Saturday, June 30, 2007

False Creek Panorama

I took this shot from near the centre of the Burrard Street Bridge. Be sure to click on the thumbnail to see it full-size:

Whenever I need a break I take my bicycle out for a spin around False Creek. We finally had some nice weather for a few hours today and I enjoyed ever moment of it!

P.S. Toward the tail end of my journey I met up with a really nice couple from Deerfield, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago. They were in town for just one day and taking a cruise ship up to Alaska tomorrow. It turns out that their community is the hometown of my adopted sister, Kristi!

A Cynical Birthday Reflection

Canada turns 140 tomorrow. I was two years old when it turned 100. This got me thinking a lot about the state of the nation.

This morning I went out for breakfast with my mom. Among other things, she mentioned a do-nothing cousin of mine named 'L'. All of her life, 'L' has been a sycophant to everyone in the family and even more so to the government. My mom said, "You know, her fundamental problem is that she expects everyone else to attend to her needs."

I reflected upon this for a second and said, "Well, considering it's Canada's 140th Birthday tomorrow, I think she perfectly represents the perfect Canadian!"

A highly cynical statement I know, but I think it's incredibly accurate of the mindset of soooooooooo many in our country today. :-(

So happy birthday, Canada, but I think you were much more outstanding when you turned 100. You've turned rather lazy and pathetic since then.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Paul Potts: An Exemplary Talent!

One of the reasons I love blogs is because they often clue me into information that I would otherwise never hear of. Credit for this posting must go to David Berner, fellow Vancouver blogger.

Too often these days the media, in their never ending thirst to fill air space, pushes upon us "pretty" people with no talent whatsoever. Earlier this year there was wall to wall coverage of Anna Nicole Smith's death and the ridiculous fiasco that ensued. Then a few months ago there was the boy who couldn't sing, Sanjaya Malakar, appearing on American Idol night after night. Most recently we were treated to the Queen of Vapid, Paris Hilton, spending some time in jail. She is famous for being famous. Her own saving grace is that she instantly reminds everyone that being rich doesn't at all prevent one from being a complete moron!

Through all of this, there's a natural tendency to shun television, the Internet, and all the rest of it as a colossal waste of time.

But surprise, surprise, then something amazing happens in the form of one Paul Potts, British cel phone salesman, and someone you would almost certainly walk right past and never think anything more of. He appeared out of the blue on an American-idol like shown called "Britain's Got Talent". Turn your speakers up and watch these 3 videos, of Mr. Potts' initial appearance, semi-final appearance, and grand finale. In the first video, pay special attention to the reaction of judge, Amanda Holden:

As of this writing, the videos have been watched on YouTube, 6 Million, 1.5 Million, and 1 Million times respectively. Amazing, amazing, amazing!!!

Paul Potts is a vivid reminder to all of us to never judge a person by their cover. You can visit his new website here.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Nice Sunset

I was heading home with some friends after dinner and we stumbled upon this interesting sunset.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Some Food

All from the Coast Restaurant in Yaletown.

Some Flowers

Canadian Health Care Debate

I attended this debate, hosted by talkshow personality and fellow blogger, David Berner. The problem with such things is that most people come with entrenched views and really aren't open to hearing anything from "the other side". Nadeem Esmail, from the Fraser Institute, presented many interesting examples from all over Europe, but the majority of people in the audience clearly preferred to keep their ostrich-like heads buried in the sand. This is but a small sampling of what politicians have to deal with every day of their lives!

Push Polling: A Modern Day Scam

Here an hilarious radio interview that clearly demonstrates how fraudulent many polls (and political pollsters) are:

Vancouver's NIMBYs In Play

This morning on CKNW's Bill Good show I heard Vancouver Park Board Commissioner, Marty Zlotnick, exemplify a typical elitist Vancouver NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) attitude. The subject at hand was the possible transference of the UBC Golf Club to the Musqueum Native Band.

He was totally against it, of course. And his overarching reason why? Because he & his friends like to go out there and play golf on a regular basis. Isn't that nice. Zlotnick admitted that as a golf course, the land is only worth $11 Million. But if developed into housing, it would be worth $600 Million.

At $40 - $70 per round of golf, only a small percentage of the population can afford to play there on a regular basis. So this valuable land is, in practice, only available to the precious elite like Zlotnick to use. He was very quick to assert that instead of turning over the golf course to the natives, instead the government should just pay them $600 Million outright. In other words, he was very willing to have your tax money and mine be used but we better not dare touch his personal playground.

This whole issue is indicative of the widespread hypocrisy amongst so many Vancouverites. They're perfectly okay with the government giving away endless amounts of land "out there" but when it comes to Native land claims in their neighbourhood then hands off. One day I do wonder if they'll realize how truly pathetic they are.

P.S. Such hypocrisy isn't limited to my city or even my country. Case in point is Robert Kennedy Jr. et al in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Mr. Kennedy is a staunch environmental activist. Until, it seems, someone wanted to activate some green energy windmills in his playground. Then all of a sudden it was a no go. You can read about it here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

On-Air in Montreal

Most every weekday evening I listen online to Peter Anthony Holder on CJAD in Montreal. I tend to do my programming late and listening to Peter's show keeps me wide awake! This evening the station's transmitter was being repaired so they couldn't broadcast in the normal fashion. So he invited people who listen outside of the Montreal region to write him with their phone number. I did so and we had a nice conversation for about 15 minutes.

Peter has a most interesting show, offering lots of comedy and an eclectic series of guests.

Vancouver is Sushi Town Canada

I was starving and didn't feel like cooking so I picked up a party tray from my favourite local sushi restaurant, Opera Sushi. P.S. No, I didn't eat all of it!

Rich Ralph Interviewed by CHML

Rich just reached Vineland, Ontario today. He was interviewed by Scott Thompson of CHML News Radio in Hamilton, Ontario. You can listen to it here. In his latest journal entry he mentioned that he's looking to get in contact with Wayne Gretzky's father, Walter. Not too long ago Walter's wife, Phyllis, died of lung cancer. Because of this, Rich would very much like to meet Walter when he passes through Brantford, Ontario.

If you know someone who knows someone who might know Walter, then please do try to see if you could make this meeting happen!

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Dark Underbelly of Vancouver

Last Friday I went downtown with a friend to meet two Quebecois girls at a pub in Gastown. This area of that pub is fine but it's right on the edge of what has often been described as "the worst neighbourhood in Canada". My friend parked his car in a monitored lot about 6 blocks away to reduce the chances of it getting plundered by some crack / heroin / crystal meth addict in search of funds to pay for his next fix. This meant we had to cross the "danger zone" twice.

Both heading there and coming back we saw scenes that were re-enactments from "Night of the Living Dead". You see dozens of lost souls on every block, down every lane, and in every doorway. The "look" in the eyes of these junkies is beyond description. Two cops walked by at one point and I immediately realized the futility of their job. For even if they were to arrest dozens of people, all of them would be back on the street the next day. Such is the state of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside today.

Yet at the same time we have countless members of what I call "DEPI" (the Downtown Eastside Poverty Industry) that rave on & on & on about what great things they're doing in the name of harm reduction. But ask them how many addicts they've successfully cured of their habits and hear nothing but silence.

There are SO MANY PARALLELS with the nonsense spun about Global Warming. It's my understanding that Montreal and Toronto are considering adopting similar programs to what we have here in Vancouver. I would vehemently urge them not to! But I am not the most well versed in the facts & figures of what's really happening out here. For that I turn to David Berner. He's done many things in his life including broadcasting, writing, and actually running a SUCCESSFUL drug rehab facility for a decade in Winnipeg.

On this subject he has written much. Here are some recent examples:


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Gastown's Waterfront

An aunt of mine was visiting from Humboldt, Saskatchewan. Though it was pouring rain much of the day, I gave her a driving tour of the city. The first two shots are of Crab Park, which is a place I've never explored before. It's actually a very beautiful park with an incredible view of downtown. You can read more about it here.

Here are some shots of a huge Norwegian Cruise Lines ship. You can read more about it here.

Chinatown Night Market

The Vancouver Chinatown Night Market is back in full swing. My friends & I walked over there after the Irish Heather. Even though I had just eaten, I couldn't resist the delicious smells of food drifting down the street and had to sample some of the many delicacies!

The Irish Heather Pub

I was invited out to the Irish Heather Pub in Gastown. It's a very interesting place, with a multitude of different rooms, each with their own unique feel. There was a good selection of beer, though nothing much out of the ordinary. The food was poor to okay. If you're looking to out for a few drinks with some friends, I'd recommend you give it a try.

Anonymous guy drinking coffee out of a pink cup!

Women in Art

Here's a superb example of a graphical arts technique called "morphing":

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Rich Ralph Has Reached Toronto!

Rich has arrived in Toronto!!! You can read about it in the Toronto Sun here and watch a heartwarming video here. C'mon Toronto, get out there and cheer him on!!!

A New Generation of Old Cars in Vancouver

Have you noticed that recently there's a growing number of unique little cars in Vancouver? This is primarily thanks to "Japanoid", a dealership in the Vancouver suburb of New Westminster.

These cars are not new. Most are from the early 1990's. But they're inexpensive (most under $10,000) and offer a unique driving experience to city drivers. They probably get extremely good gas mileage too!

Not All Is Well in Lotusland

On Saturday morning I was taking a bus along 41st Avenue. Four rows in front of me there was a young woman in a window seat and a young man in the aisle seat beside her. I could tell that they didn't know each other but the bus was very crowded so everyone was packed in. As we approached Cambie she stood up and gestured to move out into the aisle. He did a half turn of sorts but didn't get up. She politely said, "I'm sorry but I can't get by." He just shrugged. With a slightly firmer tone she said, "Would you please stand up, I can't get out." He actually said, "No!" Then in a much louder voice, and one now filled with desperation, she exclaimed, "PLEASE stand up. I can't get out!!" He paused for a moment and then reluctantly half stood up. As she walked away from the bus, she kept looking back in obvious disgust.

This fellow was a well dressed Yuppie, clearly understood English, but just couldn't bother to make the necessary effort without the woman asking multiple times. If I had been closer I would have strongly considered grabbing him by the collar and yanking him out of his seat. But who knows what would have happened then. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he would have played the victim card. Likely, he would been supported by groups such as the Pivot Legal Society. For how dare I interfere with his "rights"!

Sadly, I don't think this was an isolated incident. Everyone I know seems to see this sort of dreadful behaviour all the time - on public transportation, in traffic, amongst pedestrians ... everywhere. Is this what Vancouver has become? Given that the powers at be have repeatedly indicated that no one is responsible for anything anymore, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Patty Smyth is Back

Listening to Dennis Miller's show today, I learned that 80's rocker Patty Smyth is back on tour. I loved her music back then and wish her all the success on her new venture. I've found a few videos that'll transport you back 25 years.

Two little notes:

  1. I often think that the appearance of men hasn't changed that much over the years. The first video (from 1982) shows that I am clearly wrong!
  2. Ms. Smyth has been Mrs. John McEnroe since 1997.

Need a new identity?

This is both weird and sort of scary: Fake Name Generator

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The 5 Unknown Spartans

Dennis Miller on Environmentalists

Day One of the New McCarthy Era

The original McCarthy era occurred in the United States between the late 1940's to the mid 1950's. The period was a less than proud one in American history where U.S. Senator, Joe McCarthy went on a witch hunt for anyone who had sympathies for the Communist Party.

One would have thought that we'd learn from history and never again interfere with free speech. Yet clearly there are some that have no time or respect for free speech. Today a left-wing think tank, closely affiliated with Hillary Clinton, called "The Center for American Progress" has released a report strategically called "The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio".

The report is completely slanted against anyone who doesn't subscribe to the left-wing group think. Their heavy bias starts on Page 1 when they differentiate talk radio stations into two groups:

  • Conservative (91% of all stations)
  • Progressive (9%)
Note the language they've used: "Progressive" is code for liberal. The implication of course is that the other type is unprogressive. So in other words, if you disagree with left-wing policies then you're not progressive, you're a Neanderthal, you are less intelligent. This same pathetic technique is used by environmentalists when they label anyone who disagrees with them as "deniers", akin to Holocaust Deniers.

The radio stations in question live & die on the free market system. The 91% - 9% split exists because that's what the people want. If there was more interest in liberal talk radio programs then their numbers would climb to 10%, 11%, etc. And maybe it will. But for the government to even think about controlling this is EXTREMELY scary and the very opposite of what the founders of America ever stood for. Hugo Chavez may be able to get away with silencing the media in Venezuela but it should be stopped dead in its tracks in the United States of America.

It's important that New McCarthys be exposed for the freedom deniers that they are (to use a phrase that they'd be most comfortable with).

Here they are some of the people behind this initiative to shut down free speech:

John Podesta has worked for the Democrat party much of his adult life, including serving as Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff from October 1998 until January 2001.

John Halpin, also a Democrat, worked on Al Gore's presidential campaign in 2000 and has been a speechwriter for John Podesta.

Mark Lloyd is strongly connected to the Democrat Party and has frequently written on what it needs to do to reform itself to more consistently win elections.

Paul Woodhull is a 12 year veteran of the liberal talk radio industry. He is a partner in radio show "Face-Off" that is heard on over 270 radio stations across the U.S. He is a founding member the liberal talk shows hosted by Ed Schultz and Bill Press.

"We Support The Troops" - What A Big Lie!

These two stories from Toronto and Quebec City pull the thin veil off of the lie that the socialists in Canada support the Canadian troops in Afghanistan. The fact is, they HATE the members of the Canadian military.

Imporant Note: The political ancestors of these same folks were vehemently against fighting Hitler in World War 2. I wish I were exaggerating, but I'm not.

These people absolutely DISGUST me, yet they seem to be the majority in my hometown of Vancouver.

The New Religion of Environmentalism

I heard an interesting comment the other day. It went something like this: "Isn't it odd how the extreme left have become more [small-c] conservative than anyone else in society?!" What the speaker was referring to was the fact that the new generation of socialists/environmentalists/limousine liberals are absolutely unwilling or unable to have anyone challenge what they're espousing.

Does this remind you of another group infamous for having their own set of blinders on?

If you meet a devout religious person, especially one on a personal crusade, you know that it'll be very unlikely (read "hell freezing over") that you're going to change any of their views. They sincerely believe that they are following the Word of God and you are but one challenge put in their way by God to test them. In a literal sense, they MUST disagree with you to PROVE their commitment to God.

I got to thinking about this because of this posting from David Berner. He related a story from a few years back about how the Green Party wanted to recruit him as a candidate. But at their very first meeting, it became clear within minutes that this group would not allow him to have any view of his own if they deviated from theirs. In fact, he had to even speak like them or else they wanted to have nothing to do with him.

One must pause for a second to consider the full voracity of this scenario. Here we have a fledgling political party that is trying to recruit a man who has made his mark for decades for being outspoken and thinking quickly on his feet. Yet right off the bat, they tell him that they don't like what he's saying. Do you realize how absurd that is?!?

Getting back to the religious fundamentalists, such is the case with these Green Party folks. I don't mean just this little group that David met with, but ALL OF THEM!!! They may not be religious; in fact, most of them are probably devout atheists. But, they've adopted a new religion called Environmentalism and the first of many devils they must slay is called "Global Warming". Their "god" is Mother Nature, their pope is Al Gore, and their Canadian archbishop is David Suzuki.

If you dare say anything to them that deviates from the "narrative", they will rebuke you or possibly even kick you out of the cult ... errr group.

Up until my late teens I was a very devout Catholic. I even strongly considered becoming a priest, until I became aware just how much I liked women. :-) When I was young I accepted everything I was taught pretty much verbatim. But as I got older I started asking questions. Lots of 'em. And I didn't like the answers I was getting back. More often than not, no credible answers came back at all. My very scientific mind just wouldn't accept this. So I left the church.

I've long believed that there's a natural human inclination to belong to something larger and to be accepted by this group. Each of us tends to think of ourselves as individuals yet there are countless examples of pack mentality all around us. For example, not so long ago, the only people who had tattoos were ex-sailors and radical artists. Then a few glitterati like Angeline Jolie and Colin Farrell proudly displayed theirs. Suddenly, most every person under 30 had to have one. What at first was a symbol of individualism has now become a symbol of conformity.

This desire to be part of the herd seems to be a key factor in why so many people, who you think would be fairly intelligent, have absolutely closed their minds and just gone along with the group think about global warming. As Gore & Suzuki have said, "the debate is closed". Such words are manna from heaven for environmentalists. For it provides a quick & simple way to shut down all discussions they don't like.

If you'd like to watch an interesting, thoughtful discussion about global warming then I'd strongly recommend watching this interview with Michael Crichton.

Similarly, this Sunday, Corus radio host Roy Green will have as a guest one Bruce Pardy, an environmental law professor from Queens University. I heard him on CBC Radio 1 and recommended that Roy have him as a a guest too. Pardy is very pro-environment but is realistic about the fact that Canadians could stop consuming all energy tomorrow and it would barely make any difference for the world as a whole. His words will have the Greens seeing red! You can listen to Roy's show on CKNW between 11am - 2pm PDT, as well as on other Corus stations across Canada.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

One Relationship For Life or One Life Full of Relationships?

Writer Amy Alkon has just written an excellent article about being single and happy. This is something I think a lot about at times, though not so much recently. Do give it a read!

A New Entrant Into The Blogosphere

My friend "K", the young gal I know in Miami, has just started her own blog, apparently persuaded by yours truly! She has the craziest adventures and writes extremely well, so it's sure to be most entertaining. I've provided a link on the side but you can quickly reach it here. Feel free to tease her all you want, though I must warn you that she has the quickest, sharpest wit of anyone I know. So don't dish out anything you can't take yourself!

Note: She grew up in Alaska, so pretty much is an honourary Canadian ... though she's in deep denial about that!

Note 2: I trust it didn't escape your attention how I spelled the "H" word in the last sentence!! :-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Plaza of Nations No More

Well okay, the headline's a bit of a misnomer but clearly the glass covered Plaza of Nations on the old Expo 86 grounds looks quite a bit different.

Whatever they eventually do with the property I trust they're going to leave a special plaque that reads: "This is where Mark H. and Peter M. started their illustrious musical careers."

Special Abilities?

Okay, I'm now exactly saying that I have special powers (just strongly hinting at it!) but it was only yesterday when I posted my "Enough is Enough" rant against Mother Nature and look what happened today!