Wednesday 30 December 2009

Proroguey Maker

I know that I said I would get Stephen Harper a portable video player for Christmas, but Best Buy was sold out by the time I got there, so instead I went on eBay and bought him a Hunky Bill's Proroguey Maker. Now he can prorogue parliament anytime he wants! Afghanistan torture hearings got you down? Prorogue parliament! Don't like the make up of the senate committees? Prorogue! Jack Layton complaining too much? Fuck him! Prorogue! Can't stand the pedestrian chatter and juvenile name-calling in the House of Commons? Fuck them all! Prorogue!!! It's fun and it's easy, and it only takes minutes to prorogue your way to happiness.

I think Stephen Harper is really happy with his gift.

My apologies to any of you who value democracy.

Wednesday 23 December 2009

Christmas Giving

As I sit here watching the nutmeg slowly spread across the surface of my eggnog, like the stars of a tiny creamy delicious universe, I think about Christmas, and family, and giving, and what the fuck are sugar plums anyhow?

In the spirit of giving, I will share with you the gifts that I plan to give this Christmas:

To Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, I give a magic set that shows you how to make a playing card disappear, and also how to make a $600 million deficit look like a balanced budget.

To Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz, I give a toy helicopter and bendy-bus to play with at home. Uh oh! Look! The bus has been stolen by a level 18 car thief! MRRRRRUMMM BRRRRRR BRRRR, SREEEEECH! MRRRRRRRRUMMMM. Call off the car chase! It's too dangerous -- he's going over 70 km/hr! MRRRAAAUUUMMM. Deploy the helicopter! WHUUUUMP WHUUMP WHUMP WHUMPAWUMPAWUMPA WUPWUPWUPWUPWUP WEEEOOOOO WEEEOOOO WEEEOOOO There he is! Get in close! MRRRRUUUUMMM ... WUPWUPWUPWUP .... Oh no, he's heading for the IKEA rapid transit depot! We have to stop him! WUPWUPWUP Activate the tractor beam! OOOOOUUUUUAAAAOOOOUUUAAA Yay! We got him!

Coach Mike Kelly I have enrolled in an internet course to learn how to be a Dental Assistant, but he can change it to any number of exciting career options, like Computer Repair Technician! Gemologist! Early Childhood Education Specialist! PR Consultant!

To PM Stephen Harper I give a portable video player, so that he can watch himself sing and play piano where ever he goes, and admire how much more human he looks than all the other androids.

To Michael Ignatieff I give an AssMaster 5000 vibrating dildo. (What? That's what he asked for.)

To Jack Layton I give an AssMaster 5000 vibrating dildo. (They had a 2 for 1 deal.)

To David Suzuki I give a plastic bag filled with oil sand. Just because I'm a dick.

... and to my loyal readers: I give you my thanks and best wishes for a Merry Christmas and joyful holiday season! (Sorry, my dildo budget is maxed out.)

Friday 18 December 2009

Code of conduct, and your Friday video

Well, this is certainly interesting:

Kelly was fired at about 8 p.m. Thursday, just hours after being arrested and charged with assault following a domestic dispute in the morning at his home near Philadelphia.
If the team can show cause, they will not be on the hook for the final two years of Kelly’s contract.
Well isn't that fortunate timing? We were going to fire him anyhow, then bingo: he just let us off the hook for the rest of the contract!

I'm not so sure. How can you reasonably argue that he was fired because of his getting arrested? especially after saying this:
It’s a tough decision but I’ve been saying repeatedly to you for the last six weeks we were reviewing the performance of the head coach and we came to the conclusion tonight that based on that assessment it was time to move on and find a new head coach. We recognize that an incident did take place but in the eyes of the law these are allegations and allegations only.
Oh well ... time to move on. And let's never again give both the head coach and GM job to somebody who has never done either.


After putting you to sleep the past two weeks with Black Box Recorder and The Sugar Cubes, I am going to slap you out of your coma with Probot -- Dave Grohl's heavy metal side project. Turn up the volume on your netbook and call your boss over for this one:

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Party at Siloam's place

I've been after Siloam Mission a little bit recently about their ramped-up mail campaign, including aluminum tasting soup made from deadly chemicals, and their sad little ornaments that Charlie Brown would be ashamed to hang on his tree. However, they still do good work over at the mission and are a worthy cause.

This Thursday they are hosting a benefit concert featuring local talent Jodi King. I will not be able to make it, but I was at the Christmas concert two years ago (my God, have I been blogging for over two years already?) when Jodi performed along with Keith and Renée, and enjoyed the show. I encourage you to go, support the mission, and take in some tunes. If you're really lucky, somebody might come by with cookies. As noted on Ace Burpee's blog, tickets are available at Hulls Bookstore and McNally Robinson Grant Park.

Saturday 12 December 2009

Gerald Flood is senile

I don't intend to take on the roll of Media Police, but I have to point this out, since I've wrote about Gordon Bell before:

In a section of the Saturday Free Press ironically called Feed Your Intellect, Gerald Flood writes a heart-warming Gordon Sinclair-ish piece about an unsung hero in the fight to claim a parcel of land as green space for Gordon Bell high school. One problem: he's completely full of crap.

IT was a hot day in August 2008 that I first opened an e-mail from Eagles and Doves, the nom de Internet of Nancy Chippendale.
I like how this is starting: hot summer day, mysterious lady with a alias ... let me turn down the lights and pour myself a drink. Ok, I'm ready. Go on ....
She explained that the closing of a car dealership next to Gordon Bell had created an opportunity to convert the 2.5 acre car lot into a sports field, something Gordon Bell had never had and would never have if this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity slipped away.

The conversion of the lot to a field of play was so obviously a good idea that it seemed impossible that it would not happen. Except for one small snag -- Canada Post was eying the property to build a new depot. I told Nancy that it was a great idea but I could not run it until she determined the status of the property.

She came back crestfallen. Canada Post was not eyeing the property, it was buying it.

Dang ... they beat her to it. So sad that this nice lady's stroke of genius was undermined at the last second by an evil crown corporation.

Ya .. not so much, there Gerald. Checking back to the time line on my original blog on this subject, Canada Post purchased the land in November 2007, almost a year earlier. In fact, Canada Post started tearing down the Midway Chrysler dealership in July of 2008.

Not only that, but Pat Martin was already on the case in June of 2008. As pathetically late as Pat was to the game, this lady was even later. correction: Nancy was in fact on the case before Pat Martin, publishing this story in the paper Sept of 08, which prompted Pat to get involved. A misreading of dates on my part. My apologies. Gerald is trying to portray this lady as groundbreaking visionary, while deriding opponents as "blockheads" who "sniffed at the idea" of having a block of Portage Avenue encased in a giant fence while still being to small for a regulation field "and whatnot".

But you don't often come across the name of Nancy Chippendale who, having started the ball rolling, worked mostly under the radar "with a rogue group that played to win," tirelessly advocating in the certainty that if she could keep the media engaged it just might happen. She is now planning to return to school and become a PR professional and start a company "to help non-profits promote themselves."

No, Nancy Chippendale's name was not there on the day that the dream she dreamed came true.

But it is now.

I haven't felt this ill after reading the paper since Sinclair's "fight to save Upper Fort Garry".

Thursday 10 December 2009

Call Centres, Christmas Ornaments & the Friday Video

The pending closure of the Convergys call centre in Winnipeg has been reporting by the mainstream media (and over at ChrisD's), but one thing that I never saw reported was the closure of the IBM customer service centre earlier this year.

About 15 years ago or so IBM bought Manitoba Data Services, which became ISM, and later just IBM. The helpdesk and IMAC services groups grew to a substantial size, supporting customers all over North America including DOW Chemicals and Nissan, as well as local customers like CWB and the Provincial Government. The helpdesk peaked about five years ago, and began to decline as IBM outsourced as much as possible to Bangalore, India. Then this year they shut down what was left of the operation and moved it to a larger consolidated centre in Toronto, one of four IBM "Global Delivery Centres" in North America . The job loses weren't quite as great as the Convergys closure, but I have seen news stories about much smaller cut backs at other places.


Hey look! I got another letter from Siloam Mission, three weeks after asking to be taken off their mailing list. This time they were kind enough to send me a cardboard Christmas ornament.

Ooooo, that's exactly what I was looking for to finish decorating my beautiful tree!

They also gave me a lovely note signed by John Mohan. So nice of him to continue spamming me even after quitting last month.

Ok, now on to the video ...

I give you the song "Hit", the The Sugarcubes. You might recognize the lead singer.

I was at the Pyramid Cabaret recently and was happy to see that they still have the giant Sugarcubes poster up on the wall. Don't ever take that down, guys. Unless it's to give it to me.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Devil's advocate on climate change

The Climate Research Unit scientists were right to fudge their climate change studies.

The cooked data, the exaggerated results, the black-listed dissenters, and the general bastardization of scientific process: it is all justifiable. In fact, it is essential.

The problem of global pollution and climate change is Remove Formatting from selectionsubject to something that economists call the Tragedy of the Commons. If the global climate were to go to shit, all nations would suffer. However, no one nation can solve the problem unilaterally, and attempting to do so would impart economic hardship on that nation. A collaborative effort is required involving all nations. If country Z refuses to participate, then country Y will as well, so as not to be at a competitive disadvantage. If Y does not participate than neither will X, and so on.

Thus you need all nations on board, and you're not going to get all those politicians in line with wishy-washy results, or "objective peer review", or "conflicting opinions" that self-interested leaders can latch on to as an excuse not to participate.

Furthermore, we all know how these international planning sessions go: leaders go in talking about a certain objective; after all the bickering and nattering they walk away with an agreement for 1/10th of that objective; and when it comes time to put the rubber to the road they may actually accomplish 1/10th of what they agreed to. So if you need to reduce emissions by a trillion tons to save the planet, then you have to tell everybody that they need to reduce emissions by 100 trillions tons. If oceans are going to rise by 6 inches, you tell them that they're rising by 50 feet. That's how it works. And if some pain-in-the-ass scientists say "Hey wait a minute, our results show ..." then you have to shut those fuckers up ASAP before they ruin everything.

Alas, some thieving thruthers who obviously don't have the best interests of the planet in mind have exposed the ruse, and as a result the climate negotiations in Copenhagen are doomed to fail. And because of that, we are all doomed.


Saturday 5 December 2009

Blog note 3:

I just noticed that local photo blogger Bryan Scott is a nominee for the Canadian Blog Awards under the Photo/Art category. I haven't looked through all of the categories, but it's the only Winnipeg blog I've noticed so far. I encourage you to go and vote.

Thursday 3 December 2009

Friday Videos, and oh those nutty Japanese bloggers!

Your Friday video coming up. But first, a couple of blog notes:

note 1:
I successfully made my blog 150 pixels wider this week. I am so proud of myself! (Stop shaking your head (Shaun) ... not all of us can be good at this computer stuff.) Now I can cram more pictures and nonsense (like note 2:) into one screen!

For those of you on the Son of Moto, Mr. Moto, or Ms. Moto blogger templates, all you have to do is increase the #outer-wrapper width and your #main width by equal amounts, and then upload a new larger banner. The trick for me was getting the shadows back on either side. To do that, you have to search for the shadow gif (outerwrap.gif), download it, make it wider in MS Paint or whatever, and then upload it somewhere and plug the new URL into your HTML. Bingo.

note 2:
I am getting an increasing amount of comment spam, mostly on older posts. I have already turned on moderation for posts more than 60 days old, but I may have to turn on that silly word verification thing for newer posts if it gets worse.

Anyhow .. one post in particular -- Boo (updated) -- got several Japanese comments in a space of a few days. I started deleting them, until the thought occurred to me: maybe there are actually Japanese bloggers getting into an intense discussion on my month-old halloween thread! I wouldn't want to break that up, would I? So, I decided to run the comments through a translator to see what's going on:

Disappearance from home said:

On the trendy disappearance from home bulletin board, a lot of messages of the runaway girl who I stay, and walks the net cafes of each place are written recently. They seem to go to stay at even the house of the man who got to know on a bulletin board immediately because there isn't money. Don't you return an answer to a note, too?
H checkers said:
H checkers to be able to enjoy together!I understand your hidden H frequency just to answer a simple question!I will try the diagnosis that the degree comes out sullenly of that person right now
side business said:
It is a guide of the side business that 50,000 yen or more a day is available. The celebrity-like woman of the man confusion eats out the man who got to know in a net by financial power in sequence. I lead such a woman by the nose and don't earn large sum of money?
married woman said:
OK natural as for the society ground, the practical acquaintance of the married women who are H!I introduce eroticism married women of the frustration to preference. I meet immediately, and please choose child wife, a celebrity, the woman who want to play from six genres more than a woman, an SM wife, a secret carefully
A high income part-time job said:
I find sexual desire unmanageable and get value of the money with a woman becoming the frustration, and it is work it heals it, and to give. I don't ask it paper, the educational background at all on participating. I take the one that is interested in a high income part-time job by all means
A high-quality cherry said:
The women who want to take virginity do that I incise a one-time special event on a heart for a man together for life called [the first experience] in supreme joy. Don't you do best SEX in a high-quality cherry with women liking such a virginity?
I see what Disappearance is getting at, but side business makes some good points too. I was going to let this continue, however A high-quality cherry seems to be taking this off onto a tangent that I'm not sure I'm comfortable with. Comments closed on this one. Sorry.


Video(s) of the week:

I am going to slow things down a little with Black Box Recorder's The Art Of Driving:

Also, a couple weeks ago Unapologetic Ex-Winnipegger suggested God Blessed Video by Alcatrazz. I have thought about it, and I am not sure I can subject my audience to that kind of punishment. But I'll tell you what: if you start posting again on your blog I will reconsider.

In the mean time, I will quench your thirst for sweet sweet Steve Vai guitar juice with this slightly less cheesy piece. I really like how he juxtaposes the most profound images ever captured by man with his mundane guitar playing.

'till next time ...

The twisted taxi business

Super-fast post about Martin Cash's article in the Free Press on the taxi business in Winnipeg:

Since the beginning of the year, the going price for a taxi "medallion" has increased by 61 per cent, with a couple of recent transactions closing at a whopping $412,000.
Barry Prentice head of the of the U of M's Asper School of Business faculty:
"Where is the social policy of all this?" he said in an interview. "Why do we create a regulated cartel to charge high prices and control and reduce supply. Whose interest is that in? Does it serve the 410 taxi owners or the 650,000 people living in Winnipeg?"
My comments in the Freep:
Barry Prentice is bang-on. The extremely high prices for cab licenses is proof that the model is broken, and that there are too few cabs on the road. There is absolutely no reason for this industry to be regulated at all, except for basic requirements related to safety.

However, the longer you wait to deregulate the more difficult it will be, because so many cab owners have large sums of money invested in licenses. The government would likely have to compensate those owners at the cost of millions of dollars to the taxpayer if it were to deregulate. The gov't and the PUB need to get this under control now.

I've commented before about this, though I don't have time to dig up the links. This system is more than screwed up, and needs to get fixed before it gets any worse. The cost of a license in a deregulated system would be nominal, so some of the recent cabbies would lose hundreds of thousands of dollars if we were to deregulate. But we have to as a matter of free market principle and because the system is so disfunctional.

Let's see if former cabby Marty Gold puts a positive spin on this on his talk show.

Tuesday 1 December 2009

The speech from the throne

The throne speech? Seriously, cherenkov? That's sooo November 2009. There's snow on the ground now. Get with the times, dude!

Ya, well ... I'm slow. What can I say? I had a doodle to make:
You're welcome. (For the visual of Greg Selinger with no pants. I know you were planning on thanking me.)

I see that the new Premier has callously disregarded my suggestions to take bold action with his time in office. Or perhaps he's just working up to it. However, I can't blame him. In fact, I could easily argue that he doesn't have a mandate to deviate from Doer's uninspired policy direction, since the people voted for Doer's policies, not the crazy schemes of the company bean counter.

However, that has left us with a pretty boring agenda containing more spending, more legislation, and little bitty tax cuts.

Oh ya .. and a helicopter! Helicopters are cool! I even have an idea about how to pay for it.

There are too many things to go through point by point, but a couple things stand out. For example:

> Legislation to create a list of known gangs to simplify court proceedings. Does this really require legislation? To me, it should be a little simpler than that: "Hey, Pat. Go create a list of gangs to simplify court proceedings. Have it on my desk by the 10th."

> New Home Buyer’s Protection Act. First announced under Doer. Won't do much other than increase the cost and pain-in-the-ass factor of buying and selling a house.

> Give municipalities power to seize vacant or derelict buildings. Don't they have this already? Huh. I guess not...

> Reduce small business income tax from 1% to 0%. Yes that's right: NO TAX. I have said before that this is ill-advised. Is 1% really too much to pay? Seriously?

Anyhow, I have to get back to work. Where did I leave the mop?

media: FP, CBC
blogs: curtis, fat arse

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