Sunday, February 27, 2005

Funny story (sorta):

So yesterday, Jenny and I went to Gatineau for a snowshoe and a dog walk. When we pulled into a (busy) parking lot, the girl who works there tells us that we can't snowshoe on snowshoe trails with a dog, and we can't bring a dog to any un-marked part of the park (the backcountry). The only place we could bring a dog is on the walking trails, where we can't have snowshoes.

This is news to us, since we've already been there with snowshoes acoupla times before.

So we get back into the car and just decide to break the rules. We headed off to the end of the Meech Lake road, where there was sure to be some privacy. (See map). The road was blocked at this weird gate thing (but it did continue), so we parked at the roadblock and headed out onto the lake for a hike.

The plan was to follow a little valley between two ridges, connect back up to a stream, head back to Meech Lake, and follow the lake around a ridge back to the car. This was not an actual trail, but why do you need trails when you have snowshoes? And Ellie wasn't allowed on trails, anyway.

So we're walking, and the two ridges come together into sort of a ravine, where we were pushed onto the gravel road (aforementioned, the one that continued past the gate). So we took off our shoes and walked down the road for a while, intending to connect with the stream and then head back to Meech Lake.

When we rounded a bend, we came into the most beautiful little meadow, sitting on a lake. There was a house there, hidden behind a fence. It was an awesome spot for a cottage.

The next thing we know, a big black truck was driving up to us, and a little french guy was getting out. He was an RCMP officer, and apparently we were in a place we shouldn't be.

That place? the Prime Minister's cottage.

So we had to retire to the RCMP office next to the cottage and have our "background check" done.

I'll speed the story up, at this point:
-the RCMP officers had been watching for a while
-we weren't in trouble
-we were driven back to the gate, where we then noticed all the
cameras around for taking intruders' pictures
-the PM's cottage is fantabulous
-it certainly wasn't marked on the map.

Nothing is marked on this map Posted by Hello

Friday, February 25, 2005

Bravo

Bravo, Paul Martin.

Canada and the US have a strong trade relationship. Canada and the US share the longest undefended border in the world. And Canada and the US disagree on missile defence.

I can appreciate that it is perhaps a little shady for Canada to sit back and watch while the US launches anti-nuclear weapons missiles that serve to protect both the US and Canada.

But the concept is simple: if we want the world to stop building nuclear weapons, then we all must stop building them. That goes for the US, too.

It doesn't make sense to preach an anti-missile program while at the same time preparing a missile defenses against more missiles.

As Gandhi once said, "an eye for an eye leaves us both blind."

So... bravo, Paul Martin, for saying 'no' to missile defense.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Today, Kyoto

Today, the Kyoto Protocol officially takes effect - for those countries that ratified it, anyway.

There's still some debate on how Canada will meet its targets, but more will become clear at the announcing of the Liberals' budget next week.

What's the Kyoto Protocol?
Here's the Government of Canada's site
And Greenpeace has a short history

There are those who believe that climate change is one of the most serious problems facing the world today - that no policital or economic scheme can be even conceived without consideration of global warming. Here's their side:

The Sierra Club

And then there's those who think it's all hogwash, like this consumer's group (which includes manufacturers and petroleum producers):

Made in Canada

And here's an amusing little article from the Post.

Finally, if you don't know how much you contribute to greenhouse gas emission, why don't you find out?

Monday, February 14, 2005

Conflict and Blood - Diamonds

I blogged a while ago that I love Paul Simon. Right now I'm listening to one of his more famous tunes:

He’s a poor boy
Empty as a pocket
Empty as a pocket with nothing to lose
She got diamonds on the soles of her shoes

That's a snippet from a song he wrote after visiting South Africa. It's a bit about a happy little girl, and it's a bit about diamonds.

Diamonds are big business in Africa, so big that wars have been waged for them, people have died for them, and entire populations have been opressed for them. So much so, in fact, that some have even taken to calling diamonds from some African countries "Blood Diamonds" or "Conflict Diamonds."

For more information, you could check out Amnesty International or IDRC, and One Sky (a Canadian organization) has something to say, too.

Sometimes it's hard to draw the connections to these types of things.

One doesn't want to consider the fact that her diamond may come from Sierra Leone, and that rebel forces sold that diamond (or one like it) to purchase arms and train soldiers, and that those soldiers committed horrific acts to their people - indiscriminately.

But that's just what has happened.

The Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone, in its efforts to control the diamond trade and therefore the economy, roamed the countryside looking for people to join them. If those people did not, the rebels simply hacked off an arm or a leg.

If you've reached this point of my little article, you could spare the time to look at these two pictures:

pic 1
pic 2

Sunday, February 13, 2005


The flag of our new home (for a while, anyway). Posted by Hello

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Ellen MacArthur

If you've never heard of Ellen MacArthur, then read this article.

It's an amazing story.
Can you believe this stuff still happens?

6 years for beating death of gay man.

4 guys walking through a park - known as a meeting place for gays - carrying baseball bats and golf clubs... why else were they there?

Monday, February 07, 2005

Yesterday, US Sec. of State Condi Rice asked Israelis take the courageous route:

"We ask of our friends in Israel that Israel continue to make the hard
decisions that must be taken to make peace and enable the emergence of a
democratic Palestinian state," Rice said in Jerusalem at the start of a
lightning visit to the region, her first as America's foremost foreign policy
official.

"We do believe unilateral steps in Jerusalem, particularly those that might appear to pre-judge future discussions, would be unhelpful at this time," she said.

"It is essential that the parties, who we really do believe now have a new
opportunity to move forward toward peace," do everything possible to ensure a
positive atmosphere, Rice said.

Peace in Israel/Palestine is good, but did you gag on the irony? Where was her country's courageous and hard decision not to invade Iraq, but instead bring about democracy through diplomatic means?

(Don't forget, however, that democracy was not the reason for the Iraq war. It was weapons, er, links to Al-Qaeda, or... something like that. )

Friday, February 04, 2005

Do I still care about what sports fans care about caring?

Since I've gotten old(er), it's not too often that I care much about sports. If I watch a minute of the superbowl this Sunday it will be because my friends are getting together for a beer. I don't even know who the Eagles are playing against.

I'll watch a basketball game now and then, and I do enjoy a good hockey game from time to time, but I've outgrown my 17-year-old passion for sports.

It's just kinda dumb, really.

But I stumbled upon this little thing, and I became mildly perturbed.

I see that ESPN is getting into (or perhaps has been in for a while) the game of misrepresentation. So 73% of Americans polled on ESPN.com didn't care if the NHL lost the season..... let's pick this apart, shall we?
  • ESPN.com's hockey coverage is not great, so why would hockey fans (who presumably care about the season) go to ESPN.com for their coverage? It was a jaded sample to begin with.
  • Look at the states with successful hockey teams - Michigan, 42% cared about the season; Colorado, 38%; Pennsylvania, 36%. Think caring about the NHL has something to do with a) having a team nearby and b) having that team do well? Maybe.... I'd like to see how much people in Atlanta would miss the Hawks, for example.
  • 73% of the total population (but from a jaded sample, we agree) still leaves 27% of those interested in the NHL. That's about 70 million people who like the sport. I'm no marketing or management guru, but I think the team owners can make the league work if 70 million US citizens care about the sport.
  • Finally, the way it was represented - with that two-toned map - was just flat-out dumb. A better, more accurate, and more fair way to make a map of that sort of thing is to gradually shade the colors: dark red for the states who really don't care, light red for those who are of a more concerned mind.

That sort of thing just drives me nuts.

While I enjoy picking on media outlets, I sure hope I never blog about ESPN again.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Beer saves man from avalanche

Alright, I confess, I stole this piece from these guys, but it's worth stealing.


Beer saves man from avalanche

From correspondents in BratislavaJanuary 31, 2005
From: Agence France-Presse

A slovak man trapped in his car under an avalanche freed himself by drinking 60 bottles of beer and urinating on the snow to melt it.Rescue teams found Richard Kral drunk and staggering along a mountain path four days after his Audi was buried in Slovakia's Tatra mountains.

He told them that after the avalanche, he had opened his car window and tried to dig his way out with his hands.

But he realised the snow was falling faster than he could dig. and would soon fill his car.

He had 60 500ml bottles of beer in his car as he was going on holiday, and after cracking one open to think about the problem he realised he could urinate on the snow to melt it.

"It was hard and now my kidneys and liver hurt," he said later. "But I'm glad the beer I took on holiday turned out to be useful."