Archive for the Aggravations Category

Christmas trees are *supposed* to lose their needles

Posted in Aggravations, Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

CBC is reporting that a bunch of yahoos at Laval University have found a way to stop Christmas trees from shedding their needles.

Well isn’t that just great! Congratulations, you’ve single-handedly ruined Christmas for everyone!

Presents just don’t look right under the tree unless they have at least a few needles scatter about them. 

If you don’t like the random smattering of pine needles, then take your Grinchy self to Wal-Mart and get a fake plastic tree instead. Don’t ruin the real ones!

Bell Canada is laughing at us all

Posted in Aggravations, Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on November 23, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

Once again, the telecomunications gods have announced a raise in prices. As of January 2011, all of their ‘calling features’ will cost $2 more each month.

  • Caller ID and Voice Mail will cost $10.95,
  • Call Waiting will cost $8.95, and
  • Visual Call Waiting will cost $16.95!!

If you’re feeling a little deja vu, it’s because this is the second time this month that Bell has made a price increase annoucement – although last time they were stickin’ it to internet customers instead.

The incredible part is that these features cost the company nothing. Once the system is set up, which it has been for years, it is completely automated. Displaying caller ID information cannot possibly cost the company more today, than it did last year. And Bell is certainly not struggling to make a profit.

So why the increase?  Simple – people have come to rely on these features, and won’t give them up just for the sake of a few dollars each month.

And that is why Bell is laughing.

It’s Rememberance Day, but not at the mall

Posted in Aggravations, Finds, Rules, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , on November 11, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

I pass through the Rideau Centre most mornings on my way to the office, and I’ve noticed that more and more Christmas decorations have been going up this week.  But somehow I was still taken by surprise this afternoon when I walked by and realized that the Santa Claus chair is already set up.

Today is November 11th!!!  NOVEMBER!

It’s too damn early for Christmas decorations, and it is WAY too early for Santa’s chair!!!

Yet more proof that Canadian phone companies suck

Posted in Aggravations with tags , , , , on October 18, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

Another study has once again pointed out that Canadians pay way too much for cell phone use.

Take a good look at that chart (which Engadget has graciously bestowed).  Notice how Canadians pay as much for voice service alone, as most of the world pays for voice, text and data put together?

It’s a sad day when even the US looks enviable.

Crime statistic are wrong, lets make more prisons

Posted in Aggravations, Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , on August 3, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

I think that politicians in this country have a largely thankless job.  They actually do quite a bit to keep our lives running smoothly, and we never really hear about them unless something goes wrong.  But every once in a while, one of those politicians comes out and says something that makes me wonder if our system for choosing leaders is a little screwed up.

Like today:

Treasury Board President Stockwell Day says that recent crime statistics are inaccurate because they don’t account for crimes that are unreported. Apparently, the government is going to go ahead with spending billions of dollars on new prisons in spite of the evidence suggesting that this expenditure is unnecessary.

I will admit up front that I have no way of knowing whether or not the recent stats are accurate, but what I do know is this:

If even the statistics for reported crimes are inaccurate because they fail to account for unreported crimes, how on earth does Day think that he knows the statistics for those unreported crimes?  And even if he is right… why would we need more prisons to contain the perpetrators of unreported crimes … since those crimes are unreported, nobody will ever be convicted for them!

Someone needs to give Mr. Day a lesson in logic.

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!

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.

I am not a radical extremist

Posted in Aggravations, Finds, Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2010 by Mitch Leuraner

Source: Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press from

Heritage Minister James Moore thinks that anyone who opposes his copyright legislation is a “radical extremists”. Yep! Just like that.

Never mind the fact that our system of government is designed around the basic tenet that proposed legislation should be discussed in a forum where opposing interests have a voice. Nope.  The bill is perfect, so everyone that disagrees must be mistaken. Right?

Oh, and lets just ignore the obvious undertones involved when anyone uses the term “radical extremist”.  It’s not like people will actually make the links anyway. Right?


I’ve seen a lot of politicians make questionable statements.  But this is different.

Moore has essentially eliminated all legitimate opposition to his bill, by simply assuming that he is right and the rest of the country is wrong.

Well, I’m sorry Mr. Moore but you are wrong. Not because you believe in your bill – you have every right to believe in it. No, you are wrong because you do not understand the system of government that is used in this country.  It’s called representative democracy, and it means that you as a representative work for us.  You do not tell us that we are wrong, we tell you what we want, and you fight for it.

If we tell you that we don’t like a bill, then you don’t pass it.  It’s really that simple.  If you don’t like the job that we have given you, then go work for someone else.