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December, 2012:

Resolutions for 2013…

… Before I have a second glass of Pinot Noir…

– not be as critical of our Dear Leader and encourage all my friends to cut he and his Cabinet some slack. They’re trying really darned hard

– not ridicule Tea Baggers and their ilk who are found south of the border. They think differently from me, but that’s OK.

– accept that religious arm-flappers may have a point. Hey! What do I know! Maybe there is a big bearded dude in the sky and and old guy gathered up all the animals in a storm (except for the unicorns)

– understand that guns have a place the 21st century America. And perhaps we in Canada should have one of those Second Amendment things

– add Tim Hudak as a friend on Facebook

– and Rob Ford too

– swear off red wine, beer and single malt scotch forever

– give up meat

Wait.

Ah.

It’s JANUARY 1 and not APRIL 1!

Sorry.

Happy New Year!

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Thanks to…

 Calvin and Hobbes…

ch891231

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I’ve wondered why…

… electronic devices like cell phones and Kindles are considered to be at the same threat level as a over-sized bottle of perfume, or an explosive thinga-ma-jiggy, and now the FAA is wondering the same.

Dealing with the F.A.A. on this topic is like arguing with a stubborn teenager. The agency has no proof that electronic devices can harm a plane’s avionics, but it still perpetuates such claims, spreading irrational fear among millions of fliers.

A year ago, when I first asked Les Dorr, a spokesman for the F.A.A., why the rule existed, he said the agency was being cautious because there was no proof that device use was completely safe. He also said it was because passengers needed to pay attention during takeoff.

When I asked why I can read a printed book but not a digital one, the agency changed its reasoning. I was told by another F.A.A. representative that it was because an iPad or Kindle could put out enough electromagnetic emissions to disrupt the flight. Yet a few weeks later, the F.A.A. proudly announced that pilots could now use iPads in the cockpit instead of paper flight manuals.

The F.A.A. then told me that “two iPads are very different than 200.” But experts at EMT Labs, an independent testing facility in Mountain View, Calif., say there isno difference in radio output between two iPads and 200. “Electromagnetic energy doesn’t add up like that,” said Kevin Bothmann, the EMT Labs testing manager.

It’s not a matter of a flying device hitting another passenger, either. Kindles weigh less than six ounces; Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs weighs 2.1 pounds in hardcover. I’d rather be hit in the head by an iPad Mini than a 650-page book.

In October, after months of pressure from the public and the news media, the F.A.A. finally said it would begin a review of its policies on electronic devices in all phases of flight, including takeoff and landing. But the agency does not have a set time frame for announcing its findings.

Here in Canada, (I think) it is the Transportation Safety Board that is responsible for these seemingly archaic rules. Will they undertake to review their own regs on this?

Also, can someone prove me wrong and point to a recent airline incident that is attributable to someone playing Angry Birds?

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Rob Ford- election hater

So that dahhhling of the knuckle-draggers, the inimitable Rob Ford, thinks he should not have to face the voters in a by election should he be forced to hand in his Chain of Office.

Of course he wants to be reappointed! He knows that the good citizens of The Big Smoke would never elect this buffoon a second time.

Here’s a thought: in the event that the NHL greed-a-thon goes on and the season is cancelled (which I am hoping for at this point), that other über-buffoon in the tacky suits will be out of a job, right? So then he and the former Mayor can do the speaking circuit! And give it a catchy name like The Whining About Progressives Tour, 2013. What a pair they’d make!

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So what now, NRA?

 

Arm firefighters?

This is so tragic. But what can you expect when you allow its citizenry to arm itself to the teeth?

I’m so glad that my family and I live in Canada.

 

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Everyone has heard of the “fiscal cliff”…

in America.

But they are tumbling toward the precipices of other cliffs as well.

How about the “sanity cliff” or maybe the “culture cliff”?

Or the “society cliff”…

After reading about how this news guy (rightfully) called a gun-toter and “unbelievably stupid man”.

LONDON — More than 31,400 people have signed a petition calling for British CNN host Piers Morgan to be deported from the U.S. over his gun-control views.

Morgan has taken an aggressive stand for tighter U.S. gun laws in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. Last week, he called a gun advocate appearing on his “Piers Morgan Tonight” show an “unbelievably stupid man.”

Now, gun-rights activists are fighting back. A petition created Dec. 21 on the White House e-petition website by a user in Texas accuses Morgan of engaging in a “hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution” by targeting the Second Amendment and demands he be deported immediately.

Deport. Really. For stating the obvious.

After what I have written about the American far right, I think it would be wise for me to stay on this side of the border, permanently. After all, there are at least 31,400 unbelievably stupid people down there who might try to have me shipped to Gitmo!

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Customer service…

… is something that one would think would be important to retailers at this time of the year.

Not so much if you happen to frequent the Loblaws at Elmvale Acres. This place is the perfect example of how NOT to do customer service!

Here is the lineup last night, 5 days before Christmas:

IMG_2982

Two of eight cashes open. And this is often the situation. Poor management. Very poor.

So why go there? Why not spend my money elsewhere? Well, also at Elmvale acres are the LCBO, The Beer Store, my dry-cleaner, a drugstore and a Home Hardware. So it is very convenient.

But even with the convenience factor, I have often picked up whatever else I need at Elmvale, avoid Loblaws and make a second stop at Metro on Walkley, where there are always many cashes open, well-stocked shelves happy staff.

I think I’ll make a habit of this more often in the new year…

 

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Danger under the snow…

Take care out there kids, especially if you’re in the NCR. Beaucoup de neige!

These are also the ideal conditions for winter hoop snakes. These critters very much like it around the freezing mark and thrive especially well when the first snow of the season hits. This gives them adequate cover to stealthily sneak up on their prey. Of course, while small animals and occasionally cats are the hoops’ usual victims, they can be deadly to humans as well. So caution should be exercised at all times.

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School bus cancellations…

… are serious decisions that impact thousands of familites. The decision to cancel should not be made lightly and should keep the chidrens’ safety first and foremost. BUT, erring on the side of caution can be taken a bit too far.

Take the last two Mondays, for example, last Monday was most definitely an over reaction. The buses needn’t have been cancelled. Yesterday, maybe.

And then there’s this morning. I’m writing this on the bus. A bus that is slipping and sliding all over Albert Street!

If any day should have been a snow day, it should have been today. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of consistency in the decision-making process at the OSTA.

Transportation Cancellations

The safety of students is always the first consideration when the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) makes the decision to cancel transportation services.

The OSTA and the Consortium de transport scolaire d’Ottawa have developed joint procedures for school transportation cancellations in the case of inclement weather and/or adverse road conditions.

OSTA and Consortium de transport scolaire d’Ottawa staff make the decision to cancel school transportation services based on the the best forecasted weather information available at the time the decisions need to be made, in collaboration with several external sources, and our combined prior experience.

Several times each day, evening and overnight, OSTA staff receive up-to-date information from The Weather Network and Environment Canada regarding weather and road conditions in the City of Ottawa and the surrounding area. When weather or roads appear hazardous, OSTA staff review the weather and road information received. We are in contact with school bus operators, other area school board transportation staff, and municipal roads crews to assist in determining whether school transportation services will proceed or be cancelled for the day.

;

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NOW watch the gun-lobby…

…propaganda machine shift into high gear!

President Obama’s speech at the Newtown vigil was very, very good. One might even declare it to be great.

But what will come of it?

Will there be action on gun control in the States? Real action? Like banning assault weapons so they do not fall into the hands of whack jobs?

Yes, I am well aware that this is a complex issue – especially for Americans and their so-called “gun culture”. And the talk over the past few days about the need for better mental health care is all good and true. However, it is time to change this “culture”.

Don’t be distracted, my American friends, because surely the NRA and other cold and faceless organisations will try their best to keep you from thinking that guns aren’t the problem. They ARE the problem. The gun lobby doesn’t care about your children and their safety. All that concerns them are their balance sheets while they cowardly hide behind their claims of Second Amendment “rights”.

Neither Rush Limbaugh nor his vile and disgusting Tea Party compatriots care about your kids. Not one iota.

The shooter in Newtown might have still gone on that senseless rampage. Yet, if there were stricter controls on the possession of firearms, he may have been armed only with a hunting rifle or a shotgun. Yes, their may still have been deaths, but not so many. Lives would have been spared. It is certain.

So email and call your Senator, your Congressperson, Councillor, Alderman, Mayor, Governor! Contact anyone who has any measure of influence in your part of the country and DEMAND that they support your President’s call for “some to be done”.  Because if things stay as they are, there may sadly be more Newtowns and Auroras.

 

Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?

Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know they are loved and teaching them to love in return?

Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?

I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer’s no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change. Since I’ve been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings, fourth time we’ve hugged survivors, the fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims.

And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and in big cities all across America, victims whose — much of the time their only fault was being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.

 

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