Friday, July 31, 2009

My "little girl"...

So today is the day. My daughter is leaving for CFB Trenton, from where she will fly out for her 6 month deployment overseas. To 'the sandbox', as it's called. Yes, she's a grown woman now. In her thirties and all. But just as with her sisters, she and they will always be my little girls. I can vividly remember going 'crabbing' with her and her little sister, at the end of the point by the jetty where the duty boat would come to pick us up, at the married quarters in Shannon Park.

How they would giggle and shriek when we would turn over a large rock, to uncover a big ol' crab, it's arms and claws outstretched in a defensive posture. Then we would manoeuvre an orange plastic pail around the back it and flick it in with a deft nudge of a yellow plastic shovel. There we would admire it for a spell, before releasing it back to it's hiding place. The lane leading down to the jetty was lined with wild primrose bushes. To this day I cannot smell a primrose, without my head and my heart being transported back to those simple, joyful days.

Those days gave way to fishing trips on the shores of Albro Lake. Where we would freeze our fingers in an April gale, while tempting stocked rainbow trout with cheese balls on a bare hook.

*Sigh!* So long ago now... It boggles the mind, the rate at which the years pass by. An old saying has it that life itself is much like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes, it seems. I think I have finally figured out what to enjoy, what is actually important. It would be a shame to leave all this anytime soon...

So yes, I'm concerned about my girl's well being. I'm concerned about her state of mind. I want to see her focus. To focus solely and entirely on the job at hand. Not to be distracted by what awaits her back home here. Not to concentrate on things that will not guarantee her safety and efficiency. She's not a silly person. She knows what's going on. She will be surrounded by some very good people. The best our country has to offer, if truth were known. So I don't fear for her personal safety so much. For her time to go by quickly, she must become one with the mission. She must immerse herself into the operational necessity of her job. She must absorb as much as she can of her surroundings and this, her new reality.

I am proud of her. So very proud... For who she is, for what she is doing...

She is always on my mind and in my heart. All my children are. But this time, her more than most. And when she comes back, maybe we'll find time to go wet a line. Maybe we can coax her sister to come along as well. It would be so nice to be able to recapture that moment in time...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The cost of illegal fishing in BC...

The following could well serve as a primer, as to why you should never let your parents intercede on your behalf, with the government authorities of any country.

We received this e-mail which had protective features embedded into it, so that we could not even reply to it. Kudos!

The script meanders all over the map, but basically it is a woman writing in defense of her son, from what I can make out, who happens to be an American citizen. So the first consideration is that this whole epic, is written by a third party who was not actually in attendance and therefore could not possibly bear witness to any one of these events. This whole e-mail is nothing but hearsay, inuendo and supposition. Much of this diatribe has to do with Washington State Fish and Game / Wildlife officers, although there is actually a segment where this lad who has hired himself out as a bona fide professional fishing guide, duly accredited by the State of Washington, brings customers into Canadian waters and breaks a variety of laws.

Whether an individual becomes a professional fishing guide in the US of A or right here in Canada, it goes without saying that they are required to be intimately familiar with all federal and provincial or State fishing regulations which exist. They are not simply a water taxi. This applies if they are fishing in salt or freshwater. You cannot be a guide and not know this. This is why in many parts of Canada, if you are a non-resident, you will be obliged to use the services of a guide, to come fishing here.

The author of this e-mail makes a lot of the fact that the person in question is a Marine, who served a tour of duty in Iraq and saw a friend of his die. Not to make light of this by any means, but you will be very hard-pressed to find any Marine who has served a tour of duty in Iraq, who has not seen at least one of his friends die. If not several of them. It must be stated however, that neither his military service, nor the fact that he has been diagnosed (?) with PTSD, are germaine to this account. They have absolutely no bearing on this situation whatsoever. None of this renders him unaccountable for his actions either in the State of Washington or in Canadian waters in the Pacific Region.

This person regardless of his diagnosis, is supposedly at any rate, a Marine. Unless Marines are way different than back when I was serving (and I know they're not...) this e-mail is an insult to anyone who has ever worn/earned the Eagle, Globe and Anchor. For the author of this e-mail to attempt to describe the perp as some milquetoast individual, who is without any common sense, organizational skills or situational awareness, is perhaps not the best way to try to 'help' him. Either the author is completely fabricating this person's military background (which is what I suspect...), or she is interpreting his PTSD as a form of mental retardation.

Read on if you wish... maybe you can decipher something here that I totally missed. I've taken the liberty of blanking out any pertinent names involved.


"Washington State Fisheries Agents pose as clients for *** ******* of ************ Guides in March of 2009. (This is hearsay. Does she know for a fact these 2 individuals are actually officers for the Washington State Fish and Game authorities? - Crypt.)
*** had just received his Washington State Guides license.

*** served with the US Marine Corp for 4 years and completed a tour of duty in Iraq. (True? - Crypt.)
As a matter of fact *** was just promoted Sergeant this week of the IRR (Individual Ready Reserves - Crypt.) in the Marines. (Hmmmm.... Individual Ready Reserves are the reserve force of the Marines which is composed of Marines who have finished their active duty or SMCR obligations, however their names remain on the books to be called up in case of a war or other emergency. Would someone supposedly diagnosed with PTSD be retained in the IRR...? - Crypt.)

*** saw his buddy being killed 2 vehicles ahead of him – and other atrocities of human evilness. (Doesn't matter... - Crypt.)
*** was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (Doesn't matter... - Crypt.)

*** was trying to get a fishing guide business off the ground to support him and his wife, *******, living in Blaine.

*** moved close to his and *******’s family who live in South Surrey, BC Canada to help him through his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (Doesn't matter... - Crypt.)
The Washington State agents used the name Rob and Julie Miller (posing as a married couple). (Again, how do we know this is truth or fiction? - Crypt.)
*** guided them on the Skagit River in Washington State.

The agents hire *** again for a trip on the Nooksack River, Washington State.

Advertising on ***’s website, he mentioned fishing for Chinooks on the Nooksack for "catch and release". (Interesting... I've never heard of catch and release salmon fishing anywhere in Canada. - Crypt.)
The Washington state regulations say Chinooks are closed but other species were open. The confusion (Seems pretty straightforward to me... - Crypt.) in how it read lead him to believe it was catch and release.

Being a new resident of Washington and new to guiding it is extremely difficult to interpret the true intent of the regulations. (Bullshit... If he couldn't interpret the regulations, he should have checked with WFG and he certainly shouldn't have been guiding anyone. - Crypt).
Fisheries of Washington State suggest that you have to say your are targeting Summer Run Steelhead when in reality, it is the same type of gear to catch Chinooks. (Dubious - Crypt).

If the Nooksack Chinooks are endangered then shouldn’t the river be shut down so anglers are not "accidently on purpose" catching Chinooks.
(Anglers are expected to know the difference. So should guides - Crypt.)
It is not clearly written in the regulations that an angler cannot target Chinooks on the Nootsack. (Highly dubious - Crypt.)

*** and "Rob and Julie" were fishing on the Nooksack River.

Rob asks *** to fish with roe.

*** states that there is a bait ban in that area.

Rob asks for it anyway (begging).

*** says there is a $100 fine.

Rob tells *** – "That’s ok, I will pay the fine".

Rob also tells *** that he hates the Fish and Wildlife officers.

*** gives him the roe and Rob used the roe ALL day fishing. (In that case, *** is a dummy because he should have known that he would be held responsible. He is after all, their guide accredited by the State of Washington. - Crypt.)

Others around them are fishing roe as well. (That makes no difference whatsoever... - Crypt.)

The fisheries officer does not give out any warnings or citations to anyone but continue to fish illegally all day and let others do the same. (To do so would have been to tip their hand - Crypt.)

The job of law enforcement is to give out citations when they see a violation of the laws of the land. (Your definition, unfortunately. Obviously, not that of the WFG... - Crypt.)

*** was wrong to give the bait and should have received a warning or fine at that point in time.

The agents entrapped *** and they continued to break the law. (They remained in character - Crypt.)

This would be the same type of scenario of a Police woman dressed like a prostitute and tempting a "John" BUT continuing on with the act of sex and never charging him until months later. (Hardly - Crypt.)

Rob and Julie were trying to get *** to do as many things wrong as possible. (It's called accumulating evidence of wrongdoing - Crypt.)

It is no wonder people in our society have little or no respect for officers in authority. (That's right... Everyone should be able to break the law and go unpunished... the nerve of the government! - Crypt.)

On May 12th, Rob and Julie hire *** once again to fish on the ocean.
Another person joins them posing as their friend, Stef, who turns out to be a Canadian DFO undercover agent! (Also known simply as a Fisheries Officer - Crypt.)

*** gets their information and purchases their Canadian licenses on line for their trip to "East Point" fishing rockfish and lingcod off of Tumbo Island. (Fishing rockfish? Ever hear of RCAs, or Rockfish Conservation Areas, of which there are several on the West Coast? - Crypt.)

Their trip goes fantastic. They caught fish and fed the eagles a couple small rockfish so the clients could get pictures of eagles up close. (Again... RCAs anyone??? - Crypt.)

This is a very common practice amongst recreational fishermen and guides in the Northwest. (The Northwest what? United States? Better check with WFG about that. Here in Canada, better check with DFO about that... - Crypt.)

The clients come back to Blaine to the boat ramp. *** takes them to his house and cleans their fish for them for free. The agents went and purchased a 12 pack of Kokanee at the Chevron in Blaine and drank 11 of them (*** had 1) at ***’s home.

Julie does not really drink beer – perhaps she had one. So Rob and Stefan drank them and then Rob drove the vehicle away. (Doesn't matter... - Crypt.)
On duty agents drinking and driving? (Again, hearsay...and from someone who was not even in the same area of the country... who's to know? - Crypt.)

The clients hire *** once again for a salt water trip on July 24th. (Clearly *** doesn't learn... - Crypt.)
*** prepares with getting special lures for the woman as she states she likes the pink ones.

*** is a people pleaser. (Okay, so he's a people-pleasing criminal... - Crypt.)
They head to East Point once again in a 20 foot Custom Weld jet boat that is owned by his parents, ** and **** *******. (Interesting, he's using his parents' pleasure craft for conducting a commercial business. I'm pretty sure there are laws in the US against that, just as there are here in Canada. Crypt.)
The undercover agents (Rob, Julie and Stef) were having a great time fishing and catching their rock fish and a huge lingcod. When they caught a legal size lingcod, *** immediately recorded their catch on their license as it states in the Canadian fishing regulations. (This should not be seen as a laudable act. It's what he's required to do by law. - Crypt.) Rob and Stef were making nasty sexual jokes all morning. (This has what to do with anything here? And while I'm at it, was the author actually there for any or all of this...? - Crypt.)

The agents caught an undersized small ling and asked *** to throw it to the eagles so they could get a picture.

*** refused saying it was not of legal size and that lingcod sink so an eagle could not get the fish.

He also knew it was wrong to retain an undersize lingcod. However there is no size limits on rockfish. (Again, you and he are assuming it was legal to fish for them at all in that area... - Crypt.)

The agents also kept suggesting they fish in a different spot and the San Juan Islands to catch more than their allowable catch in Canadian waters.

They were trying to get him to do things wrong by saying they wanted to fish in a certain place. All of which were not legal places to fish. (And if he complied with their wishes? Guess what? He is criminally responsible. Why? Because he is the guide and the master of that boat. He is absolutely responsible. - Crypt.)

When they had their limit of rockfish, the undercover agents wanted to feed the eagles to get more photos. (And the limit was what now? - Crypt.)
The undercover agents continued fishing and brought up a couple more rockfish.

It is common knowledge that a rockfish brought up from the depth of 30 feet or more stands little or no chance of survival. (It is common knowledge that rockfish are not an open species in many areas of British Columbia. - Crypt.)
After the fish was brought up, *** threw it to an eagle. (D-Uh! - Crypt.)
Immediately 4 Canadian DFO boats surrounded him, (Jesus Christ!! They just materialized out of nowhere, did they?? Were these boats submarines? Did he not see 4 DFO Conservation and Protection vessels shadowing him for what clearly must have been hours...? - Crypt.) HANDCUFFED HIM, (That's what we do with criminals in this country, Ma'am... - Crypt.) placed him in the front of a Zodiac boat for 1 ½ hour ride to Duncan, BC on Vancouver Island. *** said the pounding of the waves caused excruciating pain in his wrists as the handcuffs dug into his arms. (These particular words would never leave the mouth of any self-respecting Marine... - Crypt.) He was freezing with saltwater spray hitting him and was not given any king of garment for warmth. He was exposed to the elements. (Anyone who has gone through Marine training, notably 'The Crucible', would laugh at this passage... - Crypt.)

9 to 11 officers on hand for an arrest for feeding a rockfish to an eagle! (There were obviously many more charges than that... - Crypt.)

The undercover agents played dumb and said "Oh ***, are we fishing in illegal waters?"
(Which they were not) (Clearly they were... - Crypt.)

The arresting officers said "Yeah ***, ha ha fishing in illegal waters?"
They laughed and mocked him as he was arrested. (That's pretty much customary amongst law enforcement agencies around the world. They don't hold criminals in very high esteem, I'm afraid. - Crypt.)

In Duncan, they incarcerated him and turned him over to the Duncan RCMP who were shocked as to why he was in a jail cell! (I find that not only hard to believe, but incredibly naive of her. You'd have to go a lot further than that to "shock" a Mountie. - Crypt.)
*** called his parents and it took 6 more hours to get his release before the weekend. DFO required a $1000 cash bond. He was without his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder medication for well over 10 hours. (This is simply a matter of bad planning on ***'s part. Again, makes this Marine part very hard to swallow. - Crypt.)

The DFO confiscated the Custom Weld boat and requires a $30,000 to $40,000 deposit to get it back before the court date of August 25th. (That is standard procedure for Canadians as well... Fisheries offences result in the forfeiture of your gear, your vehicle, the lot... - Crypt.)

Does this punishment fit the crime? (Absolutely... Again, information he should have known before ever leaving home. - Crypt.)
Had he known that he could not feed an eagle a rockfish, he would not have done it. (D-uh! - Crypt.)
If the officers were really concerned about the rockfish, they would have given him a ticket or warning the first time they were fishing in May. (Clearly they were compiling a case. They treat businesses differently than they do individuals. - Crypt.)

The officers fished illegally to entrap ***. The agents caught the fish over their limit and they suggested feeding it to an eagle. (And *** took the bait. - Crypt.)

RCMP officers told *** in Duncan that men are brought into their facility after beating their wife up and they release them the next morning with no bail or fines. (Yes...? And...??? - Crypt.)
*** was released around 7 pm. A taxi fare of $120 had to be paid to get him to the ferry. He took the ferry back to the mainland.

Is the government trying to make an example of him? (No... This is called enforcing existing laws. It is an individual's RESPONSIBILITY to know and obey those laws and regulations. Again, you shouldn't, or wouldn't, have to tell a Marine about personal responsibility. - Crypt.)

Is this how they treat someone who has put his life on the line so we can have freedom? (Only when they come into our country and break the law. And who do you mean by "we"? You might have missed this, but it's OUR men and women who are serving overseas for Canada. - Crypt.)

***’s charges are:
Retaining extra rockfish (which was not retained but fed to the eagles) (That means it didn't make it back home, Ma'am... - Crypt.)

Failure to return rockfish in the manner it was taken.
Wasting rockfish.

To add insult to injury: (This deals with the WFG... again, nothing to do with our country, our regulations of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. It's just more background filler which is pointless and equally meaningless. - Crypt.)

Washington state fisheries had a search warrant for his home in Blaine to seize his computer. They also looked in his freezer to see if he had any illegal game or fish – they found none!

The reason the Fisheries and Wildlife officers checked his freezer is because Rob (Alias) told him that *** killed a moose calf in BC. *** had told him that they went on a hunt and they killed a moose calf.

** ******* (his father) had the tag and ** ******* pulled the trigger. That can be verified by others on the hunt. They found no moose meat or game in his freezer. All they found was a few fillets of smallmouth bass from Whatcom Lake.

Washington state fisheries also impounded Ben’s truck and our boat trailer from the Blaine boat ramp. (Clearly the laws in Washington State are very similar to our own here in Canada, when it comes to federal fisheries offenses. Crypt.)

*** met with officials on July 25th in Washington State and they said they were only citing him for targeting Chinook off season and fishing bait in a non bait area. The officer said it was a misdemeanor.

The Washington State Wildlife officers set him up for a fall in Canada.

Can you imagine the amount of funding this cost? (No... and it's a moot point anyway. These agents are at work 24/7. - Crypt.)

They undercover agents (clients) paid for 3 other trips. However, they did not pay for the trip on July 24th. They still owe him $400. (Ummm... I think the jury's still out on that one. And I dare say both governments are going to recoup a Hell of a lot more in fines, than was spent on those fishing excursions and a twelve-pack of Kokanee. - Crypt.)

Wouldn’t you think that the Fisheries in Washington State should come along side new guides and educate them with courses or material? (It's once again the individual's responsibility to learn what these rules and regulations are. - Crypt.) If the Fisheries Officers of Washington State built friendship and camaraderie to help this new guide, this world would be a much better place. Instead they built a fake friendship to stick a knife in Ben’s back. (That's called a 'covert operation'... - Crypt.)
Anyone with a couple hundred dollars can receive a guide’s license in Washington State. There is no test required to see if you understand the regulations. (Clearly there should be. There are here in Canada... And yet again, it's a moot point. See 'Individual Responsibility'... - Crypt.)

What a disgrace that the United States of America and Canada would get together to entrap, railroad, humiliate and use excessive punishment on a War Veteran! Then throw him to the wolves by getting him arrested in another country and making this an international mess! (The 'veteran' part is wearing thin. Not only that, but you are going to start embarassing other bona fide veterans with this kind of talk. The word entrap is only used by people who run afoul of the law and are looking for an excuse to not be punished. 'Railroad' implies: to convict an accused person without a fair trial or on trumped-up charges. Neither of which apply here, rendering her entire last paragraph null and void.- Crypt.)
*** has fished in Canada and the United States of America since he was 3 years old and has never a warning, ticket or violation and you certainly need to be a rocket scientist to figure out all the regulations. (That's the thing... You don't. To suggest that *** was unable to figure these laws out, in a field which he had chosen as a new livelihood, suggest either a bad career choice, or a weakened mental capacity. Not at all what someone might expect from a man who was presumably capable of making the Marine rank of Sergeant in 4 years. - Crypt.)

He has fished in British Columbia for 20 years and has never had one fishing violation! (That's where you're wrong. He now has several. However you could have said: "Up until now...". - Crypt.)

Please read the attached letter and I beg you for help.Thank you! (Contrary to what seems to be a widely-held belief, Ottawa has nothing to do with the way that the Fisheries Act is enforced in the Pacific Region. Or any other region of Canada. That's why the head regional offices exist in the six regions that make up DFO/CCG in Canada.)

(***'s Mom)

** and **** *******

***** ********* **.

Surrey, BC *** ***


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Waterskiing spotters on a boat...

Another question we get here often enough, is with regards to spotters onboard pleasure craft that are engaged in waterskiing and other towing activities.

The Part VI of the Small Vessel Regulations (Section 41) set out the requirements for waterskiing and other towing activities.

The Regulations include the following safety measures:

- there must be a spotter (other than the operator) on-board, who is keeping watch on the person being towed,

- there must be a seat available for each person being towed in case recovery is necessary (only personal watercraft designed to carry three or more people can be used for towing),

- if the person being towed is not wearing a lifejacket or a personal flotation device, the vessel must carry the equipment that would be required if the person were on board,

- towing activities are not allowed during the period beginning one hour after sunset and ending at sunrise; and

- the towing vessel cannot be remotely controlled.

The question we deal with the most regarding the spotter, is what age does this person have to be. The regulations of course, do not stipulate this. All they do address is that the person is required to "keep watch on the person being towed". They are a safety number, who is responsible for the safety and well-being of the person on the other end of the rope. It only follows logically then, that the person should be of an age and maturity where they can be relied on to carry out this duty in a responsible manner.

You cannot possibly know how many people will sit there on the phone and argue with you that their 6 year-old is incredibly mature for his age. First of all, you have no business being a parent if that's how your mind works. You're going to try and saddle your 6 year-old with being responsible for another person's life??? Are you fucking serious??? The spotter must not only keep watch on the person being towed, but must have the mental wherewithall to relay to you exactly where the person fell and help in locating them, should for some reason he or she fail to surface.

That of course would leave the door wide open, for you to be charged appropriately under Section 43 of the Small Vessel Regulations: No person shall operate a small vessel in a careless manner, without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons.

You are SO Torontarded...

So what can you miss in one day's absence from work? Only one of the best calls ever... As my cohort 'Grouchy' related to me this morning, he received a gem of a call. He began by stating: "Yeah, I got a call from this guy from Toronto...". Right away, I knew it was going to be noteworthy.

"So I greet him, you know...He asks me how I am, oh I'm fine... then I ask him how he is. He says: "Well, I'm pretty well pissed off right now...".

Grouchy asks: "And may I ask why...?"

Caller: "Because I can't find where to buy your fucking fishing licenses, 'cause Canadian Tire doesn't sell them anymore...".

Grouchy: "Canadian Tire has never sold fishing licenses for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, sir...".

Caller: "YES... they HAVE!!!"

Grouchy: "NO... they HAVEN'T…!!!" (I can tell he's from Toronto). So I situate him and ask where he's calling us from. Tah dah!!! Yep, Toronto.

Grouchy then informs our 'brainwave' that unless he's going to fish coastal or tidal waters, he's going to have to talk to his province about getting a fishing license.

Grouchy then provides him with the appropriate contacts for Service Ontario, the provincial enquiry and referral service and then sends him on his way.

This guy was so-oooo friggin' Torontarded!!! LOL!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

July 1st in Newfoundland...

For many if not most of us across Canada, the 1st of July is synonymous with one thing: Canada Day.
In the province of Newfoundland and Labrador however, there is another event which is not only celebrated reverently, but in many instances above Canada Day. For July 1st marks the anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel.

The Battle of Beaumont-Hamel, is one of those incredibly moving moments in Newfoundland history, which occured in the Somme region during the First World War. At the time, Newfoundland had yet to join Confederation.

It is the saga of the Newfoundland Regiment.

Of the five memorials established in France and Belgium in memory of major actions fought by the 1st Battalion of the Newfoundland Regiment, the largest is the thirty hectare site at Beaumont-Hamel, nine kilometres north of the town of Albert. This site commemorates all Newfoundlanders who fought in the Great War, particularly those who have no known grave. The site was officially opened by Field Marshal Earl Haig on June 7, 1925.

The link below will provide you with the whole story. It is one that not only merits reading, but along with others, should be taught in our schools as a matter of course.

Canadians don't like to brag, but...


So, What Do Canadians Have To Be Proud Of ?

1. Smarties.

2. Crispy Crunch, Coffee Crisp.

3. The size of our footballs fields, one less down, and bigger balls.

4. Baseball is Canadian - First game June 4, 1838 - Ingersoll , ON.

5. Lacrosse is Canadian.

6. Hockey is Canadian.

7. Basketball is Canadian. (James Naismith, Almonte, ON)

8. Apple pie is Canadian.

9. Mr. Dress-up beats Mr. Rogers.

10. Tim Horton's beats Dunkin' Donuts.

11. In the war of 1812, (1812-1815) started by America, Canadians pushed the Americans back past their White House. Then we burned it, and most of Washington. Then we got bored because they ran away. Then, we came home and partied........ Go figure.

12. Canada has the largest French population that never surrendered to Germany. (Okay... That's only because they were here in Canada at the time, but so what...).

13. We have the largest English population that never, ever surrendered or withdrew during any war to anyone, anywhere. EVER !! (We got clobbered in the odd battle but prevailed in ALL the wars).

That would include to date:

- War of 1812 (1812-1815)

- Boer War (1899-1902)

- World War I (1914-1918)

- World War II (1939-1945)

- Korean War (1950-1953)

That gives us a record of 4, 0 and 1. (Wins, losses and ties).

** For as much as Canada did not fight in the Vietnam War, we did provide a limited amount of troops to enforce the Paris Peace Accord in 1973. Notwithstanding that, between 1958-1975, 40,000 Canadians served in Vietnam, largely with American Forces units. 110 Canadians were listed as KIA (Killed In Action), while 7 are still listed as MIA (Missing In Action). In a bizarre twist of fate, an equal number of American draft dodgers (40,000) found their way to Canada and safe haven.

The perception of a neutral Canada during this period is belied by the fact that Canadian industry supplied $2.47 billion worth of war material to the United States between 1968 and 1973 through Defence Production Sharing Agreements. More than one third of all Canadian defence sales during these years - includinig aircraft parts, shells, and even napalm - were destined for use in Southeast Asia.

14. Our civil war was fought in a bar and lasted a little over an hour.

15. The only person who was arrested in our civil war was an American mercenary, he slept in and missed the whole thing. He showed up just in time to get caught.

16. A Canadian invented Standard Time. (Sanford Flemming, 1883).

17. The Hudsons Bay Company once owned over 10% of the earth's surface and is still around as the world's oldest company.

18. The average dog sled team can kill and devour a full grown human in under 3 minutes.
(That's more information than I need!)

19. We know what to do with the parts of a buffalo.

20. We don't marry our kin-folk.

21. Canadians invented ski-doos (snowmobiles), jet-skis, Velcro, zippers, the caulking gun, alkaline batteries, the Blackberry, the Canadarm, the electron microscope, Cobalt 60 cancer treatment, the G-Suit, the paint roller, Plexiglas, the combine harvester, the electric wheelchair, the snowblower, electronic music synthesizers, the light bulb, insulin, penicillin, pacemakers, zambonis, the telephone, walkie-talkies and short wave radios that save countless lives each year.

22. We have ALL frozen our tongues to something metal and lived to tell about it.

23. A Canadian invented Superman. (Joe Schuster)

24. We have coloured money.

25. Our beer advertisements kick ass. ( does our beer ).

26. We don't have to invade foreign countries or suffer dubious allegiances for oil, we make our own.


The handles on our beer cases are big enough to fit your hands with mitts on.

OOOoohhhhh.... Canada !!

Oh yeah... and our elections only last one day!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On cell phones in Canada...

So here is an interesting e-mail which we received this morning. Based solely on the vernacular used, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume this person is originally from the UK. This is based simply on their use of the term "mobile", to describe a cell phone... Back in the 'stoner days' of my youth, mobiles were very cool and exotic pieces of hanging art that we'd cobble together, while under the influence of either marijuana or hash...

"What do canadian mobiles begin with? I need a little help/direction before I can start. Any nuggets of wisdom would be absolutely great and very much appreciated. Any info much appreciated. Thank you for your help.
yours truly,

What would prompt anyone, regardless of where they're from, to think that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, would have the inside track on cell phones, or our telephone system as such?

Clearly, this is the type of person whom, when we were overseas, would ask us if we knew their cousin who happened to live in Calgary. They have no mental grasp of the physical immensity which is Canada. As if there would actually be one single combination of numbers for reaching one of millions of cell phones anywhere in this country. They would stand agog when I informed them that you could fit the entire United Kingdom seven times into the Province of Quebec alone. Canada, at the time of this writing, has 28 distinct area codes. Seriously...

So consider... 28 area codes, multiplied by a possible 999 first integers, multiplied by a possible 9999 secondary integers. That gives you a possible 279, 692, 028 combinations. And that's only if you're calling from right here in Canada. If you're calling from outside the country, it gets even more complex...

So, little lady... Pick one. And I'll thank you for putting a capital 'C' in front of the word Canadian, you tart. You may have no pride in your national identity, but we certainly do.

Monday, July 20, 2009

On shoddy Minto workmanship...

Now I'm sure that "back in the day", it would have been just as easy to find those who take absolutely no pride in the type of job they do. Where cutting corners and doing even less than what is required to 'just get by', is a natural way of life. But I truly believe that this type of slovenly work ethic (an oxymoron is there ever was one...), has become epidemic in it's proportions.

So, we're getting the house ready to put on the market. As much as we love it, for the two of us it's just too big to carry. It's time to downsize and simplify our lives. We're updating such items as mirrors, lighting fixtures, refreshing painted surfaces... little things designed to render the interior decor a little more neutral and up-to-date. We start off with the powder room, just off the front entrance. It has one of those 24" long 'light bars', with 4 large 40W bulbs. Functional, but dated and uninspiring. It's one of those 'contractor specials' that most new homes come with. Time for it to say: "Buh..bye, là...".

So after cutting the power I'm disassembling the unit, removing the bulbs, then the chrome collars which hold the front plate against the base mounted to the wall. When finally I remove the front cover of the unit, I am properly horrified by what I discover. There is a gaping hole in the gyproc, obviously made by a hammer, through which the power line snaked to the wall plate. No junction box, no clean cut hole, round, square or otherwise... nothing like that. The backing plate was thankfully screwed into a stud by at least one screw. "Well, sonovabitch...", I whistled. "Another quality job by Minto contractors, eh...???" This is the kind of bullshit that makes men like myself and Mike Holmes, throw up in their mouth a little bit. Just one more reason why I can't help but ad lib everytime we pass the Avalon community sign: "Avalon... a perfectly planned (though poorly executed) community!"
I walked over to the local Home Depot and bought a junction box which had a stud mounting plate attached along one side of it. Arriving back home, I installed it and mounted the new bathroom light, which was smaller in size (only 2 60W bulbs) though much brighter. My better half did a bang-up job of patching, mudding and sanding the remainder of the ugly gash left by Minto's goons. A couple of coats of fresh paint and the powder room looked great.With one bathroom done, we figured we might as well move on to the master bedroom ensuite.

For as much as I was disappointed to find the same lighting scenario there, I would have to say that this time, I was not surprised. My respect and esteem for Minto as builders and the folks whom they hire to do their work, was at an all-time low. But Minto does not stand alone in this 'Shack of Shame'. I have no doubt that ALL builders these days fall into the same category. Quality work, craftmanship, pride in a day's effort... All this has gone out the window. Just look at the sub-standard materials which are employed nowadays. Particle board had replaced plywood sheating, roofs are shingled without tar paper underlay, rooms are not even built square. The name of the game is to throw up as many frames in the space of a day as one can. And people are paying top dollar for this crap...?

Give me an older home. One which was built back when tradesmen knew how to use their tools. I'll take my time upgrading the electrical, the plumbing and whatever else as necessary...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

For a prospective rider...

I have a friend here at work, who seems to be wrestling with the demons of riding. He has professed an interest in the two-wheeled fraternity, it's true. Has even gone down the road to at least one Montreal Motorcycle Exhibition (Le Salon de la Moto). He seems to be showing all the classic signs of early murder-sickle affliction syndrome, or EMAS. Hey, why not? Everyone else has some lame-ass acronym for their completely made up and make-believe affliction...

But I digress here. This is no mere fabrication of which I speak. This here 'call of the wild' can become a true, debilitating disease, if not treated early and appropriately. The call to ride itself, is a wonderful thing. That haunting, siren song of The Road. It's all the unanswered questions and uncertainties that come along with it, that can drive a person to madness. "What course should I take?" "What's the difference between them?" "How big a bike should I get for my first one?" "What type of bike should I look at?" "What kind of accessories should I consider?" "Can I even really learn how to ride?" "What type of gear should I wear?" "What type is best? Most comfortable? Safest? Less expensive?" Really... the questions can be endless.

I suppose over the years, I have been responsible for a good many people 'discovering the rider in themselves'. It's not something I actually try to do, but it just seems that if I'm amongst a group of people and the talk turns to bikes and riding, it's easy for me to relate the genuine pleasure that this unique activity brings me. To describe the thrill of discovering new roads and living new adventures. To me, talking in glowing terms about riding in general or a favorite road in particular, is something that just occurs naturally. It's not something that you have to sell very hard either. And in so doing, I have introduced many people to the world of riding. In these conversations, it always seems to be the same questions which surface.

So what are some answers to these questions?

- "What course should I take?"

There are many, many individuals who have gotten into the motorcycle training business. I am not going to question their motivation or their passion for riding. All I will say that "good intentions do not necessarily make good instructors". It is unfortunate to say, but my better half found this out the hard way and has since been pretty much turned off learning how to ride.

My personal suggestion would be a certified training establishment, such as the Ottawa Safety Council, who offer the definitive Motorcycle Rider Course. This course is certified by the Canada Safety Council and is modeled on the American MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) course.

Their instructors are top notch, as are their instructional techniques. These are the people we had in mind, when we spent years lobbying to have these courses made mandatory across the country.

- "What's the difference between them?"

You can go with the lowest priced course, but in return you can expect some sheep-shagger training techniques, complete with having someone push you around on an unpowered motorcycle. As with any other course out there, the choice is yours. Just remember that this training is designed to teach you what you need to help you survive the first couple of years as a new rider. It's serious stuff...

- "How big a bike should I get for my first one?"

This is a very good question. Many people will advise you to go small at first, until you've mastered the mechanics of riding. Then, when you feel a little more comfortable and confident with your abilities, you can think of going to a larger displacement bike. The one thing to keep in mind, is that first and foremost, you bike should fit you. By this I mean if you happen to measure 6 feet and weigh in at 200lbs, a Honda 250 Rebel is probably not the ideal first bike for you.

Let's face it, you don't want kids pointing their fingers at you as they pass by in their parents' car, yelling: "Look Mom... a circus bear!!" Conversely, if you happen to measure 4 feet 5 inches, a 2300cc Triumph Rocket Three is probably NOT the ideal first bike for you.

A Suzuki Hayabusa or any other bike that is capable of attaining Mach speed, is not an ideal first bike for ANY rider. These are serious, serious machines which are capable of some high performance envelopes. A stock 'Busa right out of the crate, with no massaging, will turn out an honest 200MPH.

They are meant for more experienced riders, though all too often end up in the hands of wide-eyed neophytes, thanks to some unscrupulous dealer. Soon thereafter, far too many of these youngsters end up making the headlines of their local papers.

As an individual begins making the rounds of dealers, he/she should sit on any bike which catches their fancy. Sit on bikes that don't even interest you. Just to get a feel for what fits and what doesn't. Notice the ergonomics of the bike's design. Can you reach and operate all of the controls easily? Are they well laid-out? How do your feet and legs feel on the footpegs or floorboards? Will they cramp up after a couple of hours? Do you have to reach forward to grasp the handlebars? What kind of strain does that put on your back? Your shoulders? How does the seat feel? Does it offer the proper amount of comfort and support? Most importantly, do you feel comfortable sitting there? Can you see yourself hurtling down the road on that critter?

Once you find a model or type that fits you, you will know instinctively. It'll feel like putting on your favorite jeans, after they've just come out of the dryer. From that point on, you can begin thinking about the displacement of the engine.

- "What type of bike should I look at?"

Unless you have a specific type in mind right off the bat, look at everything there is out there. You will probably be surprised at the number of brands, makes and models that are available. There are sportbikes, cafe racers, cruisers, tourers, sport-touring models, naked bikes and "maybe-you-oughtta-keep-that-on-a-track" bikes. One factor that will inevitably end up influencing your choice, is the simple question: "What type of riding do you intend to do?" Sound silly? "How many types of riding can there be?", you might ask. Okay... Let's have a look.

- Are you going to be riding on weekends only?

- Are you all about the speed?

- Do you prefer a more laid-back type of cruising?

- Are you going to use your bike for commuting to and from work?

- Are you going to use your bike for long-distance touring?

- Are you going to be riding strictly solo, or are you planning eventually to ride 2-up?

- Are you going to be doing more city riding than open road?

- Are you just going to take your bike down to a local hang-out and then back home? ***

All these different riding styles cannot help but influence your final decision. It is possible to find a bike that will do all of these relatively well, but there are trade-offs. City riding is best accomplished with a smaller, lighter bike. Large cruisers and touring bikes can handle city riding, but tend to be heavier and a little more unwieldy for slow speed manoeuvres. Heavy city riding (beaucoup idling and stop-and-go traffic) would also make you lean towards a liquid-cooled bike, rather than an air-cooled model. For better fuel conservation and smoothness of operation, a fuel-injected model would get the nod over a carburetted model. Carbs are also affected by high elevations (Blue Ridge Parkway, Denver, CO), temperatures and humidity levels, whereas fuel-injected models are not.

If you're a fair-sized lad and want to go on a one-week tour with your GF in tow, that little 750cc will be screaming enough to make your ears bleed, as you go on a long uphill grade. You're gonna need something with a little more 'oomph' to it. If you're looking at touring, you're going to be looking at a larger bike. A cruiser, a full-on touring bike or perhaps a sport-tourer. These provide more comfort and adequate power for 2-up touring. Ask the dealer about such items as saddlebags, windshields and luggage racks, to see what is inclusive with a particular model. Suzuki and Kawasaki do very well in this department.

*** If you're simply looking to buy a bike so you can hang with your buddies at the local tavern or doughnut shop, they'll tell you what type of bike to get so you can fit in... Better still, I say save your money, don't buy a bike. Just keep buying the Harley t-shirts and when you go down there, you can tell 'em that your Harley's still in the shop. They'll understand...

- "What kind of accessories should I consider?"

Again, this depends on many things. Myself I had a backrest and saddlebags added before I even picked the bike up from the dealer. Then again, I pretty much know that for the type of riding that I like doing, I couldn't live without them. Even if I'm not riding 2-up, that backrest serves as a great anchoring point for all kinds of extra storage pieces. A must-have for long rides. If you're going to be carrying anything more than just your wallet when you're riding, you'll probably want some type of storage system on your bike. I see a lot of young fellows riding around with backpacks on (ICON makes some very good models...) and if that works for you, so much the better.

Me? I'd rather have no load on my back. I find it interferes with my freedom of motion and if it's hot? Who needs that... There are also tank bags which are available in a cornucopia of sizes, colours and styles.

There are those who may want to appear 'hardcore' (whatever their definition of that might happen to be...), or who have never stopped a junebug with their forehead (it feels about the same as being shot with a .32), who will insist that a windshield is 'un-manly'. These are also the types who normally never leave the confines of the city. See the reference to the doughnut-tavern crowd... A windshield not only offers protection from road debris and the elements (yes, for those of us who ride when it's not sunny outside...), it can also prevent you from ingesting a stinging insect. Laugh if you will, but there are legions of riders who have died from swallowing a bee or a wasp. One sting can lead to your throat (trachea) swelling shut. If there is nobody on the scene that can perform an emergency tracheotomy in time, you're pretty much done. That ain't how I plan to go out...

As for any other accessories which might improve the performance or comfort of your bike, a good rule of thumb is to ride it for a year first. At the very least, a couple of months. By then you will have a pretty good idea of what, if anything, you would like to see changed on your ride. Remember that grips and pegs can be changed. Extensions are available for your footpeg positions, your handlebars can be raised or lowered by adding custom risers and your seat as well as your suspension, can be changed to alter your riding position or the feel of the ride itself. As for the aesthetics of your bike, those changes that render your bike your own and separate it from the rest of the herd, that is between you and your bike. But be forewarned... once you start, it's pretty hard to know when to put a halt to it... :) That's all part of the wonderful disease that is riding.

- "Can I even really learn how to ride?"

This single question has probably held back more would-be riders than any other. Notably when we're talking about women. If you ever owned or rode a bicycle when you were a kid, you can no doubt remember how cool it felt whe you mastered the mechanics of remaining upright. How surprised you were to discover that as long as the bike was moving forward, it would remain upright of it's own accord. Well, riding a motorcycle is exactly the same. It is just that easy. The only difference here, is that there is no pedaling. Instead, you simply twist the throttle. How friggin' hard is that? Remember what it was like to lean a bicycle into a corner? Well, it's exactly the same on a motorcycle.

For those who might never have ridden a bicycle at any time in their lives, first of all, welcome to Canada. Secondly, it is so easy that children can (and do...) do it. Trust me, you'll be fine. The biggest stumbling block to learning how to ride, is the refusal to believe how easy it actually is.

- "What type of gear should I wear?"

That question was seldom heard back when I was learning to ride. Truth was, there were only so many choices. You had leather, you had denim, or you had a combination of either. The leather was black and the denim was blue. Every now and then some individual would show up wearing a buckskin jacket (just like Billy - Denis Hopper in the cult-favorite "Easy Rider"...), but that was pretty much what you had to choose from. I vividly remember how Brian Powers ('Snoopy') of the Montreal chapter of Satan's Choice, wore his colours on a buckskin vest, complete with fringes and conchos. He always was a class act... may he rest in peace.

Nowadays, there is leather, faux-leather, ballistic nylon, kevlar and Gawd only knows what else. The colours available span every known hue of the rainbow. But basically, there are 2 well established camps. The Traditionalists and the Progressives, for lack of any better terms. The traditionalists believe in the wearing of dead cows exclusively. They have their own reasons for this and I'm not about to embark on any explanation. I will admit to wearing leather for a good number of years. I will also qualify that by stating that there was nothing better available at the time.

The Progressives are those riders (and not always young folks...) who are up to speed on the advances in riding apparel. They have discovered a wide range of light, comfortable and weatherproof clothes to make their riding experience more enjoyable. The synthetics are very big with those who prefer long-distance touring, due to all the benefits they provide. They come complete with CE armor at critical areas and provide superlative protection while still allowing comfort and mobility.

Leather is strong, has good abrasion resistance, it's comfy, it smells good, it has style and it creaks. It is also heavy, heavier still and cold when it's wet and hotter than Hell when the sun is beating down. In ideal weather, I have no qualms about wearing a leather jacket and/or a good set of chaps. Notably when riding a highway or interstate. Many citizens look at those wearing leather, as an outward sign of being 'tough'. If only they knew. We wear leather as a sign of admission that we're not really that tough, compared to that asphalt we might find ourselves sliding along. The leather has never been there to intimidate, it's always been there to protect us. But of course, non-riders wouldn't get that...

In extreme weather (hot or cold) conditions and rain, I would not consider wearing anything other than synthetics. Period.

Reasons: Synthetics are lighter, stronger, have a stronger abrasion resistance factor, are weatherproof, vented and offer excellent insulating properties. And yet, they are priced for the most part, cheaper than leather. Still, there are many, many people out there who are convinced that riding has become more about fashion, than actually riding. I fortunately am not one of these folks. Whatever you decide to wear, is your own prerogative. You'll also find a complete array of heated garments. Pants, jackets, gloves, socks, vests, whatever you want kept toasty warm, there's something that'll do that for you.

So what is the 'best'? That's simple... whatever works for you. Whatever your budget can afford, whatever your ego needs, whatever you deem fit to use, it's all out there for you. Here again, it's a matter of exercising your own judgement, of suiting your own tastes. There is no 'uniform' that you have to wear to fit in. Well... unless you happen to ride a certain Milwaukee-built motorcycle... :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bike dealers are greedy...

I recently went on a tirade against motorcycle dealers, some in specific and others in general, for being a bunch of greedy, greedy bastards. Just to prove a point, I recently bought a single pair of brake pads (EBC, HH-rated, sintered metal) for my bike. I bought them from my local Powersports dealer right here in Ottawa. I paid $61.01 for them. For one set!! Christ on a stick!! Having worked in the industry back in Nova Scotia, I know that the drill is: you take an item from the crate, you mark it up by 70% and you put it on the shelf. That was a few years ago now (9 to be precise...), so in the meantime the mark-up could only have increased. It never goes down...
I have just ordered online from one of my favorite suppliers, a company called Xtreme Revolution in California, 3 sets of these very same brake pads, for the price of $32.31 (US) each. With a conversion rate of $1.14 CAD per US dollar, it works out to a grand total of $96.93 (US), or $123.31 CAD. That's including shipping and handling as well mind you, which was an additional $11.81 (US). Had I bought all 3 of them here in Ottawa, it would have cost me $187.20.
So... that first pair that I bought from my local 'stealer'? They're going right the Hell back in a big, big hurry. Okay, so the ones I ordered have to be ground-shipped across terra firma via UPS and take all of 10 days or so to reach Ogdensburg, NY. Big deal... I ain't in no hurry. I got at the very least a couple more weeks of wear left in the present brake pads.
So, if I say that we have been taking it in the neck when we endeavour to support our local businesses here at home, you can understand where I'm coming from and know that contrary to what these snake-oil salesmen might swear to you, I'm definitely NOT making this shit up.

Still not convinced? Take a scroll through any motorcycle dealer site in the U.S. Pick any make and model you want. Compare their MSRP to their counterparts' here in Canada. Add on freight, PDI and dealer prep charges. Don't bother adding taxes, the dealerships have no control over that. That's the feds and the provinces. Then tell me what you think...

Monday, July 13, 2009

A really short weekend...

Well as promised, the rain showed up on Saturday and pretty much trashed a bunch of stuff I or we could have done. Still, I did manage to get Baby's oil and filter changed on Saturday, as well as service the K&N air filter so she can breathe properly. Outside, it rained like there was no tomorrow. Sunday we did some small jobs on the house and went for a drive out Plantagenet way, to view some prospective properties.

I took a short ride out Cumberland way on Sunday morning (0715). It was perfect. No traffic, no hassles. I did a loop out to Dunning Road, down to Old Montreal Road and then out to Tim's in Rockland. One small coffee later and I was on my way back, content that the new oil had now been circulated to all the moving parts. Later that afternoon, as we returned from our property visits, I once more took Baby out for a cruise along the backroads to the Powersports dealership off of Hunt Club. I picked up one set of EBC (HH) brake pads, for the princely sum of $62.00. It takes three sets to do a complete change-up on Baby. Jesus wept... I made a mental note to find a cheaper source stateside, who could deliver them free to my UPS Store in Ogdensburg, NY.

I spied some heavy clouds and rain walls approaching the dealership parking lot, as I stepped back ouitside the store. I had seen them on the way in, as I approached the airport along the Rideau River Road. The long tendrils of rain couldn't have been any more than 2 minutes behind me, by the time I finally caught the light at the corner of Laser and Hunt Club. I veered left and booked it, leaving the nasty wet stuff behind. I had thought of retracing my meandering steps through the country, but decided that a quick and straight getaway would be more appropriate in this case.

I kept checking the skies around me, noticing isolated rain clouds here and there, tracking along with me. Paralleling my course, it seemed. I stayed on Hunt Club until it intersected Hawthorne Road, where I again veered left, headed down to Walkley. At Walkley I hung a right, arcing over the 417 and heading out to the country. I wanted to stay away from Innes Road for the time being, as weekends are always hellish for traffic, due to the shoppers and other mall-crawlers that choke up the major thoroughfares.

In very little time, I was turning onto the Anderson Road. I took the right hand turn at the end, leading me to the zig-zag path to Renaud and finally, Mer Bleue. Through it all, the rain clouds were alternately following, then closing in on me. It was nip and tuck but by the time I finally had to turn onto Innes Road, I could plainly see that the storm clouds were tracking East along the other side of the river. On the Gatineau side... I had dodged the bullet once more. After cleaning the bugs off Baby (which I do immediately after every ride, for those who want to know...), I had a little rest until we decided that perhaps a movie would be a good thing.

We headed out to see the 1920hrs showing of 'Public Enemies' featuring Johnny Depp, one of my favorite actors I have to say. The movie was quite good but by the time we made it back home again, I was more than ready to call it a day. We hopped into bed and chilled while watching some comedy program. I think we both kept fading in and out and eventually, it was lights out. For some reason, the weekend had really felt short.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

So how sick are fundamentalists...

This little news item was taken from the CNN website, just minutes ago.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- A top Taliban leader in Pakistan is buying and selling children for suicide bombings, Pakistani and U.S. officials said.

Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud has been increasingly using the children in attacks, the officials said. A video released by Pakistan's military shows the children training for the task. In the video of a training camp, children can be seen going through exercises.

Mehsud has been selling the children, once trained, to other Taliban officials for $6,000 to $12,000, Pakistani military officials said. Some of the children are as young as 11, the officials said.

"He has been admitting he holds a training center for young boys, for preparing them for suicide bombing. So he is on record saying all this, accepting these crimes," said Major General Akhtar Abbas, spokesman for the Pakistani army.
The young suicide bombers may be able to reach targets unnoticed, the military said. "If he is approaching on foot, there is a possibility he will bypass security," Abbas said. "In certain areas, there is a possibility in the population centers everyone can not be checked physically, so he can create havoc there."

Pakistan has launched an offensive against the Taliban, started in the Swat region of the North West Frontier Province. The Taliban have countered with a spate of suicide bombings, including a July 2 attack in Rawalpindi, in which a suicide bomber on a motorcycle struck a Pakistani Defense Ministry bus. At least one person was killed and 29 others were wounded.

Pakistan's army said it is hunting Mehsud in the hopes that the supply of suicide bombers will dry up after the Taliban leader is captured.

Meanwhile, a suspected U.S. drone attack killed at least 12 people and wounded five others in northwest Pakistan Tuesday, Pakistani officials said.

The missile strikes in South Waziristan targeted a suspected Taliban hideout at a madrassa, or Muslim school, in Zangarah, according to intelligence officials.

The attack near the border with Afghanistan involved a pair of missiles shot from an unmanned drone, local resident Janbaz Mehsud told CNN. He said all the dead and wounded were Taliban.

A local government official, who asked not to be named, said the madrassa was a training center for the Taliban and belongs to Baitullah Mehsud. That official put the death toll at 14, but said the number of dead could rise.

The U.S. military routinely offers no comment on reported drone attacks. However, the United States is the only country operating in the region known to have the ability to launch missiles from drones, which are controlled remotely.


How it is possible for these lunatics to continue to enjoy the support of any of the local Pakistani populace, is beyond the grasp of my understanding as a human being. This is certainly a part of our world that merits to be 'sanitized', in the most extreme meaning that word can possibly possess.

Not bad for a Thursday...

Had an interesting start to the day, this morning. I was heading in along Innes Road when some young fella in a dark green, late model Chevy pick-up, decided he was gonna cut me off. He didn't signal his lane change, he didn't even look... Now, anyone who rides knows that these instances occur on a daily basis. I was able to avoid him but that of course is not the point.

The last time some asshole did that, I wound up being reconstructed in the Ottawa General Hospital. Had he cut me off inadvertently and actually showed some sign of embarassment or regret, I might have been able to let it slide and chalk it up to an experience lesson for him. No way... We locked eyes in his rear view mirror after I had used my horn and illuminated him with my passing lamps. The look I got back was nothing short of a smirk. A real: "Fuck you... what you gonna do?" look. That pretty much settled it.

He then proceded to lane hop back into the right-hand lane, no look, no signal, almost clipping a smaller car that had decided to head there as well. By this time, I had committed his plate to memory. I was not going to let this little bastard get away with this. We hit the lights at the intersection of Innes Road and the turnoff for Blackburn Hamlet. I pulled even with him and and called him out. "I'm fixin' to report you ass, little boy! You done fucked with the wrong man this time!" "Wh-what??", he asked lamely. The light changed and he sped off, 'bravely' waving his middle finger at me. I'd like to say that that motion sealed his fate right there, but I had decided some time back that he was gonna pay.

He rolled up his window as I passed him, but I was done with him. He wasn't going to overtake my morning ride in. I had all the info on him that I needed to report him to the authorities. I enjoyed the rest of the ride in, chuckling at the thought of his surprise upon receiving the summons for a court appearance in the mail. Upon arriving at work, I phoned the incident in to Ottawa's finest in, providing the Call Centre agent with all the information she could possibly need. Vehicle description, Ontario truck plate (900 7VT), driver description, time of day, location, direction of travel, my particulars, etc... I will definitely attend a court hearing, if it is required of me. I might even sue for my day's wages to attend the hearing...

We all suffer moments of inattention in traffic. I am no exception. But not when conducting a manoeuvre like changing lanes, merging or overtaking. If we do something stupid, it is only expected that we make the other driver realize that it was not done intentionally. The type of arrogance and foolhardiness displayed by this young boy, is something that should be greeted with an absolute zero tolerance. I for one have had enough of it...

Work itself? Wonderful as usual. Good people around me, weather getting warmer all the time, sunshine... How could the day not be a good one. And hey, I get to ride home when I'm off too. Now... if there was only some way I could avoid all those young assholes...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Daddy won't sell the Farm...

For as much as I was born and raised in a large, metropolitain city (Montreal), I do not think of myself as being 'citified'. I don't feel comfortable or at ease in a large urban centre. Never have, never will. They're alright to visit every now and again, but I don't like the thought of living there. I much prefer a small town or hamlet. I prefer country air to city air, hands down. Ocean air is the absolute best...

I'm not a big fan of urbanization on a large scale, as is evident everywhere you look here in Ottawa and it's surrounding areas. No place is safe from the developers' reach. What used to be verdant farmland only a couple of years ago in Cumberland, Rockland, Kanata and all points of the compass, has now been bulldozed under and has multiple sub-divisions sprouting from it, complete with those shoulder-to-shoulder, cookie-cutter homes.

It's a sad thing, to my mind. So this one particular song by Montgomery Gentry, hit home with me. I can remember living 3 or 4 years on a farm in Quebec's Eastern Townships, during my younger days. At age 10 I was not only driving an old Ford tractor along the side of a country road, I was also swinging a Homelite chain saw out in the bush. We worked the land, cutting fields, fanning, bailing and stacking hay. We felled trees and barked as well as corded the wood.

We fed and milked and herded the cows, slopped the pigs and cleaned their sties. We stoked the fires for the boiler that would render gallons of the purest, sweetest maple syrup you have ever tasted. We learned very early in life, that work was required of you if things were to go as they should. We learned that we all had chores and responsibilities to tend to and developed a healthy work ethic. It was simply how things got done...

Artist: Montgomery Gentry
Song: Daddy Won't Sell the Farm.
Album: Tattoos & Scars

His cows get loose and run right thru the fast food parking lots
And Daddy gets calls from the mini-malls
when they're downwind from his hogs.
When his tractor backs up traffic, the reception ain't too warm.
The city's growing around him, but Daddy won't sell the farm.

You can't roll a rock, up a hill that steep.
You can't pull roots when they run that deep.
He's gonna live and die, in the eye of an urban storm.
Daddy won't sell the farm.

He worked and slaved in '68, he bought these fields and trees.
He raised his corn and a big red barn and a healthy family.
He learned to love the woodlands, he can't stand to do them harm.
There's concrete all around him, but Daddy won't sell the farm.

You can't roll a rock, up a hill that steep.
You can't pull roots when they run that deep.
He's gonna live and die, in the eye of an urban storm.
Daddy won't sell the farm.

One day he's gonna leave it all to me
and I'll start my own branch of the family tree.
They'll get the message written on the roof of the barn,
Daddy won't sell the farm.

You can't roll a rock, up a hill that steep.
You can't pull roots when they run that deep.
He's gonna live and die, in the eye of an urban storm.
Daddy won't sell the farm.

We're gonna live and die, in the eye of an urban storm.
Daddy won't sell the farm.
Oh you know a country boy can survive...