Thursday 20 December 2012

Working in Montréal --The Grand Trine

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Montréal today.

I am sure that at least a few readers will have tomorrow on their mind and concerned with what December 21, 2012 will bring?

The conscious realization of our full psychic and spiritual capacity!
I will buy a cup of coffee to anyone that can really explain what the hell that even means.

The reemergence of the lost planet Nibiru, planet X, the 12th planet and our lost brothers, the Anunnaki!   Unfortunately when Nibiru re-emerges it is predicted to collide with our favourite planet and destroy it and all that we know.  Yes –now is the time to watch any TiVo recordings of The Big Bang that you have.  A bombardment of asteroids? A solar flare that engulfs the earth? A rise of the lost city state of Atlantis?

Others, like the heavily armed guy in Arkansas with the 10 year supply of toilet paper state that tomorrow will bring the fall of civilization and he has his bunker ready, all part of God's plan he says.  I ask, If it's God's plan then who are we to screw with it?   I mean if this is the giant invisible guy's method of separating the righteous from those that decidedly aren't, where does arming myself with an AR-15, 3500 rounds of hollow point and 1000 gallons of water and dried food put me?  Righteous armed dude, or a member of the great unwashed poised for a firefight with some indeed righteous dude whose barrel is guided by the divine hand of God? 

This morning I thought I would turn towards the astrologers as they are usually concerned with the alignment of planets, particularly conjunctions, squares, tines, sextiles, and oppositions and what we are experiencing (and have been since the mid 1980s or so) is a grand trine, an alignment of the axis of the sun, earth and Milky Way, surely such an event would be notable?  Interesting, horoscope for this week reads: "Rework a financial plan and focus on one important area where you want to make progress. You might be willing to take a risk or gamble. There's even a chance of a small windfall or an opportunity to close a lucrative deal. Listen to your intuition for the best results. Conflicts could cause trouble in romance. Do your best to deal with difficult or restless personalities. An upbeat outlook helps you keep your cool and come out smiling."

I figured it would have mentioned something like, ".. Do your best to deal with elevated temperatures, a stripped away atmosphere, and flesh searing solar radiation, an upbeat outlook helps you keep cool and come out smiling."

Don't be concerned with the trouble in the romance department, I have always cooked a turkey for Christmas and yesterday Sharlene announced that she and Jenny want game hens instead.  I kept a brave face "don't they like my turkey?", I asked myself.  Worry not, will will get through this even though I died a bit inside.

Surely the market would have bundled the end of the world into its predictions? "CIBC predicts “very mediocre” growth for Canada next year, blaming a weak world economy and an absence of key economic drivers at home.  The bank expects economic growth of 1.7 per cent in 2013. That’s down from the 2 per cent rate it predicted in its previous forecast.  While oil and gas production is set to rise next year, those gains will be offset by weaker activity in mining, fertilizer, and natural gas output."
Yawn.. nothing like, "Invest now in sunscream lotions and End Of The World insurance?  Very mediocre? Does mediocre ever need an intensifying emphasizing adverb?  Yes, it's an adverb, to invoke the adjective state of very, one uses it to denote precision of a noun, such as "the very same place".  I apologize for being so very pedantic first thing this very early morning of our very last day on this very planet.

I have more questions but I think the best thing we can do is settle on the theme some for the end of the world.  This past evening I heard a commercial for an EOTW docufarce that featured The End of The World (Skeeter Davis, 1963).  This is a great pick!  Skeeter was a country/pop singer that had moderate successes in the early 50's, had a #1 country tune and #20 pop tune with the Davis Sisters, but her solo The End of The World was her most notable, and only slightly more upbeat than Patsy Kline's songs for the depressed and suicidal.

You've heard it, you liked it.
Has a simple G – D, Em – Bm, verse, and then a Am – Bm, C – Am – D7 2 line chorus

THE END OF THE WORLD Skeeter Davis  (1963)

Why does the sun go on shining
Why does the sea rush to shore

Don't they know it's the end of the world
'Cause you don't love me any more

Why do the birds go on singing
Why do the stars glow above
Don't they know it's the end of the world
It ended when I lost your love

I wake up in the morning and I wonder
Why everything's the same as it was
I can't understand, no, I can't understand
How life goes on the way it does

Why does my heart go on beating
Why do these eyes of mine cry
Don't they know it's the end of the world
It ended when you said goodbye

(Talk part)
Why does my heart go on beating
Why do these eyes of mine cry
(resume singing)
Don't they know it's the end of the world
It ended when you said goodbye

If you have nothing better to do in the next 24 hours or so, grab guitar or a piano and teach yourself how to play it, then as the world ends we can all play out the end.

Have a good day --See you on the other side.

Thursday 6 December 2012

Working in Montréal today --tax the bastards!

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Montréal today, and a heads up -next week I will be in Ottawa on Wednesday instead of Thursday as I will be taking Thursday and Friday to help my grandson Ethan celebrate his 1st birthday!

Ever hear of a movie named Recoil?  I hadn't before last week.  What I also don't known is what the movie is valued at.  But I do know that the owners of the film pay no continuing taxes on the simple ownership of it.  You may think to yourself, "That seems fair, I don't pay continuing taxes on the simple ownership of my sofa either."

I live in Mississauga.  I pay property tax in Mississauga. 24% of my property tax pays for education, I'm good with that, an educated population benefits us all.  And around 18% of my property tax pays for police services.  I'm also good with that.  I have property, the city taxes me, and they provide some muscle to protect my real property and the people that may live in it, and the articles that I may store in it.

That's the way police services are suppose to work.  The more real property that exists to tax, this includes houses, apartment buildings, office buildings, shops, car dealers, theatres, and donut shops.  More of those, and you have more cops.  Less and you have less.  That's why out where Don lives in a rural area, there just are not many cops driving around trying to figure out where to buy a donut.  Like cops, donut shops exist where the people are.

Now just in case you missed it, above I also included protection of the articles that I may store at my real property.  But what if my articles had no substance, took no space, and I could store an infinite number of these articles in my garage?


Yeah, work with me here.  I think I pay around $4.5k annually in property tax, so around $820 a year available for my local police department to give me assistance.  It is Sharlene and I living in the house, have a few-three cars, a couple bicycles, too many TVs that can be justified, a pool, some furniture and a cute dog that Dennis claims is too small to be a dog.  $820 is a pretty good deal for the commensurate level of protection.

I called the police the other evening to come to one of my neighbours' house and two cops showed up with two cruisers within a few minutes, and remedied my particular concern.  Good job.

But what if I was running a movie distribution business out of my house, and had $4 billion in Intellectual Property on a few hard drives?  That would be fairly easy to do, IP takes no real space, occupies no real property.   What if I published that IP where any and all persons could see it, hear it, and make copies?

And I wanted the cops to stop them? Whining that my delivery mechanism doesn't stop people from watching without paying me, would my $820 go very far? No, it wouldn't, if the cops helped me, they would use up $ that came from my neighbours, and their neighbours and also from you.

You probably see where this is going and you may be formulating an argument that if I am successful with my film business, I will make a profit and need to pay taxes on that profit.  Sure, but two flaws with that. Property taxes pay for cops, not income tax.  Second, have you ever heard of a film making a profit?  Never happens, that's why actors negotiate on the box office sales, not the profit after expenses, and why should the legitimate protection of property be tied to the profitability?  The city is not burdened with proving that I can make a profit on my house, rather they declare a value and tax me. Period.

We have moved copyright enforcement to our criminal courts and police.  Now we have cops that need to worry about protecting Louis Vuitton's design and Lucas Film's images of C3PO, but we don't tax these things as real property and while the Vuitton office is in a building that does have property tax, that building is filled with desks computers and sofas that also need police protection, effectively 'using up' the protection associated with the building's property tax --moreover, that property tax doesn't make its way to Mayor Hazel's finest.

Let's change the tune here, let's tax IP as real property.  If we don't, then your taxes will need to increase in order to pay for the police to protect interests of those that quite frankly already are much more wealthy than you or I.  Either that or watch the police protection of your property diminish, your real property, your family, your articles will suffer.

Let's go back to the film Recoil, what is it worth?  I really have no idea, did a quick search before the flight took off but could not come up with a formula, and this captain just stated that we have started our descent into YUL, do we look at its revenue potential, what it cost to make.. ? Lets say it's worth $1,000,000 (it was a made-for-video movie after all), let's tax it as real property, if the owners would like to cough up 1-5% for each film that they have, each and every year, in every jurisdiction that they seek protection, a 1% property tax on all IP, 1% on the value of Louis Vuitton's purse designs, 1% of the value of Sony's music collection to Canadian authorities, I would be happy to provide a commensurate level of policing for them.

Yes EACH,ALL movies that they have (unless they release it to the public domain), we don't get to pick and choose to pay tax on real property, can't tell city hall, no don't tax that house, I promise not to call the cops.  How about our gov't consider that instead of asking you the tax paying citizens to provide the protection?

Have a good day.

Thursday 29 November 2012

Working in Ottawa Today --Used Ford for sale

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Ottawa today.

Two events of note in the last few days.    The Grey Cup... Yay Toronto.  And Mayor Ford.

First we'll look at the Grey Cup.  In a strange misread of their market, the execs at the CFL must have momentarily forgot that it is primarily middle aged beer drinking Cheetos! munching men that watch the Grey Cup or any CFL for that matter.  The execs however must have thought that their audience was comprised largely of 12 year old girls.

Enter..  Justin Bieber.  With a physique and attitude that just begs to be crammed into a locker near study hall --please don't misread this as an advocation of teenage bullying, I just call 'em as I seez 'em-- J-Biebs took the stage after a quick tune by Gordon Lightfoot to be met with puzzled WTF looks from fans gazing at the ol'Jumbotron and then boos.

Except of course from the 12 year old girls that were in the bleachers that had pleaded with their dads to take them to see the Grey Cup, and likely whined during the rest of the game, "Can we go home now?"  Yeah, I'm sure a great way to spend $500 a piece.

The execs said that they wanted to expand their audience base into the pre-teen all girl market which has been largely ignored by the CFL, the NFL, the old AFL, and the NCAA.


And then there's Ford.  Sigh.  Sorry folks, I know that my pages continue to be splattered with the foibles of Mayor Rob F.F. Ford and I may or may not have promised to look to other sources of page inspiration, but come on, he just keeps giving me topics.

So .. taken down by his own stubbornness and arrogance.  There are many Ford supporters out there that have a very narrow view of the events and complain that he was ousted over $3k.  But no.  His lawyer even tried to argue that it was only $3k.

The reality was, it was someone else's $3k.  And Ford used City of Toronto letterhead to coerce the cash from the rightful owners for Ford's high school football team, his charity, something that he uses to bolster his image.

City staff told him he should not do it.  He ignored them.  The city's integrity commissioner told him he had to pay the money back.  He ignored him.  He asked Ford 6 times if it had been repaid.  He ignored him.  If it was only $3k then why didn't he simply repay it?

Then city council took up the commissioner's issuer and that's when Ford voted to not pay the money back.  And that is a conflict of interest.

So anyone want to buy a used Ford?  The lease was terminated early, but has surprisingly high miles, the body needs work, it tends to backfire, and it pulls to the right.

Have a good day.  

Friday 23 November 2012

Working in Ottawa today --Man up

Good morning folks,

As previously predicted by yesterday's email, I am working in Ottawa today.

Just a quick follow up to the spray-on fidelity drug, oxytocin.  Seems there was a follow up study on the effects of oxytocin on team sports published in Scientific World Journal.  According to the report, it plays a considerable role in establishing trust and communications on team sport teammates.  So when you watch the Args and Stampeders play on Sunday and you see the squads in a huddle, remember they may just need to cuddle.

Have a good day, Man up. 

Thursday 22 November 2012

Working in Montréal today --No Donkeys

Good morning folks,  I will be working in Montréal today and the fabled land of Ooo-TAW-wa tomorrow.  Yes, a bit early for the email, caught the 7:30 out of YYZ.

Do you know who the Master of Hohenfurth is?  That's okay, it is an obscure reference to the more broadly known Master of Vyšši :)  This guy, who's actual name we have not a clue.. was an active painter in the 1300s.  He painted a number of Christ centric works, Nativity, Annunciation, Adoration, Resurrection, who whole gamut.

If one views the Cycle de la vie de Jésus one will observe a donkey, cow, some goats, oxen, what may be a pack of dogs and oddly.. what I think is an armadillo.  Also surrounding the baby Jesus is a number of persons presumably a mixture of wise and not so wisemen and possibly some traveling buskers.

Now this and other depictions of the nativity are based on the written accounts of Dionysius Exiguus (Dennis the insignificant?) a monk from the mid 500s that brought us the birth date of Christ and a revised calendar.

But get this.. In what has been a recurring theme in my weekly emails, he made a MISCALCULATION in the dates.  According to Pope Benedict, in a recently published book -Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, the actual date of birth was not December 25 (Thanks for clearing that up there Pontiff, we already suspected as much) and the year was earlier, perhaps as many as 7 years earlier!

But I and you likely don't care, although it may have an effect of subsequent calculations of exactly when the end of the 13th B'ak'tun will occur.  But more importantly, he asserts that there were no oxen.

No oxen?!

Nope.  And no other animals either. Not even that donkey with the look on his face that he has seen what cannot be unseen.

If this was your anchor, the building block of your faith, the foothold of your doctrine, the leash to your dogma, the tenets of your faith.. yeah.. sorry for bringing it up, hope I have not spoiled your Christmas plans.

Have a good day, blame the Pagans.

Thursday 15 November 2012

Working in Ottawa today --Creepy things

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Ottawa today.

How about a new column segment, Things that sound Romantic, but are down right Creepy?

I was listening to the TV the other evening (yes I rarely watch TV, but I like to listen to it -especially when I am knocking off work at home.  Provides a passage of time indicator, and makes it feel like I am getting some rec time in too), and on the TV some news anchor from Atlanta (I could tell from her accent) was explaining that there was a new wonder drug, a fidelity drug, a keep your husbands from straying drug..

Oxytocin in a spray bottle.

Odd I thought.  Oxytocin is derived from the Greek word Tokos, quick birth.  Not only does it aid in uterine contractions during the aforementioned quick birth, but is also passed to the baby during birth and aids in the pair bonding.  It also facilitates breast feeding.  It is also present in the brains of persons in love, and spikes after having sex.  Yay.

Now then..  A recent study in the Journal of Neuroscience shows that when men in a committed relationship are given oxytocin they stay a farther distance away from unknown, attractive women.  They did not bother testing the effect on such men to unknown, unattractive women, or that unknown woman with the real bitchy attitude, even though she was kinda hot.

Sorry, lost my train of thought there.  So just so we understand, the natural way that a woman can induce an elevated level of oxytocin in her man's brain is to have sex with him, and the desired behaviour modification is to stop the same man from wandering around having sex with unknown, attractive women...  Why doesn't the gal just have sex with him?

Oh.. the staying farther away part of the study, and not mentioned by the Atlanta broad (kind of attractive, but a little too right wing for me) is that the men stayed an average of 2 inches further away.  2 inches? Barely even worth noting, damn, even Sr. Alice used to say we had to dance a foot apart to leave room for the Holy Ghost.

Other methods of keeping your man from straying.. frontal lobotomies, chemical castrations, sending hate emails to the other gal (thought I missed the whole thing about General Petreius love quadrangle didn't you?).  So will women run out and buy the spray bottle and spray it in the face of their sleeping husbands?  Yeah, just a bit too creepy for me.

Have a good day.  Live better chemically.

Thursday 8 November 2012

Working in Montréal today --The Monkey Cage

Good morning folks,

I am working in Montréal today.

I was going to lead off with some blathering about the U.S. election and even had a fairly decent quote to get us going.. Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage --H R Mencken.

I even thought about running with a scathing indictment of the News Media, that bull crap that they feed us under the guise as news when it is merely rating grabbing hyped up headlines..  Even started writing my lead-in .. That bitch Sandy didn't last long enough, the election in the U.S. is over, the only hope for CNN is that the meandering 500 mile border between Turkey and Syria erupts into WAR!

But then it hit me.

This U.S. election was really an assault on a Canadian Industry that we all hold dear.  This was an attack on the B.C. pot growers!

Yes, my friends, the B.C. pot industry is worth around 8 billion dollars to the Canadian economy, and two U.S. states while in the process of voting in Obama for a second term, specifically Washington and Colorado, two of B.C.'s closest pot smoking neighbors, have voted to legalize the bud sprouting leafy recreational plant, which according to Prof. Werner Antweiler, B.C.'s Saunder School of Business, will result in a significant market of B.C. pot go up in smoke.. Nipping B.C.'s profits in the bud?

That's right, defying Federal law they have voted to allow the bud, the cheeba, chronic, dagga, dak, dank, dope, doobage, draw, dro, electric puha, frodis, ganja, grass, green, hash, hay, herb, indo, instaga, kind bud/killer bud, kind, leaf, Mary Jane, nugget, nug, pot, reefer, schwag, sensi, skunk, sticky-icky-icky, tea, tree, wacky tobacky, weed.. You pickin' up what I'm dropping here?

Now what remains to be seen is the U.S. federal gov't take on this.  You see, in the U.S. Constitution in Article 1, Section 8 is a few words..  To regulate Commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states and with the gypsies, fortune tellers, casinos, and those guys that sell fake Rolexes at train stations.. and the Indian Tribes.

But it is this clause, aka the Inter-state Commerce Clause that the U.S. justice Department has operated under as they continued to raid, seize, arrest and generally hassle medical marijuana users in California.

The theory goes that if Bob can grow pot in his back yard in Colorado without fear of arrest, then he won't buy it from the illegal growers, causing the illegal grower's price to fall.  Standard supply and demand theory.  And, if that illegal grower was in another state, then the cross state border trade of pot would fall off, or increase, or do something.  But it would not be uniform!

And when you read 1-8 you will see that it is all about uniformity.  Uniformed Postal Service, Naturalization laws, Navy, Coins, Weights and Measures, Bankruptcy laws.. And uniform Commerce.  So in a nutshell.. it remains to be seen how free those in Colorado will actually light up.

 What a buzz kill.

Have a good day, responsible smokers wait till 4:20 :)

Thursday 1 November 2012

Working in Ottawa today -- Dr. Evil revisited

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Ottawa today.

Ahem.  My dear readers,  We need to be afraid.  Very afraid.  Let me explain.  Syria borders Turkey on its north side, Iraq on its east, Israel and Jordan to the south and the Mediterranean sea and Lebanon to the west.  It has close to 200,000 km2 and has around 17 million people.  And..

Syria knows how to make hurricanes. (this statement has much more effect if you whisper it).  Let's try again in a whisper-hushed tone, "Syria knows how to make hurricanes".   Big hurricanes. Super Storms. Storms of the Century. Franken-Storms!  Readers.. Listen carefully, Syria blows.  When I first became aware of this, I had read it on the CNN scroller.  "Syria behind Sandy".

Now when I read this I naturally assumed that some staffer at CNN was trying to communicate that a news report pertaining to Syria was following a news story about Hurricane Sandy.  I laughed a bit out loud and said to Sharlene, "Some guy is sitting on his sofa (we talked about sofas before, they are like couches but have fewer letters) and is yelling to his wife, "Damn it Hellen, get in here, it's those damn Syrians screwing with the weather again!".

But sadly this was not the case of a CNN staffer not having a great command of the English language.. No.

While I did not stick around for the CNN report yesterday AM, I did check late last night.. after I noticed that all the Syrians that I know were all wearing windbreakers with lightning bolt logos on the back.. 

Shamal, do we have a clip to show?  Hmmm.. a clip.. a vid-e-o clip.. no clip?  Sorry, thought we had a clip.

And we're back.

All of the reports that I found can be traced to a Facebook page "" that states, "Sources confirmed to us that Hurricane Sandy that is slamming the U.S. was set off by highly advanced technologies developed by the heroic Iranian regime that supports the resistance, with coordination of our resistive Syrian regime".

Wow.  Bitchin'.

My friends, I feel that I too should come clean on some of my prior acts. June 15 of last year I made a Lunar Eclipse.  I meant to have it visible in Canada but I miscalculated the gravity well effect of the earth and moon largely because when my friend Bob made the moon, he used the wrong kind of cheese; it was really best to view it from Tanzania, sorry about that.  I will do better on my next eclipse April 25, 2013 I have made sure that you will be able to view here in Canada and as an added treat, I will keep the skies fairly clear.  No need to thank me, it will be my pleasure to do this for my friends.

Reportedly the Sandy's damage was "punishment for whoever dares to attack Syria's (Bashar) al-Assad and threaten peace and stability."  I guess the 69 people killed in the Caribbean were anti al-Assad too?

Hey, if you were smart enough to develop this technology, would you not be smart enough to threaten to use it first, Dr. Evil style?  "I will unleash this powerful hurricane weapon against America, the great Satin, and its godless infidels unless you pay.. One Million Dollars!"

Have a good day, buy kite futures.

Thursday 25 October 2012

Working in Montréal today --Truth in advertising

Good morning folks, I will be working in Montréal today.  Am heading in on the 7 AM flight as I am returning a bit earlier than usual on the 5 PM flight.

Unfortunately for today's email, I am working on some work stuff so won't be able to entertain, irritate, inform, or bore you.

Well..  maybe I have a minute or two.

If you were a real ugly duckling and spend some serious coin to reverse the effects of a long line of questionable gene traits in your family line, brow, nose, lips, breasts, belly and butt, the works.. do you have a moral imperative to inform your bedmate?

Perhaps not if you are merely a lumber-camp plaything or if you rent yourself out by the hour, but if you are likely to produce an offspring from your sweaty acrobatic exchange of body fluids?

A man in China has sued his wife after she gave birth to their, reportedly ugly, baby.

Jian Feng is real ticked.  The baby that he and his wife produced is.. ghastly unattractive, I mean breathtaking.  Seems Jian's wife spend a small fortune reversing and augmenting and the resultant attractive features weren't hers, as she apparently had none.

Neither did the baby.  

And the courts reportedly sided with Jian.  Awarded him $120,000, such is the going rate for ugly babies I suppose.

Have a good day, to thine own self be true.

Thursday 18 October 2012

Working in Ottawa today --The 13th B'ak'tun

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Ottawa this today.

Natasha wants December 21st off.  I thought her a wee bit ambitious to make plans for that day in particular since popular myth has it that the world as we know it will cease to be a pleasant place and instead turn into something that only food hoarding, AR-15 armed civilians spewing witty reparté can save humanity from.

But why on that day?  You may recall earlier end of world predictions from me, and why even the Schröd's cat was alive, dead, and also heaving up a fur-ball and how intersected with String Theory there stood an excellent probability that we, at least the readers of my missives, would all survive just fine.  It is true that it is unlikely that non-readers would fare that well, but that is well beyond our control isn't it?  Poor bastards.   (

But again, why on that day?  It's because of a very selective interpretation of the Mayan calendar.  Selective such as if you looked at this October calendar and screamed in terror, "October ends on the 31st, it's the end of the calendar, the printer must know that the world will end Wednesday the 31st".

Damn.  October isn't even named after a Roman god or Emperor, just octo, eight, what a crappy month to end the world on.. (January and February are new months inserted into the old Roman calendar, in case you ever wondered about the number named month all being an offset of two, bet you didn't know that).  Oh wait, I know, just flip the f..'ing page there Spanky!

And we're back.. now it is just dumb to look at a single data page in a calendar to predict such an important occurrence on so let me give you a very crash course in Mayan calendars.

The smallest calendar component is the day or the k'in, also refers to the Sun.

A Winal is 20 K'in
A Tun is 18 Winal.
A K'atun is 20 Tuns.
A B'ak'tun is 20 K'atuns (144000 days or about 394.25 years).
A Pictun is 20 B'ak'tuns.(2,880,000 days or about 7885 years)

There may have also been C'alab'tun, K'inchil'tun and A'lau'tuns also all 20 fold of the previous.  So rough and dirty an A'lau'tun would be what.. 3,154,000 years?

Yes, it helps to be a nerd.

The current Pictun started on August 11, 3114 BCE which corresponds to around a millennium prior to the start of the Mayan Empire and will end on October 31 4772.  We are just now nearing the end of the 13th Baktun.  So why do we care?

Beats me.  I mean, yeah I know.. keep reading.

The answer lies with Frank Waters.  Author and U.S. gov't propaganda analyst (really).  Frank wrote several books, one particularly is relevant to this email - Mexico Mystique, I think in 1975 (I need to hire a fact checker) within he identified the 13th B'ak'tun as the Mayan Great Cycle, screwed up on the math (see previous missives on end of world calculations and why checking calculations is so damned important and pegged the destruction of all time to be some time last year.  Fiz.

Over the last 30 years other cash strapped authors entered the Mayan Calendar Destruction books for cash drive and predicted devastating occurrences for 1987, 1989, 2004, 2010, 2011 and of course this December.  You may recall the 1987 Maya-Galactic "Harmonic Convergence.".  You may also recall that the world was not torn apart by focused gravitational forces, however it is true that exactly 10 years earlier Elvis died at 42.

Have a good day, Natasha won't be in on December 21.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Working in Montréal today --Malala

Good morning folks,  I will be working in Montréal today.

Sometimes you have to call things what they are.    Malala Yousufzai is a courageous 14 year old Pakistani girl.

Malala thinks that girls should have equal access to education and is critical of the Taliban and its position against girls being educated.

So a Taliban member shot her.  Of this there is no doubt.  Moreover, the Taliban claims responsibility and vows to shoot her again.

I often wonder to myself why is it that it is so common that the fundamentalist, religious extremist movements seem to share the common trait of relegating women to mere property, to possessions, that are required to obey their male masters' every word and wish?  Why these cultures like to marry off the women young and uneducated?

Do these male members suffer from deep seated feelings of inadequacy and by reducing half of the population to sub-person state, their status automatically raises?  I don't know.  It is odd that males that are already the physically larger and stronger of the species also demand to be educated, own land, and be free to show their face in public.. just have to have it all eh guys?

Young Malala will likely recover from the bullet that was removed from her neck and it is my sincere wish that she continue her efforts in the cause for girls and women to reach an equal footing with their male counterparts.  

I challenge her fundamentalist opponents to defend their beliefs with words instead of violence, surely your religious elders can out debate an uneducated 14 year old girl.

Have a good day.  Say Malala's name. and again.

Thursday 4 October 2012

Working in Ottawa today, tomorrow --Got Milk?

Good morning folks,  I will be working in Ottawa for the next two days, but will only make it into the office for a quick cheque signing.

This past weekend my daughter Christine with her son, my grandson, Ethan participated in a public breastfeeding awareness event at Orchard Park Mall in Kelowna.  By Christine's account there were 65 babies latched on and having lunch.  Yay.

I did find it odd though, I mean --we have been on this planet a damn long time and our biological systems are specifically designed to feed our babies this way, so why do we need such demonstrations?

The answer is two.  One is that many a young mother may feel a certain lack of confidence in her ability to feed her baby this way, and no wonder.  Companies like Nestlé have made a fortune convincing mothers that if they really loved their baby they would use formula.  Nestlé markets using this strategy in the first, second and third worlds, even where there is a shortage of clean water with which to mix the formula.  Bastards.

The other is the ill informed.

I have a short story for you.  A few years back Sharlene and I visited Niagara Falls with a friend of Sharlene's from NY along with her friend's niece.. perhaps 25, college educated.  After a few hours of doing the tourist thing.. and having seen one too many naval lint museums, both the niece and I opted to remain out of the sidewalk instead of entering the next tourist trap du jour.

I was shortly afterwards as the niece and I chatted about the mundane that a bare breast caught my peripheral vision, left side, back about 10 feet.  It's just the way men are, a bare breast can be detected by a blind man in a dark room.

My head turned for a quick gaze, where I saw a baby latch on.  Oh..  non-sexual breast, resume convo.

That's disgusting!, the niece bellows.  The breastfeeding?, I query.

N: Yes.  Why is she doing that here.
Me: Because here is where she is (a minor tautology).
N: Yes, but why isn't she in a bathroom.
Me: Do you eat your lunch in a bathroom?

N: It should be against the law.
Me: I believe your attitude may lead to behaviour that is against the law.
N: There should be places out of the public for things like that.
Me: I agree, but for the mother and child's comfort, not for yours.
N: Well it should be against the law.
Me: Why as a woman are you so quick to have the state pass laws about your biological processes?

I think right around then then conversation ended and all that remained was a scowl on both our faces.

A moment later Sharlene and her friend returned and on Sharlene noticing the scowls simply asked, "Making friends honey?".

Have a good day.  Got Milk?

Thursday 27 September 2012

Working in Montréal today --Celebrate International Coffee Day!

Good morning folks,

I shall be working in Montréal today.

'shall'?  Yes, Georges and I have been working on some T&Cs lately so my mind is quite in tune with the subtleties of grammar and the precise message conveyed therein.  You hip?

I chose the wrong line at security today at Pearson, initially I was heading for the lower security but it was terrible full so I ran up the stairs to the main departure level and was met with similar sized and intensity lines.  I chose quickly.  Damn.

The line I chose had the lowest number of individuals outside of the wall, but inside..  the dreaded family of four.  Not near as much fun as China's Gang of Four (1966-76, too obscure?), but just as much a security problem.

'Oh come on!'. Who in today's age of heightened airport security doesn't know that you can't bring 10 bottles of water with you through security, or 3 toy guns and a Happy Fun Ball?  Strange..  each had a significant amount of assorted change in their pocket --these may have been the Coin-Op Laundry Bandits!  Have rodeo-hero belt buckles come back into vogue?  The absurdity rose to absolute heights when it was revealed that all four members, mom, dad and the two kids all had piercings, ranging from the typical ear-rings to the atypical nipple rings, belly, nose, lip, and I am only theorizing....  the dreaded scroti-orno-ments!

Bleeweep!  The handheld wand yelled out to its raised eyebrow female holder...  'Need a male screener!' she called out.  'They don't come out' the dad-traveller volunteered, 'WASN'T ASKING!', she blurted back.  My right eye developed a bit of a nervous twitch.

Finally made it through, and raced off to my gate.  Now we sit here just 75 meters or so from gate 22 with a small computer glitch, we'll know in just a short number of minutes if it is cleared.

Which brings me to today's intended topic.   This Saturday is International Coffee Day!


Hey, bet you didn't know that prior to OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) the Arabia was in the coffee racket? Yep, the Arabs even imposed strict bans on the export of fertile coffee beans.

Long before Juan Valdez carried on his illicit love affair with his mule, Conchita, coffee was being grown in Africa originating in the Ethiopian province of Kaffa and then it was cultivated in Yemen and exported through the port of Mocha, with the aforementioned ban on fertile beans.

And then came the Dutch.  They brought beans back to the Netherlands in the early 1600s where they were grown in greenhouses and then it was also the Dutch that brought coffee to South and Central America in the early 1700s. It was there in Columbia working tirelessly for the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Columbia that that lonely Cafetero Juan met the lovely Conchita under a harvest moon.  It was love at first bray.

The man on the radio had alerted me to notable event of this Saturday and went on to list the set of occupations that drink the most coffee..

By memory..  Scientists, salesmen, business people , food service workers, people that work with the public, people that work with children, doctors, lawyers, construction workers, farmers, ranchers, and stay at home moms and mechanics.  Oh yeah, poets and the clergy.

I think the only group according to his list that aren't drinking coffee were oceanographers.  Odd bunch, those oceanographers.

Have a good day, have a coffee :)