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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
One left her sweater sitting on the train / and the other lost three fingers at the Cannery
— Neko Case, Margaret vs. Pauline
December 29, 2007

Canada Loses in Hockey: Al Qaeda Blamed

The Swedes have ended our unbeaten streak: it had to end for one team—both were unbeaten.

Blaming Al Qaeda for the death of Benazir Bhutto is convenient, to be sure, and American media have dutifully repeated the story with not much in the way of questioning. While newspapers seem happy to question the account of how Bhutto died, there’s not much debate over who set the bomb.

Blaming Al Qaeda, of course, gives Pervez Mushareff a perfect excuse for canceling elections (civil unrest is assured with the World’s Greatest Terrorists™ responsible) and the U.S. government the perfect excuse for extending its mission in Afghanistan.

Surely, the theory goes, no one will withdraw from the Coalition of the Willing in the face of this latest blow against democracy.

Yeah, right.

Just make sure you still vote Democratic, Americans. Don’t be fooled by this.

Posted by skooter at 10:55 PM This entry is filed under America, Politics.
Tags: America, Nuclear War, Pakistan

December 28, 2007

Of Pakistan and Vancouver Traffic

I joke, sometimes (often if you must) about Vancouver’s Radio Moscow. The truth is I love the CBC, and hate that the CRTC forces me to continue to listen on AM radio in the city itself. Ridiculous. Shades of the 70s, but without Venus Flytrap or Dr. Johnny Fever.

There’s something surreal, however, about leaving Kelowna and hearing about accidents in Burnaby on the traffic report. It’s not hard to avoid them from there, a five hour drive away. I’m not sure if this is regular schedule or a holiday thing. It’s the 27th: I’d think we’d be back to regular schedule.

Travelling snow covered, damp, icy highways in the Swedish Rocket is always a bit of a pleasure, but today’s trip was dominated by the news of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, sure to destabilize the region.

My money is that Pervez Musharraf, thug that he is, cancels the scheduled elections for January 8th and declares martial law, again. The chaos resulting from the assassination will be the facade: that Musharraf encouraged (and likely caused) the chaos will be ignored.

I’ve just finished reading The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. This is as good an example of its central thesis as any.

Perhaps the best example: stock markets around the world reacted with a shrug, nary a concern for those dead or the potential for one of the world’s nuclear powers to become a deeply unstable country, held together by the thinnest of threads and a madman.

Yes, friends, never let it be forgotten: Pakistan has nuclear weapons. It should also not be lost that Musharraf was an American ally first, before it was a world pariah. This is, sadly, a pattern that we have seen before.

Posted by skooter at 4:26 AM This entry is filed under Politics, Vancouver.
Tags: Bhutto, Nuclear War, Pakistan, Traffic, Vancouver

December 25, 2007

Christmas 2007

Ben, Mom and Lala on Christmas Eve

Continue reading "Christmas 2007"

Posted by skooter at 8:11 PM This entry is filed under Family, Friends.
Tags: Friends, Mom, Stanley Park, Starbucks, Vancouver

Oscar Peterson, 82

The death of Oscar Peterson may be the biggest blow to jazz music—one of the most iconic of American musical inventions—since that of Miles Davis. He will be missed.

Oscar Peterson, 82, Jazz’s Piano Virtuoso, Dies
By RICHARD SEVERO
Published: December 25, 2007

Oscar Peterson, whose dazzling piano playing made him one of the most popular jazz artists in history, died on Sunday night at his home in Mississauga, Ontario, outside Toronto. He was 82.

The cause was kidney failure, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported. Mr. Peterson had performed publicly for a time even after a stroke he suffered in 1993 compromised movement in his left hand.

Posted by skooter at 5:32 PM This entry is filed under Music.
Tags: Jazz, Music, Obituaries

December 17, 2007

It’s Just a Sweet Sweet Fantasy, Baby


The insanely creative instrumentalism of Owen Pallett can’t be described. Covering Mariah Carey on a violin with a feedback machine can really only be described as briliant.

Posted by skooter at 6:40 PM This entry is filed under Music.
Tags: Canadian, Covers, Music

December 10, 2007

I’m Making My List, and Checking It Twice

It’s short this year with only one thing on it.

Posted by skooter at 7:39 PM This entry is filed under Inanities, Technology.
Tags: Motorcycle

The Seedy Downtown Eastside

Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside has a solid reputation for being one of the seediest neighbourhoods in the country…the nation…the world really.

Today that reputation got one person smaller: Robert Pickton has been found guilty of second degree murder on six counts, with a further twenty charges potentially waiting. Pickton isn’t likely to see the sun again.

It’s not enough: the neighbourhood is as bad, or worse then it was when Pickton prowled these streets. Much more is needed.

This part of Vancouver will not, I think, be welcoming the world in 2010.

Posted by skooter at 2:17 AM This entry is filed under Canada, Vancouver.
Tags: Vancouver, Vancouver Olympics

December 7, 2007

On What Basis?

The entire article from the Globe and Mail, copyright be damned.

Latimer should be pardoned, civil liberties group says
The Canadian Press
December 6, 2007 at 5:21 PM EST
Regina — The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says Robert Latimer’s continued imprisonment is nothing short of a “national disgrace.”

Association lawyer Allan Borovoy says it’s time for the federal government to step in and grant the Saskatchewan farmer clemency.

Mr. Latimer, who is currently serving a life sentence for the second-degree murder of his severely disabled daughter, was denied a chance at day parole Wednesday.

The National Parole Board said he has not shown remorse for his actions.

Mr. Borovoy calls that ruling sanctimonious and says the parole board should be focused on risk assessment, not contrition.

The civil liberties association has used Mr. Latimer’s case as an example of how mandatory minimum sentences don’t work.

On what basis should a pardon—the ultimate in forgiveness—be granted?

Continue reading "On What Basis?"

Posted by skooter at 2:09 AM This entry is filed under Canada, Politics.
Tags: Articles, Crime, Politics, Supreme Court of Canada

December 5, 2007

That Elusive Beast: The Vancouver Rainbow

Rainbows over the Granville Bridge The words sun and rain don’t go together very much in Vancouver: when it rains here it tends be oppressive, and grey and long. Especially in December.

This makes rainbows, a function of the meeting of those two elemental forces, fairly rare and when they happen it’s worth chasing them. This was one of two—the other seeming to come from False Creek. It made for a nice ride home in a bittersweet sunshower.

Posted by skooter at 1:04 AM This entry is filed under Camera, Vancouver.
Tags: Cycling, Rain, Vancouver, Weather

December 3, 2007

Wiring the Planet: The Hacker Tourist Travels the World

Cleaning up. Discarding paper. The detritus of years of accumulated data. It’s the bits that matter now, not the atoms. The atoms just weigh a lot when you move. I like the tactile nature of them though.

A reminder of when Wired Magazine was mandatory reading, and even occasionally brilliant.

Mother Earth Mother Board
The hacker tourist ventures forth across the wide and wondrous meatspace of three continents, chronicling the laying of the longest wire on Earth.
By Neal Stephenson

In which the hacker tourist ventures forth across the wide and wondrous meatspace of three continents, acquainting himself with the customs and dialects of the exotic Manhole Villagers of Thailand, the U-Turn Tunnelers of the Nile Delta, the Cable Nomads of Lan tao Island, the Slack Control Wizards of Chelmsford, the Subterranean Ex-Telegraphers of Cornwall, and other previously unknown and unchronicled folk; also, biographical sketches of the two long-dead Supreme Ninja Hacker Mage Lords of global telecommunications, and other material pertaining to the business and technology of Undersea Fiber-Optic Cables, as well as an account of the laying of the longest wire on Earth, which should not be without interest to the readers of Wired.

The original article was 50 printed pages in the December 1996 issue, and I distributed several copies to friends who I thought should read it. It was an epic story.

A slide of the cable route is online

Posted by skooter at 12:47 AM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Articles, Cable, Globalization, Technology, Wired, Wires

December 2, 2007

Evel Knievel

Evel Knievel was a bona fide super star in the late 70s and early 80s. His death was noted, but barely, by the New York Times.
Evel Knievel jumps at Caesar's Palace

Evel Knievel, 69, Daredevil on a Motorcycle, Dies

Evel Knievel, the hard-living, death-defying adventurer who went from stealing motorcycles to riding them in a series of spectacular airborne stunts in the 1960s and ’70s that brought him worldwide fame as the quintessential daredevil performer, died yesterday in Clearwater, Fla. He was 69.

Posted by skooter at 4:40 PM This entry is filed under Sports.
Tags: Articles, Obituaries