Sunday, December 14, 2008

After Tennant...Who

Much is being made about the departure in 2010 of the 10th Doctor, David Tennant Certainly he is and will be considered one of the great doctors of all time. He took the role from the much appreciated Christopher Eccleston, who single-handedly brought back Dr. Who to the prominence it so rightly deserves.

David Tennant came on and continued the renaissance that is the new Doctor Who. He brought,as all the actors do, a unique style. He was part Elvis, the side-burns, part Ben Stein, the running shoes and suits, and a whole lot of style. He was smart, a bit arrogant at times, especially when he was right, vulnerable and caring.

One of the delightful cuts from Doctor Who came from the ``Children in Need`` special:

The interaction between the Two Doctors is very special, it is as if a fan is meeting his hero, and truly the line `you were my favourite doctor`is given with a great deal of sincerity. The exchange is not just starry eyed fan, there are a lot of great lines in a matter of a few minutes.

The question however is, who will be the next WhoÉ Even Russel Davis isn`t sure.

This being one of the premier television roles on British Television, there is no end to either the speculation or the suggestions. One person has suggested Stephen Fry. Another actor, Warrick Davis has expressed enthusiasm for the role and no doubt the list will grow and people will start campaigns for their favourite person to be the next Doctor Who.

Right now the odds on favourite, at least by the bookies is Paterson Joseph. As you can read, he has played a character during the first season, so it remains to be seen.

While a number have stressed the replacement actor will be British, a group representing female scientists have begun to lobby for a female Doctor Who. Of course the notion of a female Time Lord is not foreign to the Doctor Who world, all we have to do is remember Lady Romanadvoratrelundar, from the Tom Baker days.

Of course, my favourite candidate, who will sadly not be chosen is Liam Lynch. Since he is an American, that would almost negate the chance, since the BBC will not allow the jewel in its crown to become American. Still he would make a good Doctor since he is a fan as you can see by the video.

The speculation will be entertaining and one can only imagine, Russell Davis telephone will be ringing a lot with calls from all sorts of agents.

Can`t wait to hear who finally will be chosen.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

So Let me Get this Right

Right now it appears the Harper government will lose the vote of confidence and he will have to pay a visit to the Governor General. At that moment he will advice the Governor General to dissolve Parliament and call for an election. Of course the Governor General has the right to call the leader of the second largest party and ask if he can form a new government. As you have read the Liberal, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois have signed an accord.

The details of the deal are as follows:
# 4 members of cabinet and Dion as prime minister
# 18 Liberal cabinet ministers (including a yet-to-be-named Liberal finance minister)
# 6 NDP cabinet ministers
# 6 NDP parliamentary secretaries
# The 2 caucuses would sit side by side in the House of Commons
# The agreement between the NDP and Liberals would expire on June 30, 2011, unless renewed. The Bloc is only committed to 18 months.

Certainly it could be said coalition governments are not a new experience for most of the western world. Indeed, an examination of Western Europe reveals a number of coalition governments. They are rare in the experience of the Westminster system of Parliament. Historically speaking, Canada did experience a coalition government during the First World War. Sir Robert Borden established a Union Government which existed from 1917 to 1920.

Let's consider some issues, of course the members of the coalition have pointed out they 'represent' the majority of Canadians, since if one combines the Liberals 26% with the NDP's 18% means that a total of 44% of Canadians supported the two parties, include the BQ's 9.97% means over 50% voted for the 'coalition' partners. Of course if one considers that the two main partners were rejected by 74% of Canadians as it pertains to the Liberals and 82% rejected the NDP's.

Then there is the potential PM, Stephane Dion, just before the election 36% of Canadians thought he could be trusted to lead Canada throught the economic problems. So that means the new government may be lead by a person to whom Canadians have no support towards, good idea.

The partner that will make this all happen, the stick that stirs the drink if you wish, is the BQ. One wonders what sort of grocery list has been given to the Liberals for the support. Let's remind ourselves of one of the goals of the BQ- they want to separate from Canada. They believe Quebec is a nation.

Don Martin wrote an interesting comment on the 'three headed monster'.

It could be argued, and perhaps rightly, the present government has not taken the issues of the economic meltdown with the gravity deserved. They point to the Finance Ministers 'economic statement' as proof of their contention. It could also be argued that it was simply a statement and not a budget and the government is waiting for the new American government to decide what to do with the auto industry.

However, all this wasn't enough, so the coalition happened and now we face some 'interesting' times. Right now, the war is being fought in the House and now in cyberspace. For example, in Twitter there is LiberalHQ that will pump information to you with a Liberal slant. I'm sure there will be a special Conservative and NDP twitter soon enough.

Then there's this article, the Liberals are not united behind Dion with this coalition partnership. The contenders for the Liberal leadership are not pleased they've been kept out of the loop. Again, the Party does not support Dion. Read the article here.

Let's remember, this is a weak and divided party and they will give Canada the stablity it needs during this time of uncertainty. Plus, let's not forget this is a global problem and not limited to one country. So how much can be done?

Now as I studied all that has happened, I came across this article. It seems the leader of the Green Party, Elizabeth May has said she supports the coalition and has:
And Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is endorsing the proposed coalition government and says she has spoken with Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion about the possibility of her being appointed to the Senate.

You can read her blog on the issue. My problem is that it reeks of opportunism. Then again I suppose supporters of the potential Prime Minister expect a few perks to be sent their way. But, for a party that supports Proportional Representation wants to be a part of an unelection body, doesn't sit well with me. And to think, I got my membership card today.

So we wait to see what happens.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Why Harper may not mind losing the Vote of Confidence

The news is filled with articles of the upcoming or potential Vote of No Confidence. As this would be based upon the financial statement and the speech from the throne if the present government loses, the Prime Minister would either resign or call for a new election. If it is the former, the Governor General, her Execellency Michaëlle Jean could ask the Opposition if they are capable of forming a government, thus saving us from the potential of another General Election.

The Press is reporting of a deal between the Liberals and the NDP to form a coalition government. Jophn Ivison has this opinion on that happening.

So what would happen is that the Liberal-NDP coalition would form the government, with the two parties dividing up the cabinet seats in accordance to whatever deal has been made. This would mean the new Prime Minister would be Stéphane Maurice Dion. Now this is the man almost no Canadians had any confidence towards during the past election, in fact he didn't even have support of his own party, which is why he is either a interm leader or the guy who's there only because there is nobody else. So already you can see a few problems with this deal. I've also read that some have suggested the new PM would be Michael Ignatieff, which would impress his BFF Bob Rae, who also happens to be running for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada (Bloc Toronto). No doubt there would be some appeasement, such as a very nice cabinet post, but what if the post Rae wants is promised to the NDP.

As of right now, Prime Minister Harper has been able to delay the vote for a week, probably in hope of getting some deal with the Opposition.

What I'm thinking, perhaps in the back of his mind, he's mulling over whether or not he shouldn't let the vote happen. Let's say he loses, resigns and a coalition is formed and takes the government. The Prime Minister is now a man who was considered by the vast majority of Canadians as being unfit as a leader and one almost no one in the country trusted in the areas of finances. Second you have a coalition of parties that are not the same and don't share that many values. Can you imagine when the remaining Martinites hear that the NDP partners want to shoot the deficit up to the stratosphere through things all sort of spending? What if its Ignatieff as PM? do you think his opponents in the upcoming leadership conference will be happy? Of course everyone will put the needs of the country ahead of personal interests and ego. Indeed they would and when you believe that, I have this bridge in Brooklyn I'm interested in selling.

But why would Harper not be overly upset? Consider what I've written and add this, the worst time of a recession is at the beginning. That's when all the lay-offs take place and all the problems become visible. At that particular moment, if things work out, the Coalition is in power, taking it on the chin and the Conservatives are 'trying' to give advice. Plus at the worst, you will have the NDP with their philosophy clashing with the Liberals, it will be at best a shakey coalition that will also depend upon the Bloc. In other words you have a recipe for disaster, and the only party that stands the most to gain is the Conservatives.

When the Coalition collapses, some time in the spring there will be an election and if things work out, the Liberals will have even less support. The Conservatives will point out 'how bads things were' under the Liberal-NDP coalition and declare they had the plan to help Canada. By the spring, things might improve, but not soon enough to save the Liberals and at the end of the election, the Conservatives will form the majority government. The timing again will be perfect, this recession may be a short but nasty one and so the Coalition took the worst and when the Conservatives are sworn in as the government, things will begin to pick up.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gwynne Dyer in Brantford

I saw a sign along Brant Street a week or so ago advertising the fact that Gwynne Dyer was speaking at W Ross MacDonald School, it was part of an annual lecture series in honour of W. Ross MacDonald. The topic was to be on "Climate Change" and was a lecture he was doing based upon his latest book; "Climate Wars".

I've been a fan of Mr. Dyer since I watched his series "War" which was a series he did for the CBC, BBC and PBS. It was a fascinating study of the history of war and its impact upon our society. I also try to read his column when it appears in the local paper.

He appeared dressed in his usual outfit of khaki, fatigues and a leather jacket.

He began by stating he had heard the Pentagon had began to study "Climate Change" and its' potential impact upon society and the US. He reminded us this started during the Bush Administration in which you simply did not mention "Climate Change". So this was an interesting act of either rebellion or it was something they suddenly became aware of possible ramification. Mr. Dyer also said the British, Russian and probably the Chinese military as well was studying this topic and developing strategy. The reason for the stategy was due the potential of global crisis, such as huge number of climate refugees, failed states and wars based upon resources such as food or water, ie climate wars.

After his information, he said his study and his information led him to four conclusions:

1) Climate Change is happening faster then the public is aware. This fact is frightening the scientific community. All their models are becoming correct and they are moving faster then they had assumed. It used to be thought that the Arctic would be ice free by the year 2040, however there are some who believe this will occur by the year 2013. The 4th Report from the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change states:
Observed decreases in snow and ice extent are also consistent
with warming (Figure 1.1). Satellite data since 1978 show that annual
average Arctic sea ice extent has shrunk by 2.7 [2.1 to 3.3]%
per decade, with larger decreases in summer of 7.4 [5.0 to 9.8]%
per decade. Mountain glaciers and snow cover on average have
declined in both hemispheres. The maximum areal extent of seasonally
frozen ground has decreased by about 7% in the Northern
Hemisphere since 1900, with decreases in spring of up to 15%.
Temperatures at the top of the permafrost layer have generally increased
since the 1980s in the Arctic by up to 3°C. {WGI 3.2, 4.5, 4.6,
4.7, 4.8, 5.5, SPM}

By the way, with all this, Climate Change Deniers are now in full retreat.

2) The Generals are right. He stated that even a modest change will lead to unreast and wars. These wars will not be limited in the poor nations or the southern hemisphere, but will impact the North. The main problem is food. It seems we have reached the end of the a long period of food growth. In 1998, all that had been used to grow more food have been exhausted. The solutions simply are not working any more. There is now a grain storage reserve, worldwide of 45 days, this is down from 180 days. As the temperature increases, this will only get worse since a lot of grain is sensitive to extremes of temperature. Couple this with the fact that the desert areas of the world are expanding, a classic example right now is Australia which is in the middle of a seven year drought. In fact, many in Australia are now considering this to be the new normal. So Australia is being transformed from an exporter of grain to a nation that grows enough for its own population. With this happening the danger to the developed world is a influx of climate refugees, and not just in the US, but in Europe they are concerned.

Developed nations are beginning to suffer, in particular the US west of the Mississippi is in danger of drought and desertification.

3) We are going to break the limit we don't dare break. The limit is 2 degrees increase in temperature since 1990. Why 2 degrees? Above that amount things happen in the environment in which we cannot control. Right now we can still control climate change, we possess the technology to get us off the carbon diet right now, things such as renewable energy, nuclear energy and geothermal energy can wean us off carbon right now. It will be a bit more expensive. But if we don't, then we cross the line and that is when things become very nasty. One example is Permafrost. The permafrost of the world stores a great deal of CO2 and methane. Both are greenhouse gases and when this happens all bets are off.

What is needed is to understand the gravity of the situation. The West, which has been producing greenhouse gas since the Industrial Revolution must Gwynne stated must decide here and now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 95% and help the developing world to impliment green technology. We must fight from cross the line.

4) There is some temporary solutions. They are referred to as geoengineering. These solutions seem part science-fiction, part scam, but they will buy us some time. These are not permanent, but temporary until we can impliment the changes that will bring our global temperature back to 1990 levels or cooler.

He spoke for over 90 minutes with notes. It was a fascinating lecture.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Additional Comments

I do want to thank everyone who came up to visit me, who sent me a card and the gifts I received. All those meant a lot to me over the past couple of weeks. If you didn't visit, the phone calls were also great.

Thanks so much.
So where have I been?

I figure I'd take some time to go over the last couple of weeks with everyone. After all I'm sure people were waiting for my take on the election and for me to crow about how accurate I was in calling a Harper victory, like no one saw that happening, or the fact I said there is now two regional parties in the House of Commons, the Bloc Quebecois and the Bloc Toronto. As for the latter, I promise you the Liberals could run the rat pictured in the front window of the Chinese Food Restaurant, and it would be the next MP of Trinity-Spadina. Well, actually it couldn't, that's Olivia Chow's Riding, and a very fine MP she is. I think you get the idea.

Okay, my adventure started on October 14th when I went to the Doctor, for a follow up appointment. While discussing the result of a physical I mentioned about this miserable cough that I had been experiencing off and on. He checked me over, listened to the lungs and suggested I get an X-Ray. As I hadn't had one in a while, I went down to the X-Ray department and waited. The X-ray tech took some photos and asked if the Doctor wanted to see them right away or what. I wasn't sure so she told me to have a seat and relax. I was still coughing and to be honest was having a little trouble catching my breath.

After a few minutes, my Doctor came to examine the x-rays, I sort of thought that was not a good sign. He looked it over, looked at me and suggested I follow him for a bit. He found a machine that would register Blood gases. He hooked me up and I think I was about 88. He then told me to meet him at the hospital emergency department at 5:30 because he was going to have me admitted. He said I had pneumonia and he wanted to get an understanding how far the condition was and it was therefore best to have me in the hospital so tests and treatment could be started. I drove home, threw some things into a gym bag and met Jo-Anne.

There was a few minutes wait and I was told his plan was to get me in the hospital for a CT Scan that would show everything. So I was admitted and given a room in the ER department. I was to spend the next couple of nights waiting for a bed to be open. This was not the best place to be, since the ER is a busy place. I did have a 'room', but it was right beside an examination room, so I got to hear everything at all hours of the time of day. Mind you it was interesting, one person came in after getting hit in the head with a baseball bat, some sort of disagreement. Oh by the way, a tetnus shot is good for ten years, and if you can't remember the last time, it doesn't matter.

By Thursday night I was moved to a zone and then to a room. The first question I asked when at the room had to do with a shower. There was a shower right across the hallway. I couldn't wait, since I was sitting in that room in ER without access to a shower. I was smelling like the Ventolin. So Friday, the next morning, I had a shower and it felt so good. Also they got me ready for the CT scan, which meant drinking two large glasses of apple juice and stuff. Then I waited. I was always scheduled for the scan, but kept getting bumped. The problem with hospitals is there are always emergencies. But they got me into a wheelchair and I was down there. I got an IV and then put on table. It was quite an experience, although what bothered me was when the message came "take a breath, hold it.......", which is quite a challenge with the whole pneumonia thing happening. But I managed and went back to the room and I was tired. I should say something about information; I know everyone was wondering and the reason we weren't giving any information was we simply didn't have any. While in ER, they were seeing to my immediate needs, such as the ventolin and keeping me on oxygen, but that was it.

The result of the CT scan was that I had pneumonia plus and the plus was a mystery. There was nodules and the various doctors were not sure what they were or how they got there. The next plan of action was for me to have a Bronchoscopy, which would involve looking into the lungs and taking a sample of whatever was down there. To do that, it was suggested I move into the Critical Care Unit, so the equipment would be ready and they could do the test on Monday, rather then wait for an opening in the day surgery department. Also I meant the Infection Control physician who also tried to figure out what I had. There was a lot of things I could have had, such as TB or other things, but I didn't have enough of other symptons.

My folks came up for a visit on the Saturday and even though I was quite tired that day I did appreciate it. After not sleeping for the past three nights or so, just having a bed was a great experience. The grapes and rice krispies squares were much appreciated.

Sunday came and after they put me on 100% oxygen, with masks and rubber hoses, I was moved up to the CCU. I was fussed after and made comfortable. I also think I had my best night sleep. I was hooked up to all the monitors so I had wires, hoses, oxygen, all over me. I did win one minor concession, they strung a long hose so I didn't have to use a commode. Hey, got to have my dignity where I can find it.

Monday came and I was prepped for the bronchoscopy. I was hooked up with IV, given a very nice sedative, morphine I think and then had my throat frozen, after having a respirator put on me. The procedure started and I was able to look at the screen and see something, the doctor later told Jo-Anne I was the first patient to look at the screen. They did whatever and I relaxed. At that point I put on my ipod and listened to music. By the way, morphine and ipod brings about some interesting multi-media effects, I was watching 'television' on the door to the bathroom, but for some reason the soundtrack did not make sense with what I was watching, go figure. I also thought there was other people in the room with me. It was also that day they started hitting me with the big guns, I was taking something for fungus, I was taking a large amount of antibiotics, all in the hope of treating whatever I had. Later that week, another doctor came by and informed me I was a 'medical mystery'. Then they added some steriods to the mix, intraveneously at first. As well, I was still on oxygen. I was also hearing from a lot of family and friends and they were telling me they were praying for me, which I so appreciated.

I should stop and tell about the care I receieved at Brant General Hospital. The care was fantastic. The nurses and staff were tremendous and did all they could to keep me comfortable. I especially enjoyed the warm sheets at night. I honestly can't say enough good for them. Even though they got busy, they always reminded me I was a patient to and I shouldn't hestitate to call them for anything. The food was good as well, I enjoyed the meals. Even though I thought the combination of peas with Mac and Cheese to be a bit odd, it was all good. The room also had a flat screen TV, so a lot of games were watched, plus the news.

I think when my folks came again on Tuesday I was getting better.

Things were improving, the next course of action was to do a 'CT guided lung biopsy'. So I went down there again, but there was less prep. The doctor who was going to do the biopsy had a talk and suggested that the treatment was working since the nodules were shrinking. He was not willing to try the biopsy because the risk of complications and since things were working he decided to let things continue.

This was good news and from then I was getting better, my oxygen started to be decreased over the next few days and I was encouraged to get up and walk. Which I slowly started to do. By Sunday I went off the oxygen and while I was still getting the blood gases monitored, I was finally holding about 90, in fact the average was about 94. The whole week I felt I was getting better.

I think for me the second Saturday was a day of being down, but that was because everyone was going to Kyle and Jennifer's wedding except me.

Monday came, I was on the oral steroids, I was taken off the antibiotic and told I was being discharged. That was wonderful news. I was going home after nearly two weeks. I got to admit I was excited. It was great to get back.

Before I left I was told to make an appointment to see the specialist and have an x-ray. Which I gladly did.

So now I'm home and its just a matter of getting stronger. I'm taking the Prednisone and feel I'm getting better.

I have got to conclude with appreciation for Jo-Anne. She went through a lot and she was always there. Even though she had to keep working at the Centre, her visits were always a good part of the day.

So, that's my experience.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Peerless Predictions for Tomorrow

All right. Here it is, the pre-election predictions from your's truly:

The Conservatives will form the next government, but I'm not saying if it willbe a majority or minority.
The NDP will become the Official Opposition.
There will be two regional parties in the House of Commons,
the Bloc Quebecois and
the Bloc Toronto (aka Liberals). Actually there will be two Liberal Parties, the Bloc and the Liberal ROC (rest of Canada)
The Bloc will do their usual.
There will be two-three Greens elected, all from BC.

We shall know how incorrect I am in a bit over 24 hours.

Go out and vote.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Lightbulb explanation of Canadian Politics

I believe there are times the simpliest word pictures can be used to explain complex situations and theories. Consider this present election. I believe that all the differences of the parties can be articulated best through the use of the 'lightbulb' joke. You know it and if you don't this is what it is 'how many_________ does it take to change a lightbulb?'

I've used it in the past and I think the 2008 election.

Let's try it

How many Conservatives does it take to change a lightbulb?

One and that one is Stephen Harper. He can give this country the type of leadership and lightbulb changing ability this country needs in the face of changing economic times.

How many Liberals does it take to change a lightbulb?

Three. One to climb and ladder and change the bulb (Stéphane Dion) and two to hold the ladder (Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff). They will hold that ladder and make sure nothing with happen to Stéphane. But just in case the ladder should tip over and he fall and is not able to change the bulb, either one of them are willing to climb that ladder to change that lightbulb. It would be a real shame if that ladder tipped over, wouldn't it?

How many NDP'ers does it take to change a lightbulb?

A team led by Jack Layton. This will be leadership and teamwork that will make sure the average Canadian has a well-let house. He'll leave the boardrooms in darkness and make sure the living rooms are lit up. He's the type of leader that will make sure Canadians are kept in the light.

How many Bloc Québécois does it take to change a lightbulb?

None. Like they care if Canada is in the dark. They want to leave.

How many Greens does it take to change a lightbulb?

Hopefully 12. That way they will have official party status. Plus they will install energy efficient, low carbon emitting CFL Light Bulbs.

Every thing clear now?

Good get out to vote on October 14th.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Election and other pieces of Trivia

So the election is only 16 day away from ending. We should all be thankful for small and relatively short spanned miracles.

I was watching Elizabeth May interviewed by Peter Mansbridge on CBC Newsworld, the show was her being interviewed by Peter and then given questions from ordinary Canadians about various parts and issues of the Green Party's platform. On the whole I thought she defended and articulated the Green's policies with clarity and succinctness. There was very almost no bafflegaff or the usual doublespeak that seems to be part and parcel of all elections. She defended the need to strengthen Canada's military while it remains in Afghanistan, although I thought the renaming the Department of Defense into the "Department of Peace" will not do much to change the image of Greens as being a flighty bunch of ex-hippie, granola eating tree huggers that would give daisies instead of weapons.

She talked about the Athabasca Oil Sands project and emphasized the need to set a moratorium on future development in the present. Her point was why the rush to develop all of it at once, since the a slower development would enhance technological advances so that it can become carbon neutral. She also said the tailing ponds can be seen from space. I was curious so I fired up Google Earth and sure enough from a distance of 742 km, which is higher then the typical low earth orbit, you can see them.

She was asked about the reason for running in Central Nova, when she should go to the spiritual home of the Green's, British Columbia. She said she was a Nova Scotian and still had a lot of family in the area. Which makes sense, plus she feels Peter MacKay is vulnerable.

I thought she did a good job of explaining the carbon tax and its impact on Canadians and how it is offset with lowering personal and payroll tax for both employees and employers. As well, there is incentive for companies to lower the carbon footprint, which is equally important.

Near the end, there was a discussion of her goals for the election, what is she hoping for that night. She said, to be personally elected and to have 12 Greens elected to the House, which would give the party Official Recognition. She was honest and said it was a challenge and she is not expecting to form the next government. i personally think the realistic goal is 3-4; listen, any Greens would be a major breakthrough.

What was also interesting was her reference to the more conservative nature of the Green Party, almost pushing away from the idea it's part of the Centre-Left of the Canadian Political Spectrum, she felt her party would be the natural home of former Progressive Conservatives and other right of centre supporters who are getting turned off by Stephen Harper, which in a way justifies my comment on the Teals, the conservative environmentalist.

Since she is not going to be the next PM, she was asked who she would support as the leader of Canada, immediately she said 'not Stephen Harper'. She listed a number of reasons, but when pressed again of the remaining two, she said the only other candidate would be Stéphane Dion. Just a comment on that, she's not reading the polls since if anything the support for the Liberal Party is crumbling and the likely leader of the Opposition will probably be Jack Layton.

Which leads me to:

Canadian Political Joke of the Day

What's the difference between Elizabeth May and the Liberal Party of Canada?

Elizabeth supports Stéphane Dion.

Thank you, I'm here all week, please try the buffet.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Johannes Linstead in Action

I took one of my favourite photographs from the Brantford Jazz Festival and made it black and white. I hope you can sense the energy of Johannes Linstead and his group, they were amazing.

I've talked to a couple of people who attended the event and the consensus, it was a great day and we are looking forward to bigger and better next year.

I should say according to the local paper, the hope is for a two day festival next year. You can read the article here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Brantford Jazz Festival

Today was the Inaugural Season of the Brantford International Jazz Festival. It is interesting to attend the very first festival, makes it even more of a special event. It was a perfect very late summer Saturday for this festival, sunny, warm but not hot, very low humidity and in every ways perfect. It was held in downtown Brantford, which from what people have told me was not something that would have possibly happen a few years ago. It was held at Harmony Square, which is becoming the cultural centre of Brantford.

There was three stages set up in the area, the main stage, in Harmony Square and two others located on Dalhousie Street. One was for local talent

and the other was for youth. Sadly this stage was empty when we arrived.

We didn't attend all of the festival, because of other commitments, but we managed two, the first was The Young Divas with the Bill King Trio

They were quite good and by the reaction of the crowd, an enjoyable performance.

After them came Johannes Linstead. He is a guitar player and his influence was the latin jazz, and let me say he had the crowd bopping and in some cases dancing.
He was fantastic and the group was definitely in the groove:

It was an amazing set and worth the time to listen.

I would say the first one was a success and so I'm looking for bigger and better next year.

Friday, September 19, 2008

'Tis September 19th

You are The Cap'n!

Some men and women are born great, some achieve greatness and some slit the throats of any scalawag who stands between them and unlimited power. You never met a man - or woman - you couldn't eviscerate. You are the definitive Man of Action, the CEO of the Seven Seas, Lee Iacocca in a blousy shirt and drawstring-fly pants. You're mission-oriented, and if anyone gets in the way, that's his problem, now isn't? Your buckle was swashed long ago and you have never been so sure of anything as your ability to bend everyone to your will. You will call anyone out and cut off his head if he shows any sign of taking you on or backing down. If one of your lieutenants shows an overly developed sense of ambition he may find more suitable accommodations in Davy Jones' locker. That is, of course, IF you notice him. You tend to be self absorbed - a weakness that may keep you from seeing enemies where they are and imagining them where they are not.

What's Yer Inner Pirate?

brought to you by The Official Talk Like A Pirate Web Site. Arrrrr!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Canadian Election, so far

Thirty five days to go until the next General Election. Can't you feel the excitement in the air? Why this is an election that will mark the passing of an era, an election that will bring about a, oh sorry, that's the US Election.

It's only Day Three and already people are sick of it. Or are not at all interested.

This is not the purpose of my posting tonight, but to give just a little bit of advice to the leaders of the major parties.


Stephen Harper Let me give you some advice, you're the Prime Minister, your party is the Governing Party. Why then do we hear more about Stéphane Dion, then we do about your government accomplishments? Of course the kicker so far has been the website touting his inabilities and incompetence, to say nothing of puffin poop. I know you did come out and apologize, but the website reeks of being sophomoric and not sophisticated. I understand you believe it was an overzealous web designer, yeah some 20 year old kid who been amped out on Red Bull for the last two weeks. He probably thinks fart noises are funny too. Surprised that wasn't included. I understand you suffered a lot of attack ads in the past and perhaps payback is deserved, however, you portray yourself as a leader, start to show it. Also you keep putting Stéphane Dion name before the public, people might want to know more about him and if you have said nothing about yourself. You see that's what happens when a party has spent more time in opposition then government, they think as opposition.

Stéphane Dion. What can I say, the papers are reporting on the fact the Liberals have decided to make him more manly He is seen in plaid, outdoors with his wife, child and dog Kyoto. I blame this on the Sarah Palin syndrome, ever since it was revealed Sarah can kill, gut and dress a moose in the outdoors, she has raised the bar of machismo. So I expect to read Stéphane Dion jokes in the vein of Chuck Norris facts. Consider
When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night he checks his closet for Stéphane Dion.

I think you see where this is leading us. Also, he is portrayed as a dog lover, way to go Liberals, you just kissed the cat lover vote good bye.

Jack Layton. He may have the most brilliant strategy of the three, he's not attracting any attention. This may make him the first NDP Prime Minister. Starting putting together that transition team Jack they just might come in handy on the 15th of October. While the other two are trying to show which one is precisely the biggest dork, you just keep plodding along, giving your message and getting people interested in looking at the NDP. Oh by the way, he wants to friend us all on Facebook. Perhaps we can challenge him on one of the movie quizes.

Gilles Duceppe. He doesn't like Canada, he doesn't like Stephen Harper. Wah wah wah. Meh.

Elizabeth May. This is one of those times you declare your prejudice: I did not support Elizabeth when she ran for leader of the Green Party. The agreement with the Liberals have come to bite her hard on the butt. That was not a smart move. Now what am I hearing? May is upset she was not included in the debates. Okay, they don't want you. Three words. Get. Over. It. Consider the possibilities, while the others are training for the debates, you can be out hustling, getting the Green Party's message in front of people. While the others are going through mock debates, you can have real debates, with real people, sharing the Green message. Look if Chantal Hébert is correct, you stand a chance of doing quite well in this election. Don't blow it by being whinny. If all people hear is "mygoshisntitawfulwewerentincludedinthedebates", they will quickly turn you off.

Well that's the advice for day three. I expect all five of you to take this to heart. I want and clean election. I want an election on ideas and ideals.

I will have more to say as this moves forward.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Some Interesting Visitors

Yesterday morning I saw an unusual bird eating some seeds besides the car. It was a bird I had not seen before.

I asked around and even posted the photograph to determine the identity of the bird. This morning I received an email with the information. The bird in question is a Chukar.

As you can read:

This partridge has its native range in Asia from Pakistan and Kashmir, into the Republic of India (Himachal Pradesh and Punjab states). And Afghanistan in the east to southeastern Europe in the west, and is closely related and similar to its western equivalent, the Red-legged Partridge, Alectoris rufa. It has been introduced widely, and became established in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Hawaii. In Great Britain, hybrids between this species and the also introduced Red-legged Partridge are common.

So it is found in North America but how it got to this part is a mystery. Apparently they were imported as game birds so some how these birds managed to escape and are hiding out.

I said "Visitors" because now there are three of them:

What they seem to enjoy are the pears that have fallen off the tree and bugs.

Quite an interesting sight.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Is Stephen Harper afraid of the Greens

The headline in the Toronto Star was MP joins Greens; May now in leaders' debates?. It was announced that Blair Wilson, the MP for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country will now sit in the House as a member of the Green Party of Canada. What that means is, we finally got a MP. Okay so he was elected as a Liberal in the last election, but like he's the first guy ever to cross the floor, or I guess move down a couple of seats. He became an independent in January 2008. Apparently there was some concern with finances during the last nomination, however all that is in the past. He was cleared. He's an MP, He's a Green.

One of the major points to all this, is and you can read it in the article, the pressure is now on to have Elizabeth May join in with the leader's debate come election time, which might be soon. The criteria for involvement has always been that a party has to be represented in the House of Commons. No doubt its a measure from keeping all the fringe parties from demanding representation at the debates. It doesn't matter how the MP's got there, as long as they are there. After all the Bloc Quebecois started out when Lucien Bouchard left the Progressive Conservative Party and was joined by other PC's and disgruntled Liberals after the failure of the Meech Lake Accord.

However, what makes me think Mr. Harper is afraid of the Greens?

Consider this little quote in the Star:

Yesterday, Harper spokesperson Kory Teneycke said the overtures of co-operation between May and Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion should mean only one of them gets to participate in the debates.

An agreement for co-operation hardly means its the same party. By the way I blogged earlier about this accord and warned Ms May not to proceed with it. But I digress. It's not the same party, even if M. Dion now has a green hue on his website. The Greens are not the Liberals, and the Liberals are not the Greens.

I mentioned earlier that Elizabeth May's name and party is starting to show up in Conservative Party election material, it seems they reckon the Greens are a party they will have to deal with. It's not just a party of loopy environmentalists, it is a relevant organization on the political landscape of Canada. While some Conservatives may think of Greens as left of centre to centre, I wonder if there is some teals out there, by that I mean conservative greens who might be interested in voting Green rather then Conservative in the upcoming election. In places such as Ontario, a teal vote might tips a few ridings away from the Tories.

As for the accord, watch for the Greens to have a full slate of candidates in the upcoming election.

Something to watch.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Canadian Football Hall of Fame

This past weekend, Jo-Anne and I visited the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in the City of Hamilton Ontario. It was one of those things I've seen the sign for it over the past number of years and figured one of these days I'm going to have to stop and visit. After all, I am a fan of the CFL. I follow it on television, I've been to a number of games throughout Ontario and Western Canada, I have hats and tee shirts, including some of the folded US teams, the Shreveport Pirates for example. So it made sense to visit the place.

Let me say a few things about it, it's part of the civic centre of Hamilton, near the City Hall, which is under renovations. In fact it was a bit of a challenge to find because once you entered the parking lot, there was no signs. Fortunately I did know about the statue in front and so once I found it, we were good to go.

The building would be described as municipal utilitarian, in other words, kind of ugly but served a purpose. Inside there are four main rooms, the gift shop, the Hall of Fame itself and two rooms for the museum. The Hall of Fame contains sculptures of each member of the HOF. They go back to Albert 4th Earl Grey, the man who donated the Cup to members of the Class of 2007, such as Darren Flutie. It's fascinating to look at the sculptures and to read the history of each individual. They are some great names there. This part of the Museum is fascinating.

Then there are the other two rooms, one is a history of the Canadian game, from the beginnings to junior to varsity to the professional game. The other was interesting but different, it contained the TSN top 50 All-Time Players, to the locker room of the Windsor AKO Fratmen Junior Football Team. I don't know why that is there, but being from Windsor, it's good to me.

I have to admit and remember I am a fan of the CFL, I was disappointed with the Museum, first of all, it was kind of looking drab. There were places where the paint was missing on the wall, plus some of the exhibitions didn't work, such as the field goal kicking machine and I have to wonder how long it had been broken, it just wasn't what it should be. This place celebrates the Game and it seems to be lacking any enthusiasm for the game. Plus, the sign in front stated that adult admission was three dollars when in fact it was seven dollars. Couple this with the fact the information for the various teams was outdated, nothing was mentioned of Saskatchewan's winning of the Grey Cup last year. In fact, the first trophy you saw as you entered was not the Grey Cup but the Schenley Trophy. Which is nice, but the premier trophy is the Grey Cup. It should be right in front, not off to the side.

So that's the problems, and I want to give some suggestions:

1) Paint the Place. Cover up the holes, get rid of the institutional colours.
2) Keep everything working.
3) Bring in more artifacts.
4) Signage- make it up to date, nothing says "We don't care", like having the wrong price of admission.
5) Set up a "Friends of the CFHOF". Get people from across Canada to support the museum and the Game. It could be a nice source of funding. Give membership things like pins, opportunity to attend special events, Annual General Meetings and the like. It will help.
6) Get us more signs to the entrance.

These are just some things, Canadian Football is a great game with a tremendous history and tradition and it needs to be celebrated. Make it look like we care.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Along the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail

This summer I've decided to try the trails outside of Brantford. Last summer I was able to enjoy the Gordon Glaves Trail. It's quite a trail that follows for most of the journey the Grand River.

One trail that caught my attention was the Hamilton-Brantford Trail. This trail follows the former rail bed of the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway.

It is a trail that runs from Brantford to Hamilton:

Today I managed to ride to Kilometre 12.3, which is a observation deck overlooking the Summit Water Tower. At one time there was a rail station but all that remains is the foundation of the Tower.

So I stopped and took some photographs:

I am thinking of going a little further up the trail, perhaps to Hamilton.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

What came in the Mail

If you own a mailbox in Canada, every so often you will receive a pamphlet from the Conservative Party of Canada, it's an attempt to gauge public opinion, help shape public policy or it's a blatant propaganda exercise to help increase the brand of the Stephen Harper government. Now I know there are some Liberals and some NDP'ers who might espouse such a view, but I don't. Truly this is an exercise of grassroots democracy, allowing the people to express an opinion, if they so desire.

I was interested when this pamphlet came in the mail today:

The pamphlet talks about the way the Conservative Government is standing up for Canada and gives three examples. Then it asks which of the four leaders will best represent Canada on the World Stage. Three are the usual suspects but what really got my attention is the fourth, Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green party of Canada. This tells me a couple of things, one is the Greens are now viewed as a viable political presence in Canada, capable of winnings a seat or seats in the upcoming election.

The second is she may be used to demonstrate a sort of softness of Canadian politics, after all the Greens are a bunch of hippy tree-hugging peaceniks.

Actually, nothing can be further from the truth. You may think that Elizabeth is all that and more, after all she was the executive director of Sierra Club of Canada, but understand this, the Sierra Club was simply a front for Earth First which was and still is a group of hardcore ecowarriors. This group practiced guerrilla theatre, sabotage, tree spiking and other methods to disrupt the logging of virgin timber from the forestry companies. Let's call them what they are, this is black ops. These people were trained in special forces activities. Far from tree huggers, they were tree provacateurs.

Ms May is in fact quoted as saying:
While the media was fixated with Raging Grannies we were smuggling all the weapons we needed to ensure those loggers and feds were going to have a hot time.

While on the outward, the Greens come through as a party of peace, but within the ranks there are activities which would make the average militia organization in the States green with envy. Green with envy, get it.

When discussing military policy, May is often heard referring to her opponents as "wussies", "wimps" and "girlie men". She asks this question to cheering crowds of camouflaged wearing Green supporters

Why haven't they found and brought to justice Osama bin Laden? Give me a Colt M4 and I'll bring him to trial, or toss his corpse on the floor of the UN!

She is very critical for the US invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, but not in the way we would think. She often refers to General David Petraeus as "patsy Petraeus"

Who should I check off on the questionnaire? It's obvious, it has to be Elizabeth May.

Now I know some of my readers are thinking "Paul, you're crazy, where's your proof." I want to submit to you this video of Elizabeth May speaking in front of a cheering mob of militant, heavily armed Greens.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

So, it's been a busy July

The photograph is, from left to right, Jo-Anne, Stephanie, Jon and me. Yes if read Stephanie's blog, there was a wedding in the family. I had the privilege and honour to walk Stephanie down the aisle as the father of the Bride. Yes I was nervous and at the same I was happy for this day. I thought it was a wonderful ceremony and a delightful reception. All went together great and I had a good time.

Okay, I should be posting more photographs, so hold on:

Stephanie and Jon with Stephanie's Grandparents

Stephanie, Daniel, Jeremy and Katrina

Katrina with the lucky catch, fortunately for her, Rachel took herself out of the

There are a lot more photographs but I've decided to keep myself to these few with the blog.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wyndfield at the Ball Park
Originally uploaded by paulg57
Yesterday a group of us from Wyndfield Community Church went to the Rogers Centre to watch the Jays take on the hated New York Yankees.

The idea was set up by Sarah Brinson, the one on the right who got us the tickets and did the planning. So we piled into a couple of cars and went off to Toronto.

Now from past blogs you know I'm a Tiger Fan, so this brings the question, what was I doing at a Jays games. Especially after all the nasty things I've written about Rogers and their iPhone rate plans.

The answer is simple:

1) it was a baseball game and
2) it was an opportunity to boo and rain catcalls down upon the Evil Empire.

The boos and catcalls were loud as well. As well, every so often a spontaneous chant of "Yankees Suck" rained down onto the boys in pinstripes.

A person that was part of the group asked why players such as Derek Jeter was booed. I informed her it was because; he's the captain, he's a great player and he's a Yankee. She understood and then I explained to her that the loudest boos are directed at the best players, and as I recently heard 'boos on the road are the same as cheers at home".

I then told her that A-Rod was going to get booed because:

1) he left his wife for Madonna
2) the little stunt he performed last year at a Blue Jay game.

Speaking of A-Rod, when he came up to bat not only were people booing but they were also shouting comments like "Material Boy". Never underestimate the creativity of the fans of the home team against the visiting team, in particular when that team is the New York Yankees.

As for the game: Roy Halladay pitched a two hit complete game gem and the home crowd watched the Jays beat up the Yankees 5-0. What also impressed me was very few people left the game. My experience with Toronto Sports Fans is they tend to leave early, no matter what the score.

The end result of all this, we got to go to another game.

Before I close, two very interesting baseball teams, or at least names:

The Witicha Wingnuts
The Lansing Lugnuts

You got to love it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It Just Gets Better

So, Rogers has changed the data plan and claiming through their paid hacks how wonderful they were to respond to their customers.

Now the Media, which is probably owned by CanWest Global is pointing out how wrong Bloggers such as Smithereens is about their reports on the problems between Rogers and Apple.

This is best read in the Ottawa Citizen, In fact in their cover page they have a photograph of the ten people in front of their local Rogers store:

The media hacks want us to believe it's all a lie. In fact here is what the Citizen reports:

Online sites such as have been reporting on the relationship between Apple and Rogers, stating that Rogers' cellular data pricing is too high and that Apple is not happy about them. The blog has since retracted most of its story, now referring to it as a "plausible rumour."

The gossip has fuelled other Internet sites such as, which has collected signatures from more than 58,000 angry Canadians and called for federal government intervention and greatly reduced iPhone pricing from Rogers.

"We are definitely responding," said Boynton. "We have spent the last two weeks going through customer service transcripts ... people are very excited, they really want this product."

"They want to do things with this device that they haven't done on other devices before."

The iPhone, which goes on sale at Rogers' stores tomorrow, squeezes a digital camera, iPod, cellular phone and laptop computer into a pocket-sized device -- a selection of features that creates a quagmire of questions about how to charge for services.

I personally love the line in which they say from reading the transcripts from Customer Services how excited people are about the iPhone. Let's say this, people are excited, they want to experience what people in different parts of the world want to do which is enjoy the iPhone. However the same people were also very angry at Rogers who they blame for messing what could have been a wonderful experience for those same people. Again, its like those in Rogers have never gotten the new media where information is transmitted the speed of light.

In fact, I should quote some more from the Citizen:

"This is a case where the people who scream the loudest get the most attention," Levy said. "If you are a blogger, unlike a real journalist, you are not subjected to the same checks and balances of real media and you can pretty much say anything. Whether or not it is backed up by fact is almost irrelevant."

Notice the blame for it all is about the bloggers, they are the one who bring about the anger and confusion. They are the ones spreading half baked accounts based upon mere hearsay and they don't even bother to check their facts.

Plus the situation goes back from this, Rogers brought about a convoluted rate plan that can best be described as screwing the consumer. Their defense of not giving the consumer stuff they didn't need again points out to the fact they think people are stupid.

Again, I conclude with this, Rogers messed it up. To them belongs the blame. Whether or not Apple diverted iPhones is totally irrelevent, besides we will know the answer.

I still say, don't buy the iPhone tomorrow. Don't buy the first weekend. Make Rogers sweat and see whether or not they will lower their prices even lower.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Did Rogers' Blink?

Seems what the sales clerk said to me last week was true, Rogers did have some alternative pricing plan ready just in case. It is true, the price for the data plan is going down and what you can do goes up.

The article in Yahoo, Rogers lowers cost of data plan points out a few things about the plan, and also gives some suggestion that all this was a ploy to inspire some 'spin' on the whole iPhone to Canada thing.

One expert states:
While it's seen as a victory for consumers, some analysts called the price change a marketing tactic intended to create buzz about the iPhone, which is coming to Canada a year after it has been available in the United States and six months after being introduced in Europe.

"This is all about buzz development," said McMaster University's Nick Bontis. "What does buzz do? It creates lineups outside the door, which is exactly what Rogers wanted."

Analyst Carmi Levy said Rogers didn't do a "knee jerk reaction" in response to consumer outrage.

"Carriers of this magnitude do not change course on a dime and you don't simply introduce a half-baked plan into the market without weeks and-or months of study," said Levy, of Toronto AR Communications Inc.

Let's just think about it. It wasn't just the last week that there was all this negative reaction, it was building up because the date was getting close, but people were angry the moment they heard about the plan. This is the age of the Internet, people know what's happening in other nations, Canadians know AT&T was offering an unlimited data plan. They also could compare the two plans and do the math and what the conclusion of the mathematics? We were getting hosed and hosed badly. With this knowledge and the fact that information was being sent out as fast as people could blog, it means people could hear, learn and get angry. Also, let's remember, we live at a time when critical mass can be achieved with greater ease.

This leads to the question, did Rogers do all this at the last moment, probably not it was in their back pocket, but I think they totally misjudged the anger of the consumer towards their plans. As well, if the rumours of Apple's anger are true, then Rogers totally messed it up. If this is an effort to put spin then it is bizarre. I know people think it doesn't matter what they say as long as their name is in the papers, well, that's the old thinking. The new thinking has to be, think of the consumer because they will quickly decide whether or not they want to deal with you any more.

As well, there was no need for spin as far as the iPhone is concerned, those who knew of it, wanted it. There was no need to inspire them, or get the noise going, they were the noise. It's as if Rogers had no clue about the online community of iPhone fanatics.

If this proves anything, it proves that data and voice plans are based up absolutely nothing. If Rogers can give a plan that is half the price and 15 times the data, it means the only way to determine the price of any rate plan is the bottom line of the company, it doesn't cost them that much to provide. As for Apple not being happy, one person suggested that with the growth of iTunes as a future source for television and movies, they wanted nothing to force people to not take advantage of the itunes store.

If Ican quote more from the article:
The Rogers spokeswoman said an online petition protesting the costs of its plans to run the iPhone didn't have any impact.

"In the last few days, we have been looking at our customer feedback and had real thoughtful insight from them," Hamilton said.

The same promotional data plan will apply to other smartphones that run on a 3G network, such as the BlackBerry Bold, Hamilton said.

"We've expanded this promotion for all 3G smartphones. It's not just the iPhone."

In other words, you want to believe the protest had an impact, Rogers knows competition is coming and they had better not make for those future carriers a mass of future customers. The insight is this, customers are fed up and they are not taking it any longer.

This is not Rogers' finest moment. I still say, 'don't buy the iPhone on July 11th'. Wait a couple of days, or even weeks, make them do a bit of sweating perhaps there's another plan in their back pocket.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Rogers may get Phoned

I was watching TWITLive, which features streaming audio from various TWIT programs. This being Sunday it was time for TWIT and there was messages asking Leo to talk about the Apple Roger fallout. There are now rumours all over the blogsphere regarding Apple's feelings about Rogers.

If you remember, the Globe and Mail featured an article which asked the question, why doesn't Apple love Canada. I think we now know the answer, because they have to work with nobs like Rogers. Ted Rogers has a history of jobbing the subscribers of his cable company and his wireless and now he thought he could do the same with the iPhone. The rest of the world offer unlimited data? Not in Canada. The rest of the world has short contracts? Rogers makes you take three years. Although to be fair, that's standard fare. The rest of the world offer the iPhone for $199.00, well actually Rogers has no control over that.

Now, word is circulating that Apple is not happy. And if Steve is not happy, well, heaven help the person or company that has made him unhappy.

So what are the rumours? For this I went to the excellent blog Smithereens that intends to let Rogers know how dissatisfied it is with its partnership. This site has a link to the online petition It is here Canadians can sign and complain to Rogers about the pricing plan. Smithereens reports over 36,000 Canadians have signed which is apparently more people then there are iPhone available for Canada. You can read the blog here.

Here is the good stuff:

Here are the tidbits I have managed to glean from my source within Rogers (And I'll let you draw your own conclusions):

First, an employee of Apple Canada sends a text message to my source that says something to the effect of: "You guys are screwed for iPhone," but will not respond to multiple replies asking for clarification.
Next, an employee at competing handset manufacturer RIM (Blackberry's parent) sends my source a text soon after saying there are rumours of an Apple-Rogers fallout.
Then, my source receives a call notifying him that all the part-time staff who had been hired for next week's launch have been fired without notice. (UPDATE 07/06: Apparently, only certain dealerships took on additional staff for the launch, although most urban locations did. Also, some dealerships may not have let all their iPhone help go, but others definitely have. It's important to clarify that any decisions to let staff go were made at the individual dealer level, and not by Rogers least not directly.)
And finally, a senior Rogers rep confirms that Apple has decided to divert a large percentage of their planned Canadian shipment to Europe and that each Rogers store may now be getting as few as 10-20 units, ostensibly due to Apple's displeasure over Rogers' high data and voice rates. (UPDATE 07/06: Although no per-store numbers can be confirmed, the verbiage used by head office is apparently that numbers will be "significantly reduced" and that stores should "exercise caution" not to over-promise. Europe has also been reconfirmed as the destination for the allegedly diverted units.)

Couple this with what I found out at the Rogers' store means, we can expect lower rates come the 12th of July. Or do we? This is going to be the question of the week. Let's remember Rogers has been nailing the consumer for so long that they probably feel it's their God-given right. As well, they may know something of the Canadian psyche, which is to complain and belly-ache but ultimately do nothing. I suspect that's what they are hoping. However if the Apple side of the rumour is true then this adds something to the equation. For once Rogers is beholden to another and there are some points.

I already mentioned the Blackberry Bold, it's coming and can be thought of as a iPhone killer. Second is other services with 3G capability are coming soon as well, soon Rogers will not be the only game in town.

Now just to give a fair and balanced report, eCanadaNow is reporting that Rogers is unfazed about all the flack. Again, this is the typical thinking process of a major Canadian corporation. However what is untypical is Rogers is dealing with Steve Jobs who indirectly controls hundreds of thousands of worshippers called Appleslappies. If he declares his displeasure then Rogers is done for. We all know Hell hath no fury like a MacSlappy scorned.

What should be done? Don't buy the iPhone on the 11th, or 12th, or that week for that matter. Let Rogers know we Canadians are serious. Contact other companies about the Blackberry. Call Rogers customer service and tell them why you are not buying the iPhone.

Speaking of other carriers, I was listening to net@nite with Leo Laporte and Amber MacArthur. Amber reported she was able to get a better deal from Bell by simply saying to them she was considering getting an iPhone and ditching her Blackberry. Just put that in the back of your mind.

Me? I'm sticking with my Virgin Mobile.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The iPhone in Canada

Since Rogers announced their rate plans for the iPhone, there has been almost universal condemnation.

From bloggers such as Fred Brunnel to mainstream media such as the CBC has announced and condemned the price plans.

The complaints: forcing all subscribers into three year plans, most nations offer less and the greatest sin, no unlimited data plan.

This chart lists the various plans and the cost:

So tonight I went to a local Rogers store and discussed such things as the new Blackberry Bold and the iPhone rates. It seems Customer Services representatives have been getting hammered by people calling and complaining. All these complaints have reached the ears of the Board of Directors at Rogers, they are now telling people in the company that those plans may not be the only plans "offered" by Rogers. The question is when will these other new plans be announced? Good question, the right thing would be before the new phone is released. Or would it be better to think it will occur after the initial release, especially if the anger towards the price plan is demonstrated in less then stellar sales of the iPhone on July 11th. I'm thinking the latter. After all, if sales are at levels expected then why release a second plan, but if sales are below those expectations then watch the new rate planes come out.

Also, the date of the Bold will be around July 25th. Perhaps the strategy is to wait until then and watch what Rogers' does.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Linux Based Blog

It's been a time since I've said anything about Linux or Ubuntu.

I'm still using Ubuntu, having downloaded the latest version a couple of months ago. It's working very well, although my Dell laptop is showing its age. After all, it's almost 4 years old. Just three more payments and I can start looking for a new one. At least that's the plan.

Recently, Linux Magazine had as its cover article: Spawn of Ubuntu. Not only is Ubuntu growing and expanding with each passing new version, and its various manifestation such as kubuntu or edubuntu.

What has been happening is Ubuntu is now the basis of other distros. Three are highlighted in the article. The three are: freespire, gOS and Linux Mint. Each has its merits, in fact the article gives a good review of all three.
Personally I've been trying Linux Mint on the laptop. I must say that it is a very nice flavour of Linux. One thing that is noticed, and this is coming from a Ubuntu person is the colour green. Since it is a Mint the colour green predominates. While a person could ask is the colour important, it does add and enhance to distro.

I've tried 4.0 Daryna. It has a number of things going for it and it is worth the time to download and burn onto a disc.

If there is something I would want in Mint it would be support for the 64bit AMD based computers. I like the idea it has stayed with Intel based computers, but I think it would grow to add this to its repertoire.

I'm going to say more about Mint, but it's time to call it a day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

iPhone comes to Canada

Finally, Canada will join the 21st century when it comes to wireless technology. After a year of only looking on and salivating as nations such as the USA, UK, Germany and a few others received the right to possess the marvel that is the cellphone, Canada will join 21 other nations on July 11th.

By now every Canadian blogger has written about this wonderful news. No doubt Apple Fanboy has been especially articulate, or perhaps not with their comments expression love towards the godlike figure that is Steve Jobs.

There is a pent up demand and Apple knows it, their homepage features this:

Okay, so what about the iPhone. Consider, 3G system which means fast Internet browsing. GPS including maps so you will never get lost. Third party apps. There is a camera and because of the GPS a person can geotap the photographs. Plus it's thin, has a very good battery life, it's Apple and be honest it is amazing to look at, no matter what you think. Couple all this with a price tag of $199.00 it will be the killer devise of the year.

It will be sold by Rogers and Fido. It will be interesting to go to the nearest Rogers or Fido on the 11th. I don't know if we will see the line ups like they had in the States on the launch date of the first iPhone.

The Globe and Mail had an article comparing the Blackberry and the iPhone, since people who may have thought Blackberry before may think iPhone, although I understand that the iPhone isn't great for business. Still, never underestimate mass sex appeal. At the same time the Blackberry has been reaching out to the consumer market.

Now the question is, how much to operate the iPhone? Rogers has a moneymaker and will they decide to ease up and give the $7.00 a month data plan as was rumoured a few months ago or screw the consumer. If history is the gauge, it will be the latter. So what will it be?

Also, how will the other carriers react? I went into a Bell World store because they had Blackberry's for $0.00. Oh yes the phone was nothing, but when the salesperson started quoting what plans I would need, zero quickly became $80.00 a month, not including all the other things, like system access ($6.95), 911 ($0.95) and all the other magical fees.

Although I now wonder, walk into the same store and tell them, Blackberry -free, plans, twenty dollars a month, inclusive including GPS navigation or I wait for the iPhone. What would they say? Yes? or call security.

The fun now starts.