Archive for July, 2010

Bus riders are sheep

Posted in Random, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

An $80,000 sculpture by local artists Anna Williams and Erin Robertson is going to be installed at the new Longfields OC Transpo station in Barrhaven.

The installation will consist of four life-sized bronze sheep sculptures herded by a bronze border collie, and a single black sheep mingling with commuters on the platform.

I’m all for public art, and I have even come to terms with the cost of the installation – which incidentally would pay for my monthly bus pass, at current rates, for more than 80 years.

What I am less enthusiastic about is the insinuation that bus riders are like sheep.  Sure, we are herded like tiny cattle every morning on the way to work, but do they have to make it so explicit?

And what about that lone black sheep? Why is it that the one individual, off on its own, refusing to be herded, is the black sheep? Everyone knows the connotation of the black sheep.  Is that really the message we want to portray here?

Forget age-based alcohol driving rules

Posted in Rules, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on July 27, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

I’ve heard a lot of discussion for and against new legislation that will make it illegal for people under 21 to drive with anything other than a zero blood-alcohol level.

The blood-alcohol level thing has always confused me.  We learn very early in school that there is almost no way for the average person to gauge the true effects of alcohol on their own body.  We all know about that little card you can get that compares how much alcohol is in each type of drink, and we all know that it is complete garbage. The number of variables that have to be taken into consideration are simply immeasurable.

Any yet, we continue to presume that the law can simply give a single number applicable t all, and that will somehow keep us safe – despite the fact that nobody is ever quite certain if they are over the level.

I propose that we stop relying on age-based, and blood-alcohol-based laws. The law should be that if you drink alcohol, you can’t drive for 24 hours. Period.

If everyone, young or old, was required to have a zero blood-alcohol level when driving there would be absolutely no mystery.

Music can really take you back

Posted in Finds, Music, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

If I ever have to get married, this guy is going to play at the wedding.  I’ll be waiting at the head of the isle, my bride slowly walking toward me, as the Highscore piece from Commando plays.

I love 8-bit chiptunes.  Maybe it’s the complex simplicity, or maybe it’s just because they take me back to my NES days.  Either way, I could pretty much listen to them all day.  Sadly, I am not a musician nor an electronics tinkerer.  I’ve tried both, but it just wasn’t meant to be.  So I’ll never be able to do what this guy as done. At least there is always YouTube.

Cheap haircuts are not a ‘right’!

Posted in Finds, sex, Thoughts with tags , , , , , on July 16, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

Source: Susan Burgess/CBC

Jayda Kelsall is complaining that she was refused service by Imperial Barber Shop on Bank St.  Apparently, the barber shop always turns away women, suggesting that they go upstairs to a hair salon directly above the shop. Kelsall thinks that her ‘rights’ have been violated and that Imperial should cut people’s hair “regardless of what’s between their legs.”

I’m not sure that protecting women from expensive hair cuts was quite what the framers of our constitution had in mind.  You do not have a right to cheap haircuts.

I’ll admit, if I had been the owner of that barber shop I wouldn’t have let her gender be a reason to refuse service – I would have sent her away simply for having a mohawk.  It’s not 1985.

Medium-security facilities cost how much?

Posted in Aggravations, Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

I was reading this CBC News article about the failure of an electronic anklet pilot project that was run by Correctional Service Canada. According to some University of New Brunswick professor, the anklets didn’t work as well as had been hoped, and the whole thing was a big waste of money.

Whatever. I don’t really care – that’s what pilot projects are for.

But there was one statistic in the article that caught my eye.  Apparently,

Keeping an offender in a medium-security facility costs $239 a day, or $87,500 a year, while housing them in a community correctional centre costs $65,656 annually.

Umm… what?!

I make a very decent living – about what both my parents made at the height of their careers, combined. But I do not make $87,500 a year – especially not after taxes.  And I would bet most Canadians don’t make anywhere near that much either.

When I was in university, I lived on less than $10,000 a year.  And that payed for food, rent and all the booze I could drink.

So where does all of this money go?  How can a single offender cost $239 each day?

CRTC actually gets something right!

Posted in Aggravations, Thoughts with tags , , , , , on July 13, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

102.1 the Edge and The Dean Blundell Show were vindicated, again, last week – this time by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).  The 8 July ruling found that the 20 March 2009 iteration of the radio morning show,

did not fail to meet the objective of the Act that programming be of a high standard.

This comes after already having been decided as such by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) last February.

The CRTC concluded that,

…there was no violation of established broadcast standards. Rather, response to this program is clearly a matter of taste, one best managed by audiences exercising choice.

Yes! Yes, yes yes! Finally!

I am really not a fan of the CRTC.  Really not. But they got it right this time.

If you do not like what is playing on the radio, turn it off!

This world isn’t ready for Twitter

Posted in Finds, Random with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

Sometimes, the internet just makes me want to delete all my posts and log-off.  But for some reason I can’t.  Instead, I friend/follow/RSS the content instead. It’s very disconcerting.

Case in point: I came across something terrible on Twitter today.  This user actually embodies everything that is wrong with the internet:

  1. Fake Identity
  2. Impersonation
  3. Frivolous Content
  4. Sporadic Updates
  5. Politics
  6. Kitten Anthropomorphism

Yes, those are the worst things about the internet, and no I did not forget porn.

It’s too hot to blog

Posted in Random, Thoughts with tags , , , , , on July 7, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner


I don’t like heat.  It makes me irritable and extremely impatient.  Worst of all, it makes my very – very – lazy.  I simply don’t want to do anything. Not even write.

You do not have a right to hear cars

Posted in Aggravations, Thoughts with tags , , , , on July 5, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

It seems that every few months this story comes back. Once again, we are hearing from people who are concerned about the lack of noise that emanates from Hybrid vehicles.  Well, today I am going to take a stand:

It is not the responsibility of the government to make sure that you can hear cars.

There, I said it.

I realize that this may sound harsh to anyone with a visual impairment, but it needs to be said. Our cities are clogged with dirty, smelly, noisy cars; and something needs to be done.  As it is, we have a fairly affordable method of helping with three out of these four problems – the hybrid vehicle doesn’t help with traffic, but it’s cleaner, less polluting and quieter.  Those are the benefits.  None of those things are a negative, least of all the noise relief.

I know all about the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report that said hybrid vehicles are twice as likely to be involved in pedestrian crashes at low speeds compared with cars that have conventional engines. This report has been cited in almost every hybrid vehicle new story since it was released.  But what the stories forget to mention is that the vast majority of these pedestrian accidents are caused by pedestrians who can see just fine but are simply not paying attention.  They presume that no car is coming because they don’t hear anything, but they don’t bother to look! Well, unfortunately I have no sympathy for you if you get hit by a car because you didn’t bother to look before crossing the street.

And what about the blind?  Well, as I’m sure you’ve figured out by this point, life’s tough.  You can’t see, and that sucks, but it isn’t the responsibility of the government to make sure that you cross the street safely.  And it’s certainly not my responsibility to make sure that my car is loud enough to keep you up on the sidewalk as I drive by.

We live in a society that has completely forgotten what it means to have rights.  “Rights” were never intended to force the government to give. They are supposed to protect individuals from the government taking.

Queen tours RIM then meets war vets

Posted in Aggravations, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on July 5, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

Queen Elizabth speaks to Premier Dalton McGuinty and Research In Motion president Mike Lazaridis at RIM's headquarters in Waterloo, Ont. (CBC)

The CBC is reporting that this morning, her Majesty the Queen of England went on a tour of headquarters of Research In Motion Inc. – the BlackBerry people. And then, she met with Canadian Forces veterans who served in the Second World War and the Korean War.

Apparently, some of these vets, who are well into their 80s, had to wait the better part of an hour in stifling heat for their opportunity.

I can ignore for the moment strangeness of the Queen visiting a private company – she is, after all, essentially a tourist in this country.

But why on earth would she need to visit RIM before meeting the vets?  And why couldn’t we get them a cooler place to wait in line?

This country has some amazingly screwed up priorities.