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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Huge orange flying boat rises off a lake / Thousand-year-old petroglyphs doing a double take / Pointing a finger at eternity / I'm sitting in the middle of this ecstasy
— Bruce Cockburn, Wondering Where the Lions Are
October 30, 2008

Long Deserved Attention for ‘30 Rock’

30 Rock has it’s third season premiere to night. I’ve been waiting for this for a while, and apparently the New York Times has too.

Tina Fey Returns to Her Thursday Night Not-So-Live Gig
By ALESSANDRA STANLEY
Published: October 29, 2008

NBC’s parent company, General Electric, should send Senator John McCain flowers and a microwave oven. Tina Fey probably doesn’t do a credible Mitt Romney, but her impersonation of Gov. Sarah Palin is so deliciously dead-on that it has helped Saturday Night Live score its highest ratings in years.

Tina Fey is the creator and star of 30 Rock, a backstage comedy on NBC.

The popularity of those Palin parodies (mostly Ms. Fey quotes the Alaska governor verbatim) will surely give a boost to Ms. Fey’s other job.

Her NBC comedy, “30 Rock,” returns on Thursday for its third season. Despite unstinting critical acclaim and many Emmys, the show, which Ms. Fey produces, writes and stars in, alongside Alec Baldwin, has yet to be embraced by a broad audience.

Posted by skooter at 3:24 PM This entry is filed under Entertainment.
Tags: 30 Rock, Television, Tina Fey

Early Voting is Usually a Good Thing

It’s a trueism of campaigning, that a high turnout at advance polls is a sign of impending change. Vancouver’s early voting set a record when voters roundly turfed Philip Owen from office in favour of that political maverick now known as Senator Larry Campbell.

The logic is simple: if people are happy with the status quo, they are complacent about voting and don’t rush out to do it before they are reminded by every media outlet they can find.

It makes me happy, therefore, to read this article in the New York Times:

The Decided Go in Droves to Vote Early

Among some of the 32 states that allow their residents to vote early without an excuse, either by mail or in person, the verdict is already in from a full quarter of registered voters — well into the millions. In some counties across the nation, the percentages are far higher. The early voting will continue for several days in most of the states, but in Louisiana it is already closed, and it will end on Friday or Saturday elsewhere to give time to update the books to prevent people from voting twice.

Change, in this case, would indicate electoral success for Barak Obama and that seems to be a good thing.

I never cease to be amazed at how easy it is to find a commentator ignorant enough to say something stupid like this:

Mr. Schuetz said he voted for Mr. McCain, a Republican, with enthusiasm. His wife, Linda, called the choice the “lesser of two evils.”

The article, of course, doesn’t go on to outline the ways in which an Obama administration could be evil. You can use your own imagination.

Posted by skooter at 4:58 AM This entry is filed under America, Politics.
Tags: America, Barak Obama, Elections, John McCain, President

October 23, 2008

If BC Ferries is a Private Corporation…

it might be prudent to ask why the premier of the province is announcing a reduction in fares. (It’s possible that this Globe & Mail story is factually inaccurate.)

B.C. to accelerate income tax cuts
PATRICK BRETHOUR
October 22, 2008 at 9:32 PM EDT

VANCOUVER — British Columbia will accelerate income tax cuts to cushion the blow from the economic slowdown, Premier Gordon Campbell announced minutes ago in a province-wide televised address.

Income tax cuts slated to take effect this coming January will come into effect immediately - and be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2008 - handing B.C. residents an unexpected windfall as the holiday retail season approaches.

The announcement was part of a 10-point plan announced by Mr. Campbell last night, which also include accelerated tax cuts for businesses and a temporary cut in ferry fares.

Posted by skooter at 2:40 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Gordon Campbell, Privatization, Vancouver Island

October 20, 2008

Possibly for the Last Time: Tina Fey as Sarah Palin

But we can hope for more, perhaps on this week’s Thursday update.

The sketch itself was followed by more.

Continue reading "Possibly for the Last Time: Tina Fey as Sarah Palin"

Posted by skooter at 5:27 AM This entry is filed under Entertainment, Politics.
Tags: Elections, President, SNL, Tina Fey

October 15, 2008

Whither Majority?

One loss followed by two Minority parliaments doesn’t seem promising for Stephen Harper, but he’s got the central machine wound so tight that I doubt anyone will seriously stage an uprising. I’m willing to bet that only a loss to the Liberals will prompt a new Conservative leader. Only that drunken Scotsman Doug Finlay knows.

The thing is, especially when you consider that Harper called this election in defiance of his own law mandating a four year term it doesn’t look good. Presumably, they called this thing because their polling said they’d win, and win a majority. When you create an optimal situation for yourself and fail, it seems disingenuous to play it as a win.

That being the case, I can’t imagine whey they’d hang onto this guy.

I, for one, am hoping for either Michael Ignatieff as a Prime Ministerial candidate next time, or a resurgence of Gerard Kennedy who has won his riding. Those are two men I could support. I suspect I’m not going to have to wait four years to find out.

Posted by skooter at 4:43 AM This entry is filed under Canada, Politics.
Tags: Elections, Liberals, Michael Ignatieff

October 14, 2008

Canadian, and Ready to Vote

A good reminder in the Vancouver Sun of the significance of voting.

“Canadian, and ready to vote”: http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=a4337f9c-1d62-4006-9031-51a034b13d05&k=97491
Darah Hansen and Doug Ward, Vancouver Sun
Published: Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Burnaby resident Madan Lal Bassi has accomplished many things in his 63 years of life.

He is a husband and father, a veteran of the Indian Air Force, a speaker of at least four languages, a globetrotter, and proud new Canadian citizen.

Today, he will add “voter” to that list as he casts a ballot in the federal election for the very first time.

Posted by skooter at 1:28 PM This entry is filed under Canada, Politics.
Tags: Democracy, Elections, Voting

October 11, 2008

Congratulations Barak Obama

Barak Obama just won November’s election (as if the debates weren’t pushing it in that direction already.)

Alaska Inquiry Concludes Palin Abused Powers
By SERGE F. KOVALESKI
Published: October 10, 2008
Gov. Sarah Palin abused the powers of her office by pressuring subordinates to get her former brother-in-law, a state trooper, fired, a investigation by the Alaska Legislature has concluded.

You know, I always said Chrysler would be the first to go. Not that it was a hard call: they’re the smallest American car maker, after being dumped by Daimler. Either way…this is not a merger, this is a takeover. GM is large, Chrysler is small.

G.M. and Chrysler Explore Merger
By BILL VLASIC and ANDREW ROSS SORKIN
Published: October 10, 2008
DETROIT — General Motors is in preliminary talks about a possible merger with Chrysler, a deal that could drastically remake the landscape of the auto industry by reducing the Big Three of Detroit automakers to the Big Two.

The talks between G.M. and Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity firm that owns Chrysler, began more than a month ago, and the negotiations are not certain to produce a deal. Two people close to the process said the chances of a merger were “50-50” as of Friday and would most likely still take weeks to work out.

Posted by skooter at 3:18 AM This entry is filed under America, Politics.
Tags: America, Barak Obama, Cars, Elections, President, Sarah Palin

October 10, 2008

If Your Were Printing a Newspaper…

would you splash an advertisement across the middle of the page, covering the content? Why would you do this online?
Globe and Mail Home Page, October 10, 2008

Posted by skooter at 1:53 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Globe and Mail, News, Online Marketing

And Tulsa burns / On the desert floor / Like a signal fire

That’s what I said last night when four of us were out for dinner with a consultant for work. We were talking about travel, and airports, and he mentioned Tulsa. Tulsa doesn’t come up that often in conversation at work (or, frankly, at all) and that’s a line from a Cowboy Junkies song that’s been on my frequent playlist lately. Specifically, the version of 200 More Miles from the Trinity Revisited album with haunting vocals by Ryan Adams

The response from the visiting consultant was instant. “Don’t go quoting country music lyrics to me young man.”

I laughed long and hard, and the thing is…a prediction from a long long time ago might be finally and fully true.

Continue reading "And Tulsa burns / On the desert floor / Like a signal fire"

Posted by skooter at 1:55 AM This entry is filed under Music.
Tags: AltCountry, Cowboy Junkies, Family, Music, Neil Young, Neko Case, Wilco

October 7, 2008

Coffee Cup Deposits are an Excellent Idea

This is an even better idea than banning plastic bags. Not that I like plastic bags.

“Coffee cup deposit-return urged”: http://www.thestar.com/article/512299
Companies must move on deposit-return recycling of containers, waste expert says
Oct 06, 2008 04:30 AM, MOIRA WELSH, ENVIRONMENT REPORTER

Coffee cups could be recycled through a deposit-return system, keeping the disposable containers out of the landfill, says consultant Clarissa Morawski. 

Companies that sell takeout coffee must create their own deposit-return system that keeps disposable cups out of litter and landfill, or governments will do it for them, says a waste diversion consultant.

Posted by skooter at 1:35 PM This entry is filed under Food.
Tags: Coffee, Environmentalism, Recycling

October 5, 2008

It’s Almost Predictable Now

Once again, Tina Fey opens Saturday Night Live as Sarah Palin. What’s interesting is that I think that’s Queen Latifah playing the moderator, and she was neither the host nor the musical guest of the episode.

It’s a bit sad that these little moments will end on November 4th, 2008. It’s looking strongly like McCain no longer stands a chance.

I’m not sure if this is the best line:

“You know, we’re gonna take every aspect of the crisis and look at it and then we’re gonna ask ourselves, ‘What would a maverick do in this situation?’ And then, you know, we’ll do that.”

or this one:

Moderator: Governor Palin, would you like to respond to Senator Biden’s comments about Senator McCain
Sarah Palin: No thank you, but I would like to talk about being an outsider.

The first got more laughs, but personally I think the second was sharper.

Posted by skooter at 5:36 PM This entry is filed under America, Politics.
Tags: Sarah Palin, SNL, Television, Tina Fey

MLS Canada’s New Site

The new MLS site has a pretty slick map based tool for searching for housing. Specify your search criteria, then start drilling down and sliding around the map. Properties that fit your criteria are placed on the map like pins.

The only problem is, it doesn’t work in Safari on the Mac. A weird choice, especially when you consider the fact that Webkit is the rendering engine Safari uses, and Webkit is now shared by Google Chrome.

The problem? The mapping engine was developed by Microsoft. Of course.
MLS Canada Mapping Tool

Posted by skooter at 5:30 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Microsoft, Real Estate, Technology

Disconnected from Reality

Apparently a few years of watching from the political wilderness haven’t taught Paul Martin any more about political realities.

‘We will elect a Liberal government’: Paul Martin tells Calgary crowd
Last Updated: Friday, October 3, 2008 | 6:09 PM E

Former Liberal leader Paul Martin gestures at a heckler during a Calgary speech. (CBC)
Former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin raised some eyebrows in the oilpatch when he predicted the Liberals will form the next federal government.

“When we took office in 1993, the Conservatives left us with a $43 billion deficit. Four years later, that deficit was gone, and when we left office 2.5 years ago, there was a $12 billion surplus and no other country in the world can match that record,” he continued.

“Let me simply say, on Oct. 14, we will elect a Liberal government.”

The emphasis on that last paragraph was added by me.

Posted by skooter at 2:12 AM This entry is filed under Canada, Politics.
Tags: Liberals, Paul Martin, Stephen Harper

October 3, 2008

Strida Folding Bikes

The Strida folding bicycle has been around for a while, and won an I.D. award a few years ago. I’ve considered ordering one on a few occasions, but ultimately decided not too. I think if my commute involved a mix of modes it would be ideal, but I cycle the whole distance and traditional touring bikes seem to do the job fairly well.

As a design exercise though, the Strida is phenomenal. The traditional double triangle bicycle shape is so entrenched that it’s a tough pattern to break out of. The Strida did that, and also replaced the chain with a teflon belt. The chain is cycling’s weakest link (pun intended) and a replacement on all bikes would be more than welcome.

The video below provides an overview of the design process. Well worth watching.

Posted by skooter at 4:22 AM This entry is filed under Cycling.
Tags: Bikes, Cycling, Design