The Earth Turns Again And All Of A Sudden…

Previous celebrations: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013,2014 and
2015. Unlike last year, this March comes in after a soft winter. Plenty of warm stretches and only one heavy dump of snow in mid-February. No viral plagues. In the furnace room, weights were lifted and planks were even planked. The season’s seeds have been in hand for weeks with the package of parsnips showing up just yesterday, last year’s crop a few weeks from harvest once the thaw comes. Maple soon.


Thank God It Has Come And The Frost’s Going

Previous celebrations: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. This March comes with the first day to hit -2C in weeks. Snows and deep freezes. Norwalk visited last week and another bug two weeks before. Exam marks came back with praises earned. And Scotland again.


Thinking Back To Blogging When We Was Young

I heard the news about Aaron Swartz like everyone else. And then I heard another way as way back when I started blogging I belonged to the Berkman Thursday discussion group through the Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. I still get the digests via email when something is posted coming up on a decade after it was busy. This week I received this:

It is with great sadness that I share with you the news that one of tech’s bright minds and a blog group participant, Aaron Swartz, has left us. Many people are sharing thoughts about this amazing fellow. I’ll share a few links below. Some local memorials have already happened and more are yet to come. Since Aaron was on the MIT Mystery Hunt team sj and I and several other blog group folks are on, we are tentatively planning a gathering during the Hunt. If you’re participating in the Hunt, keep an ear out for more info.

It was sad news. I knew the guy was young but when I look back I really had no idea that in my late 30s I was in a chat with folk then only a little more than a third of my age. It was interesting stuff and the discussion was hopeful. There was lots to dream about. I saved stories to my blog like this one from 2004 about how blogs might make money one day. I wrote hopeful things this even though for the life of me I have no idea now what I meant to be saying. I argued. And on Thursday evenings for a while I would fire up the computer, turn on the speakers and listen as the Berkman bloggers’ group talked. There was a chat function – was it on IRC? – that allowed anyone to participate. So I have this dim recollection of chatting about blogging with a lot of people including Aaron. Maybe I just listened or watched his words pass on the screen.

At some point I got less interested in the theory. An argument point developed that somehow folk were able to appropriate the works of others. I didn’t disagree with the point as I had no clue what the heck was meant. The idea generally faded but it took a number of years for the fine points to come to the surface. No one speaks of a “mash up” world any more like in 2004. But Aaron did, I think.

I won’t connect dots and I don’t expect you would either. As was pointed out, there was depression involved. At least one pal of mine died at his own hands due to depression. It’s sad. Does not take a grand design or conspiracy or even anything that makes very much sense. But when I think of the keen interest I had a decade ago and the voices that I listened to in pursuit of that interest, his was in the forefront. And he was so young. As young as my kids now. Sad news.


Election 2012: While I Still Have The Power To Blog….

I better make some comment on this election, make some statement given the history around here even if the digital world has deemed blogs to commentary what 8-tracks are to fine audio media.

I was over in the states yesterday and found an active economy. My favorite lunch spot, the Fairgrounds Inn where I have been going for at least six years now was hopping on a Friday lunch. I had the Italian Combo, thanks for asking. And I got my hair cut. The guy getting sheered next to me went on about the Biden debate. Unhappy but a bit shallow. Was there really cause to gripe? Businesses were expanding. On the way out of town, my rear passenger side wheel just about seized and we were lucky to come over the hill on #37 and see Frenchy’s Auto Repair right there. An hour was all it took to get a part delivered and see us back heading to the border. We lapped up the warm late late summer air on a gorgeous rural vista out back of the repair ship. Everyone in the place was happy and busy and working. Some were having a beer. One of my favorite things about the slice of the USA I get to see is how it is both so similar to the Maritimes as a bit of a hard luck corner of the nation but also how frankly cheerful and confident folk are. The restaurant was at a dull roar of conversation the whole time we were there. It was hard to tell if the auto repair was a place of work or a fairly hearty social club given all the people coming and going while we were there.

What will America do on 6 November? My take is that Obama has not been passed, the Federal Senate will not budge and a number of member of the House will move to the left, not the right. There will not be a throw the bums out movement. I don’t think Mitt Romney would be a catastrophe any more than four more years would. No wave of nuttin’. But the next four years one way or another will be about managing recovery. Whammo. Not sure the will be a WHAMMO!!! but there will be a Whammo.


Now Twenty Years Since The Bosnian War Began

What a simple and strong tribute as reported on the BBC above. I have an odd three point connection to the Bosnian conflict as I lived in my former home of PEI when refugees were filtered through Canada’s smallest province to acclimatize them to a new home. In 1998, I played on a PEI soccer team with many Bosnians including one who had played first division football. And, years earlier, we were teaching in Poland when the former Yugoslavia began to fall apart in civil war. I saw TV twice in those months in late 1991. Once to see a soccer game and once to see the shelling of Dubrovnik. Also, in my former former home prior to PEI but after coming back from Poland in the mid-90s I met and even represented Canadian soldiers who were in the UN force that liberated Sarajevo with a proper vigor that the current Canadian government frankly seems to deny.

The stories from these three points in that decade combined giving me that sort of weighing awareness that made the news difficult to follow on one hand but saw me asking more. In the pre-pop-Internet world that meant maps and shortwave. Listening to the news fading in an out from Radio Belgrade, Croatian radio as well as B92 gave a sense. I remember when Arkan was killed a Bosnian friend inordinately connected came to my office to ask how that could have happened. I had to give him, a former Red Army soldier, a lesson on the SAS, vulnerability and other such things. He had no idea but told me much that taught me about the later NATO bombing of Serbia.

A red chair for each of the dead. Better than Yeats. Few signed up for a cause in the 90s.


Your Weekend Bullets For The End of January

Will February be as soft as January? I make these observations thinking one day I will maybe go back and check how bad each winter has been year after year. But I don’t. These things just languish. Like so many dreams. Contemplating leaving other things aside first, however. The cable TV and direct line telephone are under the budget department’s eye. When we had the power outage the other day the land line failed us due to the electrified base the wireless phone depends upon. Why not just have another iPhone for about the same price? At least cable TV brings me 7 months of baseball.

♦ Quite right. Use of a martini glass does not make for a martini. Your government store in action.

♦ “As usual, the Flea is right: “I don’t expect I will be back to H+M any time soon. If you work in a “creative industry”, or hold any sort of intellectual property in any medium, I suggest you don’t either.”

Neato. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935) shaking hands during his lifetime with both John Quincy Adams, born 1767, and John F Kennedy who died 1963.

♦ As we have fun watching the GOP Super PACs lead to the GOP eating itself, consider, too, the guilt of the Tea Partiers whose great-granddad didn’t fill out the right paper work.

♦ Now I know why my Mother was enthroned as the Brisbane Queen in 1949.

So, there you go. I have to make this something more than an eight day commitment. But there is beer blogging to do, you know. Lots of beer blogging.


You Friday Bullets For The Last Of September

I meant not to do this. I meant to ensure there was something between Friday posts. But the week did not let me. Too sad to mention baseball. Too occupied with the beer blog. It’s not every week a 920 page Oxford Companion to your favorite hobby shows up. These are not excuses. These are reasons. What would I write about? I could post about each episode of Doctor Who but this season, thankfully soon to be over, has been so badly managed that it’s hard to get the energy up. There’s a provincial election but I know people involved. So we have the bullets.

⇒ Morton is in first place With the Sox sucking and the Leafs about to suck, it’s a good time to be a fan of the Morton.

⇒ This is the under-reported story of the week. Had to run her off the land.

⇒ Excuse me but are those pants on fire?

⇒ This beer fest looks warm and inside. The one I am heading to is outside on a weekend that the weather lady just said would be “raw” – yikes.

Maybe more later. There’s a day ahead, a day to take on like the best last day of September as the season slips into a freezing damp cold patch ever. W.o.o.t.


Your First Friday Bullets For Summer Of ’11

So, it is finally summer. A thunderstorm hammered the town last night so that makes sense. The kids don’t actually seem to be learning anything at school, just trips trips trip so that makes sense. And you can’t find anyone at work. The trifecta of summer’s start. It was a busy week, too. Reports came in. Personnel shuffled. Outsourcing appointments were confirmed. And that was just at home.

  • • Canada’s national shame. We export death. Is this why Chuck quit?
  • • Roger Ebert was right and everyone should say so. If the driver had lived he would have played “Jackass in Jail” for the rest of his life for killing his pal.
  • • My kids really don’t have this issue: “you call this toast?”
  • Senate reform? I don’t understand how when a constitution has a section 23 that sets out qualifications of a senator that addig a qualification is not an amendment to the constitution.
  • • The Feds did something else weird constitutionally recently that no one noticed. It passed a bill in the House and in the Senate before the Throne Speech to demonstrate the right to act without the leave of the Crown. Hmm.
  • • North Carolina considers compensation for victims of state forced sterilizations under its eugenics program that lasted until the 70s. Is it time for Alberta to face its own past?
  • • Speaking of the Senate, BC’s new Premier seems to be bad with math: ““Twenty-four Senators for the entire western Canada? The economic engine for our country?” she scoffed.” In the depths of the recession, Ontario dipped to 38% of GDP, more than BC, Alberta, Saskatchwan and Manitoba combined. Twenty-four seats for Ontario? A joke. And, besides, democracy requires representation by population not by oil wells.

There. That’s a lot of bullets. Surely enough to hold you for now. Next week? Canada Day is on Friday. Expect a treat. Or much the same thing. Either one.