About the Ads

OK, I know there are ads every­where, but I thought I’d try them out at the top here. I don’t think they’re too obtru­sive, and I’m curi­ous to see what Google will put if I men­tion any­thing polit­i­cal. Let’s see, I’ll just throw in a lit­tle US Pol­i­tics-dri­ven word asso­ci­a­tion:

Bush
Idiot
Cheney
Quail
Quayle
Chick­en-hawk
Hal­libur­ton
Diebold
Enron
World­Com
Moron
War on
Ter­ror
Ter­ra
Fir­ma
FEMA
Brown­ie
Hel­lu­va Job
Cronies
Craven
Lying
Crooked
Scoundrels

Well, I don’t feel any bet­ter, but that should have fed the search engine just fine. Gee, did I just SPAM my own blog?

24! (Not the TV Show)

The Win­ter Olympics are just about over, and the final medal tal­ly is in. Cana­da won a record 24 medals. To put that num­ber in con­text, it’s 1 less than the Unit­ed States, and 5 less than Ger­many. No oth­er coun­try got more. What’s more, even with that Third Place in total medals, there were 11 fourth place fin­ish­es (often a hair-width away from a bronze) and 7 fifth places. With the next Win­ter Olympics tak­ing place right here in Van­cou­ver, you could­n’t have a bet­ter record or atti­tude com­ing into it. The only sore point: That medal count of 24 is just 1 shy of not only the US, but the goal that was set pri­or to Turin. Iron­i­cal­ly, it would have been 25 if it had­n’t been for the poor per­for­mance in the one sport that Cana­da is defined by: Men’s Hock­ey. No mat­ter, the Wom­en’s Hock­ey team did spec­tac­u­lar­ly, as did Canada’s Women Ath­letes in gen­er­al. In any case, con­grat­u­la­tions to all of Team Cana­da!

Another Guy from Morgantown

Don KnottsI read that Don Knotts, who played the bum­bling Deputy Bar­ney Fife on the TV Show “The Andy Grif­fith Show”, which aired the year of my birth (1960) to 1968 died yes­ter­day. He was also in the very strange film ‘The Incred­i­ble Mr. Limpet” of 1964, as well as more than 25 oth­ers, includ­ing one of my favourites, Pleas­antville, in 1998. In that year, Mr. Knotts, who is prob­a­bly the only famous per­son born in my home­town of Mor­gan­town, West Vir­ginia, was hon­ored when they named a street there after him. He majored in speech at West Vir­ginia Uni­ver­si­ty, which was the rea­son I was born in there too, since my par­ents were on the fac­ul­ty at that insti­tu­tion. He was due to make anoth­er appear­ance in Mor­gan­town in August of last year but had to can­cel because of ill health.
Mr. Knotts was 81.

Mixed Messages from the Sky


“Spir­it Bear”
Orig­i­nal­ly uploaded by Mus­sels.
Thanks to Matt for this appro­pri­ate­ly metaphor­ic pho­to…

Anoth­er thing I’m going to have to get used to here is the sea­sons. Not just the qual­i­ty of them (i.e. W = Win­ter = WET). It’s the length of them. I see by the cal­en­dar that today is Feb­ru­ary 25th. I know Feb­ru­ary, quite well, or at least I thought I did. Feb­ru­ary was the cru­elest month for me; it was the depths of despair. The sole hol­i­days of the month were Valen­tine’s Day and Pres­i­den­t’s Day, and if you’ve ever fol­lowed this blog you know my feel­ings about the pink-heart­ed and romance-inflict­ing hol­i­day. As for Pres­i­den­t’s Day, in recent years its just been a grim reminder of how far that insti­tu­tion has fall­en. That was the Feb­ru­ary that year­ly vis­it­ed me.

Van­cou­ver’s Feb­ru­ary says ‘Hah!’ Besides the ces­sa­tion of the rains (at least for the past week and a half or so), it has also seen the first har­bin­gers of Spring. Yes, you read that right. Spring is indeed arriv­ing in the sec­ond month of the year, tip­toe­ing in like an ear­ly the­atre attendee. I have proof: A few days ago I saw a for­syth­ia bush show­ing yel­low blooms. Today I spied a small daf­fodil. It was shel­tered by a bush, to be sure, but there it was. In Boston daf­fodils aren’t due for anoth­er 3 months or so. Just in case those clas­sic sign­posts went by unno­ticed, the Cal­i­for­nia lilac’s pur­ple flow­ers, which have the most amaz­ing smell lat­er on (some­thing like cin­na­mon, par­tic­u­lar­ly after a light rain or morn­ing dew), are out every­where. Granville Island is run­ning a lit­tle fes­ti­val this week­end called Win­terup­p­tion, which sug­gests that Win­ter will con­tin­ue after the events are over with. I would­n’t bet on it. I’d say its the inter­rup­tion is real­ly a farewell.

I note that there is a sec­tion of anoth­er web site, Japan-Guide.com that is ded­i­cat­ed to the bloom­ing of the cher­ry blos­soms in Van­cou­ver. It does men­tion that there are some species that do begin bloom­ing in Feb­ru­ary here.

Before all of my gid­dy Spring Fever gets too out of hand, there is one sober­ing fact: It’s cold out­side. The tem­per­a­ture today was about 3°C and a few very small snowflakes have been falling here and there. Not the dead of win­ter, but noth­ing remote­ly ver­nal about it. It’s just start­ed rain­ing now, and rain is pre­dict­ed for much of the com­ing week. In the words of Emi­ly Litel­la: “Nev­er mind”.

Why you should never Google your Customers

At work today, I was for­ward­ed an email sent to my com­pa­ny from one of our clients. In fact, it’s out biggest client in the US, the one that kept the com­pa­ny alive dur­ing the years of the dot-bomb, long before I joined up just three months ago. The email was about a Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion that need­ed some updat­ing, because it was going to go all the way to a very key exec­u­tive in the com­pa­ny (who they men­tioned by name). Some­thing about the name rang a bell, so I did what I usu­al­ly do when I hear or read a name that I think I rec­og­nize: I googled them.

One of the top 5 hits was a list­ing for the per­son at a site I had actu­al­ly been to once or twice, Buyblue.org. I knew of it, because it was one of the sites that advo­cat­ed putting your mon­ey (as con­sumers) where your mouth was, polit­i­cal­ly. To buy blue was to buy from blue states, or at least, from blue com­pa­nies. My first thought was that this guy, who is in the mid­west (actu­al­ly in a key swing state), had signed up. “Wow!” I exclaimed. “Here’s a case of an enlight­ened fel­low, in ‘red Amer­i­ca’, stand­ing up for what he believes in, and with an unpop­u­lar cause, at that!”

Not so fast, I learned after a few min­utes of fur­ther explo­ration. Not only did the com­pa­ny that this exec­u­tive belong to give 100% of their cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions to the Repub­li­can par­ty, but this Exec­u­tive’s father was the 15th high­est fundrais­er for George W. Bush. This fel­low was cit­ed in Buyblue.org for the same rea­son that Bill O’Reil­ly is cit­ed on Mediamatters,org — as some­one who is against every­thing they stand for. What’s more, the com­pa­ny which my boss proud­ly points out ben­e­fits from our lit­tle shop’s efforts that makes them a world leader, is main­ly for Bush because of his pol­i­cy on air and water pol­lu­tion con­trols (obvi­ous­ly, more favor­able to them than Clin­ton, who they had fought vocif­er­ous­ly for much of his term).

I wish I had­n’t learned this, as there’s not much I can do. I only hope that if I’m called down there to do work on-site that nobody will ask me what an Amer­i­can like myself is doing in Cana­da. Maybe if I don’t say any­thing they’ll just assume I’m anoth­er Cana­di­an. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

…All Kinds of Mus­lim Cra­zies Up in Cana­da
Speak­ing of Bill O’Reil­ly, he let loose with anoth­er one of his absurd out­bursts about Cana­da (which he has been known to do from time to time). On this past Wednes­day, react­ing to the acqui­si­tion of Pen­nin­su­lar and Ori­en­tal Steam Nav­i­ga­tion Co. of Great Britain, which man­ages US ports by Dubai Ports World (and result­ing clam­or) he said that the real dan­ger was the US’s neigh­bor to the North:

You know, we do a lot of busi­ness with Cana­da — this is what gets me — Cana­da has got the eas­i­est infil­tra­tion in the world. All you do is have to show up in Mon­tréal. You don’t even have to have a pass­port, and they’ll let you in the coun­try as a refugee. You just show up and go, “Hey, I’m here.” “Oh, OK, come on in.” And we’re doing busi­ness with Cana­da all the time, and we don’t have any checks up there. We don’t have any Bor­der Patrol up in Cana­da. I mean we have a few, but, you know, any­body can come down. I don’t hear any big scream­ing about doing busi­ness with Cana­da. You know, if Al Qae­da want­ed to get here, it’s easy. They’ve got all kinds of Mus­lim cra­zies up in Cana­da run­ning around. You see? So peo­ple get emo­tion­al.

So I guess he’ll be call­ing for a big wall between us and the US soon. Good. I’m wor­ried about all of those Chris­t­ian Cra­zies run­ning around down there.