Thursday, May 31, 2007

White Trash - Alive & Well in Greater Vancouver

This story is a vivid reminder that intolerance is alive & well in Vancouver. How dare these young punks swear and throw stones at a perfectly innocent elderly couple that were just going on their daily walk and minding their own business.

Sadly, I see this sort of racial intolerance much too frequently - from young punks of all races and both sexes. With little to no repercussions from the Canadian Lack of Justice system, it's little surprise that it continues.

Employment is the Remedy for Poverty

This is a brilliant article by Lorrie Goldstein of the Toronto Sun. Who, you ask, would possibly be against all able-bodied kids getting jobs? In Canada the list would be looooong!! The fact that so many people in Canada think that expecting young people to get a job is too oppressive a thing to ask is proof-positive of how mixed-up the mainstream priorities are!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

BC Lottery Chief: Should He Stay or Should He Go?

After a massive fraud scandal is exposed throughout the machinations of the BC Lottery Corporation, their CEO, Vic Poleschuk, just goes onto the PR circuit to say, "Yeah, we're working on it." Not good enough, sir. One of the reasons you're paid the big salary is to accept the responsibility when such a scandal comes to light.

Japanese politicians commit suicide for much less but here in Canada, no one resigns for anything it seems. If our business and political leaders have no honour and sense of responsibility then why should we be surprised when our children don't either?!

The Ugly Truth of the Modern Yuppie

Today, a friend and I went out for lunch to a popular sushi restaurant on Broadway near Cambie. It was very crowded, which kept the two servers extremely busy. I'm quite sure they were also the owners. We were sat down at a table for two, with an identical empty table right beside us. A few minutes later several groups of others came into eat: one couple, one threesome, and another couple. There were precisely three empty tables at the time: the one for two people beside us, another two-person table elsewhere, and a table for four.

The first couple were the perfect looking aging yuppies: late 40's / early 50's, perfectly coiffed hair - the woman blonde, the man slightly grey, sunglasses covering both sets of eyes. There was clearly an area to line-up but with their righteous noses in the air, they plunked themselves down at the table for four, even though they absolutely knew that there were others behind them.

The male owner, who was running his feet off at the time, quickly surveyed all the waiting patrons and politely gestured for the two yuppies to instead sit down at one of the tables for two. They refused and marched out in a huff. The threesome were seated at this larger table and the other couple quietly sat down at the other table for two.

But the little drama wasn't yet over! A minute or so later, Mr. Yuppie came marching back in, thrust his face toward the owner and exclaimed, "I hope you know that you've now lost two permanent customers!!!" I looked toward the door and saw his female companion waving her finger in scolding disappointment at the poor bewildered owner. They then both marched out a second time.

Whoah! All of this in supposedly laid back, polite Vancouver. I've long sought a comprehensive definition for the term "Yuppie". On the surface it's supposed to just mean "Young Urban Professional". But today I saw a first hand example of what it really stands for: Arrogant, stuck-up, multiple illusions of grandeur, selfish, a completely phoney facade, and just downright RUDE!

Sadly, I see this sort of behaviour all the time in Vancouver. These same sort of people are precisely the ones who won't hold open a door for anyone, be they elderly or handicapped, because doing so would mean actually having to acknowledge that a lesser being was in their midst. If you fit the archetype of a yuppie, please consider spending 1 minute of time injecting yourself with some compassion for every 10 minutes you spend perfecting your outward appearance.

Vancouver is Abloom

It is sooooooo beautiful (and warm) here now . . .

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Image from the Past

Here's a shot of me working at the Quintette Coal Mine near Tumbler Ridge, BC in the summer of 1985.

3-Minute Management Course

Lesson 1

A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door there stands Bob, the next door neighbor. Before she says a word, Bob says, "I'll give you $800 to drop that towel." After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob. After a few seconds, Bob hands her the $800 and leaves. The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, h er husband asks "Who was that?" "It was Bob the next door neighbor" she replies. "Great!" the husband says, "did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?"

Moral of the story: If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Lesson 2

A priest offered a Nun a lift. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg. The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg. The nun said, "Father, remember Psalm 129?" The priest removed his hand. But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again. The nun once again said, "Father, remember Psalm 129?" The priest apologized, "Sorry sister but the flesh is weak". Arriving at the convent, the nun went on her way. On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129. It said, "Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory."

Moral of the story: If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.

Lesson 3

A sales rep, an administration clerk and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out. The Genie says, "I'll give each of you just one wish".

"Me first! Me first!" says the admin clerk. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world". Puff! She's gone.

"Me next! Me next!" says the sales rep. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life". Puff! He's gone.

"OK, you're up", the Genie says to the manager. The manager says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch".

Moral of the story: Always let your boss have the first say.

Lesson 4

An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing. A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing?" The eagle answered: "Sure, why not." So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Lesson 5

A turkey was chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree," sighed the turkey, "but I haven't got the energy."

"Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?" replied the bull. "They're packed with nutrients." The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally, after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree. He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

Moral of the story: Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.

Lesson 6

A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

Moral of the story:

1. Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.

2. Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.

3. And when you're in deep shit, it's best to keep your mouth shut!

This ends your 3 minute management course for today.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Little Blast From the Past!

Why Brothers Should Date Different Women!

This has got to be one of the strangest, funniest stories I've ever read. I certainly wouldn't want to be the judge in this case!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Rich Ralph in the Halifax Newspaper!

Here's a great article about Rich's journey. There's nothing better than lighting up the imagination of a young kid, inspiring them to achieve something greater than they had ever envisioned before.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Inspiring Discussion

I met with a very inspiring man today. His name is Nick Noorani and he's the publisher of Canadian Immigrant Magazine. Nick is a perfect example of what one can achieve in this great country of ours, whether you're born here or come from elsewhere.

He and his wife, Sabrina, came here with very little, started a newspaper from scratch soon after they were both unexpectedly laid off from their jobs (and had just purchased a house). His publication is now published simultaneously in Vancouver and Toronto and has a circulation of 80,000 per month.

Nick and I are discussing ways that we can ramp up BC Digital Divide to get more computer donations, give out more computers every month, and also find a way for most recipients to give back something to society in exchange for their computer.

Like me, he also doesn't believe in immigrants staying in their "silos". A very, very inspiring fellow!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Lunacy of Environmental Ethics

This morning on CBC Radio 1 I heard what, on the surface, was supposed to be a serious discussion. But I kept thinking that I must have been transported back to April 1st.

The guest was a former beef-farmer turned researcher named Gidon Eshel. You can read more here. He went on in great detail about how eating meat - any kind of meat, but especially beef - is completely unethical and comparatively just as bad as driving an SUV instead of a Prius. Why? Mainly because of ... wait for it ... the amount of a gas a cow expels (farts!) on a daily basis.
I have little doubt that the research numbers of this fellow are probably quite accurate. But I've long realized that EVERYTHING we do leaves a footprint on the environment. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Reading a book
  • Going for a walk (unless you're naked and walking in the forest)
  • Sleeping (unless you're naked and walking in the forest)
  • Watching TV
  • Listening to music
  • Reading these very words
  • Just living
I have little doubt though that the Environmental Righteous Activists (ERA) among us are going to start preaching about the new evil: Eating meat. There'll undoubtedly be some fast food restaurants picketed.

When people get so ridiculous, the only thing to do is to treat them with mockery and sarcasm. I'm going to have some great fun with the ERA acquaintances I know. I'm going to question every single activity they partake in and ask them, in the most serious of tones, whether they're okay living the unethical life they do!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Late May Visit to Vancouver

A friend of mine was in town from Victoria so I gave her a walking tour of Vancouver. Here are some photos from our little adventure:

She LOVED this little road rocket!

One of several ways to get back to Victoria.

The new Coal Harbour

Is it just me or does this reflection look a bit like Native Indian Art?

The construction of the Shangri-La, which will be Vancouver's tallest building.

At first glance, the reflection might appear to be that of the Hotel Vancouver on the left, but it actually isn't.

In the gold building you actually can see a reflection of the Hotel Vancouver.

This used to be Vancouver's main library for many decades.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Too Much Time On Their Hands?

David Cunningham's recent arrest has many in the media screaming 'victim' and crying foul. But let's not overlook the fact that several media outlets have gone out of their way to promote him as some kind of hero that clearly he is not. It wasn't too long ago that exactly the same media star status was given to the drug dealer, Marc Emery. As per the script, the next act in Cunningham's performance will be for him and his supporters to compare themselves in the same ranks as Mahatma Gandhi and Rosa Parks. Give me a break!

If a comparison is to be made, one need only look over at Britain. Many have suggested that the #1 reason for their home grown terrorism is because so many young Muslims are permanently unemployed [by choice], living off of the state, and simply have too much time on their hands. I'm NOT suggesting that Cunningham and his ilk are terrorists, although they seem to think they're playing the roles of freedom fighters on TV. What is certain is that they all have too much free time on their hands.

In our modern era of plenty where any twit with a video camera can become an instant celebrity via YouTube, it has become passe and uncool to get up every morning, go to work, and earn money to support one's family. Clearly, living a responsible and productive life is a challenge well beyond the capabilities of Vancouver's own Che Guevera wannabes.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Recycled Dog

I was visiting an uncle and just had to capture a few photos of his vivacious dog, Penny. To say that she's a bundle of energy would be the understatement of the decade! She's a "Shih Tzu" breed, which is one of the few times you can swear and get away with it!

Tomahawk Restaurant

The Tomahawk Restaurant has been an institution in North Vancouver since 1926. You can read more about its fascinating history here. I'd never been there ... until today! It's a wonderful little family-run place, near Marine Drive and Philip, a few blocks east of Capilano Road. A great breakfast but I understand they serve terrific lunches and dinners too!

Friday, May 18, 2007

An Amazing Day in Newfoundland

If you want to read something amazing, follow this link to Rich Ralph's time in Newfoundland on May 17th. What an amazing journey he's having and an even more outstanding thing he's doing!

I've improved my clickable map on the right such that each entry now provides a direct link to its original journal entry. But you really do need to open the map full-screen to appreciate his journey in full. Click here to see what he's done so far.

What Makes Volunteering All Worth While

In my work with BC Digital Divide, one meets all kinds of people: good, not very good, and everything in between. The ones that irritate me beyond belief are those who have seemingly (and unnecessarily) been on government assistance all of their lives. They've got the victim acting role down to a fine art and play it for all it's worth. In the worst cases, there's absolutely no gratitude. It's all about them, all about how hard done by they are. 3 words come to mind: Take, Take, Take!!!

But thankfully they're in the small minority of people we meet. Maybe we're just better at screening them out early on than government agencies are. Also, unlike government agencies, we actually don't have to respond to them.

The true gems are the ones that keep me motivated. Such is the case with a young Guatemalan family that has truly touched my heart. The parents, Manuel & Isabel, moved here about 12 years ago. They have a son, Brian, and a younger daughter, Shirley. They've become more than mere recipients to me. This evening I was visiting them and reminiscing about the party I held last weekend, which they attended. Because of some gifts I brought them on behalf of another friend, they gave me this little handmade gift to give to my friend's wife. She's a music teacher and in fact, just purchased some xylophones for her classes. She will be very touched.

No real moral here other than for all of us to ignore the selfish, greedy, rude folks we encounter every day and instead focus our hearts & minds on the great ones we encounter perhaps a bit less frequently.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Technology Changes in My Life

Most people are familiar with the term "Spring Cleaning". It offers one an opportunity to throw out the old clutter and be open to something new. I've spent the past few days doing the same thing with assorted technology in my life. This includes:

  1. Reformatting my laptop's hard drive and reinstalling Windows XP from scratch. I've actually had to do this twice because of some problems the first time. Things had gotten so bad with the state of my Windows that my software development tool, Visual Studio 2005, was no longer working properly. Rebuilding everything from scratch is a looooooong process so this time, once I have a base system that I like, I'm going to back it up with Acronis.
  2. Moving my website to a new Windows server hosted by GoDaddy. The previous temporary site for PP was just pure HTML. The new one in the future will work with Microsoft's .Net technology. It's not done yet but I'm working on it! To test out the new functionality I built a simple .Net webpage to more quickly bring up the CKNW Audio Archive, something I access a lot. You can reach it here. It doesn't look fancy but there's actually a lot of coding under the hood to determine the correct hourly segment that needs to be accessed. In order for this page to work, you need to enable pop-ups. This is what you'll see - very simple, but also very effective:

The final thing I'm doing is forwarding all of my PocketPollster e-mail to my Gmail account. It's a new way [for me] of having all of my e-mail online but a transition I want to make.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Vancouver Drivers: A Brief Glimpse

I just got back from a little walk. It was about 8pm and I came across 3 cars in a row stopped for a pedestrian light:

  1. The first had a 30-something woman talking excitedly on a cel phone, waving her arms wildly in all directions. Her mind clearly wasn't focused on her immediate surroundings.
  2. The second was also a woman, in a station wagon, with her 3 or 4 year old daughter in the back seat. She wasn't on a cel phone, but was puffing away on a cigarette.
  3. The third was, coincidentally, a woman as well, in her early twenties and driving an SUV. Like the first, she was also on a cel phone, though less animated.
Given the numerous bad examples of driving I see with people on their cel phones, #1 & #3 are clearly tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee respectively. As for #2, what term might one affix to her?

A Little Truth from a Kyoto Proponent

I've long been curious about where the ultra-pro Kyoto proponents expect society to go. Now I finally know. Sea Shepherd founder, Paul Watson, has finally come clean with his true thoughts. In a unibomber-like endless rant, Watson makes these glorious points:

  • Human beings are much like a virus that must be stopped.
  • "I don't apologize for calling humans the 'AIDS of the Earth'."
  • There is only one cure, only one way of stopping this rising epidemic.... This will require a complete overhaul of all of humanities economic, cultural, and life style systems.
  • Human communities should be maintained in small population enclaves within linked wilderness ecosystems. No human community should be larger than 20,000 people.
  • We need to radically and intelligently reduce human populations to fewer than one billion.
  • We need to stop burning fossil fuels and utilize only wind, water, and solar power with all generation of power coming from individual or small community units like windmills, waterwheels, and solar panels.
  • Sea transportation should be by sail.
  • All consumption should be local. No food products need to be transported over hundreds of miles to market. All commercial fishing should be abolished. If local communities need to fish the fish should be caught individually by hand.
  • Preferably vegan and vegetarian diets can be adopted.
  • We need to lower populations of domestic housecats and dogs.
  • We need to stop flying, stop driving cars, and jetting around on marine recreational vehicles. The Amish survive without cars and so can the rest of us.
  • Who should have children? Those who are responsible and completely dedicated to the responsibility which is actually a very small percentage of humans. Being a parent should be a career.
  • Schools can be eliminated if the professional parent is also the educator of the child.
  • Curing a body of cancer requires radical and invasive therapy, and therefore, curing the biosphere of the human virus will also require a radical and invasive approach.

If, by chance, you agree with what this guy is saying then:
  1. You are a hypocrite because of the very fact that you're reading this on a computer. No new technology would ever be invited in Watson's little world.
  2. Immediately move out of whatever abode you're living in and far from any community larger than 20,000. Start walking your talk!
  3. Get immediate psychological help and find out why you hate your species so much.
If you ever wondered where the environmental fundamentalists want to take us, now you know.

A Little Reminder of the Glory of Nature

If you're looking for inexpensive flowers, there are a few street vendors in downtown Vancouver that often have some unbelievable deals. In anticipation of my party on Saturday, my mom bought some tulips for the occasion. Here are a couple of close-up photos.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day Brunch

I was soooooooooo tired from yesterday's party and preparation thereof that I was moving rather slowly today. But I did take my mom out for brunch at the Dockside Restaurant at the Granville Island Hotel. As is always the case, they offered a decadent spread of everything for this great meal. It was so busy that we couldn't get a reservation until 2pm. We both ate plenty!

A Little Slice of Modern Day Canada

Last night I hosted a little party of some friends, acquaintances, and neighbours. The genesis of the event was to welcome a new family from Colombia to Vancouver. They had just moved here in November. Anyone who knows me, knows that ever since my time in Mexico City in 1996/97 I've had a special place in my heart for anyone from Latin America.

I invited a potpourri of folks, many of them with children the same age as the couple from Colombia. What was most fantastic was that there were people originally from so many different places in the world: Colombia, Chile, Guatemala, Japan, India, Africa, and even Saskatchewan! Now we're all just Canadians. The only requirement was that each person bring either a dish from their original country or some beer. Surprisingly there was very little beer!

Everyone got along incredibly well. One could hear Spanish & English & Japanese all night. A perfect Modern Day Canada event!!

David Berner Is BACK!!! Well, Sort Of!

My favourite radio show host anywhere just happens to live in Vancouver. His name is David Berner and he has the ability to interview anyone about everyone, making the discussion both interesting and entertaining.

He has been blogging for some time now and has just gotten into audio podcasts. You can listen to the first one here. His topic is one of my favourites: Modern people so absorbed in their own little lives, with all kinds of electronic gadgetry to keep them aloof from anyone else. Do drop David a line and let him know what you think!

Generation Next

One of my favourite podcasts is from Peter Day's In Business radio programme on the BBC. The latest segment is called "Generation Next" and is all about how marketers are dramatically shifting gears to market [quite differently] to teenagers and 20-somethings. You can listen to it here.

One obvious change revolves around the omnipresence of mobile phones. As one marketer on the show said, "From the perspective of a young person, what kind of idiot would possibly have a landline?" [paraphrasing] I did a double-take when I first heard this, as I grew up in a household with just one phone (a big green one) and only had a second one when I reached my late teens. Nowadays, several people I know only have a mobile phone.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Thought of the Day

There's a wise old phrase that says: "Give a man a fish and he'll be back tomorrow for another one. Teach a man how to fish and he'll have food for a lifetime."

I'd like to change this a bit: "Treat a person like a victim and they'll be back for more support tomorrow. Give someone a hand-up but insist that they be responsible for themselves and you will empower a person to have much self-esteem and who will make a positive contribution to society."

Friday, May 11, 2007

VIC + PVS = Pathetic Disaster!

Someone recently directed me to this blog posting. It's a piece by writer, Amy Alkon. She shares her criticism of Radical Feminism and touches upon the proponents of this movement that perpetuate what she calls the "Victim Industrial Complex" (VIC). I had never heard this term before, but like it.

The all encompassing idea of VIC is that a huge swath of society are victims. Let's briefly explore the definition of this word:


1. an unfortunate person who suffers from some adverse circumstance
2. a person who is tricked or swindled

Those who buy into the VIC view of the world adamantly maintain that ALL women and ALL children are victims. No harm actually ever has to come to one of these people. They're still regarded as a victim, whether they view themselves that way or not.

For every victim, there has to be an aggressor/perpetrator. If women & children are the victims then guess who the bad guys are? Excuse the obvious pun! But seriously, this does explain a lot about how such a mentality develops. I've met some women who live and breathe this stuff. The chips on their shoulders are so big that they must have severe back problems! About a decade ago I had experienced an unfortunate experience with one such woman and was talking with a psychologist friend of mine about her. He gave me the perfect line to use but I must admit I've not yet used it: "Just because you're a feminist doesn't prevent you from being an asshole!"

Long ago I invented a corollary to VIC called "PVS", which stands for "Permanent Victim Syndrome". I did so when I noticed that certain people I met were constantly feeling sorry for themselves, seemingly unable and/or unwilling to resolve the issues that were burdening them. They found it easier to always blame others or just "life" in general for all their woes. Only after I read The Celestine Prophecy did I learn that victims were on the other side of the same coin as aggressors in that both were using different techniques to the same effect: to manipulate others. This realization was a real wake-up call for me.

C2C: Canada’s Journal of Ideas

I was just informed of this new website. I haven't checked it out in depth yet but it seems interesting.