Bruce, Caroline

My Journal Moveth

Well, Caroline is moving her journal, so I thought I might as well do the same. And no, if she told me to jump off a cliff, I would not do it, I would say "Ladies first".

At any rate, my LJ will no longer be posted to, said Bruce, employing his usual impeccable grammar. LJ has been good to me. It's essentially where I met Caroline, since I was reading her page long before I ever talked to her, or even wrote to her in any kind of a personal capacity. I will always credit LJ for being part of what brought us together.

And so I invite you to join me at the new home of my journal,, where the fun, the frivolity, the rants, and assorted twaddle will continue as before.
Bruce, Caroline

Why I Am Not a Feminist

I am not a feminist. A first reading of this statement might conjure up in your mind a testosterone-soaked, beer-guzzling jerk who believes women should be in the kitchen making food, when not serving it.

So is this me? Do I oppose gender equality? Absolutely not: I'm all for it. I believe very strongly that men and women are equals, that women have long faced discrimination and unfair treatment at the hands of men, and that there is still a great deal of work to be done.

So why will I not call myself a feminist? It's because of the word. To me, the word "feminist" does not suggest equality: it suggests replacing one kind of opression with another. I would advocate for some kind of gender-neutral term to describe the much-needed equality between the sexes. I don't care what the word is, particularly, just so long as it doesn't seek to suggest one form of inequality to replace another. We need to show our children that men and women truly are equals, and this won't happen by an overcompensation which in the end, will not solve the problem. True gender equality must be taught, demonstrated, enforced; it must be meaningful and without exception.

To change the word feminism to something more gender-neutral does not negate anything that feminists should be fighting for. All the things being fought for in the name of gender equality are a part of true equality. But if you truly want equality, a most laudible goal, it needs to start with the title you give your cause. If that title is already biased, you've hammed a nail into the coffin of equality before you've even started. Let's make a word for ourselves that is truly equal for all of its people and peoples.
Bruce, Caroline


It was the Thursday before Easter weekend, 1983. In the mail, there were books for me ... books on tape from the CNIB. I was excited, as I always was when this occurred. What would I be reading next?

The book was on one cassette, and it was a title I'd heard before: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I'd heard the first few minutes of the radio series the previous October, and rejected it because of some references to God which I didn't (and still don't) appreciate.

But here we were, it was March 31, 1983, and I was about to give Hitchhiker's</a> another go.

That evening, I got through the introductory material, and from that alone I knew this book truly was funny. I didn't have much time for reading that day, but I knew I'd have lots the next day, so I prepared myself.

The next day, we had a family gathering at my Uncle John and Aunt Anne's, and since there would be no one else my age there, I took my tape player and my copy of Hitchhiker's with me. There I was, in the basement with all the men at the gathering, listening with headphones and laughing. I had discovered Hitchhiker's in a big, big way. I listened as Arthur Dent's house was destroyed while Arthur sat drinking beer in the pub; I listened to my first dose of Vogon poetry; I listened to Arthur protest that he didn't want to go to Heaven with a headache because he'd be all cross and wouldn't enjoy it; I listened as Eddy (The Shipboard Computer) sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" as the ship was in imminent danger of being hit by nuclear missiles; and then I took a break to watch that day's rerun of Three's Company, after which it was time for supper and then time to leave.

That evening, we went to visit my grandma, and I got a bit more reading in. I finally finished the book under the covers that night, excited that a second book was promised. I had fallen in love with the world of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a love affair which continues to this very day.

Since then, I believe I have collected every English incarnation of Hitchhiker's: the original radio series (standard and remastered); the vinyl record series; the talking books from NLS and RNIB; the abridged versions of the first four books read by Stephen Moore; the unabridged audiobooks read by Douglas Adams; the unabridged audiobooks read by Stephen Fry and Martin Freeman; the TV series; the awful movie ... have I missed anything? I played the computer game; I imagined I was on the Heart of Gold with Arthur, Ford, Zaphod and Trillian. I've had Hitchhiker's dreams, I've gotten e-mails from Douglas Adams (before he died). Yes, I love, absolutely love, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and I deeply wish there were more to discover.

Since then, no discoveries in my life - not computers, not the Internet, have filled me with that kind of ... what's the right word, is there a right word? ... of wonder and enchantment as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

I'm 41 now. Definitely not a kid. Is there anything left to discover that will engageme the way Hitchhiker's did? I don't know. I hope so. I would love to relive the magic of discovery.
Bruce, Caroline

Harold Camping: Latest Among Many

So Harold Camping got it wrong, again. There's nothing really new here. Going right back to the time of the Apostles, there have always been people who believed firmly that Christ's return would happen in their lifetime. And among those, there have been the few who believed that they have been granted special wisdom and knowledge and are able to tell you precisely when.

I know many, many people who believe very strongly that Christ's return is iminent. And there's nothing wrong with that, just so long as you don't start contradicting Scripture, and so long as you are open to the possibility of being wrong. The danger starts when people get it into their heads that "no one knows the day nor the hour" somehow doesn't mean what it says, that scholars have gotten it wrong all this time, and that they and they alone have been granted the knowledge to understand what it really means and where the rest of the world and of history has failed.

It's understandable where this all stems from: Christians long for Christ's return. They long for it to such an extent that they will grasp at anything, sometimes, to go on.

When I was a little child, and we had to take long walks, I would sometimes ask, "How many steps do we have to take before we get there?" My parents knew enough to make up an answer ... not lie, but since there was no way of really knowing the answer, come up with a very rough guess. So they might say, "About a thousand steps". This tired four-year-old then had something to count, a goal in sight. I would count steps. At five hundred, I was halfway there ... I had an end to aim for. And I think that we as Christians will often ask God, "How many more steps" - days, years, whatever - "before we can go home?" When we don't get the answer we want, we are disappointed like children, and like children, some of us might make up a number and decide that it's true. But because we're adult human beings, of course, it is more complicated; we have to justify our decision on what the answer is, and we do it through incredibly complex numerology that we are sure has been especially revealed to us by God, showing us that we have the insight that history has lacked and we are the ones who will show the world.

My feelings toward Mr. Camping and the rest of the people who were, are, and will be so sure of themselves in this regard are varied. On the one hand, I regard them with embarrassment, and I struggle against contempt. They really do make the rest of us look stupid. Their actions have deprived many of much, hurt many, offered false hopes to cling to, robbed some of their entire life savings, and have probably caused many to lose faith altogether. Yet at the same time, I can see where these predictions are rooted, the longing, the desperation that leads up to these things, and we as Christians are told to be compassionate to all. That's a very tall order, though, and these days, I'm ashamed to say, the embarrassment and the contempt tend to win out over the compassion. Am I any better than they? I doubt it. History will show just how wrong I have been, and am, about so many things.

But there's nothing new here. Paul believed that Christ would come again in his lifetime, and there have been Christians believing this ever since. But Paul also accepted that he might be wrong, and he is never recorded as having "beaten the 'no one knows the day nor the hour' claus." So I continue to be watchful, as the Bible instructs me to be. Christ will be here when He gets here, and I'll be ready for Him. But I, for one, don't have any special revelation as to when that will happen; and neither, I suggest, do you.
Bruce, Caroline

Smile a Little Smile With Me on Toews On the Waves

This las week has been a week of turmoil, disappointment, even pain for many people. A lot has simply happened, and much of that has been negative.

This week on Toews on the Waves, I want you to help me in the battle against negativity. I want to know from you, what songs make you smile? Songs make us smile for any number of reasons: they may be funny; they may be happy; they may be silly; they may evoke some special memory of a person, place, time or thing; the way the song is performed may fill you with a sese of peace and well-being; or the song may just make you smile for a different reason entirely, or perhaps for no discernible reason at all. Whatever the reason, if you find a certain song makes you smile, I want to hear from you and play that special song for you. It doesn't matter what the style, it doesn't matter when it was recorded; my family-friendly rule applies, but that's it. If you have a song that makes you smile, I want to know about it and play your song for you, if at all possible.

For starters, I've loaded up my playlist with a whole bunch of my favorite songs. But your choices come before my own, so I'll gladly throw out my playlist in exchange for your special songs. Together, we'll counter that negativity, the disappointment, the sadness, the pain, with fun, with friendship, with smiles.

To make your request, to say hi, to let me know you're listening, all of the usual channels apply. You can e-mail me at, you can send a tweet via Twitter to @brucetola, or you can call the request line at (206) 203-3070.

So join me tomorrow as we combat negativity and just have a lot of fun together. You're all most welcome, and I sincerely look forward to spending three hours with you. The fun starts tomorrow, Saturday, at 2:00 PM Eastern, 11:00 AM Pacific, 7:00 PM in the UK, only on the incredible Home of the Fun Guys,
Bruce, Caroline

Beating the Heat

It was a very hot summer in August and early September. A few weeks ago, the temperature got into the high thirties. I know in some parts of the southern United States, the upper thirties (upper nineties in Fahrenheit) is nothing to bet bent out of shape over, but here in Canada, that's ... darned hot.

I must be getting older. Back when I was young and invulnerable, temperatures didn't phase me. But boy, they phase me now.

So thankfully, as of yesterday, the heat has finally broken, though you'd never guess it by sitting in my cubicle. However, when the day is done and I head home, I will be stepping out into an environment which is currently at 11.8 degrees and dropping. Yee-hah! I am so thankful.
Bruce, Caroline


The following contains Christian content. If this doesn't interest you or if it bothers you in any way, you may wish to skip over it.
One of the biggest problems that I see in Christianity is that we seem to think that when God said "everybody", He meant "a lot of people". Surely there were exceptions, and who better than us to discern what those exceptions are?

There's a problem with this way of thinking. I've talked to enough non-Christians to know that this problem is profoundly obvious to anyone from the outside looking in. I daresay the problem becomes obvious to those on the inside if we'll allow ourselves to see it. the problem is that nowhere in the Bible are these exceptions listed, or even hinted at. Strange proposition, but is it possible that when Christ said "everybody", He actually meant "everybody"?

Nowhere is this more evident than in Christ's directive to love those around us. "Render to no one evil for evil" is one example. Notice Christ didn't say "Render to only the worst offenders evil for evil", He didn't say "Render to no one evil for evil unless you're convinced it's justified", He didn't even say "Render to no one evil for evil in my name." He said "render to no one evil for evil", period, full stop, end of directive. Imagine a world in which we followed this directive? Imagine a world in which we responded to evil perpetrated on us with the love of Christ instead?

What about this "love thy neighbor as thyself" business? No, wait, uh-uh, surely he couldn't have meant my neighbors, have you met them? They've got to be the exceptions. Except again, we have no exceptions given. We're not told to love a select group of neighbors, we're not told to make sure that any neighbors we get are "worth loving", we're told to love all of our neighbors, from the jazz musician who plays his bongos too loud at three in the morning, to the kid who throws parties at awful hours, to, gasp, the family who just moved in who may have different beliefs from our own. This point was driven home to me a couple of years ago. After church, I walked into our little grocery store by our building, owned by an Islamic gentleman. When I said I'd been in church, he asked, "Do you pray for everybody in your church?" I remember thinking, that's such a profoundly good question, and the answer had darned well better be yes, or I really need to rethink things. Thankfully, the answer is yes. But it reminded me that Christ's directives on how we are to love those around us do not contain exception clauses.

And what of the Golden Rule? Surely that's a directive to be preached, but we have latitude when it comes to actually practicing it, right? Do unto others as they've done to you, perhaps, or maybe Do unto others as you fear they might do unto you? Those sound pretty good, don't they. Except ... that's not what Christ said. He said "do unto others ... not some others, not most others, not a select group of others of our own choosing, but others, the word "all" being clearly implied. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. There's a lot of responsibility inherent in that last bit. It means we have to think through our responses, our reactions. It means we have to ask ourselves, would we want others to respond to us in the way we're about to respond, were the situation different? It means that so-called righteous indignation, moral outrage, even a sense of social justice is no excuse for the mistreatment of others.It means that, if I claim to follow Christ, if I respond to your actions in a certain way, I give you permission to respond in a similar way if I do those actions ... but it also means that, if that's not how you'd want to be treated, even if you have my permission you won't do it.

Imagine a world in which just a few people did everything Christ told us to do. More specifically, imagine a world in which Christians treated those around them according to Christ's instructions. Imagine if "everyone" meant "everyone", and we all showed the love we are told to have. Imagien if we didn't try to second-guess Jesus by creating exceptions lists for Him, imagine if we just took Him at His word when He told us to do something as straightforward as loving others as ourselves, as rendering to no one evil for evil, as doing unto others as we would have them do unto us.

I'm no shining light in this department. I'm as guilty as the next person of the things I'm accusing other Christians of doing. But maybe an awareness of the glaring problem is a first step toward rectifying it.
Bruce, Caroline

The Frustrations of Being High-Profile

Let's face it, I'm a bit of a higher-profile person than a lot of people are. This doesn't mean that I consider myself in any way better than other people, I most certainly am not, but my name is out there a bit more than many.

By and large, I enjoy it. Having your name out there gives you the chance to meet so many people and to make some incredible friendships. I wouldn't trade these friendships for anything, I'm so grateful for them, and it's humbling that people want to be my friends.

But there is a downside to all of this, too. I first noticed it some years ago, when I wrote an opinion piece in this very blog. It rubbed some people the wrong way, and I was taken to task about it. I had a responsibility, I was told, to be objective in my "technology blog". Problem was, this isn't a technology blog, far from it. This is my personal blog, where I felt I could just sit back and express my opinions, just as so many other LiveJournal users do. I've read some pretty amazing things in the name of freedom of expression here, and they go right under the radar. But I find that if I express my opinions and they go against the grain, I hear about it, and hear about it big-time. And I'm only slightly higher-profile than most, I'm not anywhere near bing one of those big names. What must it be like for them?

I started this blog as an outlet for safely expressing my opinions. that's what I wanted to do, and initially, that's what I did. I joined Twitter for the same reason, among others. But now, since I have a name that is ... reasonably well-known (I hate writing that way, because it sounds like I think I'm some sort of celebrity), I have to censor my thoughts and opinions so as not to offend. I'm not sure how to get around this. I suppose I could start a blog and not let anyone read it, but a Word document would serve that purpose just as well. I could just say to heck with what people think, but the feelings of those around me do matter and I'm not out to hurt anyone. How do I go about thinking aloud, which is what I basically want to do, without giving the impression that I'm an unbending person impervious to the thoughts and feelings of others? How does one achieve that balance between self-expression and sensitivity to others?
Bruce, Caroline

The Winnipeg Jets Are Shortchanging Radio Listeners in General and CJOB In Particular

I can't believe what I'm reading. The Winnipeg Jets have done so many things right when it comes to bringing the NHL back to Winnipeg, how could they make such hideous errors in judgment as this?

CJOB Radio has had a long-standing tradition with True North Sports and Entertainment, owners of the Jets, whom I will refer to hereafter just as True North. During the entire existence of the Manitoba Moose, CJOB gave that minor league team major league treatment, over and over again. They bent over backwards to cover the return of the NHL to Winnipeg, they gave True North every opportunity and every assistance. And what does True North do by way of saying thank-you? In the name of the almighty idiot box, television, they sell the radio rights to CFRW, a station with a proven track record of low standards, unprofessionalism, and just generally being a blight on the radio landscape. These are the people who made an absolute mockery of talk radio back in the mid- to late-90's, and they're being entrusted with a major league sports team? At 10,000 watts, CFRW has no rebroadcasters and covers a tiny portion of Manitoba. And so True North, in the name of the idiot box, screws over CJOB, who was far more loyal to them than CFRW ever could be. What an incredible slap in the face to the best radio station in North America!

If that weren't bad enough, all reports are that Winnipeg radio listeners won't even be getting a consistent play-by-play voice. That duty will be split among two people, depending on whether or not TSN needs the main guy for their TV coverage. What a slap in the face to those of us depending on a consistent radio presence! If they're going to sell the radio rights to TinkerToy Radio, the least they could have done is provide us with the consistency of one play-by-play man. What hideous, stupefying, mind-boggling ineptitude! How can an organization that has done so many things right stoop to these levels, and give a major league team such shabby Pee Wee-league radio treatment? I'm sickened by this, nauseated. I can't believe that radio listeners would be given such lousy treatment.