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Japan's Disposable Workers
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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Rushing at the modern sunset to your window / Gestured with the bleach in hand, she said "let's go" "L.A." she cried / The heartbreak rides for free
— A.C. Newman, The Heartbreak Rides
October 31, 2009

All That Money and No Proofreading

Cultural Olympiad Page for Feist It’s been corrected, the the page for the Vancouver Cultural Olympiad’s Feist concert had a great little typo in it.

Of course it’s hard to catch all of those, sometimes. We all make them, but a headline? A single word headline at that?

At least they got it right in the body copy.

Posted by skooter at 9:13 PM This entry is filed under Music.
Tags: 2010, Feist, Vancouver Olympics

October 30, 2009

The Myth of National Healthcare

National healthcare is a myth in Canada. A convenient fiction. The reality is that healthcare is run by the provinces, leading to widely disparate policies and application. I’ve seen no better evidence of this in the recent past than the idea that British Columbia’s financially strapped healthcare system is considering “selling” surgeries to Saskatchewan. Somehow the claim is that all these healthcare professionals will be able to provide British Columbians with faster service…despite the fact that they’ll be busy working on the citizens of Saskatchewan.

In a true national healthcare system, the provinces wouldn’t be looking to each other as a revenue source.

Province Wants to Sell Surgeries to Saskatchewan
Parties spar over whether the plan will allow BCers to get operations faster.
By Andrew MacLeod, Yesterday, TheTyee.ca

People from Saskatchewan may soon be coming to British Columbia for surgery, if negotiations between the two provincial governments are successful.

B.C.’s health minister, Kevin Falcon, said selling surgeries will bring money into B.C.’s system and help British Columbians get care sooner. But New Democratic Party health critic, Adrian Dix, said the plan makes no sense when health authorities are already cancelling surgeries for British Columbians.

Posted by skooter at 1:49 PM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Gordon Campbell, Health Care

October 29, 2009

Young Galaxy at the Biltmore Cabaret

Catherine McCandless of Young Galaxy at the Biltmore Cabaret Catherine McCandless of Young Galaxy at the Biltmore Cabaret Catherine McCandless of Young Galaxy at the Biltmore Cabaret Catherine McCandless of Young Galaxy at the Biltmore Cabaret

Posted by skooter at 9:03 AM This entry is filed under Music.
Tags: Biltmore Cabaret, Young Galaxy

October 26, 2009

Dan Mangan - Robots

Robots is Dan Mangan’s crowd pleasing concert finale sing along, and probably the most fun song on the phenomenal Nice, Nice, Very Nice album released earlier this year. Watching Dan act like an early 80s tough guy in the video is pretty funny, considering his well deserved reputation as the one of the nicest guys in the Vancouver music scene. Great video. Part of me wishes I had the afro.

Posted by skooter at 11:28 PM This entry is filed under Music.
Tags: Dan Mangan, Robotics

U2’s Live Webcast from The Rose Bowl

From a technical perspective my first reaction to U2’s live webcast from the Rose Bowl was that the video quality was astonishing, that I got an instant connection despite the fact that I’m only catching the last half hour of the event (and that as an afterthought) and the sheer number of people who must already be watching.

We’ve come a long way the first webcast I put up in 1997.

None of that matters as soon as I hear the Edge’s jangly electric guitar at the opening of Where the Streets Have No Name.
The Edge's guitar, Where the Streets Have No Name Bad is their best song, but that distinctive guitar opening gives Where the Streets Have No Name a unique place in the history of rock and roll.

I don’t listen to U2 that often these days. There was certainly a time when I did, but that time ended around 1995. It’s been a while. Whenever I’m in the California desert though, The Joshua Tree inevitably follows. It was the soundtrack of the first trip, and filled my headphones on a glorious long motorcycle ride in 2006 for who knows how many miles.

Despite what the pirates of Silicon Valley want you to believe, significant events are never about the technology. The technology is just a tool. Tonight was a significant event, and as in all such cases its significance will only become clear with time.

In the meantime, just enjoy.

Posted by skooter at 6:54 AM This entry is filed under Music, Technology.
Tags: U2, YouTube

October 24, 2009

Brian Eno & Daniel Lanois on The Unforgettable Fire

The Unforgettable Fire is, to my mind, the best U2 album in an impressive catalogue. The last few albums haven’t been that interesting but there’s little doubt that the U2 of the 1980s into the mid-1990s was an incredibly powerful and innovative force in rock and roll. The Joshua Tree may be more popular, but The Unforgettable Fire set the stage for that work.

Bad is the best rock and roll song of the 1980s. It provided a backbone for every concert, and it was a platform into which U2 wove an endless number of other influences and improvisation. When I last saw them at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto Bono riffed on the CNE ferris wheel that towered over the stadium in the middle of Bad. It was a magic moment.

Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois talk to Pitchfork about the making of an album that’s now 25 years old but sounds as fresh as it ever did.


Posted by skooter at 4:53 PM This entry is filed under Music.
Tags: Bad, U2

October 23, 2009

Return of the Star Candidate

I’m not sure the Liberal Party of Canada ever actually learns.A pot smoking snowboarder into a riding seems like a pretty dubious star candidate to start with, and Ross Rebagliati isn’t exactly the sharpest pencil in the box.

They don’t think anybody actually fell for that “second hand smoke” line do they?

Snowboarder Ross Rebagliati to take on Stockwell Day
Posted: October 23, 2009, 7:45 AM by Jeremy Barker
Canwest News Service

KEWLONA, B.C. — Canadian snowboarder and Olympic medal winner Ross Rebagliati plans to beat a new opponent: Stockwell Day.

Mr. Rebagliati will seek the federal Liberal nomination on Monday in the Okanagan-Coquihalla riding of central B.C.

Posted by skooter at 1:37 PM This entry is filed under Politics, Sports.
Tags: Liberal, Olympics, Politics, Snowboarding, Sports

Jeff Tweedy Comments On…Well…Basically Me…

At least he didn’t mention me by name.

What Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy thinks about what you think about him
By David Wolinsky October 14, 2009

Rather than discussing the band’s newest album and direction, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy wanted to talk about people’s “willingness to share opinions before they’re even formed,” so before the band’s show Sunday and Monday at the UIC Pavilion, The A.V. Club scoured the Internet for some notable anonymous comments to discuss.

Posted by skooter at 6:12 AM This entry is filed under Entertainment, Music.
Tags: Articles, Music, Wilco

October 17, 2009

Wilco & Feist at Massey Hall, October 15th, 2009

Posted by skooter at 5:10 PM This entry is filed under Music.
Tags: Feist, Massey Hall, Wilco

October 11, 2009

Commuting to Work for your Health

The first sentence of the article makes the key point here: even a minor increase in cycling as a mode of transportation can result in enormous gains in personal health. These personal health gains consequently lead to an economic reward for society as a whole through reduced health care and road infrastructure costs.

Research tells commuters: On your bike to lose weight
4:00AM Monday Oct 12, 2009
By Martin Johnston

If New Zealanders increased their cycling to the modest levels of the 1980s, they would burn off annually the amount of energy contained in 40 million cans of Coke.

And this is just commuter and local cycling at a relaxed pace - not a Hayden Roulston-style medal-winning sprint in lycra. Commuter cycling has collapsed since the 1980s and less than 2 per cent of people bike to work.

Posted by skooter at 8:14 PM This entry is filed under Cycling, Politics.
Tags: Commuting, Cycling, Health Care

October 10, 2009

At Least it’s Natural Gas But Blurgh Nonetheless

One day we’ll stop worrying about looking for new fossil fuels. One day we won’t need them.

I hope that day isn’t too late. In the meantime, we can take small consolation in the fact that this is natural gas. The problem is it seems likely that the energy companies will use this opportunity to invest in transferring this technology to oil rather than investing the money in the post-fossil fuel world.

New Way to Tap Gas May Expand Global Supplies

By CLIFFORD KRAUSS
Published: October 9, 2009
OKLAHOMA CITY — A new technique that tapped previously inaccessible supplies of natural gas in the United States is spreading to the rest of the world, raising hopes of a huge expansion in global reserves of the cleanest fossil fuel.

Posted by skooter at 2:09 AM This entry is filed under Science.
Tags: Environmentalism, Oil

October 9, 2009

A Short Film about Tony Dekker


Tony Dekker’s Great Lake Swimmers are one of the best bands to come out of Canada in the last few years. The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival

Posted by skooter at 5:34 AM This entry is filed under Music.
Tags: Great Lake Swimmers

October 8, 2009

Wilco & Vancouver 2010

Wilco at Jericho Beach Ok. Ok. I am, at this point, pretty much taking back anything bad I might have said about the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. I’m sorry. I apologize. I take it all back.

Wilco are playing a free show in Vancouver on February 13th, 2010 as part of the Winter Olympics, and I couldn’t be more excited.

I’m hoping for Dan Mangan as an opening act. It would make for quite an evening for me. Most likely quite a cold, damp, rainy night…but quite a night nonetheless.

Posted by skooter at 9:49 PM This entry is filed under Music.
Tags: 2010, Vancouver Olympics, Wilco

October 7, 2009

The New York Times on Squamish

The New York Times’ Frugal Traveller visits Squamish and likes what he sees.

Really, what’s not too like? Squamish is a great place, if a little isolated.

Posted by skooter at 8:07 PM This entry is filed under Travel, Vancouver.
Tags: Squamish, Travel, Vancouver, Vancouver Olympics

It’s Probably “the fact that I’m Albertan”

There are things I’m not fond of about Vancouver, and amongst the worst of them is the smug air of superiority people here have about the rest of the country. Whistler is worse.

I could be wrong, of course. It could be that some Whistler locals aren’t looking forward to the massive disruption to their lives that’s going to happen from February 1st to the middle of March next year. Honest though, I suspect it’s a combination of smugness and annoyance that Regan Lauscher is feeling.

Whistler lacks ‘Olympic fever,’ and she’s sick of it
‘Why the hate?’ athlete asks in controversial blog alleging resort town has been an unwelcoming place for Albertan athletes like her
ROD MICKLEBURGH
Last updated on Wednesday, Oct. 07, 2009 03:09AM EDT

“My biggest challenge at the moment is surviving life in British Columbia,” Ms. Lauscher wrote after training for less than a week in Whistler, site of the Olympic luge competition.

“To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what the people in Whistler dislike more, the fact that I’m Albertan, or that I’m a participant in their perceived ‘Olympic abomination.’ “

Ms. Lauscher, a native of Red Deer, stressed that most Whistler residents are giving her “tons of encouragement.” But there was a “distinct group of people who haven’t caught that metaphorical ‘Olympic’ fever.”

Posted by skooter at 1:36 PM This entry is filed under Politics, Sports.
Tags: 2010, Vancouver Olympics, Whistler

October 6, 2009

The Redemptive Power of Bowling

Fringe, Season 3, Episode 3 The Big Lebowski

As near as I can tell, Season Three of Fringe shares at least one thing in common with The Big Lebowski firm belief in the fact that spending time in a bowling alley is the key to redemption. Who am I to disagree?

Posted by skooter at 1:45 PM This entry is filed under Entertainment.
Tags: Coen Brothers, J.J. Abrams, Movies, Television

Leadership Means a Strong Position Sometimes

Computers, as it turns out, are full of toxic substances and the byproduct of the manufacturing processes are legendarily bad. Silicon Valley is full of companies who have been fined the Environmental Protection Agency multiple times. Apple has, over the last few years, done much to change its practices and to Think Different about what to do with computers at the end of their life cycle. My iMac is completely recyclable.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is in denial about climate change, and it’s nice to see Apple adopting a leadership position again.

Apple Resigns From Chamber Over Climate
October 5, 2009, 3:39 PM
By KATE GALBRAITH
Apple has become the latest company to resign from the United States Chamber of Commerce over climate policy.

“We strongly object to the chamber’s recent comments opposing the E.P.A.’s effort to limit greenhouse gases,” wrote Catherine A. Novelli, the vice president of worldwide government affairs at Apple, in a letter dated today and addressed to Thomas J. Donohue, president and chief executive of the chamber. Click here to read the letter.

“Apple supports regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and it is frustrating to find the chamber at odds with us in this effort,” Ms. Novelli continued.

Posted by skooter at 1:30 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Apple, Environmentalism

October 4, 2009

Dollhouse’s Imminent End and the Future of Television

It should come as no surprise that the cancellation of Dollhouse is imminent.
The show’s ratings were miserable last year, and the new season has posted lower numbers than the first.

Dollhouse is a great show, although the first five episodes were so boring that I didn’t bother buying the DVD set. I figured I’d wait until it was cancelled in season two and then just buy a two season set. It looks like I might have that chance after all.

Dollhouse has a rabid fan base, and Joss Whedon a solid reputation as a writer. So why aren’t people tuning in? Why, in a world where almost 10 million people tune in to watch J.J. AbramsFringe are only 2.5 million of them watching Dollhouse?

I suspect that the answer lies with demographics, the Internet and the changing nature of the television game.

Continue reading "Dollhouse’s Imminent End and the Future of Television"

Posted by skooter at 10:17 PM This entry is filed under Entertainment, Technology.
Tags: Dollhouse, Joss Whedon, Television

October 3, 2009

Jeff Tweedy Interview in Austin

A nice interview with Jeff Tweedy in the Austin Chronicle last week covers quite a bit of territory not usually talked about in more mainstream publications.

Posted by skooter at 10:49 PM This entry is filed under Music.
Tags: Jeff Tweedy, Wilco