Archive for January, 2006

Picture of the Day – Kissing Cousins

January 31st, 2006

Quick Hits

January 31st, 2006
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MUST-SEE VIDEO: On Jan. 15th when the Stardust capsule ripped through Earth’s atmosphere en route to a parachute landing in Utah, no one had a better view than scientists onboard NASA’s DC-8 Airborne Laboratory, and they recorded a spectacular video. In addition to the man-made fireball (Stardust) there are at least two natural meteors in the video. See them all at

Friend to all Classical Guitarists, Tony Morris from the Classical Guitar Alive radio show recently performed at the white house with his trio. Here’s some pictures, and a video


Did I miss a budget?

January 31st, 2006
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Don’t tax hikes require budgets?:

It’s about to get even more expensive to be a smoker in Ontario.

The province’s Ministry of Finance is boosting the cost of a carton of cigarettes by $1.25 as of midnight tonight.

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan says the measure is the next step towards making the province completely smoke-free.

As a non-smoker of over 5 years now I’m not whining about the cost of smokes. But when was this one passed? (Agreed possibly it was in the last budget and I missed it).


ELF in Guelph

January 31st, 2006
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This little story seems innocuous enough:

24am, January 30, 2006 – The Guelph Fire Department and Guelph Police Services were called to a Dawn Avenue residence (under construction) in response to a reported fire. The small fire was quickly extinguished by firefighters, and damage was contained to a stairwell and floor. Damage is estimated at $5000.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Constable Ian Smith of the Guelph Police Service at 519-824-1212 ext.7125 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

but there’s more: Local radio station News 570 is reporting that “Several Arsons in Guelph in the past months may be the work of an eco-terrorist organization.” This fire is one of the arsons started suspected of being started by a cell of eco-terrorists ELF (Earth Liberation Front).

From Wilkopedia:

The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) is a loosely-knit organization, mainly in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom, that “uses direct action in the form of economic sabotage to stop the exploitation and destruction of the natural environment”. Many politicians and law enforcement agencies make a claim that ELF is a terrorist organization, while to ELF activists and sympathizers, the ELF is an eco-defense group that is dedicated to taking the profit motive out of environmental destruction by targeting and causing economic damage to businesses through the use of direct action. The ELF has committed more than 1,200 direct actions in the U.S. causing more $200 million in damage. [1]

Their techniques involve destruction of property that they believe is being used to injure animals or people or the environment. This vandalism and arson has been labeled ecotage.

BY all accounts ELF is a loose knit grouping who, according to their own literature have no leaders, members or official spokesman. They are none the less, highly interesting to the FBI.

What’s more it is being reported that 3 other fires may be related to ELF, including this one. ELF attack on Guelph, Ontario Golf Club. These arsons are a pattern that has Guelph police very concerned, and citizens of Guelph should also be concerned. To date ELF does not seem to be responsible for any deaths, but when you go around lighting buildings on fire, sooner or later it’s going to happen. Citizens of Guelph should also be concerned, both that it is happening in their community, and that it is receiving virtually no coverage or getting the attention of the community.


Picture of the Day – Door Stop

January 30th, 2006
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Frank McKenna says Thanks, but No Thanks

January 30th, 2006
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Couple of thoughts on this. If Frank McKenna was not planning to run for the leadership, why did he resign his post so quickly after the election/Martin’s resignation? And I’m trying to figure out what it means that two front runners have already declined instead of declared. Does it mean that the good ship Liberal is in worse shape than most suspect. Did McKenna get a look at where things actually stand and say, uh no? What do John Manley and Frank McKenna know that we don’t? And how soon until we find out?

It will be interesting in the upcoming weeks and months to see who else declines to join the fray. If no big names (Belinda doesn’t count) sign on,it tells us something very interesting indeed.


Picture of the Day – January in Hespeler 2

January 29th, 2006
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John Manley: Not in the Race

January 28th, 2006
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Ten years ago I was in university, doing a part-time degree in the UofW’s distance-ed program. While doing an economics assignment I sent an e-mail (possibly even snail mail) looking for some information to Industry Canada, headed by Minister of Industry John Manley. A few weeks later I received a large envelope packed with relevant information. Subsequently, I received a follow up phone call to ensure the information sent was relevant. A short conversation ensued in which I declared pleasure with the package received, and mentioned another item that may be helpful. A week later another large envelope with the information I had mentioned arrived.

It was, a good experience. I had dealt with a well run ministry that went to some trouble to help a student with a small need, I was impressed and have watched John Manley fairly closely since.

Manley was a good Minister, whether it was Industry, Foreign Affairs or Finance, Manley did, in my opinion, a good job. He was a good Politician and a Good man. He was a strong voice for the right wing of the Liberal Party and his presence in the leadership race will be missed. He would have provided a strong voice for the right in the leadership race. Without him it’s possible no credible right leaning candidate will appear, pulling the political landscape in this country further to the left.

John Manley would have been a strong candidate for Liberal leader and the race is lessened with his absence.


Picture of the Day – January in Hespeler 1

January 28th, 2006
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Good Morning, Mr. Prime Minister

January 28th, 2006
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So, you have been The Right Honourable for two days now, how is it going? Press treating you any better? Lets see now, on your first day some aide to the President said they where pleased for you and looked forward to working with you and I heard on the radio how it was true, you where all buddy buddy with the Shrub. Of course, had President Bush not phoned a Liberal Prime Minister within hours we’d be talking about the snub. He doesn’t call you for two days and it proves your in cahoots with him. Then you take the kids to school with a million or two photographers in tow, and what happens? You decide not to embarrass them with a kiss in front of the world, you shake their hands and it proves your cold and Grinch-like. Of course, had you kissed them you would be a big meany who embarrassed the kids in front of the whole world, and a child abuser for giving them your chest cold and what kind of Dad are you anyway?

You know Stephen, I wouldn’t even try all this photo-op junk. You’re not good at it, and the critics will hate you anyway. Don’t believe me, ask Charles Adler about what can only be described as a despicable conversation. But despicable or not, these guys are not about to stop. They’re just going to keep writing junk like this:

The new Prime Minister of Canada is Stephen Harper. I can say, without fear of any reasonable contradiction, that Harper is the single worst human being to ever be Prime Minister of Canada.

Of course, if you contradicted him, it wouldn’t be ‘reasonable’, so there’s no arguing with the guy. As the left always does, they frame the basis for the argument, tilt it totally in their favour, and then dismiss you when you step outside of their rules. But hey, your “the single worst human being to ever…” and I’d vote for Hitler, so who are we to argue?

The question becomes, what to do? Well since the CBC, Dalton Mcguinty, David Miller and a cabal of detractors feel entitled to give you advice, so shall I. If you are smart you would print it out, take it to the P.A.M.S. Coffee outlet in Lincoln Center. Throw in a couple of bucks and you’ll be good for a White Chocolate Mocha Latte, which is truly excellent on one of those cold Ottawa winter days.

First, there are some ethics investigations to have. You cannot ignore these; too many people used the intellectually lazy excuse that all politicians are the same, so I might as well vote Liberal. If you ignore the needed investigations, you prove them right. Prove them wrong.

That said, it is not your investigation. Start up the process then get out of the way. Remember Cretien going after Mulroney for 7 years. He got away with, you won’t. You’ll be accused of being like Hitler if you interfere. Cut the auditor General and the RCMP loose (and whomever else is required to do a complete and thorough investigation) and get out of the way. And no leaks, it’ll look mean spirited and you can’t afford to waste goodwill on cheap political shots.

While we are the subject of the RCMP, de-politicize them. There is the impression amongst some of the citizenry that the RCMP didn’t do their job in the past 10 years, and they didn’t do so for political reasons. That’s unacceptable. Like ethics the RCMP must not just do their job, they must be seen to be doing their job. Free them from the restraint of Prime Ministerial overview, then let them find out what really happened in the past decade.

Next up is cities. The shut out in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal makes it tempting to say “The hell with ’em.” As much fun as that would be to watch, don’t do it. Treat them as darlings. Be inclusive by including them. Talk to their mayors and help solve some of their problems. If you are magnanamous in places that didn’t vote for you, you give them reason to trust you. That’s what this mandate is about, trust. You have to prove yourself as a trustworthy statesman and politician. You have two choices, lose the scary tag or saddle your party with it forever. Don’t buy the junk about the Liberals being near extinction, but if you don’t convince voters your party isn’t scary, the Conservatives will be nearer extinction than you realize.

You have your 5 priorities, and I’m mostly there for you, but here’s a couple of thoughts. The NDP will push for proportional representation. Don’t go there. It will saddle this country with minority governments forever, and will give too much power to parties like, oh the NDP, who will forever use their 17% of the vote to maintain a hold over power. Proportional representation guarantees big, unwieldy government from now until Canada ceases to be. Don’t do it.

Do, however, change the Canada election’s act on third party advocation. If Michael Moore isn’t going to prosecuted two election in a row, even though he clearly broke this law, then scrap it. Start again, and never mind third parties. They are democratic voices speaking freely and as long as they aren’t associated with a party, shouldn’t fall under the jurisdiction of Elections Canada.

OK that’s it. Print this out, head to P.A.M.S., ask for Beth and tell her Brian sent you. This with the price of the coffee will get you that white chocolate mocha, and you’ll see I was right. Then consider my other points.


Hey, I Have a Question.

January 28th, 2006
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If Stephen Harper is so anti-public Medicare, the greatest threat to perfection in socialistic medicine, the great Satan who wants to drag us all down the path of private heath insurance and (shutter) AMERICANIZATION of our health care, how come he goes to emerg. in the middle of the night?

I know private doctors are inherently evil &tc. but should the Prime Minister be going to an emergency room? Isn’t it a bit like making him travel business class?


Robert Plant and Pearl Jam Releasing Collaboration

January 28th, 2006
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Back in 1981 Robert Plant released his first post-Zeppelin recording, a version of Elvis’ Little Sister with Dave Edmunds and Rockpile, recorded at the 1979 concert to benefit the people of Kampuchea. Now comes news that he is again collaborating on Little Sister, this time with Pearl Jam. From Reuters:

NEW YORK (Billboard) – As Pearl Jam nears completion on its new studio album, the group has finalized the track list for its upcoming holiday single, sent annually to members of its Ten Club fan organization.

This year’s single will feature a live cover of the Elvis Presley-popularized “Little Sister” with Robert Plant, taped last October in Chicago, as well as demo of the new song “Gone,” which was debuted that same month during a show in Atlantic City, N.J.

Before the band gets busy with promotion and touring, guitarist Mike McCready will stage a March 18 benefit for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation at Seattle’s Showbox. McCready will play with his UFO tribute band, Flight To Mars, on a bill that also features the Supersuckers and Lee Rude and the Trainwrecks.



Picture of the Day – Getting Their Instructions

January 27th, 2006
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From the Inbox

January 27th, 2006
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Canadians voted for change!

On Monday, millions of Canadians confirmed it: good things happen when you vote NDP. From coast to coast to coast, millions voted NDP for change that puts working Canadians at the front of the line. And they elected an exceptional team of 29 NDP MPs who will fight for them.

Monday was a good day for:

  • seniors who want more dignity.
  • families who want more opportunity for their kids.
  • people who want public health care protected.
  • people who want to see politics and our environment cleaned up.

Monday was a good day for Canadians who want to see real balance in their next Parliament.

A message from Jack Layton: “Millions of Canadians have placed their trust in this team. They know we’ll be fighting for seniors, for young people, for working families. And we won’t let them down.”

Jack Layton’s victory speech

Let’s see now, they came in 4th with a whopping 17.5% of the popular vote, and he’s giving a victory speech? His party came behind a party that only runs in one province, behind a party that is so crooked people think the surveyors were drunk, and a party that his own supporters call Nazis and dangerous. And he’s giving a victory speech? That would be like Rob Babcok giving a victory speech! Hmmm, I wonder what he said…

We’re number 4, we’re number 4!

How come Paul Martin resigns for finishing second and Jack Layton has the audacity for victory speeches? You didn’t win Jack, you don’t control the national agenda and you shouldn’t with a piddly-assed 17.5% of the vote. So thank your supporters then shut up and get on with the business of being irrelevant.



Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Jan 27, 1756 – Dec 5, 1791

January 27th, 2006
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Many of you probably knew that this year celebrates the 250th anniversary of the birth of Mozart. But did you know today was the date on which he was born?

Mozart is widely considered to be among the top 3 composers in history. Unlike the others, I always felt Mozart would have done fine in modern times as he had a strong element of rocker about him. As it is, he composed in the latter half of the 18th century and crafted some of the finest music ever, including possibly the finest operas.

If you are wondering what to listen to tonight, throw on some Mozart – classical CD’s can usually be had fairly cheap, so go to Walmart and throw down a couple of bucks on a Mozart – try Eine kleine Nachtmusik if you can find it. If you are an Opera fan, or curious about Opera, I recommend Don Giovanni or The Marriage of Figaro: both are hilarious.

If that doesn’t suit you, and you are a Friday night movie watcher, rent 1984’s Amadeus again.

And if none of those are for you, tonight when having a drink, a glass of wine, a beer, raise a toast to Wolfgang Amadeus: I have no doubt that he would like that.

Update: I like google’s daily image.