Saturday, April 15, 2006

A European Pyramid ... or a big hill?

Enter Bosnian Pyramids EnterGray

Copyright Adi


The Bosnian Pyramid, Visocica Hill, is the first European pyramid to be discovered and is located in the heart of Bosnia, in the town of Visoko.

I just saw a bit on this on CTV Newsnet ... looks kind of interesting. I've done very little research on this yet, but it sounds fascinating. Pyramids in and of themselves AREN'T really anything to write home about ... they are the simplest form by which we can build REALLY big things, so it stands to reason that many early cultures would gravitate to the form when building monuments. Its not really a surprise that we see pyramids in Asia, in North and South America, in Africa, and in the Middle East.

The only surprising thing about European pyramids would be the question of who built them. While they are the 'simplest' way to build big things, it still takes a fairly complex civilization to build large ones. I'll be interested to read more about dating and artifacts found as time goes on ... I gather this summer will see extensive excavations. I welcome comments from anyone with more info on this.

Portrait in Gambrinus - Prague 2005

Wherever I go, I take pictures. When I am on vacation, those pictures are usually pretty standard vacation pics, like everyone else. But I do like to get creative sometimes, when the urge strikes me, and occasionally it works out.

I called this one Portrait in Gambrinus, and I thank my traveling companion and colleague Susan for being a great model here. The beer is a nice dark Pilsner in Prague called Gambrinus ... very tasty and smooth, and this picture was taken at a cafe in the shadow of St. Nicholas Church, about a mile from Prague Castle. We stopped for lunch after touring the church, and when the beers arrived, I lined them up to snap this shot. I think Susan was a bit amused by my weird photography during the trip, but she liked the result of this one.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Questions at Mid-Life - A poem

Just to prove its not all old poetry here, this is something I wrote very recently ... over the past few days. Hope you enjoy ...

Questions at Mid-Life
by Lyle Bateman
Copyright Apr 2006

What if you got halfway through
writing the book that is your life
and pause to scan the pages gone by?

Would we want to read the details
of lives and loves long ago lived and loved
like a script from a Hollywood film?

Or would we skim over the good parts
and run from the parts that make us wish
we were reading someone else’s life?

What if we come back to our place
blank pages stretched out in front
to we find we have no ink?

Would we leave the remaining pages
crisp, white, clean, empty of our memoirs
devoid of our thoughts and dreams?

Or would we pull down the hang-dry memories
to wring out their dark, thick essence, and let it drip
into our inkwell to write chapters anew?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

George Stroumboulopoulos on Stephen Harper ... from The Hour - The redux ...

I've been thinking more about our PM Stephen and accountability. Last night, George pointed out the irony in the PM cutting short a news conference on the accountability measures of his government because his pre-arranged reporters schedule got messed up by the will of the press corp, and I applauded him for it. I'm still applauding, thats not what I've been thinking more about, lol .

But Harper himself has a LONG history with questionable accountability. It didn't just start yesterday, lol, and people really shouldn't have been surprised by his actions. You can look back to the birth of the new Conservative Party for the start of it. Granted, Peter Mackay's 'masterful' and Machiavellian take over of the old PC's on public promises not to merge with the Alliance, only to merge with them months after winning, is the main issue with accountability there, but Harper was still willing to do business with the man. Hardly a good sign when the birth of your party comes on a deal with a man who has just betrayed the people who elected him ... how is one to trust THAT foundation, I wonder?

Next came the Peter and Belinda show, lol, when Belinda Stronach, Peter Mackay's (who ofc was rewarded for betraying the people who elected him by getting a deputy party leader position) VERY public girlfriend crossed the floor at a critical time to join the ruling Liberals and save a government from collapse. The betrayal of Peter read almost like sweet justice after his election to PC party leader, but it was also a direct slap to Harper, and another question of his judgment and accountability.

One could almost have been forgiven for believing the world was out to get Stephen ... that he just had the bad luck to have treacherous people around him, but he was nice enough to dispel those myths after the election recently. The cabinet post for Emerson shows clearly he has no concern for party ethics or will of the electorate, especially after his 'serious concern' over Stronach's floor crossing in the past. In that instance, he strongly criticized Stronach for ethical lapses because of a political decision to cross the floor. In the Emerson case, he makes a political decisions to give a cabinet post to someone made a political decision to join a different party than the one his voters voted for. I frankly see them both as examples of serious ethical lapses.

Harper's problem isn't so much that He has an ethics problem, at least not one thats publicly demonstrable. Its that he seems to ALWAYS bring people to him in highly questionable circumstances. Like Peter and David, he brings people in with a history of party treason, and through incidents like the Stronach affair, he shows his own hypocrisy in the application of party ethics.

Anyone who's watched Harper for the past few years wasn't at all surprised to see him walk out ... if anything, we were surprised he hung around for even a few questions from reporters he didn't plan on. His accountability issues will get worse before they get better, IMO.

Memories of the King Eddy ...

For nearly 100 years (possibly a bit longer) The King Edward Hotel has served the east end of Downtown Calgary. Built in the early 1900's when 9th Ave was "Hotel Row" it, along with the Palliser way west on 1st St W are the last remaining structures from that time. Ironically, the show opposite ends of Hotel Row in the physical and social sense, from their beginnings till today.

In Sept 2004, the King Eddy, long the "Home of the the Blues" in Calgary, closed its doors for good, condemned, and not just for spite. Over a century of hard use, the Eddy has become a beat up old building, beaten by weather and time and the flood of humanity through the doors. I was digging through my old documents the other day, and I came across a piece I wrote about a night at the Eddy some 15 years ago, when it was still a thriving Blues club, and I felt that given the demise of the place, it was worth having a record of the vibrancy and life its decrepit old walls once pulsed with. I picked the picture above, because it shows the Eddy in better times perhaps, and because it was one of the best I could find. The Eddy was a huge part if Calgary's history. How many buildings are left that represent that original frontier? And how many of them are the buildings that represented the common man of the fontier?

One of the reasons remembering the Eddy is so important its that it has NEVER been a luxury hotel ... its always been a place where common people got food, shelter, and libations. We have plenty of Palliser Hotels around to remind us of that side of the frontier life that started the city of Calgary ... we have precious few remaining examples of the Eddy. This is a letter from the Eddy ... from happier times :)

A Night at the Eddy
by Lyle Bateman

Walk east from Calgary City Hall, and you come to Calgary's forgotten neighbourhood – the East End. Walking around this area, the feeling of neglect and decay drips from nearly every pore of the city … all around are the dislocated, the dispossessed, the drunk. The buildings are in poor repair, boarded windows cracked with flaking paint. Lawns of weeds and crabgrass spread out through the yards. Stuffed in amongst the rundown businesses and ill-kept homes is a rather unassuming building that’s hard to distinguish from the others from the outside – the only sign of a difference are the signs adorning its walls advertising Mad Jack’s Saloon, Calgary’s Home of the Blues.

From the outside, its little different than other Calgary hotels of the same era and ‘kind’ – The Cecil, the St, Louis, the Shamrock – but as you come in off the street, file through the too-small lobby, and round the corner to Mad Jack’s, you realize this is no ordinary hotel on the seedy side of town. This is a Blues club.

The inside is dark and smoky, the stereotype of a blues bar. Pictures line the gray panel walls, pictures of past performer’s at the Eddy. Many are blues’ legends, others washed up artists. When talking about the blues, it’s sometimes even hard to tell the difference.

The place is virtually empty on this Monday evening, quite a difference from the Saturday afternoon “Jam” sessions I regularly attend. For those performances, jam refers as much to the crowd as the music.

The bar is near the back, on the left side of the club. Conveniently located between the bathroom and the main seating area, beer just expelled can be easily replenished. Farther back, behind the bar, behind the washrooms, behind the video games is the pool room, deserted on this Monday night. The tattered green felt and scuffed table edges tell they story of a used and abused table well. Like the club it sits in, it has seen better days.

Mad Jack’s is a paradox; there is a myth associated with it that’s both true and false. It sits in a rundown district, housed in a rundown hotel. The light is bad, and the chairs are cheap and uncomfortable. Yet the atmosphere is charged with electricity and anticipation. Like the music it features, Mad Jack’s may be rough around the edges at times, but there is a raw power and energy that can’t be denied.

The full atmosphere of Mad Jack’s is not, can not, will not be appreciated until the music starts. The musicians are up on stage, setting up their equipment, tuning their instruments, hinting at the pleasure to comes. My watch says 20 minutes till show time.

I look around to check out the gathering crowd. The beauty of the Eddy is that there is no ‘type’ that goes there. The only requirement is an appreciation for the blues. In one corner sits a man who looks the stereotypical biker, with faded jeans, black t-shirt, and ball cap, all Harley-eagle original. Across the bar, on the other wall, sit two businessmen, their black leather dress shoes tapping absently to the beat of the piped in music. Still wearing suits and ties, its obvious they’ve come from offices blocks to the west, in the more visible part of downtown. At that back are two young women, professional looking make-up and shiny, sharp blouses. We are all different people, here for a common purpose. We will all watch the same show, but we will all see a different performance.

The band is almost ready; they laugh and joke with each other on stage as if this were just another day in another office. To them it probably is, even though the audience sees it as musical magic. We all have our abilities and skills, but we often only see and appreciate those of others. Like a good writer, painter, or photographer, a good musician doesn’t just play the music, they make it burn and dance.

As the band begins, the music bends and wraps around the crowd. We all hear the same sounds, but get different feelings. The blues is always about a down, tragic theme, but it buzzes and sparks with positive energy.

The simple, familiar bass line and drums drive the music from below, while the solo work of the others plays with structure above. At the bandleader’s cue, each player launches into organized cacophony, magical hands sliding from note to note so fluidly, so effortlessly.

All of the instruments blend and merge together to form a single thing, going beyond the notes, the sounds, the chords, the pitches. Each song is a mixture of structure and chaos, simplicity and complexity, cognition and feeling. The paradox of the music is a metaphor for the paradox of the people who listen.

But the atmosphere of Mad Jack's seems to ignore all this. The dislocated, the dispossessed, the drunk are as afr as people usually get in the East End, all people see. But once inside Mad Jack's, You are transported to a different world, a world of the simply complex, the structurally chaotic, of cognitive feeling. The merging of feeling, ideas, and people id beautiful to behold ... its a world where, once the music starts, colour, sex, background, appearance all make no difference. It is the blues.

Christian or Muslim theocracy?

Subject: [new-continuum] Which theocracy would you prefer? Should Christian dogma be written into law?

There are some in the US who would like to write their religious dogma
into law, such as a constitutional amendment to discriminate against the
10% or so of the population which is gay.

Would you want to live in a Christian or a Muslim theocracy? The USA
was founded and has always been a secular government, but the pressures
in recent years have cause the line between government and religion to
become blurred.


From another group:

Theocracy was the topic of my minister's last message.
Thought it might be of interest to political UUs.

Jim Maas

On 4/12/06, myxtplkn <myxtplkn@XXXXX> wrote
I for one want nothing in Government that would tint the Laws and rules and regulations to be of a theocracy. The church and religions have with their zealot followers consistently made a mess of the World. I don't mind "In God We Trust or 10 Commandments sprinkled around everywhere but I don't want to let sayings interfere with making decisions in law. Logic and humane thinking should prevail. We should exclude all religions and belief in the supernatural from our Governmental decisions as best we can. People and judges are still fallible and make mistakes.EdB

On 4/13/06, Elron Steele wrote:
I tend to agree here. One of the bizarre things I see in today's world is that while we rail against the theocracies of the Muslim world, we ignore our own creep towards theocracy. Can I ask again why Lt Gen William Boykin still apparently has a job, while still apparently believing the war against terror is a religious war where our God is bigger than their God? Can I ask why George Bush is happy to call people like Cindy Sheehan a danger to our country and our way of life, but he has never publicly criticized Boykin for his comments, or someone like Pat Robertson for calling for the assassination of foreign politicians? If anyone is a 'danger to our way of life' its Gen Boykin with his painting of the other side as literally Satan ... not a mother who is trying to bring meaning to the death of a son.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

George Stroumboulopoulos on Stephen Harper ... from The Hour

Stroumboulopoulos had an excellent peice on Stephen Harper's news conference today announcing the new 'Accountability Act.' Harper called on a pre-arranged reporter, even after others had lined up for the first question. Eventually, he was forced to take the questions from the reporters in line, but left after just a few questions. There's definately an irony in leaving early from the news conference to announce a new bill to improve government accounrability, and its nice to see someone in the media pointing it out directly and honestly. George's The Hour is the BEST hour of news on TV that I've found ... well worth the time at 9PM Mountain time on CBC Newsworld Monday to Thursday evenings.

Happy Birthday ... a Poem

Its not my birthday today, nor anyone that I know of personally, and it wasn't my birthday when I wrote this poem. Its another old one, and I'm not entirely sure why it came out when and how it did, but I like it, I think ...


Happy Birthday
by Lyle Bateman

Today is the day I shed my skin
wriggling out
to leave my dried husk behind

The new skin is same as the old
in facet and hue
but it glistens translucent under the moonlight.

Until next year.

Copyright 1998

An old poem ... and the original idea behind "View from the Edge"

The Edge
by Lyle Bateman

Take a look over the edge of sanity
Into the dark canyon below
swirling siren's song echoes in the mist
beckons from the blackest depths

But the cliff's edge view is superb
the terrain laid bare to
a general's eye, directing troops across
the intellectual landscape

Battles forged with great success
the spoils of war pile up
But the mists and echoes ever call
for a single mental misstep

Copyright 1997

Drug firms accused of turning healthy people into patients

  • Guardian, Tuesday April 11 2006
  • Ian Sample, science correspondent
You are lying on the sofa after a hard day at work and should be relaxing. But you are overcome by an insatiable urge to kick your legs about. As you struggle to control yourself, your kids run riot in the room. And to cap it all, your sex life is rubbish. Just an everyday scene in many people's ordinary lives, or the combination of three newly identified medical conditions (...)

This is an article from the Guardian that talks about something I've been seeing and wondering about for awhile now. The huge rise in ADHD diagnosed children in modern times is what first started me wondering about this, and this article cites some other very good examples.

I don't have much to add over the article really, except that health issues ALWAYS require a model that go beyond simple profit/loss calculations, and the pharm industry as its structured today doesn't pursue those solutions. Its not that profit shouldn't be a part of drug development, its that the definition of profit needs to include human values like quality of life. When dealing with health matters, we ALWAYS ned to expand the definition of profit, and the monetary end of it rge least important on that. A cost effective solution that doesn't work is surely useless ... but so is an effective solution that no one can afford to use.

Update on EFF/AT&T lawsuit ...

AT&T Seeks to Hide Spy Docs
* The telecom giant asks for the return of technical documents that purport to show how it helped the NSA install internet wiretap gear as part of a secret domestic surveillance operation. By Ryan Singel. Apr 12, 2006 | 11:00 AM

This is a follow up to the bit I posted a few days back, Interesting case by the EFF AT&T has filed suit to have technical documents kept under seal and returned to AT&T, and they are seeking that the documents be removed from use at trial in the general lawsuit against AT&T.

Its interesting that while the claim 'trade secrets' as the reason to get these documents back, there is no dispute about the contents of them. Essentially, they detail the technical specs of a special NSA mandated room at AT&T's offices in SF that is used to monitor IP traffic directed to it via AT&T public internet backbone.

It may very well be that these papers contain proprietary technical information, but that's hardly the court's concern here. The issue at stake is the diversion of internet traffic, and the documents are clearly relevant to that. Legitimate or not, the 'trade secrets' argument is actually a red herring such that AT&T doesn't have to admit to being caught with their pants down.

There may be good reason to scrutinize the docs and redact portions that do not deal directly with the NSA charges ... Proprietary info on AT&T business that isn't related to the NSA probe is surely a legitimate concern. But the information that is relevant to the charges at hand cannot be deemed 'proprietary' ... Its the same as tobacco companies trying to have their own internal studies and documentation thrown out of lawsuits because of its proprietary nature. 'Trade secrets' does not allow a company to hide relevant information from a legal proceeding, and AT&T is trying to play the tobacco companies game ... It doesn't look good on them.

Fwd: Take on the Bikers - G&M editorial Apr 12, 2006

This is a letter to the Globe I sent today over their editorial entitled "Take on the biker gangs."

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elron Steele <>
Date: Apr 12, 2006 2:14 PM
Subject: Re: Take on the Bikers - G&M editorial Apr 12, 2006

This was an interesting editorial, with a premise I largely agreed with ... That we need to take a hard line against organized crime and the criminal enterprises it maintains. But there was also a list of examples of those 'criminal enterprises' and that's where the problem lies. To quote:

"... variety of criminal enterprises. These include the illegal trafficking of guns and drugs ... as well as money laundering, prostitution and pornography ..."

When did pornography become illegal in Canada? When did it become illegal to produce, or to purchase and own? When did the Supreme Court take away my rights to document my sex life, or to watch the documentation of others?.

Perhaps the editorial meant to say "child porn" (though I admit to not hearing ANY evidence connecting Biker gangs to child porn), which would constitute a 'criminal enterprise' but pornography is simple NOT illegal in Canada. Its untrue statements like this that leave people who produce erotic art in the ghetto ... by insinuating that pornography is a criminal enterprise in this country, you simply serve to further marginalize people who actually do it. That's not surprising, but it is disappointing from a paper that I usually credit with pretty good honesty. It seems though, someone forgot that there's nothing illegal about pornography in Canada.

A new age of Airships?

The Flying Luxury Hotel
Tomorrow's cruise ship will sail through the air, not the water

Fascinating article on a new breed of Airships being developed by a California based company, Worldwide Aeros Limited. The ship on the left is called the Aeroscraft, and it may well revolutionize the passenger and freight moving business.

At a max speed of 174 mph, its not likely to overtake the 757 as the quickest way of getting somewhere. But while the airline industry is cramming more and more passengers into smaller spaces to maximize fuel efficiency and revenue, the Aersocraft will have the luxury of space. At 647 ft long, by 244 ft wide, each deck of the Aeroscraft will have more than 150000 sq ft of space. Yes, you read that right, each of the multiple decks is 150000 sq ft in size.

The analogy used in the Popular Science article linked above is a flying cruise ship, and that seems to be the best analogy. The vast inside would allow plenty of space for large staterooms, restaurants, bars, and other entertainment. Tennis courts and other fitness facilities can easily be incorporated, to give a luxury liner approach to air travel.

While the image of the Hindenburg crashing to earth in a giant fireball is one that has been seared into our minds through the repetition of newsreel footage, it represents the only major accident by an airship during regular passenger operations. Compared to the cruise ship industry, or heavier than air flight industry, airships have a pretty decent safety record, albeit one with limited history to work from.

I know I, for one, would be in line for tickets on the maiden voyage of such a craft. There are certainly risks in any new kind of vehicle, and specific issues surrounding the flammability of hydrogen are issues that never really go away. But built with safety in mind, is an airship any less safe than attempting to float 10's of thousands of tons of metal, filled with thousands of partying people, on water?

Its interesting to look at two major disasters of the first half of the 20th century, and their impact on the industries they happened in. In 1912, the Titanic, the world's largest luxury cruise ship of the day, sunk killing many of the passengers on board. The supposedly unsinkable Titanic was brought down by one of the most common dangers of the waters it sailed in ... an iceberg. It sank and its passengers died due, in part, to design flaws that allowed the entire boat to fill with water, and that left far too few life boats to accommodate passengers.

Some 25 years later, in 1937, the Hindenburg exploded into a massive fire ball as it was coming in for a landing at Lakehusrt New Jersey after a successful Trans-Atlantic crossing. The Hindenburg was brought down by an especially flammable outer skin, as well as the intrinsic problems of using a highly flammable gas as the basis for lift. While the human toll for the Hindenburg was far less than the Titanic, the images were recorded on film for all to see, and they are still seared into our consciousness some 70 years later.

But what I find interesting is that while the explosion of the Hindenburg, and the death of its passengers and crew, essentially killed the airship industry in its tracks, the Titanic disaster, with its much higher human toll, was merely a blip in the cruise ship industry. Today, ships far larger and more luxurious than the Titanic routinely sail the Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean and Caribbean, but the closest we ever see to an airship is the Goodyear Blimp advertising something over the football stadium. Why did one disaster kill an industry, while another, far worse tragedy was barely a blip in another industry? Why did the Titanic incident serve to galvanize ship builders into safety techniques and modified designs, while the Hinderburg disaster served to scare people away from the industry in droves?

All in all, I think these ships are a GREAT idea. I even see smaller versions becoming big in shorter travel situations, such as cross-city shuttles and such for the emerging mega-urban areas like the Atlantic Seaboard, or the Tokyo Urban area. The lack of take off and landing space makes such vehicles ideal for urban settings, IMO, and I think they'd provide a fascinating and very green alternative to ground based public transit systems.

Who knows, perhaps its a pipe dream, going no where. Certainly, Popular Science has no shortage of old stories that didn't pan out as anticipated. But by the same token, no one has predicted with greater accuracy what the technology of tomorrow would look like, and I'm willing to see this one through. And if all it ends of being is dreams of a nation of people replacing their fast-paced travel with a leisurely float through the sky, then so be it ... Its a nice dream, IMO.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Fear, loathing and class warfare

Fear, loathing and class warfare

-- Andrew Leonard

This was a fascinating piece on the current debate in the US over illegal immigration. I wrote a blog entry on borders awhile back that applies here somewhat, but I also wanted to make a few specific statements about some of the points raised in this article.

This has led to the amusing sight of David Frum pointing his guns in the National Review at the traditionally friendly confines of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page. Give the Journal some credit -- on ideological grounds, it is staking out an absolutist free trade position: If we're going to let capital free to roam the world, then labor should roam free as well. Frum, however, wants his free-trade cake without any illegal immigrant icing, and ties himself into knots trying to prove that the benefits that accrue to the U.S. from free trade are far greater than society's gains from illegal immigrants. It's a dubious position to stake out: OK to hire the cheapest labor possible outside of U.S. borders, but not inside.

This is, perhaps, one of the most interesting, and simplest, arguments in favour of open borders I have heard yet. Its a bit surprising that it comes from the Wall Street Journal, as they tend to think in more conservative ways typically, and while there IS certainly a laizze-faire, conservative attitude to parts of it, drawing a parallel between the free movement of trade and labour is truly revolutionary in economics, as far as I know.

So I suppose my question for detractors of immigration, and of the free movement of people and labour around the globe, why should production markets be freely globalized, but not labour markets? Why should protectionist policies with regard to production be shunned, while protectionist policies with regard to labour be embraced?

If the world we live in constitutes one giant marketplace, doesn't that marketplace apply as much to labour as it does to goods and production? And if it doesn't, then why not?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Canada Russia '72 - Part 2

As with the actual series, Part 2 of the CBC mini-series of course finished up with the 4 games in Moscow, and the performances and mood were just as good as part 1, I thought. Katz continued to channel Eagleson in a wonderful way, and again, the background and sets and clothing all combined to immerse the viewer in 1972. The 'history' of the series was again portrayed quite well, and surprisingly honestly. From the 'tantrum' over referees, through Bobby Clarke's intentional crippling of Kharmalov, the honesty of the documentary never seemed in question to me, and it really did feel like I was there.

But that kind of honesty is also part of the ultimate problem. They did a good job of honestly reporting the facts of the series, of accurately recreating the feel ... but they didn't answer any of the questions raised by the series. No one addresses the fact that, despite Canadian arrogance, ALL professional hockey players now play a 'Russian' style of skating and passing hockey. We conveniently ignore the fact that, after the '72 series, those players came back to usher in the era of the 'Broadstreet Bullies' ... Hardly the height of hockey's history. And while they show Clarke's slash in its grizzly detail, and the aftermath, they never really address the true impact of it.

In a way, they do. After that game, in the dressing room after, they show Fergie congratulating Clarke, as he surely did, and then quelling Paul Henderson's disgust at the act by saying the truth that no one else will admit. "You know they are giving you more room out there because of him." that's what Canadian hockey, and this mini-series, ultimately fails to admit about the '7 series. Canada may have won on games and goals, but its pretty clear that Bobby Clarke breaking Kharmalov's ankle was a turning point ... and as much as we'd love to replay those beautiful Paul Henderson goals and say it was hockey skills that won us the series, at the end the day it was Bobby Clarke who really won the series for us in Game 6, by intimidating the Soviets through thuggery.

I'd love to be able to celebrate Paul Henderson and his play ... his play in that series was TRULY an inspiration to the game. Ultimately though, I know that Canada didn't win that series on hockey skill. I had hoped, going into Canada Russia '72, they might ask a few of the questions raised by the Clarke slash, and other incidents in the series. Unfortunately, all we got was history ... there wasn't any insight to be found.

Canada-Russia '72 ... On CBC TV

I had a chance to catch part one of the CBC mini-series "Canada-Russia '72" last night, and I have to say I am very impressed. Beyond what appears to be a relentless attention to the details of the time period (the suits and hairstyles are one thing, but its made real by the amazingly accurate use of colour and design for the sets), the series seems to capture the true tenor of the series. Check out other reviews of it here and here.

In Canada, its common to gloss over the down-side of that series. More than just make our professionals look slow and fat, the Soviet team made the Canadians look like a bunch of individuals. Watching the '72 Soviet team, you can see the seeds of NHL hockey today in the fast skating, the tape-to-tape passing, and the strong team play. But more than anything, the thing thats glossed over when Canadians talk of the '72 series, is the violence, and thankfully, Canada-Russia '72 doesn't fall into that trap. One scene in part one shows Wayne Cashman storming into the player's room after being ejected from game 3 for a viscious slash (he was penalized for a basic slash, and then ejected when he screamed at the ref "You call that a slash??? I'll show you a REAL slash" and proceded to take his stick to a Russian player like he was chopping wood) ... rather than try to downplay the incident, they show it in its true glory, including Cashman trashing the player's room in front of several Canadian players (including Dryden) and intimidated Russian forwards, sitting out and watching the game from the press box.

What really makes the show work though, is the acting. Judah Katz does Alan Eagleson better than Eagleson ever did, lol, and several other notables round out the top of the cast. Booth Savage kicks the hell out of the Harry Sinden role, and Gabriel Hogan is downright eery as the young Ken Dryden, constantly talking into his tape recorder. I am definatly looking forward to part 2 tonight, and to see how they handle the Moscow portion of the series. Expect another review of part 2 tomorrow.
Its your karma ... use it wisely

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Interesting case by the EFF

April 06, 2006

EFF Files Evidence in Motion to Stop AT&T's Dragnet Surveillance

January 31, 2006

EFF Sues AT&T to Stop Illegal Surveillance

I wasn't aware of this case, and it seems to speak to larger issues in the NSA wiretapping case. Rumours and innuendo are one thing, but it takes credible evidence to get a lawsuit to this point, and the EFF doesn't have a history of frivolous actions. They tend to deal with fairly serious public communication issues, and they rarely put their money behind something that doesn't pan out for real.

The crux of the allegations is that the NSA has had access to internet and phone traffic from large commercial networks in the US, access that seems to complete. If nothing else, it raises some serious questions about how much information is getting sifted through the NSA seive. I'll have to keep a watch on this one I think.

Its your karma ... use it wisely

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V+++ PS+++ L++ t+++ 5++ X++ tv@ b+ DI+++ G e h+ r+ y**

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[new-continuum] Homage to Elron our VIP for today

From: C Hamilton
Date: Apr 2, 2006 7:55 PM
Subject: [new-continuum] Homage to Elron our VIP for today

Today's very important poster award goes to Elron.


Carter in Kansas City

C Hamilton
a moderator of several Yahoo groups
updated list and information about these groups

Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

Its Sunday, and the end of the week. Wanted to catch up on a wonderful little tribute payed to me recently by my friends on the Yahoo group New-Continuum

Thanx to Carter for this ... made my week and make me giggle every time I look. All I wanna know is ... who are the girls, and do they REALLY like my blog *VEG* ... comments ladies, comments *VEG*

Spring is here ...

Spring is sprung, the grass is ris ...
I wonder where the birdies is?

Well, got my first good pics of a robin today ... a sure sign that spring is here in these parts. We'll still get more snow and cold weather, but winter cannot escape death now, and summer cannot escape birth.

This little guy was sighted between Medicine Hat and Calgary, on the #1, at a rest stop colloquially known as the "Brooks Billion Dollar Bathrooms" because of its legendary 'pork' creation, lol. Regardless, it provides a nice spot along the highway that's a step up from porta-potties and bare land. The other pic I took today frame's the Canadian and Alberta flags in the background, but I think the tree branches obscure the image too much.

It was a bit of a challenge to get the shots. I don't have a great zoom on my camera, and I ended up chasing the robin around a bit until I managed to get a couple of decent shots. But I really couldn't get close enough to get any great pics with my current camera ... it's certainly NOT built for bird photography, LMAO.

I also took some pics at this spot a few months back, when the snow was fresh ... I'll add one of those at the end of this as an example of the winter we are trying to kill. Despite the cold, the icy roads, the dirty, slushy world, a fresh coating of ice and snow gives the world a stark, freshness that is only possible in the dead of winter. I travel past this point fairly regularly, and its an interesting spot ... perhaps I will try to take roughly the same picture throughout the year, and watch how nature changes the same point in space. Interesting idea? Please leave comments, and in the meantime, I leave you memories of a winter wonderland ...