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Keyboard warriors!

Maybe it’s because I am getting a bit older and my skin is thinning somewhat, but more and more, I am getting annoyed with these Keyboard Warriors© who like to furiously and constantly hammer out their frustrations with <insert topic here> and the incompetence of the . That is all well and good. We are free to tappy-tappy on our screens or keys to our hearts’ content when the universe is perceived to be askance.

And hey! Exercising this freedom is one way to hold politicos to account. No more can your local School Board Trustee, Councillor, MP, MPP, Prime Minister or Assistant Dog Catcher (if you’re in the States, cuz they elect EVERYONE down there!) hide in their leather appointed offices sipping their lattes and pretending not to hear the mobs at the door! No way, uh-uh! Those warriors will track you down and give you a good whippin’ on Twitter or on Facebook or Instagram, etc., etc. You will be humbled, humiliated and dragged through Swamps of Digital Slime!©

But for the sake of all we volunteers and activists everywhere: if you’re not happy about something, please do more than take pot-shots!

Keyboard Warrior© guys and gals are everywhere – quick to point out faults, deficiencies or inconveniences in their communities but slow to step up and get involved and do something to change the things that they finds so objectionable.

There are a couple of these Keyboard Warriors in my community and on my Twitter feed. Most of their venting is aimed at a couple of the local Councillors, but the Mayor himself is often the target. I mean, this one guy blames the local politics for EVERYTHING! Hydro trucks blocking bikes lanes, dirty road signs, faulty card readers at city parking spots, snow on the sidewalk… the list goes on ad nauseum. I’m not saying that local pols shouldn’t be informed if services levels are not up to snuff, but geez, do they HAVE to be berated for EVERYTHING?

And when they run out of tangible things to complain about, said targets are then told they are wasteful spending, ego-driven, budget-unconscious, deaf-to-the-community, anti-cyclist demagogues.

So fine – feel free to complain. But you know what? I never seen one of these Keyboard Warriors out in the community working to improve it in some way. I don’t see them volunteering at a school, their community association, their place of worship, their kid’s hockey team.. nada. I’m a pretty plugged in guy in my neck of the woods but have never seen one of these Keyboard Warriors© or have heard their name mentioned in a community involvement context.

So, Keyboard Warriors©? Go ahead and whine all you want. Because to me and lots like me, until you pick up that clipboard, run some soccer drills, volunteer at a community health centre or organise a potluck community dinner, I’m paying little attention.


Friday miscellany…

Wanna know what climate change “looks like”?

Well, here you go:

Extreme weather events are textbook examples of an effect that an overall warming of the planet will have.

But since at least 1988, climate scientists have warned that climate change would bring, in general, increased heat waves, more droughts, more sudden downpours, more widespread wildfires and worsening storms. In the United States, those extremes are happening here and now.

So far this year, more than 2.1 million acres have burned in wildfires, more than 113 million people in the U.S. were in areas under extreme heat advisories last Friday, two-thirds of the country is experiencing drought, and earlier in June, deluges flooded Minnesota and Florida.

“This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level,” said Jonathan Overpeck, professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona. “The extra heat increases the odds of worse heat waves, droughts, storms and wildfire. This is certainly what I and many other climate scientists have been warning about.”

Of course, the far right believe that climate change is all a bunch of BS made up by lefties in some sort of vendetta against big business. And the far right is driving the government’s agenda right now with regard to environmental policies, so don’t expect any changes anytime soon.


Canadians are NOT becoming “more conservative”…

… in spite of the CPC’s best efforts to drive us in that direction.

Six years into the Harper era, Canadians are inching inexorably into the conservative, and Conservative, columns. Right? And though not all are pleased with this incremental, rightward shift, most — the so-called silent majority — tacitly accept it.

Well, no, actually. The latest data from pollster Ipsos Reid, part of a wide-ranging examination of popular sentiment for Postmedia News and Global Television, doesn’t suggest this at all. If anything the numbers indicate Canadians today are more solidly progressive than we have ever been. Perhaps we are a more complex and mature people than the received wisdom gives us credit for. And perhaps this means that our national political leaders, across the spectrum, don’t understand or reflect our views nearly as fully or as precisely as they might.

I think that most Canadians – with the possible exception of the majority of those in Alberta – are firmly wedded to the core principles of social justice and are by and large a progressive bunch. We are also a conservative gaggle from a financial perspective; we want our governments to be fiscally prudent.  The Harperites are failing on both fronts, and as soon as there is a viable progressive alternative, they are screwed.
Speaking of rodents, a squirrel followed me this morning for the full length of my walk to the bus stop (about 400 metres).

This one:


It hopped along  about 10 feet behind! Then it sat in front of me on the sidewalk at the bus stop… staring expectantly. It was very weird!


Again, speaking of rat-like critters, the slimy tentacles of the Koch bros. are everywhere it seems.

They are spending 100’s of millions to try to oust Obama, plus they have funneled a cool half mill to the CPC’s fave “think tank”.

Though “think” and Fraser Institute are two words that should seldom be used in the same sentence.



Speaking of anachronisms: Yay. Catholic school labour peace is upon us in Ontar-i-ar-i-ar-i-o. But wouldn’t it be even more efficient if there were only ONE teacher’s union representing educators from ONE school system in Ontario?

Wouldn’t it?


Learned a trick last night about Facebook. One can filter the number / type of updates that you get from specific friends. I’m already happy as hell about this as I don’t have to even so much as glance at some of the fluff that goes across my screen!

Thank you, Facebook!


Finally, it is sad to see OCDSB Trustee Cathy Curry say enough is enough and resign from her position on the Board. While I personally do not know her, I am told by those who do that she has been a tireless worker for the advancement of education in Ottawa – always putting sound principles and evidence-based thinking into her decisions… unlike some of her soon-to-be former colleagues…

Thanks for your service!


Using FB and Twitter…

…seems to be becoming popular as direct lines to an omnipotent, omnipresent being. And I’m getting quite bored with it all.

Specifically, I’ve had quite enough of Facebook updates, Twitter tweets that go something like this:

“I know 99% of my friends won’t re-post this, but please do if you believe that prayers work / Jesus loves me / God is great”, etc.

Just saying…

Yeah, I’m an atheist, but seriously, do Christians really believe that Jesus has a Facebook account? That he tweets? The Almighty is LinkedIn?


Oh well, I know that these posts won’t go away. I could just give up social media altogether if it bothers me that much, eh?



Friday miscellany: Jets, jets and pot edition

In an earlier postI asked my military and ex-military friends to tell me what they thought of the non-operational use of government and military (guess they’re the same really) aircraft by military officials… Stuff like being flown to Caribbean holiday spots and hockey games, for example. I didn’t get much feedback. But one chap whose opinion I respect (don’t always agree with, but that’s different) opined that its use – within certain parameters – is perfectly appropriate. He defends this saying that senior government and military officials need to be able to respond at all times in all places and that there could be circumstances that call for the immediate return of an official to HQ… in the event of a military or humanitarian crisis, for instance. Now, I can see his argument, but only to a point. If we accept the premise that senior military – or other government officials – need the travel flexibility to be able to get home in a hurry, then does this in effect give blanket approval to use these publicly paid-for jets at their discretion? Show me that there are checks and balances here and I’ll go along. Sure, there are approvals required by those higher up the food chain, but still, isn’t this a bit too much latitude? I think so. Besides, say a General goes to a hockey game on an armed forces night and he needs to get back to Ottawa in a hurry. OK, don’t we have airbases around the country that could scramble a jet pretty quickly in the event of something like this? ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Those other Jets: congrats on your return! I still hate your sweaters, but Winnipegers deserve this and judging by the noise in the arena on opening night (of the exhibition sked), the Jets are gonna have a man-advantage at home this season! ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. My neighbourhood rox, and I like to brag about it! We have an engaged and active Community Association that provides recreation and athletic programs to kids and adults in the Alta Vista area of Ottawa.  And, except for the instructors,  it is run by completely by a volunteer Board (of which I am now proudly a member).  Follow us on Twitter at @ccaaltavista. AND, there is also our equally engaged and active Parent Council at Pleasant Park PS (on which I also now serve).  Our newest project is to raise funds to build a new play area for the junior students and to basically re-vamp the rest of the playground if we have the funding. Yes, I will be hitting readers up for $$$ in the future… just don’t know how yet. Yup. Nothing like an active community. I and my family am lucky. —————————————————————————————————————————————————– New Facebook set-up? Yeah, I don’t like it either. But don’t forget that this is a free service offered by a private company whose motive is ROI. They are not in biz to keep the teenager whine factor to a minimum. ÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇÇ Washington DC: gotta spend a whole week there sometime before I die. Way to much to see in only a day or two. One thing that did stick in my mind about the place was the extreme poverty of the city’s homeless. On the surface, it looked like that city and Ottawa were pretty close in terms of numbers, but those in DC seemed poorer- if that is possible. No shoes or socks, torn clothes… they just seemed much worse off.  Less access to social services, maybe? ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: The Harperite crime bill. I don’t get the need to bundle up all of these crime bills into one big omnibus bill. They have their freakin’ majority, so what’s the point? They can split them up and slice and dice all they want and the bills will still be passed!

The sad thing is that some of the initiatives are actually worthwhile but are being mixed up with some truly boneheaded legislation. For example, why is there a mandatory minimum for the cultivation of a half-dozen pot plants? Seriously, that is NOT a grow-op! If there was a threshold of, oh, say… 20 or 30 then that is clearly not just for personal consumption… but bear in mind that I think it should be legalised anyways… BUT. You can do all sorts of sick porno things with a minor and the punishment is not as severe! To me, it shows that the Cons’ policy directions are shaped more by Old Testament thinking than concerns about public protection.

Producing six to 200 pot plants nets an automatic six-month sentence, with an extra three months if it’s done in a rental or is deemed a public-safety hazard. Growing 201 to 500 plants brings a one-year sentence, or 1½ years if it’s in a rental or poses a safety risk. The omnibus legislation imposes one-year mandatory minimums for sexually assaulting a child, luring a child via the Internet or involving a child in bestiality. All three of these offences carry lighter automatic sentences than those for people running medium-sized grow-ops in rental property or on someone else’s land. A pedophile who gets a child to watch pornography with him, or a pervert exposing himself to kids at a playground, would receive a minimum 90-day sentence, half the term of a man convicted of growing six pot plants in his own home.

Of course, from the CPC’s perspective, this will provide new residents for their new prisons, right? What a crock. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Question for you tekkies out there: can anyone advise me on the do’s and don’ts, lessons learned, reference material, etc. for someone who is setting up an online registration and payment system. The CCA (see above) is looking to go online with registration next year and any advice would be appreciated. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++And how about this little ditty? The Cons have hired Deloitte – at 90K per diem – to come up with some ways to trim that non-existent“fat” from the PS. I can help.And here is my recommendation:

Stop contracting to 90K / diem consultants.

You’re welcome. ==================================================================================== REM: Thank-you, gentlemen. ====================================================================================


Stevo – FB creeper extraordinaire


Is the blog really dead?

Warren Kinsella thinks so.

Do you?

Has the blog been surpassed by Twitter and Facebook as the communication tool of choice? Already?

Food for thought.

My take is that blogs will go back to being what they were in the early years (10ish years ago) – very narrowly-focused issue-based discussion forums – rather than rambling prose wandering  across all levels of subject matter and quality.

Blogs are not dead but will undergo quite a transformation in the next few years.

But my crystal ball is in the shop for repairs right now…

And I’m not quite ready to pack in Trashy’s World just yet…


Mubarak – overthrown by Twitter?

Is Hosni Mubarak the first Dictator to be ousted with the help of social media?

The Twitterverse has been rife with updates on the uprisings – Tweets from within Egypt. The authorities tried to shut down information networks but to no avail. Protesters used social media to get the word out to each other and the rest of the world. Popular uprisings succeed only if momentum is maintained, and the social media fed into this momentum.

Yet this is indeed great news. But questions remain.

Will the Army relinquish control when free elections are held?

Dictators are often replaced by dictators – will this be the case in Egypt?

What country is next?


Some more thoughts on The Ring…

The Onion Ring besting the PM is still getting attention.

95,544 fans as of the writing of this post.

Hee-hee. I love it.

Of course, someone has started a counter group: Can this Doorknob get more fans than Michael Ignatieff. I might join the one other fan. Just to show I’m truly non-partisan.

In other news: Colts over Saints – 45-42 (OT)


Dear Onion – almost 45,000 adoring followers

Craziness abounds… the Onion Ring fan club has grown to beyond 44K!

Like I said before, this is a great example of how quickly a message – however a bit silly – can move along the social media stream.

I will be interested to see how the mainstream media and politicians respond to this. My guess is that it will be more or less ignored. But really, Iggy or Harpy really SHOULD show up at a photo op with a box of onion rings!

More than 44 thousand voters (or would-be voters) would get a kick outta that!


All hail our Pungent Leader!

Earlier this morning, I posted a scribble about the Facebook movement to sign up more “fans” for an onion ring than Stephen Harper can claim – and it looks like the goal may be met by the end of the day. – 20,246 – the last time I refreshed the page.

And it is getting some attention in the mainstream media – albeit on a blog…


Harper vs. the onion ring

An odd new campaign began in the last 24 hours on Facebook.  The challenge: to pit an onion ring against Prime Minister Stephen Harper and see who gets more fans. As I write this, the onion ring is a good deal behind the Prime Minister — around 14,000 fans, compared to the nearly 30,000 fans of Harper.

And what is the end game of this contest? I have no idea. Perhaps the gold ring has something to do with the Olympics. Or not.

One comment on the site criticises this as “silliness reduces the seriousness of Facebook and can hurt their democracy campaign a tad.”

Huh? Of course it is silly! But I really don’t think it is hurting anyone! If Harper was smart, at his first photo op he should bring along a box of onion rings…