Where this occasional contrarian, freethinker and all around opinionated sob rumbles on about just about everything under the sun from the movies to art, culture, literature, politics, science, history, blogging, the web, web design, maybe even friends and family and current affairs. (And then some) And if you flatter me a bit, I may even claim to have all the answers.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my readers

I think I gave it all away in the title. Now I have nothing more to say.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Daimler-Benz and McLaren meet Gotham City

2009 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss
Ooooh boy !! What a sweet looking convertible somewhat reminiscent of MB's Silver Arrows racing cars of the Thirties. MB is planning to show it (off) next month at the Detroit Auto Show. There must still be a market for these toys in spite of the recession. 670 ponies under that sexy hood and 350 "klicks" an hour. Too bad they only plan to build 75 units units and they obviously won't hit the market in time for Christmas.

But I was thinking, maybe next Christmas, hmmm, if they haven't all been sold by then, maybe I should sit on Santa's lap and let him know. What if he tells me I have been a bad boy and only deserve coal; I'll let him in on a secret: This sexy racer's body is made from light weight carbon fibre. Hey Santa ! Carbon fibre = coal! coal = carbon fibre! Get it ??

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Tale of Two Presidential Candidates (Or simply two tales ?)

"Obama DNC Acceptance Speech"

"McCain RNC Acceptance Speech"

I have been fascinated by and addicted to so called tag clouds, mind maps and visualizations of statistics and other assorted abstractions for quite some time now. My guess is that's because to an information junkie and visually oriented person like me they are an interesting way to organize knowledge and information.

I came across these two tag clouds the other day, or rather word clouds since these "tags" are not linked to any pages, (based on IBM software) and I think they are pretty much self explanatory. The word that appears the most often in these two acceptance speeches appears in the largest font and so on down the line. Pretty revealing and funny too.

I have already had a lot of fun playing with this web based "word cloud generator"

Friday, December 19, 2008


"I love an honest man"
(I wonder whether he once worked for General Motors; ... or on Wall Streee?) (ok, so that's not very funny, or maybe it is.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What should our federal government do about that triad of corporate welfare bums in Windsor?

It looks like our government in Ottawa will have to bail out Ford Chrysler and GM to the tune of billions of dollars. Now we have all heard by now that our c(C)onservative government prides itself of taking a very soberminded, fiscally responsible approach to governing. I am curious to see how they will deal with this issue. What kind of security will they demand in return for their "investment"? I sure hope they impose certain strict conditions and demands on these companies. Now I don't claim be a business man nor do I have a very solid understanding of high finance, but I think the government should just buy these plants outright and when the car industry is on the move again, they could sell those manufacturing facilities at a profit just as the US government did years ago with Chrysler. There was a nice tidy profit for the American taxpayer at the time.

Hopefully some Canadian investors (perhaps Frank Stronach, who is already in the automotive business) could jump in and take over these assets.

And I don't want to hear the argument that Canada is too small to support an automotive industry. I say: Bah Humbug, Nonsense, a tired, defeatist argument I am tired of hearing. Sweden, a country of nine million people has apparently not hesitated to come up with billions of dollars to support not just one but two Swedish car makers. And what's so wrong with the state owning a stake in a major car manufacturer? Renault, the French car maker, has been partially owned by the French state for decades and has flourished.

Monday, December 15, 2008

There is a brandnew petition in support of raising awareneness of spinal cord injury and paralysis issues at the highest levels of government.

This petition, started by a very good friend of mine a short while ago and the founder of STEPNOW and a new FACEBOOK petition group has been making the rounds on the internet lately.

I myself am a paraplegic of three and a half years due to an accident that could happen to anybody, could happen to your child, sister, brother mother, father, ... I think you get the picture. The happy picture of the disabled life that the public usually gets to see is one of happy paralympians winning medals and people being engaged in all manner of disabled sports, disabled this and disabled that and the implication that we are really not any different from able bodied people. BUT THE PAINFUL TRUTH IS: WE ARE DIFFERENT. Our lives are not, I REPEAT: NOT THE SAME. I should know; I have been on both sides of the divide.

I have lost two very dear friends (both paraplegics) who have committed suicide because they could not deal with the pain (both physical and otherwise), the huge sense of loss and the bouts of depression any more. Matt and Clayton, this post and statement is dedicated to your memory.

It is high time the worldwide media stopped telling what I would call "THE BIG LIE" by highlighting the "sexy" parts of the disabled life and completely ignoring the dark, ugly, debilitating underbelly of the disabled lifestyle that includes such unpleasant things as depression, infections, skin break down, a diminished social life, social isolation and bowl and bladder movements "gone wrong". I could go on and on and on.

Scientists that work in the field of neuroscience and spinal cord research now know that a cure for spinal cord injury is possible. In light of these new findings and the fact that the pressing issues of accessibility and equality in the workplace, etc have been largely accomplished, it is of the utmost importance that a paradigm shift occur. By that I mean that the disabled community must now shift it's advocacy away from the old accessibility and "equality" issues that seemed to imply in the minds of the general public that we had accepted our disabled fate and focus instead wholeheartedly on advocating for a possible cure.

I would urge all of you to sign this petition if you suffer from paralysis or have a friend or member of your family that does; or simply because you feel it's the right thing to do and freedom from paralysis is a human rights issue.

Thank you.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Where is our Canadian movie epic?

The other day I went and saw the movie "Australia" and aside from having some random thoughts (Hmm, Nicole Kidman really is quite tall and she really is still hot) and having some flashbacks of personally having wasted some time and grey cells in some of Darwin's grubbier pubs; my first thought was: Why are we Canadians not making our own sweeping movie epics, telling our own sweeping sagas of this great country. I am going to throw out out a few suggestions and ideas. Atom Egoyan!: Feel free to steel them. How about the drama of the building of the railway or the first crossing of Canada by Alexander Mackenzie or Samuel Hearne or how about the history of the Hudson Bay Company.

I mean, what is wrong with us Canadians? What are we waiting for?

Who else could direct our very own "Gone With the Wind", so to speak. David Cronenberg? Umm ... maybe better not. (The very thought of exploding beavers could get us in trouble with the Animal Rights people.)
Which Canadian first lady of movies could star? Deborah Cara Unger? Sarah Polley? The male lead ? Jim Carrey? (Let's not go there) Lol !!
Anyway, these are thoughts. Feel free to argue, support or slam me on this.
A couple of good web sites here, and here (the world's greatest movie site, imo) hey, but this is only a movie nut speaking here.