Archive for January, 2011

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Monday, January 31st, 2011

The Arab world is fighting subjugation,

It comes from having gained education.


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Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Bell Canada is offering its benefits package,

So that it’s take over of CTV doesn’t enrage.

If the benefits package did politicians entail,

You’d call it bribery and they’d be off to jail.


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Saturday, January 29th, 2011

(First run  Mar. 30, 2010)

The Americans have their new tea party, Canada the wild rose right,

They’re built on the ignorance: only people with money have might.


Self-evident truths in the information age.

Friday, January 28th, 2011

The men who framed the American Declaration of Independence understood the self-evident truths of the rights they were claiming.  An American black of the time, labouring under the overseer’s whip in the cotton fields of the American south would have considered them be neither truths nor self-evident. Your perception of truths today still depends on your ABC (awareness, bias and context).

It is like what software developers call ‘user friendly.’  A programmer once noted that user-friendly software is a ghost.  It is something that everyone talks about but nobody has seen.  An even more dangerous word is ‘intuitive.’   Whether something is intuitive or not depends entirely on your ABC.  And we have never seen a programmer with the same ABC as a normal user.

Today’s television is a great example of this problem.  Take your average wide-screen, high-definition, surround sound system with 800 cable or satellite channels from which to choose.  Thank goodness the time on the personal video recorder is down loaded by the cable or satellite company.  It would never do to have those machines always flashing ’12:00’ at you.  And have you ever tried to reduce the steps required to switch from watching an on-air program to watching a DVD to less than 12 individual steps?

If American Idol was not available on 54 of those 800 channels, people would never find the program they want to watch.  Just the mechanics of using the channel guide can leave an adult viewer in a severe hysterical episode.  The manufacturers of these systems are not allowed to provide a 12-year old with each system they deliver.

Mind you, all the 12-year olds are busy programming iPods for their elders who think it is cool to have all their music at their fingertips—as long as they do not care in which order it plays.

And the adult penchant for Blackberries is almost without understanding.  How can any adult want to keyboard with their thumb nails?  We got an e-mail from someone’s Blackberry the other day that read like a very serious and long sneeze.  The only appropriate response was Gesundheit.

With the growing involvement of computer chips in our daily life, you have to live with them.  The alternative is no fun.  An elderly lady once said that the Eskimos had the best idea as they were reported to simply putting their elderly on an ice flow after an appropriate farewell party.  With global warming advancing as it is, this might not be today’s solution.  No doubt the computer people have already come up with something.

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Thursday, January 27th, 2011

(First pub. Mar. 22, 2010)

Poor Mr. Harper has a ghost that still haunts,

He sees no way to get the majority he wants.


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Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

The sidewalk artist writes ‘It’s all my own work,’

And it’s why I claim copyright, so don’t be a jerk.


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Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

PM Stephen Harper pissed off the Arab Emirates,

Lacking diplomatic skills, friendship he obliterates.


Hey sports fans: they are fighting over you.

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Next week’s hearing at the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in Gatineau is not really about ownership of Canada’s largest English-language television network.  It is about the millions of Canadians with their Blackberries, iPods, iPhones and next generation cell phones who will want to pay a few dollars each month to receive sports highlights and updates on their hand-held, hi-definition connection.  And sports fans are just one of the markets being fought over.

It is CTV who’s ownership is being argued next week. This is the network that paid an outrageous price to buy the 2010 and 2012 Olympic Games to squeeze out the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.  And then they lured away the CBC’s best people to help them make it happen.  (These are the same kindly people who then demanded that cable and satellite companies pay to carry their local off-air TV signals.  Mind you, the cable and satellite companies did them one better.  As the dust settles, the cable and satellite companies own everything.)

So who wants to buy CTV?  It is not like there was a bidding war or any other crass financial argument over who would win the prize.  After all there are not many Canadian companies that could casually come up with $3 billion from the petty cash drawer.  Bell Canada Enterprises is back in play, again.  Even BCE had to leave about half the money in subordinated debt.

Behind the war of words next week, the war over sports fans is just warming up.  The CBC has teamed with Shaw Cable (which owns Global) to challenge the Rogers-CTV consortium for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics.  This will be the more interesting challenge as many will root for the CBC-Shaw underdogs.

We are about a year away from the more interesting battle over Hockey Night in Canada.  This is forecast as a three-way battle between the incumbent CBC, the Bell-owned CTV/TSN and Rogers’ Sportsnet.  At the same time, TSN and Sportsnet are expected to go toe-to-toe for the National Hockey League’s cable package.  The CBC-Shaw consortium’s last gasp might be the fight over the Canadian Football League.  If the CBC loses there, the once great network might as well close its doors as a viable network.

With CTV’s TSN starting its own radio network shortly, all the bases are being covered.  BCE will have a totally integrated communications empire that can do pretty well anything it wants.  And sports fans, you will pay for it.  You will pay and pay….

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Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

A solemn gathering of Liberal society,

Said a fond farewell to a Liberal deity.

Keith Davey became a Canadian icon,

One Pearson and Trudeau did rely on.


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Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

At Queen’s Park the word was spreading,

Our Ms. Carroll was leaving the building.

She has now confirmed to the Babel mob,

She no longer cares for the provincial job.