Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 end of year

 Well 2011 is swiftly drawing to a close. I've been thinking about 2012 some.

Up until last summer things had settled into a fairly steady state for the last couple of years. Alas, that era is ending and a new chapter is beginning. There was a series of financial setbacks starting fall of 2011. On another front let's say that there's a higher probability of other changes this year; the highest it's been in several years. I don't have a lot of control over some areas, I just have to deal with what may happen.

So given all that I've tried to look at spending and to cut spending. I had some modest success but not a lot so far. Some things like rent are large and fixed. Still I have to continue to work on this and be vigilant.

Like many years, I'm not making any resolutions this year. I failed at previous ones due to failures in strategy and execution. I know what I need to do so I'll figure it out as I go along.

As a year ends it's interesting to think back on this time last year. Think of the stuff that happened during this year 2011 that ended up being important. Like many years, I had no idea that was going to happen at this time last year. It wasn't on the radar screen. So 2012 may be much the same. The predicable steady state has ended (to the extent that it ever existed) and unknown waters ahead.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dead City by Joe McKinney

I finished another book. It was Dead City by Joe McKinney. It was another zombie book. This book is the prequel to Apocalypse of the Dead which I read a couple months ago.

Dead City takes place over a single day. It is the account of a San Antonio police officer Eddie Hudson dealing with an initial report of a disturbance in a neighbourhood which turned out to be zombies. They didn't know that at the time. It's the story of how the undead quickly overrun San Antonio and officer Hudson's struggle to survive, find what's left of authority, and find his own family.

It was a good book. McKinney's writing style is fast paced and the descriptions of the zombies are very believable and terrifying. After reading Apocalypse I wanted to read his other titles. I believe there's another McKinney zombie title which I'll look for in the new year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Flaherty please shut up about Europe

So recently some more finger wagging from Jim Flaherty about Europe debt. in addition to earlier comments [1] [2] and others.

What's the point of this anyway Jim? What are you trying to accomplish here. It's not like Canada with a $1 billion a week of federal borrowing and an irresponsible commitment to increase federal health spending by 6% per year forward as far as the eye can see is any kind of model of financial restraint or responsibility.

Canada has the same structural flaws as Europe including low birth rate, aging population, large public sector, high debt from previous governments, large segments of the population living off government cheques, political preference to borrow and spend today and deal with the financial side "in the future", lack of political will to make unpopular cuts, etc.

It makes me think of an apartment building. Two neighbours make $40k a year. Paul has $20k in credit card debt and is insolvent, unable to meet his commitments. His neighbour Jim has $15k in credit card debt, can only make minimum payments, and continues to spend more than he makes. This would be like Jim trying to shame and lecture Paul about personal financial responsibility.

Get your own financial house in order Jim. Canada's fate is Europe's fate is way things are going right now. You should be treating the European situation as a very clear warning to you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Canada Youth Plan

I noticed the Paul Dewar youth scheme go by. It was standard NDP. Lots of spending. Lots of bureaucracy. Lots of unconstitutional federal intrusion into areas of provincial jurisdiction. No discussion of where the money will come from.

Any discussion of youth in Canada should discuss that youth in Canada are becoming extinct. What I mean is the low birth rate. 1.58 per, Canada is slowly going extinct.

Dewar ignores this issue. In fact I've never heard any politician discuss it ever. Which is strange considering how critical this is to Canada as we know it long term survival. Presumably a taboo subject. I wonder why?

I'd like to see a real discussion on the subject of Canada's birth rate some time. Something willing to go past the "Government has to spend more" NDP line and air some topics historically not open for discussion.

  • a frank discussion about abortion
  • the perspective of men who don't want to marry, don't want children, don't want more children
  • the burden of living in a hyper-regulated society

Thursday, December 15, 2011

fire the Halifax school board - high school hockey

What a disgraceful, disgusting decision. Students banned from attending their own team's hockey game. How can there be a high school hockey game without the fellow students being there?! What is this bullshit?

So what if there were some individual fights in the past? Deal with the individuals in that case. You cannot have high school sports without student attendance. That is an absurdity, a monstrosity which cannot be allowed to stand. I call on the students of both schools to have the courage to do the right thing. Stand up for your rights. Attend the game and support your team.

There have been brawls and rumours of brawls as long as there have been rival schools. Big deal. Have more security on hand. The school admin is just being typically lazy, weak and cowardly by banning the students. What a weak disgusting cop out. Anyway if there are fights deal with it. If there's a brawl deal with it. If there's a rumble deal with it. This has been happening for over a century as long as there has been middle and high school sports.

I would never make the mistake of counting on Carole Olsen to do the right thing. By appearances she had a hand in this. It's clearly up to the elected school board to intervene here and do the right thing and overrule this miscarriage of the education system. Since they are apparently disinclined to make the effort to do the right thing then at least on election day we the voters can fire them all. On election day vote every single one of them out.


I had some stuff to do this morning. I got up at 7 which was early for me on vacation. Got moving and dropped car at mechanic at 8:30. They said it would be done around noon. I went over to first choice for a haircut which was next door. But they were not open until 9.

I stopped by CAA to ask why I hadn't received my regular card yet. They pulled it up and quickly determined they had my street address but not my apartment number. That one was on me. They corrected it on file and will mail me my card shortly. I got another temp card to hold me over until then.

So I went down to Bayers Road shopping Centre and walked around for a bit then cycled back. It wasn't busy when I got back and I went right though at first choice. It was $20 tip included. I had been with a regular stylist at head shoppe on a 6 week cycle; but I will be using discount hair care and longer cycles going forward. Torri was fine but prices increased and it had crossed the $30 barrier. So I would rather spend $20 every 8-10 weeks for a good enough haircut instead of $32 every six weeks for a good haircut. I've got some more to say about spending but will save it for a later post.

Then back to Bayers Road SC. I checked out the Canadian blood services but they weren't open until 11. So with more than an hour to fill in I went to stone hearth cafe which I didn't even realize is a restaurant in BRSC. I had a coffee and started on a book. As it happened it was free refill and they had a nice seating area which was pretty much empty when I was there. Towards 11 some more people were coming in and I got going and freed up the table.

I was able to go right through at the blood donor clinic. That is a nice setup they have at bayers road. I'd been meaning to go for a while but didn't quite get around to it. I last went in April. That's not great, donated twice this year (I suppose it's also not terrible). Next year I should try to get back on a more traditional pace of 3-5 donations a year. They have a nice kitchen area there and I got a nice soup, cookies, and chocolate milk from the friendly volunteer after I finished.

After that I walked up to check on the car as it was around noon. As it happened they were just finishing and printing the bill. Good news it came in less than I had budgeted for. That was a surprise. I had been getting an annoying squealing sound at low speed right after startup. The mechanic adjusted the belts and fixed it under warranty as it was related to the work I had done a couple of months back. Plus winter tires on and fresh oil I should be good for the winter.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I finished up work for the year Friday. It was busy that last week was in every evening through Thursday. Nothing planned, I just didn't have any reason to take much vacation during the year so it just ended up being used here in December. Still nice to be on break I've done this end of year vacation a number of times over the years.

I joined twitter. Felt like trying it out. It's pretty good so far. No followers though I guess I'm not very popular oh well.

The online purchases have now arrived all in order. Did some Christmas shopping in Dartmouth today. As usual it was a painful experience. Got some stuff and some more to get still here and there. Will hope to hit Bayers Lake tomorrow and then see where it's at. I hate shopping and I hate Christmas shopping. Hopefully will have it all done within a week or so. At least got started a bit earlier and using online helped.

I signed up for Netflix free trial. It's been pretty good so far. Selection is pretty good. There were a couple of searches that missed such as I Am Legend. I've been watching nearly 1 movie a night. I'm not sure if I'll keep it after the one month trial so I should try to use it up. There is a pretty good list of movies I missed over the years that I wouldn't mind seeing.

Although I wonder if Netflix will turn out like Columbia House records. Anyone remember Columbia House? They would send this deal like 12 CDs for 1 penny. Then after that you have to buy 12 more at regular price over the next 2 years from the Columbia House catalogue. The thing is the catalogue is a subset of all the artists and not everyone I liked was signed on. What I found was that it was pretty easy to fill out the initial 12 CDs (especially when converting cassette to CD back then, late 80s era). Then I found it hard to finish off the contract because I had everything I really wanted. So what was left was ok, it just wasn't all that interesting to me. Right now with Netflix it feels like that 12 CDs for a penny because there are so many movies from the past that I missed for whatever reason.

I've been thinking about end of year stuff lately. It's a bit early to write about it, will plan to post something later this month like most years.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

more stupid rules - ski helmets

The most over-regulated people in the world have just had a new rule added. In Nova Scotia ski helmets are now mandatory. Disgraceful! Of course we are embarrassed to be the only jurisdiction in the world with this rule.

Useless NDP. What do you expect? I can only hope the NDP government is one-and-done. We got by for over 250 years in Nova Scotia without the NDP and I hope it is that long before they return to power here.

I turn on the news and first it was some bobblehead saying we can't have the oval sponsored by beer (again the only area in the world with such a rule); then the next day some crap that adults cannot decide for themselves if they should wear a ski helmet. Screw you fascists.

I remember bygone days with the RCMP "the Mounties always get their man". And the 'man' they were pursuing in the past was a dangerous criminal. Today apparently the RCMP priority is now to go up on ski patrol to hand out $250 tickets to honest working law abiding citizens.

That's now the most important thing for the modern police to be focusing on, harassing and criminalizing peaceful law abiding middle class private citizens over ever more ridiculous, arbitrary and intrusive rules.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Yahoo messenger has been hacked

For the last couple of weeks I've been seeing some strange email bounces. Usually on Sundays. It is an email apparently originating from my own Yahoo mail account to a list of about 10 people. The email list is people I interacted with a long time ago so many of the emails are stale and have been bouncing. One of the people on the email list is one of my own email accounts!

It's strange because I don't use Yahoo mail anymore. I set up forwarding to my gmail account and hadn't looked into yahoo mail in quite a while. There has been other strangeness too lately like Google told me one day this week someone had recently logged into my account from Germany. I quickly closed all sessions and changed that password. I've run a full scan on my own computer but the virus scan is not showing any problems.

So today I actually logged into yahoo and after clicking around some this is what I saw

well there's your smoking gun. a bunch of Y! Messenger Auth from all over the world. Starting November 20. I have never used Y! Messenger so that would be the source of the spam emails. I hope Yahoo notices this and fixes it. although I'm not sure. I clicked on the link to the support site and the result is an instant Connection Refused. nice

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Halifax council makes the wrong choice - as expected

So Halifax council arrogantly rejected $400k from Molson to sponsor the oval. Terrible decision. The beer companies sponsor all kinds of all inclusive events including natal day. So now our choice is for the taxpayers to come up with $400k or accept a crappier oval experience.

Let's look at what big beer has done for sports in Halifax and Canada: built the replacement building for the Montreal Forum, kept the Canadiens in Quebec in Canadian ownership - as opposed to becoming American owned and being moved out of Montreal, brought the Blue Jays to Toronto, sponsored hockey and baseball broadcasts through the years, brought the Mooseheads to Halifax, provide good paying jobs at the Olands plant in Halifax. That's just off the top of my head.

So for all they did and continue to do, for Gloria McCluskey and her ilk to take this attitude today. Disgraceful. But no surprise really. Now they've leapt onto the slippery slope and they won't let up until beer is eradicated and the Olands plant closed. It took a little over a generation with cigarettes and beer is next, followed by lotto, mcdonalds, etc. Soft totalitarianism is on the move and continues its remorseless expansion.

Sigh, but what do you expect in this region from the people who brought us

  • ban on Scott's Turf builder on our lawns - only jurisdiction in the world to ban it
  • destroyed hundreds of student jobs running Lawn Ranger and Weed Man out of business
  • mandatory helmets at public skates
  • 11 year olds in booster seats
  • can't smoke in a bar
  • can't smoke in your own car
  • can't buy smokes at a pharmacy
Anyway enough of this. On HRM election day they all have to go. Every one of them. I will vote against any incumbent starting with honourable Kelly and whoever the local rep is. I hope everyone else does as well.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

debt and the end of democracy

Some interesting and related stories lately around western government debt.

Italy has to pay 13.4% to borrow. It's 13.4 annual if you take the 6.5% 6 months and roll it over in full for 6 more months. So the bond market seems to believe there's about a 1 in 8 chance that if you lend Italy money today for 1 year then you will get stiffed.

Part of me wants to take that action, 13.4% return on a sovereign where you can cash out after 6 months seems like a good deal. Is it possible for regular retail investors to lend on the sovereign bond market? Compared to basically 0% you can get locally. Of course the only way Italy can honour that debt in 6 months is if new lenders come along at that time at probably some even higher rate and lend Italy the money to settle its debt with you. It's not like Italy will have the money on its own. Plus there's the issue of converting from CDN$ to Euros and then back at the end so there's some exchange rate risk too (which could be hedged for a fee).

The real interesting story is that the Italian government fell and was replaced by a "technocrat" government.

Same in Greece. Elected Greek government falls and replaced by technocrat.

Finally onto America. As part of the debt ceiling deal last summer a bipartisan committee of only 12 senior members was charged with coming together to specify just what the "future cuts" would be as part of the "borrow and spend today" money Congress and Obama wanted when they raised the debt ceiling. Alas they failed to reach agreement and now automatic (i.e. technocratic) cuts will kick in - unless Congress votes to renege on the automatic cuts under the original deal to raise the debt ceiling.

I am really quite surprised at how little commentary there has been on the voluntary fall of the governments in Italy and Greece and just replacing themselves with unelected caretakers. If tough decisions need to be made then the elected politicians had the means and the authority to make and implement those decisions. Why would they be so spineless as to just step aside and leave it to these faceless technocrats do the unpopular dirty work then have the nerve to re-stand for election. What Italy and Greece should do is this: when the elections are held and the "new" government is elected, then anyone who was in office at the time power was handed to the technocrats should not be allowed to run in the election. Then they would get a real new government.

But technocracy is dictatorship. It is fascism. I know continental Europe doesn't have deep roots in democratic elected government but this is a bad sign. When the going gets tough the modern elected step aside and hand the reigns of power to the faceless technocrats. There's no reason to believe this is just a European phenomenon. The post 1945 industrial west political class is all cut from pretty much the same cloth (tax and spend, borrow and spend). I guess it says all you need to know about the contemporary leadership.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I heard Atlantic Lotto is interested in interactive tv gambling. Sounds dodgy to me. So I guess the idea is that during commercials people will flip over to some ALC gambling channel and take a few slots spins for real money during the commercial break using the remote control? Maybe if you're settling in to watch Hockey Night in Canada flick over to the ALC gambling channel to make some zero research bets on the games about to start.

Also with ALC they are interested in expanding beyond Atlantic Canada. Sounds like another bad idea. The only reason they are successful in Atlantic Canada is because they are a government enforced legal monopoly. If they have to compete with other operators public and private I think they will lose their shirt. Additionally if they seek new markets outside Atlantic Canada that would effectively open up their own currently protected home turf to other operators. So we could see like US powerball coming into corner stores and siphoning ALC's profit base.

The fundamental issue with ALC flatlining profits is that the Atlantic population is stagnant / declining. In general the average annual per capita profit will be some fixed amount. Now with declining population the only way to increase profit would be to extract yet more losses from the existing pool of players which would be bad (at least for the donators), or cut ALC spending perhaps reduce unproductive overhead like gambling education and addiction treatment.

I was pleased to see Halifax Mayor Kelly finally found a backbone and evict the occupy Nova Scotia eyesore tent city / shantytown. Good riddance little Haiti. Long overdue. What do you think would happen if I tried to pitch a tent down on Point Pleasant Park? The cops would bust my ass and have me in handcuffs before the tent was even up. So why was this special group above the law and allowed to camp out indefinitely on city land?

As for their claim to represent 99% of the population - make it 98%. I'm not in the 1% of wealth but I certainly do not identify with or support the occupy crowd in any way. I think that their 1% number is actually the percentage of the population who support the occupiers.

And lol at the adult woman they showed on tv that night bleating that after the tents were torn down she doesn't have anywhere to go. Honey you're an adult and if your housing plan was living in an illegal tent city ... well illegal tent cities have a way of being torn down at any time and you knew that. So screw you it's your problem not the police, not the government, not society.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Police and the long gun registry

The government continues to move too slowly to abolish the long gun registry. Along the way there is a recurrent theme that the media reports and then irresponsibly fails to challenge.

The issue is always something like some police chiefs association supports the registry because it reduces crime or makes police safer or some such noise link, link. Of course they never back this claim with real data. Because it's the police the media report this as fact and never allow such statements to be challenged or logically analyzed.

I generally support the police in their efforts to keep us safe as evidenced by the writing on this site. However let's do some analysis of this police position.

First and foremost our nation is not a police state like say East Germany. Society does not exist to make the police job easier or even safer. There are a lot of things we could do that I'm sure the police chiefs would agree would be valuable "tools" against crime including:

  • being able to tap phone calls without a warrant
  • entering someones home to search without a warrant
  • arrest and detain indefinitely without charge
  • imprisonment without trial
  • enhanced interrogation techniques of suspects
  • more widespread ability for search and seizure with no exclusion of tainted evidence
  • casual access without warrant to detailed individual electronic records such as banking, health, tax, etc.

All of these things, like the long gun registry, would make the police job theoretically easier and more effective. Now since Canada is not a police state we establish boundaries the law enforcement must operate in so that the people can be generally free. There's a balance between individual freedom and the ability of the police to keep the peace and deal with crime when it does occur.

Of course the police do have abilities regular folks don't

  • carry a loaded gun while on duty
  • bulletproof vest while on duty
  • mace and pepper spray while on duty
  • ability to arrest
  • ability to quickly pull information on a VIN, license plate or suspect name
  • ability to call in backup

Canada got by for over 125 years without the long gun registry and the cops were able to sustain the rule of law during that time. I'm sure we'll be fine now without the offensive registry. It was never explained how a crackdown on law abiding citizens was supposed to reduce crime.

Alas today's police seem overly preoccupied with harassing law abiding citizens who are easier and more docile targets. For a long time now the role of the police has gone from dealing with tough criminals to picking on soft middle class targets including

  • hunters
  • public skaters not wearing helmets
  • adult commuters not wearing bicycle helmets
  • smokers in their own car
  • parents of 11 year olds not in booster seats
  • motorists not in seat belts or motorcycle helmets
  • people playing cards in their own home

Sunday, November 06, 2011

joined CAA

I joined CAA this weekend. I went down on Saturday morning and the office was open. It was $92 taxes in for the basic membership. After what happened with the dead battery I realized it would be a wise precaution to have some coverage. The vehicle is 6 years old with over 150,000 km so it's kind of old vehicle insurance. I hope the 2005 Honda Civic can continue to run well for 2-3 more years. I'll keep the brochure in my car in addition to roadside coverage there were a number of deals with local merchants so if I remember I may use some of them.


It is offensive to see our government squandering the people's tax money preparing this literature and purchasing online advertising.

It is fully inappropriate for our government to be doing this. Need I remind Mr. Harper Canada has two official languages: English and French. Anyone coming to Canada from some other nation should be prepared to live and work in one of those languages. If they lose money on housing or real estate because they don't know the language, well that's hardly the concern of the federal government. It is inappropriate for any Canadian government at any level to be providing information or services in any language other than English or French.

Useless CMHC. Speaking of federal government departments that should be downsized or entirely closed CMHC is just about the top of the list.


It would be great if this bill goes through to bet on single games in Canada. I've never focused on it but I've always had it in my mind pro-line is beatable. This is long overdue and brings it one step closer. Although love this guys PPH videos and can't help but want to sign up.


I'm starting to get organized on Christmas shopping. If I get moving soon I'll be able to use the Web to find stuff. It reminds me how much better things are this year than last year when Christmas was pretty much wiped out by the events in the community. One idea I was thinking was to suggest a kind of "swap" with my sisters where I might get stuff from them for my kids and they can get stuff from me for their kids. I'll think about it but it might make it easier for everyone that way.


I caught Horrible Bosses over the weekend. It was ok. Maybe not quite as good as I expected. The plot was a bit weak and stilted in parts. There were some funny scenes and dialog but just not enough for the length of the movie. It was different to see Jennifer Aniston as the foul mouthed dentist. Also Richard Jenkins seemed to be working really hard to carry this film. He was very good but just not enough to save it.


So David Heap got roughed up while committing and act of war against Israel. Well boo hoo. He is lucky to be alive after voluntarily jumping into the battle as an enemy combatant. Unlike the Liberal and NDP whose policies are based strictly on voter counts, Harper has been a consistent supporter of Israel. Then again you don't see the Jews plotting to kidnap and behead the Prime Minister. The people the David Heap fought for launch rocket attacks from schoolyards during the schoolday in order to draw return fire back there. And since when are prisoners of war expected to be provided with "free communication with the outside world and wasn't receiving adequate writing and reading materials"

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


I've never really agreed with the Dr. Conrad Murray trial. It's not a crime to be a bad doctor. There's a saying "doctors bury their mistakes". I think the prosecutors are attempting to score on Jackson's fame.

Sure it looks bad. After all Dr. Murray only had one patient to look after. It was a man in robust enough health to be embarking on a gruelling world tour. From the trial it appears Dr. Murray may have been too easily distracted by the interrelated issues of his personal wealth, his status as a doctor to the stars, the possibility of becoming a celebrity doctor himself, texting with his several girlfriends while on duty.

But it all comes across as malpractice, not any crime (after all Murray has no motive for Jackson to die and every incentive to keep him well). The normal route for malpractice is censure, suspension or loss of medical license, loss of reputation and business, and civil malpractice litigation.

Now in Jackson's case unlike with regular folks there is little reason for his wealthy estate to go through an embarrassing public trial trying to get say a $2 million malpractice judgment. But it's not the prosecutor's responsibility to substitute a criminal trial because Jackson's estate is strongly unmotivated to pursue a shaky malpractice claim against Murray. After all Jackson was of sound mind and was free to fire Dr. Murray if he was unhappy with the service he was getting for what he spent.


Nice work Jon Corzine destroying 200 year old MF Global in only a few short months. Today 3,000 people cleaned out their desks thanks to you.


ah Greece again. What's the point of this referendum? At some level I hope the Greeks just reject it and I guess they will go back to the Drachma or just outright default on the bond payments. There's not much point in the Eurozone anyway giving money to Greece so Greece can then make payments to bondholders. What would that accomplish? Better to let the irresponsible Greeks default. If that imperils some German or French national banks then the Eurozone nations could take care of their own and make direct injections into their own banks if they were foolish enough to be that badly exposed to Greece.

It's weird because the population of Greece is like 11 million. How can default by such a small group cause so much trouble? It doesn't make sense.


I went to the Rodeo last Saturday. That was a good time. Lots of people dressed up. I can't remember ever going there before. I'd heard about the place. Staff were friendly and service was fast. Good crowd there but not too crazy. Maybe not every weekend but I would go back there.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Knock 'em Flat Pat

I didn't realize until recently Pat Buchanan is online. There's a name from the past. His writing is pretty good. He uses an interesting style. He has toned down the rhetoric from the past and his posts come across as more academic. Layout out facts and arguments and letting the reader draw his own conclusion.

Pat was part of a great era on The McLaughlin Group. I think that show is still on but I can never find PBS I'm not sure if I even get it. Anyway the best lineup was Pat, Mort Kondracke, Fred Barnes, Jack Germond and Elanor Clift.

Of course Pat's finest moment was the 1992 Republican Convention speech. From 2:00 to around 2:20.

That was a good time 1988-1992 in American politics. So many colourful and unlikely characters. Michael Dukakis, George Bush I, Willie Horton, Dan Quayle, Buchanan, Ross Perot, David Duke, Bill Clinton, Admiral Stockdale.

With the economy still struggling US politics may get more interesting again. In the last couple years we've seen first the rise of the Tea Party and now on the other ideological side Occupy Wall Street may yet translate into a real political force.

Monday, October 24, 2011

new car battery

I had a surprise over the weekend. Saturday night after the kids hockey game I started the car and ... nothing. Turned the key and dash lights came up but nothing else. Luckily there was a guy in a truck in the parking lot gave me a boost. That got me home but then on Sunday morning again no start. So I knew I hadn't left the lights on or something as I was extra careful Saturday when I parked.

So Sunday borrowed my dad's car luckily he lives nearby. I self boosted and drove my car to the Canadian Tire which is very close by. Today I went in at 7 when the service opened. They took the car and I caught the bus to work. They called by 8:30 to confirm it was the battery. Then called at 9:30 to tell the work was done. I'll say Canadian Tire service was very good. Staff were polite and knowledgeable.

It came to $200. Not fun but good to be back on the road. I was a bit lucky how it turned out I could have been stranded in a more remote way. So with a 6 year old car with 150,000 km I will now be getting CAA.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

math problem the price of milk

This is something that came up with me. I often buy a 4L jug of milk. I noticed that sometimes the milk goes bad before I finish it and I end up pouring some of it out.

So I thought I might buy 2L milk instead. Then I saw the prices:

4L milk: $5.69
2L milk: $3.99

which leads to the practical math problems.

1) how much (in litres) of a 4L jug can you pour out and still be better off than buying 2L

2) the main body of a 4L jug is around 8 inches high. assuming the entire 4L content fits in that 8 inches, how many inches can you pour out off the bottom of a 4L and still be ahead

we can assume that the buyer will always be able to finish a 2L milk. so as a baseline the 2L is always fully consumed with no losses

these should be solvable by a high school student or a better junior high. I'll let it sit for a couple of days then post the answer in the comments.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pirate Latitues by Michael Crichton

I read another book recently. It was Pirate Latitues by Michael Crichton. It was good. It was just a few days to read it.

I hadn't heard of this Crichton title before. It turns out it was published after his death in 2008. The manuscript was found among his papers. I wonder how much more work the author was planning before sending it to his editor. The book was polished but I suspect Crichton may have tightened up a couple of places.

Still it was a good read. It's about a privateer heist in 1665 led by Captain Hunter based out of the wild Port Royal Jamaica which was a British colony at that time. The book is in the spirit of The Great Train Robbery set in the glorious British Empire of the past. A tale of audacity, daring, cunning and determination. Crichton does a very good job of describing the times and the reader is able to really feel for what life was like way back then. It is a good book and I'm glad I happened to find it a the library. I've read a lot of Crichton but still a few of his titles to work through.

Monday, October 10, 2011


The usual bogus lawsuits.

Mom suing kids for parent support. This lawsuit is bogus. The reason child support exists is because children cannot go to work to support themselves. Thus their parents are responsible to provide for them until they are 18. At age 18 they are considered adults and are considered capable of going into society to support themselves through their own labour.

Now the parents of adult children are of course adults. Thus they are expected to take care of their own personal finances and the grown children are free to choose what level of support if any they provide to their aged parents. The adult children are already legally supporting their own children and they can't be expected to also support some other generation. The thing is the adult children chose through their own actions to be parents. Thus they would be required to deal with the consequences of this decision such as child support. However they did not choose their parents thus there would be no legal obligations. Also the parents as responsible adults would be expected to save for their retirement. If they chose not to then that cannot be their adult childrens problem.

On the face of it in this case it looks bad for mom. Perhaps she burned her bridges along the way with her 5 kids and if they don't want anything to do with her now at age 73 ... Typically a good reason to have children is that hopefully at least 1-2 of them will be virtuous, employed, not in jail, motivated to help you, and still in the neighbourhood when you are old. In any case whatever grown children do for their parents is strictly voluntary.

Ohio prison system implements Sharia. Disgraceful! If a criminal doesn't want pork chops for supper then he's free to fill his plate with veggies or just go hungry. Since 1776 who has done more to build Ohio and make it great? Christian pig farmers or muslim criminals? Incredibly the state of Ohio has thrown their own farmers under the bus to avoid a confrontation and sided with Islam. This is tyranny in the United States.

Not looking good for Christians in Egypt. 8 million Copts. 72 million muslims. Their fate will likely be that of the Christian minorities in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, etc - exile and extinction. They cannot win a war of attrition. Maybe like the Serbs they will be able to concentrate on some land and hold that but mid to long term it is not promising for this courageous and devout people.

Finally occupy wall street. That's an interesting match the anarchists who presumably want no government whatsoever and the social activists who want a dramatically expanded government to assume responsibility for providing all the people with employment ($20 an hour minimum wage), no cost to the patient health care, no cost to the student education, affordable housing (hey for the trifecta let's demand it be no cost to the homedweller), cancelling of debts, etc. I'm not sure how they plan to make all that work but who knows maybe they will come to control the levers of power - I hope not.

I was opposed to the original wall street bailout as it rewarded bad behaviour (like granting $300k mortgages to $8 an hour hairdressers to speculate in the red hot housing market of 2001-2007). Those firms who participated in evil and became personally wealthy off it should have been allowed to fail like Lehman.

Thursday, October 06, 2011


My work with the Halifax periodontal is now done. I was in for the final cleaning and check up. It went pretty well except having to give them another $500. I won't miss that part. Despite some coverage from benefits it was still pretty expensive. I hope my regular dentist doesn't have any more specialist recommendations up her sleeve after this and the wisdom teeth. My teeth feel all right and the top feels different after being gouged out to fill in the bottom but I can eat normally again now and I'm used to the ridges in the top now.

The specialist did recommend I try a rotating toothbrush so I might try that. The one she recommends is $90 at costco so yet more to spend it seems. Maybe I'll wait to Christmas what's an extra 2 months at this point after going all these years on regular toothbrushes.

Monday, October 03, 2011


So Anwar al-Awlaki  has joined Bin Laden in the hall of shadows. Good riddance. Some bleeding hearts have expressed concern about the killing of an American "citizen" overseas by the US military. Screw them and their complaint is bogus.

Ronald Reagan was right in his famous quote about terrorists "you can run but you can't hide". While it made a great sound bite, it was more subtle than that and remains the cornerstone of US policy a generation later. The "you can't hide" part means that you literally can't hide behind a US passport, G8 passport (the Canadian khadr in Gitmo, let him rot there forever), a mansion in terrorist friendly Pakistan, remote lawless places like Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, your wealth, etc.

Incredibly some apologists have tried to take a revisionist stance and rehabilitate al-Awlaki posthumously using sleight of hand and saying he wasn't involved in the detailed planning of Fort Hood, the Christmas Day bombing, the Chicago synagogue mail bombs, etc. He was close enough to it. He was a willing participant in his own special way. Like Bush said in the days after 9/11 - we will make no distinction between terrorists and those who support terrorists directly or indirectly. So the Bush doctrine also applies to al-Awlaki.


uh oh, it looks like Canada's low birth rate has caught up to us. we are facing near term fiscal disaster as large numbers look to drop out of the taxpaying workforce and become net tax recipients through government pensions, government health care and government prescription drugs. The math is inescapable and I think there will be a lot of angry and disappointed people of all age groups. In Canada today 100 grandparents produce 79 children who produce 62 grandchildren. With these upside down family tree I can't see how the taxes of the grandchildren can be expected to carry this load while also having anything for themselves to actually live on or have their own families. Something is gonna give and it may get ugly.


That was weird the USA Canada fence. uh I guess so. How many terrorists in USA have originated from Canada? of all the millions of crossings into USA from Canada. basically none. Seems like a waste of time and money.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Apocalypse of the Dead by Joe McKinney

Continuing the zombie and light reading theme, I read another book recently. It was Apocalypse of the Dead by Joe McKinney. It was pretty good, I read it in a few days.

The story takes place around 18 months after the initial zombie outbreak in Houston after a major hurricane. In the first outbreak the government sealed Houston and much of the coast behind a large wall with a sea quarantine. In the book a small band of survivors escape in a boat. Alas there is an infected among them and when the boat comes ashore in Florida it is full of zombies. They swiftly wreak havoc there.

Around the same time the quarantine wall fails and both zombies and some stray survivors bust out into Texas and Mississippi.

The author cuts between a number of different characters in Houston, Florida, Mississippi, LA and other places as they struggle to survive and stay on the move. The characters are drawn to a survivor colony in North Dakota led by a charismatic preacher and his devoted followers. The individual stories come together and intersect at the colony and an interesting conclusion.

The author has written other zombie themed books and this one ended in a way that he could pick it up with another book if he wanted to. Also set 18 months after the outbreak, this book may have been a follow on to an earlier zombie book. I might look for his other books and read them if I see them.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


So after some emails on the blinds from yesterday. It turns out the  person didn't have a car and it was hard to get to Clayton Park by bus. So nothing against the neighbourhood or anything. After some emails it was determined she is in highfield park. I was going to Dartmouth on Saturday so that was only slightly out of the way.

I suggested to meet at the parking lot in Gallery1 but she said she didn't know where that was? That was weird to be in highfield park and not know about the giant furniture store. So we met at the other end in the parking lot of Needs. I got there a couple of minutes early and emailed to say I was there. Then some time past and it was past the meet time. Then I get an email she said she had lost track of time and would be right over. A few more minutes passed and she did show up with someone who looked like her son.

They were glad enough to get the blinds. So I guess I did a good deed helping out someone. And I had nearly just thrown out those blinds. So hopefully they will be useful to her.

Friday, September 23, 2011

tech support

I did some tech support last weekend. An older gentleman I know. He asked me if I could look at his laptop. He described it as the screen wasn't coming up.

Since it was a laptop he just brought it by my place as I have a small monitor to attempt hook up and I have my own wired internet so I could keep this PC open and Google stuff if I needed to.

When he dropped by it was a bit better. Windows was starting and the display was coming up ok. It turns out the issue was he couldn't get to his Yahoo email.

I got him to show me how he gets to Yahoo. It was interesting. His start page was Google. He starts Internet Explorer, then types "yahoo" into the top right Bing search bar. The first search result is of course Yahoo. It was smart enough to point to Yahoo Canada.

So then he clicks the Yahoo link and Yahoo comes up. And from there he was stuck and couldn't get to his Yahoo email. Unfortunately he wasn't logged in any more and the login link was over to the right and he couldn't see it.

So I did a few fixes. I changed the IE start page to so Yahoo will just come right up now. I also showed him the login link and after he logged in I set the keep me logged in link. From there he couldn't find the email link it was off to the right. I showed him where it was.

Finally to improve laptop usability I showed him how to maximize the window to full screen size. Also how to use "Control +" to increase the font size to improve readability.

All in all it went pretty well and it was nice to have an easy fix and better setup. It is interesting at times watching and listening to regular users describe their experience with computers and technology.


Interesting email exchange this evening. I had two blinds that I was going to throw away. They were in my apartment when I moved in and I had replaced them with brand new blinds. Instead I posted them free on kijiji. Not much interest and this evening this lady said she wanted both of them. I said fine and said where I was when she asked - the address was also on the kijiji post. Anyway then she said she doesn't want to go here and could I deliver.

I politely declined. Delivery is rare in kijiji as the seller is taking a big risk of no show. Plus since it's free I'm not even making any money on this and will lose money if I have to travel.

Well I thought that was the end of it but she just replied again and says she doesn't like this neighbourhood and can meet at Halifax Shopping Centre. hmmm I wasn't really planning to go there any time soon so it's not really on the way. I suppose I could drop by on the way to the bridge some time. There's nothing wrong with Clayton Park West. She must have some bad history around here for some reason. I'll have to think about this.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Walking Dead

I caught season 1 of the Walking Dead recently. It's another one of those cable series.

It was pretty good. Only 6 episodes. Season 1 takes place outside Atlanta and features the time of the zombie outbreak / takeover and how a band of survivors from a small town manages. The central characters are two of the deputies from the small town and the wife of one of them. The wife and one deputy believe that her husband the other deputy is dead when the town was overrun. As it happens he survived and catches up to them later in their camp in the woods at an abandoned quarry. During that time while husband was believed dead the wife and the other deputy were romantically involved. So that complicates things and creates tension.

There are other characters along the way and since it's zombies there are just swarms of people dying every episode along with new survivors they meet along the way. It was interesting the characters are basically a random cross section of society featuring a racist, an abuser, some weak, average looking, elderly etc. It's not all the brave, strong, and buff which makes it darker. Although there is some eye candy.

It was well written, tense, and compelling. I will watch for season two.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ghost Country by Patrick Lee

I finished another book. It was Ghost Country by Patrick Lee. I was looking forward to this after reading the first book in the series The Breach.

It was pretty good. It only took about a few days to read it. The story picks up two years after The Breach ended. Travis has left Tangent and gone back to obscurity as a warehouse worker with a new identity. Due to an urgent crisis Paige from Tangent recruits Travis to go on another wild adventure to battle sinister forces.

Of course there are the fantastic gadgets from the breach. The story centers around a pair of cylinders which are able to create a hole to climb through into the future 70 years forward; and climb back in present time. There were some other breach entities but not quite as many breach objects in this book as the first.

As usual there are the multiple / alternate timeline themes that Lee weaves very well. It would be possible but harder to read Ghost Country without first reading The Breach. Lee also advances some on the dark events of the future for Travis and Paige that are alluded to in The Breach.

All in all it was an entertaining and a good follow on to The Breach. I believe there are two more books in the Breach series. I'm looking forward to the next title and will be watching for it.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

telling the truth

wow a rare statement of clarity from our own Prime Minister about the biggest threat to Canada. It's nice having a majority and being able to finally speak the truth and no longer having to accommodate the likes of Justin Trudeau and Taliban Jack Layton.

I can see Harper's point considering Islam had an active and dead serious plot to blow up parliament and behead him. Here's the thing. They want to behead you as well.

9/11 a decade later

I remember where I was that morning. In the upstairs dungeon at Core Networks writing code. There was a blip, an odd story flickered by the Yahoo news feed, that a cessna plane had hit the world trade center in New York. Soon the real story emerged and we sat around as it unfolded that terrible day. An enterprising young programmer hooked up a cable tv feed to the meeting room tv. There was an all hands shortly after lunch time and we were sent home.

Don't ever forget what happened.

Don't ever forget who did it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


So now it's really September. Post labour day, schools are geared up, July/August silly season is done at work with 25-50% of staff out on a given day. Will be steady until December.

Starting to notice a bit cooler in the evening. I remember I used to like September years ago. Maybe I cared more about the NFL starting then. Now I find it a bit sad, the passing of another summer over too soon.

Still September is a new start, more so than new year which is like in the dead of winter. What can you effectively gear up or change in January? No wonder so many new years resolutions fail. Lots happened between last September and today. Some good, some not so good. None of it I would have even predicted or saw coming this time last year. I feel more aware now of things, a better idea how to proceed. The past with its losses and regrets will always be there. But at least now I feel I can do better, be better going forward.

So as usual there's the unknown for the next 4 seasons. Somehow or other I hope to get there from here. Stuff I can't control, stuff I can effect. Personal projects to work on, some a bit more specific and important.


I was trying to eat supper tonight but it was nearly impossible thanks to ATV 6 o clock news. Lead story lice. Second story syphilis. Thanks for the double gross out ATV. Very poor production and editing. I turned ATV off before they made me throw up.

They should have had those stories later in the show when fewer people were eating, also spaced them out more. Also the syphilis story was low content fluff and hardly necessary given there was already a gross out lice story in the broadcast.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

what's the point - still no arrests in Vancouver

It's just a waste of time and taxpayers money adding more video cameras in Vancouver.

Seeing as there are still no arrests from the riot three months ago. Gathering more evidence will just give the government workers an excuse to "study" more data and delay acting even further. It's already probable that if any token arrests for show do occur the criminals can just say, pretty much correctly, that justice was not swift enough and the charges will be thrown out. Which I suspect is what the Vancouver authorities really want. For this to just go away and be forgotten and hopefully not happen again for at least few years or so.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vancouver riot: no charges

10 weeks after it happened and incredibly there are still no charges laid from Vancouver riots. shameful. In Britain within a week the courts are running 24 hours a day and already over 1000 charged. Like I said below, rioting pays.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I had a follow up dentist appointment today so I took a vacation day. The dentist went ok it was follow up to part 2 of the periodontal graft, the right side this time. Except for a final follow up visit in October that's finally done now. I guess next will be the long deferred visit to the optometrist but that can wait a bit more I need some relief after the car repair and this dentist. I'm glad benefits came in at 50% but that still leaves me out a lot.

So with the afternoon off I went to catch the matinee of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Like I hoped the theatre was not too full. Around 10% I would estimate.

It was a good movie. A worthy part of the Apes history. I've never seen the original 1969 movie I would like to see that some day. This movie to its title is the story of how Caesar and the other apes rise to rule the earth. In the movie Caesar gains enhanced brain abilities due to taking an experimental Alzheimer's drug under development. Eventually Caesar is able to give other apes the drug and organize a breakout from their cages. It wasn't too long, coming in after the 15 minutes of promos at the start under 2 hours.

car repair

I had my car in the shop this week. Last time in the mechanic reminded me it was time for the timing belt. At 150,000 km its as long as it should have been left.

So I got timing belt and the stuff that is also usually changed at that time: water pump, other engine belts. He also did a bearing repair.

All together it was over $1100. ouch. This is the first time in a while I've had significant work on the 2005 Civic so it's a reality of older and high mileage cars. It was nice after I got back on the road the ride was noticeably smoother. At 6 years old with 150 k, the car has consistently put up around 25,000 km a year. So hopefully it will be good for 2-3 more years that would get me to the low 200s. We will see I guess. I'm not status conscious about how my car looks so I just want to run this car as long as it will run.

I've got a pretty good idea where I will get my next vehicle. Right now the front runner is an O'Regan's dealership. I appreciate that O'Regan's sponsored my son's baseball in Dartmouth North so as a carbuyer I will remember that and be inclined to do business with them when it comes time to buy.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Short History of Nearly Everything

I finished up another book. I read A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

It was ok, good in parts. It's basically the history of science and the history of humanity. He talked about geology a lot in the first sections. At 478 pages I kind of wished his "short history" had been a bit shorter. It was a bit of a slog. It's hard because the subject is of course vast. Still with a bit tighter editing I think about 50 pages could have been cut and still get the same essential content across. I gained a new respect for biology after reading it. I hadn't realized how scientific biology is.

So now I should do some lighter reading, some easier fiction perhaps. I don't have anything lined up to read at this time. I got this book for Christmas so my reading productivity has been pretty poor so far this year. Been busy with other projects which are getting closer to wrapped up. So that should free up some time for reading and other priorities.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Wealthy West Burns

Toronto, Vancouver, and London. Three of the wealthiest cities in the world. 

Also the site of recent riots.

So what to make of all this. There seem to be some emerging trends.

contemporary rioting is safe and fun. in the G8 rioting is like the high tree-go, a six flags roller coaster, skydiving, bungee jumping. there's thrill, excitement and an illusion of danger but overall it is actually pretty safe for participants. We hear terms like "riot tourist", "recreational rioter", "sportriot" to describe modern rioters and they are all accurate.

rioting is profitable. in addition to the fun and excitement of being there for the smirnoff moment. if anything does happen to a rioter then the rioter benefits. look at the upskirt Vancouver riot kissing couple. ooohhh she was, gasp, knocked down during the Vancouver riot. now they are famous. 

plus if the cops or citizens disrupt rioters in the act then now the rioter can sue. this is in addition to whatever they can grab during the looting spree

cops and shopkeepers won't act. there is a new unspoken rule that the safety of rioters is of paramount importance. trumping protection of law abiding citizens, protection of property, and the supremacy of the rule of law. I was shocked during the Toronto riots the criminals were walking up to shop windows and smashing them. I was thinking "where's the shotgun blast from inside?" 

why can't or won't the cops act? consider this soft judge acquits Toronto rioter. Puddy Tatt shows up at a "peaceful" protest with a 9 inch knife. cops actually arrest him and lock him up. now a judge has dismissed the charges and said the cops were "too aggressive". I wonder what the judge would think if the riot came to his wealthy neighbourhood. would he be so concerned about police "aggression" if there was a mob of people packing 9 inch knives outside his big expensive house looking to loot and burn it? but as long as the mayhem stays out of their neighbourhood judges and the media will side with the rioters

by the way, the difference between a peaceful protest and a riot is when people start showing up with 9 inch knives. the cops kept it peaceful by disrupting the likes of Puddy Tatt but the judge and the media don't want to hear about that. look at the Toronto aftermath. as far as I can tell the only significant arrests, charges and public enquiries have been onto the cops who finally acted to restore the rule of law and prevent the entire city from being burned and looted!

so what's next

given events in London this is the new era of "rioting for fun and profit" in the G8. here at home is Halifax at risk? yes it is. Halifax has the combination of high murder rate, neighbourhood criminal gangs, pockets of a high sense of entitlement, a large university population. so a major riot in Halifax is definitely possible. possibly a 10% chance something in the next say 12 months. and as we saw in Vancouver (lost a hockey game) it sure doesn't take much of an excuse to light up a riot

so the law abiding must think about how to be prepared for this real possibility. how to defend ourselves and our property

This is a start. San Francisco had the right idea. disrupt communication. For once they put the welfare of the general public ahead of criminal opportunists.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Captain America

I saw Captain America in the theatre this week with my older son. It was a good movie. The theatre was around half full on a Thursday night. Which is about how I like it, I prefer to see movies when they've been in for a while.

I noticed a few movies this summer. I missed Bad Teacher but that was kind of a borderline DVD anyway. Horrible Boss looks good plus Planet of the Apes and Conan all look worth seeing there.

I don't go to the theatre a lot. Before this week I think it was Star Trek and then 2012 before that.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Just sitting around for a bit waiting for the kijiji buyer for my mom's sewing machine. Moved one yesterday and hopefully will get this second and final one sold in the next few minutes.

I bought a book case on kijiji yesterday. It was a about a 5 minute drive away. It was in good shape for $15 and already assembled. Good enough for my purposes. It was time for some new book storage space. I've done a few purges of the books the last couple years when space ran out but right now I'm down to books I want to keep. It's good to have books. So kijiji is working pretty well. kijijij is a great thing on the internet.


I saw a bit about the cbc report on the canadian cancer society. wow 22% of the money that comes in is spent on research. That's not a charity that's a kleptocracy. As happens in old mature organizations, the bureaucracy metastasizes throughout the body and has now killed the host. It's basically a bureaucracy with a small token research wing for show. That organization should be stripped of charity status and shut down. It has outlived its usefulness.

Someone should do a study of the government education department to determine what percent of the budget is spent in the classrom vs. what is spent on administration and bureaucracy. Health care too, are are allowed to discuss how much is spent on overhead and administration? 


I was in Moncton last weekend visiting a friend. It was a good road trip. I hadn't been up there in two years. The weather was good and we went to Parlee Beach. We also checked out the Moncton Casino which is a nice facility. Free parking, clean and new, well lit, staff and patrons were friendly. I'd go back.


Update: I just sold the second sewing machine. The buyer was disappointed because she had wanted the other sewing machine I had posted first; it was nicer. She emailed Tuesday but wasn't able to come by until today Sunday. As it happened I had a buyer for the first machine who arrived Saturday. The thing about kijiji is you don't hold anything. If someone is willing to show up at your door with cash then the item is theirs. Unfortunately there's some bad behaviour on kijiji and people will no-show after saying they want to buy something. That's also why there's also generally on kijiji the buyer has to pick up; no delivery.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Verdict is in

Maybe Casey Anthony and Guy Turcotte can go partying together now.

The Turcotte verdict is a dangerous outcome. The precedent seems to be that if you are upset about something then you can kill and then not be responsible for what you did. Well the door is open now most murders can be couched in similar context.

It's shameful with Turcotte considering the innocent, defenceless victims. A bigger man would have killed some combination of the cheating wife, her new boyfriend, or himself. Or just sucked it up and accepted that men get cheated on and left every single day.

Monday, July 04, 2011

health care in Nova Scotia

I went to church yesterday for an occasional appearance. While there the minister's wife said she was going to do the sermon although her husband the minister was originally planned to.

It turns out he had been at the emergency the day before, July 2, and was still not feeling well. The emergency visit was telling. They sat there for around 6 hours Saturday evening, got no service, and left because they had church on Sunday morning.

Some might rationalize this as bad luck, the combination of staff taking vacation on Canada day weekend plus an increase in drinking this weekend with resultant extra ER visits. I wish that was the case. But on facebook I often see status of people who spent 5-6+ hours in ER waiting for service.

The minister is a good man, in good shape, around late 40s I'd guess. Doesn't smoke or drink. It sucks that after paying in all that money when he actually could use service he got stiffed. sigh, well that's the government for you. Two generations of government medicare now and the age threshold for "go home and die" is now apparently 50.

So what does it mean in Darwinistic terms. Who are the fittest that get to survive?

- those who can stay well and avoid having to rely on the health care system

- those like the minister who can survive going without service when they are ill
- those who have the contacts and political skills to get the inside access to jump the queue and get service
- those who will fight hard enough and make enough of a scene to jump the queue and get service ahead of those who quietly wait their turn. nice guys finish last. nice guys go home after 6 hours without service

Also in health care the Nova Scotia government is suing big tobacco over health care costs. No I don't smoke myself. This lawsuit is a joke and wrong on so many levels.

- cigarettes are already very heavily taxed so the health money has already been collected. this is just a shakedown
- smoking is a red herring. this is just a distraction to avoid having an honest discussion about the real issue: obesity
- it is wrong to attack a third party over the actions of individuals. you don't sue the used clothing store when a Vancouver rioter uses a gasoline soaked rag to torch a police cruiser. you sue the individuals who torched the car.

it's the same thing here. the public health system has always been susceptible to the tragedy of the commons. all this does is it tells individual adults they are not responsible for their actions. the only way this lawsuit can proceed will be if the government must also sue individual smokers. it cannot be otherwise. we cannot hold only the corporate tobacco responsible for the actions of individual free citizens

the problem with suing individual smokers is that it destroys the lifestyle neutral belief system the public health system is built on. once in place the overweight/drunks/etc will be next for extra fees to cover the shared cost of their lifestyle choices

Sunday, July 03, 2011

American Beauty

I watched another movie that had been on my list recently. It was American Beauty. I had heard of it in the past then it comes now and again the last 2-3 years on the forums.

The hero is a 42 year old man whose sleepy life and sexless marriage is jolted awake by a series of events. His dreary but high paying office job is threatened by a corporate downsizing, high school daughter brings around an attractive and flirty cheerleader friend who he becomes smitten with, new neighbours move in and their mysterious son begins seeing his daughter while selling the father drugs.

His wife is a successful real estate agent but constantly yearns for more success. In her drive she begins meeting the top agent in town the "king" and he's interested in more than talking about selling houses. It's strange because she doesn't seen to realize how successful she already is. Driving around in a Mercedes wagon, $4,000 couch, big suburban house. Unfortunately she misses this and is consumed in material pursuits. In one remarkable scene she tells her daughter that when she was in high school they were "in a duplex. We didn't even have a house". That's pretty crazy like there's something terrible about being in a duplex.

And so on the contemporary commentary goes. In another scene his daughter chooses to walk home from school with the neighbours son. Her cheerleader friend is shocked and mentions that it's "nearly a mile" from the high school.

The 42 year old hero experiences some personal growth. He doesn't fight for his job and is let go. Then he spends his severance on a sports car of his youth and takes a minimum wage fry cook job which was also from his youth. He finds some happiness in this excursion but the forces of the present collide to an interesting conclusion.

It was a good movie. I think I grasp and appreciate it more now than I might have in 1999 or say 2005. It was a thinking movie it has stayed with me a bit these last few days.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

savings account(s)

Since I paid off my car I've been taking the amount that used to go to car payments off each cheque and putting it into a new savings account. After a couple months I noticed something. I was getting as much interest in the President's Choice savings account each month as I was getting in the TD savings account each month.

I use the TD account to save for bigger stuff I want to do or get in the future to avoid borrowing. Last year when I moved I used the TD savings to pay for it. Bigger stuff like that.

So I checked the rates and I was quite surprised. The TD pays 0.5% interest. President's Choice pays 1.5%. So three times the interest! I was annoyed at TD for being so stingy with their loyal customers. 1.5 is hardly anything special.

So this morning I arrived at the TD branch before work. There were like 5 of us there at the 8 AM open. I did the transfer using a bank draft. There was a $7.50 fee on the draft but it was better than taking the TD money as cash. Although unlikely stuff could happen on the trip between the TD and CIBC (President's Choice) branches such as car accident, heart attack, robbery. So it was worth $7.50 just to avoid carrying cash and having to worry about any of that. The amount isn't huge but enough to be really sad if it disappeared. But the bank to bank trip was uneventful between the strip malls and it's now in the PC account.

I left a token amount in the TD account and didn't close it. That account is still useful because it gives me branch access in walking distance from home with convenient hours. I still use the branch for rolled coins, and getting rolled loonies out for laundry. Plus I've been with TD and its predecessor Central Trust for like decades so it's good to still have a connection there.

Halifax architecture

A couple weekends back I was downtown on a sunny Sunday. I took this picture of the Central Trust II building. Still the jewel of Halifax architecture.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

hey cops! Vancouver riot links

pic and possible id of an arsonist torching a police car

suspicious sale offer of possibly looted Chanel merchandise from a riot attendee

police car trampler. love the spelling and grammar on the linked video. like Darren a proud product of the BC public education system

Friday, June 17, 2011

Congrats Bruins

Very well done Boston Bruins. They just took it away in games 6-7. A talented and character team that overcame a lot to win it.

Well I guess everyone has heard of the riots after the game. Here are my comments.

first of all there is no difference between the Vancouver and Toronto G20 riots. None at all. It's the same perps, criminal opportunists, ne'er do wells, trash and lowlife, drunks, people who enjoy the thrill and excitement of being in a riot. I'm sure there were people who even participated in both G20 and Vancouver. As expected they targeted the shops with jewelry and high end cosmetics for their "anger" and "protest".

at least the Vancouver regular folks learned a bit from Toronto and actually tried to intervene (a little bit at least) and disrupt the criminal rioters. good move, it's your city take it back, it's worth fighting for. what the spineless Toronto citizens did to passively stand by and do nothing (except take pictures, encourage the rioters, and impede the police) was the real national disgrace and embarrassment. there's still work to do but when the good guys outnumber the bad 50:1 then with any will or courage at all then the evildoers can be stopped

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Remarkable that Vancouver got to here. They score 8 times in 6 games, have their own goalie yanked 3 times (well he should have been yanked in game 3), and still they managed to somehow win 3 of the games. Are they the team of destiny or is their luck about to run out?

Like Boston going into game 6 I don't think the Canucks are in terrible shape going into #7. Back home they have been invincible. They wisely got Luongo out early in #6 so he will probably be fresh and focused for #7. When he's on he can be superb, as good as Thomas. Game 6 was closer than the score when you consider soft goals at their end, Thomas making some big saves to keep them from getting back in the game, plus clanging the post a couple of times, that could have easily been a very tight 4-3 type game.

I'm not going to make a prediction. Just hoping for an exciting game.

Monday, June 06, 2011

comments on the cheating post

Well I did have a bit more to say about the linked cheating post below.

It's pretty clear what he should do given

  • only 28 years old
  • only married two years
  • no kids
oh yeah, and that other thing

  • she cheated on him

So yeah, ditch her and her new boyfriend and good riddance to her.

But whatever. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. Husband has decided to take her back for whatever reason. That's his [bad] life choice and he gets to live with the result of that decision. And will he ever regret that in the years ahead. Poor guy.

So did they actually cheat or was it just the three quick kisses (not even making out!) and some inappropriate texts and emails?

Fedorfan nails it
This thread reminds me of a joke I heard once:

So a guy suspects his wife is cheating on him for odd behavior that clearly suggest cheating, so he hires a private investigator to look into it and gather more conclusive evidence. After a week the detective reports back to the husband - And informs him that on multiple occasions he followed his wife to a local hotel where she would meet up with the same guy, they would have a few drinks at the hotel bar and head up together to a room in the hotel, and from the outside of the hotel the PI took pictures of them entering the hotel room and presented them to the husband, and then shortly after the wife would close the curtains in the hotel room...
At this point the husband interrupts the PI and says "Damn curtains, see that's what I'm talking about! the evidence always ends up being so inconclusive..."

This text exchange too
golf pro: want to meet for a quickie?
cheating wife: can't today. off to the gym

Sure maybe I'm not an expert on sexting and all the nuances of communication. But I'm sure there is no way two people who are not already in an established ongoing physical relationship would have that text exchange. That's not some dreamy, chanel  #5, harlequin romance fantasy. That's a day to day real life fact exchange.

His entire thesis hinges on his repeated assertion that it was logistically impossible for his wife and golf pro to have been alone together long enough to have an encounter during the 4 month affair. Let's suspend disbelief for a moment and set aside that he was out of town on several multi-day business trips during her affair, that they could have gone to a motel room during their respective lunch hours at work, that they could have snuck off during the 4 hours it takes to play a round of golf, that instead of going to the "gym" she could have just as easily went to meet him somewhere.

Let's forget all that and look at it logically. Husband, do you really believe that: during a 4 month period, two highly motivated adults, in close geographic proximity, with vehicles, with private secure mobile smartphone communication, who were in contact every single day throughout the day. That in this situation that over four months they were unable to arrange to meet up somewhere for 30-120 minutes at least once?

I just feel so bad for the guy. The contemporary beta male.

Nagged into getting engaged.
His two year marriage is a disaster from the start and already sexless (at least for him).
And now this. She decides her needs weren't being sufficiently met so she is having an affair.

And instead of cutting his losses and leaving this cancer of a woman (after all no debt, no kids) instead this guy is so discouraged, so whipped, so weak, that his response to the nightmare his life has turned into is to just shrug and accept this as his fate. When the door lies open for him to walk right out!

What a life. Gets her the ring and the wedding (that she nagged and pushed for). Buys her the oversized suburban house that she picked out (close to her family and friends of course). At every turn for the last three years at least she has been coddled and accommodated and allowed to have her own way. And then she shows her appreciation for everything he did, all the sacrifice he made, by announcing that she is unhappy and has an affair with a sleazy golf pro. And still he stays, sigh.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Bruins power play

The announcer just said the Boston power play is 5 for the last 105. hmmm that's about 4.8% success rate.

Now at regular strength the Bruins are getting around 3 goals a game. Now 3 / 60 is 5%. But it's actually higher as they aren't even strength the full 60 minutes.

My point is the Bruins score more frequently at regular strength than they do on the power play! So mathematically their strategy becomes obvious. Just do the exact same thing on the PP as you do at regular strength. Don't put on a PP unit. Use your regular lines, even the 3rd and 4th lines. Don't run set plays or attempt anything you wouldn't do at regular strength.

So even if you do nothing at all different Boston would still score more often on PP then regular strength because with only 4 defenders over time they will inevitably score more often.

couldn't stop reading

I stayed up late the last two nights getting through this epic thread about a guy who discovered his wife is having an affair. cliffs here.

this is a compelling, riveting, wrenching roller coaster of a read. so if you click through be prepared to want to read it through!

I've got more to say but I'll post it in a few days in case some readers do click through I don't want spoilers or to influence anyone's impressions.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

RRSP contribution

Some more good news on the investing front recently. At work my employer has extended RRSP matching to 5%, up from 4%. It was advertised in advance and I signed up for it from day one.

As I've written before 100% employer matching is an incredibly good deal for the employee. I basically get a 100% return on whatever of my own money I put in due to the matching, plus the extra income tax refund, plus whatever the investment funds can yield.

Of course this does cause a decrease in my take home pay so I'll have to absorb that into my monthly budgets. Still it's definitely worth doing. I wish I had reached this point about 15 years ago but it's good to get there now. Who knows maybe someday I'll retire.

I had mentioned in the past about doing some alternative type business investments. Those haven't quite materialized yet but I'm still on the lookout and I've still got some ideas.


Speaking of money. I had a strange experience recently my TD Visa was declined at chapters. Well that was weird, and embarrassing. I checked online and as I thought no recent purchases and full $2500 balance available. I thought it might be about playstation network or something. I called customer service and it turned out the old GM card was replaced with a drivers reward card. Somehow they didn't mail me a new card and GM cards are no longer being accepted. New one in the mail so that should be straightened out again.


I went to the new swimming pool in Halifax this weekend. The Canada Games Centre is very nice. The big yellow slide is now open and that was fun. For unknown reason the blue straight down inside slide is still not open so that was a bit disappointing. I wonder what the story is on that. Still a nice visit but I'm not used to swimming and my eyes are a bit sore from the chlorine.


So I have a new phone number. Well at least I'm not at my parent's phone number and haven't been in well let's say a few years. My dad said he was awakened at 3:45 this morning a garbled drunken phone call someone whose name he couldn't make out looking for me. I'm glad he declined to give my current number or I would have probably been awakened then too. Anyway if you don't have my current number just type in my name on facebook and I'm right there. Oh well I wonder who it was. He probably regrets it today.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May run

Well another Victoria Day weekend has passed. It was an ok weekend. got talking to my son's friend's dad who I've known a few years. we agreed it isn't like the old days camping and partying this weekend. but that's what it is. we had our era and we have to yield the stage for the next group, just like the groups before us moved on.

there were some interesting may run. 1989 in Kedge was a good one. 1990 PEI was cold and bad. still some pics from that weekend around. it was a good era the camping age around 1989-1993 Hubbards, parlee beach. a couple of my friends from those camping days have their own cottages now. they've done well for themselves and good for them.


well I guess everyone has some thoughts on Arnold and Maria. I remember back when she was on NBC I could convince myself that Maria was somewhat attractive. But she just looks scary in the recent photos. It's pretty bad she looks like that considering how much she must spend on hair, makeup and clothes. ouch.

I don't see why Arnold would take a break from acting. After all these kids aren't some new recent development so it's really kind of w/e. Plus like actors/athletes/politicians/rockers taking advantage to partake of all the action offered is hardly anything unusual or some big deal. 


I've still got some work to do on the personal side. I misjudged a situation and got burned for it. as usual the hard part will be following through.

Friday, May 13, 2011

went bowling

I went bowling last weekend. It was a good time. I went with my older son and his friend.

We went to Bowlarama in Bayers Road. I hadn't been bowling in a while, around a year. I did well for myself finishing strong with a spare and strike on the last frame. Made a 90 which I'd never done before.

I told the kids some stories about the old days back in high school the midnight bowling at bowlarama. Even last weekend they turned the lights down and had the funky lights just a bit like how I remembered it. I should go out bowling more often.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Canada election

That turned out about as well as could be hoped for.

Harper majority. The Bloc wiped out good riddance. Ruby Dhalla and C-428 gone won't be missed.

So with a majority what's the plan? Here's some suggestions.

First 30 days

repeal the long gun registry. We want it g-o-n-e gone. That's like day 1.

repeal Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act link. better yet repeal the entire act and shut down the federal human rights commission. we already have human rights as defined in the Constitution so we don't need extra "rights" or "courts" to enforce these rights. but let's start with section 13 and restore free speech

first 6 months

eliminate irresponsible 35 year mortgages

over 4 years

eliminate the deficit

eliminate all sovereign debt denominated in other nations currencies including US$, yen, euros, yuan, etc.

chopper in the air. 50 EH-101 or whatever the state of the art is today that can be designed and built in Canada

dramatically streamline the process for refusing entry, and removing terrorists, terrorist sympathizers, criminals from our land. the situation with the al Qaeda mosque in Montreal is terrible. If even spineless Germany kicked out Mohamedou Ould Salahi then certainly Canada should not have been willing to harbour him.

determine a credible succession plan, energetic new leader, and be ready to face the electorate

Monday, May 02, 2011

ding dong the witch is dead

Today I join the world celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden. Good riddance!

Sweet finale too. American steel over the left eye and tossed into the ocean afterward.

Typical of his ilk. All those people he calmly and unflinchingly sent to their death over the years; then when his moment came he died like a coward, hiding behind a woman's skirt as a human shield. He died without honor.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Canada votes

It's pretty certain the next government will not be another Harper minority. They didn't make this minority fall and force this election to achieve that. So it will be either a conservative majority or some type of liberal-ndp-bq coalition. I voted conservative no surprise I'm sure to readers here. So we will see what happens tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Been a bit crazy at work this week. When I arrived this morning 62 unread emails in my inbox and that's just the unfiltered messages, there was a bunch more shunted off to folders. Was down to around 15 unread when I left today. First time I recall ever came to work when I'd been in the previous day with over 50 emails.


So Ben Bernanke gave a press conference. Here's some questions I wish someone had the courage to ask helicopter Ben.

Remember the good old days when you assured us that no firm was too big to fail?

Remember happy times in the past when you promised that it was not the responsibility of the federal reserve to protect individuals or corporations from the consequences of their financial decisions and nor would it be appropriate?

Ben, what is the role of the federal reserve?

Who owns the federal reserve?

math problems

A couple more math problems came to mind the last couple of days. I'll let them sit a couple of days and answer in the comments.

1) With spring weather arriving I got thinking about coastal cities like Halifax and inland cities like Fredericton. Here's the problem:

In Fredericton the winter is colder; and summer is hotter than in Halifax. Is there a time during a year that the temperature is the same in Halifax and Fredericton?

2) This is based on a NYT article on math education. Here's the excerpt.
Imagine you're playing a game for money and you lost seven dollars and gained five. Don't give me a number. Just tell me: Is that a good day or a bad day?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The French must love their coffee

Wow France got in a fight. sure it was the Ivory Coast but along with the recent laws on being covered in public there may be hope for that nation.

Besides coffee and tims, prices are going up everywhere grrr. over $50 to fill a Honda Civic. $2 for bread. $3 for doritos. getting hammered everywhere these days ouch

I've been to the bmo arena a couple times recently. Very nice facility. Nice layout, everything clean and new. Parking lot is a bit tight but all in all this is a well designed facility.

The border police seem to have missed an opportunity at the Pearson terrorist arrest. I think a better scheme would have been to wait for Mohamed Hersi to arrive in Somalia, revoke his "citizenship", put him on the do not fly/do not enter Canada list; and let Islam take care of him over there. We should have just let him leave Canada then welded the door shut behind him to never return. Mohamed and how many hundreds or thousands of others could use a one way trip off our land.

Finally on Africa, I don't know if Gaddafi committed atrocities. But his stylist should be charged with crimes against humanity. I wonder if he went to the same school as Saddam's stylist.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Bruce Carson

I don't see what the fuss over Bruce Carson is. So the guy was convicted of some stuff in the remote past. It's not the Canadian way to hold it against him afterward. He served his sentence and then it's time to move on.

What would the critics have him do? Be a bum on Spring Garden Road? Go back to crime? There's no reason not to hire a rehabilitated criminal for almost all positions so what's the big deal. The guy is expected to work somewhere.