Thursday 28 February 2013

Working in Montréal today --please don't tease the otters

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Montréal today.

Researchers at the UK's Cardiff University announced this week that the penal bone in Otters has been shrinking due in theory to persistent organic pollutants, specifically, endocrine disrupting chemicals.

I applaud the research, but I am a wee bit curious of the moment of department head peer review..

"Johnson!   Get in here Johnson, I just read your research on the Otter penises er.. penae or peni?  Doesn't matter, this is the kind of hard-hitting, in your face kind of research we what coming out of this department. Sounds like you have a good grip on things here.. I know that you've been busy, quite a few balls in the air I understand, but this is something that I want the other department heads to get a taste of, a stroke of genius.. Good job!"

Now I must confess when I first read this, I think I was on the phone with Slepp and Yanick, I mused out loud, "My John Thomas has bones?" "Where do they disappear to after I've been to the pool?"

Sidebar for the gals out there.. In case you missed the Seinfeld episode, there exists.. a certain shrinkage of that favorite male appendage subsequent to being immersed in cool water and then chilled.  In complete opposite of the proud upstanding member of the male constitutional found on a warm summer day trying to peak out from ill fitting shorts, once chilled it hides like...  a scared turtle or a mouse backing into a corner away from an angry .. cat.

No room for bones.  Some gal reading this just muttered to herself, "I think men think about their Mini-Twinkie a wee bit too much"

And yet, she's still reading.

And we're back.

Gentlemen, ladies, our Willy Wilsons have no bones.  Although many if not most placental animal have penal bones, more precise --the baculum, humans do not.  It is present in the Ying Yangs of Gorilla and Chimpanzee, in the Wobbly Willies of Dogs and Cats, but absent in Schlongs of Elephants and Men.

So what is in the future of Otter extracurricular activity?  Will the WWF (I love wresting!) seek donations to fund penile implants for our stubby peckered musteldae friends?  Will the Otters need to rely on sheer blood pressure to maintain interest and joy by the Mrs. Otters?  Will Pfizer offer reduced prescription costs; will the Otters be subjected to dozens of SPAM emails offering solutions for the lutrinae's limp lizard?

Have a good day.  Please don't tease the Otters.

Thursday 21 February 2013

Working in Ottawa today --Bullet in the chamber

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Ottawa today.

Outside of our solar system and about the size of our favorite moon orbiting a star a mere 210 light years away.  That's 1,234,511,250,000,000,000 miles away.  The moon is 5,558 miles in diameter.  And we saw it.  Or detected it.  Yes, NASA's Kepler Space Telescope was able to assist astronomers in detecting this incredibly faint hint of a planet now known as Kepler 37b.

In a related story, I had a hard time finding my keys this morning.


You may recall my posting about Oscar Pistorius and his way fast times in running the 400 meters on his carbon fibre blade runners (Oscar was born without fibulae).

Very few people get multiple reviews in my pulps..  yeah, there's Mayor Ford, but he makes it far too easy, and then there is Oscar.  First as bionic fast guy and now as accused murderer.  Damn.

Now we could get into a discussion of the merits of South Africa's case against him and speculate whether he beat up Reeva Steenkamp with a cricket bat and then shot her, or if her shot her first and then beat her up with the bat.  But let's not.

Instead, there are two other things we can focus on.  The first is one of very bad choice of ad copy.


Pistorius appears in a few Nike ads starting back in 2011 with the blade runner at the blocks with the dual caption, 'I am the bullet in the chamber' and 'Just do it'.

Ouch.  Yes, the ad has been pulled.  So does Nike just attract sport stars that are likely to cause them PR grief?  Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong or do the ads rely on sexual and violent overtones so frequently that as long as they use humans, so will such catch phrases back fire.

Hey, more on the Pistorius case..  seems the lead detective is up on charges on 7 counts of attempted murder.  Yeah, while chasing a suspect, Detective Hilton Botha is accused of being under the influence of alcohol and firing his service revolver 7 times at a minibus taxi.

Hmmm...  a drinking trigger happy cop investigating an accused murderer athlete, is this starting to sound like a re-run of Los Angeles from a few years back?

Have a good day.  Just do it.

Saturday 16 February 2013

Took the week off --In the sunny south

Good morning folks,

I didn't work the past week, except for Monday.  Instead headed south for a few days in the sunny Dominican Republic.

I don't think that my pulps have ever included a book review..  nope, quite certain of it.  I tend not to read too much fiction, largely because such work annoys me.

I don't mind someone telling me a story that they made up, but the story should at least be possible, I understand the difference between fantasy and fiction, I just don't think that some writers, and apparently their publishers, do.

I am likely okay with a work of fiction that starts out with explaining that it takes place in another universe with a different set of laws of physics, or all in the mind of someone that is desperately trying to make sense of subjected events using whatever interpretations available..  sure.

But here is my problem, I picked up two books in an airport book store on our way out of Toronto and on our way to the Dominican Republic; Ishmael Beah A Long Road Gone - Memoirs of a child soldier, and Chuck Palahniuk Dammed.

I had previously read Canadian Senator and General Roméo Dallaire's Fight Like Soldiers, Die Like Children (Foreward by Ishmael Beah).  The General's book is divided into two parts, the first detailing the capture/recruiting and indoctrination of children into soldiering, and secondly the challenges for conventional military forces in combatting children soldiers and the political process of working to eliminate the use of children in warfare.

While head of the U.N. Peacekeeping mission in Rwanda. The General and his ranks faced head on the duties of protecting one's self and charges, and the emotional toll of firing on children advancing with automatic weapons.

Ishmael Beah's book tells his own life's story from child in Sierra Leone though the turmoil of that country's political upheaval and civil wars.  Bael was separated from his parents and family, and survived for months in the wilderness only to be eventually 'recruited' by the army to fight against the RUF, the revolutionary forces.

Baeh recounts how normal shooting, torturing, even beheading a captive became and only through the tireless work of UNECEF staff and volunteers did he become separated from soldiering and become rehabilitated back to child.

I recommend both Dallaire's and Baeh's books as the two definitive works on the subject of child soldiers.

And then there is Dammed.


I picked up this book and started reading.  Right away the main character, I presume the protagonist explains that her death (and subsequent descent into Hell) was the result of a marijuana overdose. !?!

A what?, I may of said out loud.   What the hell is a marijuana overdose?  Nobody dies from a marijuana overdose.  I put the book down.

Friends, let me explain.  People die from alcohol, some right away from alcohol poisoning at their high school dance, others from years of slowly destroying their liver.  Junkies can OD on heroin, Guys driving over financed Ferraris and strung out hookers can check out from heart attack or brain hemorrhages induced by cocaine, BUT NO ONE dies from marijuana.

Okay, one can die from doing dumb things while on the stink, like choking on a slice of pepperoni pizza or at the hands of another after incessantly calling him 'dude' but not from the weed itself.

The CDC lists that 37,000 die in the US each year from alcohol, but doesn't even have a category for pot deaths. Even as recent as 1988 Judge Francis Young declared after a lengthy investigation of all data available, "Marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."

Yeah, the DEA and Congress ignored him.

But friends, I may be mistaken.  Although my first impulse was to not read this book, this Dammed book, might indeed be dammed funny.  I flipped through some pages this AM, and Palahniuk's description of Hell including the horrible call centre, sea of insects and Ann Coulter references has got my attention.

I guess it just goes to show you, you can't judge a book by its cover or the first page.

Meanwhile, Sharlene's and my trip to the south is just what the we needed, a few days of sun and imbibement.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday 7 February 2013

Working in Ottawa today --Taxes and Tariffs

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Ottawa today.

Yawn.   Boring day in the news unless of course I missed something real exciting but I doubt it.

Seems its all money, all the time.  The Senate is looking at why there is a price gap between the U.S. and Canada.  You know it, you've seen it.

Even walk into a book store and two prices are listed $29.95 CDN, $19,95 USD.  Odd you may think to yourself, walk up to the counter and offer to pay in some US dollars left over from your trip to Seattle last year when you saw your great aunt Merdle and you will be met with blank stares and stammering refusals from the check out gal.

You see, it's not about the exchange rate of the currency.  No.

It's WHERE the book is sold not how it is sold.  More specifically, it is WHERE the book is and where it came from.

Let's not talk books, let's talk hockey pants.  A true Canadian eh?  When hockey pants are imported into Canada they are subjected to a tariff, if the come from China, the tariff is 18%, when they are brought in from the US they are subject to a 2.9% tariff.

This is to protect, in theory, the struggling hockey pant industry here in Canada...  oh wait.. We don't have one.  We used to, but it died a slow painful death as a result of cheap imports from Malaysia, China, or wherever.

Now if us fine Canadian's don't want to pay the marked up Canadian prices for hockey pants, we can skip across the border and buy them from a US merchant.  This will save some coin for your pocket.. and guess what else, suck some money right out of the Canadian economy!

Yeah, sorry about that, feeling a bit tired and cranky today, spent the last two days and evenings and early mornings preparing arguments for an upcoming legal battle and I am wrote out.  Just don't want to type anymore.  Do me and yourself a favour, I wrote a much earlier pulp (2008) about tariffs and labour, it is just as timely as when I wrote it.

Hell, while you are at that there is another on Keynesian economics from 2009, that is not necessarily about tariffs, in fact it isn't, but it's a nice piece on economics and exactly how corporations will screw you up the ying-yang if given the opportunity.

That's it.  I am going to enjoy the short flight into Ottawa and have a steaming hot cup of coffee.

Have a good day, and remember a raising tide, raises all yachts.