Thursday, March 08, 2007

Nuff said

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Good the Bad and the Ugly 6

I have been an absent blogger of late. Things have taken my attention away. I decided to return today because I figure if the MHAs have to actually sit in the House of Assembly after over four months away, then we all should decide to do a little work. Poor things. Anyway, I figured a good restart of the blogging life is another installment of The Good the Bad and the Ugly (see sidebar for previous episodes).

The Internet is an amazing thing. It can be used for everything from spewing neo-nazi hatred to searching for a way to end poverty; from making people laugh at cartoons to making people weep with a poignant true story. In a semi-regular feature, here are the good, the bad and the ugly for this week:

The Good

I know, I know, I usually put something serious, nice or even philanthropic in this place. But everyone needs some fun and the truth is you can find fun. And the fun, my friends, is at Yes, they have those annoying ads on the sides and yes this is silly stuff but think of the hours you can waste there, and really, isn't that what the Internet is about? I mean you can create talking squirrels.

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(Okay, the truth is the bad and ugly ones are easy to find for these posts; it's the good ones I have trouble with so mindless fun will have to do).

The Bad

Anti-global warming sites.

I think George Bush believes these guys but he also believes the war in Iraq was justified and is still winnable. These sites ignore the ever-melting polar ice caps and polar bears with suntans and dismiss the truth about global warming. It amazes me what people can twist the facts to make themselves and others believe. People can find ways to prove that AIDS does not exist or that pedophilia is fine as long as it is "consenting" or that Ann Coulter is human. The fact that leaders of countries might be accepting this information means the people who can do something about it, the policy makers who have the power to slow down this process, can go right on believing they don't need to worry about it. These are probably the same people who produced the training videos in the 1950s showing kids how to hide under a desk and cover your head in case of a nuclear explosion. They're there right now, cowering under a desk. You can see them. There's George Bush and Stephen Harper and Rona Ambrose--hands over their heads and the mushroom cloud outside.

The Ugly

Michael Richards' Racist Rant

If you haven't seen it yet (view it at TMZ or at Google Video), you may have read or hear about it. Michael Richards, aka, Seinfeld's Kramer, had a complete meltdown on stage the other night and starting screaming racial epithets at audience members then going off on them again when he was called on it. He then dropped his mike and left the stage, leaving the emcee to come up on stage, stammer and apologize. Patrons were given their money back. Richards went back to perform again the next night at the same place, with the agreement that he would apologize. He did not. Then Monday morning, video of the whole debacle showed up. Oh Michael, this is the age of the video cellphone. Did you think no one would see it? The question is, what will he attribute the tirade to--drug addiction? Alcohol? A nervous breakdown? Me predicts that Michael will do rehab soon then tour the talk show circuit with the "poor me"s about what happened. Hear that faint sound, people? It's the world smallest violin.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

No debate over the Turner report

So my call to arms regarding the Turner report has created zero discussion. Not because people did not read it, they did, or at least they visited the page. I could be disheartened that new logos and car commercials can cause more Internet natter, but I am not. The nature of this beast called blogging is that it gets hot and heavy when there is something to debate. I think the Zachary Turner report needs no debate. Everyone agrees that it is an aborrhent situation and that the system failed him. No need to debate that issue, no banter necessary. I guess the debatable thing is what should happen because of it. The one lone anonymous commenter to my last post suggested that politicians, the ministers of the relevant departments, should resign. That doesn't seem the right answer to me. I think it is the bureaucrats that should go, the higher ups in the department, those that know what is going on--the deputy ministers, managers and supervisors. No one in the department wants to comment because they cannot comment on specific cases, but surely it is not hard to figure out who was there and who knew what, when. I hope some heads roll soon, and I hope the changes needed in the system happen soon enough to save the kids in the system now from winding up like Zachary Turner.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Protecting the kids

I'm feeling sad for the kids these days. First it was the shootings in the school in Pennsylvania. What could you imagine would be safer than an Amish one-room school house in Pennsylvania? I mean, really? I have been thinking about it a lot. I can't stop, in fact. It keeps me tossing and turning through the night. I just imagine those peaceful people, trying to keep their lives away from the outside world. How can they accept, or anyone accept for that matter, their daughters being lined up in school, handcuffed and executed? I saw a picture of an Amish man looking up at the helicopters that now infiltrated his community, dragged there by grief and unspeakable horror. The look on his face haunts me. This whole thing makes me wonder if we shouldn't all lock our kids away, to somehow try to protect them from what is out there, to hide them from the outside world. Then again, that didn't really work for the Amish, did it? It is an awful, perfect lesson in the fact that we cannot protect them from everything.

Then I read about the report on the death of Zachary Turner. No surprises there, but you can't help but fight back the tears for the little boy who did not have to die and for his grandparents who must be so very frustrated every day at the thought that their son and grandchild are gone and that, at least in the case of young Zachary, it could have, should have, been prevented. There are questions like was it the fault of individuals or the child protection system? Well, yes it was the system. ANyone who knows a social worker who has come out of university in the past few years, knows someone who worked at Child Protection. It is the entry-level, ditch digging job of the social work world. You go there and punch your time until you get enough experience and can move onto something else better. And you complain because the workload is crushing. That is the system: on the job training for social workers overloaded with way too many cases because there are way too few social workers.

Child Advocate Darlene Neville says that, due to fundamental problems in the Child Protection system, there are children under that department's protection that are at risk right now. Well, people, who the hell cares about our new brand for Newfoundland and if it looks like pitcher plants or bakeapples? The blogging community in and from this province has made enough noise to make the news about things like our reaction to MUN's new brand and the Nissan commercial. Well, let's get pissed off and let's get active and do something about this. Let's make some noise. These are our kids and this is beyond ridiculous. I don't have a clue what we can do to change this but let's put our heads together and try.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Brand New

Fresh on the heels of Hans Rollman's great column on the new brand of Memorial University of Newfoundland in this past weekend's Telegram (not on their website yet, unfortunately), the government of Newfoundland and Labrador has created our new brand. This represents our province to the world. My first reaction was "Really?. That's it?" Well, it doesn't instill any wonder to me. I like the idea of the pitcher plant (although I think foreigners will wonder why those antennae are sticking out of our logo) and all, but the colours, the fancy font, they are just not doing it for me.

I guess I kind of understand the reason behind it, to have one brand to represent the province. But I can't believe all these people (and I'm sure with all this money) could only come up with this. It's not ugly, just doesn't seem to have any oomph. Obviously, I don't understand all this brand stuff because MUN's seemed incomprehensible to me and now this one seems blah. My big beef with it is that now all the government documents, pamphlets, memo pads, Holiday cards, web sites, etc. now have to be redone and reprinted. How much will that set us back, I wonder?

So now we have a brand and I'm not sure how much a difference it will make, except it will give we bloggers something new to write about.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Regional voting on Canadian Idol

It started with Krista Borden winning Pop Stars (after Newfoundlanders and Labradorians voted en masse, encouraged by local radio stations who even went through the dialing process and told you what you would hear on the other end when you voted), then grew a little with Jenny Gear, more with Jason Greeley, hit a crescendo with Rex Goudie and continued full speed ahead this year with Craig Sharpe. I'm talking about doing your civic duty and voting for the Newfoundlander--not necessarily the best singer or the most charsimatic performer--just the Newfoundlander, no matter what. It was during Rex's contest last year that people figured out you could get through easier on payphones than on your private phone. That was it. Try to get a payphone on a Monday night after Canadian Idol. This year, calls went out in newspapers and on radio and tv for volunteers willing to get to a payphone on Monday nights. It was unpatriotic to have an unused payphone in the province.

And the inevitable complaints came after [insert Newfoundland competitor's name here] did not win Canadian Idol. Telephone companies made sure no one could vote out of here and purposely ensured a Newfoundlander would not win, people alleged. Cooler heads just complained that there was no way a Newfoundlander could win since we do not have as many payphones as western Canada or Quebec. How insulting! Why can't a Newfoundlander win because he/she is brilliant and talented? This regional voting is ridiculous. To say Eva Avila won because Quebecers had more phones is to take away from her amazing talent. Conversely, people from elsewhere could easily say that Craig Sharpe only got to the finals because of the organization of the payphone patrol and not because of his fabulous voice. The point is that we should be voting based on talent. We should assume that other people outside of Newfoundland and Labrador--on private phones, cell phones, and payphones--voted for Craig Sharpe because he has the voice of an angel and not because they came from here. Regional voting is worse than voting for "the cute guy" or "the pretty girl". It is telling the person you are rooting for, that he/she has no chance without "the crowd from home". I don't think this will change. In fact it keeps getting more organized and more prevalent. I just think it is wrong. And I have to wonder what would have happened to Jenny Gear (the most talented of the idols so far, IMHO) if the payphone thing had been figured out when she was competing. If only the people of this island could "get out the vote" this well come time to elect the leaders of this country and this province.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Giller Longlist

The Giller Longlist has been announced and they are:

  • David Adams Richards, The Friends of Meager Fortune

  • Caroline Adderson, Pleased to Meet You

  • Todd Babiak, The Garneau Block

  • Randy Boyagoda, Governor of the Northern Province

  • Douglas Coupland, jPod

  • Alan Cumyn, The Famished Lover

  • Rawi Hage, De Niro's Game

  • Kenneth J. Harvey, Inside

  • Wayne Johnston, The Custodian of Paradise

  • Vincent Lam, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures

  • Annette Lapointe, Stolen

  • Pascale Quiviger, The Perfect Circle

  • GaĆ©tan Soucy, The Immaculate Conception

  • Russell Wangersky, The Hour of Bad Decisions

  • Carol Windley, Home Schooling

Not to say I told you so, but I told you so. Sure b'y, just because I predicted correctly two of the selections for the Giller Longlist, that's no big deal. I missed that Russel Wangersky's The Hour of Bad Decisions would make it. I will go further and predict both Inside and The Custodian of Paradise will make the shortlist. Maybe The Hour of Bad Decisions will too but I can't speak about it since I have not read it and am not familiar with Wangersky's fiction. Congrats to all the nominees.