Sunday, September 19, 2010

Soldier Boy

The other day my mother was discussing siblings with Munchkin. She was telling Munchkin that Munchkin has a responsibility to look after her brothers. Munchkin said, very seriously, "with great power comes great responsibility."

My husband tells me that this is from Spiderman.

Can someone tell me what objection Genome has to clean clothing, especially the variety of clothing that lacks a Spiderman design? I can't get the kid into anything that doesn't have a superhero on it.

I ask him to wear dress clothes twice in an average week: Friday night and Saturday. This is not, to my mind, extreme. Every other hour of the week he can wear something with Spiderman on it. He has Spiderman pajamas.

He cannot wear Spiderman to synagogue.

None of the other children at Synagogue are wearing Spiderman t-shirts. Or in Genome's ideal world, a Spiderman pajama shirt, a diaper, and running shoes sans socks.

Most days I let them pick their own clothes. In fact, they pick their own clothes, and they get dressed alone. Munchkin helps Genome. I thought that this was handy, but now I'm reaping what I have sown.

A4V: A horrible idea

Hello everyone in blogland. I'm taking a moment from post Yom Kippur let's-dig-ourselves-out-of-the-holiday-mess to share this with you all.

Once upon a time, I articled for a summer in a large firm. One thing led to another, and I discovered one of my province's most prolific lay litigants: one John Ruiz Dempsey.

Mr. Dempsey is an "independent legal specialist." He is not a lawyer (or at least was not, at the time the judgements I'm reading took place. There is an off chance he attended law school, wrote the bar, etc., since then). Mr. Dempsey says that he does not call himself a lawyer because "he does not "practice" law and therefore he does it for real" The Law Society differs with him on this point: they say that he did hold himself as a lawyer and is not allowed to, because he hasn't passed the bar or been admitted to the law society.

I wrote Mr. Dempsey off as a highly eccentric personality, and filed the wonderful judgement The Law Society of BC v. Dempsey 2005 BCSC 1277 away in my personal "best of" file.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there is in fact a whole movement of Mr. Dempseys. It's called the Freeman Movement. I might post a bit about the Freeman Movement later, but right now let me just summarize: Freeman Movement people believe that the legal system is not as it appears. It is all a sham and has been since the Federal Reserve of the US was established, and/or the US went off the gold standard.

According to the Freemen, the entire political system is voluntary. If you don't want to submit to the police, you don't have to. If you got a loan and it wasn't in actual gold, it's not a real loan. You don't have to pay it. Fiat money is imaginary and any debts accumulated under that system are null and void. If you have a mortgage on your house, you don't have to pay it: It's all pretend money!

So why do people pay their mortgages, tax bills, and so forth? Well, it's because they don't know the correct way not to pay them. What should the Freeman do? That's where the A4V, Accepted for Value process comes in.

It's hard to get good information on this, because everyone is out to make a buck. Here's a summary of one fellow explaining it. This guy is selling his version. George Tran here is trying it, and selling coaching, even if it doesn't seem to be working for him. There are bunches of youtube videos. There's a forum. On the internet, there's a forum for everything.

Short version: When you get a bill, write "ACCEPTED FOR VALUE" on it. Send it back. Voila! You're done!

Long version: When the IRS/CRA/bank fails to honour your "payment" of the bill with "Accepted for value" on it, try some other wrinkle. Maybe you need to try again. Maybe you need to use a different colour ink. The variations are endless.

To save time, you can purchase an "Accepted for Value" stamp!

So let's get to the point.

These remedies do not work.

They do not work.

They are a horrible idea.

Let's grant that the Freeman understanding of the law is the correct one, or as correct as any other. I think it's all a bunch of nonsense, but fine, work with me. All we're talking about is, if you write "Accepted for value" or something similar on your bill, will you still have to pay it? YES YOU WILL. And you will get yourself a lot of trouble to boot.

Canadian judgements refer to this as a "debt protest approach" and they don't like it at all. Here is what they say about it when one Simon Marples tried it: "this Court has clearly stated that such an approach is completely devoid of merit and will lead to special costs." Mr. Dempsey had to pay special costs too.

You interject, But Stealth Jew! Those are BC cases! I reside in another province!

Not so fast!

One I. Kovacevic tried the "Accepted for value" approach in Ontario in order to maintain possession of his Mercedes-Benz. It did not work. It was a spectacular failure, and Mr. Kovacevic when to prison, a surprisingly hard thing to do here in Canada.

Trying these "remedies" is like posting a great big target on your butt. Don't do it. There's no free lunch, and you do have to pay your mortgage.

As an added reason to avoid the whole mess, negative indicator Casey Serin is now working the A4V process to avoid paying for his parents home, and has a blog so you can follow along.

Anything Casey Serin does is a bad idea.

Don't do it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Catching Up

The recent dearth of posts has been to the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanna, which this year is part of a three-day food-fest to kick off the High Holiday season.

Last week I did not make a blog post. Instead I baked 19 loaves of challah (with no mixer -- thanks kids!), one loaf of rye, three honey cakes, two marbled vanilla cakes, and three batches of cookies. Plus two roasts, a salmon baked in salt, a stock pot full of chicken broth, carrot-ginger soup (husband's new favorite), three kugels, and innumerable side dishes.

I also fastened about 500 tiny buttons, and unfastened them, reaffirming our choice of being a button-free household on the day-to-day clothes of anyone who can't button. The man or woman who invented the elastic waist is one of the little Saints of modern motherhood.

Munchkin, Still Odd

I don't know what world my daughter lives in.

I know where she doesn't live: She doesn't live in my world. I'm a literal person. I frequently miss the joke. I get bothered by historical details being awry in movies. I almost never read fiction, and when I do, it's only because a non-fiction writer referenced it. I never once had a real role in a school play. I have actually been cast as both a bird, and as a snowflake.

The other day we went downtown to run some errands. She chose her own clothes, in this case, Sabbath clothes: a light blue button-up, blue pleated skirt, knee socks, and light brown lace-ups.

So basically I took a Catholic school refugee downtown shopping.

I bought her new fairy wings (we won't talk about what happened to the last set). She opted to wear them immediately. So I had an enchanted Catholic school refugee.

You know you're making a scene when people on the bus start snapping photos.

Included here is one of the photos one man took of her. He emailed them to me. He's very talented.

I think we may need to keep a handle on the fantasy materials. She says that a bad boy with a kazoo is following her, peering in windows, and telling her she's dead. I said I'd pull the blinds. Is this reinforcing her delusion? I don't know. She said magic people can see through blinds. At least she knows that it's not a _normal_ person with a kazoo, right?

Yesterday she leaned against me and said, "mummy, I don't know why I did that. I'm a funny, funny girl."

My mother understands Munchkin perfectly. I think I may have been raised by, and be raising, a lunatic.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Babes in Toyland

How many toys do you have that your children don't play with?

I would have liked children who played with aesthetically pleasing toys, the type hewn out of rough wood. They could gently wave their play silks in an interpretive dance before creating a little toy town out of wooden blocks. Although I've never really understood why Waldorf makes so many things out of felt (see A Toy Garden for examples of everything Waldorf), I have to admit that the aesthetic speaks to me in the same way that Martha Stewart does. It tugs on my heartstrings. My heartstrings are woven from estrogen, cash, and appealing colour schemes.

Genome does like blocks, though Munchkin has never seen much use for them. But Genome also enjoys Spiderman action figures.

One area I've been particularly unsuccessful in is baby toys. For the uninitiated, baby toys have ridiculous names and surprisingly hefty price tags. Through the indulgence of relatives, I have more or less tried all the trendy toys. A Whoozit. A Sophie the Giraffe. Enough stuffed animals to open a stuffed-animal zoo with representatives from all continents. They amused the kids for ten minutes, tops. Long enough to go to the bathroom, maybe, but not long enough to take a shower.

Husband bought Firefly a baby toy, and he likes it. He really likes it. It is called Captain Calamari, and it's made by Lamaze. Back when I was a kid, Lamaze only produced ineffective breathing techniques. No matter. Captain Calamari's name suggests otherwise, but he is actually an octopus. But he is a fabulous octopus. He is an Octopus that can entertain my son for, and I am not exaggerating, two straight hours. And then, after he's fed, two hours more.

Captain Calamari is my very favourite octopus in the whole world.

How much do I love you? Not that much.

Some of you might be aware of the very sad case of Jani's Journey. Long story short: the older child is very mentally ill and about eight years old. In order to avoid sending her into residential care, the parents live in two different apartments. The mother lives in one with the younger son, whom Jani attacks. The father lives in the other with Jani.

I do not think that I would do that for my child.

If one child attacked one of the others, I wouldn't put the family into two separate apartments. I just don't love my kids that much.

In fact, I dont' love them enough to do a lot of things, as my daughter sometimes reminds me:
- I don't love them enough to let them watch Spiderman before bed.
- In fact, I don't love them enough to mother after 7:30 p.m. That's when mummy goes off duty, and if you're going to be up all night you're getting very subpar mummy.
- I don't love them enough to be a natural birth. I know that there's a lot of debate about whether natural birth is better or not, but my answer is: I don't care. Unless an epidural is very, seriously, dangerous to me or the kid, I'm getting it. Causes baby to be born drowsy? Makes labour longer? Couldn't care less.
- I don't love my son enough to let him wear a Spiderman t-shirt to all occasions.
- I don't love my kids enough to explain to him why he can't wear a Spiderman t-shirt to all occasions. If he doesn't get it yet, he's not going to.
- I don't love them enough to pay full price for their clothes. If you want full-price clothes, you have to reliably wear them for more than five minutes.
- I don't love them enough to let them self-wean. I tried once, and the kid went so long I was going to be nursing three. I don't love my kids enough to nurse three kids at once. Now I start working towards weaning at two.
- If you spend two straight weeks screaming at the top of your lungs, I will still hold you, cuddle you, rock you, swaddle you, clean your butt and bathe you. But until you stop screaming, I won't like you that much. I don't love you enough to be immune to your behaviour -- whether or not that behaviour is your fault.

I guess I love my kids. But I'm not head-over-heels in love with them.