Archive for June, 2007

New York > Toronto

June 28th, 2007

Edmonton Sun’s Kerry Diotte hits the nail on the head yesterday, with an op-ed called NYC beats TO anytime. Having been to New York last spring, and spending far too much time since plotting ways to get back, I couldn’t agree more. A day in Toronto can be a great time, a wonderful experience, but New York City – Manhattan especially – is a truly amazing place.

A walking city from top to bottom, just a simple stroll from 78’th street down Broadway to Times Square is an experience, with a new discovery around every corner. Toronto simple can’t compete. Besides, New York has the worlds greatest restaurant: Peanut Butter & Co.

I Love NY, Toronto

Free Kids are Healthy Kids

June 27th, 2007

It’s not a new theory to readers of this blog, but a big “yea!” to Lucia Corbella for discussing it:

For most school-aged children in Canada, today is that most marvellous of days — the last day of school.

And for those of us older than, say, 35, the last day of school represented much more than just no homework. It also meant little supervision and not many plans. It meant freedom to just kick around unsupervised.

Not any more. Now our kids’ summers aren’t so much about freedom and finding their own fun. Instead they are structured and almost always supervised.

Apparently a new British study, “Natural thinking: Investigating the links Between the Natural Environment and Mental Health” by Dr. William Bird, says not giving children freedom to explore the natural world leads to higher incidence of stress, ADHD, rage, impulsiveness and criminality in children.

Wat’s really shocking is that this news to anyone. Kids need freedom, they need responsibility and they need time to ponder the world, and their world. Constant stimulus is the worst thing for children, and the thing that more and more children are getting.

I have reviewed Silken Lauman’s Child’s Play and talked about Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods before, and won’t rehash. But they both make the clear point that we do a disservice to our kids when we over protect them, and this study is one more argument in for that point.

The Kids are Alright

Another Led Zeppelin Reunion Rumour

June 27th, 2007
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This time it’s an absolutely for maybe, positively possibly ambiguously certainly could happen event.

World Entertainment News Network is reporting that Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John-Paul Jones, along with John Bonham’s son, Jason Bonham on drums, will play a London show in tribute to late Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun. Beyond that, it seems a possibility is being raised, “if all goes well and they don’t have a fall out” to tour. Next year sometimes seems to be the time – the world, presumably, would be the place.

Unlike other Zep rumours, this one has a whiff of truth due to the Ahmet Ertegun connection. Many a reunion has started off as a one off performance, the current Police tour being a notable that comes to mind.

Time to start saving some pennies.

Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin', The Mighty Zep

The first person to compare their opponent to Hitler

June 26th, 2007

has lost the argument:

…Your Government is moving each day closer to a theocracy where a narrow and hateful brand of Christian fundamentalism will rule.

Your Government suppresses the science that doesn’t fit it’s religious, political and economic agenda, forcing present and future generations to pay a terrible price.

Your Government is moving to deny women here, and all over the world, the right to birth control and abortion.

Your Government enforces a culture of greed, bigotry, intolerance and ignorance.

People look at this and think of Hitler. They are right to do so. The Bush regime is setting out to radically remake society, very quickly, in a fascist way and for generations to come…

Just astounding!

Signed: Olympia Dukakis; Edward Asner; Jane Fonda; Sean Penn and so on, ad infinitum.

whack-a-mole politics, Who You Calling a Nazi?

Happy 50th Birthday…

June 21st, 2007
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At Home in Hespeler wishes Berke Breathed, creator of Bloom County and Opus, a very special 50th THPFT!
And noting it’s also William, the Prince of Whales’ 25th, I was reminded of a series of Bloom County’s that appeared back in the day (click on image to see a bigger sized).

What was that phrase? Oh yea, “off with ‘is ead!!”

I bet his grandma used that about his brother recently.

Note: Updated and modified to add the 2 cartoon pages @ 5:33pm.

Birthday Wishes, opus

Summer Solstace

June 20th, 2007
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There have been many summer solstice celebrations through the ages – virtually every culture, from the druids to the modern catholic church to the Wiccan’s have celebrated. We can’t help but note it ourselves, and many people tomorrow will mention “it’s the first day of summer.”

There are so many ways to celebrate this, from a few dogs on the Barbie to some beach time, to just skipping off work (tell them your a Druid, it’s a religious holiday).

Me, I wanna go to carhenge to celebrate the summer solstice like a Nebraskan.


But it is Political

June 20th, 2007
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I knew as I was framing this post in my mind whilst working today, that I would be pretty lonely in my opinion. I knew already what the great Joe Warmington had to say, could have guessed what Right Girl and Wonder Woman were saying, yet still found myself agreeing with David Miller.

I, and this blog, have been supporters of our troops since day one. I used to own one of those magnets, until some anti-war-Bush-hating-BirkenstockAndSock -wearing-smelly-old-needs-a-haircut-hippy-unionist stole mine (or it fell off, who really knows)(see picture right). But again, I must say it, David Miller is right: showing the ribbon can be construed as a political statement.

The debate, then, ought to be, should we be making political statements on public emergency vehicles? And perhaps, a reasonable answer is no.

I happen to think they belong there, I happen to be happy that Rob Ford was prophetic ( “It should be 45-0,” adds Councillor Rob Ford. “We should all be 100% behind our brave troops.”). But, if the answer is no, we should not be making political statements on public emergency vehicles, that means NO political statements: no breast cancer ribbons; no firetrucks in the gay pride parade. Not just, no right of centre political statements, no political statements. And that’s what is really galling everybody. They know this wouldn’t even be a question if this was any other cause.

For me though, the best part of this was the bit nobody noticed. The ribbons would stay on until removed during routine maintenance. That means that, unless you are a highly paid unionized mechanic in the city of Toronto, you are not qualified to remove an over sized fridge magnet from a fire truck.

Fortunately, this is all moot, as Toronto council voted 45 – 0 to keep the ribbons. Apparently the city of Toronto e-mail servers were getting a work out.

pimply minions of bureaucracy, Support The Troops, Toronto, whack-a-mole politics


June 19th, 2007
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Like many in the blogosphere, I have added facebook to my arsenal of places where I can be read. If you already on, feel free to make a friend of me:

Meanwhile, I am going to try and learn to add a “Share on facebook” link to this blog, ala Steve Janke.

Blog Administration, Blogger, facebook

BBQ Envy

June 18th, 2007
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For fathers day this year I got to cook for twenty-odd people on my brother-in-laws new BBQ. I don’t, as a rule, suffer from envy. But there’s exceptions to every rule and it can safely be said I have a bad case of BBQ envy.

Luckily, I love to cook, and he likes letting me

Seven Deadly Sins

Jim Balsillie’s Big Mistake

June 14th, 2007
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The Hamilton predators? Don’t do it Jim. It looks like Jim Balsillie’s big NHL venture is going to bring a team to Hamilton instead of K-W/Cambridge. I have been an advocate of the latter, and have explained my reasoning elsewhere. Basically, however, it’s location, location, location – and brand. K-W has a quality brand, many GTO residents universitied in the area and think fondly of it. Others have relations in the area, or work with K-W residents, a huge chunk of whom commute to the GTA.

But Hamilton? Hamilton has the exact opposite problem. It has a dirty image, and it is not a popular destination. Examine it from this perspective. Who, outside of Hamilton, is a Hamilton Tiger Cat fan? Nobody! Ten minutes from Hamilton people cheer for the Toronto Argo’s. In order to succeed, Jim Balsillie’s team will have to draw from a disgruntled Maple Leaf base – the Hamilton brand simply won’t do that. If your in Mississauga, you don’t drive to Hamilton to see a game, and more so in Brampton and London – not to mention Waterloo which is a good hour from Hamilton.

Sorry Jim, big mistake. Southern Ontario is a great NHL market – as long as your team isn’t in Hamilton.


From My Inbox

June 12th, 2007
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From the Desk of Farley Mowat
Dear Green Party Friend:

Eighty-six years as participant and observer have convinced me we are facing an ecological and environmental crisis that could precipitate the greatest die-off in the history of our planet.

The current situation is so ominous and the potential for disaster so diverse and imminent as to threaten not just human life but all of animate creation. If this sounds like Chicken Little, it is because this time the sky truly may be falling.

The unwillingness of the powers-that-be to accept the scope and urgency of the threat convinces me that the cement-heads who currently control our destiny are incapable of responding to the approaching tornado. They will remain engrossed in their own self-interests, trusting that a consortium of super-science, technology, and the Entrepreneurial Gods will see them safely into Heaven on Earth.

I don’t believe it will. Which is why I am now giving my support to the Green Party, the only political entity demonstrating a real and potential effective concern for the planet and its myriad inhabitants.

All of its inhabitants!

For it is not just we human beings who are at risk. We are all in the same crucible together – and the temperature is rising rapidly, both figuratively and actually.

The Green Party, led by Elizabeth May, is the one political party clearly committed to averting the catastrophic consequences of our continuing to treat the Earth as mere dirt beneath our feet, so it is imperative that we elect Green Party members to our next parliament. This cannot happen without a lot of help from a lot of us.

The Harper Conservatives boast of their war chest of $15 million, and their War Room from which they will send out their Attack Ads and fire their Media Barrages. The Green Party and its leader, Elizabeth May, have only the Green Hope Chest, which at the moment is virtually empty. Nevertheless, they are promising a peaceable campaign focused on the survival of a peaceable kingdom.

I very much want them to succeed and I hope you do too, so I invite you to join me in making it financially possible for the Greens to vanquish the vandals and thereby help re-establish a viable future for life on Earth.

Farley Mowat

To all those people who think Green is a good alternative place to put your vote: do you really still think so?

Crossposted from Let Freedom Reign

Celebrities, Elizabeth May, Global Warming, Going... Going... Gone Nuts For The Environment

What Has The CRTC’s 30% Rule Really Done For Canada?

June 11th, 2007
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Some time ago, New Zealand was looking at impose content requirements on its broadcasters:

…whether or not New Zealand should impose local content requirements on its broadcasters. Advocates were pushing for a legislated requirement that radio and television stations play a certain amount of content created by New Zealand artists and producers. Such measures, it was argued, would help preserve the cultural specificity of the land of the long white cloud.

Economist Martin Richardson looked at other countries who had done so, very specifically Canada. He examined the CRTC’s 35% rule, which states that “all radio stations must ensure that 35% of their popular musical selections are Canadian each week.”

Many people, of course, point to Celine Dion, Shania Twian or Nickelback as success stories from the 35% content rule, Richardson sees them as the failure of the rule:

“If you listen to people like Celine Dion, Shania Twain, or Avril Lavigne, they are Canadian, they get played – or, at least, used to get played – preferentially on Canadian radio stations, but they sound generically international,” Richardson says. “There is nothing distinctively Canadian about them at all, as opposed to some of their predecessors. Why? Once you have a cultural quota in place, you are forcing consumers to listen to more local content. Let’s assume that consumers have a preference for more international-type content. The obvious incentive is for local artists to start producing international music. The whole point of this is to preserve the local content, but actually by putting a restriction in place, you give local providers a very strong incentive to actually change their style and sound much more international.”

What you get, in other words, is Canadians that don’t sound Canadian. You gain the performer, but lose the uniquely Canadian voice. This article is a good read if you are interested in Canadian cultural issues.

Oh, and New Zealand? “Eventually the country’s broadcasters agreed to voluntary local content targets.”

Canadian Content, Celebrities, pimply minions of bureaucracy, Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin'

Daltonites Go Negative

June 11th, 2007

Hmmm. Hidden camera’s at a Tory convention? Ads of John Tory being evasive? Cut and Pastes of Tory bloggers speaking poorly of John Tory? (without links, in case your looking for integrity). Looks like it’s going to be a dirty campaign, and looks like it’s started.

I just wish I liked anybody in this campaign so I could join the fun.

Dalton, John Tory, Ontario Election, Silly Liberals

When is a Tax not a Tax?

June 8th, 2007
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Hmm, who’s thought was this one? Quebec is introducing a whopping 0.8c/litre carbon tax effective October 1. According to Claude Bechard, Quebec’s Natural resources Minister, the oil companies should pick up the tax:

We hope at 0.8 cents, the oil companies will be able to absorb it without passing on this royalty to consumers. Especially when you realize that refinery profit margins have gone in the last three, four months from 8 cents a litre to about 19, 20, 22 cents a litre.

Hey, where have I heard that before? Oh, I know, I said it Wednesday. Who would have thought a Quebec cabinet minster is trolling At Home in Hespeler for ideas. Of course, like a politician will, he got what I said all half-assed backwards; at 0.8c, there is no reason for oil companies to absorb the tax, and no way of knowing if they did. Gas in my part of the world jumps around more than 0.8c litre depending on the time of day. It is too small to affect demand, therefore, the gas companies can charge the tax, without affecting their profit. Once a tax is high enough to affect demand, then the oil guys have incentive to absorb the tax, but only then.

If that’s true, why does Mme. Bechard think the oil companies will eat the tax on your behalf?

Well, we count on the goodwill of the gas companies.

Oh, and if the gas companies do absorb the tax, what is the point of the tax. As Bechard himself notes, a carbon tax should be “user pay.” How is getting someone else to pick up your tax user pay? And is not a carbon tax designed to lower usage of carbon releasing goods? How does getting someone else to pick up the carbon tax reduce usage? It doesn’t, and this whole thing is a scam. Bechard could care less about reducing usage, and cares a whole pile about collecting extra revenue, designed as environmentalism.

Carbon Tax, Economic Fundamentalism, Going... Going... Gone Nuts For The Environment, The Media Following My Lead.

A View From Behind the Veil

June 8th, 2007
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Sometimes in your daily reading you run across a Wow!


h/t Wonder Woman