Category Archives: Rants

CBC cuts purely political

Posted on March 25, 2009 by

When times are tough, the thing to do is cut jobs, right? Well, maybe yes, maybe no. This particular situation smells a bit and goes against the whole concept of stimulus. If the federal government can consider bail-outs for such bloated for-profit corporations as GM, Ford and Chrysler, they can surely toss a few scraps to a crown corporation that provides quality, intelligent, and culturally sound programming to the entire country, not just the major population bases. In many regions of Canada, the CBC is the only link to the rest of the country.

As an avid CBC Radio listener, I know what makes CBC important and relevant is the local content. The sad part about this is that it will undoubtedly be local coverage that suffers as a result, causing more regional/national coverage and watering down the resulting content to the point of irrelevance, much like many automated private stations.

With almost any other government, I might believe this is simply a sign of the times. But Prime Minister Harper and his caucus has made it quite clear all along they have no love for the idea of a publicly-funded CBC. This is the work of an economist as Prime Minister who only believes in culture if it makes a fast buck and can stand on its own. No value is placed on anything that doesn’t make money.

By refusing to consider providing additional help, they are purposely bleeding the CBC dry and allowing it to fall apart at the seams. They know full well they would lose a confidence vote and suffer a massive defeat in the resulting election if they tried to do it directly. This way, they can shrug their shoulders and blame the economy.

Here is a link to the story:

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/media/story/2009/03/25/cbc-layoffs.html

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No sweats allowed at Moncton school

Posted on February 15, 2009 by

From the following article on CBC:
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2009/02/12/nb-sweats-suspended.html

“A New Brunswick school principal is banning his students from wearing sweatpants, insisting he wants the teens to dress for class the same way they would for a part-time job.”

A school is not a job. Dress and deportment is a personal choice. While I understand this principal’s frustration with what he sees as a lowering of ‘standards’, these are his standards and not necessarily those of the learners.

This is simply a form of oppression and forced standardization.

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Beer in Ontario movie theatres

Posted on December 15, 2008 by

Article is here:  http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/12/15/alcohol-cinema.html

I am neither for nor against this particular decision. I like people to have personal freedoms, to each their own. I likely wouldn’t bother buying beer in a movie theatre (it would cause me to have to run to the washroom even more frequently than the bladder-buster soft drinks they already feed to us…) and honestly, anyone who feels the need to drink a beer while at a movie theatre may have more to worry about in their life. Just one more place for the police to set up roadside checks I guess.

But I digress… If they are going to allow it, I have always wondered why they bother to have a restriction on children being present. I can take my kids to a restaurant and have a beer with them at the table. What’s the difference? Are they afraid I’m going to feed my kids beer in the dark?

Sometimes the rules just don’t make sense.

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HD TV in Saint John – Bell vs. Rogers?

Posted on December 11, 2008 by

OK, so with the acquisition of the new TV, I am really enjoying watching Blu-Ray and upconverted DVDs, so I decided to start looking to try out the HD offerings. When I bought the TV, I received a Rogers HD package with an offer for bunch of free stuff.

I have been a loyal Bell Expressvu (now Bell TV) customer for quite some time, and I’m not completely convinced I want to leave them yet, despite the occasional weather-related outage, the service has been pretty good. But my old 3100 terminal is acting up, so I need to replace it with something anyway, plus the inherent problems that you are limited to watching what is being fed to the main terminal (unless you get another terminal or one of their new dual tuner ones that are expensive!), weather outages, and no local programming.

When I contacted Bell, they pointed me to a web page showing standard rates (basically a more expensive version of what I have now and similar to the Rogers VIP package). They offered free install (upgrade really, to the new HD dish/equipment), but made no offer for free set top box rental (although they offered me a 50% discount on purchase if I signed up for 2 years…). When I told them they were considerably more expensive than Rogers, they gave me a number to call. From anecdotal evidence and some investigation online, I have found this is their tactic – give you the regular price, then make other offers if you balk. Kind of a crappy way to do business if you ask me. The people you want to keep happy are the loyal ones, not the ones who switch with every deal!

So in comparison, Rogers is offering VIP HD for about ~$45/month for the first year once you add their $2.99 ‘digital access fee’, which is along the same lines as the legalized theft everyone adds to cell bills as ’system access fess’, plus they are offering me free install and free box rental for a year (some people are apparently even getting two years free rental, although I suspect it comes at the cost of a contract). My problem with Rogers is their absolutely terrible program guide – something out of the 80s (actually, I think Windows 3.1 running on DOS looked more modern…). It is slow, no watching the current show while channel surfing, and no way to “hide” all those channels you either don’t subscribe to or don’t want to scroll through every time you look for something to watch (PPV, etc.). I have heard their guide is getting a facelift soon (already available on some devices), so maybe they have rectified these shortcomings, and the benefits to cable are that I can have up to 4 outlets in the house, one with the digital box, the other 3 getting standard cable. There are also no weather-related issues and we get to have the local news and watch Comedy Council sessions on Monday nights if I am feeling particularly sleep-deprived…

I looked into Aliant TV, but they are not available at my house, so they lose out. Star Choice might be an option if they were really competitive, but the real race in my mind is Bell vs. Rogers at this point.

Once the year of cheap rates is up, I realize all packages float around the same price, so it will likely come down to quality of service and convenience features.

My question is, does anyone have experience with both Bell and/or Rogers HD programming and is willing to share their experience(s), good or bad, to help me decide?

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Coalition Government… I like it!

Posted on November 28, 2008 by

So two of Canada’s iconic political opponents of the past 30 years work together to overthrow the Conservative government because they were acting like a vindictive child… Nice! Ed Broadbent (a man for whom I have all the respect in the world!) and Jean Chretien (a savvy veteran of many tougher opponents than Mr Harper could ever be) are working to create a coalition government to topple the Conservatives.

I think the Conservatives thought they were kidding, because they initially ignored the threats and assumed it was posturing.

Now, the Conservative party decides to repeal the clawback… Here is that link: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/11/28/tories-fiscal.html

This is sounding like a Mastercard commercial!!!

Initiating a partisan piece of legislation weeks after wearing a fuzzy blue sweater and promising you have changed
-> confidence of the house

Watching two of Canada’s iconic political opponents of the past 30 years work together to overthrow your government because you were being a vindictive child
-> Lots of excited opposition members and added excitement for the majority of the country’s voters

Watching Mr Harper and Mr Flaherty waffle and backpeddle once they realized their bluff had been called…
-> Priceless!

heh, can you say “Blink“??? πŸ˜‰

***

Now, it appears the Liberals and NDP have managed to come to some form of agreement. It is up to the Bloc to decide which way they will vote on this issue. Hmm, Prime Minister Stephane Dion, Minister of Labour Jack Layton, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Gilles Duceppe… A truly inspiring thought!

I can’t remember ever in my life wanting to cheer for and have the Bloc Quebecois onside for a vote… Even if this fails top pass, at the very least, it is letting the Conservative government know the other parties are there to play and will not be pushed around. πŸ˜‰

Here is the link about the coalition portion: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/11/28/fed-govt.html

It has been a long time since I looked forward to a Monday… πŸ™‚

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Conservatives get nasty…

Posted on November 26, 2008 by

Great, so Mr. Harper plans to cut $30 million worth of MP perks after wasting $300 million on an election. Sort of like closing the barn door after the horses have left if you ask me…

The bad part of this piece of legislation is the piece that tries to claw back the public money for parties for votes received. That it is designed specifically to hit the pocketbook of all the other parties harder…

Changes like this need to be brought in and not acted upon until after an election so that everyone knows the “new rules” and agrees to play by them. This election was run under these rules. If Mr Harper tries to backdate this (one of the rumours being passed around), that would make him even more sinister than previously thought.

Even if it is only 5% or 6% like the greens, every vote helps them by giving them a financial boost in a very inequitable parliamentary system. Without this, there would be even less incentive to vote than there already is, particularly if… Read more you are one of the growing numbers who are disenchanted. At least with this system, your vote is worth a bit of money to them.

The US jump-started to Mr. Obama. We stalled with Mr. Harper. Let the opposition parties vote this down and let’s go back to the polls! If the country gives Mr. Harper a majority, he can have his crown, sell off our assets, keep his oil flowing, and cut our services and social programs to the point we are a heartless, two-class, basket-case country (kind of like the US under Bush…). But I think (hope?) Canada is still smart enough to keep his powers limited until a less vindictive, more reasonable person can lead!

Here is the Globe and Mail story

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Shark caught off Fundy Park (Alma, New Brunswick)

Posted on November 18, 2008 by

This is a response to an email I received with the included pictures. The sender was not the originator, it was forwarded to me by him. Unfortunately, the originator made such wild statements about sharks that I felt obligated to respond to the entire mailing list.

***

Thanks for the photos. Too bad the shark wasn’t alive in the Bay instead of dead on a dock… In response to the original email in which (name removed) stated:

“They pulled it out of the water this morning. I thought my husband was pulling my leg, so I told him I needed proof. It is about 28 feet long. It is huge and very scary.

So if you ever think about going for a swim in Fundy Park, I would think twice about that idea. They said because of Global Warming, this will happen more and more. The ocean water here in Canada is getting warmer every year.”JAWS” could be lurking!”

I can only do my best and hope to educate people on the reality of sharks. This particular shark is a “Basking Shark” and 28 feet is not at all an unusual size for a basking shark. I have friends with UNB who are experts on sharks and I have spent time with them researching sharks in the Bay of Fundy. I have even been beside a basking shark on the Bay of Fundy that was longer than the boat we were using, and rather than being scary, it was awe-inspiring.

Basking sharks are like the big whales, they do not feed on mammals at all, they are filter feeders who scoop plankton and other small critters out of the water with their baleen-filled mouths. Basking Sharks are the second largest fish on the planet, are relatively common in the Bay of Fundy and have been around here long before global warming ever became an issue. They pose absolutely no danger to anyone swimming in the Bay of Fundy or anywhere else for that matter. Besides basking sharks, there are also many other types of sharks in the Bay of Fundy, simply because it is a very good source of food for them, but to be afraid of swimming there because of sharks is not reasonable and promotes more of the phobia. My friends and I SCUBA dive extensively in the Bay and have absolutely no fear of sharks. Unfortunately, comments like the one (name removed) made in the original email only cause to spread more ignorance and fear about these beautiful creatures. They are currently being pushed to the brink of extinction by such fear mongering and of course, for profit.

Unfortunately, some people still kill sharks out of fear or “for the fun of it”. Neither is a very endearing trait in my book. In this case, the shark was likely too entwined in fishing gear to be saved, and that is a shame, but outside of accidental death, there is no reason to deliberately kill sharks. Hard to believe these Neanderthals still exist in the modern world. As a society, we should be intelligent enough to know better.

Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox now, just trying to set the record straight. If you want to learn more about sharks or do something to help protect them, feel free to visit the Canadian Shark Conservation Society, and if you are really interested in helping, join up at their website: http://www.sharkconservation.ca and volunteer to help them!

Other links you might find interesting:

Canadian Shark Research Laboratory

new-brunswick.net

Video of a basking shark near some boaters in Maine

 

Here are the photos. They are NOT mine, I am not sure who is the original photographer and will give credit or remove them from this post if they request it.

2008_1107Image0007

 

2008_1107Image0003

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An Incredible Story…

Posted on November 14, 2008 by

This is an incredible story someone sent to me and I am sharing it with the people who like sending all those heart-warming stories.

***

In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University.

On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air.

The elephant seemed distressed, so Peter approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee, inspected the elephant’s foot, and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood out with his knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Peter stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away.

Peter never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years later, Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenage son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Peter and his son Cameron were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Peter, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter could not help wondering if this was the same elephant. Peter summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing, and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Peter legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

Probably wasn’t the same elephant…

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President Elect Barack Obama… sounds pretty darn good!

Posted on November 4, 2008 by

It makes me very proud to see that our friends in the USA could reach down inside and find the courage to elect someone on the strength of his character instead of the colour of his skin. And what a convincing victory it was!

It is great to see a Progressive, a man who believes in the good of the common man, a man who believes AND participates in helping the poor, a man who wants to use the wealth of the richest nation on earth to provide health care for everyone win the Presidency in a country that has always seemed to pride itself on a dog-eat-dog policy of free markets and pure capitalism.

Congratulations USA!

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