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Showing posts from January, 2010

So long, CBC...

So I guess I won't be visiting the CBC's website any more.
This really kind of bites, as it's one of my top nine most visited sites and it's been a very good source of blog material. But better safe than sorry. After all, if I click on that site and see something worth writing about, and then I write about it, I could conceivably be fined a million dollars.
You read that right. The CBC has partnered with iCopyright and will now require bloggers to obtain licenses if they wish to use CBC material--which is (a) primarily news in the public interest and (b) paid for by the Canadian taxpayer. To obtain such a license, you must agree to
(a) post the entire article (no excerpting) (b) pay by the month for the privilege--just $250.00! (c) refrain from criticizing the CBC or the author of the article
I wonder how well this will hold up in court. I'm seriously tempted to find out for myself. Because I'm absolutely disgusted and infuriated. I strongly resent my government enli…

"Question 2010"

The Edge gives its question for this year:
"HOW IS THE INTERNET CHANGING THE WAY YOU THINK?"
and supplies an ever-growing repository of responses from scientists, artists, and assorted Deep Thinkers. They make for fascinating reading. Even a quick cruise through the titles of the essays provides nearly endless thought-fodder: "The Plural of Anecdotes Is Not Data"; "Replacing Experience With Facsimile"; "Attention Is The Fundamental Literacy"; "Evolving A Global Brain"...
I got entangled in the Net back when Usenet newsgroups were practically the only way to experience it. Images were limited to ASCII art, unless you wanted to get a lot more technical than I wanted to get. Because of this, and because I was a voracious consumer of text before that text ever went hyper, my relationship to the Internet is vastly different than that of people half my age. Those people, I've noticed, Twitter their time away, mindlessly connecting with pseu…

Mousebound

October can't get here fast enough.
Eva and I have been planning to go to Disney World for our tenth anniversary since...well, since before our first anniversary. Eva's never been; I haven't been since 1984, which means I really haven't been, either.
When I went with my dad twenty six years ago, EPCOT had barely opened and nothing else existed (besides the Magic Kingdom, of course). In any event, Disney was just one of the things we did on that trip and even then it was a real stretch to see the Magic Kingdom in a day. Now, there are four parks in the complex, six if you count Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Disney World is twice the size of Manhattan Island and it'd take a full week to see everything we want to see.
A week we shall have. What a week we shall have.
This may be not just the best vacation we ever have, but the best we ever could have, thanks to all the planning that must go into it. I'd better explain that. When we drove to Florida two years ago, I …

American Political Intrusion

Really, all of us should have seen this coming. The cycle goes like this:
1) Collectively inflate a human being into a God; 2) Crucify him.
Barack Obama was inaugurated one year ago today, having won an election as the Great Black Hope (And Change). The day before the inaugural, it was widely speculated Mr. Obama would saunter across the Potomac before waving his magisterial finger and transmuting the river to wine. Or something like that. Those of a more rational bent recognized the man was simply human, with considerable gifts to be sure, but no godlike powers. Nevertheless, as his core issue in the first year of office, he seized on a task worthy of a god: convincing his fellow Americans of the benefits of a national health care system. Most Canadians, comfortably enamoured of their own health care system (which is routinely vilified in the U.S.) look upon the current American system and despair. They view the rallies to preserve that system ("Get Your Government Hands Off My Medi…

Haiti

Do I care too little, or too much?Hard to say. When events like the 7.0 earthquake that leveled Haiti occur, I have to admit my first few thoughts are not at all charitable. In fact, they're downright ugly. Here we go. At least a week of nonstop 24/7 YOU ARE THERE!!! coverage. Interviews with people called "survivors", some of them before the "survivors" are actually out of danger. Constant appeals for help, because the abject poverty these people lived in before wasn't worthy of notice. These people only become deserving of our help when their hovels are crushed. Equally constant reminders of the donations of this and that celebrity. Madonna gave $250,000! Wow! Wow-wee! It's sickening, I think. And then I think it's sickening that I think that.
But it bothers me. The whole situation and everything about it bothers me. I want to run away from it but it's taken over every newscast, endless pages of newsprint, to the point where it's drowned ou…

Truer Words Were Never Spoken

“’Avatar’ asks us to see that everything is connected, all human beings to each other, and us to the Earth. And if you have to go four and a half light years to another, made-up planet to appreciate this miracle of the world that we have right here, well, you know what, that’s the wonder of cinema right there, that’s the magic"
--James Cameron, at last night's Golden Globes, where he was named Best Director and his film Best Drama

Simple Pleasures

I'm a man of simple pleasures: easily amused, easily satisfied. I believe there are a lot of people out there who take the simple things for granted, who no longer notice the little things that elevate the run-of-the-mill day into something joyful. Things likethe realization, upon popping awake far too early, that there is still sleep to be sleptthe first taste of (heavily adulterated) coffee in the morninga long, leisurely hot showera trip through a newspaper, magazine or blogroll, whereby I learn things and feel connected to the worldthe comforting feeling of jogging pants on days when I'm not leaving the house. Whoever said jeans were comfortable never donned joggersthat first step outside, in most kinds of weather. Cold can feel crisp and clean; warmth like a gentle caress; even rain can feel refreshing.a friendly smile and word of greeting from a colleaguethe knowledge that, whatever comes up in the course of my workday, I'm competent enough to deal with itQuitting ti…

Intelligence

“Man has always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much...the wheel, New York, wars and so on...while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man...for precisely the same reason.”Douglas Adams, THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
This is one of those quotes that cycles through my head over and over, never quite leaving my mind. We humans think we're so special. We believe we're at the pinnacle of evolution. With exceptions only we are allowed to set--pets, for example--we believe that animals are mindless instinct machines without sentience, reason or imagination. This disdain extends even unto other classes of humans...Neanderthals, say, still widely dismissed as halfwits, despite having brains larger than ours. There is fairly conclusive evidence that our Neanderthal cousins had language. They used make…

Not So Smart

If you believe the guy who sold us this house, we weren't supposed to even look at it. Its inclusion in the list of houses we toured was "an oversight" for which he was "very sorry".
The regret and dismay sounded sincere, but then much of that experience seemed sincere at the time. It was only in hindsight that we realized we'd been played, a little. Since we were happy with the outcome of the game--this was the only house of the four in the list that felt like 'home' to both of us--we didn't complain. I wouldn't recommend the agent we had to any first-time homebuyer, though. It wasn't that he did anything wrong, exactly...but he didn't do enough right. We were treated cordially, but we never quite lost the impression that we were small fry, just a little amuse-bouche on the way to the million-dollar sale across town.
And we "weren't supposed to" see this house, this house that ended up being home. Despite it being first …

Congratulations U.S. Juniors

Wasn't that a hockey game?The gold medal game last night between Canada and the United States was reminiscent of firewagon hockey from the eighties...end to end rushes, constant momentum shifts, offensive heroics...and shaky goaltending. Sorry to say that Team Canada had more of the latter, but the United States is full measure for that overtime victory. It's only thanks to the increasingly commonplace miracle that is Jordan Eberle that that game even made it to OT. Down 5-3 with three minutes to go, the Canadians threw the kitchen sink at Jack Campbell. The American 'tender had an answer for everything in that sink, until Eberle popped up out of the drain and willed a goal. Not even two minutes later, he did it again, tieing the match. This is nothing new for Eberle...he scored two goals at critical junctures in the gold-medal game last year (one with just seconds remaining), then potted the shootout winner versus Russia. Edmonton Oilers fans, you're looking at your fu…

World Prospects for 2010

Go here...and extrapolate. Over two hundred attacks in the final two months of 2009 alone. Islam calls itself the "religion of peace". Orwell would have been proud.The security restrictions arising from the foiled and failed attack on Christmas Day--which would have rained fire from the sky not terribly far from my hometown, had it succeeded--are still in place, for the nothing they're worth. True to form, we're still trying to prevent previous attacks. (And I'd love to know what good forcing passengers to remain in their seats in the hour before landing is going to accomplish.) Luckily, our enemy is (so far) proving extraordinarily inept. They've succeeded several times since their one grand gesture in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, but their successes have been comparatively limited. Moreover, a great many of their attacks have been stopped before they could be carried out. I can't understand why a terrorist hasn't just sauntered into an ai…

AVATAR

See this movie.

I could end right here and be happy with this blog post. I won't, though.

When I first heard AVATAR was coming out--almost a year ago, I think--I must confess my first thought was "Meh". Then I heard it was in 3-D, that was going to usher in a whole new era of 3-D movies and 3-D television and 3-D Internet...and I groaned aloud.
Those who know me know my eyes are pooched. Those who know me well know just how pooched they are. It's not just poor vision, which can be and is largely corrected with glasses; it's poor vision coupled with a lazy left eye coupled with something that has flummoxed opthamologists. I have some kind of weird condition whereby I look at things mostly through one eye or the other depending on their distance from my face. Rarely do I actually see equally through both eyes. You can actually observe the switch if you take, say, a pencil and gradually bring it towards my eyes.The upshot of this is that anything that forces me to look…

Going Moldy....

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