Thursday, November 30, 2006

Monstrous Icicle

This icicle had formed on the side of my building ever since the bad weather hit Vancouver. It had gotten so big and heavy that I feared it was going to pull the rain gutter off of the wall. But about an hour after I took these photos, it all suddenly fell to the ground. Dead icicle, happy building.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Finally, Some Help For Canadian Troops!

The hypocritical French, Germans, & Italians have finally removed some of the selfish restrictions of their troops in Afghanistan. Full story here.

Gorgeous Vancouver

Here's a photo of Vancouver taken by my friend, Nadia. Be sure to click on it to see the full-sized image. Then you can right-click on that to set the image to your desktop background.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Early Christmas Ad

You'll love this:

The Psychology of the Blizzard

Many of you know that I've been a huge critic of local radio giant, CKNW, for many months. If given the opportunity to speak freely, I bet that many employees there would have similar opinions about the "boneheaded pinheads in Toronto who run the joint".

But credit must be given where it's due. Since the big snowstorm started in Vancouver, CKNW has far outstripped every other station in the region with their coverage. And how did they do it? Simply by opening up the phone lines and letting people share their stories of what's happening in their particular neck of the woods. I've been completely addicted to listening to these silly, first-hand stories. I even called in as soon as my mom & I crossed back into B.C. from Washington State!

I've thought a lot about why so many people feel the need to listen to such stories and share their own. While this snow storm is no tragedy per say, it has certainly shaken people out of their blaise regular routines here in Vancouver more than any other event in recent history. When uncertainty arises in one's life, I think there is an extra-ordinary need to discuss it with other human beings. There's just something strangely reassuring to know that others are going through something similar.

Snowy Drive to Bellingham

I had a rental car for the weekend, mostly to make deliveries for BCDD, but on Sunday my mom & I decided to continue with our shopping trip down to Bellingham. Here are some photos from our journey:

Fir Street, looking south toward 16th Avenue

Approaching the Blaine truck crossing

The parking lot at Bellis Fair

Returning via the Peace Arch crossing

All in all, the experience was incident free for us. But there were lots of people who had driven off the road. It seems that many people don't understand that you simply have to drive slower in such conditions, even if you're driving an SUV. Even more have little to no experience driving in the snow. So when something startles them - like hitting a patch of ice - they slam on the brakes, which tends to spin them around and often into the ditch.

Returning the Avis rental car was quite hilarious. I took it back to the West Broadway location where I had picked it up. I knew they'd be closed but was just going to drop the keys through the mailbox like I had done in times past. Well this time round the mailbox was welded shut! So I found a payphone and call their 800 number. They explained that I could wait until the next morning or take it to their downtown location. I opted for the latter.

Taking the Cambie Bridge downtown, the traffic was very light. I pulled into the parking lot underneath of the Hotel Vancouver and down to level B7, as instructed by the signs. I then took the elevator back up to ground level to return the keys. There was no one there! Nor was there a drop-off box! So I went into the hotel and called them again. They assured me there was a box somewhere, but they weren't sure where. Another elevator ride back down to B7 and I found the box, though it was nowhere near I had left the car.

The walk home was peaceful and pleasant. I had brought my portable radio along and listened to the coverage on CKNW. People were calling in from all over the Lower Mainland reporting the storm from their perspective. Many people had lost power. I felt very fortunate that I had not been inconvenienced at all by the storm.

Friday, November 24, 2006

24 + Lost = Day Break

There's a cool new show on TV called "Day Break". Do you remember the Bill Murray movie, Groundhog Day? It was a comedy about a weatherman who just couldn't escape a small town because the day kept on repeating and repeating and repeating. Every morning he woke up would actually see him waking up the day before.

Well, Day Break is sort of like that, albeit in an action-packed, police drama kind of way. I was hooked after Episode #1 but it might take you a few episodes to catch onto. Besides the great action and well written story, it also stores the Eurasian beauty, Moon Bloodgood. Her name brings up an obvious question: "How many o's are in gorgeous?" The answer, of course, is six!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Norman Spector Sues The Vancouver Sun

On Saturday, November 18, 2006 Vancouver Sun columnist, Daphne Bramham wrote a column that featured this comment:

[Ralph] Klein's verbal abuse of Stronach followed former ambassador Norman Spector's repeated references to Stronach as a "bitch" on a Vancouver radio show. The former adviser and confidante to both a prime minister and a premier sanctimoniously tried to bluster his way out of it, claiming that he was using an arcane definition from the Oxford Dictionary meaning treacherous behaviour. I've not been able to find it in any of the versions of Oxford I've consulted.

Respected broadcaster Bill Good let Spector say it more than once. He didn't have to. There's a delay on his program that allows him to censor callers who swear or say distasteful, rude or libelous things.

Good choice not to use that delay for Spector's remarks, which had followed Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay's sexist slurring of Stronach in the House of Commons.

If Canada's so-called intellectual elites -- politicians, advisers, political activists and headline writers who all have the power to influence -- see nothing wrong with using words to belittle and injure women, it's no surprise that the policies they help formulate do so little to protect women.

Spector has just sued The Sun for libel for alleging that he made up the definition of the word. As a preview to the lawsuit, I just consulted the online Oxford Dictionary:


noun 1 a female dog, wolf, fox, or otter. 2 informal a woman whom one considers to be malicious or unpleasant. 3 black English a woman (used in a non-derogatory sense). 4 (a bitch) informal a difficult or unpleasant thing or situation.

verb informal make spiteful comments.

— ORIGIN Old English

Seems to me that he has a pretty darn good case. Perhaps Ms. Bramham should think twice in the future before condemning any man who dares to criticize any public female figure even if her actions very much invite it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Great Man Syndrome in the Modern Age

I just read this excellent article by Mark Steyn. He talks about how almost all of the "elites" are completely out of touch with what is really going on in the non-elite world that we know as reality. I then sent him the following letter:

I just read your Western Standard article, "The Last Youth Standing". Interesting, though not surprising. The Great Man Syndrome you spoke of (ie. big shots being completely out of touch with the reality of the masses) is certainly true but needs to be examined in conjunction with what one might call "The Merging of the Elite Classes Phenomenon".

In the past decade, us poor, ignorant sods have observed something very strange unfolding in the public spotlight. Much like the polygamous commune of Bountiful in southeast British Columbia, The Political Class appears to have gotten hitched to two wives:

  • Wife #1: The talking heads of the News Media
  • Wife #2: The often prettier talking heads of the Entertainment Industry
All three are cohabitating in one household now, vying for time & space in that illuminated rectangular window through which we see the world. Sometimes we see a Husband talking with Wife #1, having allegedly serious, informative discussions. Other times we see 2 Husbands blethering on. Many words are always said but rarely is anything of value ever expressed. As such, most people never watch such discussions, regardless of who's talking.

Some Husbands have clued into this fact so they've started appearing more often with the sexier, funnier Wife #2. We thus see scads of politicians on the late night shows of Jay Leno and David Letterman, prefaced, of course, by an appearance from the latest Paris Hilton wannabe and followed by the new rap sensation from Uzbekistan.

But focus groups have shown that even this is boring the majority of audience members, so the Wives have realized that they don't even need the Husbands whatsoever. We thus have George Clooney and Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and Madonna appearing on the "news", explaining to us all that is truly important in the world and precisely how they know we should solve it. The piece-de-resistance though had to be on the Nov. 19th CBC Evening News when Celine Dion appeared from Las Vegas explaining that once her current gig is up that she is definitely going to "save the world". She admits that she's not quite sure how yet, but is convinced she can't do a worse job than the guys who are running things now.

I wonder what Marshall McLuhan would say about all of this. Something tells me he wouldn't be surprised.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Nellie Needs A New Home

The sister of a colleague of mine asked if I could spread the word about a wonderful dog. My allergies prevent me from getting a dog but this one sure sounds like a sweetie. If you can help, please leave a comment and I'll get you in touch with her.

We adopted Nellie from the Vancouver Pound when she was about one and now she is 7 ½ years old. We don’t know her background, but think she was abandoned. She’s a knee-high golden lab/husky cross, maybe with some sheba inu. She is spayed, licensed in Vancouver, healthy and up to date with her shots.

Nellie is fairly active as she is used to walking about 45 minutes every morning, at least 20-30 minutes every evening, has two longer outings on hiking trails with a dog walker twice a week and usually has other outings on the weekends. She is responsive to commands, but will chase squirrels, cats, and skunks given the chance and for this reason is usually walked on leash when in our neighbourhood. She loves parks, beaches, running and snow, and has spent many happy times playing in Tofino on the beach and in the forest.

Nellie is well socialized with other dogs. We have another smaller dog at home, and she is good with the other dogs she knows through the dog walker. She is better when meeting dogs off leash as she sometimes doesn’t react well to other dogs when she feels at a disadvantage. She does like to asset her alpha nature with some other submissive dogs.

Nellie needs a calm household with a clear alpha owner as she is high strung and protective even in situations where she doesn’t need to be. She responds well to deep, calm voices and consistent commands. She is very responsive to our female dog walker, so we think she will be suited to a home where the main caregiver will be a male or an assertive female.

Why does Nellie need a new home?

She is coming from a home where she is dearly loved, but is too chaotic, with too many kids coming and going, all of which make her nervous. Although she has been great with our own three kids (the youngest was two when we first got Nellie) she has recently snapped at two very small children (under two) and she barks at small kids which frightens them. This has led us to putting her in a separate room when small children are around, which then makes her even more nervous of/threatened by small children. It isn’t fair on her to put her in that situation, but given our household we have to accept our reality that we do have small children around constantly.

We believe that given the right home, Nellie will thrive. She is a great companion dog, and will love her owner as she is extremely affectionate. She would love a home with an active person who loves to get out in the outdoors.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


I've been sick with the flu the last while so I've just stayed home and have ended up watching a lot of movies. Last night I saw a real gem. It's a 2002 film called "Valentin" and comes from Argentina. Set in 1969, it's the story of an adorable little 9-year old boy who lives with his grandmother. Her husband had died a year before and his mother left him for reasons he's not quite sure. Together they make quite the pair.

Valentin's father is a traveling businessman who only visits occasionally but is much more preoccupied with his own selfish wants & desires than anything to do with his son. He reportedly brings more women home to meet his mother & son than horses going around a carousel! The film also features the beautiful Argentinian actress, Julieta Cardinali, who plays Leticia, an increasingly important figure in little Valentin's life.

But the star of the film is clearly Rodrigo Noya, who plays the lead character. In many ways he is 9 going on 89, but is still perplexed by why adults can't just get along. A sub-plot that is fascinating & hilarious to watch is Valentin's dogged pursuit to become an astronaut. In some ways there are some similarities in the humour to the French hit, Amelie, but the story is completely different; equally charming though!

Finally, the movie was directed by Alejandro Agresti who also directed "The Lake House", another film I really like.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Good to Great: The RIGHT People

I just finished another chapter of Jim Collins' book, Good To Great. I have to return it to the library soon but will definitely be buying my own copy; it's just much too valuable a resource and should absolutely be on the nearest bookshelf of anyone running a company (or thinking of starting one) or anyone managing a group (or considering doing so).

The overriding theme of this chapter is that the old adage "people are our greatest asset" is a bunch of B.S. What is quite correct though is that "the right people are our greatest asset". Walter Bruckart was VP of electronics retailer, Circuit City, when it made the transition from mediocrity to a truly excellent company. He was apparently once asked what the Top 5 factors were that lead to the company's success. His response is very telling: "One would be people. Two would be people. Three would be people. Four would be people. And five would be people. A huge part of our transition can be attributed to our discipline in picking the right people."

One part of the Chapter Summary should be drilled into the heads of every business student:

We uncovered three practical disciplines for being rigorous in people decisions:

  1. When in doubt, don't hire - keep looking. A company should limit its growth based on its ability to attract enough of the right people.
  2. When you know you need to make a people change, act. But first be sure you don't simply have someone in the wrong seat.
  3. Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems. Note: If you sell off your problems, don't sell off your best people.
I must confess that it was very painful for me to read these things, for it brought back many less than pleasant memories of bad mistakes I've made in the past. Some of the people I've hired in times past were just great, but others were clearly on the "wrong bus" from Day 1. Yet I didn't have the courage and foresight to "kick them off my bus". My failure to do so really hurt morale and undoubtedly made my good employees question my leadership abilities. In the end, I do believe that this was the #1 reason my previous company folded.

I've often heard it said that it takes 3 attempts to make your first $1 Million. The litmus test now will be to see if I've learned from my past failings and will make the right decisions in a timely manner in the future. Regarding people, Collins asserts that in order for each of us to be happy & successful in both our personal & professional lives we need to have only people around us that we care about and respect. If you don't then they just drag you down, sucking all the energy out of you. And make no mistake, this is very much vice-versa. We must also take a close look at ourselves to ensure that we are living up to our own expectations of others. Do we deserve to be on the bus with them?

I know for the last while that I haven't be ready to get on the proverbial bus with anyone but I'm near the end of that period in my life. When I do launch my new product and it starts to soar, I will be ready to grow a company again - this time properly. Hiring the first few people will be scary as hell but once I have the first few seats of the bus populated with the right people then the trip ahead is going to be absolutely fantastic!

Wireless Mini-Helicopter

Whether you're a 5-year old boy or a 95-year old "old boy", this is a dream come true:

And they're now on sale for just US$39.00 from Hobbytron, a reputable firm that I've ordered other stuff from before without any problems whatsoever.

Media Bias Exemplified

Here's a 7-minute video that will clearly show any non-Canadians why so many of us are continually embarrassed by the complete lack of fairness (read "ethics") shown by so many CBC reporters and commentators:

The reporter, Christina Lawand, is an embarrassment to journalists everywhere. She clearly knew EXACTLY what she was doing by mixing Harper's response to one question with an unrelated comment from one of the protesters. She wasn't reporting the news, she was making an editorial comment that undoubtedly supported her own strong political bias. The only saving grace for her is that her "hit piece" will serve as a great video resume for when she applies as a spokesperson for the Liberals one day. Though she's likely holding out to be appointed to the Senate or maybe as the next Governor General!

P.S. Because of numerous complaints, the CBC offered "regret" over Lawand's unprofessional work - not an apology, just regret. It's a rare occasion when they do so so the number of complaints must have been voluminous.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Little Political Incorrectness

I deeply appreciate the National Post recently publishing assorted excerpts from Mark Steyn's new book, "America Alone". Though many Canadians will undoubtedly close their minds to what he has to say, it's important that they listen. For history has repeatedly shown us that any nation that is not willing to stand up and defend its values will most surely lose them.

There's an old joke: "How do you tell an American from a Canadian? Answer: The Canadian apologizes when HIS own foot is stepped on." Perhaps it's long overdue for us to stop apologizing for our traditions, our beliefs, and our values? Note to the new Liberal leader: You don't need a focus group to answer this question.

These are very serious times for the world, possibly similar in nature to what our ancestors faced 70 years ago. 1936 - 39 wasn't a very long period of time but look at how quickly things changed in those 3 years. Today though, the rampant political correctness that has successfully wrestled free speech to the ground has made it nearly impossible for any serious debate (on any issue) to occur.

It seems nowadays that the intelligence and clarity of arguments don't matter so much as who uttered them. In some sort of guilt ridden attempt to rectify the wrongs of the past, more credence is given to:

  1. Non-males
  2. Non-Caucasians
  3. Non-heterosexuals
  4. Non-Christians
  5. Non-English speakers
In fact, the more hyphenated descriptors you can add before "Canadian", the better the chance you have of getting anything and everything you want!

Thus, for example, if you don't want Christmas carols sung at your kid's school, don't go directly to the principal. No, instead just find a transgendered, homosexual, atheist, welfare supported guardian of one of the other kids at the school; preferably one who only speaks some rare language found in Africa or Asia or Nunavut. Through their interpreter, encourage them to make liberal use of the following words at a press conference arranged by you: racist, sexist, prejudice, religious insensitivity, and of course the new catch-all get-whatever-you-want phrase "human rights violation".

The national media will be all over the story like seals offered a bucketful of fish. Within 24 hours a school board media relations person will be cowering on TV, apologizing profusely for the thoughtless atrocities of past Christmas carols at all schools throughout your community. They will mention that grief counselors had been sent to the school to help the children cope and that all staff and students will start sensitivity training after the Christmas ... errr Holiday Season.

In the past few decades many grievous wrongs of the past have been corrected. And the proverbial pendulum has swung to the center in terms of equality for all. In fact, one could well argue that it has swung beyond the center when it comes to affirmative action programs that deliberately exclude members of majority groups. In cities like mine we have countless groups of immigrants who generally get along in a harmonious way. That's wonderful and I support this "New Canada" wholeheartedly

But now what we're seeing is the drip-drip-drip of a small number of agenda-driven people who are deliberately trying to push the changes even further. Some are self-imposed permanent victims, others are just selfish and greedy. They would love nothing more than to see all Canadian traditions removed from our lives and replaced by some sort of faceless, humourless, soulless socialist society. Their weapons of choice are easy to spot: unprincipled politicians & judicial bodies and the all-to-willing media looking for the next controversy.

I sincerely believe that it's up to the likes of you & me to speak out against them lest we wake up one day in a country that is completely unrecognizable from that which exists today.

What On Earth Is Going On???

After being cooped up for the past week with a flu, I went out for a much needed walk today. While walking along the major thoroughfare of Broadway, I came across two young men beside a Sony Store who were bundled up in sleeping bags and sitting in lawn chairs. My first thought was that they were either on strike or protesting something. About an hour later I strolled past a Future Shop, also on Broadway. Beside the store were about 15 young men, dressed similarly and huddled up against one wall. "What on earth is going on?", I asked myself.

Then suddenly the answer came to me: The long awaited PS3 game console is being released tomorrow and these video game fanatics want to be the first to get it! Yoo Hoo, how wonderful it must be to be young and have no responsibilities!!


I had long wanted to see this movie and finally did so last night. It was absolutely delightful. I wasn't actually aware of the precise story beforehand and was perhaps even more surprised and charmed by it as a result. My great interest in Latin culture undoubtedly has a lot to do with the year I spent in Mexico City in 1996-97 and my subsequent relationship with a beautiful Mexican woman and her young son in the years following. The story of Spanglish is completely different than mine but hit many personal chords nonetheless.

In a nutshell, the movie is about a beautiful Mexican woman (played by Spanish actress Paz Vega) who moves to Los Angeles from Mexico when her daughter is quite young. Eventually she accepts a job as the housekeeper for a wealthy white family. On the surface the movie is about the clash of cultures but it's really more the clash between a down-to-earth, balanced, hard-working poor woman and a nutty, self-absorbed, and shallow wealthy woman. On a broader level it illustrates why so many in the West are desperately unhappy and lost in their lives.

It reminded me of why I felt so comfortable living in the Latin culture and why I can never go back to getting involved with the neurotic junior sisters of the antagonist; women that, sadly, I meet too often here in Vancouver.

Spam, Spam, & More Spam!

This morning I received 131 messages. 127 of them were spam. About a year ago I had switched my e-mail software from Eudora to Thunderbird precisely because of its spam detecting ability. But lately I've found that it has not been working so well. Perhaps the spam creators have deliberately adjusted their contents specifically to defeat such programs like Thunderbird.

It got so frustrating and time consuming that I went searching for a better answer. And I think I've found it in SpamPal. Like Thunderbird, it's absolutely free. But it's superior in that it maintains and updates lists of spammers and their latest nasty creations so as to better detect their menacing intrusions.

There was a minor change I had to make to the incoming server settings but it wasn't difficult. Now all messages that SpamPal thinks are spam are marked with a "**SPAM**". Thunderbird detects this and places them in my "Junk" folder for further review. I've received half a dozen new messages since - all of them spam - and SpamPal has handled them perfectly!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Old Media vs. New Media

Here's a fascinating story about the Chicago Tribune company, which owns several newspapers around the U.S., unable to sell its assets for anything close to what they were worth even just a few years ago. The old media (aka the dinosaur media) is going to be extinct one day and it's probably going to happen a lot quicker than most of us realize.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Age Is A Matter of Perspective

Two pretty twenty-something women were talking and one said to the other, "Umm, he was like really old, I think thirty-five."

I'm depressed!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Good to Great: Leadership

On the recommendation of my friend, Sarah, I've started reading a very interesting book called "Good to Great", by Jim Collins. In it he & his team analyzed the performance of 1,435 companies over 40 years - no small feat.

It's late but I was so inspired by what I read that I just had to put my thoughts down to paper ... albeit of the electronic kind!

Some intriguing results came out of their research. One is that there's a consistency in personalities of the CEOs that were at the helm when the [relatively small number of] companies made the leap from just good to truly great. What may be surprising to you is that all of the following would not end up on that list:

  • Donald Trump
  • Lee Iacocca (Chrysler)
  • Jack Welch (GE)
  • Carly Fiorina (HP)
This group of four would have the following in common:
  • Bigger egos than perhaps anyone within a square mile of them
  • Much larger paycheques than any of them deserve
  • Sub-par performance records in the long term and after they left
Collins would most likely use the term "Level 4" to describe their leadership skills. But by their very nature (success of themselves over top of success of the company), they're incapable of achieving "Level 5" leadership status, which is necessary to make a company truly great.

In my own life, I've been sucked in by the allure of charming egotistical leaders. I've worked for some and done business with others. Much like top athletes or movie stars, they're very interesting people to be around. But, in reading Collins' book, it's clear why these supposed "superstars" are the ones to walk quickly away from if you ever encounter them in business.

It's telling and somewhat sad that everyone in the business world has top-of-mind knowledge of the 4 CEOs listed above. Yet the CEOs who are the true superstars - the ones with the most profitable winning teams - are rarely ever mentioned in the mainstream press. We shouldn't be surprised though because this same media does exactly the same thing with the glitterati of Hollywood. For example, why exactly is Paris Hilton famous?

I've thought for some time now that we, as a society, have gone down the wrong path, starting perhaps 25 years ago:
  • With business leaders making scandalously large amounts of money, approved by incompetent or complicit boards of directors. I'm a capitalist but what is going on in some of these companies is just pure theft from the shareholders.
  • Ditto re professional athletes, plus the issue of rampant steroid use in many sports.
  • Sub-standard Hollywood "stars" churning out sub-standard TV shows & movies. What exactly is the minimum requirement for being a "star" these days, anyhow?
  • Greedy politicians who are more interested in padding their own coffers than actually looking out for the longterm good of the citizens they represent. Might not a 3-term lifetime limit be a good thing for ALL politicians?
  • The media. Not all, but most. It sickens me to see that so many of them don't focus on reporting the news but much prefer to manufacture the news instead. Artificially created controversy is a prime tool of these folks. With their mindless 10-second sound bites, agenda-driven slanted polls, and tremendous power to shape public opinion, I'm absolutely convinced that the mainstream media are more responsible than any other group for damaging society and the average person's faith in the goodness of their fellow man.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

CBC Radio: Business as Usual

This morning on Michael Enright's "Sunday Edition" show, the following discussion was aired:


It's been five days since Americans went to the polls in the U.S. mid-term elections and some things are very clear. The conventional wisdom that this election would be a referendum on the conduct of the Iraq war has been accepted by everyone, The pundits, the winners, the losers and even George Bush himself. The very first casualty of Tuesday's election, was the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defence. By the end of the week, everyone was acknowledging that "staying the course in Iraq" was no longer an option.

But bubbling away underneath the conventional wisdom argument is a larger question, one with implications for the next two years of American politics as that country heads into a presidential election. Has the conservative coalition, begun in the Reagan era and consolidated in 1994 with the Newt Gingrich Contract With America campaign come undone?

This morning, Michael is joined by John Samples. He directs the Center for Representative Government at the Cato Institute in Washington. He is also an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University and the author or editor of five books including The Republican Revolution Ten Years Later: Smaller Government or Business as Usual.

The only thing that was "business as usual" was Enright's "hit job" attempt to steer the interview in the direction he intended. But Professor Samples, though he didn't sound particularly biased either way, would have none of it. I just had to send in an e-mail afterwards:

Dear Mr. Enright,

I had no idea that a political segment could turn into a comedy skit, but your "interview" with John Samples certainly came across as one.

Since you clearly missed a few early classes of journalism school, let me provide you the Coles Notes version: The role of real journalist is to approach a story with an open mind, gather all the facts, and then draw conclusions based on those facts. It seems clear that this approach didn't warrant even your basic consideration.

It must have been painful for you to have Professor Samples shoot down every attempt you made to assert your predetermined conclusion that the conservative movement in the United States was now dead. Especially stinging must have been the little fact he raised that conservatives outnumber liberals in the U.S. by 50 to 75%.

I'd like to draw a few more facts to your attention:

1. Joe Liebermann won handily in the traditionally liberal state of Connecticut, even though he vehemently supported the Iraq War.

2. So-called "conservative" referendums on such things as banning same-sex marriage, declaring English as the official language, and restricting affirmative action won in almost every state they were voted on.

3. Historically speaking, the recent loss of seats is very much in line with that of other mid-term elections in the latter half of a two term president.

4. Many of the new Democrats who were elected are very much conservatives.

In the big picture, I'm actually very glad that the Republicans received the swift spanking that they did. It's an important time-out that will hopefully make them wake-up and realize that things must change in Washington. Running on a platform of "keep voting for us, we're not as bad as the other guy" simply won't cut it with Americans.

If I may segue for a moment, I actually do love the concept of the CBC as a national entity that could well represent the views of all Canadians. But somehow it has devolved into a blinded group-think morass of ultra-left pseudo intellectuals who think that their views and values are representative of all Canadians. Anyone who disagrees is branded as a Neanderthal, neo-con, or ignoramus. This is most clearly evident during every Canadian federal election. Though your Liberal patrons are currently out of power, I have little doubt that the wink-wink, nudge-nudge amongst CBC staffers will be resurrected again, with the clear aim of restoring the true governing party of Canada to its rightful throne.

Once again, I want to thank you for a bellyful of chuckles on a rainy Vancouver morning. Your efforts provide a great parody of real journalists everywhere.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Remembrance Day Video

There's a touching and beautiful music video from East Coast musician, Terry Kelly, that you should take a look at. You can find it here. On Saturday I'm heading down with two friends to the Vancouver Cenotaph. Hopefully others will take the time to do so, rather than just heading out to do shopping.

There's an informative page about Remembrance Day on the Canadian Legion website.

Canadians Really Need To Lighten Up!

Alberta Premier Ralph Klein told a VERY funny joke Tuesday night:

Klein was reminiscing about how Stronach, the Conservative turned Liberal who dumped boyfriend Peter MacKay as she crossed the floor in the Commons, once roasted him.

"I wasn’t surprised she crossed over — I don’t think she ever did have a Conservative bone in her body,” said Klein. “Well, except for one."

You can read the full account here. As famous American comedian "Larry The Cable Guy" would say: "I don't care who you. That's just dog gone funny!" And it is!

But sure enough, the usual suspects took something funny and stepped all over it:

  • The Media
    • Klein's in hotwater
    • Klein has sparked controversy
    • Klein's comments touched off a storm on Parliament Hill
    • Stronach quip dogs Klein
  • Politicians
    • NDP MP Dawn Black said Klein's comments were "totally unacceptable" and prove that sexism thrives in politics.
    • Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla called Klein's remarks ignorant and insensitive. "I think it's reflective of the Conservative attitude toward women," Dhalla said last night.
  • Assorted Women
    • It's offensive
    • He needs to apologize
    • It's an insult to all women
    • He essentially called Stronach a whore
These people truly need to bend over and remove the large crowbar that so surely must be shoved up their you-know-what. And then they should get a large brush so as to sweep the chips off of their shoulders. We Canadians collectively do need to grow up!!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Best TV Theme Song Ever

While we're on the topic of Hawaii 5-0, are you old enough to remember the show? It was my #1 Favourite TV show while I was growing up. Jack Lord was just too cool!

Here's the definitive Hawaii 5-0 Fan Page. On there you'll find several links to the theme song, including here, here, and here. The last is the best and in full stereo!

Will It Blend?

I love this guy!

Is it just my imagination or do the first few bars of the theme music sound a lot like Hawaii 5-0 ?

P.S. You can actually buy one of the blenders here.

Are Americans Turning Sharply Left?

I was just listening to CBC Radio One's "As It Happens" program this evening, one day after the U.S. mid-term elections. To offer a clear and balanced analysis on what the results meant, guess who their first two guests were? First was Bernie Sanders from Vermont, the self-declared "first ever socialist U.S. Senator". He was followed by Keith Ellison from Minnesota, the first Muslim ever to be elected to Congress. And what did each have to say? Well, humility was not a strong point in the diatribe of either. Taking their words at face value, one would think that Americans had suddenly decided it was long overdue to apply for membership in the EU!

But there is no mistaking the assertion by Democrat politicians and supporters and most everyone in the mainstream media that Americans have made a sharp left turn and have given up on conservatism that has so been a part of the country since Ronald Reagan was elected back in 1980. All assertions, be they political or scientific, should be challenged by facts. So let's do that with this one. If it is indeed true that America is now following Europe and Venezuela and Nicaragua and Cuba into the promised land of socialism, then how would proponents of this belief explain these ballot results from yesterday:

  • Arizona Proposition 103 - English as Official Language (Yes: 74% No: 26%)
  • California Proposition 87 - Funds for Alternative Energy (Yes: 45% No: 55%)
  • Colorado Referendum 1 - Domestic Partnership (Yes: 47% No: 53%)
  • Colorado Amendment 43 - Ban Same-Sex Marriage (Yes: 56% No: 44%)
  • Colorado Amendment 44 - Legalize Marijuana (Yes: 40% No: 60%)
  • Idaho Amendment 2 - Ban Same-Sex Marriage (Yes: 63% No: 37%)
  • Michigan Proposition 2 - Restrict Affirmative Action (Yes: 58% No: 42%)
  • Nevada Question 7 - Legalize Marijuana (Yes: 44% No: 56%)
  • South Carolina Amendment 1 - Ban Same-Sex Marriage (Yes: 78% No: 22%)
  • South Dakota Amendment C - Ban Same-Sex Marriage (Yes: 52% No: 48%)
  • South Dakota Initiative 4 - Allow Medical Marijuana (Yes: 48% No: 52%)
  • Tennessee Amendment 1 - Ban Same-Sex Marriage (Yes: 81% No: 19%)
  • Virginia Ballot Question 1 - Ban Same-Sex Marriage (Yes: 57% No: 43%)
  • Wisconsin Referendum 1 - Ban Same-Sex Marriage (Yes: 59% No: 41%)
Here are some other interesting facts to compare with those above:
  • California re-elected Democrat senator Dianne Feinstein with 60% of the vote. Her Republican opponent received only 35%.
  • Michigan re-elected Democrat senator Debbie Stabenow with 57% of the vote. Her Republican opponent received only 41%.
  • Wisconsin re-elected Democrat senator Herb Kohl with 67% of the vote. His Republican opponent received only 30%.
  • Of the 7 House races in Colorado, the Democrats won 57%.
  • Of the 8 House races in Wisconsin, the Democrats won 62%.
  • Of the 9 House races in Tennessee, the Democrats won 5.
There's a great old sarcastic expression that is perfect to use if someone is saying something absolutely preposterous: "Don't let the facts get in the way of your views!" Might this be the case here?

Congrats to the Democrats!

I want to sincerely congratulate the Democrat Party of the U.S. for their big victory yesterday. I read through their "New Direction for America" document. It looks very impressive. And it's well written. It's more than a little sparse on details though.

Every healthy democracy requires at least two strong parties. The jury's still out on whether this is the case in America right now. As for the Republicans, their wounded (and rightfully so) by yesterday's pivotal defeats. Bu they're still a strong party and they have 2 years to get their act together.

As for the Democrats, the biggest opponent they're facing is not the Republicans but ... Reality. Here are some key points from their aforementioned document:

  • "Eliminate Osama Bin Laden ... finish the job in Afghanistan"
  • "Eliminate terrorist breeding grounds by combating the economic, social, and political conditions that allow extremism to thrive."
  • "Secure by 2010 loose nuclear materials that terrorists could use to build nuclear weapons or 'dirty bombs' ".
  • "Redouble efforts to stop nuclear weapons development in Iran and North Korea."
  • "Insist that Iraqis make the political compromises necessary to unite their country and defeat the Insurgency; promote regional diplomacy; and strongly encourage our allies and other nations to play a constructive role."
  • "Achieve energy independence for America by 2020 by eliminating reliance on oil from the Middle East and other unstable regions of the world." Note: Later on in the document it says this will be achieved by 2016.
  • "We will develop ground-breaking technology and policies that harness the creativity and flexibility of the free market to reverse the dangerous warming trends. Increased use of renewable energy sources, including biofuels, and energy efficiency will help reduce emissions, protecting future generations from the global threat."
  • "Place a highly qualified teacher in every math and science K-12 classroom by offering upfront tuition assistance to talented undergraduates and by paying competitive salaries to established teachers working in the fields of math and science; institute a 'call to action' to professional engineers and scientists, including those who have retired, to join the ranks of our nation's teachers."
  • "Our goal is to restore accountability, honesty and openness at all levels of government. To do so, we will create and enforce rules that demand the highest ethics from every public servant, sever unethical ties between lawmakers and lobbyists, and establish clear standards that prevent the trading of official business for gifts."
  • "Prohibit the receipt of gifts, including gifts of meals, entertainment and travel, from lobbyists. Prohibit travel on corporate jets."
  • "End rampant cronyism by requiring that any individual appointed to a position involving public safety possess proven credentials and expertise in areas relevant to the position."
  • "Our New Direction is committed to 'Pay As You Go' budgeting - no more deficit spending. We are committed to auditing the books and subjecting every facet of federal spending to tough budget discipline and accountability, forcing the Congress to choose a new direction and the right priorities for all Americans."
In principle, I support all of these initiatives. They all sound absolutely great and fall into the "wouldn't that be wonderful" category. But in the forthcoming battle of Nancy Pelosi & The Dems vs. Reality, which one do you think is going to win out?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

CKNW Hits Rock Bottom

In the midst of the U.S. mid-term elections I eagerly tuned in to the 4:30 - 5:00pm segment on CKNW to hear what Vancouverites were thinking and predicting. But instead, I was stunned AND I MEAN STUNNED to hear Jon McComb spend the entire segment discuss the following with two young female CKNW employees: Britney Spears is getting divorced. Who f'ing cares?!?

Clearly McComb's guests do. There wasn't one fact of Ms. Spears' life that these two girls (it's the appropriate term to describe these two, trust me) didn't instantly know. I wonder if they were presented with a basic Canadian history quiz, how each would fare.

I've long thought of McComb as a bright, articulate, quick-witted broadcaster. But if this is the trivial pablum that he's now spoon feeding his listeners then I'll tune in elsewhere. And nowadays a growing number of listeners have a much wider variety of choices. I, for one, don't actually listen to the radio with a radio anymore. I only do so with my computer via the "tuner" that I built myself. It allows me to instantly switch between Vancouver and New York and London and Berlin and Sao Paolo and Hong Kong, etc. If you'd like a free copy, you can download it here.

I doubt that I'm the only one who has drifted away from 'NW in the past year. The ridiculous removal of David Berner was proof positive that they don't care about quality and intelligent discussion of the IMPORTANT issues facing us.

Canadian Multi-Culturalism

This afternoon a friend of mine came over for coffee. He happens to be of Indian descent and is a non-practicing Muslim. We talked at length about a lot of things but at one point the topic of multiculturalism came up. The "official video image" of the Trudeaupian Liberal view of multi-culturalism has lots of little kids of every colour & nationality frolicking around on a playground. Another similar image portrays people walking around in wonder in an Asian or South Asian shopping area.

Great! I think both of these scenes are absolutely wonderful. In fact, I grew up in such environments here in Vancouver and there's even more diversity today. I love all of this.

There's a very dark side to this though. What the Liberal Party doesn't like to admit, but is absolutely true, is that a great side-benefit of the official Canadian multi-cultural policy is that it has created large groups of HYPHENATED-Canadians. So you're not a citizen of Chinese descent. Nope, you're a Chinese-Canadian. Or an Indo-Canadian. Or in my case, a German-Polish-Ukrainian-Canadian. Several years ago I should have applied for a grant to the federal government to support better understanding of the oppression of German-Polish-Ukrainian Canadians. What oppression, I'm not sure, but I bet if I was given $50,000 I could probably think up something! And if they didn't give me the money then I could cry on TV and frequently throw out the catch-all phrase "Human Rights Violation".

Many of the members of the visible minority hyphenated-groups have been brainwashed to support the Liberals as THE party of Canada. The underlying message is that that the only people who vote for the Conservatives are narrow minded white Canadians. Those with confidence, like my friend, get beyond this nonsense but for many it's much easier to stay in the role of the victim the rest of their lives. And the Liberal political bosses are only too eager to keep promoting the hyphenation in perpetuity. Up until recently it made winning elections a whole lot easier for them.

We're in a brief respite from that right now but as soon as the new Liberal leader is elected, the negative propaganda campaign will be resurrected again, supported by their friends at the CBC, the Toronto Star, and Globe & Mail. After all, only once the rightful one-party state is restored to a majority government will Canada be restored to its proper place in the world.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Liberal Leadership Campaign

Mark Steyn just released a new article in the Western Standard. It is most hilarious! One of the best parts was this paragraph:

Technically, it's grossly unfair for leftie whiners suddenly to see our chaps in the Hindu Kush as part of some Harperite warmongering to curry favour with the lunatic Texan cowboy down south. After all, it was the Grits who signed us up for this, and quite a while ago. But the then government did it out of their usually finely calibrated cynicism: they sent troops to Afghanistan in order not to have to send them to Iraq, etc. It was a necessary manoeuvre in order to maintain the fiction that Liberal Canada was engaged with the world, albeit not too engaged. But, if M. Chrétien or Mr. Martin ever gave any we-won't-come-back-till-it's-over-over-there big stirring speech on the Afghan mission it must have been to a small room in Iqaluit, and during a CBC strike. It was Mr. Harper who made Afghanistan a cause, and one in the national interest rather than as some desultory multilateral peacekeepy tagalong. This prime minister believes in it; for his predecessors, it was just the usual artful triangulation.

It's funny, when I ask Liberal supporters why they vote for the party they do, the most common response is: "Because I believe in the Canadian values the Liberal party stands for." I have to hold back from laughing out loud because that's like saying, "I love the fresh air one gets when thrown out into the vacuum of outer space."

Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip: A Great Show!

I just finished watching Episode #7 of Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. It's really sad that the ratings of this superb show are as low as they are. Created by West Wing producer & writer, Aaron Sorkin, it's tightly written, with clever dialogue throughout.

In every episode there's a concerted effort to bridge the wide chasm that has developed between liberals and conservatives in the U.S. in the past few decades. In this past episode there was a very insightful exchange between two of the characters, Matt Albie (a devout liberal) and Harriet Hayes (a devout Christian conservative). Here's what transpired between them:

Harriet: I don't even know what the sides are in the culture wars.

Matt: Well, your side hates my side because you think we think you're stupid. And my side hates your side because we think you're stupid.

In many ways, I think this little discourse exemplifies exactly what's happening in the United States these days. And it isn't very far off here in Canada. Anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis knows which side of the fence I come down on. I wish I had the magic answer to resolve this dispute but I don't, nor does anyone else. But Sorkin and Studio 60 are certainly trying. And that's more than reason enough why more people should watch this great show.

P.S. Things are almost certainly not going to get sorted out after tomorrow's U.S. mid-term elections. Though one thing is for sure: If the Democrats win the House then Mark Steyn et co. are going to enjoy 2 years of endless great material emanating from the mouth of one Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro Pelosi!

Norman Spector Defends Himself

On CKNW this morning political commentator, Norman Spector, defended himself over last week's "Belinda Stronach is a Bitch" comment. Here are some key points he raised:

  • He was clearly referring to Belinda Stronach in particular, not all women in general.
  • In any dictionary the word "bitch" refers to a "treacherous, contemptible person".
  • His use of the word refers to Ms. Stronach having dinner with her lover, Peter MacKay, then heading over for dinner later with PM Paul Martin, and then heading back to MacKay to tell him that she was dumping him and leaving the Conservative Party. Spector posed the question: "If you knew someone who did this would you condone their behaviour?" (paraphrasing)
  • Yesterday CBC Radio 1 host, Shelagh Rogers, used the term "prick" to describe a man. This word is listed as "vulgar slang" in the dictionary; "bitch" is not by the way. Yet what outcry was there over Ms. Rogers' comment? Absolutely none so far.
  • He also asked his cohort, NDP supporter, Bill Tielman, what he thought about NDP MP, Dawn Black, and others demanding that Spector be kicked off the air?
I actually called up and asked about the U.S. Midterm elections. Quite boring compared to the discussion going on in Canada mais c'est la vie!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

John Kerry, 2004 Democratic Presidential Candidate

"A vain thin-skinned condescending blueblood with no sense of his own ridiculousness, Senator Nuancy Boy is secure in little else except his belief in his indispensability." - Mark Steyn, Chicago Sun-Times, Nov. 5, 2006

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Numb3rs Homage To Taxi

Kevin Holden, a great talkshow radio host in Montreal, pointed out to me that there's a whole lot more going on in Lost than is immediately apparent to the average viewer. This involves a lot of interconnections between various characters in ways that are not that obvious. This attention to detail is one of the reasons that it's one of the most popular shows on TV.

A less visible show, but one I like a lot is "Numb3rs", about a mathematical genius and his brother, who works for the FBI. The father of these two fellows is played by veteran actor, Judd Hirsch. The writers did something very interesting, and yet very subtle, on last night's show. At the very end, the father and his two sons decided to unwind the day with a little TV. Hirsch said something like, "There's got to be something good on TV at this time of night. It's when they play the classics." Though you couldn't see the TV, the distinctive theme music for the old show, Taxi, could be heard. In case you're not old enough to remember, this is a popular sitcom that aired between 1978 - 1983, in which Hirsch became wildly famous!

IMHO television hit rock bottom the last few years with so many stupid, thoughtless (as opposed to "thoughtful") reality shows. It's nice to see that writers are being given the go-ahead to use all of their creativity ... and humour!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Just Another "Fun" Day at the University of Pennsylvania

This past Tuesday, the President of the University of Pennsylvania, Amy Gutmann, held her annual Halloween party at her home. Here are some photos from the event:

Ms. Gutmann posing with faux suicide bomber, Saad Saadi

Reading from the Koran, in preparation for an execution

Preparing to kill another hostage

Call me crazy but do you think this is appropriate behaviour in the home of the president of a major U.S. university? Apparently Ms. Gutmann had no problem with it.

Have a look at Saadi's website. There are some eery similiarites with the photos that Kimveer Gill posted on the Internet. Don't remember him? He's the maniac who went on a shooting rampage at Montreal's Dawson College on September 13, 2006.

It's little wonder that history repeats itself over and over again. Especially when the likes of Amy Gutmann are promoted into positions of power. Remember, she's an EDUCATOR. Think about the lessons the students of her university are learning through her actions ... or lack thereof!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Honourable Mention

Here's the latest Maclean's article by Mark Steyn. He describes, with great humour, how his book has essentially been banned from the shelves of Heather Reismann's bookstore empire. About two thirds of the way through you might see someone familiar mentioned!