat Brasil.

- I wrote a letter to Laurianne's grandpa.  I managed two lines in French, got tired, and wrote the rest in English.  I hope it makes sense to him.

- Laurianne was convinced that the NDP was a conservative party.  This is just one of the many reasons that I don't think mandatory voting is a good idea.

- The other day I witnessed the dilemma of a young man who bought pants with a large waist but hadn't been intelligent enough to buy  a belt.  His arms were occupied by two bags and the further he walked the lower the waist on his pants dropped.  Fortunately for him his girlfriend was there to pull them up every ten steps.  So, if you don't have a belt, at least have a girlfriend.

- My parents are back from B.C.  They had a good time.

- Good night.

Friday, July 02, 2004


On Saturday July 10 at approximately at 7:00pm John den Boer will be having a barbecue to celebrate his recent engagement or his birthday (it doesn't matter which, both are pretty cool). If you're of the opinion that John isn't a bad shit then come on down to 241 Bonaventure Drive, but please give advanced warning.

Anyhow, John's residence is at the corner of Clifton Downs and Bonaventure across from Park formerly known as Brown which now bears the name of some dead alderman. Let's say that you're driving your car northwards at approximately 60 km/h down Upper Paradise from Rymal Road you would drive past such landmarks as the perpetually pacing adolescent Little Caesar's sandwich board people, Mac's, the bridge over the Linc, and maybe even that ridiculously fat guy who wears sweat pants up to his chest. Now as your going over the bridge you'll notice that there's stoplights up ahead. You'll have to turn right onto Hadeland there and then follow that until the first stop sign where you turn right and then, and I hope this isn't too confusing, a quick left at the next stop sign. You can actually make a slow left if you really want to as you'll still reach John's house, but a quick left is preferable.

Now, let's say that you're driving your car southwards at approximately 55 km/hr down Garth from Mohawk. You'll have to turn right on Limeridge Road and follow that until you reach Bonaventure. Now, don't go straight because that's Limeridge Court and that's a dead end. No, you have to turn left on Bonaventure and follow that road. Hopefully the sharp bend in the road won't throw you off, as some people signal around that corner - something which is completely unnecessary.

If the directions are confusing I aks you not to worry as they're probably wrong anyways.

Friday, June 25, 2004

My Top Ten Favourite Actors (These are my favourite, in no way implying that they are the best)

1) Robert Deniro - Ever since I saw Deniro in The Godfather Part II he has been one of my favourite actors. Deniro has a presence on screen that is absolutely electrifying and he portrays his characters with such conviction and ease that he is always enjoyable to watch. The man who made fifty dollars on his first movie now makes twenty million per picture.
Favourite Movies with Deniro:
- The Godfather Part II
- Raging Bull
- The Untouchables
- Casino
- Goodfellas
- The Mission
2) Djimon Hounsou - Maybe Hounsou shouldn't be on this list, but I really enjoy watching this heavy-weight from Benin. I've only seen him in three movies but I enjoy his acting very much, particularly his moving portrayal of Cinque in Amistad.
Favourite Moviews with Hounsou:
- In America
- Amistad
- Gladiator
3) Benicio Del Toro - I always respected Del Toro but when I saw 21 Grams where he played a confused and zealous born-again Christian I became a true fan. Del Toro might be accused of slurring and mumbling his lines but, for some odd reason, it works.
Favourite movies with Del Toro:
- The Usual Suspects
- 21 Grams
- Traffic
4) Edward Norton - I saw Norton first in the disturbing movie Primal Fear and although I did not like the film I did like Norton's acting. Boyish but also radiating an intelligence and slighly sardonic delivery of his lines, Norton is enjoyable to watch.
Favourite movies with Norton:
- The 25th Hour
- Fight Club
- American History X
- The Score
- The Italian Job
5) Denzel Washington - He's tall and handsome but he can also act . . . and act very well. Washington is a versatile and extremely intelligent actor who's articulate and impassioned portrayals of various characters are often dead-on.
Favourite movies with Washington:
- Training Day
- Malcom X
- Hurricane
- Antwone Fisher
6) Brad Pitt - I know, I know, he's only a pretty face out there to attract the ladies. Well, I don't care because I happen to think that Mr. Pitt is a great actor. I actually enjoy the work he puts into his roles and I believe that he's got a lot of unrecognized talent.
Favourite movies with Pitt:
- Fight Club
- Snatch
- Spy Game
- Ocean's Eleven
7) Tom Hanks - He picks his movies well and I think he's a stupendous actor. He just has a comforting quality about him that makes it easy to watch him on screen.
Favourite movies with Hanks:
- Saving Private Ryan
- The Green Mile
- Forrest Gump
- Castaway
8) Liam Neeson - This Irish actor is very tall (6"4) and very talented. I might get flak from purists for liking him in Les Miserables which made quite a departure from the book, but I liked him in it anyways.
Favourite movies with Neeson:
- Michael Collins
- Rob Roy
- The Mission
- Schindler's List
9) Samuel L. Jackson - C'mon can you get any cooler than Sammy?
Favourite movies with Jackson:
- Pulp Fiction
- A Time to Kill
- 187
- Goodfellas
- The Red Violin
10) Matt Damon - He's a good actor and I've also noticed that he's skilled at mimicry.
Favourite movies with Damon:
- Ocean's Eleven
- The Bourne Identity
- Finding Forrester
- Good Will Hunting
- The Rainmaker

Saturday, May 08, 2004

A Plugged In Review of the Bible

The Story
An Almighty Being creates the universe out of nothing, but his plans seemingly go awry when two of his creatures (played by Adam and Eve) rebel against him and introduce sin into the world. Sin wreaks havoc on creation and it's not long before people are killing eachother, fornicating, and building towers which are too tall. In a long convaluted plot interrupted by various laws, instructions, geneologies, platitudes, prophecies, and even poetry, the book follows the adventures and misadventures of God and his people. In the second section of the book God sends his son (played by the always delightful Jesus Christ) who performs many miracles, tells the people stories, and is quickly killed. The rest of the book deals with the fallout from this brutal killing and Jesus' later resurrection. The final section of the book is a strange combination of apocalyptic prophecy and descriptions of strange looking animals.
Positive Elements
The Triune God is the only redeeming element in this book --- every other character is tragically flawed. There are many positive promotions of love, goodness, and high moral behaviour in this book but that doesn't change the fact that this book does not shy away from portraying extremely grotesque behaviour. Many of this books spiritual points deserve praise.
Spiritual Content
The Bible promotes an afterlife, the spiritual side of human beings, and issues relating to salvation.
Sexual Content
Right from the beginning, it seems, this book cannot keep itself from straying into territory which is lewd, at best. Adam and Eve are copulating already in the Fourth chapter of Genesis with Cain quickly following suit (with his sister no less!) The sons of God begin to sleep with the daughters of men and coincidentally this is when the wickedness becomes the greatest on the earth. Noah sleeps naked, prompting one of his sons to do something inappropriate. Abram marries his half-sister and then, with her encouragement, sleeps with his Egyptian maidservant to produce some offspring. The men of Sodom and Gomorrah attempt to rape three guests at a man's (played by Lot) house. Later, when the cities are destroyed, Lot's daughters sleep with him while he is in a drunken stupor. Jacob takes two wives and sleeps with their maidservants as well. A woman (played by Dinah) is raped by Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite. A philandering Judah sleeps with Tamar, his daughter-in-law disguised as a prostitute. Samson sleeps with a prostitute. In a particularly gruesome story, a Levite stays at an old man's house while the people urge the old man to give the man up for homosexual relations. The old man refuses and the concubine is sent out instead and brutally raped. Later the Levite chops up the concubine and sends the parts throughout the land to inspire the people to action. David takes many wives and kills a man to commit adultery with the man's wife. His son also takes many wives and concubines. Many sexually immoral kings rule Israel. This book is very explicit and Song of Songs unashamedly describes two lovers going at it.
Violent Content
The book is filled with violence. Already in the fourth chapter a man is murdered. God wipes the people off the face of the earth in a violent flood, only saving a few. Two cities are burned to the ground. The sons of Jacob brutally murder an entire city after ordering them to be circumcized. God kills the firstborn of all of Egypt. People are stoned for seemingly minor infractions. The Israelites are instructed to carry out genocide. War is a constant theme, with invasions, sieges and violent murders. God has a habit of striking people dead. In one gruesome story, Ehud stabs a king and the sword is swallowed into his folds of fat. Samson kills many Philistines. Shamgar son of Anath kills 600 of them with an oxgoad. David slays a giant, and conducts pillaging raids throughout the countryside. An innocent man is unjustly and barbarically put to death.
Crude or Profane Language
Saul refers to his son as a "son of a peverse and rebellious woman." Many curses are pronounced throughout the book. In a strange picture Israel is compared to a prostitutue whose lovers have genitals like donkeys and emissions like horses.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Noah becomes drunk. Lot overindulges in drink. The people in the Bible drink much wine. Jesus even turns some water into wine, setting a bad example for the youth.
Other Negative Elements
Evil spirits make a number of appearances throughout the book.
While the book is filled with numerous positive messages, it simply cannot be recommended for family reading as it drips with blood and sexual explicitness. Unfortunate, considering God's other great works.

Friday, May 07, 2004

The Declaration of the Summer Months

I have seemingly abandoned the blogging world for the lawns of the Greater Hamilton Area and the wiles of my girlfriend. Fear not, I say, for this blog has not been forsaken. For though my mistress, the blog, is well-treated during the cold winter months when the grass lies brown and shrivelled under volumnious piles of debauched snow which, with whorish abandon, lies over anything and everything; For though my blog is given tender love and attention during the bitter Autumn when my girlfriend is studiously tucked in a corner of Ottawa; For though the summer affords me little time for my dear blog; For though this sentence is extremely complex and unwieldy --- for though all these things, I must confess that I still have some time to hastily steal visits to this lonely mistress, my blog.

Oh Blog, Oh Blog! You sit in your dusty corner
feeling like an outsider, an alien, or a foreigner
as I abandon you for the charms green grass
a Wilson Sentar, books, and a beautiful lass
Fear not, oh blog, I remember you still
and I'll write in you again, I promise I will
Sometimes I read something or something happens to me
and I say, "that is going in my blog. Definitely."
But then I come home with my limbs so sore,
a girlfriend to please, and other such chores
and I have as much time for my blog
as I have to go dancing in a pair of clogs
I know that last rhyme was a little stretch
and really ridiculous, I hope you didn't retch
but I'm writing this ode in a hurry, you know
because my girlfriend's here and I got to go.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The Wilson Sentar

This, my friends, is the stupendous chariot which pulls me over hills and across desolate stretches of lawn, mowing down whatever grass dares stand before it. This goddess of speed and precision will even make the most hardened anti-lawn cutting advocate stand up and mutter, "man, I wish I cut lawns all day."

Monday, April 26, 2004

Dumb move of the week (so far): Trying to start a lawn mower that was already started and then getting frustrated when, as I drew the string, the mower made a weird noise and wouldn't start (in my mind.)

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Well, it has been about a week since I've posted. My girlfriend visited and she's more interesting than my blog. Anyhow, there's a lot I can blog on right now so I should get right to it.

First of all, I have tried (vainly I'm sure) to update my links. There's a few more blogs listed there and the website of my girlfriend's young brother, Estimé Nywari. Estimé is a nine-year-old who attends grade four at L'école Monseigneur-de-Laval. He's a wonderful person and very intelligent. I hope he updates often.

Secondly, I bought Jack Johnson's new album On and On and his music is spectucularly good. A sort of reggae-tinged mellow latin-influenced acoustic adventure. I'd like to thank Jason Legg for recommending him to me because I have not stopped playing this album. If you want to see two of his videos you can go to Launch and search for his two videos "Taylor" and "The Horizon had Been Defeated." Look for a special guest appearance by Ben Stiller.

Thirdly, I went to the doctor and I would just like to say HA! to Laurianne. The Doctor said it was EXTREMELY unlikely that it was a fungus. I had just hit the finger wrong and now I have to wait twenty-something years for it to grow correctly. Despite the non-fungal nature of my fingernail problem, he gave me an anti-fungal cream.

Fourthly, there's been a recent movement known as the Rob Joustra Underpants Club. I briefly considered joining but I've decided that I want very little to do with Rob's underwear. I'm sure the feeling is mutual.

Fifthly, I'd like to extend Evghenis Ware a hearty good-bye and God's blessings on his school swap. Of course, the summer is far from over and hopefully we'll see eachother again.

Sixthly, I should apologize in advance because my blogging is going to be sporadic over the summer, I just know it. Between my girlfriend, friends, and work, I'm not sure I'll be able to blog as much as I'd like to. I'll try for once a week.

Seventhly, naw, nevermind. I just wanted to make this whole thing complete by including a seventh point. Well, I'll talk to y'all later. In case I don't see you all, have a great summer!

Saturday, April 17, 2004

French Exam

Just finished a French exam and one of the questions was something like "Qu'est-ce que tu voulais etre quand tu etais petit?" Which means what did you want to be when you were small? In the interest of time and with the constraints of my limited knowledge I only gave one answer. The following is a rough chronology of my vocational dreams:

Age 1: N/A
Age 2: N/A
Age 3: Garbageman
Age 4: Garbageman/Superman
Age 5: Clown
Age 6: My dad
Age 7: Judge/Chef
Age 8: Soldier
Age 9: Archaeologist
Age 10: Archaeologist
Age 11: Archaeologist
Age 12: Archaeologist/Artist
Age 13: Archaeologist
Age 14: Archaeologist
Age 15: Celebrated Author of the Quintessential Canadian Novel
Age 16: Author
Age 17: Humanitarian
Age 18: Philanthropist (i.e. rich)
Age 19: Pastor
Age 20: Teacher
Age 21: Author, Teacher, whatever

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Monday, April 12, 2004

Boerishbwoy Awards Corrections

Due to a recent rash of complaints over the 2004 Annual Boerishbwoy Blog Awards (one complaint, a sigh, and a good-natured taunt, in fact) we're just posting to make a few minor corrections.

Best Greek Cypriot Blog is being withdrawn from Dr. Koyzis and awarded to Ian Dewaard. In its place, we've decided to award Dr. Koyzis with The Byzantine Bow Tie Award for Outstanding Beardedness.

Also, Andrew Groen, is being stripped of his Andrew Groen Award for Outstanding Andrew Groen Entries and instead being awarded The Mealy-Mouthed Complainer Award for the Next Time You Claim this Is Rigged We'll Show You What Rigged Really Is. The Andrew Groen Award for Outstanding Andrew Groen Entries shall now be awarded to Mira Ponomarenko.

Also, Laura Stewart shall be awarded the coveted title of "Enlightened Empress of the Blog-World" and her reign shall last at least a year. Sorry, for not announcing that earlier.

We do hope that everyone is satisfied now.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

The 2004 Boerishbwoy Blog Awards

Graham Ware recently posted his blog awards, awarding boerishbwoy the coveted title of "most humorous content." Boerishbwoy is a little bit befuddled at this award since this blog is strictly limited to serious journalistic topics, but we're willing to accept it with grace. Now, however, we've been inspired to share our own awards in the "First Annual Boerishbwoy Blogger Awards." So, without further ado and in no particular order (actually, there is a particular order BWA HA HA HA HA! YOU'LL NEVER FIND IT!!) No, seriously, there's no order and if you're not mentioned it's only because we're a prententious bunch of elitists here at Boerishbwoy and you're not part of the club - na-naa na-na-naa. Actually, it's only because they wouldn't be awards if everyone got them. What do you think this is, a communist site? No, sorry, even communists recognize individual achievements. That's right. We're sorry for not mentioning you. We mean, we would have but we didn't have time and it isn't because we don't like you, we really do, it's only because our fingers are cold from typing too long. Anyhow, you know how we said without any further ado, earlier? Well, this time we mean it:

The Dubya Award for Generous Appreciation and Promotion of the 43rd President of the United States of America: Graham Ware

The Mongol Hordes Award for Appreciation of the Cultural Achievements and Pillaging Rampages of the Nomadic Tribes of the Steppes: Rob Joustra

The Gideon Award for Rigorous Adherence to the Principles of Straussian Philosophy: Mr. Gideon Strauss

The de Gaulle Award for Incurable Francophiles in Their Shameless Promotion of the Wonders of the French World: Jake Belder

The Aghast Expression Award for Receiving an Award that Wasn't Some Cheap Dig at the Confederates: Jake Belder

The Andrew Groen Award for Outstanding Andrew Groen Entries: Andrew Groen

The Extended Vacation Award for Longest Pause Between Blog Entries: Tim Amor
Honourable Mention: Dave Vlasblom

The 2004 Grammatical Achievement Award for Dedication to the Rules Governing the English Language: Chris Crookall

The Van Dyke Award for the Promotion and Appreciation of All Things Van Dyke: Jakob Van Dorp
Honourable Mention: Rob Joustra

Best Greek-Cypriot Blog: Dr. Koyzis

The Bewildering Award for Some Sort of Strange Blog Force which Compels Cantankerous Anonymous Individuals to Become Really Upset Over Seemingly Benign Entries and Post Numerous Angry Responses: Louizandre Dauphin

Ugly Fingernail Award: John den Boer

Boerishbwoy Award for Being an Outstanding Blog: Andrew Vis
Honourable Mention: James Brink

Star-Crossed Lovers Award: Jason Legg and Rachel Epps

Slap On the Hand Award for Speaking of Love by Referring to Astrology Rather than Some Sort of Biblical Allusion: Boerishbwoy

Most Art-Centred Blog: Andrea Hensen

The You-Got-Soul Award for Golden Typists: Paperwing

The Golden Typist Award for Having Soul: Alaina Frankruyter

Winnie the Pooh Award for Appreciation of All things A.A. Milne: Richard Greydanus

Comedic Michigander Award for Making John den Boer Laugh Many Many Times: Tim Van Alstyne

The Small Roadside Tent Award for Prospective Bolivian Circus Performers: Mikey Arce

Nice Template Award: Amyann Faul

No I'm Not Engaged Yet Award for Person I Will Tell Immediately When I Am: Naomi Biesheuvel

The C'mon Award for You Got to Post More Often: Brian Dijkema

Best Blog of a Former Resident of Dorm 5 who is Now in England: Jennifer Van Breda

Giv'er Shit Award For Outstanding Satirical Wit: Dan Postma

Best Baltimore Blog from an Orthodox Neocalvinist: Gregory Baus

The I Would Amuse Myself for Hours With those Little Springy Doorstoppers - you know, *doyng*dooooyynnnggg* - When I was Your Age So Why Are You So Smart? Award for Young Bloggers Who Are Really Very Intelligent: Summer and Shimmer

The Pieter Award for Outstanding Harsevoorts: Piet Harsevoort
Honourable Mention: Joel Harsevoort

The Great Paitence Award for Individuals Who Don't Mind Being in the Wrong Alphabetical Order on Our Sidebar: Rachel Breimer
Honourable Mention: Naomi Biesheuvel

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Super Bunny

The killer was my friend, a buddy from across the street, named Andy. Andy was a psychotic kid my mother recalls me attempting to throttle at the tender age of three. No, I’m not exactly the most violent person but I suppose Andy brought out my more primal qualities. This particular homicide occurred at my house when Andy was visiting.
On that fateful day, Andy decided that it would be fun if we played with my family’s pet rabbits. I agreed, not realizing what desolation this bunny entertainment would cause. My brown rabbit wasn’t good enough, no, Andy went for the my sister’s albino which, incidentally, I was not allowed to touch. So, we played with the rabbit, and being boys, the rabbit’s inherent cuteness and our excitement over it’s delightful rodent antics soon wore off. Andy, his mind always amusing itself in the pub of inspiration, suddenly came up with this inebriated idea, “Hey, let’s play super bunny!”
Andy could ride a two-wheeler, had an impressive amount of he-man figures and he was in kindergarten; of course his idea was a good one. So, I agreed.
Of course, Andy hadn’t really thought to wait for my assent and had already grabbed the rabbit by his back legs and begun to spin it about. This particular rabbit was surprisingly aerodynamic and soon curiousity got the better of Andy and he started to wonder, like most criminally-minded five year olds would, if this bunny could fly on it’s own. The first flight was a mild success, with the rabbit spinning clumsily into the air and flying for several seconds only to be influenced by the insistent pull of gravity and plummeting back into Andy’s arms. Andy was pleased with the triumph of his first launch and swung the long white body between his legs and into the air once again. The rabbit went higher this time, performing a few more athletic gymnastics in the air this time before finding refuge in Andy’s crushing embrace once again.
I suppose I should’ve been hit by some moral urge about this time to tell Andy to stop playing “super bunny.” The thing was that I had started to believe in super bunny. Super albino rabbit had had two successful flights and if he was anything like the super man I knew, this bunny could deflect bullets off of his chest and leap over tall buildings and had more to worry about from kryptonite then being throne six feet above the ground by a five year old boy.
So in my naive belief I kept silent and the bunny began his third flight. Launched into the air the white ball of fur completed one, two, three rapid rotations and then started heading down. This time, however, Andy’s hands remained passively at his sides, waiting for the bunny to take its flight under its own locomotion. The rabbit, unaware of Andy’s plan, continued helplessly towards the ground. The rabbit was half-way throught its fourth rotation when it’s head struck the ground. There was a brutal squeek and a sickening crack as the rabbit’s neck broke. The body followed with a thud and the rabbit lay quite still and quite dead, or at least mostly so. I poked the rabbit and it remained inert. I touched it, prodded it but it did not respond. Andy looked at his handiwork in wide-eyed amazement, “Uh, I have to go now . . . bye John.”
I shrugged, smelling death on the creature but not realizing it. I left it where it slept and went inside, an accessory to the barbarous flying death of my sister’s favourite animal.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Karl Marks

I've polished off my paper on Karl Marx's vision of the future and now, in honour of this momentous occasion, I've decided to post a picture of the man. Incidentally, he's holding up my proposed grade.

Monday, April 05, 2004


- It has been a while since I've done an update so I'll do one.

- Actually, the real reason is my mind has been sucked dry by parasitic papers.

- After doing a quick search on the internet I've found a fingernail that looks distressingly like my own. Apparently its called Onychomycosis and it's fungal.

- Maybe you don't want to shake my hand afterall.

- My oma is over. We went to "Mozart Madness" on Friday and she really enjoyed it.

- My grandpa turned 80 on Friday.

- I watched "the Rundown" on Saturday and for all those people who insist that the Rock can't act, you're right.

- I liked the movie though.

- I'm a dog according to the Chinese calendar.

- I hate exams, I can sit for eight hours with a book in front of me but I won't really be studying.

- People who aren't fourth years shouldn't sign up in the column reserved for fourth years for appointments to see the registrar. I'd be angry if I hadn't signed up so late.

- Wait, maybe I should be angry. Okay, I'm a little bit angry.

- Four dead mice in twenty-four hours in the den Boer house, how about that? That cat is good for something.

- Talk radio sucks.

- My house has five computers in it - not counting microchips I don't know about.

- My grandpa said the word niggeroe when I was at his house on Sunday. I think he was trying to say negroe. He has a thick accent.

- He said that they like to eat carp. It's hard to be angry at that old man, but I was for a little while.

- Discombobulate, great word. Underused, I'd say.

- If you can be discombulated can you be combobulated? Probably not.

- I have a sister at Redeemer. People are often surprised to learn this, but I do. She's two years older, a year ahead, and twice as smart as me.

- I remember in grade four my teacher pulling me to the side (he had taught both of my older sisters) and saying, "your sisters never rough-housed in the back, why aren't you more like them?"

- I hope my masculinity had something to do with that.

- I did play with barbies once, I pulled off their heads in misogynistic rage and threw them, naked, into the fake fireplace. I feel a little bit bad about it now.

- My girlfriend used to rip the heads off barbies, too. This was after giving them severe haircuts.

- I learned a bit about diabetes last week from Brian Dijkema. Man, it sucks.

- B.B. King has diabetes. Great music.

- Maybe there's a correlation between low blood sugar and the blues.

- Well, I'm going to bed. Goodnight.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Some More Leacock

Today Brian Dijkema shared one of Stephen Leacock's absolutely hilarious stories with me - the one about the fifty-six dollar deposit in the bank, if that means anything to you.

Here is some more Leacock:

Mr. Malthus (just the opening, it's a long poem. You all know Thomas Malthus, right? He's the famous professor of political economy and clergyman who taught that the earth could only support so many people)

"Mother, Mother, here comes Malthus,
Mother, hold me tight!
Look! It's Mr. Malthus, Mother!
Hide me out of sight."
This was the cry of little Jane
In bed she moaning lay,
Delirious with Stomach Pain,
That would not go away.
All because her small Existence
Over-pressed upon Subsistence;
Human Numbers didn't need her;
Human Effort couldn't feed her.
Little Janie didn't know
The Geometric Ratio.
Poor Wee Janie had never done
Course Economics No. 1;
Never reached in Education
Theories of Population, --
Theories which tend to show
Just how far our Food will go,
Mathematically found
Just enough to go around.
This, my little Jane, is why
Pauper Children have to die.
Pauper Children underfed
Die delirious in Bed;
Thus at Malthus's Command
Match Supply with true Demand.
Jane who should have gently died
Started up and wildly cried, --

The Social Plan

I know a very tiresome man
Who keeps on saying "social plan."
At every dinner, every talk
where men foregather, eat or walk,
No matter where -- this Awful Man
Brings on his goddam Social Plan.

The Fall in Wheat, the Rise in Bread,
The social breakers dead ahead,
The economic paradox
That drives the nation on the rocks,
The wheels that false abundance clogs --
And frightens us from raising hogs, --
This dreary field, the Gloomy Man
surveys and hiccoughs, the Social Plan.

Till simpler men begin to find
His croaking aggravates their mind,
And makes them anxious to avoid
All mention of the Unemployed
And leads them even to abhor
The people called the Deserving Poor
For me, my sympathies now pass
To the poor Plutocratic Class.
The crowd that now appeals to me
Is what he calls the Bourgeoisie.

So I have a Social Plan
To take him by the Neck,
and lock him in a luggage van
and tie on it a check
Now, how's that for a Social Plan?

Some Leacock quotes:

"If I were founding a university I would begin with a smoking room; next a dormitory; and then a decent reading room and a library. After that, if I still had more money that I couldn't use, I would hire a professor and get some text books."

"A half truth, like half a brick, is always more forcible as an argument than a whole one. It carries better."

"Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it."

"I detest life-insurance agents; they always argue that I shall some day die, which is not so."

"Newspapermen learn to call a murderer 'an alleged murderer' and the King of England 'the alleged King of England' to avoid libel suits."

"Many a man in love with a dimple makes the mistake of marrying the whole girl. "

"Lord Ronald said nothing; he flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions." - actually that's from a story he wrote called Nonsense Novels.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004


Imagine these are eyebrows ---> _ _ -- -- _ _ -- -- _ _ -- -- (down, up, down, up, down, up)

(see how they dance?)

Ok, now imagine that you're sitting in class and you've just heard these words from him, "Sorry I'm late . . . an immigrant called me, right out of the blue!"

Now imagine these eyebrows dancing again.

This is the HVD that we all love.

Monday, March 29, 2004


During the summer I have a job cutting grass. My boss, a man I have a tremendous amount of respect for, makes copious use of the word "ignorant." Ignorant is a word that can be applied to wet grass, wounds, shoddy landscaping, farts, litter-bugs, and dog shit. Difficult customers, Ancaster punks, and massively obese men in belly shirts can also be labelled as ignorant. Basically ignorance is something to avoid, sort of like the perfume section in a department store.

Before I met my boss I only used the word ignorant to refer to people who were uninformed and I'm sure this is the definition that most people are accustomed to. I have to admit that I'm very ignorant about a lot of things in this world. In fact, the more I learn the more I become exposed to my own ignorance. There's far too much information for me to process and, unlike those memorable high school days, I no longer have my mind wrapped around life, the universe, and everything in between. How I pine for those days of ultra-enlightement.

There's nothing wrong with admitting ignorance. The best policy when drowning in information is to stop and ask questions. Most people are more than willing to explain exactly what they're talking about. The worst thing to do is to nod your head knowingly when, in fact, you have absolutely no idea what they're talking about. I sometimes nod my head knowingly when I don't hear what someone is saying and I've already asked them to repeat themselves three or four times but that' s different. That's just because I'm hard of hearing, not because what they're saying is beyond my comprehension. At least I don't think so. I can't be sure since I've never actually figured out what these people are saying. I mean, they could be explaining complicated mathematical agorithms and all I do is sit there nodding my head knowingly. Either that or they're asking me what my name is and all I can do is nod my head. I'll never know.

Anyhow, I don't mind ignorance. It would be impossible to learn if ignorance didn't exist. I'm happy to learn new things everyday and I don't mind saying, "oh, I never knew that." What I hate, however, is when people try to hide their ignorance behind pseudo-knowledge. My girlfriend's father formerly drove a taxi. As a taxi driver he was subject to much small-talk. Often customers, noting his accent would ask, "so, where are you from?" "Burundi," he would answer, "do you know where that is?" "Yeah-yeah," the customer would smile knowingly, "I do." "It's in South America," my girlfriend's father would state matter-of-factly. The customer would nod, "Oh yeah, right by Brazil, right?"

Ignorance is malignant when it doesn't recognize itself.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004


From J.C. Boogman's "The Netherlands in the European Scene, 1813-1913."

"The same flabbiness and passivity which characterised the attitude of the upper classes in general during the revolutionary crisis of the year 1813 is to be noticed when we look at their economic activities in particular. The past - that is to say, the glorious seventeenth century - was an obsession with many notable Dutchmen of this generation. One may even say that they were enslaved by it. It afforded them beautiful arguments to avoid adapting themselves to changing circumstances. In the eyes of many foreigners the starchy Dutchman of that time, with their lack of creativeness and imagination, with their obstinate clinging to old traditions looked rather curious, not to say ridiculous. The Germans, especially, were not sparing of sharp criticism. In their opinion the Dutchman, the Chinaman of Europe (as he was called sometimes), was the embodiment of the narrow-minded, greedy philistine."

Saturday, March 20, 2004

He Asked For It: An Ode to Chris Crookall

In the tradition of the rambling rhymes of my ancestors:

Oh, Christopher John Paul Winston Crookall you once had a beard
and, my friend, I have to say that without one you look a bit weird
I remember those first-year days in far-off dorm thirty-six
when your chin was bald and you really didn't seem to mix
when you confounded us all with your wiley ways and devilish tricks
when your disastrously messy room caused an inspection by Hans Blix.

I understood, Chris, when you had trouble remembering our names
but by second semester there was no excuse, none of us was "James"
and I was John, not the puffy haired guy, you'll have to remember
and I don't think you had your roomate's name down until December
and that's bad because we knew your full name at least by November
and what's worse is I had to remind you of my name the following September.

I remember your interactions with poor Mark's cantankerous girlfriend
when she phoned that one time I thought that that was surely the end
you said he was out gallivanting with girls and I think you should as well clubbed her
because when she heard that she was enraged and began to angrily blubber
and ask who you were only to hear, "who me? Why it's Bob the Shrubber!"

There were more instances I think of from that highly memorable year
and there's one in particular that never ceases to fill me with cheer
with that loud and annoying bottle, your roomate was quite a boob
and that's why I was so happy we filled it with boullion cubes
so that as he slurped loudly he spat out the water liked the polluted Danube*
as we giggled in the living room while watching the tube

That's about all about that I can say at this time
about Chris Crookall and our life of dorm crime.

*The Danube is the second-longest river of Europe (after the Volga). It rises in Germany, then crosses Austria (it waters Vienna), Slovakia (it waters Bratislava) and Hungary (it crosses Budapest). It then forms the serbo-croatian border, crosses Serbia and waters Belgrade. The river then forms the border between Romania (North) and Bulgaria (South). It then enters Romania, forms a part of the border with Ukraine before entering the Black Sea through a large swampy delta which is an important natural reserve.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Some Stephen Leacock

"Not but what there was opposition at first. The clergy, for example, who accepted the Mariosa House and the Continental as a necessary and useful evil, looked askance at the blazing lights and the surging crowd of Mr. Smith's saloon. They preached against him. When the Rev. Dean Drone led off with a sermon on the text "Lord be merciful even unto this publican Mattew Six," it was generally understood as an invitation to strike Mr. Smith dead. In the same way the sermon at the Presbyterian church the week after was on the text "Lo what now doeth Abiram in the land of Melchisideck Kings Eight and Nine?" and it was perfectly plain that what was meant was, "Lo, what is Josh Smith doing in Mariposa?"

For Richard Greydanus:
"Some men, I suppose, terminate their education when they leave their college. Not so Dean Drone. I have often heard him say that if he couldn't take a book in the Greek out on the lawn in a spare half-hour, he would feel lost. It's a certain activity of the brain that must be stilled somehow. The Dean, too, seemed to have a native feeling for the Greek language. I have often heard people who might sit with him on the lawn, ask him to translate some of it. But he always refused. One couldn't translate it, he said. It lost so much in translation that it was better not to try. It was far wiser not to attempt it. If you undertook to translate it, there was something gone, something missing immediately. I believe that many classical scholars feel this way, and like to read Greek just as it is, without the hazard of trying to put it into so poor a medium as English. So that when Dean Drone said that he simply couldn't translate it, I believe he was perfectly sincere."

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

An Interesting Question

A friend of mine posed an interesting question today. Of all the people in the world that you haven't met which living person would you want to sit down and chat with? This is a difficult question and I found it hard to come up with a decent answer.

One person said that they felt that all the interesting people were dead. In that case, maybe Francis Fukuyama was right and Thomas Carlyle was wrong. Although I guess a great man (person) doesn't necessarily have to be interesting and an interesting person doesn't necessarily have to be a great man (person.) I should also probably read Francis Fukuyama before I start talking about him. Either that or talk to Pieter Harsevoort or Jared Wilms (sp?). If the dead are more interesting than the living it is only because we've romanticized them. Anyhow, what I'm trying to say is that there are plenty of interesting people this planet. In fact, I'd venture to say that every person is interesting. Even you.

Of course, I think that while the majority of people would be interesting to talk to and would have a lot of insight to share there would be a few people who would be exceedingly dull to talk to - unless I gave them truth serum. Now that would add a whole new dimension to this question wouldn't it? There's a number of living people I'd like to sit down in front of me while they were under the influence of truth serum. Just so that the matter doesn't become overcomplicated, I'll just let the people I want to meet lie all that they want.

The difficulty of this question, for me, lies in the fact that every person is unique and every person has a story. The ones that we think are the greatest or most interesting are, in the end, just as human as everyone else.

Now, back to the question at hand. My first mindless response was, "Britney Spears!"
I was, of course, attempting to tell a joke. My choice was quickly condemned but then the subject of Britney Spears had come up and it took considerable effort to direct the energies of the group back to the question at hand.

Several people said that they would love to meet the pope. Oh! how the spirits of our Calvinist ancestors cry out in agony. I actually wouldn't mind meeting the pope myself. I don't know if he'd be my first choice, though.

The question asker said they would like to meet Bono or the pope. I wouldn't mind meeting Bono.

I ended up saying Nelson Mandela. I'm sure we could have a very interesting conversation, but I'm no longer sure if he'd be my first choice. I've been thinking that I'd also like to meet Romeo Dallaire who seems like a swell guy. There's no real connection but right after I said Nelson Mandela, I wondered what it would be like to talk to Osama bin Laden. I would like to pick his brain for a while and then maybe kick him in the teeth.

In the end, I have to say that I'm still puzzling over this question.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The Irony

Arrived home at approximately 4:00pm only to discover E.H. Kossman's History of the Low Countries had arrived. An arrival, I should add, exactly one week after the the due-date of the take-home test on that same book.

Friday, March 12, 2004

How can the same people that promote multi-national corporations as a panacea condemn developing countries for a lack of innovation and corrupt government?

Wednesday, March 10, 2004


Here at Boerishbwoy we strive to make your blog reading experience both a memorable and efficient experience. That is why we are committed to answering all of the many queries we receive daily from our millions of readers.

- Why do you have to lie?
Here at Boerishbwoy we are firmly committed to the concept of truth and all that might possibly entail. If you do not agree with the opinions, beliefs and facts espoused on this site then we must advise you to do a thorough self-examination and come to grips with your own self-deception.

- Obviously you tiny blog site does not have millions of readers, is it not a lie to say that you do?

- Boerishbwoy has a readership of ten at best. How does this number expand into a million?
Here at Boerishbwoy we are firmly committed to the students of the world completing their math homework on their own. If you wish to use the expertise at Boerishbwoy to engage in what amounts to academic dishonesty you can forget about it.

- Why are you talking in first person plural, isn't Boerishbwoy maintained by one person, namely John den Boer?
Yes, Boerishbwoy is allegedly maintained by one person and, yes, officially that person is John den Boer. We are qualified to answer any questions you might have about him or his site.

- Sometimes when I look at the Boerishbwoy blog I see idiotic ideas, how do I fix this?
When you arrive at the Boerishbwoy site and are suddenly overwhelmed by the stupidity of a post quickly visit this site and then return. You'll immediately find that the site has reasserted its former intellectual glory.

- How many brothers and sisters does John have?
John has zero brothers and five sisters.

- Five sisters! Does this explain his slightly effeminate mannerisms?
Shut up.

- the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
What do you mean, an African or European swallow?

- Dear Boerishbwoy, Help! I recently moved in with my cheating boyfriend. When I tearfully explained to my boyfriend that he had never told me that he was unfaithful he carefully explained to me that he had told me at the beginning of our relationship that he was a philanderist. I looked the word up in the dictionary and, after I found the intended spelling, quickly realized that it was not someone who gives a lot of money to charity! Now I'm in love with my boyfriend's massively obese neighbour. What do I do?
Next time you get the chance pick up that dictionary look up the word obtuse. You'll find that it is a word that doesn't just apply to angles greater than ninety degrees.

Monday, March 08, 2004

I went to see Prof. Vreugdenhil speak on Post-colonial Africa several weeks ago. Her presentation was extremely interesting and I find it unfortunate that she has not yet had the opportunity to teach a course on East African history yet, as this is her specialty. Anyhow, there was a young woman sitting in front of me who, before the presentation had begun, recited some sort of protest chant. She said she had learned this rather anti-establishmentarian chant at some sort of "radical cheer workshop." Good ol' Brian Dijkema was sitting nearby and said something like, "I think we should examine the religious roots of our cheers before we shout them out."

"Religous roots, what do you mean?" she had a bewildered look on her face, "what religous roots? It's not religous."

Brian Dijkema began to explain himself very carefully when she said, "What are you talking about religous roots? Advertising is evil!"

Brian Dijkema gave a Brian Dijkema smile and said, "Ok, I guess you're right then."

I like the way Brian handled this situation. I found it pretty funny at the time, but looking back I don't see how he could have reasoned with this young woman. She didn't want to hear what he had to say and he knew it. What do you do when you can't even dialogue with someone?

Sunday, March 07, 2004

The Colour Blue

blue - c.1300, bleu, blwe, etc., from O.Fr. bleu, from Frank. blao, from P.Gmc. *blæwaz, from PIE base *bhle-was "light-colored, blue, blond, yellow." Replaced O.E. blaw, from the same PIE root, which also yielded L. flavus "yellow," O.Sp. blavo "yellowish-gray," Gk. phalos "white," Welsh blawr "gray," O.N. bla "livid" (the meaning in black and blue), showing the usual slippery definition of color words in I.E. The present spelling is since 16c., from Fr. influence. The color of constancy since Chaucer at least, but apparently for no deeper reason than the rhyme in true blue (1500). Blue (adj.) "lewd" is recorded from 1840; the sense connection is unclear, and is opposite to that in blue laws (q.v.). Blueprint is from 1886; the fig. sense of "detailed plan" is first attested 1926. For blue ribbon, see cordon bleu under cordon. Blue moon emblematic of "very rarely" suggests something that, in fact, never happens (cf. at the Greek calends), as in this couplet from 1528:
Yf they say the mone is blewe,
We must beleve that it is true.

Some of the more observant visitors to my blog may have noticed a slight aesthetic change. I have painted over the earthy colours and made my blog extremely blue. There are a number of reasons for this change. First of all, my misguided confederate friend, God bless him, has recently redecorated his blog and in order to stay relevant I was forced to do some redecorating. Secondly, the colour blue apparently reflects my Dutch heritage. I'm not entirely certain how true this is but my girlfriend recently told me that, "you Dutch people love the colour blue." Therefore, in a show of ethnic pride I have swathed my blog in blue. Thirdly, my favourite colour happens to be blue. This may have something to do with my second reason but blue is, by far, the best colour out there. Fourthly, God created the sky and made it blue. The reason God did this is that he also feels feels that blue is the greatest colour of the spectrum. If God thinks so, so should you. Fifthly, I have used the colour blue so that the rage created by any of the offensive things I write on my site will be dissolved by the serene sea of blue that envelops the entire blog.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Something else I wrote in OAC writer's craft. I remember this was from the class where we had to write out a dialogue and then add a narrative later. This is what I came up with:

"Do you have a light?" the man asked anxiously.
"Do I have a light?" the elderly fellow glared at the man.
"Yeah," the man answered, "that's what I said."
"I might have a light somewhere," the old man waved his arm vaguely.
"Could I borrow it?" the man prodded.
"I never said I had a light," the old man denounced.
"Oh, I thought you said you did," the man fingered the cigarette in his mouth.
"Are you calling me a liar?" the old man snarled.
"No," the man stepped back.
"Do you wanna step up or something," the old man thrust his head forward, "you think you're the top dog? You think we're all gonna tap along to your ridiculous rooftop dance, Mr. Astaire?"
"No," the man replied, "I just want to light my cigarrette."
"Yeah, and how about you insult everyone while your at it," the old man countered, "yeah, that would be good."
"I'm sorry," the man apologized, "I don't really need a light that badly."
"Then why are you asking? You trying to be a pain in the ass or what?" screamed the old man in a staccato spray, "You think you can call me names and ask me for a light when you don't need one? How about you ask me for my kidney too, huh?"
"Ok, calm down man, I just wanted a light," the mad declared with a tinge of annoyance.
"Oh, so now you want a light again," the old man fumed, "freakin' psycho!"
"I don't want a light!" bellowed the man.
"Ok, Mr.-I-can't-make-my-mind-up," the old man waved a gnarled finger in the man's face, "why don't you just give up, huh? Why don't you just come to the realization of just how futile your existence is?"
"Ok, forget I asked," the man sighed, "forget I said anything."
"Yeah, I'm gonna forget how you've insulted me," the old man spat, gnashing his teeth, "why don't you just rub my face in elephant dung and tell me to forget that?"
"It's not that bad, really," the man mumbled.
"Oh yeah, and it's wasn't that bad when Elvis died and it wasn't that bad when I had five hour surgery to remove that five-pound ball of lint from my stomach," the old man's face was red with passionate anger, "yeah, there you go wise-guy, you some kind of commie fairy?"
"Yeah, ok. Whatever," the man retired, "bye."
"What, you're just gonna go?" the old man squited hatefully, "you think this is some sort of badly-dubbed foreign film that you can just walk out of?"
"Yeah, I'm obviously disturbing you," the man muttered, taking a step back.
"Oh . . . ok," the old man appeared disoriented for a moment, "so you don't want this match?"

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Group Work

Ever since the kindergarten days of glueing cheerios to brightly coloured sheets of construction paper, I have been familiar with group work. Group work can be a positive learning experience in which you learn how to work with a diverse group of individuals. Group work can also be an exercise in frustration and futility, mainly because of the following group members:

1) The Misguided Enthusiast: The misguided enthusiast takes on an inordinate amount of the work load and with joyful abandon pilots the project, kamikaze style, in an unprecedented direction. Before it can be stopped, you are standing in the smoldering ruins of what used to be a presentation on refugees but mutated into a presentation on immigration.

2) The Apathetic By-stander: The apathetic by-stander drifted into your group like a ball of dust and, interestingly enough, shares the same level of energy, responsibility, and emotion as that ball. Ask them to contribute and they disperse in an apathetic cloud of evasion.

3) The Sincere Nodder: The sincere nodder looks up at you with their earnest eyes and with whole-hearted abandon nod their head at every single request you make of them. Then, with treasonous glee, the nodder malevolently and actively does absolutely nothing.

4a) The Iron-fisted Dictator: The Hobbesian sovereign of group work, the dictator refuses to acknowledge the concerns and questions of the rest of the group. With an iron will and a heart of stone the dictator directs each person in exactly what they must do. Revolution usually follows.

4b) The Bickering Dictators: The bickering dictators cannot agree on the direction of the project, resent eachother immensely, and stubbornly refuse to relinquish their positions of authority. Once again, revolution usually follows.

5) The Overworked Martyr: Usually an A student, the overworked martyr isn't too hard to work with until well after the project is finished. This is when the martyr brings to the teacher's attention the fact that they've done almost all of the work. Maybe they did, but they wouldn't let anyone else do anything of significance out of an irrational fear that the idiocy of their fellow group members would seep into their project.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Right now at this very minute I should be writing a take-home test for HIS 457 on that Kossman book that is still somewhere lost in the vast uncharted depths of the international mail system. Yes, I know it will come and I know that this means it will come on Wednesday March the 10th, the day after I hand in the test. Stupid book, I loathe you, your tardiness, and, most of all, your expense. I may just burn you when you finally arrive.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Um, I'm Actually Not Sure What This Entry Will Be About Just Now

Alright, I've now decided that this blog entry is going to be all about stream of consciousness. That's problematic in that I'm not actually typing as fast as I think and I'm not going to be entirely honest about what I'm thinking for example I could be thinking right now that my feet stink which they do and I wouldn't want to mention it because maybe the next time you saw me you would realize just how much they do stink. I'm serious, they smell really bad, I'm not joking around here. Of course, I'll wash them before we next meet and maybe put some Fabreze in my shoes - that should help, right? Stream of consciousness is extremely difficult, I don't think I'm not entirely sure if anyone can really truly relate their stream of consciousness onto the paper screen whatever you want to call it. I hope my punctuation isn't too bad because I'm writing very fast in an fruitless attempt to catch up to my thoughts. I know I should stop writing about the process of trying to write a stream of consciousness because you really want to get down to the nitty gritty thoughts that are plaguing my mind other than such details such um how do you say? such such such such boring? No I'm looking for a different word. Maybe I can add punctuation later? Right? That would work, that way I don't have to worry so much. I wonder if J.D. Salinger did that and I wonder if I spelt his name correctly. I hope so, it simply wouldn't do . . . wow, that thought was going nowhere you idiot! Now for something completely different I should think of something exciting so that this entry doesn't go down as completely asinine and boring. Once a teacher called me asinine and said it wasn't really an insult. Then he had me look it up in the dictionary and read it out for the class and, yes, he was embarassed when it turned out it was somewhat of an insult. Of course, I was really being asinine in the class wait no, he said my comments were asinine, which they were - incidentally. My nose is loud, I mean it makes a loud noise when I'm typing. I don't have a cold but my nostrils are slightly impeded and when I try to think hard and well maybe more when I'm just relaxed I breathe deeply like I'm in meditation or something. Of course, I'm sure that Buddhists don't sound half as annoying as my nose. I mean it's even annoying me and I own it. My nose is a fairly big one, substantial, if you will. I like it, I think everyone should have big noses, they're very distinguished. This is actually what I feared what happen well maybe this isn't the worst that could happen, maybe it would be worse if I just started cussing in my thoughts . . . . .. . (deleted for content) . . . . ok, now that I'm done with that, I mean sometimes it's just like I say to myself "don't think of the yellow truck" and of course I'm going to think of this truck that is yellow and how much I would want a vehicle of my own without having to pay big money for it. I like to go to Hawaii and when I say that, I don't know why I do because I really think it would be very expensive and I'd rather go somewhere warm and cheap, like um, I don't know really but maybe some day I'll go there. Well my heart is bothering me again, that's no good and I think maybe I should get a new one. I think maybe -stupid nose - I think I wonder if the basement here can ever be adequately heated. My fingers always get cold when I type for too long. I probably have typed too long because this is kind of fun and really it doesn't take too long because I think I can type at about 45 words per minute which is decent, I think, for not making too many mistakes. Of course it's nothing when you're trying to keep up with your thoughts which are impossible to record anyways because just when I was typing the previous sentence I was thinking at the same time that my arm is itchy a little bit and that my legs are kind of aching and that is about it. My thoughts really aren't that complex but I do sometimes think of two things at once. For example, I was just thinking while I wrote that sentence that I was surprised when someone mentioned Selassie in class today. I mentioned it to him and said I was impressed with his knowledge of the Italian attack on Ethiopian and he actually asked if I was Ethiopian. Well, that was odd, I don't think I look particularly Ethiopian, although some people think I look Hispanic or Arab or even Jewish (whatever that looks like) I'm pretty sure that I look like me but I think a Dutchman looks like a lot of things because a Dutchmen, historically, is a lot of people. I'm sure that makes absolutely no sense but that's alright because I think maybe you can make sense of it. I make sense of my thoughts everyday so maybe you can give it a try. Of course, right now I'm kind of making sense of my thoughts anyhow, right? Yeah, so that's about it, I think maybe I should shut it now, seriously.

Thursday, February 26, 2004


- I haven't done an update in a while, I'm not sure I'm even doing it right.

- When I say "right" I mean, of course, the way I used to do it.

- When I say "the way I used to do it" that of course means "the right way."

- Today in Modern Political Theory Graham Ware compared Dalton Macguinty to Adolf Hitler.

- I'm considering amputing the finger with the offending/offensive nail.

- Once again, I missed Bob Marley's birthday. I'm sorry, Bob.

- There's at least three people I am in the process of adding to my Template.

- Maybe I'll wait until that number reaches five.

- Rob Joustra was severely criticized by Richard Greydanus today in Modern Political Theory for not following "in the spirit of Hobbes."

- Micah Tavares from my first year dorm was engaged this past reading break to his beloved Audrey Fawcett and Gord O'Coin from my second year dorm was engaged this past reading break to his beloved Janine Geerlinks.

- There's actually been several more recent engagements which I can't think of/don't know of.

- I have not been recently engaged despite the fact that I have been with my girlfriend for about as long as some of these guys have been with their girlfriends added together.

- Hmmmm.

- My sister's cat is scaring me, why does she stare at me so?

- I just received my Christmas bonus.

- I'm glad humans aren't perfect, but why can't I be?

- The concert tonight was quite good.

- Happy Birthday Micah Van Dijk! If I had've known I would've embarassed you in front of the class.

- Rob Joustra would not rescue me from a burning barn.

- Stop staring!

- I'm one of those annoying people who sign into MSN and immediately sign out. Yeah, that's right, what are you going to do about it?

- I also occasionally sign in and immediately set my self to "Away" despite my obvious presence in front of the computer.

- I have never, not even once, won a game of Minesweeper.

- I had what Prof. Van Dyke dubbed a "senior's moment" in HIS 457.

- When I say I haven't won a game of Minesweeper you should know that I have played it on the easy setting.

- The ride with Rob Joustra to Ottawa was stupendous.

- The ride back on the Bus . . . well, let's just say that when I was drifting in and out of sleep and out of the corner of my eye spotted the metal lid of some sort of dump truck flapping in the air and yelled, "oh shit!" I became slightly self-conscious.

- One of the highlights of my day was discussing the Trojan horse with Richard Greydanus.

- Sometimes people know my name and I don't know theirs and I feel like an ass.

- Sometimes I forget people's names who I've known for years and I wonder if I'll someday have Alzheimers.

- I try to eat copious amounts of fish and engage in crossword puzzle solving. Apparently that helps.

- Sometimes my sister's cat makes a sound like a retarded pigeon.

- Fred Astaire was quite a dancer.

- I don't like using exclamation marks but I use them anyways.

- If you wanted to get into that sold-out concert at Redeemer today, all you had to do was take a black marker and draw a nice x on the back of your hand. Security was tight

- A woman once said to Bernard Shaw, "If I was your wife I'd poison your coffee." Bernard Shaw replied, "If I was your husband, I'd drink that coffee."

- The last entry wasn't really an update, it was more of an anecdote that was floating around in my mind today.

- Well, goodnight.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

The Heretical Tolkien Post

I hesitated, at first, to create this post. I know for a fact that if I somehow misrepresented the literature of J.R.R. Tolkien my comment system would be attacked as if by a pack of rabid wargs. Allow me to explain myself.

First of all, let me explain where I'm coming from. In my seventh year, disillusioned with the plastic adventures of brother and sister bear and - quite frankly - scared of the surreal world of Dr. Seuss (we made up later) I demanded that my mother find something else to read me before bed. My mother chose the ominously titled "Lord of the Rings." At first I was confused, the only Lord I knew lived on a puffy white cloud and yelled in a booming voice at naughty children. This new Lord must be one of those false gods or maybe God also had some very important rings he was Lord over. The Lord of the Rings? I imagined, in my heretical six-year-old mind, the white bearded God sporting large hoop earrings.

After quickly explaining the meaning of the book's title to her outraged son, my mom began reading the books. I loved them almost immediately and became enthralled with Tolkien's world. Later, for Christmas, I received the books as a gift and read them voraciously. All this to say I am not a Tolkien-hater.

The reason I am creating this post is to address an important, and often ignored, aspect of Tolkien's writing. J.R.R. Tolkien sought to create a mythology for the English such as the other nations had. Tolkien wrote at a time when the British Empire was in the final stages of its dramatic collapse and Tolkien was very much an Imperialist.

"Hold on!" you're protesting, "how can you say these things without actually having researched the genius we know as J.R.R. Tolkien?"

Well, I must admit I'm just conjecturing from what I've read in Tolkien's books -

"A little bit irresponsible of a History student, is it not?" you glare at me.

Ok, sure, but I'm just trying to explain . . .

"Conjecture," you spit.

Conjecture, that J.R.R. Tolkien, being an Imperialist, was somewhat, um,

"Somewhat, um, what, you tongue-tied ignoramus?" you snarl.

Do you mind? As a firm believer in British Imperialism, I conjecture that J.R.R. Tolkien was a racist.

"Don't you have it backwards, you slathering slack-jawed salamander? Didn't you conjecture that Tolkien was a racist from his book and, therefore, an imperialist? Get you conjecture straight, you blockheaded blunderbuss!" you bellow ferociously.

Easy, ok, yes that is how it worked, I just wanted to break it to you easily.


Apparently, it didn't work.

"Ok, so how was Tolkein a racist?" you ask after an uncomfortable silence.

Ah, so now you're curious. As you know, J.R.R. Tolkien drew maps of his world. If you examine all of his maps you will see that J.R.R. Tolkien has divided to world quite handily. The Shire corresponds with England (and the hobbits are very English), Gondor and Rohan are European and Mordor, the realm of evil, corresponds roughly with the Middle East. Now, if you examine the maps further and delve deeper you'll see that Harad, the land of the black Haradrim who allied with the dark lord Sauron, corresponds with modern Africa. To the East, beyond Mordor, lie the Variags who allied their evil asian pirate selves to Sauron. Near the end of the Return of the King, Aragorn sees it as his duty to lead the men of the world, like a good British Imperialist, into the new age.

"Is that it?" you mutter.

No, there's more. The orcs are described as ugly, dark creatures with slanted eyes. Any of the men in Tolkien's world who display evil characteristics have these slanted eyes. Smeagal begins his life as a white river-hobbit but when he is twisted he turns black. Evil is always associated with black and good is always associated with white. The elves are good and are called "fair" while the goblins and orcs are described as "dark" and "black." Saruman is Saruman the white until he turns evil and he adopts a cloak of many colours. Does Tolkien have something against all the colours getting along? Why does Saruman cloak of many colours have to signify evil?

"You're reaching."

Okay, maybe I am.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The Inherent Problem With Nullity

Lately, I have been pondering the significance of naught. I often think of naught although I've been known to flesh out naught into bagatelle and trifle for no good reason. Sometimes these trifles turn out to be fribbles and flummeries, but more often than not, people listen to me explicate the merits of minutiae and actually believe I'm talking about items of paramountcy. I can understand the confusion, as my trivial inanities and explorations into the fascinating world of naught are sometimes delivered with liberal doses of humbug and bunco. I sometimes insert great loads of naught into papers, although this tendency has decreased as marks often reflect exactly what went into the paper. Unfortunately, this engaging entry on zot will have to end here, as I have a whole lot of naught to do.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Thomas Hobbes: An Alternative Interpretation

Thomas Hobbes, pictured above in all his cranky glory, has blessed my day with his run-on sentences and archaic language. I finally came to believe that I had summed up his argument in chapters twenty and twenty-one of the Leviathan well when I suddenly came across a website which entirely destroyed this notion.

Ladies and Gentleman, contrary to popularly held scholarship, Thomas Hobbes wrote the Leviathan as a warning against the great beasts - the European states. "If you want to understand the kingdom of God, the kingdoms of this world, and the need for a living prophet, but you don't trust LDS writers, read Hobbes' Leviathan."

A Summary of the Book 'Leviathan':
The book has four parts.

Part 1 discusses what mankind is capable of.
Part 2 uses this to conclude what a kingdom (a sovereign power) can be.
Part 3 suggests how to apply this in a real kingdom, a Christian Commonwealth.
Part 4 discusses the world's churches, how they are not the kingdom of God.

Anyhow, it was a mormon site, so although I was amused, I wasn't entirely surprised. Still, I'm shocked that Prof. Koyzis, would promote such a blantantly mormon book at Redeemer University College.

I'd post a link, but it really isn't worth reading anything there.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

"Don't forget your history;
Know your destiny:
In the abundance of water,
The fool is thirsty."
- Robert Nesta Marley

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Ehh, What's Up With the Degrading Stereotypes, Doc?

The original Elmer Fudd:


Thursday, February 12, 2004

My Favourite Things

1) Conversations which seem to take a large bite out of time and then immobilize it.

2) Working outside when there's a warm breeze on a sunny cloudless day.

3) Taking a walk with my girlfriend.

4) Handing in a paper that I'm proud of.

5) Putting my head on a pillow after a hard-day's work.

6) Community.

7) Sitting on the couch reading a good book while consuming a bowl of potato chips.

8) A good movie with a good friend.

9) Listening to a favourite album while doing homework.

10) Learning.

11) A hearty laugh.

12) The fellowship of believers.

13) Cheesecake (preferably baked.)

14) The bisou of my one and only.

15) A hot chocolate on a cold day.

16) God's love.

17) Friendship.

18) Diversity.

19) Meat.

20) The rhythm and the bass line on a good reggae song.

21) Justice.

22) Large family dinners.

23) Paintings.

24) The colour blue.

25) Writing.

26) Sketching.

27) A good fun competitive board game.

28) Spitting out an entire sentence without stuttering, pausing, or losing my train of thought.

29) Telling a good joke.

30) Playing soccer.

31) Experiencing a new culture.

32) Neo-Calvinism and the reformational worldview.

33) Stories.

34) Swimming in the pool on a hot day.

35) Travelling.

36) People-watching.

37) A cold drink of Coca Cola Classic or Vanilla Coke (regardless of season)

38) Plays.

39) History.

40) World events and politics.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

A History Club?

On Monday and Wednesday of this week the two candidates for Redeemer's much-needed Canadian history professor visited. Both candidates are strong - although I have my preference - but we noticed when the students had an opportunity to speak to them, that we had an incredibly good time talking about historical topics. Dr. Krygsman even brought up the idea of a history club.

Redeemer doesn't have much in the way of academic clubs. And when I say not much I mean none that I know of. The idea of having a history club certainly appeals to me and I know I'm not alone.

What would a history club do? Well, these elite ponderers of history would not just sit around with HIS 221 prop-pipes and discuss history. Oh no, they'd also need to nurse a pint or two.

A history club would be a forum for history majors and lovers of history to share and discuss their insights, research, and favourite anecdotes. The history club could have organized debates on historical issues - i.e. claims to the heritage of Kieven Rus or the Confederates vs. the Yanks or British Imperialists vs. the Mau-Mau or Richard the Lion-hearted vs. Saladin.

The history club could make trips to Canadian historical sites (or perhaps the ROM) and perhaps forge connections with local historical appreciation groups. The history club could also raise historical awareness at Redeemer and perhaps work in conjunction with the promoters of Black history month and lend a helping hand there. There's a lot of potential fun, and I'm sure there's plenty of interest, the only difficulty is getting started.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

My Star

There was a United Parcel Service truck in front of my house this morning. I was just on my way to the bus stop and when my mother said, "there's a package here for you John." Right away I was elated as I was certain that this was my Kossman book for my Dutch history class. All of this elation melted rapidly melted away when I saw the package. Could it be? Could I have made some sort of mistake again? I was sure that I had ordered the book with the correct title, what could have possibly gone wrong? Surely Kossman's thick book could not be wrapped in this tall flat cardboard package, or could it? Perhaps I had accidentally ordered a commemorative E.H. Kossman History of the Low Countries promotional poster.

I swore at the cardboard package as I ripped it open with a pair of scissors. Then, all of my pent-up frustration dissipated as I saw exactly what I had received. My girlfriend had a star named after me. Sure, the star isn't legally the John Paul den Boer star until the 14th of February, but I'm sure it'll go through. Now, you can't see this star with your naked eye, its a rather dull star. I'm sure this star is bright enough when you're right up close but from here on earth you need high powered binoculars or a telescope to see it. In case you're wondering the location of this star, it's just a little to the right of Orion's left arm, right by his hand. The exact location is RA5h53m15.47s D18 46'42.25" and its original number is 02047100862. Right now, I'm putting my full faith in the International Star Registry in the hopes that they haven't pulled a fast one on me. I mean, how can I possibly check to make sure some guy in Kapaskasing hasn't named my star after his cat?

A star, my very own star. I'm hoping this star collapses on itself so that CNN can broadcast something like this, "today, the John Paul den Boer star collapsed on itself, becoming a black hole and sucking in half of Orion's belt. John Paul den Boer was unavailable for comment."

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Stuck in Between

“If I had a history book and the Bible,” he was explaining, “I might as well throw the history book away because the truth is in the Bible.”

There were about twelve of us in the basement of a townhouse in Burlington. We had been invited to a party which was, in reality, a Bible seminar. I was born and raised in the Christian Reformed tradition but had switched over, with my family, to a Charismatic church. It was precisely at this moment that I was deeply regretting the denominational change. They may not like drums, but at least the Calvinists were able to differentiate correctly between their parties and their Bible studies. I was struggling at this time with my belief in the infallibility of Scriptures and, for some unknown reason, had believed that the eighteen-year-old leading this Bible study could help restore my faith in them. After showing, from the very Bible I was doubting, that the Bible was indeed reliable, he proceeded to explain to me that the history books I loved so much were of little worth since the Bible imparted all the wisdom I needed.

He did not deny the value in history, but he greatly depreciated it. I’ve found this trend distressingly common in Charismatic churches. Pastors often preach that we must go directly to the source, the Bible, and forget about the creeds and doctrines from the past. The truth is written there as plain as day, they explain, we don’t need the confusion of the doctrines of man. With one fell swoop, the struggles of countless Godly men and women throughout the centuries are dismissed. The reasoning seems to be that Christians can simply dismiss the rich tradition of the church and carry out the exegesis of Scriptures with their own wisdom.

This reasoning is fundamentally flawed. Just as a scientist will not dismiss all of Newton’s theories and begin where he started, a Christian should not dismiss all of the creeds of the church nor all of the writings of the church fathers. Charismatic pastors hit upon an important truth when they point out that the Scriptures are infallible while teachings, doctrines and creeds are fallible; but in dismissing the wisdom of the church fathers outright they are not only throwing away valuable wisdom but are also ignoring the very roots of their own traditions. In addition, while Scriptures might be infallible the interpretation of them certainly isn't.

This became abundantly clear when I attempted to point out that a certain teaching being expressed at the “party” was influenced by the writings of Augustine. I should have kept my arrogant mouth shut, but being quite young and rather obtuse I continued my explanation. Before the night was out I had been dismissed as a heretic and relegated to hell. The fellow leading the lesson simply could not believe that his interpretation of a passage was influenced by a great philosopher who had been dead for centuries.

Here is my quandary, I will often find myself bristling and muttering to myself at some of the teachings being frantically proclaimed from the Charismatic pulpit. I also find the absolutely blind right-wing simple-mindedness being preached alarming. There is a grassroots movement among many belonging to the Charismatic church to promote the state of Israel, not because they particularly love Jews, but because they want the temple restored so Jesus can return. The flags of the United States, Canada, and Israel can be found at the front of many Charismatic churches, and the sanctity of this Trinity is unquestioned. Which is odd, because the same pastors who are proclaiming George W. Bush to be a modern-day prophet and saint also loudly bewail the perceived rampant immorality being consume and promoted by Americans. There's a sort of duality where the America represented by the Declaration of Independence, the flag, the American political institutions, and Republicans are sacrosanct while the America represented by Hollywood, MTV, secular music, liberals, and Muslims are a source of wickedness of Babylonic (yes this is now a word because I made it one) proportions.

At the same time, I find the worship, fellowship, and openness to the Holy Spirit absolutely invigerating. The worship at Charismatic churches can be filled with nauseatingly repetitive songs but often the songs are powerful in their praise and worship. While theologically weak, Charismatic churches are not spiritually weak. I know many people treat the Charismatic focus on the work of the Holy Spirit with dismissal and contempt but I have felt the power of the Holy Spirit and I know that however much I despise the weak preaching I love the acknowledgement of the Holy Spirit.

On the other hand, at a Christian Reformed Church I often feel as if I could drop off to sleep during some of the droningly uninspiring singing. This is not to say that CRC churches can't sing, I've heard them sing well and inspirationally many times. I have felt the Holy Spirit while worshipping at CRC churches as well but what I'm trying to say is that there is a certain tendency in CRC churches to drone through hymns without much enthusiasm or commitment. While I find the Charismatic dismissal of tradition vapidly stupid I sometimes find the CRC focus on tradition doltishly dense. I am tired of being dismissed from a theological discussion because I don't know the Canons of Dordt.

More importantly, however, I have fallen in love with the CRC's Redemptive vision. I love it. This vision is so inspiring that I want to attack every corner of Creation with redemption, I want to work towards restoring true shalom to the earth, and I want to engage in every vocation at once.

Perhaps I can create some sort of hybrid.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Pet Peeves

1) People who water their driveways.

2) Urban Sprawl and the irresponsible development of Hamilton's surrounding area.

3) In the spirit of number 2, the Meadowlands.

4) Ancaster snobs.

5) My fingernail.

6) Bad journalism.

7) American imperialism.

8) The comparison of homosexual unions with inter-ethnic unions.

9) Pop music.

10) When someone has two fat sad-looking dogs that they never take care of but insist on keeping so that these dogs can shit all over the grass before you mow it.

11) Racist jokes.

12) Finding insects in my food.

13) SUV's.

14) Large, dense, roiling, swarming crowds.

15) Country and Western Music.

16) Individuals who insist on talking about things they know nothing about.

17) George W. Bush and his puppeteers.

18) A continuously runny nose.

19) The rash under my nostrils which I receive after a continuously runny nose.

20) Cats.

21) Consumerism.

22) Leg spasms in the middle of the night.

23) Oversimplification.

24) Overcomplication.

25) Bad sequels to good movies.

26) Bad adaptions of good books.

27) Losing my train of thought half-way into a sentence.

28) Bad remakes of good songs.

29) Making a sudden giant leap of thought in my mind, expressing it, and then realizing that the person I'm talking to has no way of following me.

30) Heavy Metal music.

31) Getting my hair caught in a treebranch, a la Absalom, while cutting grass.

32) The sudden realization that I've done something competely and utterly stupid.

33) Getting popcorn kernels caught between my teeth.

34) Stubbing my toe.

35) Being interrupted during a discussion.

36) Dismissal of the poor as lazy.

37) International Arms dealers.

38) When an individual insists on using the "f" word as an adjective before every noun.

39) Throbbing headaches.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The Top Ten Reggae Musicians in My Life

1) The Hon. Robert Nesta Marley - Marley's heartfelt social commentary and burning passion for social justice and the upliftment of the oppressed can be felt in many of his songs. I love Bob Marley's conscious lyrics but I also enjoy his love songs (I try not to wonder which particular woman he might have been singing to.)
Favourite album: Survival
Favourite song: One Drop

2) Mark Myrie aka Buju Banton - Buju Banton follows in the tradition of Bob Marley with the conscious tinge to many of his songs, but with a difference. Banton doesn't just sing but also djs (a sort of Jamaican rap) in a gruff gravelly dancehall style.
Favourite album: `Til Shiloh
Favourite song: Close One Yesterday

3) Peter Tosh - Once a member of the Wailers along with Bob Marley and Bunny Livingston, Tosh quit when Marley was promoted as the frontman. If Marley was Martin Luther King jr., some say, then Tosh was Malcolm X. His solo career was mildly successful but his songs live on. Peter Tosh (Macintosh) played a guitar shaped like an M-16 rifle, sang revolutionary songs, was notoriously difficult to get along with, and was shot in the head in a botched robbery attempt in 1987.
Favourite album: No Nuclear War
Favourite song: Mama Africa

4) Lucky Dube - His voice sounds a lot like the voice of Peter Tosh but Lucky Dube is a South African Zulu. I'm unfamiliar with his traditional Zulu albums, but I do know his reggae and I love his powerful songs.
Favourite album: Prisoner
Favourite song: Remember Me

5) Alpha Blondie - Originally from the Ivory Coast, when Alpha Blondie visited Israel he would sing in Arabic for the Jews and in Hebrew for the Palestinians. His beliefs are a complex hybrid of Islam, Judaism, Rastafarianism, and Christianity which I can't begin to understand. Nevertheless, Blondie's unique voice, wonderful instrumentation, and complex mix of musical styles and of French, English, and his native tongue (among others) are remarkable.
Favourite album: Jerusalem
Favourite song: Ragga Gangster

6) Toots Hibbert - The man credited with coining the word "reggae" in the first place, Toots Hibbert's unique blend of reggae is very enjoyable.
Favourite album: Monkey Man
Favourite song: Perfect Peace

7) Sizzla Kalonji - If there's one word for Sizzla it's prolific and that has a lot to do with the ridiculous amount of albums he has released. This means that often there is a lack of quality to some of his work which is, fortunately, made up for by his works of quality.
Favourite album: Da Real Thing
Favourite song: I Wonder

8) Beres Hammond - In my opinion, the greatest living reggae singer is Beres Hammond. His collaborations with Buju Banton are priceless.
Favourite album: A Day in the Life
Favourite song: Putting Up a Resistance

9) The Marley Children - Damian "Jr. Gong", Stephen, Ziggy, Ky-mani, and Julian Marley. Say what you will about the children of musicians embarking on musical careers themselves, Ziggy, Stephen, Damian, and Ky-mani are talented and their music stands on its own.
Favourite album: Halfway Tree (Damian and Stephen Marley)
Favourite song: Tomorrow People (Ziggy Marley)

10) Bounty Killer - He's brash, he can be irresponsible with his words, but his skill as a dj is astounding.
Favourite album: My Experience
Favourite song: Look
Beenie Man - Versatile and skilled, Beenie Man's rivalry with Bounty Killer early in their careers has been eclipsed by the success both djs now enjoy.
Favourite album: The Doctore
Favourite song: Murderer (feat. Barrington Levy)

Tuesday, February 03, 2004


After examining this website I'm left with the impression that good Christians should only entertain themselves with Mandy Moore albums and reruns of Leave it to Beaver.


Wednesday, January 28, 2004

An Essay on the Importance of Dadaist Art

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah; blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah? Blah-blah blah blah blah: Blah blah blah, blah blah blah, blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah! Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah, blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah? Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah.

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah -- blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah; blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah-blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah, blah blah blah, blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah, blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah.

Blah blah blah blah?

Blah blah!

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Shake Hands with the Devil

At last I will give you my long-promised reflection on Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire's book, Shake Hands with the Devil: the Failure of Humanity in Rwanda. It seems that Dallaire has gained popularity — I saw Roméo Dallaire on a news program this weekend, and I even saw his face in the usually lacklustre Spectator a week ago. The reason for the sudden surge (if it can be called that) of Dallaire in the media is not just because of the publishing of his book but also because Dallaire is testifying in the Rwandan International War Crimes Tribunal. The newsprogram was mentioning that Dallaire's credibility was under attack this week as the defence attempted to dismantle his character by painting him as an unstable character prone to mental breakdown. As many people already know, Dallaire suffered a dramatic case of post-traumatic stress disorder. My hope is that these personal attacks will not work and that the war criminal, Colonel Théoneste Bagosora, the Hutu extremist, RGF member, and leader of the ministry of defence, will be served justice.

I could go on and on about the importance of this book but I’ll let Dallaire speak for himself:

"The following is my story of what happened in Rwanda in 1994. It's a story of betrayal, failure, naiveté, indifference, hatred, genocide, war, inhumanity and evil. Although strong relationships were built and moral, ethical and courageous behaviour was often displayed, they were overshadowed by one of the fastest, most efficient, most evident genocides in recent history. In just one hundred days over 800,000 innocent Rwandan men, women and children were brutally murdered while the developed the world, impassive and apparently unperturbed, sat back and wateched the unfolding apocalypse or simply changed channels. Almost fifty years to the day that my father and father-in-law helped to liberate Europe—when the extermination camps were uncovered and when, in one voice, humanity said, "Never again"—we once again sat back and permitted the unspeakable horror to occur. We could not find the political will nor the resources to stop it. Since then, much has been written, discussed, debated, argued and filmed on the subject of Rwanda, yet it is my feeling that this recent catastrophe is being forgotten and its lessons submerged in ignorance and apathy. The genocide in Rwanda was a failure of humanity that could easily happen again.
After one of my many presentations following my return from Rwanda, a Canadian Forces padre asked me how, after all I had seen and experienced, I could still believe in God. I answered that I know there is a God because in Rwanda I shook hands with the devil. I have seen him, I have smelled him and I have touched him. I know the devil exists, and therefore I know there is a God. Peux ce que veux. Allons-y.” — from the Preface.

Some may wonder what Dallaire is referring to when he says that he shook hands with the devil. Dallaire is speaking of his meeting with the leaders of the Interahamwe, a militant wing of the ruling party which was largely responsible for the genocide. Dallaire asserts that he removed the bullets from his gun before he met them so he could resist the temptation to shoot them. After meeting these leaders in order to negotiate humanitarian transfers, Dallaire felt he had negotiated and exchanged pleasantries with the devil. I believe the title of Dallaire’s book is extremely apt, as he received very little information on the motivations of all the various nations, people, and organizations he had to deal with, and with this lack of information came a confusion over exactly who he could rely on.

I am by no means an expert on Rwanda or Burundi and the historical accounts of the genocide and the reasons for the genocide I have read often have extreme and shocking differences. As a student of history I have never seen the need for historiographical research as in the varying accounts of the horrible events that led to the Rwandan genocide. The French blame the RPF, Marxists blame the Tutsi and downplay their extreme losses, realists simplify and try to simply blame tribal hatreds, Tutsis blame Hutus, Hutus blame Tutsis, Belgians blame Dallaire, Republicans blame Clinton and the UN, and on and on the game goes. I like Dallaire’s approach best, he blames everyone. Now, certainly there are differing degrees of responsibility — Madeline Albright certainly doesn’t have as much blood on her hands as a Hutu or Tutsi genocidaire, but the blame does fall on many shoulders. Blinded by racism, ideology, hatred, and apathy the French, the Belgians, the Americans, the Tutsi, the Hutu, the UN, the media, and the entire international community share some of the blame. Dallaire himself has stated that he will die with the guilt of the genocide on his shoulders. None of us can shrug off the genocides in Rwanda and Burundi with a simplistic, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Because any of us who are Christians know the answer to that question. Now you and I certainly don’t share much of the blame for the genocides but we do have a responsibility to speak out and seek justice when tragic events of this nature occur.

I don't think I can give the book a fair treatment in just one small blog entry and I recommend that everyone read it. Not only is Dallaire a true Canadian hero, but the Rwandan genocide is a tragic event in history which should lead everyone to sober reflection.

Who deh?