Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sometime I Just... rhgg... AAHHHHH!!!!

Ok, so I'm a reasonably tolerant person - reasonably. I can see the flip side of almost any issue and respond intelligently to most thoughts and ideas; even when they contradict my world-view. I like to think that these responses are reasoned, well-thought out and fairly objective.

So, it is with this in mind that I felt the need to respond to Calgary's Bishop Henry in regards to his portrayal the HPV vaccination program.

Here is my reasoned, well-thought-out response:

You are an arrogant, dogmatic, mysoginistic, under-informed, deliberately-misleading, bloviating dimwit.

See? Reasoned & objective.

Here's the thing... there is finally a definitive link between a virus and a type of cancer. Scientists know for a fact that if a woman is carrying the Human Papiloma Virus, that she has an incredibly higher risk of contracting cervical cancer. Woman without HPV have significantly reduced chances of contracting cervical cancer. There is now a vaccination for HPV. Vaccinations condition our bodies to produce the antibodies needed to kill viruses. So, vaccinate and you won't contract HPV. No HPV, no cervical cancer. This is pretty basic stuff.

Vaccinate girls at a young age and protect them for life. It's a reasonable strategy. So, the school districts in Alberta were asked by Alberta Health Services to add voluntary HPV vaccinations to their in-school vaccination programs.

Here's the aggravating part.

Bishop Henry, presiding Bishop for the Calgary Catholic School District has urged Catholic parents to turn down the HPV vaccination claiming that it will lead to increased incidents of teen-sex and pregnancy. In its place he wants a greater emphasis placed on abstinence-only education.

In fairness, HPV is considered an STD. But, unlike syphillis, ghonorea, the clap and the rest of the STD stew, this one can't be cured or controlled with medication and it will lead to a condition that is fatal - cervical cancer. This is serious. AIDS serious. The person who works out an AIDS vaccine will win the Nobel prize.

Teenagers have sex. They have sex anywhere they can get away with it. Abstinence-only education is joke. It doesn't work to control disease or teen-pregnancy. It doesn't work because hormones over-rule happy lectures about waiting for marriage. However, Bishop Henry wants you to believe that if you vaccinate your daughters for HPV, they'll somehow take that as a sign that they should bonk every male object that comes their way, regardless of consequence.

Why am I so angry about this? Well, in the Calgary Public System, 75 percent of Grade 5 girls are now protected from the potentially fatal consequences of HPV; they got vaccinated. In the Calgary Catholic District? 25%.

People listened to and chose dogma and fantasy over reason and science. They chose to put their head in the sand and trust God, rather than be responsible parents and protect their kids. Good job Bishop Henry. From now on, every cervical-cancer related death of these unvaccinated kids, is on your head.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A New Nemesis

I have a friend who once described his daily battle with a particular breed of driver called "Dodge Truck Guy".

According to Mur, "Dodge Truck Guy" is a species that is incapable of driving sedately through traffic - during rush hour. "Dodge Truck Guy" must, when the light goes green, stand on the accelerator, dump a huge cloud of black diesel smoke in the air and race to the next light and then... stomp on his brakes. Only to repeat this pattern every two blocks through stop and go traffic.

Well, I have discovered a sub-species, or perhaps a better term would be a co-evolved species. I have discovered "F-350 Guy".

"F-350 Guy" shares many of the same attributes as "Dodge Truck Guy" with a couple of notable additions:

1. The turn signals on "F-350 Guy's" truck, never work. Lane changes, going around corners... I think the elevation of the lift kit renders the signals unusable.

2. "F-350 Guy" is incapable of parking in less than four parking spots at one time. Exception: he can totally fit his truck into two adjacent Handicapped spots. I think maybe "F-350 Guy" feels that the inability to park is a handicap.

3. "F-350 Guy" doesn't seem to know how to turn the key counter-clockwise in the ignition. Even when fuel was $1.30/litre.

4. "F-350 Guy" must never, ever be seen driving a stock truck. It must be lifted, after-market wheeled, and for extra points, have a colour matched suspension system. It must also never, ever, ever get dirty or be used for anything vaguely truck-like; even though the bed will be rhino-lined.

5. While his income likely comes from the oilfield, "F-350 Guy" must never appear in public looking like anything less than an underage, metro-sexual club kid, Ironic for Alberta. Seriously dude, the frosted tips and totally unoriginal tribal tattoo make you look like a cadidate to be Ryan Seacrest's bitch.

Anyways, "F-350 Guy" and "Dodge Truck Guy" seem to rule the streets around here. And, when you're me - "Skinny Mountain Biker Dude" - the diesel smoke, synthetic testosterone and really big tires get a little scary. At least I can park properly.