Monday, December 31, 2007

My Hopes for Canada in 2008

Here's a brief list of what I'm hoping for from Canadians in 2008:

  1. Political Correctness - More than anything else, I'm convinced that political correctness has corrupted our society and any real discussions that we hope to have. When real debate cannot occur for fear of offending someone then no progress can be made on any issue.

  2. Permanent Victims - I look around the world these days and see some pretty terrible things happening. The dawn of the New Year is the perfect time for Canadians to take a moment to consider how incredibly good we have it. Certainly nothing's perfect and there's always room for improvement. But it's long overdue that the overly pampered cry-babies amongst us are called out for the Permanent Victims that they are.

  3. Human Rights Violations - This is a corollary to #2. When one sees people elsewhere in the world being incarcerated or even murdered for voting or running for office or not covering up "appropriately", I find it incredibly appalling how loosely and frequently some Canadians toss around the term "human rights" when they don't get their way. Have they no shame? Don't they realize that their abuse of this word has desensitized its meaning?

  4. Playing the Race Card - I've noticed an increasing number of people playing the race card whenever they come up against the establishment. This is a special case of #2 that takes advantage of #1. For no organization, be they public or private, wants to be labeled a racist. But in Canada in 2007 I very much doubt that racism is the cause. It's just another technique to get your way or cast unwarranted blame at someone else.

  5. A Return to Responsibility - From the very top of our society to its very depths, isn't it long overdue for people to take responsibility when they mess up? It seems to happen so rarely these days - think of the YVR Taser fiasco - and has set such a poor example for our children.

  6. Generosity Instead of Selfishness - This one seems obvious but in order for it to occur, people need to ensure that they're not violating #1 - #5, especially #2 & #5. In fact, I strongly believe one of the factors contributing to increased selfishness - especially in cities - are too many people not taking responsibility for themselves and their actions.

  7. Cel Phone Dysfunctional User Disorder (CP-Dud) - If a man was walking down the street, talking at high volume or even shouting, would you consider him a bit odd? If a woman at the table next to you in a restaurant was giving everyone in earshot the details of her recent yeast infection, would you consider her a bit odd? Why then, do many people consider it perfectly normally to duplicate this behaviour while on a cel phone? In 2008 I plan to use the Amy Alkon method to combat these annoying twits.
With that said, I sincerely wish you and your family the Very Best in 2008, most especially: Liberty, Good Health, and Prosperity!

New Years' Around The World

Here's a collection of photos taken on January 1st, 2008, from around the world:

Sydney, Australia

Harbin, China

Hong Kong, China

Seoul, South Korea

Manila, The Philippines

Athens, Greece

Moscow, Russia

Paris, France

Puri, India

Singapore

Friday, December 28, 2007

Traveling in My Mind

I've only been to Europe once, in 1992. While there a German cousin of mine took me to the small town of Nesselwang:

The map doesn't come close to showing how extremely gorgeous this place is. Imagine sitting on an open air patio on an exquisite summer day, drinking a glorious cup of coffee and eating the best Black Forest cake you've ever had. In front of your eyes is a great expanse of rolling fields and behind that are the German Alps.

My cousin called me today via Skype and I was reminded that I need to visit her again someday soon!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Two Cuddly Creatures


The latter one is "Millie", the labradoodle of a longtime friend of mine. She's a real sweetie!

R.I.P: Benazir Bhutto - 1953 - 2007

UPDATE: Mark Steyn weighs in.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

BC Digital Divide on Global TV

Much thanks to Geoff M. for getting the video for me!

BC Digital Divide in the News

With today being Boxing Day there's a great emphasis in the minds of many to shop, shop, shop. My friend, Dennis, and I had a different mission in mind. He picked me up at 10am and we drove out to Port Coquitlam. There we delivered a computer to a family that had recently lost everything in a flood. They were extremely nice and appreciative.

This donation was filmed by Global TV reporter, Grace Ke, and her cameraman. What's coincidental is that Grace was good friends with Dennis' younger brother back in high school a few decades ago!

If you're reading this on Boxing Day and live in BC then you can catch the segment on the 6pm and possibly the 11:30pm news.

Cel-Phone Manners Rant

Amy Alkon has a brilliant rant that will inspire anyone who has been annoyed by cel phone maniacs. Here's one part of it:

A woman at the Rose Café shouted her eyeglass order into her cell -- going into detail about her family’s medical plan (they have flexible spending, they’ll pay after the first of the year). After I blogged her conversation, including her phone number, she got calls from around the world: “Eva, your glasses are ready!” I’m guessing she has newfound respect for others’ profound disinterest in her life.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Feliz Navidad

From Jose Feliciano:


A Moment to Remember

As we all settle down to gorge on good food and give & receive countless gifts, let's not forget that on the other side of the world there are several thousand Canadian soldiers who are protecting people much less fortunate than us.

I saw this quote and couldn't help thinking how appropriate it is for us right now:

"We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." - Winston Churchill

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fairytale of New York

This song is a favourite one of many in the UK and is frequently played on BBC Radio London, which I've found myself listening to quite a bit these days:

Welfare Entitlement Mentality

I was in a good mood this morning until I read this and this.

The editorials are about a 58 year old woman in New Orleans named Sharon Jasper who is the poster girl for excessive liberal entitlement mentality. She has been on welfare for 57 of those years. In a separate article, she was featured in her government subsidized apartment, complete with hardwood floors and a large screen television. But that's not enough for her. Though she pays no rent, she's complaining that she also has to pay for the utilities that she uses. Wow, shocking, there is actually something in life that she has to pay for herself! Human rights violation! Social injustice! Racism!

How about, "Give Me A Break".

After reading all of this, I couldn't help but be reminded of John F. Kennedy's famous quote: "And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

The thing is, people like Jasper exist in every country of the world where welfare exists. I would suggest to you that the more generous the welfare, the larger the percentage of people who are on it. I am in support of getting rid of it? Absolutely not, but every government should go back to first principles and ask what welfare is for. Then they should change it so as to incentivize people to get off it and start working.

In my own life, I find a certain percentage of recipients from my computer donation program who have exactly this mentality, this sense of entitlement. Where their level of greed becomes too great, we reject them ... without apology. I often wonder if we're the first ones who have ever said 'No' to them.

Another big difference in Canada is that most of the people with the same warped view of the world as Jasper are white. So I absolutely detest that when people like Jasper are hauled onto the proverbial carpet and described for exactly what they are, that "racism" is automatically decried.

I'll leave you with a definition that I believe well describes this entitlement mentality:

in·fan·til·ize (nfn-tl-z, n-fn-)tr.v. in·fan·til·ized, in·fan·til·iz·ing, in·fan·til·iz·es

1. To reduce to an infantile state or condition.
2. To treat or condescend to as if still a young child.

Smile of the Day

A 1st grade school teacher had twenty-six students in her class. She presented each child in her classroom the 1st half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you. While reading, keep in mind that these are first-graders, 6-year-olds, because the last one is a classic!

1. Don't change horses ... until they stop running.
2. Strike while the ... bug is close.
3. It's always darkest before ... Daylight Saving Time.
4. Never underestimate the power of ... termites.
5. You can lead a horse to water but ... How?
6. Don't bite the hand that ... looks dirty.
7. No news is ... impossible.
8. A miss is as good as a ... Mr.
9. You can't teach an old dog new ... math.
10. If you lie down with dogs, you'll ... stink in the morning.
11. Love all, trust ... Me.
12. The pen is mightier than the ... pigs.
13. An idle mind is ... the best way to relax.
14. Where there's smoke there's ... pollution.
15. Happy is the bride who ... gets all the presents.
16. A penny saved is ... not much.
17. Two's company, three's ... the Musketeers.
18. Don't put off till tomorrow what ... you put on to go to bed.
19. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and ... you have to blow your nose.
20. There are none so blind as ... Stevie Wonder.
21. Children should be seen and not ... spanked or grounded.
22. If at first you don't succeed ... get new batteries.
23. You get out of something only what you ... see in the picture on the box.
24. When the blind lead the blind ... get out of the way.
25. A bird in the hand ... is going to poop on you.
26. Better late than ... pregnant.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sunny Vancouver in the Winter




(604) Telemarketing Annoyances

A number of telemarketing firms seem to have dramatically ramped up their efforts to annoy the heck out of us all this holiday season. I've found a list of a group of telemarketing numbers from the 604 area code. If you get a call from one of these numbers, just don't answer:

604-248-0604
604-253-6020
604-270-7015
604-288-2942
604-306-0915
604-321-4514
604-436-1196
604-438-1882
604-484-9615
604-495-2468
604-519-0215
604-521-8186
604-530-8908
604-534-5044
604-538-0199
604-550-7000
604-550-7238
604-587-6200
604-588-9688
604-601-5618
604-608-4702
604-629-2009
604-630-9674
604-637-8801
604-637-8802
604-676-3995
604-676-4485
604-687-0142
604-687-4559
604-688-8946
604-691-2406
604-697-7478
604-717-4330
604-720-8973
604-801-5672
604-825-9767
604-838-6990
604-942-8158
604-946-2107
604-987-2807

Telemarketing numbers from other area codes can be found here.

The Re-Interview

The jaw of anyone involved with software development will hit the desk when they read this.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tammi Terrell: A Great Talent Lost Way Too Early

Tammi Terrell was a beautiful woman and an incredible singer. But sadly, in 1970, at the young age of 24, she died from a brain tumour. Here is a sampling of her great talent:




Dennis Miller's Top 5 Persons of the Year

Fire Rescue Advancement

Cool invention, cool marketing video:

400 New Climate Change Deniers

And lo and behold, each of them is a prominent scientist! You've got to read this. Here's an excerpt:

Even some in the establishment media now appear to be taking notice of the growing number of skeptical scientists. In October, the Washington Post Staff Writer Juliet Eilperin conceded the obvious, writing that climate skeptics "appear to be expanding rather than shrinking." Many scientists from around the world have dubbed 2007 as the year man-made global warming fears “bite the dust.” (LINK) In addition, many scientists who are also progressive environmentalists believe climate fear promotion has "co-opted" the green movement. (LINK)

This Week in Montreal

My friend, Nadia, just posted this photo during her visit back to her hometown of Montreal:

Bait Car Morons




Many more are available at BaitCar.com.

Take No Action Protestors

In today's Vancouver Sun there was a guest editorial from the Washington Post entitled, "Western countries must not let up pressure on Sudan". In it, they urged U.S. President Bush to go against current thinking and intervene militarily to put an end to the genocidal devastation that is going on there every day.

Why should he? After all, when he intervened against the murderous cruelty imposed on the people of Iraq by Saddam Hussein, much of the world condemned him. More to the point, exactly the same people who are urging him to intervene in Sudan are the very ones who condemned him for intervening in Iraq.

Whenever I'm walking downtown and see a "Free Tibet" protest, I just shake my head. I very much agree with their stated goal of freeing the Tibetan people from the iron grip of Communist China, but let's face facts: If Canada or the U.S. or any other country were actually to do something to free Tibet, these very same people would be the ones protesting the actions that were required to make it so.

Perhaps one day I should go up to one of them and ask what it feels like to be a hypocrite, to be someone who changes their tune as soon as the going gets tough. Perhaps. For now, I'll just politely smile and walk to the other side of the street like most everyone else does.

I often wonder if those brave Canadian soldiers who fought in World War 2 are turning in their graves over the immense shallowness of thought and conviction of their descendants.

"Honour Killing Is Our Export To Canada"

Dr. Farrukh Saleem, an Islamabad-based economist and analyst, has written a sad but telling editorial about the recent murder of Aqsa Parvez by her father, in Toronto.

You can read the full editorial here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A New Requirement to Receive Welfare?

Today, I heard something very interesting that I'd like to throw out for open discussion. A fellow working up in the Alberta oil sands drives heavy machinery and, as such, must submit a urine sample once a month to prove that he his not taking any drugs. His company takes safety very seriously and anyone on drugs operating such equipment would put countless lives at risk.

So in essence, a requirement for him to be paid every month is to submit to a drug test. He earns well over $100,000 per year, a big portion of which is paid in income tax, which goes toward the services that all Canadians enjoy.

Now let's compare him with someone on welfare. Is not welfare a temporary measure that provides short term funding until a person can find a job again? That's what I always thought it was for. If someone is being paid by the government in this way, then what responsibilities do they have? If their primary objective is to find a job then wouldn't it be fair to say that being high on drugs some or all of the time would not be conducive to getting hired?

That oil sands worker strongly believes that everyone who agrees to receive welfare must also agree to a compulsory drug test. What say you?

Where Environmentalists Are Taking Us

Monday, December 17, 2007

Are Food Banks Helping or Hindering The Homeless?

I've was working late and, as I often do, was listening to BBC London's morning show. An interesting discussion erupted about whether "soup runs" (the British term for "soup kitchens") are a good or a bad idea. There was a reference to this editorial from a charity organization called "Thames Reach".

I found it extremely interesting and I think that everything said therein applies just as much to food banks.

I realize it's not popular to criticize charity initiatives but I am very skeptical of anything that serves as a "hand out" rather than a "hand up".

Two Cuties

Two magnificent examples of nature:


Sunny, Snowy Mountains

Taken from Broadway & Fir this morning at 10:30am.

A Contrast of Values

Two seemingly unrelated events occurred today that I just have to share. My mom & I took the bus out to Ladner to visit her older brother who recently moved into an assisted living facility. When we got to the Ladner Bus Exchange, a man came to the front door and said to the driver, "Hey man, I don't have any change, can I get a ride to the KFC?" Rather than point out to him that there was a McDonald's half a block away to get some change, instead the driver let him on, though warning him that there was a $75 fine if he got caught. Mr. Freeloader hopped on, saying that he would risk it. He then added that after lunch he was going to pick up his "EI" (Employment Insurance) cheque.

A woman, who clearly didn't know this guy, insisted that she would pay for him. There were no protestations of pride or self-respect on his part. What did come out of his mouth next was this, "I'm a child of God and this is a blessing. It's a sin to turn down a blessing, isn't it?!" I almost threw up.

The bus got rolling and Mr. EI-KFC got off about 6 blocks later. Oh, you may be interested to know that he about 25 years old and white.

Fast forward a few hours. At lunch, we were served by an Indian woman in her late 30's. We learned that though she was not born here, her 5 children were. In addition to this job waiting and cleaning tables, she also works part-time at the Post Office. Her husband builds townhouses in Burnaby and also runs a blueberry farm that they just bought in Ladner.

When people say that we should stop all immigration to Canada I just laugh and think, "Stop new immigrants from coming here?!? The vast majority of them are the ones setting the examples for the rest of us!!!"

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Fascinating Commentary About YouTube

Tom Guarriello is a brilliant management consultant in the Northeastern U.S. He is an avid video producer on YouTube, with over 200 videos to date. And he, like many other longtime YouTube members, is very concerned with the new, impersonal, very "corporate" direction that the site seems to now be heading. Take a few minutes to listen to what he has to say:

Model Trains Galore

A model train club was showing off one of their magnificent creations in the lobby of the Vancouver School Board head office:





video video

Are We The Problem?

In this interesting article, Mark Steyn illustrates how a growing number of Al Gore's disciples are working to shape public opinion to believe that those who have children are the greatest destroyers of the environment.

I hope I'm around in 50 years to witness historians comment on what utter and complete foolishness the thinking of the early years of the new millennium was!

Hooked on Snowplow Games

Perhaps it's because of the time of the year or perhaps it's because it's dreary outside, but I've found myself playing the following game more than I should:

David Berner: Vancouver Province Editorial #2




Let’s stop pushing policies that turn women into drug-addicted chattel
David Berner
The Province
16 Dec 2007

No sooner had the Pickton verdict been aired than every wiseacre in town felt compelled to add his wisdom to the mix. Most pointed to the obvious fact that the verdict does nothing to alleviate the conditions that allowed these monstrosities to... read more...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Interesting Use of Social Assistance

This evening I was listening to Ray Khan, the coolest Muslim fellow on the radio. He appears every weekend on BBC London.

An older retired fellow, Mark, called up and started talking about why he no longer follows the tenets of the Jewish religion. One of the reasons he cited was that he believes prostitution should be legalized.

Ray couldn't resist and asked Mark if he made use of such services. Without hesitation, the old fella said, "Oh yes, about twice every week." He then went on to explain how he divides the money from the government into food, drink, and sex.

I'm convinced there's an hilarious joke here but I'll leave it to someone else to make!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Marriage: Selling Out

In a recent poll, 74% of American women in their 30's said that they'd marry for money. And these same women said that their affections could be bought off by some guy who had only $1.1 Million. Yikes ... on multiple fronts!

Here in Vancouver I have to wonder if the actual percentage would be more like 95 - 97% ? I say this quite honestly because in my own experience and that of many other great single guys I know, the not-even-very-well-concealed message is, "I want your money and if you ain't got it then I'm not interested."

The new "G" word of the New Millenium has got to be "golddigger"!!! But don't dare mention it if you're a man or else you're being impolite.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Pivotal Moment For Free Speech in Canada

Free Speech is under threat in Canada. By the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) no less! They're contending that Canadian writer, Mark Steyn, had no right to say what he did in Maclean's magazine. If you haven't heard about this yet it's no big surprise, for the Canadian media, especially the liberal media, are deathfully afraid of being politically incorrect. So they've imposed a tragic silence on several controversial issues for many years now.

The CIC isn't suing Steyn in a court of law. Instead, they're petitioning a series of "Human Rights Commissions" to try to silence Steyn. These pseudo-judicial bodies are nothing more than kangaroo courts but they're easy targets for manipulation. Should the CIC be successful with even one of their petitions, then we will definitively know that free speech in Canada is clearly a distant memory.

Thankfully some more enlightened Muslims are speaking out against the CIC's actions. They include Ali Eteraz and Tarek Fatah & Farzana Hassan.

Sleepwalking Into A Nightmare

English blogger, Melanie Phillips, has an interesting take on a recent speech by U.S. political figure, Newt Gingrich. Read it and ask yourself this: "Do any American politicians have the willpower to make such a dramatic change away from their country's dependence on foreign oil?" This seems like the perfect rallying cry for the Democrat party but I don't see one of their candidates adopting it anytime soon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Question That Begs To Be Answered

Why is it that on the streets of Vancouver, most every person begging for money is a white male between the ages of 20 to 40? I ask this question seriously and would love to hear a reasonable explanation.

Technology Improvements

Some are aware that I take a "few" photos once and again. Okay, maybe more than a few. Since I received my digital camera as a birthday present in 2004, I've had it equipped with a 512MB memory card. Today I upgraded. I just couldn't resist the fact that 2GB (2,048MB) SD cards were on sale at NCIX for just $15. So I now have 4 times the storage space. Considering that I'm shooting a lot more video these days, the extra space is much more needed than ever!

So the camera gets the new one, my Pocket PC gets the old one, and the old, old one gets put in the ubiquitous technology drawer!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The YVR Protest: An Absolute Disgrace!

Something absolutely insane happened at YVR yesterday. Even worse, though expected, the perpetrators are now labeling as racist anyone who publicly criticizes them. I've just sent the following letter to the Vancouver Sun:

The recent thug-like theatrics at YVR by Harsha Walia and her cohorts is a disgrace of the highest order. While the participants undoubtedly think an injustice is being done to them, I wonder if their little de facto gang stopped for a moment to consider what two points they made with crystal clarity:

  1. They have absolutely no respect for the law, let alone order.
  2. Playing the politically correct race card is as transparent as the hollow arguments they've been making.
With Svend Robinson now in Europe, perhaps Walia thought that a vacancy needed to be filled. Whatever the case, such actions are far, far beneath any Canadian, no matter what colour of skin they have or where they were originally born. I anxiously await the saner words of our Attorney General, Wally Oppal, to remind us all of what constitutes proper behaviour in this country that we all call home.

A half German-Canadian who would be saying EXACTLY the same thing if the gentleman in question were from my father's homeland.

Robert Werner
South Granville

A Wonderful Stroll Down Memory Lane

If you're over 30 years old and are at all involved with the technology industry then you will love reading this!

Monday, December 10, 2007