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2004 - Year of the Commonwealth

By Oldefar ·
It?s a new year, and time to turn our focus away from American issues and towards a greater understanding of the Commonwealth.

The recent revelations regarding the reckless introduction of nuclear weapons into the Falkland Islands area during the British war with Argentina really got me wondering. What could possibly justify such risk to an otherwise risk adverse and civilized nation? This made me think that perhaps I have missed key cultural elements of Commonwealth countries, an unhappy thought given that they make up around a third of all people.

In many of the posts on world issues during 2003, Americans found themselves at odds with those from the Commonwealth. At times, the discussions resemble the Old West feuds between cowboys and sheep herders! With little regard to logic or facts, these feuds had all the maturity of nursery school battles.

I began with some of the past discussions. Clearly, the Commonwealth faction perception is that all American actions are driven by oil or money, and that the American public follows along like a nation of sheep. If true, would there be a similar source behind the actions of other nations? Could there be a prime driver for the actions of the Commonwealth nations? A thread that binds those 54, excuse me, 53 nations of the former British Empire? Some single issue that would cause the tweed suits in London, the descendents of kilted clansmen, the Indian, the Pakistani, the shepherds in North Africa, the ranchers of New Zealand, and the stockmen of Australia to flock together? And if so, how would that effect a war in the Falklands, a place noted mostly for its 2,200 residents and their sheep? What link could there possibly be between that and a fascist Argentine government heading a country best known at that time for harboring former Nazis and being a major sheep producer?

I have to tell you, this was leaving me feeling a bit mutton headed. This poor old US public school educated brain of mine was just gathering wool, but somehow I was hopeful I could lift the blanket of confusion off if I just kept at it.

I started doing a bit of research. Along the way I became side tracked with the long term unrest over Kashmir. I started thinking of my high school days, when a slow dance with a cheer leader in a tight cashmere sweater was the height of? well never mind. At my age, such thoughts could cause a coronary. Besides, India and Pakistan are making progress in resolving their differences including the issue of Kashmir. Then I moved over to the Middle East. Those Afghan and Persian rugs are really something. Carefully woven designs in woolen yarn, creating not only wonderful patterns but stories. Still, the common thread eluded me.

And how did Canada fit into all of this? Sure, I have lived along our common border for half my life. Sure, I have spent many summers enjoying the fishing north of Toronto and in Quebec, and autumns on the Canadian side of the great lake they call Gitche Gumee. Yes, I have enjoyed lunches at the Polish Hall in Windsor, and Friday nights at the Canadian ballet. But what did I know of Canada? Of its western provinces like Saskatchewan where sheep production is growing while cattle production declines. My answers weren?t to be found in the hockey on CBC that I watched, nor with Captain Jolly or Bozo?s Big Top or the Windsor studios where they were produced. Perhaps more recent events would help me find that thread, like NAFTA. NAFTA which opens trade from Canada to Mexico, another major sheep producer.

Sometimes answers are to be found in the everyday. The language, the literature, the humor. On to some of those well loved BBC comedy shows. Take MPFC. There were the lumberjack songs, all in their woolen shirts, but I saw no clues. The skits about the businessman having an affair with a sheep. Hmm. Between Clinton and Bush, it seems everything is driven by sex or money here in the US. Still, to lead the world into a nuclear holocaust like lambs to slaughter, there must be some major underlying factor. Besides, Thatcher was in power at the time, and I don?t recall any skits involving rams.

Taking a break, I read some articles about green house gasses. Seems methane is becoming a real issue in global warming. A natural gas, it is a byproduct of livestock, and sheep in particular.

While I pondered this, word of a new outbreak of mad cow disease, this time in the US, grabbed my attention. What a bizarre world! Cows eating sheep parts and developing in effect Alzheimer?s, and the ability to pass it on to people who eat the cows. I see the USDA has traced those cattle back to our Canadian friends. Was Reagan a victim of conspiracy?

Reviewing what I learned: the richest members of the Commonwealth all are involved in sheep production; Commonwealth nations among the top 10 world sheep producers include Pakistan, India, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa; how there is a strong movement within the Commonwealth to expand ovine production in their developing member nations; how world hot spots involved with sheep production include Syria, Iran, Algeria, Egypt, Sri Lanka, and Iraq; how the UK (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales) have significant sheep production; how Canada is expanding its own sheep production while cattle and other livestock production declines; and how Argentina, another of the top 10 world leaders in sheep production, was considered worth risking a nuclear holocaust over the Falkland Islands.

Feeling a bit sheepish I began to wonder if it is possible we have had the wool pulled over our eyes all this time? Could there be a previously unrecognized conspiracy on a level greater than the alleged Illuminati working ever so slowly to take over the world? Will methane, in the form of ovine flatulence, be the source of energy and so the source of power in the current century? Is mutton, rather than money, the fuel of globalization?

As an American I can only say ?Naa-a-aa-aa, can?t be? and keep seeking understanding.

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Invented by Nazis or Donny and Marie?

by Oz_Media In reply to Oldefar

Well I see line dancing as originating with Hitler's goose step.

Either that or Donnie and Marie, it's a little bit country, a little bit rock n roll. Just as Shania's music is, it has no real place. Shania is great don't get me wrong. Mutt Lang's influence has put her OUT of rock n roll and also OUT of country. It's country music with Mutt's trademark drum sound found throughout all the Def Leopard tunes.

I see line dancing as a way of letting white people dance without looking dumb, or so they think. If you do as I do, nobody will look at you, better still, why don't we ALL stand beside one another then we can't see each others mistakes and awkward attempts at white rhythm?

Pink Floyd describes it best in the album Animals with thier mulitple versions of SHEEP and DOGS that covers thier ideas of clones (SHEEP) and government officials (DOGS).
"Meek and obedient you follow the leader
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel
What a surprise!
A look of terminal shock in your eyes
Now things are really what they seem
No, this is no bad dream."

-Roger Waters


"And after a while, you can work on points for style
Like the club tie, and the firm handshake
A certain look in the eye and an easy smile
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to
So that when they turn their backs on you
You'll get the chance to put the knife in

You gotta keep one eye looking over your shoulder
You know it's going to get harder and harder and
harder as you get older
And in the end you'll pack up and fly down south
Hide your head in the sand
Just another old man
All alone and dying of cancer ...

...Deaf dumb and blind, you just keep on pretending
That everyone's expendable and no one has a real
And it seems to you the thing to do
Would be to isolate the winner
And everything's done under the sun
And you believe at heart, everyone's a killer"

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A canadian perpective... Eh!

by msamson In reply to 2004 - Year of the Common ...

I quite enjoyed the read of the initial post on this thread... I also caught a few references where other questions were being asked about what it was that made it so hard to keep this thread going without mentionning the US...

Being canadian, it's not very hard for me to seperate Commonwealth from US... On one side, we have remnants of the British empire strewn every which way across our landscape... Figures on our money, statues everywhere, and constitutional issues which aren't likely to leave us anytime soon... On the other side, we have, and I have to be honest, a rather overbearing neighbor who just loves to try to push us around and make fun in a almost malicious way... Yes, I'm generalising... I know some amazing US citizens but I also know some pretty stupid ones too... My point is this: It just seems to me that whenever someting important happens in the world, the US always has a knee jerk reaction when it comes to its own involvement in the affairs of others whether it be justified or not... The self proclaimed greatest nation on earth is ever trying to dictate when and how things should be done elsewhere... And unfortunately (IMHO) the prime seat of the Commonwealth (Great Britain) has joined its "just" cause in the middle east.
It might then just be a sign of the times and of things to come that, like Canada, many countries who were once staunchly aligned with both these powerfull entities are now speaking their own minds in matters that truly do not concern either.

Maybe it is time to start looking at problems within instead of trying to always meddle with the problems of others...

Just a thought!


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Just to clear this up with everyone

by Oz_Media In reply to A canadian perpective... ...

I haven't changed my alias, msamson is just another Canadian with similar vierws to mine.

By posting here, you can see my alias is the same throughout the thread and wasn't changed for the above post.

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Sure you are

by mrbill- In reply to Just to clear this up wit ...

So you are saying that of the 10 people in Canada two of them are posting here, a likely story. `:]

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One died we're down to nine.

by Oz_Media In reply to Sure you are

And the 9th one I think is really a polar bear in disguise.

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The Polar Bear in disguise

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to One died we're down to ni ...

Is he the onew who appears in the Bundy Rum comeriacls over here in Australia?

I always thought he had a funny accent but now I understand.

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Sorry Colin

by Oz_Media In reply to The Polar Bear in disguis ...

I'm sure there's some good smiles there but I' haven't heard nor seen the Bundy Rum commercials.
They don't advertise alcohol in Canada, pretty much just Labatts, Kokanee and Molson Canadian beer, which I suppose SOME may classify as alcohol, but not a Brit.

In fact the running joke here, locally anyhow when you don't like someone, you just offer them a CAN of Kokanee. First of all it's CANNED beer, secondly it's our bottom feeder's brew.

"Hey can I offer you a beer" (stifled laugh).
"sure man THANKS!"
"Here you go" hand 'em a can of Kokanee
"Hey you A&%$&#E !! What the **** is this??"

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That proves nothing

by maxwell edison In reply to Just to clear this up wit ...

Just because your alias hasn't changed, it doesn't mean that you can't post under multiple aliases. Not that I'm suggesting you have multiple aliases, but it's sure possible.

I remember a while back, probably a couple of years now, TechRepublic used to have an indicator of how many members it had. It was like the billions of burgers served on the McDonalds signs. The membership number just kept growing and growing until it finally reached a totally unbelievable number, into the tens of millions if I remember correctly. There were even several threads started questioning the number and making fun of it. TR removed that feature, and probably for good reason.

It was a pretty universal assumption that one person, for example, would create more than one account, perhaps even dozens of accounts. Why would a person do this, you might ask? Well, a person might do it in his or her quest to accumulate the most valuable, yet worthless, TechPoints. It was even proven by several members that one of the top techpoint earners would post answers to his/her own questions, thereby assigning tens of thousands of techpoints to him or her self.

If you're wondering who it was, by the way, I won't say exactly who. But I've never seen that person, that particular alias, ever post a message in the discussion forum. (And it wasn't dklippert, who I haven't seen post here; it wasn't Chas; it wasn't Joseph; and it wasn't me.)

Therefore, it is certainly within the realm of possibility for one person to have multiple aliases. Some might do it to reinforce themselves with points (techpoints) in the Q&A, while others might do it to reinforce themselves with points (talking points) in the discussion forum.

But you wouldn't do that, would you Oz? No, I didn't think so.

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Further bifurcation of the original topic

by Cactus Pete In reply to That proves nothing

We've split off a bit, haven't we?

For the record, the login creation scheme wasn't me. However, I have admitted before to being part of the reason why you don't get techpoints for reading articles anymore. I figured they would simply create another DB entry for articles you've read so you don't get point sthe second time you read it, but they just did away with this feature all together.

I currently have more than 4.2 million techpoints to spend. The only question I've ever asked was worth 50k, and I think all of the aliases mentioned in the above Maxwell post got a share... Unfortunately, the answers were few, and not from personal experience, so I didn't gain much that I didn't already know. But the points went out anyway. I can't believe more people didn't try!

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You have 4.2 MILLION points???

by maxwell edison In reply to Further bifurcation of th ...

WOW! All you have to do is create a second alias, ask yourself a question with a value of a million points, answer it yourself and poof, you leapfrog Chas, me, and everybody else to get to the top of the list. (Not that I'm suggesting anyone actually do it. That's not "the right thing to do", you know.)

By the way, I too have spent a bunch of my techpoints asking questions. A 50k question will indeed attract some attention, and I think I've asked a couple of dozen such high point questions. Some were real questions, some were fun questions. Actually, one of my high points questions generated so much attention that it compelled TechRepublic to reverse a site design decision they made.

(Yes, as usual, the thread has split into a couple of different directions.)

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