Sunday, October 30, 2005

What's up with Britain lately?

First it was the Piglet tissue boxes, and now it's Piggy banks?!? Personally I'm offended by almost everything having to do with Brittany Spears. Does that mean that I can petition major institutions and municipalities in the UK to ban all things Spears related? If only. To me, this is just like a buffet removing all the meat just because the occasional vegetarian comes in. If you don't like the meat, eat the salad.

And just in case that's not enough to show how over the edge the Brits have gone lately, there's this story (h/t LGF) about a poem that's being included in a book being distributed throughout UK public school system.

Just remember while you're reading some of the excerpts that these are the same groups of people that are banning just the images of pigs because it may offend some people.

What are they putting in the drinking water over there?

Friday, October 28, 2005

What Media Bias: New York Times Ed.

It's hard to find a more glaring example of a newspaper editing with bias than this Michelle Malkin Post about what the Times decided to leave out of their story when writing about a letter found on Cpl. Jefferey B. Starr's laptop after his tragic death in Iraq.

Reading Times articles is becoming more and more like watching a Michael Moore 'Documentary'. Sure, most of the stuff they write has some basis in truth, but their selective editing spins everything to match their opinions, regardless of what was actually said or done.

Michelle has a little more on responses to the NYT article, both from critics and the editorial staff at the Times.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Lost in the UK

And no, I have never been lost in Great Britain (the Paris subway system, however, is another story), but this post over at isn't about being physically lost, but the fact that they are just about to get their first widespread exposure to everyone's favorite parasitic TV show, 'Lost'. And, of course I mean parasitic in the best possible way.

I can only hope this doesn't trigger the end of civilization as we know it as millions more are sucked into J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof's world of torment. It's too late for us North Americans, but maybe, just maybe, those poor Western Europeans can find a way to break their hold before it becomes too strong.

I'm beginning to think of episodes of 'Lost' the same way people view the alien signal on the CBS show 'Threshold', which I have to admit, despite it's less sophisticated storylines, has become the most watchable of the new 'alien invasion' TV shows for me.

A new Firefox based browser

I haven't tried this out myself yet (still smarting after my jump to Beta 1.5 prior to all my favorite extensions making the move) but from everything I've seen so far Flock looks like a pretty good alternative to just a standard Firefox install.

I especially like their idea of using as their default bookmarking system.

Definitely looks promising.

Friday, October 21, 2005

But does it come in 'Stealth Gray'?

Sure, this story, "The World's Smallest Car" (h/t Slashdot) is pretty impressive, but I'll wait for the GT model, with the brushed aluminum 1 nano rims, 200 watt Bose System and the sport suspension package.

Things like this always remind me of that old Seinfield bit about the lunar rover;
"What the heck were they doin' with a car on the gosh darn moon?...There is no more male idea in the history of the universe than 'why don't we fly up to the moon and drive around?' That is the essence of male thinking right there."
Nicolas Cugnot would be proud.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

'Lost' and Found

Mac's been pretty busy lately obsessing over the various twists and turns to the 'Lost' storyline. Unlike me, who was quite content to just watch it every week to see how things unfold, he's been browsing the Internet looking for interesting 'Lost' links. The fact there is only a half wall between our offices has resulted in me being dragged (not quite kicking and screaming) into his little obsession.

I have to admit, the online portion of the show is as interesting and convoluted as the regular weekly dose. Just the other day he pointed out these two links:

The Hanso Foundation
The Hanso Foundation (secured http)

Now while the main Hanso Foundation site has an interesting hidden link (just below the main list on the Active Projects page) the secured link was where the real gold lay. Originally it went to a blank page with the word written on it.

Of course, that necessitated a visit to this site which, as of right now anyways, contains a picture of a polar bear just lazing about (fans of the show should recognize the significance of the polar bear immediately). There is also some sound playing and a more code title on the page.

The Morse code spells out the Devil's verse, a rather famous palindrome. But that's not the most interesting part. From what I've seen, a lot of people have managed to get that far. The part that truly shows the level of fanaticism of MacDaddy, is that he took it upon himself to capture the picture to his screen and play around with it a bit. Essentially just applying some color to it. To both of our surprise a very clear map appeared with a very interesting addition at the bottom.

Now I have no idea what this means exactly, and while I won't really be doing too much research into it I wouldn't be surprised if tomorrow Mac has identified the island chain pictured, but just in case he hasn't, I'm putting out a call; "Does anyone out there recognize these islands?".

It's just scary to think about just how many possibilities there are for this show. At least it doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon so there is a chance we will get to see it play out. But then again, I've been waiting for years for any storyline to come to a conclusion on Alias, so I won't let my hopes get too high that we'll actually find out anything concrete this season.

In a major "Why didn't I think of that!" moment, I got the hint over at Lost to try .org at the end of bigspaceship1 instead of the .com and guess what, yet another mysterious, apparent dead end site. This is just getting crazy

Mac'n on Halloween

So it appears our very own MacDaddy is about to become a little bit of a local celebrity, or at least his house is.

For those of you who don't know Mac, and I would assume that would be the vast majority of my limited readership, all you need to know about him is that he loves Halloween (and movies, but that's a topic for another time). And by love I don't mean, he likes to hand out treats and dress up a little, no, I mean the kind of love that shows itself all year round. The kind of love that causes him to smile after buying their new house because "he would finally have a real lawn to decorate" come October (they bought their house in December). The kind of love that for the past nine years has motivated him to throw a themed Halloween party no matter what his current living situation (when his apartment was too small to hold enough people he actually went out and booked local bars and decorated them himself). The kind of love that makes a man begin decorating his property with an entire graveyard scene, including giant spider and web, beginning the first week in October. You know, true love.

It is actually that last thing that is the reason for his sudden celebrity. Apparently the local CTV station is going to be broadcasting from his lawn this evening for the local weather report. I'm not sure if any of the Mac family will be making an appearance on camera, but trust me, if you live in the Ottawa area and can tune to channel 7 between 6:00 and 7:00 this evening you'll see something to bring a smile to your face. Hey, and if we're really lucky, his neighbour might just choose that time to invade Macland with his army of motorized tanks and G.I Joe men.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Some more 'West Wing' inspired ramblings

I just didn't feel like including this with my original post on the subject since it's not really a 'West Wing' issue, although it was a central part of last nights episode (which of course Jimmy Smits character managed to solve without taking into account any of the actual reasons behind the debate). I'm talking about the whole Intelligent Design vs. Evolution debate.

I personally don't care whether or not ID is ever taught in schools, but not being a parent, my 'vote' on the matter really doesn't count. My interest on this topic is more having to do with the debate itself than the actual subject.

Like I said, I don't care if ID is ever taught in school, but I do happen to disagree with most of the arguments made to prevent it from being taught.

The first being that since it is not a true scientific theory it should not be taught along side evolution. Of all the reasons not to allow ID in schools, this one is by far the strongest. While it's true that ID may not be considered a true scientific theory, Evolution, along with many other 'theories' are so poorly taught in schools these days that few students leaving the classes understand what the word theory means. Just try going on to any discussion board on the subject and you will find that to most people fighting on the Evolution Only side see the Theory of Evolution as close to fact as you can get. Critical thinking, which is suppose to be the main product of the education system, seems to be totally absent. This is what generally happens when only one alternative is offered up to explain something, not that we should be creating just random theories to add variety, but there should be more stressing of the fact that theories are only temporary placeholders and can evolve (pardon the pun) with time or be totally replaced with a better one at a later date. It is just this type of indoctrination that many parents are looking to avoid, and while they may truly agree with ID, they also see it as a useful tool to show that no 'theory' is the end all be all of the argument.

The second, is that ID violates the first amendments 'Separation of Church and State'. Now if one person can actually show me where this 'Separation" is stated in the US Constitution I may have to side with the Evolution Only crowd, as ID definitely has some major religious underpinnings, but as it doesn't I'll just have to go with the actual phrasing "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...". Now as education is the purview of the individual States, and the teaching of ID does not specifically favour one particular religion, I can't actually see where the US Constitution actually comes into all this. Even if a community, or for that matter an entire State, decided to adopt a specific religion as the official religion of the area, that would still not, in any way, violate the first amendment. The first amendment only prevents the Federal Government from creating an official religion (just think the Anglicans and England). So in effect, unless there is a Federal move to include ID in schools, the first amendment doesn't even enter the picture as a legal reason to exclude it.

Finally, there is the theory itself. ID essentially claims that all existence is the product of some higher power (the definition of higher power is pretty much left open). People who object to this notion of a higher power maintain that existence happened by chance. They contend that this uncertainty, and lack of a true unified model make ID unteachable. That is definitely true to some degree, but no one said you had to spend days teaching ID. In many, if not most cases, the people fighting for ID in the schools just want it mentioned as an alternative, or possibly supplementary explanation to evolution. Should the fact that it calls for the existence of a higher power, or deity, simply exclude it from being discussed as an alternative. Just look a the Big Bang theory. While we have some pretty conclusive evidence that the universe at some point had a shared starting point, can anyone answer exactly where this material came from? There are a lot of theories, but none that can clearly explain how this super condensed material came to be. If the basis for almost all our astronomical knowledge can have such an open ended question, is it not almost required that we allow students to question the possible sources of this material, even if it should include the possibility of a deity.

Without time travel or access to your own personal 'Q', we will probably never know for sure, while we're alive anyway, which answer is true, and by the time you could know the answer, it is either too late or you don't care (being dead can do that to you) but as I said earlier, the main product of the education system is meant to be people capable of critical thinking, not some parrots of useless fact and figures. As long as it helps students consider the possibilities I'm all for the teaching of ID, or some alternative, in schools, but if the courses were being taught the way I would like to see them done it would be almost redundant. Locking kids into one way of thinking, while possibly making the things appear more harmonious, does nothing to advance the knowledge base.

Some 'West Wing' inspired ramblings

The West Wing is one of those shows that while I'll watch every week but I have to admit, it is really starting to annoy me.

First there is the scenes from next weeks episode which 3 weeks ago showed President Bartlett telling someone he would have to be let go. Of course, that still hasn't happened yet but at least after last nights episode we know who that someone is, unless they put a real twist in the works.

Second, we have what could have been a great premise for this season, Republicans vs. Democrats for the next White House. Being that the closest most of the writers on the show have ever been to a Republican was watching the last Presidential Address on TV, I had my doubts as to how well these episodes would be written. So far they have lived up to my expectations.

At first there was a small glimmer of hope as they got Alan Alda to play the part of the Republican candidate while going with Jimmy Smits to run as the Democratic candidate. With two great actors being added to the cast as regulars you'd figure nothing could go wrong, right? Well, that may have been true if they actually hired some pro-Republican writers to help with the storylines, but no, after just the first few episodes of this season you could begin to see the split that they were going to go with. Alda, the business-like Republican calculating all of his moves in advance, constantly trying to find ways to turn the tables on Smits, and while not necessarily following fully in the Hollywood mold of the power hungry evil Republican, he at least shows signs that he is willing to lie to help improve his chances of winning. Smits on the other hand, is almost universally portrayed as a very intelligent, kind, savvy, honest politician and while at times his staff may want to play a little lowball politics, he is always there to guide them to the highroad.

It's to the point I have to bush my teeth after every episode to prevent cavities. Not that I blame Smits. As I've already said, he is a great actor and is doing a terrific job, but when you have such a diverse group of writers covering the political gambit from extreme left to just left of center, it's hard for anyone with an opposing viewpoint to get a fair shake. I believe it's just harder for someone on the more liberal side of the fence to understand the workings of a right siders mind. If you're used to making many of your decisions based on a more emotional response, then it's often hard to figure out the reasoning of someone who may not agree with you. It's the reason that you often see sinister motives being attributed to Republicans, when in fact they are just being, what they see as practical (however, that's not to say that other decisions are not made with sinister motives, just not near as many as many liberals think).

I'm still holding out hope that as the season matures, so will the writers ability to balance out the two candidates, otherwise this promising storyline will turn into another stereotypical Hollywood swing at the right.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Kilgore for President

Up until yesterday I had never heard of Tim Kaine or Jerry Kilgore, and not being a resident Virginia I still don't have any reason to really care, but after reading this post about Kilgore's ads over at I just had to check them out.

All I can say is wow. These are some of the most professional and powerful campaign ads I have ever seen. If you review the whole series you have ones that are light hearted (the "Not Terry" one is priceless) and ones that hit an emotional string so hard (the "Stanley" or "Kelly" ads) that I'd be surprised if Tim Kaine's own family would even talk to him afterwards.

I don't know who produced these ads, but they aren't being paid enough. Even the more negative ads manage to leave you with positive feelings towards Kilgore rather than just negative feelings towards Kaine. Amazing work.

If I were a member of the Conservative party campaign team I would be calling up Kilgore's campaign right now to find the brains behind these ads and book them for a flight to Ottawa ASAP. It would be nice to see something besides these 'casual conversation' ads they currently have running.

The Democratic roadmap to defeat

You know, while I would never vote for Gore, even if I could vote in an American election, I always had at least a little respect for him. I kind of viewed him as being a little similar to our Stephen Harper, not ideologically of course, but in the fact that both are unfairly treated by the press due, primarily, to their apparent standoffishness. But no more.

Sure he's made stupid comments in the past, the 'inventing the internet' thing being foremost amongst them (and yes I know he didn't actually mean to claim to have invented the internet but any reasonable person would have to admit his actual comment "I took the initiative in creating the Internet" even under the loosest translation strongly implies that he was a central figure) but now, even though he is not apparently running for any office, he's officially jumped from left of center to official Moonbat. His most recent comments at an international forum in Stockholm quite clearly showcase what so many people have been pointing out is the Democrats biggest roadblock to regaining any form of federal power, the willingness for not only their fringe members, but their leadership to openly condemn their own country to gain brownie points with foreigners or the far left.

Here's just some of his statements he made with regards to what would have been different if he had been elected President 5 years ago:
"We would not have invaded a country that didn't attack us," : that is probably true. As the Democratic record shows, there is almost no act (except possibly an impeachment hearing for the President about his committing perjury in court as well as outright lying to the American public on National television) that could cause them to take any forceful action against any foreign group/country that posed a threat. Even say a country that their entire leadership, as well as the Republican leadership, every intelligence agency around the world as well as every individual living within it's borders, condemned for their human rights violations as well as their continued violations of UN sanctions and was also believed, once again by almost everyone listed above, to have been involved in illegal weapons production. Of course, since they had been bombing Iraq almost daily for the 10 years leading up to Bush being elected (and I don't believe Gore ever called for the bombings to stop), I guess that would be more a question of semantics.

"We would not have taken money from the working families and given it to the most wealthy families." : This is one the lefts biggest logical fallacies that somehow, even though it makes no sense at all, continues to be considered by them as a strong argument. Now dismissing the fact that spending on 'poverty entitlements' has almost doubled under Bush as compared to Clinton (to over $360 billion/year), or the fact that tax revenues are up since the across the board tax breaks have been introduced, how does not taking away a little less money from someone somehow translate to giving it to them? The only way that argument works is if you assume all money earned by a person in the US actually belongs to the government and whatever they do not take from you in taxes is in fact what they are allowing you to have. I'm sorry, but I just don't subscribe to that school of thought. What I earn is mine and as a member of a group (in the above case, a citizen of the US), I agree to pay a certain fee (taxes) to maintain that membership. What many on the far left seem to forget is that, to the rich especially, that membership is voluntary, and if they feel like they are paying more than their fare share, they'll just shop around for another group to join.
(Right Wing News has a good post with the numbers showing just who pays what when it comes to American taxes. I highly recommend scrolling through the comments to one by Rose with the timestamp of 2005-10-12 11:21:38.)

"We would not be trying to control and intimidate the news media.": Yeah, I've seen a lot of that going around. Just look at all those administration praising stories on the TV news shows, or all those glowing editorials in the print media. Of course, he could be referring to the fact that right wing blogs today, which although by the most part are independently run and have no ties to the administration (despite the Democrats claims to the contrary), have been actually taking the MSM to task for their either sloppy reporting or outright false stories. Yes, it's a crying shame that people now have access to other forms of information to do some checking up on what they read in the NY Times or see on CBS. Of course, he could have a valid argument against the current administration if you expand the definition of 'intimidate 'to also include 'ignore'. I guess it could be intimidating when after so long a journalist may have to actually research a story instead of having it handed to them in the White House press room.

and of course no true moonbat screed would be complete without this gem:

"We would not be routinely torturing people," : I can barely dignify that statement with a response. As I mentioned above, it is that type of public statement by a Democratic leader, on foreign soil, that will help ensure they remain on the sidelines of decision making in Washington. To accuse your own countrymen of 'routinely torturing people' based on a case of a very small group of part time soldiers (who have been charged and several already convicted and sentenced for their actions) or the accusations of know terrorists, which even if true, don't even rise to the level of what is considered standard in American prisons or especially the French penal system, is shameful to say the least. To many Americans it is akin to an act of treason, although not to a level that they would be calling for any actual punishment, or at least I hope not.
Well Gore may not be actively campaigning for any public office, with statements like this it would be hard to separate him from almost every other Democratic Senator, Congressperson or Presidential hopeful that manages to get their face in front of a camera, and that is just a sad statement as to what the Democrats have allowed themselves to become.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Time to come clean

I guess I may as well share the reason why I haven't been blogging as much lately. I suppose I could blame part of it on being sick for almost a month after my summer 'vacation' (some kind of inner ear thing that really threw me out of whack) or the mild case of the flu I had a few weeks ago, but no, the real reason I've been barely blogging for the last couple of weeks is that I'm a generally lazy writer, and ever since I 'upgraded' to Firefox 1.5 beta, I've lost my GoogleBar which means no blogger button. Without a blogger button I actually have to cut and paste addresses and use shortcuts to get to my create post page, something I just don't have the energy to do.

Sure, I could go back to IE until the bar is back, but once again, laziness prevents me from leaving the world of tabbed browsing. I can barely stand using IE at work when we have to fill in our weekly status reports, let alone for any actually internet browsing. I could also uninstall the beta and return to good old trusty 1.0.7, but you know, the laziness thing again.

Luckily, I haven't upgrade my work Firefox so my trusty Bar and button are still there. Of course, work has been picking up steam lately so I don't really have too much time to browse and write there either. It's been getting so bad at work that we actually have to skip out on FMMC meetings as often than not. It's hell I tell ya, just hell.

Well hopefully, the wonderful people over at Mozdev can get a new version of the Googlebar up for the Beta soon and everything can return to the way it was.

Battle of Ontario update

Ottawa 2, Toronto 0

Pat Quinn always said he hated shootouts, and now it appears the rest of his team is starting to feel that way too. For the second time in their first three games of the season, the Toronto Maple leafs have lost in a shootout. The fact that both times were against the Sens I'm sure has no bearing on their feelings.

Now, I'm none too happy that so far both of our games against the Leafs have had to go to overtime, but as long as the marks goes under our W column and not theirs, it's all good. The fact that in 6 shootout attempts the Leafs have failed to score on Hasek, well that's just icing on the cake, a very sweet cake.

It looks like this Hasek kid may just work out after all.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Last nights game between Ottawa and Buffalo at the Corel Centre was a thing of beauty, if you're a Sens fan that is. On the other hand, if you find yourself in the Sabres camp, I'd just like to send you my deepest sympathies.

Honestly, the 5-0 final score does not truly reflect the game on the ice. If it wasn't for the goaltending of Ryan Miller, for Buffalo, and especially Dominik Hasek, for Ottawa, the score would have been much closer to 10-2. That is to say that while Buffalo occasionally got their game together and made some good plays, they were thoroughly undressed by the Sens. The number of short handed breakaways by Havlet alone (though sadly, only one resulted in a goal) does well to illustrate how much the Sens were outplaying their opponents.

BTW, the title of this post has to do with the Pizza Pizza (a large Canadian franchise) giveaway in which every time the Sens win a game with 5 goals or more, everyone with a ticket to that game gets a free slice of pizza.

All in all, a great home opener.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Christmas in October

Ahh, GTEC, a once a year event where Santas from around the globe congregate in downtown Ottawa in the guise of tradeshow personnel and while it may not hold a candle to the type of thing you'd see in, say, Las Vegas, for sleepy little Ottawa it's huge.

This year the prize of 'Best Santa' would have to be a tie between the guys in the Telus shirts giving out very nice pens and poseable Gund lizards and the guy at the Software AG booth with the micro USB 2.0 hubs and 64MB USB keychains. While the gifts from AG are much more useful, the ones from the Telus elves are nicer to look at (and help bring some color to my monitor as they stretch out on top).

Now the only question is should I head back for round two tomorrow? There was a very nice LCD clock that would look perfect on my desk at home.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Happy 1K

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to drop by and spend their time reading my internet ramblings. It's taken me just a little over 5 months, but I've finally broken the 1000 unique visitors mark. I'm currently running at a little over 50% Returnees vs. Uniques which is ok by my standards.

Now if I can only get all my search hits to actually go directly to the post in question as opposed to my main page, all will be good.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Captain's looking for a few good men (and women)

Captain Ed is looking for some people to take part in a charity poker tournament next week in Bloomington, MN to help set up a trust fund for the daughter of a friend of his son who was recently killed in a traffic accident.

If you're going to be in the Bloomington area next weekend you may want to consider giving them a call and getting yourself a seat.

You can head on over to his post here you can get all the details.

Please check back even after the 8th, as the Captain is hoping to set up a Paypal link to accept online donations.

Hockey is back!!

It may have been over a year since I've seen the Sens have played in the Corel Centre but all I can say is they've still got it. Not to take anything away from the 67's (Ottawa's Junior team), but it's just not the same as watching the NHLers do their thing. The difference is even more evident when you see the games back to back like this weekend; 67's last night and Senators tonight.

Of course the game was a little bit of a disappointment since they lost to Montreal, but since AJ is a huge Canadiens fan, at least one of us was happy.

Personally, I'm blaming the loss on Randor, who, due to sickness surrendered his half of our ticket pair to me earlier today, only to become revived a few hours later when Donna came up with club seats from her boss. That's a lot of bad mojo to be taking with you to the game and then sitting 4 rows back from the players. Next time, just to be safe, you'll know to give me the club seats.

Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

I know it's a blatant rip off of the O'Reilly Factor but I couldn't think of anything else to sum up this story over at LGF.

The gist, because Muslims consider pigs to be unclean animals, the management at some office in England has banned Winnie the Pooh.

Of course that's just my summary, they aren't banning Winnie the Pooh directly (he is just a bear after all), just everything that has the image of or is shaped like a pig, that just happens to include a Winnie the Pooh & Piglet tissue box.

Ever notice that in the PC world, "tolerance of people's beliefs" is always used as a way of limiting someone else freedoms. Shouldn't tolerance be a two way street? I don't come over to your office to eat my ham sandwiches, you don't come over to mine to take away my pig shaped stress ball.

Use some common sense folks.

Jeff adds his 2 cents.

This is why I generally don't like 'organized' protests

You just can never trust what anyone is saying there.

Too many people at these types of demonstrations don't give a damn about the truth as long as the image they create helps their cause. These are the same people who hand "No Blood for Oil" signs to their 5 year olds to hold because they believe it will have more of an emotional impact*.

Of course maybe I could be wrong about this. Maybe a guy who is on record donating to the DNC for the past 7 years really is a Republican.

Of course this type of protestor 'dishonesty' isn't limited to North America. Peter Brierley, for example, is one of a group of military families who uses his sons or daughters or siblings death to protest the war (you probably already know my opinion of the use of that particular tactic). The problem with Mr. Brierley's claim is that his sons death, while tragic, was in fact the result of a traffic accident in Kuwait and not a consequence of the war. He was not stationed in an active war zone and his death, except in the most roundabout way, can not be related to the war itself. He was a Lance Corporal on active duty in the British military deployed, as many thousands of other soldiers are, to a friendly country. If his father wants to protest the war, I would have no problem with that at all, but in trying to use his son's death to try and give added weight to his particular views, he steps over the line.

And don't even get me started on the jamboree type protests. Free concerts may be a great way to get people together to hear you, but if you've ever seen the cleanup required after an 'environmental' concert you would know that they aren't really there for the message.

*It might just be me but I can't help it when I see these kids holding signs at protests to see the comparison between their parents actions and those of the Middle Eastern protestors who hand their kids automatic rifles to wave in the air.
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