Saturday, March 31, 2007

Playing with Vista

My friend's new laptop came equipped with Windows Vista. I'd never had a chance to use it before so put it through its paces. Pretty cool. This 3D view of one's open windows is one of the coolest visual features.

Friday, March 30, 2007

John Travolta: Environmental Crusader ... or Cruiser?

While promoting his latest film, John Travolta took a little time out to preach about the dangers of global warming and how we each must do more to reduce our carbon footprint. What he wasn't so keen to talk about was that fact that at his Florida mansion he owns several jets AND HIS OWN PRIVATE RUNWAY!!! I think you'll delight in the hypocrisy here.

If you'd like to see a closeup of his house then click here. Let me be clear: I don't begrudge him for his wealth nor the fact that he owns 5 jets. But perhaps he should learn to just keep his mouth closed rather than opening it and preaching to the rest of us about how to run our lives!

Popular Mechanics Responds to Rose O'Donnell

In the years following September 11, 2001 I "loved" how so many people instantly granted themselves Ph.D's in structural & materials engineering. Prior to this they didn't know a thing about these areas of study but suddenly were enlightened with expert knowledge! The latest graduate of the Matchbook School of Engineering is ever-not-so-funny comedian, Rosie O'Donnell, espousing here voluminous conspiracy theories about what happened that fateful day.

Popular Mechanics, a non-political scientific magazine have just published a rebuttal to her. You can read it here. Interesting, interesting stuff!

Chris Hermes Interviewed

My friend here in Miami, Chris, was recently interviewed by an online radio show called eMarketing. The subject of the interview was "Integrated Marketing for Multi-Cultural Marketers: Exponential Marketing" To listen to it, just click here.

On Mark Levin's Show!

After listening to him for many years, I finally appeared on-air on Mark Levin's show. He broadcasts out of New York City to stations all over the United States, plus on the Internet. I've listened to him for years. He's much further right wing than I am but I do respect his views very much.

He was discussing the terrible abduction of the British sailors by the Iranian government and how they're illegally being put on television and coerced by Iranian officials to voice propaganda.

I clearly hope that negotiations get them released but if the murder of Canadian photographer, Zahra Kazemi, in 2003 or the hostage taking of 52+ Americans in Tehran in 1979 is any example, then a show of force will eventually be needed.

I spoke of the following two words being surgically removed from the memories of the Democrat leaders in the United States: Neville Chamberlain. If you're not familiar with what he did (or didn't do) then please click on his name to read about the dangers of appeasement.

To learn more about Levin, do visit his terrific fan website.

How To Make The Perfect Sandwich

Besides the amazing view, one of the best things about my friend's apartment is that he has a BBQ on the outside patio. You're probably not aware, but I was the BBQ King of Sudbury, Ontario when I had a house there between 1990 - 1994. So with a BBQ here and not one back in Vancouver, I'm seizing the opportunity to use it as much as possible.

One of my favourite things to BBQ are Argentinian sausages. I often place them into large Cuban-style buns. Here's a brief primer on how to to make the perfect sandwich:

Toast the buns.

Add your favourite vegetable toppings.

And some cheese, if you wish.

They taste much better than they look here!

Oh, don't forget the lettuce!

So where's the finished product, you ask? I was so hungry that I devoured two of these gems before realizing that I had forgotten to take a photo of them!! :-)

My Very Own Sony-Ericsson Tennis Tournament!

Next door to where I'm staying the annual Sony-Ericsson Open is still ongoing. Just below my friend's place are the tennis courts of the Conrad Hilton hotel. Playing this morning were a pair of men & women. Quite good too. The woman on the left in the foreground was actually exceptional ... and I'm not just talking about her well toned & tanned legs!!! :-)

Finally, A Smart Decision by Corus Radio

It was just announced that veteran radio broadcaster, Roy Green, will be taking over Peter Warren's old 11am - 2pm (PT) slot on the weekends on the Corus Network across Canada.

Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant Decision!

Now if they would just hire David Berner back for the slot immediately afterwards then they'd be back in my good books all around!

Update: Here's a really nice article about Roy.

Interesting Interview with Stephen Harper

Roy Green, in his very last show on CHML, just interviewed Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper. This may very well be Green's last interview of Harper. Green said something very interesting about the prime minister [paraphrasing] : "Unlike most politicians, you've actually answered all of my questions, succinctly and completely. I could have 15 questions prepared and after 10 minutes I'd need to think up a 16th because you'd answered all the others. With most politicians, I can't even get through 3 questions and even those they never really answered."

This is one of the things I really admire about Stephen Harper. And while many on the left can't stand him and rarely agree with him, I'd like to hope that at least they respect this quality of his.

How Modern Liberals Think

Evan Sayet is a political satirist and comedian. He describes himself as a reformed liberal. In this video he presents an interesting, thoughtful thesis about what makes a modern liberal-minded person tick.

I vehemently don't think there's any conspiracy theory at work. But I do believe that the modern liberals that Sayet is talking about typically think the following:

  • ALL beliefs & values are equal, no matter how different they are than ours.
  • There are rights & wrongs, just different ways of looking at things.
  • We must not expect others to adjust their ways to ours, even if they're living in our society.
  • The thoughts of victims have a greater moral authority than the thoughts of others.
  • Stability & sovereignty is paramount in the world, even if millions of people are being oppressed or slaughtered.
  • Big government is good. A world government body, such as the UN, is better.
If you fail to agree with all of these then you are a conservative, right-wing, neocon, unenlightened, closed-minded, selfish bigot. Don't believe me, just ask a liberal!

Like most everything, political views reside on a spectrum. I consider myself to be a pragmatic libertarian. That means that fiscally I'm a bit right of centre but socially I'm somewhat left of centre on many, but not all issues. Make no mistake that ultra-conservative religious zealots freak me out. But I recognize that such people come from ALL religions, not just Christianity. To this group I also include the newest fundamentalists: environmental zealots.

Most of my friends would describe themselves as liberals. In fact, most Canadians would describe themselves as liberal-minded. But what the really devout liberals fail to realize is how far extreme on the political spectrum they are. So much so that they annoy me just as much as the group on the other end of the spectrum!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Tough Living At The Beach! :-)

Here's how the patrons of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel get to enjoy a day at the beach. Not a big beach but certainly a luxurious one!

Sand Castles Par Excellence

At the southern edge of Brickell Key the Mandarin Oriental Hotel has had a magnificent sand castle constructed by master builder, Victor Leong. Here's his website.

Experimental Animation

I wanted to see whether GIF Animations would work here in this blog. So I put 4 successive frames together into one GIF file and uploaded it. The quality is poor, so as to keep the file size down, but this scene has often been scene in CSI Miami:

A Potpourri of Photos

My friend, Monsieur D, decided upon the humidor he wanted me to pick up for him so he can take better care of the cigars he purchased in Cuba last year. On the way back I took an assortment of photos. They clearly don't fit into one cohesive category!

The Retirement of a Truly Great Canadian

Hamilton talkshow radio host, Roy Green, is retiring from regular Monday - Friday duty tomorrow. Via the Internet I've been listening to him since 2005. In his own words, he's a "Pragmatic Libertarian" but I just consider him a pillar of common sense and practical solutions to everyday problems.

Roy kindly let me call in to his program today to publicly wish him well in his retirement. Tomorrow at 8:30am on CHML he will announce what his plans are for retirement. If we are lucky then he will periodically still be heard on the airwaves of Canada. Best of luck in retirement, Roy!!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Why Vancouverites Frequently Annoy Me

I'm a Vancouverite, born & raised. But I've lived in many other places too. Anyone reading my blog knows that I'm currently in Miami, Florida, finishing up the end of a 2-month working vacation here.

Every day I listen to CKNW online, read the Vancouver Sun, and watch the periodic newscast on the CTV website. Plus I read several blogs from back home, many of which there are links for on the right. So I have not lost track at all with what's going on back home.

I came across a posting in the Vancouver section of Craigslist where the author stated the following about the Vancouver Police Department: "Let me tell you this, they aren't rent a cops, but they are not professional, ethical ones either. What they are is incompetent, deceitful, corrupt and they are the largest criminal organization in this city. And,god help all the citizens of this city based on the fact that they are what we have as our police department."

If there's one thing [some] Vancouverites excel at, it's a self-imposed ignorance of the larger world around them and an Academy Award winning talent for playing the role of the proverbial victim. We have so much in Canada, especially in Vancouver, not the least of which are boundless opportunities to better our own lives. Yet people like this writer, anti-poverty "activists" (read "anarchists"), and environmental zealots would have the world believe that we're living in a totalitarian police state. Remember what I said about ignorance?

While I've been in Miami I've had the opportunity to talk with dozens upon dozens of people from all over the world, especially from many countries in the Caribbean and South America. Some specific conversations with Cuban & Haitian refugees and newcomers from Colombia & Argentina & Venezuela have provided me with extremely unpleasant first hand stories that will forever be imprinted in my brain.

You think you have it bad in Vancouver? Get a grip! Get a fracking grip!! You don't even know the meaning of the words: oppression, corruption, hunger, poverty, and hopelessness.

I'm flying home next week. Looking forward to it. But I know it won't be too long before the ignorant "permanent victims" of Vancouver vividly and constantly remind me of how incredibly selfish and ungrateful so many Canadians are.

The next time you see one of these folks outraged about this or that, just picture a spoiled little brat throwing a tantrum in public, complaining to his mother that he's not happy with the silver spoon in his mouth and wants a gold one instead!

Online Collaboration Tool

Here's some new leading edge technology: ConceptShare. Rather than pass files back & forth, it allows a group of people to comment on designs, concepts, & proposals in a central [electronic] place, even if each person is physically located in a different part of the world. Seemingly an "obvious" use of the Internet but clearly not well implemented to date. ConceptShare may change that. Definitely something to check out if you work on a team.

How Clean Is Your House?

I just discovered an hilarious show called "How Clean Is Your House?" It's about these 2 proper English ladies who visit the homes of absolute slobs. At first I thought it was all contrived but I don't think it is. Here's the segment I watched:

You can find more episodes here.

A Guided Tour of Coral Gables

A few posts back I alluded to a brief visit I had made to the Miami community of Coral Gables. Today I went back there and this time I received a [superb!] guided tour by my new friend, Monica.

Here are two shots of the old Coral Gables Water Tower, disguised to look like a lighthouse. You can read a fascinating history of the structure here, written by Bob Terwilliger. Note: I didn't actually need to mention the author's name but how many times do you get to say "Terwilliger"?! I love the way those syllables roll off one's tongue!

The Biltmore Hotel

We went for walk in & around the Biltmore Hotel. I thought it was impressive looking from the front but my oh my, I couldn't believe how palatial and extravagant it was by the pool and inside the lobby! Hopefully these photos will give you a small inkling of what it's like to stay there.

This is a shot of the inlaid wood paneling on the lobby ceiling.

The Venetian Pool

I finally got the chance to take a close look at the famous Venetian Pool. The water is supposed to be sooooo cold but on a hot day, could you envision a better place to be inside a city?