Not To Be Trusted With Knives











After a break from the series last week due to my attendance at the pig party, this week’s installment of my BC Premierial series brings us the 10th Premier of the Province of British Columbia: John Herbert Turner.

John Herbert Turner.png Name John Herbert Turner
Born: May 7, 1834 in Claydon, Suffolk, England
Died: December 9, 1923 in Richmond, England
Party: none
Held Office: 4 March 1895 to July 1898
  • was not Canadian Prime Minister John Turner.
  • 1856: came to British North America from England (first to Halifax, NS then to Charlottetown, PEI)
  • 1860: went back to England to marry, Elizabeth Eilbeck, who he then brought to PEI
  • July 1862: reached Victoria, BC, having been attracted to the west by the gold rush, but decided to work as a merchant, which was what he had done out east, rather than as a miner, as was his original intention
  • 1869: was appointed to the tariff commission
  • 1872: was named as a trustee of the Ogden Point Cemetery
  • 1876 to 1879: served as an alderman
  • 1879: acclaimed as mayor of Victoria, a position he served in until 1881
  • 1882: after many years of involvement in the militia, he retired with the rank of lieutenant-colonel
  • June 1882: went to England for an extended stay
  • July 1886: entered BC provincial politics by winning an election as an MLA, representing Victoria City
  • 8 August 1887: became minister of finance and agriculture under Premier A.E.B. Davie, posts he would retain under Premiers Robson and the other Davie
  • 4 March 1895: became Premier when Davie resigned
  • Apparently, he was not so good with money: “Throughout the period that Turner was minister of finance (1887–98), the provincial budget was in deficit each year and by the time he left office the gross public debt had climbed to nearly $7,500,000, a sevenfold increase from 1886.”1
  • He was also criticized for using his political position for personal gain, being involved in a number of business enterprises during his time as Premier; for being at the “beck and call of powerful corporations”1 and for refusing fair representation of the mainland (especially Vancouver)
  • He lost power in July 1898 in a controversial election – the election appeared to be a draw between Turner’s non-party government and the non-party opposition; Lieutenant Governor Thomas Robert McInnes demanded Turner’s resignation, which he didn’t want to give at first, but then gave, making him the leader of the Opposition against Premier Semlin’s government
  • June 1900: was reinstated as the minister of finance and agriculture under the newly elected Premier Dunsmuir
  • 3 September 1901: resigned from provincial politics and became the agent general for BC in England, a post at which he served until he was removed in 1915 to be replaced by recently retired BC Premier Sir Richard McBride, who died in 1917, at which time Turner was re-appointed to this post; Turner then resigned from this post in 1918
  • 9 December 1923: died in Richmond, England

In summary, he was bad with money, seems to have been using his political power for personal financial gain. Otherwise, pretty boring.

Image credits: Accessed from Wikipedia. In the public domain. w00t!

References:
Wikipedia, the reference that has virtually no information about John Herbert Turner either
1Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online



{November 29, 2008}   Photo Meme

Raul tagged me with a meme and this gives me an easy out for today’s post (thanks Raul!). For this, I have to post the 6th photo on page 6 of my Flickr photostream.  Unfortunately, this picture is BO-RING!

IMG_4086 by you.

It’s a picture of my shoe.

Now I’m supposed to tag 6 people. But… meh.  Feel free to do the meme if you want.  I leave it up to you, yo.



It seems that every time I go to Ontario, I come back with the plague.  On the day of the pig party, my sister was totally wiped out by a nasty, nasty cold.  Like, so sick that she went to bed immediately after everyone left (about 5:30 p.m.) and slept through ’til the next morning.

Now I appear to have come down with the same thing.  Sore throat1, headache, runny nose, achy sinuses. My apologies to all the people on the bus yesterday when I had a sneezing fit.

So, since I’m not capable of writing anything coherent today, I give you this video: How Hockey Sticks Are Made:

I hadn’t realized how much of the process was done by hand.

1though not as bas as the sore throat I had last month.



{November 27, 2008}   And speaking of Prime Ministers…

… could we possibly have a new entry in my Prime Ministerial series soon?  You would think, given that we had an election just over 6 weeks ago, that such a thing would be very unlikely.  But, according to the Globe & Mail1, we might be getting one sooner than you think.

Opposition parties are mad that Harper’s government has put forward a fiscal plan that (a) “offers no stimulus package to deal with the economic crisis” and (b) contains “a vow to scrap public subsidies for political parties that would financially cripple every party except the Tories.”  So they are talking about bringing down the Harper government with a  vote of non-confidence.

By putting this plan forward, Harper and the Conservatives* are betting that the opposition parties won’t dare force an election so soon after the last one, especially since the Liberals are still being led by lame duck Dion2.  But it sounds like the opposition parties are saying “hey, wait a minute.  There are more of us than there are of them.  Coalition anyone?” Apparently3 if the opposition parties can form a coalition, they could take control of the government without an election.

The plan goes to a vote on Monday.  Can the opposition parties form a viable coalition by then?  Will the threat of his enemies uniting against him to take his job scare Stephen Harper into changing his plan?  Stay tuned4!

Update #1 (28 Nov 2008): I just read in the Vancouver Sun that Harper’s plan “limits public sector wage increases to 1.5%, with the right to strike suspended.” They are going to take away people’s right to strike? How is that even legal??

Update#2 (28 Nov 2008): The Vancouver Sun now has an article on their website saying “The Conservatives don’t plan on backing down from a controversial proposal to eliminate subsidies for federal political parties, but the government says the measure will not be part of a confidence vote on Monday.”  This is really, really lame.  They ARE backing down if they are making it not part of a confidence vote!!  If they were to truly stand behind it, then why not leave it as a confidence vote??

1Props to Kalev for bringing this article to my attention!
2Apparently, “sources say former prime minister Jean Chretien has been approached for advice on how to massage Mr. Dion’s early exit.” Which is a little rich, given that Chrétien was “massaged” out of office himself.
3and I’m hoping Resident Historian and Chief Political Correspondent Sarah will pop by to explain to us exactly how this works
4Isn’t this way more fun that an system where the leader of the government only changes, predictably, every 4 years?



{November 27, 2008}   Represent!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that Canada has never had a non-white Prime Minister (and nor have we ever had a contender for PM who wasn’t white) and it prompted discussion, some of which can be summed up by “Who cares what race/gender politicians are? I only care that politicians are capable.”  I argued that if all (or the vast majority of) our politicians are white and male, doesn’t that mean that there must be some kind of barriers in the way of non-white and female candidates becoming politicians?  And doesn’t it mean that we are missing out on people who would be amazingly capable politicians, if we are only drawing from the white male pool, leaving all the other pools virtually untapped?

Well, I just listened to this podcast, where philosopher Anne Phillips does a much better job of discussing this whole issue than I do.  Give it a listen!



{November 26, 2008}   My Review of 24 Redemption

Finally got around to watching 24 Redemption.  My review goes something like this: what the hell?

First, there didn’t actually appear to be a plot.  Second, how can it be 3 p.m. in both Washington AND a country in Africa1? Third, why did it look so warm in Washington on the day of a presidential inauguration? Don’t presidents get inaugurated in JANUARY?

The only good thing about this was the movie was the ad for the upcoming season, which featured zombie Tony.

1They were in a fictional African country. Perhaps in this fictional country they operate on Eastern Standard time?



{November 25, 2008}   My Terrible Memory

Exhibit A:

I appear to have forgotten both my blanket (which I brought to keep me warm on the plane) and a jar of honey (from the bees that live on the farm where my dad keeps his birds) at my sister’s place. I realized that I forgot my blanket in the car on the way to the airport yesterday (it was too late to turn back to get it), but I have only just now discovered the missing honey.  I remember wrapping the jar in a plastic bag (just in case it broke in my luggage), but it is most definitely not in my luggage now. I’m sure it’s sitting on the coffee table at my sister’s place.

Exhibit B:

Today at work, I was chatting with a co-worker in her office about logic model development and I told her that, having just recently created an evaluation plan using a logic model, I had a few documents that I could send her to give her a bit of an introduction to the topic.  But I was on my way to go grab a cup of tea, so I said, “I’ll email those when I get back to my office.” And then I switched my ring from my middle finger to my index finger.  It’s sort of like the old tie-a-string-around-your-finger to remember something trick.  I knew that if I didn’t have my ring on the wrong finger, emailing those documents would completely slip from my mind before I even got to the caf to get that cup of tea.

Exhibit B:

Tonight while cooking dinner, which consisted of French fries and a wrap with refried beans/tomatoes/green onions/lettuce/yogurt, I decided that I would also roast a squash for my lunch tomorrow.  So I put the fries in the toaster oven and the squash in the real oven.  The fries needed to cook for 20 mins, so I set the microwave timer to beep for that.  And then I set my stopwatch function on my watch to time the squash, which needed about 45 mins.  In retrospect, I should have set the timer function on my watch to beep after 45 mins, rather than setting the stopwatch to count up, thinking “oh, I’ll look at my stopwatch and once it gets to 45 mins, I’ll remember to take the squash out of the oven.  After 20 mins, I ate my delicious dinner while watching clips of the Colbert Report on the Comedy Network website AND PROMPTLY FORGOT I WAS COOKING THE SQUASH.  An hour and 45 minutes later, I was wondering why my apartment still smelled like French fries. And then I went into the kitchen to wash the dinner dishes and make some tea.  Once there, I wondered why it was so damn hot in my kitchen.  And then I yelled, “Oh my god, I forgot the squash!!”  My apartment didn’t smell like French fries, it smelled like cooking squash. Poor, poor burnt squash.

On a related note, researchers at UBC have recently discovered a new brain disorder called “developmental topographical disorientation,” in which people have trouble orienting themselves in an environment (also known as topographagnosia) despite any apparent brain damage or other cognitive impairments.  It means they get lost really easily.  I’m pretty sure I have this, as anyone who has ever been with me on a trip will attest.  And by “trip”, I mean pretty much anywhere outside my house.  The researchers have created a website and I was going to take their “Test Your Skills” test to see if I have D.T.D., but it’s not up on their site yet.  It says to come back in a few weeks.  I intend to, but I’m pretty sure I’ll forget before then.



“It’s as clean as a button”1.

“She’s so tired that her head could pop off!”

“Mommy says a lot of bad words.”  To which my dad asked, “Does Aunt Beth say bad words?” To which my niece replied, “No. Only your other daughter.”

And my personal favourite was this conversation that we had while she was painting and I was uploading pictures to Flickr:

“Lugubrious,” she said, pretty much out of nowhere.

“What’s that mean?” I said, thinking that it was a word she’d made up, sort of like the name Sposheila2.

She looked at me very seriously: “Lugubrious3 means miserable. My teacher taught me that.”

1Apparently she likes to attempt similies, but doesn’t always get them quite right. My sister tells me that one day she walked into the living room, which had just been cleaned and said, “This living room is as clean as a horse in a living room!”
2Her toys are often named Sposheila. Or Sholo.
3Pretty much everyone I’ve told this story too has said, “Lugubrious is not a word.” But it is. I looked it up.
2I love that “miserable” is the word she uses to dumb down the other word to explain it to people. Because “miserable” is a pretty big word in itself. Especially when she could just say “sad.”



{November 23, 2008}   Pig Party!

Today was the day of my niece’s pig-themed birthday party!

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The menu included “pig slop” (a.ka. soup) and pigaroni and cheese.

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with a pig-in-the-mud cake for dessert:

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The birthday girl blowing out her candles!

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And gets to enjoy the pig cupcake!

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Happy birthday, little piglet!

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{November 22, 2008}   My First Book!

Just received this in the mail the other day1:

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That sounds like an interesting book, yes? I mean, who wouldn’t want to read about prenatal alcohol and bone development?

And wait, what is that there?

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That author’s name looks awfully familiar, doesn’t it?

Yup, that’s my thesis2, in handy book form!

Back in the summer, this publishing company contacted me about publishing my thesis (which they’d found online). At first I thought it was some sort of scam (like they’d require all my banking account and credit card numbers, my passwords, my PINs, my SIN3 and my first born), but I checked into it and it seemed legit. They are a print-on-demand publisher and if anyone buys it4, I get royalties and I also retain the right to publish up to 80% elsewhere5. You can even buy it from Amazon. For the low, low price of $107.53. Seriously.

1Before I left for my trip. I didn’t have time to blog about it, but did have just enough time to snap the pics.
2Technically, it’s my “doctoral dissertation.” I’ve been given hell for referring to it as a thesis before, but I just can’t bring myself to say “dissertation.” It just sounds so snooty.
3for my non-Canadian readers, that means my “Social Insurance Number.”
4Which I am 99% sure won’t happen.
5And since I’ve already published all of my thesis data in scientific journals, I’m not anticipating being able to re-publish anyway.



{November 21, 2008}   My niece can spell IKEA

Is that normal for a 4-year-old?



{November 20, 2008}   Why I Need This Vacation

I promised that I’d snap a picture of my copy of the grant application that I just submitted. Because I knew you’d never believe me about its ridiculous size.  That is me with just one copy of the grant application1.  We had to submit the original, plus five copies.

Ostensibly, that’s a 13 page proposal.  However, 21 CVs, 15 publications, 3 appendices and many, many pages of administrative stuff added to those 13 pages result in the behemoth you see in the pic.

So, yeah, after months of work on that, I feel I’ve really deserved the few vacation days I’m taking to go to visit my family and to celebrate my neice’s 4th birthday. I’m still not done my marking, but I figure that’s what five hour plane rides are for, right?

Update: I added up the pages, plus all the photocopies, and the grand total what I sent in was 4962 pages. Wow.

1Dr. Beth inserted into photo with grant application to give you a frame of reference to judge size.



150 years ago today the Colony of British Columbia was born!  Mind you, the Colony of Vancouver Island was born earlier than that (in 1849) and the two would join together in 1866 to become the creatively named United Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia.  But, no matter.  It’s Happy 150th birthday, British Columbia anyway!

Resident historian, Sarah, passed along the link to this article in the Globe and Mail – well worth the read if you are interested in the origins of BC.  It’s all American miners flooding into BC in droves for the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush, wars with the “Indians” and “headless corpses float[ing] in the Fraser River.”  You know, as opposed to the severed feet we are used to seeing these days.

Me, enjoying the splendour of Joffre Lakes, BC

Me, enjoying the splendour of Joffre Lakes, BC

Fun facts about British Columbia:

  • the province covers 944,735 km2
  • we’ve got quite a variety of climates: from the coast of the mainland and Vancouver Island, which are temperate rainforest, to our desert regions in the Interior
  • our provincial flower is the Pacific dogwood
  • our provincial tree is Western Redcedar
  • our provincial bird is the Steller’s Jay
  • our provincial mammal is the Spirit Bear (a.ka. the Kermode bear)


I was about to write a blog posting entitled “Can’t Blog. Marking Papers.” But that title seemed eerily familiar to me, so I Googled through my blog and discovered that I’ve already used that same title1.  I’m so original.

Anyway.  I’m pretty beat after a long day of a nutrition symposium + lunch with friends I haven’t seen in ages + Christmas shopping + dinner with Kalev, but I’m trying to get some more papers marked before I go to bed because my poor students have been waiting forever for me to mark their papers.  Because I’ve been spending every waking hour working on a ridiculously large grant application that was due yesterday.  I mean, remember when I sent out this report?  That pile is not even as big as one copy of the grant application I just submitted yesterday.  And I had to submit the original plus FIVE copies.  I was going to take a picture of this behemoth report, but we2 were scrambling to get the final package assembled in time for the FedEx guy3 to pick up, so I didn’t have a chance to run back up to my office to grab my camera. I do have my own copy of the submission, so I’ll snap a pic of that and then you can imagine it x5.  Suffice it to say that it filled up nearly two full boxes – the kind of boxes that you get photocopier paper in (you know, with like 10 packages of paper per box).  So, yeah, I killed a small forest and I hope it results in me getting the grant that we were applying for, so I can still have a job.

And speaking of jobs, I have another one and it requires that I go mark some more papers now!

1Or 3/4 of that title, anyway.
2 We = the four people it took to assemble the damn thing!
3Who we had to ask to give us 10 more minutes to finalize our package.



{November 17, 2008}   My New Hockey Stick

Last week I mentioned that I needed a new hockey stick.

So, for last night’s game, I taped up the blade of my old stick’s doppelgänger.  As you can see from the photo (pre-taping), the sticks are almost identical.

Except that the new one doesn’t have the big chunk missing out of the blade.

The new stick didn’t result in my getting any points in our game last night, but we won 7-3, so I’m not complaining!

Me & my freshly taped new hockey stick.

Me & my freshly taped new hockey stick.



et cetera