Let My Hoodie Go!

Tony Blair, fresh from victory at the polls is taking on a new enemy – the hoodie:

Britain has a new public enemy: the teenager in a hooded sweatshirt. Hoods, no longer just an adolescent fashion statement, lie at the centre of a debate over what many people, including Prime Minister Tony Blair, see as an alarming rise in bad behaviour. Mr. Blair says rowdy public drunkenness, noisy neighbours, petty street crime, even graffiti and vandalism are top concerns. He is enthusiastically backing an English shopping mall’s ban on hoods, baseball caps and other headgear that obscure the face. “It is time to reclaim the streets for the decent majority,” Mr. Blair told the House of Commons. “People are rightly fed up with street-corner and shopping-centre thugs….”

You might think that something is amiss when a garment I and my children wear has become the icon of the evil in British Society. You might think that there is something else to this. Which of course there is. The knowing amongst you may know I did a wee thesis for my LLM a couple of years ago on the implications under Canadian law for distant biometric surveillance. The interesting thing is that the western nation most interested in using superfast cameras to gather biometric images of people’s faces and immediately cross reference them against databases of the known is the UK. No koo-koo wingnuttiness. That is just reality.

The hoodie over the face defeats this watching, making it difficult for the computers to figure out who you are through simply the cloaking and even the face down posture. So when he speaks of “the decent majority”, keep in mind that the UK government reserves to itself tools for the identification and logging of individual citizens which would be unacceptable under Canadian and US law, which, though the technolgy is here, still provide more by way of autonomy for the citizen from the state. Sure there are likely other aspects to it as there always are but keep in mindw who is watching and how they watch when the hoodie is separated out as the new evil.

Our Words

Back from the pyool – it has been a “pyool” and not a “pool” ever since Freddie Flintston said so – and I am reminded of family words or phrases like these:

  • “chitterybite”: food you eat after getting out after a swim.
  • “Doubt it Ralphie!”: I thought this was a universal phrase until a few years ago. It is what you say when someone is caught out in a lie. I thought everyone did until my father told me that when we were kids there was a compulsive fibber kid down the street named Ralph.
  • “Sae help ma Bob!”: From Oor Wullie, the Scots comic classic. Wullie says it when someone finds his stash of sweeties and “scoffs the lot” or he comes home to find the policeman whose hat he knocked off waiting with his parents. Generally followed by three lines appearing to the left side of his rear. Now used by adult children to other adult children when someone takes the last beer or snabs the best seat.

Another Pool Update

Well, the Memorial Cup is over and the Lodon Knights win but not after the Rimouski Oceanic rack up some high scores. Looks like I fixed the pool again.

Alan Mike Gooner Don Hans
#1 5 5 5 5 10
#2 0 0 10 0 10
#3 25 0 0 0 0
#4 10 0 10 10 0
#5 36 0 13 33 0
#6 0 0 0 0 0
#7 10 20 10 20 10
#8 10 0 10 0 0
#9 0 0 0 0 0
#10 10 0 10 0 0
#11 0 10 10 10 10
#12 10 0 10 10 0
#13 0 0 0 0 0
#14 0 0 0 20 0
#15 5 5 5 5 0
#16 0 0 0 0 0
#17 20 0 0 0 0
Total 131 40 93 108 40

Fire At 9:00 PM

I just took these images from the roof of our building looking east to the other side of the City. I have not been able to find any local news service this Sunday evening to find out what is going on. I would estimate the fire to be at least 5 km away so it is pretty big.

Update: it was the reed march at the river on fire according to reports Monday morning.





And here is the article in the Whig:

Kingston Whig – 30 May 2005 “Firefighters suspect arson in massive marsh blaze”, by Ian Elliot

Firefighters suspect a major fire that burned a huge swath of the Great Cataraqui Marsh was deliberately set. Kingston firefighters were initially called to a large and fast-moving blaze just east of Weller Avenue right before 8:30 p.m. While they were battling that fire, which appeared to have started near the shore and burned out in a concentric ring, another blaze started about a kilometre north of the original fire and burned its way northeast towards Highway 401. “Field mice don’t usually carry matches,” observed Kingston Assistant Deputy Fire Chief Les Meers dryly after the second blaze broke out.

Kingston Police Staff-Sgt. Greg Sands said last night the fire will be investigated, although no one was in custody last night. “There were reports that two youths were seen running from the area shortly after [the fire] and that will be investigated,” he said. There were no reports of property damage as winds blew the fire away from the shore of the Cataraqui River. Nearby homes are protected by the CN Rail track which acts as a firebreak. “The winds were in our favour this evening,” said Meers. “They were blowing east and pushing the fire towards the river.” More than 20 Kingston firefighters were called out to fight the fire yesterday evening and it had been largely extinguished by press time. Several firefighters were to have been posted on the scene overnight to guard against flare-ups. Much of the firefighting was done by crews with backpacks holding several gallons of water, which they refilled from a tanker some distance from the fire. As the fire spread, they tapped into a hydrant on Shaw Street and ran the hose through a trench they’d excavated underneath the railway tracks. “It’s something we don’t like to do, but we have to,” explained Meers.

The fire was intense, and people watching it from their back porches along Montreal Street said, at its height, they could feel the heat from the flames on their faces from a distance of several hundred metres. The fire also drew hundreds of curious spectators, who clogged area roads and bridge overpasses that offered a view of the fire. A number of people also drove to a quarry on Highway 15 in the former Pittsburgh Township that offered a panoramic view of the marsh. There was a street-party atmosphere at the scene as people brought babies in strollers and carried digital or video cameras to snap pictures as the massive blaze spread. Cars also slowed or pulled over on the shoulder of Highway 401 to watch the fire burn and Kingston firefighters were ready to close that stretch of highway if the fire drew too close and interfered with visibility. Train traffic was slowed but not stopped as crews fought the fire. Several slow-moving trains passed through the area during the fire, with passengers on the trains pressing against the windows to see the blaze, which shot flames and embers 10 metres high at its peak and whose plumes of smoke could be seen for miles.

Bystanders lined the tracks and had to be shooed off by police and firefighters as trains passed through the area. The fire department has a boat but didn’t call it out last night. The fire department has been called to the marsh a half-dozen times already this year as a lack of rain has left it tinder dry, but yesterday’s fire was by far the largest this year. The marsh burns regularly in the spring and fall. While the spectacular fires rarely threaten houses, they do pose a threat to the phone lines that run along the east side of the tracks. They weren’t damaged in last night’s fire. In 1995, a particularly large fire destroyed 250 hectares of marsh and burned for almost 24 hours.

Ten Day To Life Change

This review of the impending release of the new album by the White Stripes is so over the top I may just buy it on its first day on the shelf:

On June 7, the White Stripes return with a thrilling new album, “Get Behind Me Satan” (Third Man/V2/BMG), that goes a long way toward dismantling the band’s goofy mythology. It’s an album so strong and so unexpected that it may change the way people hear all its predecessors. And that’s just a start. Listen long enough, and this album might change the way you hear lots of other bands, too.

A Night Off

Last night my Sympatico high speed was down – you know it is unannounced maintenance when it goes off at 5 pm and is back on in the morning. I don’t bother call support to complain about the semi-annual shutdowns anymore. I just say to myself “yes, I rebooted, thank you.”

How nice that was. I watched TVO’s Studio 2, the best hour of TV in Canada, and a rerun of Heartbeat and thought about how 12 years ago I have a black and white TV with no cable in the near north of Ontario’s Upper Ottawa Valley, no internet, no computer, no CD player. Back then, I read books and I wrote letters and likely watched TVO on Friday night.

Free At Last, Free At Last!!!

The news broke last evening around suppertime, forcing First Minister Designate of the Tantrama City Provisional Government, John McDonald MacKay Archibald, from his regular Thursday night boiled dinner and into the national spotlight. This is his only official statement so far:

After the events of last week from the west – the survival of Paul Martin’s third minority government in a row, the collapse of the co-leadership and other arrangements between Peter MacKay and Belinda Stronach of the New Conservative Party, the Declaration of Albertaria made by Premier Harper – I thought we might be in for a quiet spell but the news of this Order-in-Council has taken us all by surprise. The people of Atlantic Canada had been expecting confirmation of the new capital region and steps towards a new elected government. We hardly expected semi-sovereignty and a practical level of autonomy from the rest of the nation. Myself and Cleatus Morris, Deputy First Minister Designate of the Tantrama City Provisional Government, will be meeting with our legal counsel after we have our pie to review next steps.

Early reports are confirming that, apparently in a rush to get out of Ottawa before the long sleep of Parliament, the summer recess, the Federal Unity Cabinet under the direction of Prime Minister Paul Martin has – in addition to announcing the long planned confirmation of the new capital at Tantrama City – extended asymetrical federalism for a third time after Quebec and Alberta unexpectedly, irreversibly and perhaps erroneously granting the four Atlantic provinces their own regional legislature with devolved powers of a super-province as well as a direct draw on the national treasury plus exclusive powers over the fisheries, marine transport, ferries, inter-provincial bridge building and, oddly, the navy. Cleatus Morris, above left, Deputy First Minister Designate of the Tantrama City Provisional Government, describing himself this evening as First Admiral and Deputy First Minister Designate of the Tantrama City Provisional Government was reported as saying “Oh Happy Day, Oh Happy Day” as he danced a jig badly, stumbling and falling with glee as if intoxicated.

Protests and gatherings have already been reported in Guysborough, Souris and throughout the St. John River Valley. Communications with Newfoundland and Labrador have apparently been cut.