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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Trees held us in on all four sides so thick we could not see / I could not see any wrong in you, and you saw none in me.
— Woody Guthrie, Remember the Mountain Bed
December 31, 2005

On The Record; Riding Predictions

I was chatting about the election last night, and made some riding calls. I’m going to put them on the record.

Continue reading "On The Record; Riding Predictions"

Posted by skooter at 6:34 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Federal Election 2006

Liberal Finance Ministers

144x75 Let’s review, for a minute here.

Jean Chretien, the Prime Minister who created the rules that allow Quebec to break up my country, appointed Paul Martin as his Finance Minister. In the dying days of that Government, it became clear that the “Liberal Party was deeply courrupt” including illicit financial dealings with public money. The Finance Minister claimed he knew nothing.

Fast forward that Finance Minister Paul Martin is Prime Minister Paul Martin who appoints Ralph Goodale as his finance minister. The income trust scandal breaks, the Finance Ministry is under investigation by the RCMP (Merry Christmas Mr. Harper) and once again the Finance Minister claims to have known nothing, while Mr. Martin has implicated his own office.

Remind me again why we have a Finance Minister, and particularly a Liberal one? These last two have apparently, by their own admission, been fairly lacklustre.

Posted by skooter at 6:26 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Federal Election 2006

Revenge of the Sith

I’m finally watching Revenge of the Sith on DVD (borrowed.)

So far, I’m fairly unimpressed and unmoved. Two lines of Yoda’s dialouge provide a great example of why.

“A prophecy, that misread could have been.”

“I hope right you are”

Even George Lucas has just fallen into the trap created by the cliche’s of his characters. He’s writing reverse Yoda speak more often in this movie than in the originals.

It’s really quite tragic.

Continue reading "Revenge of the Sith"

Posted by skooter at 6:11 AM This entry is filed under Entertainment, Words.
Tags: Movies

December 30, 2005

Coffee Economics

An interesting article at Slate Magazine about the economics of the modern coffee shop

Bitter Brew - I opened a charming neighborhood coffee shop. Then it destroyed my life. By Michael Idov

Very enlightening. Very informative. 18 cents of beans for an Espresso and it’s still impossible for a mom and pop place to make a living.

It makes me feel, frankly, a bit dirty for going to the Starbucks right next door. But it’s right next door, and the girls are so pretty.

Posted by skooter at 9:54 AM This entry is filed under Vancouver.
Tags: Coffee, Starbucks

33 Investigations? Priceless.

144x75 A nice list of 33 RCMP investigations related to the Liberal Party of Canada in the last three years.

Of course there was that investigation into Brian Mulroney; the one that went nowhere; the one perpetuated by the Liberal government of Jean Chretien; the one that Mulroney successfully sued the Canadian government over.

Posted by skooter at 8:40 AM This entry is filed under Politics.

December 29, 2005

Whither Mr. Martin - Part Two

According to today’s Globe and Mail

Lawrence Martin
From Thursday’s Globe and Mail
Thursday, December 29, 2005

In a year-end interview, CTV’s Mike Duffy asked Paul Martin whether he would be stepping down as leader of the Liberal Party if he did not win a majority in the coming election.

The Prime Minister parried the question while hunting for the right words. Then he spoke of the great future awaiting Canada and the big challenges of the changing world. Then he said, “I want to be there.”

To those who think Mr. Martin will go quietly, his message was clear: Dream on.

Here’s a question for you Mr. Martin - did Mr. Chretien plan on going quietly?

There will be a putsch. The choice of whether or not to go may not be up to you. Watch out for those long knives — they hurt deeply. While it may not be clear to me who is wielding it, it’s obvious that someone is.

Posted by skooter at 6:52 AM This entry is filed under Politics.

December 28, 2005

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve on Bowen Island with friends. I can’t imagine a better way to spend it.

Posted by skooter at 10:01 PM This entry is filed under Family, Friends, Travel.

Astonishing Levels of Debt

This is just astounding.

The Liberal Party of Canada is carrying more debt than many small nations. One of their campaign slogans — There’s Over 30 Million Reasons to Vote Liberal — takes on new meaning in this light: if they don’t get enough seats elected, how are they ever going to repay this money?

Why, in any event, would any bank — let alone 13 different ones — lend a political party this much money? Politics is a game on which ou place large amounts of risk money: it’s gambling.

Banks aren’t suppose to gamble.

Posted by skooter at 11:16 AM This entry is filed under Politics.

Whither Mr. Martin?

There’s one extremely pressing question that I’m struggling with in this election:

Who’s going to replace Paul Martin after this election?

Continue reading "Whither Mr. Martin?"

Posted by skooter at 9:23 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Conservative Party of Canada, Liberals, Paul Martin, Stephen Harper

Mommy? How do I vote if I support tassles but not tip jars?

This. Is. Just. Weird.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005
New strip-club rules to go before voters
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER STAFF

Voters will have a chance to decide whether brighter lights, tip jars and a 4-foot distance between strip-club entertainers and customers should be required in Seattle’s adult cabarets.

The King County elections office has certified that enough signatures have been gathered to place the referendum on the ballot next year.

I’m envisioning all sorts of dinner table conversations about this; all kinds of it. Young boys asking their mothers and fathers. There are just too many jokes, really.

Continue reading "Mommy? How do I vote if I support tassles but not tip jars?"

Posted by skooter at 7:17 AM This entry is filed under America.
Tags: Articles

Bedouin Soundclash

The Bedouin Soundclash is playing in Vancouver tonight, or last night, or something. As a result, the CBC has taken a serious interest in playing their music - constantly.

I have to admit I don’t get it. I can’t figure out why people are calling this the best Canadian band of the year; I can’t figure out why people like their first song When the Night Feels my Song so much.

Lyrically I find it fairly uninteresting; musically it’s poppy and catchy, but the rhythm isn’t even remotely original.

So maybe I’m getting old or something, but frankly - I just don’t get it.

Posted by skooter at 7:07 AM This entry is filed under Music.

December 27, 2005

Sweden

My vacuum cleaner, car, roof rack and a good portion of my housewares are now Swedish.

If you can find a Swedish motorcycle do pass along the seller’s information.

Posted by skooter at 10:20 PM This entry is filed under Travel.

The Tipping Point

Fast Company has chosen Malcolm Gladwell as one of the year’s most creative thinkers in business.

This is a sure sign that they haven’t read his book, The Tipping Point

If you haven’t yet, the first chapter is worth a read. Not much else. It’s a fairly simplistic look at trend analysis and how business can create a vocabulary around it. Not much else.

Posted by skooter at 8:53 PM This entry is filed under Books.

I Told You So

From today’s Globe and Mail

Liberals may have success wooing NDP voters, a poll shows
By BRIAN LAGHI
Tuesday, December 27, 2005 Posted at 7:47 AM EST
OTTAWA BUREAU CHIEF

Jack Layton’s supporters are the most likely group to change their votes in the current election campaign, according to new polling data that appear to shed light on the Liberal’s effort to woo the NDP.

Posted by skooter at 5:24 AM This entry is filed under Politics.

December 26, 2005

Six Years

Today marks the first day of my 6th year of living in Vancouver. Sometimes this is hard to imagine, but it is true nonetheless.

I formally had an address here as of the first of December in 2001, and spent a few days here but it was Christmas Day that I crossed the border in my overflowing Jeep Cherokee and officially called Vancouver home. I walked through the door at about 9:00 at night, and was greeted by a smile warmer than anything I’d ever seen, and a hug that I’d been waiting for since leaving Billings, Montana at 4:30 in the morning. I drove almost 1,600km that day alone. It was worth it.

Continue reading "Six Years"

Posted by skooter at 5:22 PM This entry is filed under Vancouver.
Tags: Travel, Vancouver

December 24, 2005

Four Days in the Interior

It’s off to Kelowna, Oliver and Midway for four days to visit relatives. The drive up the Coquihalla should be pleasant.

It’s raining in Vancouver still - 6 or 7 days in a row at this point, but the weather is warm. This will change as we climb up the highway to snow, and ice and the kind of beautiful Christmas that people enjoy.

Back on Wednesday and aggressively into the throes of an election campaign - Merry Christmas to everybody.

Posted by skooter at 6:46 AM This entry is filed under Travel.

December 23, 2005

Marbury vs. Madison

The government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws and not of men. It will certainly cease to deserve this high appellation, if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right.

Chief Justice John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137 (1803)

Note, Mr. Bush, that it is neither a government of God.

Posted by skooter at 9:40 AM This entry is filed under America, Politics.

December 22, 2005

I read the news today, Oh Boy!

What is the world coming too? WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TOO?

Zoo: Snatched penguin may be Christmas gift

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 Posted: 2104 GMT (0504 HKT)
LONDON (AP) — A baby penguin believed to have been snatched from a British zoo as a quirky holiday gift is unlikely to survive until Christmas Day, his keeper warned Tuesday.

Toga, a 3-month-old Jackass penguin, was stolen Saturday from Amazon World on the Isle of Wight in southern England.

Just for the record, it was not me. I was in Vancouver all day.

Posted by skooter at 5:41 PM This entry is filed under Inanities, Penguins.
Tags: Articles, Penguins

Serenity

Serenity for some is a state of mind, for others a goal.

Having achieved all of that in recent months in my life, Serenity remains for me the best movie I saw this year, and the best forward-looking fiction that I’ve seen since The Matrix Some people label it a science-fiction western. This is not inaccurate, but really it’s a well written story about compelling characters. Nothing less.

Serenity been released on DVD, and if you haven’t bought it yet you should.

Posted by skooter at 10:36 AM This entry is filed under Entertainment.
Tags: Movies

Penguins, Rocky Mountain Chocolates, Fourth Avenue, Vancouver

Chocolate Penguins

Posted by skooter at 6:41 AM This entry is filed under Camera, Penguins, Vancouver.
Tags: Penguins, Photos

December 20, 2005

Internet Explorer for Mac: R.I.P. or Good Riddance?

Microsoft has officially announced that it’s removing Internet Explorer for the Macintosh from being downloadable, about a year after announcing the cessation of development.

Does it matter anymore?

Continue reading "Internet Explorer for Mac: R.I.P. or Good Riddance?"

Posted by skooter at 9:55 PM This entry is filed under Technology.

Getting Old Sucks

Getting old sucks, and right now it’s sucking a whole lot for a guy I know named Stan Hecker.

Stan’s a nice guy, who was a teacher in Vancouver for a lot of years. He’s healthy, and fit, and there’s really no reason he should have needed heart surgery, but it had to happen apparently.

I haven’t seen him in a while, but in April sometime I bumped into him at a party. It was just after I’d abandoned my car for the summer — he knows the same people, and was over on the Island for the weekend.

Stan said “Hi, Skot”, and flashed me that great smile he always had then looked serious for a minute. He shook my hand, and said “I saw your Volvo over on Bowen Island last weekend, so I trashed it.”

It was the funniest thing anybody had said to me in a long time.

My heart is with you Stan, only one of many I know.

Posted by skooter at 3:12 PM This entry is filed under Family, Friends.

King Kong (2006)

King Kong was on the agenda last night, and it provided reasonable — if somewhat lengthy — entertainment. This thing clocks in at about two and a half hours in length. Be prepared.

I don’t mean to spoil the movie for anybody who hasn’t seen the original — one of the most famous films of all time — but at the end Kong dies. As people poured out of the theatre into the tribute to capitalism that ‘s represented by Burnaby’s Metrotown mall, tears could be seen streaming down cheeks. Actual tears.

Was it really that good?

Continue reading "King Kong (2006)"

Posted by skooter at 6:26 AM This entry is filed under Entertainment.

Wayne Gretzky’s Mom

That the death, earlier today, of Wayne Gretzyky’s Mom, is national news speaks to the respect with which Canadians treat one of our nicest heroes. That Gretzky lived in Los Angeles for many years, and now coaches (and owns) the Phoenix Coyotes means little: he remains — and always will — the consumate Canadian kid, who flew home to Brampton, Ontario a couple of days ago to be by her side.

Our nation’s collective heart is with Wayne and his family now, in what should be a time of happiness for his family.

Posted by skooter at 6:17 AM This entry is filed under Canada, Sports.
Tags: Hockey, Obituaries

December 19, 2005

Now That’s a Vancouver Christmas

For the past week or so, it’s been cold here - cold meaning below zero, but not by much, overnight. It’s crazy, I know…but that’s cold.

So there’s been frost on the ground, and I actually went shopping for a windshield scraper — an elusive item in this town (I didn’t find one, but I didn’t go to Canadian Tire only London Drugs.)

Today it started raining, genly and softly falling from the sky. According to my Google home page, it’s going to keep doing that for about 6 days.

And that’s a Vancouver Christmas.

Posted by skooter at 8:24 AM This entry is filed under Vancouver.

December 12, 2005

Strategic Voting is the Liberal’s Friend

I told a Liberal candidate in a strong NDP riding that strategic voting was her friend - remind every NDP voter she spoke to that if they vote NDP, they may wind up with Mr. Harper.

This is undoubtedly part of the motivation behind this article in the Globe and Mail.

Liberals snatching NDP votes in Ontario

Posted by skooter at 6:07 AM This entry is filed under Politics.

December 10, 2005

An homage to TV?

Stephen Harper has apparently started to crib his election policy from The West Wing

Tories announce cancer plan
Saturday, December 10, 2005 Posted at 10:46 AM EST
Canadian Press

Ottawa — Stephen Harper says a Conservative government would spend $250-million over five years to come up with a strategy to fight cancer.

And a note to Deborah Gray who appeared on “CBC Radio’s The House” this morning, as I was typing this: while persistently pointing out the gaps in the media’s coverage is a wonderful communications strategy, continually blaming the media for bias causingn those gaps is bound to alienate them even firther.

Posted by skooter at 9:37 AM This entry is filed under Politics.

M. Duceppe and Quebec

M. Duceppe has spoken out, claiming that ‘Bloc MP’s are the only ones who will speak out for Quebec.’

Sorry M. Duceppe, I just don’t buy it.

Continue reading "M. Duceppe and Quebec"

Posted by skooter at 9:12 AM This entry is filed under Quebec.

December 9, 2005

Meet The New Boss

In what I can only describe as a bizarre twist of events that unfolded very quickly, I now have a new job.

A real one too, with a company who’s head office is in Vancouver with a manufacturing plant in Bellingham. (Bellingham is, incidentally, my favourite city in Washington State. It’s absolutely beautiful, and where you board the Alaska ferry.)

Words can’t quite explain how thrilled I am.

The job’s in a neighbourhood I’m familiar with, and one free from Junkie’s shooting up all day. I can, in fact, walk the sea wall right from work.

It’s all very surreal still, and I can’t wait to start this week.

Posted by skooter at 8:14 PM This entry is filed under Vancouver.

December 8, 2005

Me at 1526hrs Today

Posted by skooter at 9:35 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Family.

December 7, 2005

Can’t Forget That Great Theme Song

Stallone is filming a new Rocky movie.

A long time ago, I remember him talking about this. It’s been forgotten in the subsequent cheese that Rocky won an Oscar for Best Picture. Stallone mused at the time that if he were ever going to be honoured by the academy again, it would be in a picture where he played an old character again and Rocky was used as an example.

Good luck with that Sly. I’ll be waiting on pins and needles.

Posted by skooter at 7:18 AM This entry is filed under Entertainment.

December 6, 2005

Riding up to the Internet?

Yes, in the Senate chamber today of The Greatest Nation On Earth™ Jack Valenti — the former president of the MPAA — spoke out against television and, as part of his blast, expressed concerns about any child’s ability to “go riding up to the Internet.”

Which is just odd.

Posted by skooter at 11:09 PM This entry is filed under Politics, Technology.

A New Model for TV?

My iPod is not of the video variety, having a lowly black and white screen. This doesn’t bother me, as I kind of want less TV in my life rather than more anyway.

Nonetheless, this caught my eye with great interest:

NBC Universal programming now available on the iTunes Music Store spans from the 1950s to the present, including NBC’s “Law & Order,” “The Office,” “Surface,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” the USA Network’s Emmy Award-winning “Monk” and Sci-Fi Channel’s “Battlestar Galactica” as well as classic TV shows including “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “Dragnet,” “Adam-12” and “Knight Rider,” on the iTunes Music Store beginning today.

Could Steve Jobs have actually found a new, workable model for TV distribution?

Continue reading "A New Model for TV?"

Posted by skooter at 10:32 AM This entry is filed under Entertainment, Technology.
Tags: Apple, Battlestar Galactica, Television

The Source of Cynicism

This article from the T-dot Star outlines Mr. Martin’s new, improved childcare plan designed to trump Mr. Harper’s $1,200 child related tax credit (call it what it is Mr. Harper…call it what it is.)

No wonder Canadians are cynical.

Continue reading "The Source of Cynicism"

Posted by skooter at 8:24 AM This entry is filed under Politics, Words.

December 5, 2005

It’s Back

The Swedish Rocket is back. My other form of transportation will, in the future, be referred to as the Japanese Bullet

Posted by skooter at 10:08 PM This entry is filed under Travel.

Disappear?

Monsieur Duceppe has suggested that he wants to make all Liberals disapper in Quebec, and is getting his wrist slapped as a result.

Let’s not make a mountain out of a molehill here — with the Liberals saying the remark “smacks of Naziism” there’s little doubt who’s blowing it out of proportion.

As for the goal, M. Duceppe — have no fear, Mr. Martin has taken care of that one for you already. Have no doubt.

Posted by skooter at 9:00 AM This entry is filed under Quebec.

December 1, 2005

Team Martin’s High Priced Advice

You can bet Team Martin paid quite a bit of money for their logo redesign, and yet they still missed the obvious potential for fooling around with it.

The Liberal Party has a rule, incidentally, according to people out here who know - the logo gets redesigned every time a new leader is elected.

So why this redesign now?

Posted by skooter at 8:54 AM This entry is filed under Politics.