Monday, June 24, 2013

Holiday road

Tomorrow we're off on vacation for a couple of weeks -- we're going west and I will try to post a few photos along the way!
In the meantime, enjoy some of the best Vacation scenes:

I wonder if these guys know the Commodores?

This is no longer a vacation, its a quest, a quest for fun.

We're here!

And just for fun:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Momo the cat

Experts say most cats are capable swimmers, and Momo the cat was put to the test after the Highwood River began sweeping away the truck she and her guardian were in.

Momo the swimming cat becomes "a symbol of hope" for the Alberta flood:
Yeats's mother, Lori Yeats, said her son was caught off-guard when the truck suddenly went underwater. The windows wouldn't open, trapping him and his pet inside, and the windshield began to crack.
"He couldn't get out, so he had to smash out the back window with his elbow and, of course, the cat was trying to beat him out," she said.
Momo's plunge into the muddy flow moments later was to be expected, she said, noting the indoor cat has a longtime fascination with water.
"She will crawl in the tub with [Kevan] or crawl in the shower with him, so that was probably a good thing that she's been around water a little bit," she said.
There was no doubt her son would jump in after his beloved pet, she said.
"Kevan and that cat are tight. In fact, I was giving him heck for going back and rescuing his cat, he says 'Mom, it's like my baby, you know, I couldn't live with myself if something happened,"' she said....
Momo — who is believed to be part Maine Coon — may have developed a distinctive swimming style.
Lori Yeats said her son noticed his cat was "using her tail like an alligator does" during their watery escape.
"Their tail kind of wiggles back and forth when they're swimming and they use it as a rudder, and she was using her tail like that when he was swimming behind her. He said he couldn't keep up with her, she was doing so well swimming in the water," she said.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Our London home away from home

Nice to see that the Canadian High Commission in London has apparently joined the Unique Home Stays organization and is now hosting Canadians who are on vacation in England.
When we went to London a few years ago, it cost us a fortune to stay in a hotel for a week. I sure am looking forward to staying for free at the Canadian High Commission next time.
The historic Macdonald House in central London
Looks pretty nice, doesn't it.

Macdonald House in central London
We have enough airmiles already for the trip -- how far ahead do we have to book?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

James Gandolfini

The Sopranos Final Scene - YouTube: ""

"Try and remember the times that were good."
I wonder if it was like this for him? He will be missed.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The smear is backfiring

Today's least surprising news story is that the nursing home foundation which sandbagged Justin Trudeau last week by complaining about how he owed them $20,000 has close ties to the Harper Cons.
Its pretty obvious what happened here -- the word went out from the PMO to the Con MPs "For heaven's or Harper's sake, please find something, anything, that we can smear Trudeau with so we can get Duffy off the front pages!"
So all of a sudden, Ottawa is buzzing about Trudeau's speaking fees. And Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall joined the chorus.
Trudeau initially gave the smear some legs by taking refuge in the "it wasn't me, it was the agency" excuse, and then the "it was perfectly legal" excuse before finally smartening up and declaring he would "make it right" for any charity who wanted to be reimbursed.
And today the smear is collapsing like a cheap suitcase:
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall had called on Trudeau on Friday to repay the money charged to the Literacy for Life conference, but a spokeswoman said the organization would not be asking for the money back.
“The conference met our objectives,” said Veronica Baker, a spokeswoman at Saskatoon Public Schools, which organized the event. “Mr. Trudeau was hired to speak as an education advocate, not as an MP.”
A spokesman for an Eastern Ontario Catholic school board that paid Trudeau $15,000 for a speech at a professional development conference in May 2010 also said it would not be asking for any money back.
“His speech was well received by those in attendance,” Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board director of education Jody DiRocco said in an email.
“Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board has not considered a request to be refunded for the speaking engagement.”
UPDATE: I was just indulging in speculation when I blamed the Prime Ministers Office for this debacle -- but it has turned out to be true.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Well, that was ugly

Unrepentant to the end, Quebec soccer is still trying to save face by blaming their racist turban ban on FIFA's supposed "ambiguities" -- the rules of soccer, you know, are just so difficult to clarify for all those hundreds of thousands of people around the world who play this game.
Why, I guess they're almost as confusing as those Senate expense rules!
But at least the federation has finally lifted their idiotic ban -- and being the polite and truly Canadian gentlemen they are, Sikhs have moved on:
The news was greeted with cheers by a mostly Sikh crowd at a solidarity soccer game organized in a Montreal suburb, where people of all ages and skills charged onto the pitch wearing turbans.
“I’m excited and I’m proud as a Quebecer that the decision has come to allow the kids to get back on the field,” said Amar Magon, one of the organizers of the game.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Wait for it

Has anyone else been following xkcd: Time?
This xkcd cartoon has been changing by one frame an hour since the end of March, and has now posted more than 2000 pictures telling the story of Cueball and Megan first building an elaborate sandcastle and then setting out to explore their world.  The cutline for this comic is "Wait for it."
Someone has made a map of where they have walked since they finished the sandcastle:
People are discussing it at the ExplainXKCD page here:
You can find all of the comics from the beginning here: This site is set up to automatically update whenever the comic changes.
The whole project is fascinating.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Security state? Or just a fantasy state?

Edward Snowdon thinks of himself as a spy.  But Gene Hackman he ain't.
Surely the United States of America wasn't ever actually being "protected" by 29-year-old guy who dropped out of high school and then dropped out of community college, briefly joined the army but was discharged, and then worked as a university security guard before apparently being hired to a tech position by the National Security Agency?
And surely the NSA and Dell computers and the private security firm Booz Allen Hamilton weren't really so desperate for staff that they needed to hire the kind of guy who blocks his hotel doorway with pillows and wears a hood when using a computer "to prevent any hidden cameras from seeing him" while declaring how easily he could track everyone's keystrokes online?
And surely people aren't treating this nut like he's some kind of "hero" for giving a 41-slide powerpoint presentation to the Washington Post and to Glenn Greenwald?
Donald Trump calls Snowden "a grandstander" -- and he should know!
Snowden already has a filmmaker involved in his story.


Coach Ihab Leheta calls out a play to turban-wearing players of the FC Brossard U14AA team, during practice on Monday June 10, 2013 at Poly-Arena park in Brossard.

What a great story. A Quebec under-14 soccer team all wore turbans at their big game on Saturday to protest the injustice of the Quebec Soccer Federation ban on turbans.
Although there are no Sikh boys among the 18 [Broussard] team members, age 14 and under, Leheta asked them what they would do had one of them been excluded because of a turban.
“I told them you can either say: ‘It’s not my problem,’ or you could decide to do something to help out.”
With the enthusiastic support of his players and their parents, the coach headed off to the Sikh temple in LaSalle the next morning before the big match and borrowed 20 orange scarves that the boys then donned as turbans at their game in Brossard.
The referee didn’t object while doing an equipment check, until he spoke to the coach of the Granby team.
“The ref came back said we couldn’t play if we were going to wear the turbans, so I showed him the FIFA rules and he said OK,” Leheta said. “But as I shook hands with the Granby coach before the game, he said he thought what we were doing was stupid.”
The Brossard team lost 2-1 in the end, but learned an invaluable life lesson, the coach said.
“I was so proud of them,” Leheta said. “(They understood) that today it’s Sikhs (being banned) and tomorrow it’ll be someone else.”

One question

I have one question about the new Ottawa RedBlacks: what are the team colours going to be?
Actually, I have two questions -- what the heck is a RedBlack anyway?
I prefer Buckdog's suggestion -- call the team Ottawa Scandals, a name that will never get old.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Today in tweets

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

I guess the Harper Cons just cannot be trusted with money

What's the deal with the Harper Cons these days and their attitude toward Canadian law?  Not to mention how incompetent are they at handling money.
The two Con MPs are describing their refusal to submit legal election account statements to Elections Canada as an "accounting dispute" -- yeah, just like Mike Duffy's Senate expenses are just an "expenses dispute".
Candidate returns filed after an election typically contain a long, itemized list of payments made to suppliers for rent, advertising, salaries and other costs of running local campaigns.
But Glover’s return includes only nine payments, including two made to her riding association that represent the vast majority of her campaign spending. The entries, dated election day, say that Glover’s campaign paid $73,139 to the St. Boniface Conservative Association, with no indication of who ultimately received the money.
That line-item had entries of $34,777 under “other advertising” – possibly a calculation of the signage under dispute – $18,257 for “surveys,” $1,333 for rent, another $9,226 for other office expenses, and $9,545 described as “miscellaneous expenses.”
Bezan’s return shows a series of payments to 10 individuals, and $53,254 in payments to his riding association, including $17,253.31 labelled “other,” and $26,221.30 labelled “amounts not included in election expenses.”
The Elections Act requires every campaign to show where all the money it spends during a campaign goes, and auditors spend months working with campaigns from all parties across the country, trying to make sure their returns follow the rules.
Isn't this just typical of the Harper Cons -- in spite of their much-vaunted "private sector" street cred, they cannot be bothered to keep decent records of expenses, leading to the speculation they have cooked their books to be under the spending limits.  Then they bluster and whine and feel persecuted and run off to court when someone calls them on it.
What's the matter with these people?

Monday, June 03, 2013

Just shut up, that's why

Well, we certainly know now where RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson stands on bullying and harassment in the workplace
“I can’t be continuously defending against outlandish claims as if they were representative of a modern RCMP when they’re not.”
Ah, yes, Paulson testified to a Senate committee today to the effect that the REAL bullies are those disgruntled pro-union agitators who are being so mean to all those innocent RCMP managers and coworkers. Poor babies, they have it so tough when they are just "busting their hump" to serve the public.
Liberal Senator Grant Mitchell was not amused:
Mitchell later told reporters it was “revealing” to hear Paulson single individuals out for “ridicule and criticize them so aggressively in public,” saying it actually had the effect of underlining the message that “things are probably as bad” as some believe.
“I don’t think you can change culture in the RCMP if you don’t acknowledge” the issue and the courage of people who have brought it forward, Mitchell said.
I wonder if Paulson realizes that his testimony effectively endorsed behaviour which might well turn out to be indefensible?

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Would you tune in to a TV show called Bayou Eskimos?


A PBS station in New York is running a series of subway posters to satirize all of the bizarre reality TV shows on the air lately.
Oh, well, at least Honey Boo Boo has had her 15 minutes, I hope.