Friday, 23 May 2008

In Praise of Weddings

WeddingWe have a wedding coming up. While the young couple about to marry is wildly, ecstatically happy about getting married, they keep on moaning that they should have eloped. All the minutiae of wedding planning is driving them crazy, even though they are having a relatively simple, low-key wedding.

I sympathize. But I am glad that they're going through with the hassle and bother anyway. I think it's a very important thing, for them and perhaps even more for the rest of us.

Marriage is undervalued nowadays. It truly is the central institution of a society (perhaps the only institution that is present in every human society in one form or another). And it is a good thing that we take the time to show our solidarity toward anyone committing to it.

There is nothing silly about the tradition of showers, for example. While some of the little games might be, a group of women (and sometimes men) coming together to help set up a new household reminds me of the old barnraisers - a concrete way for the community to lend a hand. There is a group of ladies in our church that think it so important that they show up, presents in hand, to every shower hosted at our church (and it's a big church). And if nobody else does, they'll host the shower themselves. It's a small ministry that most of the church is probably unaware of, but a beautiful one.

The act of physically showing up at the wedding to witness and support the vows is yet another affirmation of their importance. And yes, the gifts too are important, both practically and symbolically.

All the planning and headaches are good for the couple too. It helps cement in their minds that this a major commitment, not to be entered into lightly, and not to be left lightly. So when they moan, I sympathize, smile, and tell them that I'm glad they're doing it anyway. How important it all is might not sink in until they're marrying off their own, but that's OK. Then maybe they will realize that they were doing much more than providing an opportunity for a family get-together.

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Thursday, 22 May 2008

Sanity in the Supreme Court

Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Waddah (Martin) Mustapha is not entitled to damages for psychological damages as a result of seeing a fly in his unopened bottle of drinking water.

I have long been amazed at what trivialities courts consider worthy of hefty damages, although amazed is perhaps too nice a word.
In a 9-0 ruling issued Thursday, the Supreme Court decided that his reaction was exaggerated and that a "person of normal fortitude, a more reasonable person, would have had a more reasonable reaction," the CBC's Rosemary Barton reported from Ottawa.

"[The court ruled] it would have been impossible for Culligan Canada, the supplier of the water bottle, to foresee this sort of extreme reaction that Waddah Mustapha had," Barton said.

The court decided the psychological damages suffered by Mustapha were "too remote" to justify more than $300,000 in compensation Mustapha was seeking, and ordered him to pay the company's court costs.

In this precedent-setting ruling, the Supreme Court has effectively and unanimously declared that psychological damage has to be foreseeable before someone can be held accountable for inflicting it.

A few more rulings like this and perhaps our legal system will actually speed up as the backlog of trivial cases is cleared out and genuinely important cases have a little breathing room.

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Wednesday, 21 May 2008

I Can Has Cheezburger


This blog has become a daily stop for me. And it's too good not to pass on. I Can Has Cheezburger is a cooperative blog that allows readers to submit captioned pictures in the LOLCats tradition. Other animals or amusing pictures are accepted; the current front page has a lioness, a polar bear and a raccoon, in addition to the numerous pussycats. Several pictures are posted daily.


It's like the comics page in the newspaper, but often better.

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