Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Yahoo "Web Beacons" -- An Invasion of Privacy?

I got an alert earlier this evening from one of my member sites, and I'm just going to post the entire alert here, as I got it:

Okay, I hope I don't screw this up too badly. Let me know if I do as I will keep the original email.

Just wanted to pass it on.

If you belong to ANY Yahoo Groups be aware that Yahoo is now using "Web Beacons" to track every Yahoo Group user.

It's similar to cookies, but allows Yahoo to record every website and every group you visit, even when you're not connected to Yahoo.

Look at their updated privacy statement at http://privacy.yahoo.com/privacy (no www.)

About half-way down the page, in the section on cookies, you will see a link that says WEB BEACONS.

Click on the phrase "Web Beacons."

On the page that opens, find a paragraph entitled "Outside the Yahoo Network."

In that section find a little "Click Here to Opt Out" a link that will let you "opt-out" of their snooping.

That's it!

When you are done, don't click the "Opt Back In" button; that will UNDO the opt-out.

Note that Yahoo's invasion of your privacy - and your ability to opt-out of it - is not user-specific. It is MACHINE specific. That means you will have to opt-out on every computer (and browser) you use.

Please forward this to your other groups. You might complain, too, but I'm not sure if anyone is listening..."

Now, I dunno if this is worth all the fuss and feathers or not, but wasn't there a recent news story about Yahoo being one of those directories that were cooperating with the US government, and opening up user account info for data mining?

Would someone with lots more computer savvy-ness than me care to comment on all this?

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Last night, for the first time in months, I was back on stage with the guys in the band, having a party -- a ceilidh -- for a proposed Heritage building.

The building in question is an old school in a really old and picturesque part of the lower mainland. The school itself is in pretty good shape, but the land around it has appreciated in value, and developers are salivating at the acreage on which it sits. Already, the surrounding area looks like it has been infected with ticky-tacky.

For those who are familiar with this area, the school is on the north arm of Burrard Inlet in an area of Port Moody called Ioco. The view from up there is stunning. Of course the developers are salivating!

But a lot of the people who live in the area would prefer to keep it like it is -- undeveloped. And one good way to frustrate over-development is to have something declared a Heritage site.

One of the guys in my band has some connection with the Heritage people, and they all got into a conversation a few weeks back...and the result was our ceilidh, which was geared to bring people's attention to the aims of the Heritage committee.

We were the host band, and we were joined by a couple of other truly excellent local musicians, all of us forming an arrangement-optional jam session for the event. Because the other musicians were not familiar with our arrangements, we just blew them all off and kept watching for those shorthand signals that musicians develop with one another. There were times during the night when goose-bumps ran down collective backs at the accidental perfection of something we had just done...

The venue was the school gym, which made for a really lively sound (yes, we needed monitors -- quarter-second bounce from the back wall threatened to throw us all off). People brought pot-luck dishes, other decorated, the kids popped all the balloons, one at a time (which sound is really startling inside what was essentially an echo-chamber).and everybody danced.

This was the opening salvo, I think. In the future, there will probably be a few fundraisers and publicity gigs -- all unpaid, but lots of fun to do. And if we get to work with the calibre of musicianship we worked with last night, I'm ready to go for it.

I was reminded that this is how Great Big Sea got started -- doing ceilidhs around the local area. I think I'd like to skip the incident with the bus, though (they all almost got killed when their bus crashed on the way into Vancouver for a gig on February 9 -- read the entry for February 10, 2006). And, being the drummer/percussionist of the group (as well as some arrangements and vocals), I wanna be Sean McCann when I grow up.

Starting a musical career in your mid-fifties? Why not? I can think of more boring things to do, for sure...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other

I love Willie Nelson!

Willie opens closet with 'Cowboys'

COUNTRY MUSIC: Song shows support for gay rights

I heard this song a few days ago on my local radio talk show -- and that station never plays music, unless it's a few bars of a bumper cut. Naturally, I had to go looking for it to see if it was real, or just someone's idea of a joke.

It's real.

Get the lyrics here.

Listen to the song here (with a video complilation from Brokeback Mountain).

Did I mention that I love Willie Nelson?

Monday, February 20, 2006


(H/T to old friend Terry O'Neill)

Gimme a fuckin' break.

You can't serve pork soup or ham sandwiches because Jews and Muslims can't eat it.

You can't serve beef because Hindus can't eat it.

You can't serve meat of any kind because Buddhists and vegans can't eat it.

You can't serve peanut butter because too many people are allergic and can't eat it.

With the bird flu bearing down on the world, pretty soon you won't be able to serve chicken because there won't be any.

Have I left anything out?

Oh. Yeah. Vichy - soise, anyone?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Sour Grapes From Grapes

I guess Don Cherry has to slag someone, now that he's been slapped for slagging French hockey players. That, and it's hard to keep your name in the news when the NHL takes a two-week hiatus to accomodate the Olympics.

"Hockey commentator Don Cherry criticized the Canadian women's hockey team Wednesday for running up the score against their weaker opponents at the Winter Olympics."

Now, the last time I checked, the whole purpose of a competitive sport is to run up as high a score as you can. Right?

And the whole purpose of the Olympics is to demonstrate the abilities of athletes, right?

Obviously, the Canadian women's team were actually in a position to do both. So they did.

"'To run up a score like that, that is wrong,' said Cherry. `First of all it is not the Canadian way.'"

It's wrong? It's unCanadian? Our national sport? Not excel? oh...I get it -- It's not ladylike!

"American defenceman Angela Ruggiero, considered the best defenceman in women's hockey, told SI.com, Sports Illustrated's website earlier this week, that she was upset that 'Canada has been running up the score, especially against the host nation.'"

Now, from a competitor in the same sport and at the same (maybe) level, I would expect this kind of bitching. After all, it's in Ruggiero's best interests to keep the Canadian team's score as low as possible, isn't it -- considering that as a defenceman, she is going to have to face those power forwards in the fight for the gold.

But...she also said, "...especially against the host nation." The host being Italy. Ruggiero being an Italian name. Hmmmmmm...

"'If you run up scores like you're running up scores now, and beating all these Europeans teams like that and making mockery of their hosts. . . If you keep it up, you're committing suicide, they'll throw those games out.'"

Listen up, you broken-down old has-been: This is the Olympics. Higher. Faster. Stronger. Go for the Gold.

If other countries with "hockey" teams are having a hard time keeping up, they can do one of two things. They can either practise their chosen sport and take it as seriously as our Canadian women do. Or they can save themselves the embarassment and simply not enter a team into an event when they know they're outclassed to begin with.

Not Canadian? Grapes, you're not relevant!

Hayley and Team Canada: YOU GO, GIRLS!


UPDATE THE FIRST: Looks like the run for the gold won't be between Canada and the US after all. Could be Canada and Sweden. Although, I don't like the shoot-out at all. More luck than skill involved. However, those are the current rules, and I am in the minority.

UPDATE THE SECOND: Somebody musta been readin' my mind. I think it would be entirely too much to think they were readin' my blog...

Monday, February 13, 2006

I Wouldn't Be A Bit Surprised

Liberals contemplate quick comeback after disastrous first week for Harper

This sounds awfully familiar:

"We're going to oppose those measures that we find are not in the interests of Canada and Canadians and we'll oppose them all the way..."


"And if that leads to the government falling, it's going to lead to the government falling. And the way they're making their decisions it's clear that could happen earlier rather than later just given the nature of what they're doing."

If you didn't already know that this was a Liberal speaking of the Tory government, would you be able to tell who was speaking of whom?

Western Standard, Front and Center

Well, it looks like one of the few Canadian media outlets to post the so-called "offensive" cartoons is the Western Standard.

If that link does not work, just come back later and try again. It has not been taken offline. It seems that the Information Super-Highway is in the middle of a monstrous traffic jam, and the server is overloaded. From the Shotgun blog:

"Don't Panic

"It seems that our website has beeen overloaded by traffic this morning and our web provider has suspended our account temporarily. This won't affect the blog.

"We'll be back up soon.

"Thanks for your patience.

Posted by Western Standard on February 13, 2006 at 12:06 PM"

Now, let's hope the server recovers nicely. And that their downtime was not simply an excuse to avoid having Ezra publish the cartoons for all to see or not see, as they wish (one of the really unfortunate by-products of everyone's tippy-toeing around those cartoons is that almost nobody has actually seen what they are protesting against!)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Egypt In October 2005

It seems that the cartoons that are sparking furore among some groups of Muslims around the world have been subjected to some intense scrutiny for their provenance by other Muslims.

Sandmonkey, with the impetus of Freedom For Egyptians have done some investigating, and found, much to everyone's surprise, that those offensive cartoons were actually published in an Egyptian newspaper on October 17, 2005.

From Sandmonkey's post:

"...they were actually printed in the Egyptian Newspaper Al Fagr back in October 2005. I repeat, October 2005, during Ramadan, for all the egyptian muslim population to see, and not a single squeak of outrage was present. Al Fagr isn't a small newspaper either: it has respectable circulation in Egypt, since it's helmed by known Journalist Adel Hamoudah. Looking around in my house I found the copy of the newspaper, so I decided to scan it and present to all of you to see.

"Now while the arab islamic population was going crazy over the outrage created by their government's media over these cartoons, their governments was benifitting from its people's distraction. The Saudi royal Family used it to distract its people from the outrage over the Hajj stampede. The Jordanian government used it to distract its people from their new minimum wage law demanded by their labor unions. The Syrian Government used it to create secterian division in Lebanon and change the focus on the Harriri murder. And, finally, the Egyptian government is using it to distract us while it passes through the new Judiciary reforms and Social Security Bill- which will cut over $300 million dollars in benefits to some of Egypt's poorest families. But, see, the people were not paying attention, because they were too busy defending the prophet by sending out millions of e-mails and SMS-messages, boycotting cheese and Lego and burning Butter and the danish Flag. Let's not even mention the idiots who went the usual route of "It's a jewish conspiracy", spouted the stupid argument about the Holocaust, or went on a diatribe with the old favorite "There is an organized campaign-headed by the west and the jews- to attack and discredit Islam, and we have to defend it". They proved, once again, that the arab world is retarded and deserves no better than its leaders."

Go read, see the scanned papers, the dates of publication, the comments, and the links. Link back and pass it along. Send the links and the story to your local MSM and your political representatives. Send them to other bloggers. Get the story out. Now.

Before anyone else dies for no good reason.

Emerson! Recalling David Emerson!

It seems that Vancouver-Kingsway turncoat MP David Emerson is unhappy with the reaction that was caused by his turning his back on his constituents and embracing a party for which they had not voted.

Aaaawwwwww...poor baby...*pat pat*

He says he's unhappy that his kids are suffering because of his perfidy. Well, shit, son -- who brought it on? Bet he wasn't too unhappy when his kids were the toast of the school, and being voted "most popular" because daddy was an important man with the government, hm?

Wanting to have his cake and eat it, too, he is.

Well, his constituents now want to become former constituents, and they've drafted a recall petition to that effect:

To: Government Of Canada

We the undersigned believe that David Emerson elected as a Liberal Member of Parliament for the riding of Vancouver Kingsway should be immediately recalled and a by election held so that the people of Vancouver Kingsway and in general all Canadians can be represented by the party and candidate of their choice.

David Emerson should immediately resign his current position in the Conservative Party and his cabinet position of Minister of International Trade. The people of Canada and in Particular the people of Vancouver Kingsway deserve proper democratic rights.


(The Undersigned)

And, not to put too fine a point on things, but I wonder how Kanman Wong feels right now? You know -- the CPC candidate for Vancouver-Kingsway? The one who actually ran for election as the CPC candidate?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Howlin' With Hobbit

Serendipity: • noun -- the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

— ORIGIN from Serendip (a former name for Sri Lanka): coined by the English politican and writer Horace Walpole (1717-97), after The Three Princes of Serendip, a fairy tale in which the heroes were always making fortunate discoveries.

Fortunate discoveries. I like that. It's part of what makes this such a small world, sometimes.

I first met the Howlin' Hobbit mumblety-mumble years ago -- back when "computer" meant a Univac machine, and "Internet" was a place for the fish to go -- if the fisherman was lucky.

We had friends and interests in common, and met regularly at science fiction conventions around the Pacific Northwest. And it was pretty much always party time. I was part of the hospitality-and-room-party scene, always with a room full of entertainment and refreshments. Hobbit was a magician, and he'd entertain at the drop of a top hat. We were young, and we had a blast -- the two of us, our respective partners, and about three hundred of our closest friends.

Tempus has a habit of fugiting, though, and we got a little older, took on "responsibilities," grew apart, lost the ability to party for sixty hours straight without sleep, and lost touch.

Then came blogging. Another of our mutual friends had kept more-or-less in touch over the years, and one day told me that Hobbit had his own website. Naturally, I looked it up. He's a little older, he's shaved his head, and possibly has a little more avoirdupois than he'd like (and don't we all?). He also has a blog , but it was the other changes that really blew me away -- Hobbit is a singer/songwriter!

He was recently interviewed by Scott Andrews, who does music blogging, on life as a professional busker:

"One night, some years ago, I was playing in a little alcove formed by the doorway of what was then a jewelry store at the corner of 45th and University in the U District here in Seattle. Nothing but gutbucket blues, understand. This wino sits himself on a parked car and listens for a while. I can’t for the life of me remember which tune did him in, but all of a sudden I look up and he’s crying, tears just streaming down his face. I’d touched him somewhere with the tune. He had one of the lids to a styrofoam hamburger package he’d been panhandling with and he came over and dumped all his pennies and nickels into my case, slurred out “thank you” and staggered off down the street."

He can still tell a story. And I'll tell you what else he can do -- he can sing! These songs on his website are a sample of his talent, and there's something for everybody. "Teddy Bears' Picnic" is the only un-original song here, and if you've got either kids or a sense of nostalgia, this will strike a chord -- and the pun stays where it is, thank you.

Give them all a listen. Wander around the website, especially if you love music of all kinds. And if you like the music samples, you can buy one of his CDs from the site.

And the next time you're in Seattle, visit Pike Place Market. Look for a medium-short(ish) guy with a shaved head a ukulele, and a mulled-mead voice. Enjoy the show, and don't forget to show your appreciation.

Monday, February 06, 2006



Well, did we change parties, or did we just change faces? Because we sure as hell did not change direction!

Who among the Blogging Tories (yes, Dazz, I know you will) is gonna step up and say that this is blatantly hypocritical?

C'mon -- I double-dog dare ya!

UPDATE: The Arabian Knight has registered his disapproval. Some others are trying to justify it (no links for you guys).

UPAGAINDATE: Spiderman and Damian join the ranks of the disappointed...and Tim...

If you know of others who are similarly disgusted (not my word -- theirs), leave a link in the comments, okay? To paraphrase Albus Dumbledore, "It takes courage to go up against your political opponents; it takes much more courage to go up against your political friends."

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Four By Four -- Another Meme

Looks like I've been tagged again, this time by Zorph. And this ain't gonna be as easy as it looks...

Four vehicles I've owned:
Kawasaki 100
Honda 150
Yamaha 350
Suzuiki 650
-- Don't ask for years or models, because they have long gone, and I don't remember. I do remember that the Yamaha was my personal favorite -- much more pickup than the mere "350" would suggest...

Four jobs I've had:
Short-order cook
Grocery stocker
Pizza delivery
Auto parts delivery
-- And this is barely scratching the surface. I'm the restless sort.

Four place I've lived:
Trenton, Ontario
Whitehorse, Yukon
Gimli, Manitoba
Kingston, Ontario
-- All military bases (or were at the time -- two of them are now closed).

Four vacations I've taken:
-- Life is a vacation, guys. I rarely plan anything like this (except for one trip to Florida for the opening of Disney World and a tour of Cape Canaveral -- that took two weeks).

Four tags:

Carry on...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Classes For Men

From my e-mail:
Class 1
How To Fill Up The Ice Cube Trays --- Step By Step, With Slide Presentation.
Meets 4 weeks, Monday and Wednesday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.
Class 2
The Toilet Paper Roll --- Does It Change Itself?
Round Table Discussion.
Meets 2 weeks, Saturday 12:00 for 2 hours.
Class 3
Is It Possible To Urinate Using The Technique Of Lifting The Seat And Avoiding The Floor, Walls And Nearby Bathtub? --- Group Practice.
Meets 4 weeks, Saturday 10:00 PM for 2 hours.
Class 4
Fundamental Differences Between The Laundry Hamper And The Floor --- Pictures And Explanatory Graphics.
Meets Saturdays at 2:00 PM for 3 week
Class 5
After Dinner Dishes --- Can They Levitate And Fly Into The Kitchen Sink?
Examples on Video.
Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.
Class 6
Loss Of Identity --- Losing The Remote To Your Significant Other.
Help Line Support And Support Groups.
Meets 4 Weeks, Friday and Sunday 7:00 PM.
Class 7
Learning How To Find Things --- Starting, Looking In The Right Places, And Not Turning The House Upside Down While Screaming.
Open Forum.
Monday at 8:00 PM, 2 hours.
Class 8
Health Watch --- Bringing Her Flowers Is Not Harmful To Your Health.
Graphics And Audio Tapes.
Three nights: Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.
Class 9
Real Men Ask For Directions When Lost --- Real Life Testimonials.
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM Location to be determined.
Class 10
Is It Genetically Impossible To Sit Quietly While She Parallel Parks?
Driving Simulations.
4 weeks, Saturday's noon, 2 hours.
Class 11
Learning to Live --- Basic Differences Between Mother And Wife.
Online Classes And Role-Playing.
Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, location to be determined.
Class 12
How To Be The Ideal Shopping Companion
Relaxation Exercises, Meditation And Breathing Techniques.
Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.
Class 13
How To Fight Cerebral Atrophy --- Remembering Birthdays, Anniversaries And Other Important Dates And Calling When You're Going To Be Late.
Cerebral Shock Therapy Sessions and Full Lobotomies Offered.
Three nights: Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.
Class 14
The Stove/Oven --- What It Is And How It Is Used.
Live Demonstration.
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM, location to be determined.
Upon completion of any of the above courses,
diplomas will be issued to the survivors.

Cutting Off A Nose To Spite A Face

The rage against free speech is still going on in Denmark and, it seems, most of the Muslim world.

And now France and Germany are joining forces with Denmark in defense of free speech. In the words of Serge Faubert -- France Soir editor: "There is no right to protection from satire in the West; there is a right to blasphemy."

This is actually pretty much what I expected to happen. The free-speech countries are rallying 'round one another. With France and Germany on board (and France being already on the Muslims' shit list for its policy against all religious displays, regardless of religion), I think other countries may soon join the fray.

But, to get to the point of the title for this post -- the boycott has gone too far. 'Way too far. Because if this statement in the article is true, then the Muslims are willing to kill their own people, or allow them to die, just to make a point that has already been beaten bloody:

"The world's biggest maker of insulin, Novo Nordisk, said it was also hit as pharmacies and hospitals in Saudi Arabia have avoided its products since Saturday."

Muslims who have diabetes are being denied treatment in order to bolster the offended egos of their overly-sensitive "friends."

With friends like this, do Muslims need more enemies?

I wonder how this would turn out if some of the Muslim religious/government leaders were diabetic?

(H/T Sandmonkey)

UPDATE: Italy and Spain have joined the fray!

Keep your own updates here.

You Can Put This On My Wish List!

This little gizmo is my new favorite flavor, and as soon as it makes its way to North America, I want one!

I shun cell phones the way gay-bashers shun logic -- which is to say, completely.

But it's really hard to shun anything when it's sitting right next to you on a bus, talking in your ear. I mean, sweetie, do I really need to know how much you drank last Saturday night, and how many guys you balled how many times? You got a right to your sex life, but why do you want to share it with me?

And then I got a dirty look for "eavesdropping!"

True story.

How Dare Gay People Want To Get Married?

It doesn't seem like the anti-gay crowd is going to admit defeat very soon when it comes to same-sex marriage. Despite that several provinces decided on their own to legalize same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court and Parliament got into the act and made it a country-wide decision (and as far as I know, the only possible hold-out province in the country was going to be Alberta -- maybe), the gay-bashers are on the howl again to reverse a constitutional right to live your life free from discrimination.

There is, if you want to spend a couple hours watching a game of logic ping-pong (get yourself a neck brace, first -- I warn ya!) a bubbling cauldron over at The Shotgun. Feel free to stir it around a little -- I don't think it's quite done, yet. Man, some of those gay-bashers are nasty!

Now, I like a good debate as much as most intelligent people, I guess. But some of those gay bashers in the midst of the Shotgun thingie seem to be running out of steam. They are losing the fight, valiant though it is. So, in the spirit of good competition and fair play, I've decided to help them out. The points posted below are "borrowed" gleefully from Ampersand, who "borrowed" them from someone else:

Ten Reasons Gay Marriage Is Wrong

1. Being gay is not natural. And as you know Canadians have always rejected unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

3. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because, as you know, a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

4. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed. The sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

7. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

8. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in Canada.

9. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

I edited one word twice: I changed "America" to "Canada." That was so our Canadian gay-bashers would feel at home and all righteous-like.

So there ya go, people! Feel free to "borrow" any or all of these excellent points when you thump your manly-man chests or shrill your girly-girl voices against this dread social disease that is threatening to take over our country: