Facepalm Newsoids 35 – Redneck News

This lady’s face is covered by her cell phone, which we’ll take as this week’s facepalm. This image of a mirror – yes, a mirror – connected to the internet (or, actually, failed to connect) just increases the cringe factor. Taken from Facebook.

The Beer Bandits of Nashville. In redneck news, WSMV News 4 in Nashville, Tenessee has been following the stories of various beer thieves as an annual event. Each year, they report on beer being stolen, such as the story last year about just such a theft from the outdoor patio of a Mexican restaurant. This year just ahead of St. Patrick’s Day, a more, uh, heroic and inspirational story about a Circle K clerk that put his life on the line for the safe return of four cases of Corona beer. The thief, 50 year-old Mitchell Brown was blocked at the exit by the clerk. Brown kicked the clerk’s leg, breaking it in two places, requiring surgery. He escaped, but was caught on surveillance cameras, identified and arrested for aggravated assault, trespassing, and theft, according to reporters at WSMV. The clerk was not named (27 Feb).

A Hard Drawing. A bush pilot flew his plane near Bellfontaine Regional Airport in Ohio whose path resembled a penis. He also air-drew the words “see ya” before breaking his pattern and moving on. “That’s nuts”, said a Twitter (X) user. The number of fans gained on social media probably stroked his ego. The drawing took 6 hours, leading some to wonder how he could last that long. Reporters did not give the name of the pilot, but the plane appears to have been registered to a flight school in Ohio. Some news stories just write themselves, don’t they? (25 Feb)

Your wrangling skills are not ba-a-ad. A heard of goats escaped a nature reserve and began to roam the streets of Arlington, Texas. The police were called, and goat herd wrangling instantly became part of their job description. The herd was guided back to the field they began wandering from. (1 Mar)

Chicken dumplings dumped. In the United States, the famous grocery chain Trader Joe’s has recalled more than 27 metric tons of chicken dumplings because of suspicion they may have been contaminated from plastics found in magic markers. (4 Mar)

Hogging money from workers. Tosh Farms, Tennessee’s biggest pork producer, retaliated against its employees when one of them asked about their wages, and was threatened with termination. In addition, the employee returned to his workstation to find a severed pig’s head on his desk. An investigation by the department of labour found the company owed five of its employees $39,375 in back wages, and a further $36,731 in civil money penalties. (6 Mar)

Views: 362

Facepalm Newsoids 29

Ann Coulter Facepalm

Road sign hijacking.

NSFW. May be offensive to some.

In the Montrose neighbourhood of Houston, Texas, an electronic road sign was “hijacked” to read: “Due to Weather Go Fuck Yourself”. The road sign does not belong to Houston Public Works, and the owner has not been found. It has since been turned off by a city inspector. (11 Sep)

[collapse]

AI In the News. This week, former NBA player for the Orlando Magic, Brandon Hunter, died at age 42 on September 12 following a collapse during a fitness class. MSN used an AI bot to write his obituary, stating “Brandon Hunter useless at 42” in the headline. The rest of the article was even more unintelligible, referring to him as an NBA “participant”, and that he was “handed away” at the age of 42. The bot “reports” that in high school he “acheived vital success as a ahead (sic) of the Bobcats” school team. He also apparently performed in “67 video games” over two seasons. The article was deleted the next day after MSN received complaints. All of these AI problems come on the heels of MSN firing much of its staff of human journalists this past December, to replace them with AI bots. (Sep 14) This is a recurring topic.

Kicking out the ladder from underneath you. American billionaire tycoon and kid at the debating table vying for running mate to Donald Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, has promised to “gut” the H-1B visa program, dismissing it as a form of “indentured servitude that only benefits the company”. This is after he, himself the child of immigrants, has used that same program 29 times to hire immigrants to enrich his own pharmaceutical company. He has been previously criticized for his restrictionist immigration views. (Sep 16)

Names for your baby. Australian journalist Kirsten Drysdale recently gave birth to a young boy, and named him “Methamphetamine Rules”. It was either that or “Nangs Rule”, she said to reporters. This was part of a stunt to test the naming regulations of the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages in her home province of New South Wales for an article on legal baby names which was aired by the Australian Broadcasting Company on September 20. The stunt backfired, since the name was actually approved, and she is now petitioning to have her son’s name changed into something more normal.  It appears as if the approval of the name was in error, saying that it “slipped through”, and is considered to be a “highly unusual event” that it was approved. Unfortunately, her son’s birth record will now permanently have his first-assigned name, as well as any subsequent name change. (19 Sep)

Wanting to get in on a good thing. After a successful legal battle which resulted in the overpaid Board of Directors of Tesla having to return $700 million in excess compensation to shareholders, the winning lawyers now want $10,ooo per hour in return for their legal services, for a total of $229 million in legal fees, which if appproved, would be the largest legal payout ever in a shareholder lawsuit. There will be a hearing in Deleware set in October to approve this new settlement. Corporate star attorneys typically request a maximum of $2000 per hour, by way of contrast. (21 Sep)

Fight for your right to eviction party. In Berkeley, California, the Property Owners Association (BPOA) there threw a cocktail party at Freehouse Bar, next to Berkeley university campus, in celibration of the end of the eviction moratorium in honor of landlords in the area. It drew protestors, which then resulted in fisticuffs on both sides. Protestors left the venue shortly after the fights broke out. The BPOA says that there were many that could have paid rent but chose not to during the moratorium. But if that were true, that would be fraudulent, and there were few or no convictions of tenants due to fraud to anyone’s knowledge. Berkeley and the surrounding San Francisco Bay area have suffered from high rents and property values for some decades. (13 Sep)

Fined and jailed for eating redneck food. Indonesian food influencer Lina Lutfiawati had garnered thousands of followers on Tik Tok, showcasing food of many  kinds from many cultures. But her most recent consuming of pork rinds on video was too much for the Indonesian Muslim clerics, and she was arrested. Touching pigs is taboo in Indonesian Muslim culture, and is in violation of blasphemy laws. Muslims make up almost 90% of the Indonesian population. (21 Sep)

Boebert steals the show, gets bad reviews.

NSFW. Has sexual content.

Republican congressperson Lauren Boebert, previously known for her verbal catfight in a ladies’ room with her fellow flaky colleague Marjorie Taylor-Greene, among other notable congressional lunacy, has recently been ejected from a theatre showing of the musical Beetlejuice in Denver with her date, a 46 year-old bar owner named Quinn Gallagher – 10 years her senior, for vaping, singing, using her phone to record the show, and mutual masturbation (over the clothes), all caught on surveillance camera, which also showed complaining nearby patrons. Their ejection from the theatre by threat of police being called was accompanied by such hubristic parlance as “Do you know who I am?” and “I’m going to contact the mayor!” Her most recent apology regarding this incident was for her “maybe overtly animated” behaviour at the theatre that day. Political pundit and occasional drama critic Ann Coulter gave the Boebert performance 1 star. (17 Sep)

[collapse]

 

Views: 648

Facepalm Newsoids XXI: Old for high school

Facepalmbook. Click on graphic to go to the source of this week’s graphic.

Re-living High School. Former social worker, 32 year-old Shelby Hewitt forged documents to enroll in three different high schools in the Boston area. A woman shrouded in mystery, the New York Times was not able to get officials from the Massachusetts Department of Families where Shelby worked from 2016 to this year, to say why she was no longer employed. She was charged with three counts of forging sets of documents for three different high schools. According to the Times, “At English High School, she went by Ellie. At Jeremiah E. Burke High School, she introduced herself as Daniella.” She had also registered at Brighton High School, also in the Boston area. The police have not been able to determine a motive. Of concern to administrators and superintendents is that, by being in high-school, she would be in many age-inappropriate settings with cohorts some decades her junior. WCVB News in Boston spoke to her father, and he mentioned that Shelby is working through some mental health issues. Investigations and interviews of staff and students by administrators are on-going. (29 June)

Mom Influencers in the News. Instagram “Mom Influencer” Katie Sorenson, age 30, reported to Sonoma County Police about how a couple tried to kidnap her two kids while at a store in Petaluma, California, back in 2020; and then later, making a “vlog” about it on Instagram. The whole story was a fabrication. She was convicted at Sonoma county court yesterday on a misdemeanour of making a false report. She gets 90 days in jail, but must refrain from social media for 12 months, and must submit to warantless search and seizure of her electronic devices. The video in question has since been deleted. (30 June)

The Cage Match of the Year Week Moment. In the spirit of getting in a fight after school, Zuck and Musk have agreed to duke it out in a cage match, possibly in Las Vegas. Mark Zuckerberg, head of Facebook, is 39 years old; while Elon Musk is age 52 and who is not known for his interest in sports or regular training. The two tech billionaires are in different weight classes, as well, with Musk being about 70 pounds heavier than his rival Zuck. Some in both organizations had felt that this wouldn’t exactly be the best use of their time. (1 July)

Views: 803

OceanGate-Gate

OceanGate
Clicking on this image gets you to one version of the story. David Ryder/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by David Ryder / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

On the 18th of June, 2023, a submersible named Titan owned by the company OceanGate, disappeared in international waters in the North Atlantic, 400 nautical miles (740 km) south of St.John’s, Newfoundland, close to the wreck of the Titanic ocean liner which went down 1912. The United States Navy picked up a loud sound in the vicinity of Titan on their SOSUS (SOund SUrveillance System) as the multinational search was proceeding. But suspecting a problem with Titan, and not knowing much else, the search continued in a race against time, before Titan’s oxygen ran out. Yesterday, hopes were dashed as parts of Titan were found adrift on the ocean floor, signifying a catastrophic implosion of the pressure hull, which at 12,000 feet below sea level, must have instantly killed all on board.

An implosion of a 9′ diameter, 22′ long sub (about the size of a minivan) would have an energy about equal to a quarter ton of dynamite. It is likely that there may not even be bodies to recover, due to this magnitude of destructive force. At a depth of over 10,000 feet, the implosion would kill all on board in under 0.1 seconds due to the intense pressure at that depth. 0.1 seconds would not be enough time for anyone to comprehend their fate, nor for their nervous systems to react.

Among the 5 dead were vessel pilot Stockton Rush, age 61, CEO of OceanGate Expeditions, the owners of Titan. Others were tourists Hamish Harding (age 58), Shahzada Dawood (age 48) along with his 19 year-old son Suleman; and Paul-Henry Nargeolet (age 77). Suleman had initially not wanted to board the Titan, but decided that he would be in the capsule with his father Shahzada because it was just after Father’s day. Two of the 5 were billionaires.

The story has all the elements of tragedy if you choose as the tragic hero pilot and CEO Stockton Rush, whose hubris could fill volumes. He had a peculiar style of hubris, one of the innovative engineer, champion of free markets — that is, free of pesky regulations made to keep things like submarines, safe. In Stockton’s own words: “There hasn’t been an injury in the commercial sub industry in over 35 years,” according to Smithsonian magazine back in 2019. “It’s obscenely safe because they have all these regulations. But it also hasn’t innovated or grown — because they have all these regulations.” Stockton saw this as an obstacle to be overcome.

The four passengers signed a waiver before embarking on the trip. As part of their waiver they signed, the estates of the passengers would pay for any expenses for search and rescue, even in the event those efforts become fruitless. While for some that may be a warning, others would likely see it as an invitation to adventure.

Another way that this is a compelling story concerns the privelege of wealth. These expeditions cost $250,000US for each passenger. Only the rich could afford such luxuries.

The construction of the Titan appeared free of regulation. Apart from the dubious decision to make the pressure hull out of carbon fibre (a material that is not designed for that kind of stress), there was also no escape hatch, and no way to exit from within the vessel for any reason. Exiting would require someone from outside the vessel to undo bolts which fasten the exit hatch to the vessel body. This means that even if they would have successfully risen to the ocean surface, their oxygen can still run out unless there was someone outside the vessel waiting nearby with a socket wrench.

The Titan was controlled by a modified Logitech F710 Wireless Game Controller, which you could get at BestBuy in Canada for 40 bucks, and is similar to a GameBoy controller. While the carbon that make up much of its body is stronger than steel, it can be surprisingly brittle, and can shatter like an eggshell under the right conditions. OceanGate, makers of Titan claimed on their website, that the ship was “designed and engineered by OceanGate Inc. in collaboration [with] experts from NASA, Boeing, and the University of Washington“, all three of whom denied any association with OceanGate whatsoever.

Titan lacked an independent navigation system. The pilot relied on constant guidance from a support ship, which notified Titan’s position and direction information by text message. Its propulsion system lacked redundancy to guard against engine failures. It lacked a black box to record the operation of the vessel.

While 5 deaths of wealthy people have been decried as a tragedy and given wall-to-wall news coverage, other deaths of less wealthy people this week were treated as more of a statistic, and given much more marginal coverage.

The Adriana, carrying far too many passengers to be safe.

Earlier this week, we hear about a fishing boat called the Adriana, headed for Italy, which recently sank in the Mediterranean near Pylos, Greece, carrying 700 migrants including 100 children. They sought refuge from war, poverty and the effefcts of climate change with little more than the clothes on their back. According to Democracy Now!, they paid human traffickers the equivalent of thousands of dollars to ferry them from Libya. Many of these passengers originated from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria and Palestine. The small boat was critically overcrowded, and soon capsized causing many to fall into the sea, according to The New York Times, after making some erratic sharp turns. 104 were rescued, with 78 known dead, and the rest missing, presumed drowned in that part of the Mediterranean, which was 13,000 feet deep, beyond the reach of divers.

Most of the survivors were men, as women and children were held below deck, presumably to protect them from the elements. It is likely that none held below deck survived the capsizing, according to a report from Al Jazeera.

Both news sources – Democracy Now! and The New York TImes – offer conflicting explanations as to why the Greek Hellenic Coast Guard didn’t activate a rescue. According to Democracy Now!, coast guard authorities knew well ahead of the tragedy that the Adriana was in trouble, but chose not to initiate a rescue operation. The Times cite a statement from the Hellenic Coast Guard themselves, who said the boat’s crew declined their offers of assistance on at least two occasions. These statements can be considered suspect, given Greece’s tough stance on migration.

Overall, the UN International Organization on Migration says that in 2022, of 3879 migrant deaths just from the Middle East and North Africa regions, 92% of them are unidentified. And since official statistics are so lacking, the actual number of dead from these regions may be much higher.

Views: 171

Facepalm Newsoids XIX

Even the polar bear (there is only one) can’t believe what’s going on.

Happy Clean Air Day. The Canadian government figured June 7 to be called “Clean air day” here in Canada. It started in 1999 under the Chretien government. This year the day occured at around the worst of the “smoke problems” faced in Ontario, Quebec, and American seaboard cities.  Far from a day for celebration of clean air, in 2023 we were ordered to stay indoors for fear of damaging our lungs with the toxic smoke. A Swiss monitoring company called IQAir declared New York City as having the worst air quality on the planet on June 6 and 7, and all flights into LaGuardia Airport were cancelled.  Also, professional baseball and basketball games in the city were cancelled. So were grade school recesses. New York City had an air quality index (AQI) of 342 (index values above 150 is already considered unhealthy, while above 300 is “hazardous”), with an orange sky reminiscent of a dust storm on Mars. On 6 June, Toronto had an AQI of 131 and people were told not to go outdoors to play, walk or exercise. Sports and outdoor recess was also cancelled. Before the wildfires, Toronto’s AQI’s hovered between 19 and 39, considered safe by IQAir.

The price of stinginess. (8 June) A Chinese woman who only went by her surname Liu, lost consciousness while returning from the summit after climbing Mount Everest, and had to be rescued by a sherpa on a pre-arranged deal that she pay $10,000 in the event she needed to be rescued. When she needed to be and he held his end of the bargain, she refused to pay the entire $10,000 and instead paid him $4000. This incident went viral on Chinese social media, with 300 million views and comments on Weibo alone, many denouncing and attacking Liu for her ungratefulness. In the end, the sherpas themselves were much more equivocal, saying that “saving her is our choice, and expressing gratitude is hers”, and called for more tolerance.

No sense of humor. The United States Supreme Court voted unianimously that the poop-themed dog chew-toy “Bad Spaniels” meant to parody a bottle of Jack Daniels, constituted a trademark violation. As part of their legal argument, the bottlers of the famous whiskey argued that the chew toy could “confuse” customers, and cause them to associate their brand with dog poop. Nike, The Campbell Soup Company, Patagonia and Levi Strauss had all issued statements urging the justices to side with Jack Daniels. (9 June)

Views: 154

Facepalm Newsoids XVIII

Eek-eek!

Cheese rolling extreme sport. “Cheese rolling”, apparently a sport in British communities like Gloucestershire, England, was held there around 2 June. The sport, if I get this correctly, consists of rolling a large disk (7 kg) of cheese down a steep hill, with a small group of competitors chasing downhill after it. Oh sure, there were broken ankles, broken legs, concussions and seizures, and six people had to be ushered out by ambulance, but boy it was fun! The winner was Matt Crolla, who said in his victory speech, “I’m glad I’m pretty conscious and I’ve not got many serious injuries.” There was a ladies’ competition also, and the winner of that was a native of Vancouver Island in BC named Delaney Irving, who said: “I remember running, then bumping my head, and then I woke up in the tent.” She continued: “The race was good, now that I remember it.” People from around the world visit England to view the annual Cheese Roll.

Protecting our sacred children. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, reported in 1 June, a parent petitioned to have The Holy Bible removed from school libraries in her district (Davis District, just north of Salt Lake City), citing explicit sex and violence in its passages: “Incest, onanism, bestiality, prostitution, genital mutilation, fellatio, dildos, rape, and even infanticide”, all are in The Bible, which now falls under the new definition of pornography written into the lawbooks in Utah. While high schools in Davis can still have the book in their libraries, they have been removed from all elementary and middle schools in the district. The Book of Mormon is also under review. The Torah and the Qu’ran, on those same school shelves, have not yet been challenged.

Too good to be true. A couple of days ago (7 June), it was reported that Sweden had declared sex to be a sport. A Reuter’s fact check has now found that the application from “The Swedish Sex Federation” to declare sex a sport had been denied by the Swedish Sports Confederation (Swedish initials are RF). Anna Setzman, a spokesperson for the RF, said that the rumor appears to have spread to smear Swedish sport, and Sweden. Snopes has traced the spread of the story as being heaviest in Nigeria and India.

Tech sector woes. With hiring the lowest since 2016, and over 160,000 layoffs so far in 2023, the most since the tech bubble of 2001 (unless you count 2020 during Covid), the tech sector has been taking a beating. In addition, more companies are relying on chatbot technology to do some of the work that programmers would have done. All this is according to a report by consulting firm Challenger, Gray, and Christmas from May 2023. The largest job cuts cited are from Retailers, Financial firms, and the Media industry with an online presence.

Views: 204

Facepalm Newsoids XVII

I want to go back to Kansas! (Clicking on the image will take you to Sticker Mania, where you can buy this image as a sticker).

Florida’s finest. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has so far spent $13.5m to recruit police officers from other states, targeting those who  had been frustrated by various vaccine manndates in the past. While touting the recruiting of America’s “best and finest”, many of them have had past arrests for crimes such as kidnapping and murder. Most of them, however, were disciplined for more mundane things like uttering racial slurs, unlawful use of pepper spray, driving their cars into crowds of protestors, you know, DeSantis’s kind of people. (22 May)

Weird. Just effing weird. Click if you want.

The state of Sex. According to a recent survey by condom manufacturer Trojan, about 1 in 8 men under 35 bring a condom to a funeral, usually in their wallet. (26 May)

[collapse]

The graduating class of ’23. In Marlin, Texas, about 200 highway miles (320 km) northwest of Houston, the graduating class of Marlin High School has a grand total of 5 students eligible for diplomas out of 33 possible students. It appears that attendance records and grades are to blame. (25 May)

There is a little time left before the robots take over. A man named Roberto Mata sued the airline Avianca over an injury to his knee from a serving cart. His lawyers (there was more than one?) submitted a 10-page brief to judge Kevin Castel. The judge reviewed it, and could not find a single case cited by the brief in all of his fact-checking. It turned out, it was written using ChatGPT, which invented the entire brief, whole-cloth. (27 May)

World record not yet broken. On the 21st of May, Kyle, Texas had the largest gathering of people with the same first name, namely Kyle. Both men and women showed up with that name, there was loud music, carnival attractions, “Kyle Fair” hats and “Kyle Fair” T-shirts sold, but with 2,325 Kyles in one place, the attendance was still 835 Kyles short of a world record.

Views: 149

Facepalm Newsoids XV

Community Facepalm

Clear the path! It’s gonna blow! On May 2, Chicago police spotted a “suspicious package” lying on the road on the 200 block of Chicago’s South State Street. The road and sidewalk were ordered shut down to both traffic and pedestrians. In addition, the Red Line section of underground subway was also sealed off. Upon closer inspection, it was revealed to be a can of Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli scotchtaped to a set of skateboard wheels. A local FOX news affiliate also found that it belonged to a student at Chicago’s DePaul University, who intended it to be a prototype for a class project. The police later found the student, questioned him, and ticketed him for the incident, though it is not clear to anyone what law he violated.

The Death Hit Parade. Dropping down the charts of the leading causes of death in United States, is Covid-19, falling behind heart disease, cancer, and overdoses, motor vehicle fatalities and shootings, according to ABC News. ABC News cites the CDC, but I was unable to find the data at the CDC when I did my fact-checking.

The future is here. After help-line workers at the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) voted to unionize, CEO Elizabeth Thompson made a surprise announcement, that all help-line worker jobs would be eliminated and replaced by a chatbot. NEDA is headquartered in White Plains, New York, but have mostly an online presence. All newly-unionized employees will be jobless as of June 1. (4 May)

Breaking the Internet. Senator for the Minnesota state legislature Calvin Barr participated in a vote over a Zoom call, shirtless with a Schoolhouse Rock cartoon in the background. It has now inspired memes including a cockatiel drinking green “unsee juice” from a cocktail glass through a straw. (1 May)

The fix is in. On May 11, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that exempts any records related to his travel from public disclosure. By contrast, by Florida’s sweeping Government-In-The-Sunshine Law, all other government proceedings must be made public, including arrests of the mentally ill. The new bill is so expansive as to include any trips arranged by DeSantis’s office even when he isn’t involved. The law applies retroactively and will apply to the entire time he served as governor. It appears timed to keep damaging information about DeSantis’s travel from getting out as he is expected to announce his campaign for president.

The law applies to you and not to me. Congressman George Santos voted in support of a bill on 11 May called “Protecting Taxpayers and Victims of Unemployment Fraud Act”, providing incentives to states who lost money due to unemployment insurance fraud during the COVID lockdowns. The irony is that Santos is facing charges for precisely the same kind of fraud. During the lockdown, as he was earning a $120,000 salary as the regional director of an investment firm, he applied for and received unemployment benefits during the pandemic.

Views: 161

Facepalm Newsoids XIV

Speaking out will remove all doubt.

Dickie Berg goes limp. Last week in Harbour Grace, NL, it was reported that the tip of the penis-shaped iceberg had broken off. By now it is likely that much of the rest has melted away into a shapeless, limp mass. The facts surrounding the “Dickie Berg” are just too much: A penis-shaped iceberg floating in the bay, photographed using a drone by a fella from Dildo named Kenneth Pretty. It just writes itself. There is nothing more to say. [28 Apr]

The Popcorn Bandit of Anchorage. Staffers at a movie theatre in Anchorage, Alaska were cleaning out the popcorn machine on May 3 when a young moose smelling food walked in through an open door and ignoring the staff, it found a trashcan and began to eat from it. After a few minutes, the moose finally wandered back outdoors.

Open for applicants. A zoo in Blackpool, England, whose job posting for an “outgoing” and “friendly” person to dress in a bird costume to scare away seagulls from its zoo has “broke the internet” with an avalanche of applications from around the world. Apart from being outgoing and friendly, the potential hire must be an “excellent flapper”, according to zoo officials. (27 Apr)

An orchestral climax. Witnesses at a concert at the LA Philharmonic’s performance of Tchiakovsky’s Fifth Symphony thought they heard a woman in the audience have a full-body orgasm, which appeared timed to a passage in the music. Many witnesses at the concert were interviewed, and they appear to disagree on many of the details. (27 April)

Views: 160

More things to worry about

House Prices in the GTA.

Oh God! House prices are falling in the GTA! The Toronto Star has its hair on fire! The shock was never that house  prices were soaring at the 30% level per annum; the shock is that prices are falling by a maximum of 7% over the past 5 months. In Milton, where this maximum is experienced, the average house price has fallen from $1.48 million dollars to $1.37 million last month. While that, along with inflation and rising interest rates are likely to cause remorsefulness among these new home buyers who sank their life savings into their properties, it doesn’t do anything to actually make homes more affordable. If 1.5 million was far out of reach, then 1.4 million is also out of reach. These prices are out of reach for me, even at half that price. Indeed, average condos are half that, and would still need to be half of that half before I can discuss anything (and we are not even talking about condo fees).

Monkey Pox.

We now have a new disease to worry about. According to the American Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the proper spelling is “monkeypox” (one word). The proper spelling may be a tomato/tom-AH-to kind of thing, as I have seen “chicken pox” spelled as two words, which tells me that the one-word rule is not consistently applied. It turns out in the Congo, mokeypox began when they tried to eradicate smallpox. That was back in the 1970s, but incidents have been recorded as far back in 1958 in colonies of monkeys, hence the name. Cases in North America are rare, and mostly tied to people travelling from Central Africa to this continent. The first time monkeypox was observed inside North America was in a person travelling from Canada to the United States, five days ago. It is a weak virus, transmissible only by skin contact.

Elongate.

“Elongate” is what Elon Musk wants you to call that time back in 2016 when he exposed himself to a flight attendant, and was later sued by her. Just before the case went to court, the flight attendant was bought off for a quarter million so that he wouldn’t need to face a court hearing.

Limpgate.

I am imagining that this would need to be the name for the controversy over Musk’s hostile takeover of Twitter, but has now placed his purchase on hold, as he has now seen to his horror that Tesla’s stock was becoming, uh, limp, going by Elon Musk’s nomenclature. His purported reason for delaying his hostile takeover bid was because he was busy looking into the number of automated bots on that site (and thus decreasing the value of his bid to 30 billion). I think the former reason is more realistic. And on the surface, you might think that his committment to unfettered free speech is great and altruistic, but in practice, that philosophy of letting everyone post what they want without any form of refereeing is what led to toxic cesspools like 4chan and 8chan, which led to people posting depictions and comments of explicit racism and child porn. This is why Twitter, and all crowdsourced internet content needs to be moderated. I am guessing that Musk is not so much “investigating the bots” as he is being schooled on the importance of content moderation, putting a damper on his free speech ambitions. And then let’s see if this idea of a hostile takeover is, uh, pulled out at the last minute.

Derechoes.

A derecho is the name given to that storm of two days ago with heavy rain and 120 km/h gusts which extended from around London, Ontario, ripping through the Greater Toronto Area including Mississauga and Oakville, and going as far east as Quebec City. It left in its wake many dead, fallen branches, trees torn at the trunks and destroying homes and property. I would have just said it was a heavy rainstorm with high winds, but I understand that nowadays that weather reporting has become big business, they like to give each kind of storm a fancy name to spice up the reporting a bit.

Conservatives in Ontario.

The election is underway, and the Conservatives are slated to return to power, given their healthy lead in the polls. The best thing to happen to the Conservatives are the Liberals and NDP, who have had at best a clumsy leadership and not the huge following you would expect after Ford doing everything in his power to toady up to big business and his friends constructing outer ring superhighways which will take a toll on farms, The Greenbelt and other protected areas. Ford couldn’t hold his own in the most recent public debate; in addition no word of condolence for anyone whose lives were lost in the storm of two days ago, but none of that seems to matter.

There is a silver lining. There really has been no riding-by-riding polling to get a more fine-grained sense of public political preferences, and this can matter as the most persuasive campaigns are done on foot, meeting people door-to-door, or in public places. While this seems incremental, pollsters say it can make a big difference in the actual outcome of the election. Stop the Split reports that the opposition to the Conservatives would have been starker had the left (the NDP, Greens and Liberals) agreed to form a coalition. Alas, that is not in the works.

In 2018, one riding went Green, 40 went to NDP, and 7 went to the Liberals. Many of the ridings the PCs won in the last election were by thin margins, thanks to the votes being split between NDP and Liberals. If there was a coalition, the PCs would have trailed by 60 seats. But even mitigating this is that Stephen Del Duca leading the Liberals is a kind of blase leader who engenders no spark in the public realm, being seen more as an interim leader similar to Stephane Dion or Michael Ignatieff were for the Federal Liberals in the early 2000s, which extended the minority rule of Conservative leader Stephen Harper well beyond his “best before” date.

Views: 938

Teenage fashion, as promoted by the New York Times

High school fashion: A still from the trailer for the rebooted series “Gossip Girl.”

Today, I read an article in the New York Times, where a teenager has a crisis over what to include in her wardrobe. Obviously a person of some privelege, many words and electrons were filled over what to do about this young girl’s fashion crisis.

The above picture was the picture shown with this article entitled “I Want to Invest In My Wardrobe! Help!” by Vanessa Friedman in the Times from May 28, a publicity photo from Gossip Girl, which sets the tone for the kind of “fashion crisis” under discussion. I have never seen the series, but from the photo, the girls – they are supposed to be high school age – seem to dress as if the parents never existed. It doesn’t appear that they do. The girls show lots of bare skin and high heels, as if they were at a singles’ bar and hard-up. The guys dress to impress as well, but both sexes seem to convey the impression that appearance counts for more than character in their families. The caption below the photo read “High School Fashion”. Nope. Not in any high school I ever worked at.

Adolescents are constantly focused on their appearance by nature, and good parents find it a constant battle to get them to develop social skills such as empathy and integrity, since they run counter to the egotism, pettiness and cruelty that adolescents can be capable of if unchecked. Did Ms. Friedman tell the young girl that in addition to clothes making an impression, that you also have to work on your character as well? No. She talked about clothes. Clothes, over the human life cycle. Clothes, as if the young daughter’s budget were limiteless. Clothes, without any regard for the 90 per cent of readers who will find none of the advice actionable at any age, but were seduced into reading it by a photographic depiction of high-class jailbait. Clothes, to remind the rest of us ordinary folk that the barrier to entry of “making an impression” is not for the hoi polloi.

Views: 113

Quote of the day – found on these here Interwebs

I was not a fan of Big Bang Theory (as I don’t watch a whole lot of TV), so I found this end card to one of their episodes, which apparently flashed for a couple of seconds. The quote is below, if you can’t read the image.

“Don’t be fooled. Big daddy can’t save us. Our salvation lies within ourselves. Within our own ingenuity and determined effort. ‘Make America great again’ is a bumper sticker for victimhood,” Lorre writes, referencing Trump’s campaign slogan. “But we are not victims. We are the creators of opportunity. Sure the system’s rigged. It always has been. So what?! We are a nation of immigrants who have consistently ignored the rigging. You won’t let us join your club? %#&@ you, we’ll start our own club. You won’t let us go to your school? %#&@ you, we’ll start our own school. You won’t let us earn money your way? %#&@ you, we’ll earn it our way. You won’t give us a chance here? %#&@ you, we will go elsewhere. You want to know what makes America great? I got two words for you.”

— Chuck Lorrie (Big Bang Theory)

Views: 71

The indices of Harper’s Magazine

I have been a fan of Harper’s Magazine since the 1980s. In particular, I loved the Readings section, as well as the factoids list (with citations) known as Harper’s Index, near the front of each issue. Here are 100 factoids I’ve researched from over the years, dates not important, but they have been taken from issues since 2000. I have favoured factoids that are not dated, but that was difficult as many good ones with dates crept in. The URL for Harper’s magazine is http://harpers.org, and is available on some newsstands, but not as many these days as in days previous.

  • Cost to produce Safeguard, the only U.S. ground-based long-range missile shield ever deployed: $23,500,000,000
  • Number of days in the 1970s that the system was operational before it was abandoned as inadequate: 135
  • Pounds of fuel required to maintain this year’s 11,500 Olympic torches: 2,029
  • Ratio of the amount of energy generated by 1 gallon of ethanol to the amount of energy required to produce it : 1:0.9
  • Number of times Colin Powell said, “I don’t recall” or, “I can’t recall” during his 1987 Iran-Contra testimony: 56
  • Percentage of global economic activity accounted for by the world’s 200 largest corporations: 27.5
  • Percentage of the world’s population that these corporations employ: 0.8
  • Minimum number of mentally retarded Americans who have been executed by the justice system since 1976 : 35
  • Estimated chance that a U.S. prisoner is mentally retarded: 1 in 14
  • Days after Time named George W. Bush 2000’s man of the year that Russians named Vladimir Lenin man of the century: 4
  • Places by which Russia’s ranking in the U.N.’s Human Development Index of living standards has fallen since 1990 : 31
  • Rank of the United States and Britain among nations whose residents are most likely to be obese: 1,2
  • Rank of Hungary: 3
  • Ratio of the number of pardons George W. Bush has issued turkeys to those he has issued human beings: 2:1
  • Ratio of the average life span of a commercially bred turkey to that of a wild one: 1:7
  • Year in which Disney’s Mickey Mouse copyright will expire if the Supreme Court reverses a 1998 extension this winter (2002): 2003
  • Minutes that a Massachusetts surgeon left a patient with an open incision while he went to deposit a check: 35
  • Percentage change since 1990 (to 2003) in the number of U.S. schoolchildren labeled “disabled” : +37
  • Chances that a U.S. adult does not want to live to be 120 under any circumstances: 2 in 3
  • Chance that an American adult believes that “politics and government are too complicated to understand” : 1 in 3
  • Chance that an American who was home-schooled feels this way: 1 in 25
  • Acreage of a Christian nudist colony under development in Florida (in 2004): 240
  • Percentage of the 13,129 varieties of dirt in the United States that are endangered: 4
  • Years in prison to which two ex-Pentagon officials were sentenced last year for taking bribes of money and prostitutes: 24
  • Number of years a North Carolina man has been in prison for stealing a television: 33
  • Rank, on the Turkish bestseller list in March (2005), of a thriller depicting a U.S. invasion of Turkey: 1
  • Rank of Mein Kampf: 2
  • Average percentage by which the power of the male heart declines between the ages of 18 and 75 : 20
  • Average percentage by which the female heart does: 0
  • Amount a Chinese online gamer made last year (in 2004) by selling a virtual sword he had borrowed from a friend: $850
  • Months later that the friend retaliated by stabbing him to death with a real knife: 6
  • Number of beetles that right-wing entomologists have named after Bush Administration officials: 3
  • Number of times that Mary, Jesus’ mother, is referenced by name in the Bible and the Koran, respectively: 19,34
  • Number of “Wal-ocaust” T-shirts sold by a Georgia man before Wal-Mart ordered him to cease and desist: 1
  • Ratio, in the United States, of the number of Wal-Mart employees to the number of high school teachers: 1:1
  • Portion of states where the projected climate in 2100 will not be able to sustain their official tree or flower: 3/5
  • Number of words spoken by Clarence Thomas during Supreme Court oral arguments since February 2006 (until Aug 2007): 132
  • Number by Samuel Alito, the Justice who spoke the second-fewest words: 14,404
  • Percentage of single U.S. women in their twenties who are “very” or “extremely” willing to marry for money: 61
  • Percentage of women in their thirties who are : 74
  • Percentage change since 1985 (to 2009) in the number of U.S. newspapers with reporters covering Congress : –72
  • Percentage of six- to nine-year-old American girls (in 2009) who wear lipstick or lip gloss : 46
  • Number of poppyseed bagels that could be made with Afghanistan’s annual poppy harvest : 357,000,000
  • Percentage of British elementary-school students who think Isaac Newton discovered fire : 60
  • Number of U.S. states that have more pigs than people : 3
  • Minimum number of birds that die from crashing into New York City windows each year : 100,000
  • Number of Bentleys purchased in Russia in 2000 and in 2010, respectively : 0, 113
  • Estimated portion of registered voters in Zimbabwe who are dead : 1/4
  • Average minutes more exercise per week that a heavy drinker gets than a non-drinker : 21
  • Portion of the total U.S. corn crop that goes to make ethanol : 2/5
  • Projected worldwide surplus of low-skill workers by 2020 : 93,000,000
  • Projected worldwide deficit of high- and medium-skill workers by that time : 85,000,000
  • Rank of China among global beer producers by volume : 1
  • Rank of the United States : 2
  • Percentage change since 1988 (to 2012) in U.S. teen-pregnancy rates : –36
  • In abstinence rates among white teens : +31
  • Among black teens : +56
  • Portion of Americans who don’t walk for at least ten continuous minutes at any point in an average week : 2/5
  • Percentage of American cats that are overweight : 58
  • Percentage of men in dual-income marriages who said they struggled with work-family conflict in 1977 : 35
  • Who say they do today (2013): 60.
  • Average annual cost of detaining an inmate at the military prison at Guantánamo Bay : $900,000
  • At a supermax prison in the United States : $65,000
  • Portion of all online advertising that is never seen by a human being : 1/2
  • Percentage of U.S. children in 1960 who lived in households headed by heterosexuals in their first marriage : 73
  • Who do today (2015) : 46
  • Estimated minimum gallons of water used annually to produce Coca-Cola products : 8,000,000,000,000
  • Ratio of money spent by Britons on prostitution to that spent on hairdressing : 1:1
  • Years in prison to which a New Mexico man was sentenced last year (in 2015) for shooting children with a semen-filled squirt gun : 18
  • Estimated number of people who will be driven into extreme poverty by 2030 because of climate change : 100,000,000
  • Percentage of the world’s civilian-owned firearms that are owned by Americans : 48
  • Number of Americans aged 60 and older who have outstanding student loans : 2,800,000
  • Portion of those borrowers who have taken on debt to pay for a child or grandchild’s education : 3/4
  • Percentage of children’s toys available in Sweden that contain banned chemicals : 15
  • Of sex toys available in Sweden : 2
  • Average number of people who die in avalanches in the United States each year : 27
  • Number of FBI confidential informants (in 2017) who worked for Best Buy’s Geek Squad between 2008 and 2012 : 8
  • Rank of Nebraska among states with the least liked state flags : 1
  • Number of days in January that the flag at the state capitol flew upside down before anyone noticed : 7
  • Number of US states in which fluorescent pink is a legal color for hunting apparel : 6
  • Chance an American has taken an “active shooter” preparedness class : 1 in 10
  • Percentage of US “active shooters” from 2000 to 2016 who were killed by police : 21
  • Who were killed by armed civilians : 1
  • Number of universities in which half of all the US tenured and tenure-track history professors are trained : 8
  • Number of the twenty largest German companies that are headquartered in the former East Germany : 0
  • Rank of Germany in consumption of nonalcoholic beer : 2
  • Of Iran : 1
  • Portion of Hawaii’s drinking water that comes from underground wells : 9/10
  • Gallons of raw sewage that leak into the ground from Hawaii cesspools each day : 53,000,000
  • Percentage change since 2009 in reports of human waste on San Francisco streets (in 2018): +391
  • Chance that a given day is a public holiday in Cambodia : 1 in 13
  • Rank of Disneyland among the happiest places on earth, according to Disneyland : 1
  • Percentage of Disneyland employees who worry about being evicted from their homes : 56
  • Number of dead people Americans have elected to Congress : 6
  • Factor by which a millennial is more likely than a baby boomer to claim they have a food allergy : 2
  • Number of states that allow roadkill to be salvaged for food : 31
  • Rank of Arabic among France’s most spoken languages : 2
  • Factor by which graduate students are more likely to experience depression or anxiety than the general population : 6
  • Percentage of Americans aged 18 to 34 who say they’d like to live forever : 24
  • Of Americans over 55 : 13

Views: 247

Sounding off on the end of CanCon and the CRTC

I guess with the recent decision to axe all cancon requirements for daytime programming in Canada, the CRTC is crawling toward its own irrelevance. Let’s not be naive, Canadian culture is that much more weakened without the protection it partially enjoyed from American influence. With much less Canadian culture left to protect, and with Canadian voices now playing a smaller role in Canadian media, the CRTC really has less of a job to do these days.

To be more level here, one needs to be reminded that the CRTC kept the Cancon requirements for prime time. In addition, the CRTC cites the fact that television must now compete alongside streaming video, and the world-wide web for quite possibly the same viewers who listen and view “content” from just about anywhere and everywhere.

If I watch a video on YouTube, I am usually not aware whether or not the video is Canadian content or not. Sometimes there are clues, and sometimes the video is so famous that its country of origin is unmistakeable (Gangam Style, anyone?). There is a certain amount of reality to the CRTC’s concerns. My viewing habits have made much of what the CRTC is doing to make me more part of Canadian culture, irrelevant. But then, I don’t really know for sure, because to be honest, I don’t really check whether the video is CanCon before I see it. Same for websites.

We feared the encroachment of American culture when we set up the CRTC. Back then, radio and TV were the only games in town. Now we have the Internet, and the prospect of entertainment and information being viewed on all household and personal devices. Not all of that is American. I would say most of it is. After all, the USA is the heart of Google, YouTube, Yahoo, NetFlix, and AOL. The other players are not quite so big. Also, the USA accounts for an outsized proportion of the Internet traffic in the world. While 43% of a country’s citizens on average use the Internet, in the US, it is more like 87%.

I would like to think that I get “world” culture when I go online, but I watch British, American and Canadian documentaries, and usually British or American-produced videos on YouTube regarding phenomena in science or math. My online mailing lists consist of Candians and Americans mostly. I wonder now if having a “Canadian voice” can be said to mean anything these days? It used to mean a way to air “my” concerns with “my” voice. Others living in my country would do the same thing. And in sum, it would turn out that our concerns would be distinctively different from concerns across the border. It is healthy to know our common concerns as a culture.

The CRTC needs to be reminded that we must hear ourselves or be lost in the cacophony of other voices that are not our own. That is the only way we can have more confidence sharing our dialogue with the rest of the world, taking pride in our identity.

Views: 622

Critique of the “Mindblowing Fact” video on income inequality

The video in question  is quite “mind-blowing” as promised, indeed, at over 13 million hits, it can even be called “viral”, but there are problems in how it presents and handles facts and references. While I don’t have a problem with the facts, and I am quite certain they are based on serious numbers, the presentation was too slick, with style clearly triumphing over detail.

The speaker begins by saying he was disturbed by a Harvard study that said that the actual distribution of wealth, what Americans think that distribution is, and the distribution of wealth idealized by Americans is totally out of whack. Americans are aware of existing inequalities, but have not the slightest idea of the extent of those inequalities. While he cites the Harvard study in his presentation, his only printed citation in his list of references at the end was the Mother Jones website, which, if you scroll down, you will find the “source”. In effect, the speaker, whom I didn’t catch the name of, is in effect citing Mother Jones citing the study by Professor Norton of Harvard Business School. I am aware of “Worstall’s Fallacy”, touted most of all by Forbes commentator Tim Worstall himself (Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute, and self-described as a “world expert on Scandium”, a transition metal), that “income” and “wealth” are different ideas that seem similar, and that the speaker in this video was committing “Worstall’s Fallacy” by confusing the two. I am never told quite where the speaker in the video does this. But then I thought that even if you corrected for that in the video, it would not change the overall message, just dull it a little bit.

But an even more worrisome statement in the video was at around 2:24 or so, where he derides socialism. Why does he feel he has to separate himself from socialists? Socialism should not be considered a dirty word. The distribution he labels “socialism” is actually Communism. You can only have absolutely equal wealth distributions (as in Communism) in a command economy where you have “no freedom to choose your major”, as Abbie Hoffman once said about Maoist China in the late ’60s (why else other than in an unfree society would you study medicine if you were only going to make as much as a janitor?). And the “ideal” American distribution cited as supportable by 9/10 Americans (where rich and poor coexist) would only be possible through wealth redistribution. I think the word for that second option begins with “S” and ends with “m” and rhymes with “populism”, and exists to some extent in most advanced capitalist democracies around the world. In fact, capitalist democracies are the only places I think that socialism is possible.

A choice joke I heard making the rounds is the one about a Union worker, a Tea Party supporter, and a millionaire Industrialist in the same room where there is a plate with a dozen cookies. The Industrialist takes 11 of them, and whispers to the Tea Party supporter: “That Union guy is trying to steal your cookie!”

Views: 207

A hate on SWAG

From Planet Minecraft

SWAG has by now been so overused that no one, not even the generation that wear their hats sideways and wear their pants so that half their ass shows, seem to know what it means anymore.

Sure, you could come across a blog that has some kind of definition fo SWAG, but if it is from a blog appealing to today’s teens, I can guarantee you that 10 websites will garner 10 different and conflicting definitions. Quite often, if the website, such as a blog, has a message to say, then they often must take the trouble to inform you of which definition of SWAG they are referring to. The Urban Dictionary has over a hundred of definitions for SWAG (I gave up counting after the 20th page of definitions). Some of them seemed to get it right when they note that it is the most overused expression since the major media accused Pol Pot of being “Communist” (he was many awful things, but never a communist). And “overused” has a way of soon becoming synonymous with “meaningless”.

From @swagsteppin on Twitter
From @swagsteppin on Twitter

In my day, which wasn’t yesterday, I confess, we had something called a “generation gap”, where parents often complained that they couldn’t understand us, but knew that we young ‘uns understood each other. That is, we may have invented some words to express everyday emotions in a way that seem to give an impression that we were the first generation that ever felt them, but at least teens could talk to other teens.

But what does it mean when “your SWAG is not up to my level?”, or “Mark and I are SWAG?” It might be letters that stand for something like “secretly we are gay”, or “style without admitting greatness”, or “stolen without a gun”, or “stuff we ain’t got”, “scientific wild-ass guess”, “something we all get tired of hearing”, “sexy with a bit of gangsta”, or … well, after 30 pages of SWAG, I can only conclude no one knows what they are saying to each other anymore. The young generation has reduced the dignity of adolescence to incoherent baby-talk.

From Return of Kings

I am genuinely worried about this since I feel that young people are losing the ability to communicate with each other. A lack of definition means that SWAG is a marketable word in advertising. SWAG means whatever you want it to mean, and so if you want to buy clothes that are “Simply SWAG”, or rings that are SWAG, then your only admission into this exclusive club of users of the word SWAG is to have heard the word previously. People who can’t express their wants or needs properly are also likely not to be able to think too critically — an ideal target market for salespeople. A mere generational gap has now become a huge interpersonal gap where the young have lost the ability to express their feelings, emotions, and opinions to each other. Relationships have become shallow, even by 1970s and 1980s standards, when many older people of that generation lamented that us young folk lost touch with seeking out fulfilling relationships, and afraid to be in touch with each other.

The YBF blog

It was not too long ago that SWAG was a word used at conventions and meant “Stuff we all get”, like T-shirts, pens, note pads, and so on. These things were often handed out at convention booths by vendors advertising their businesses to attendees.

When you brought your SWAG home from the convention, you had their names, their logos, their addresses and phone numbers, so that should you need their services, you knew who to contact.

#swaggeriest yo
Found on Tumblr

Views: 272

Signs that you have become a fossilized fuddy-duddy

This list of signs that you have become outdated and fossilized is an updated version of the original post found at this site. Today’s kids who will be old enough to graduate this year (we’ll say 18) will have the following traits:

  1. The kids who are now 18 were born in 1992.
  2. The Soviet Union collapsed a year before their birth (1991).
  3. Apartheid ended before they were born (also 1991).
  4. Operation Desert Storm happened before they were born.
  5. Nelson Mandela was freed before they were born.
  6. The Hubble space telescope was launched before their lifetimes.
  7. They would not have had a memory of seeing Lech Walesa become the first president of an independent Poland.
  8. They were just born the year the L. A. riots happened over the Rodney King verdict.
  9. They would have only learned about the Exxon Valdez or the Tiannanmen Square massacre either through their parents or their teachers.
  10. The fall of the Berlin Wall as a publicity stunt for Ronald Regan’s historical stature is something they have only heard about second or third-hand.
  11. These kids were not alive during the Regan era.
  12. They do not have a meaningful recollection of the era under Bush I either.
  13. Kids graduating today have not known a world where DNA evidence was not used to convict criminals
  14. Black Monday, and the stock market crash in 2008 both have the same significance to them as the Great Depression.
  15. To them, “The interenet” consists only of the Web, chat groups, and text messaging.
  16. They have never known a world that didn’t have a hole in the ozone layer.
  17. The Thriller album and video are a fossilized piece of rock history.
  18. While we’re at it, rock videos themselves have been on the decline during their lifetimes in favour of YouTube and internet videos.
  19. E. T. is a movie their parents like.
  20. Pac-man is something their parents played
  21. They have never played Atari games, except on their parent’s antique consoles.
  22. Their grandparents saw the original Star Trek.
  23. Their world has always involved the risk of AIDS
  24. Their parents were already too old for “new wave” music
  25. The original Star Wars movies are something kids see now on movie reruns or from DVDs from the delete bin.
  26. Their view of the 1970s does not seem to consist of a wasteland of K-Tel and disco.

Views: 280

The new OCT designation (Ontario Certified Teacher)

I have seen the OCT promo video (looks expensively done) that justifies the new letters which are touted to put me on some kind of a footing with doctors and engineers, and others who pay exorbitant fees to have letters placed after their name, like FRCP, and so on. In this designation, “OCT” stands for “Ontario Certified Teacher.” OCT also stands for the Ontario College of Teachers, so it can be a bit confusing.

The promo was received by teachers without a single positive comment that I could find. But in the defense of the OCT, there are some things about the designation that I think would set me apart from say mom or dad who may decide on a whim to give their own children credit courses. The OCT accreditation, to me, says that I am qualified to give credit, I know my ethics, and I can deliver it fairly and with confidence that your kid will be prepared for further education in the career of their choice. Someone with no designation has no such guarantee, and they can’t award credit anyway. It means that both public and private schools can’t just hire anyone off the street, they have to have an OCT crtificate also.  Anyone teaching any high school credit from Calculus to Cosmetology will need this.

But they always have, since the college was first started in 1996. The new letters after my name which they encourage me to use will change nothing. It also hasn’t stopped school boards from hiring “emergency supply” teachers (teachers with no such certs, and often no union representation), or from hiring fulltime teachers from “off the street”, and certifying them later. It also doesn’t appear to stop the growing practice of universities and colleges offering high school credits, and using entirely non-accredited staff to deliver them, even as entirely accredited (and horribly underfunded) adult schools exists all across Ontario with certified teachers in its classrooms.

But since its inception in 1996, the Ontario College of Teachers have acted more like the policing arm of the Ontario government more than an upholder of standards. If they were really serious about teaching standards, then they ought to vigorously defend our profession from practices mentioned above. But they don’t. However, they make a big deal out of taking teachers to court and of publicising the fact in their Professionally Speaking publication (many teachers know them as The Blue Pages). I am not against taking legal action against teachers to defend and uphold a standard for professional ethics, but I am against the “public hanging” approach that is taken by the publication of their names and locations in the Blue Pages. I don’t need to know the names of anyone being found guilty of some abuse of power or other.  I don’t even want to know that it’s happening, unless it is a major social issue. It only serves to demoralize. It would be better, if ethics are such a big deal (and I agree it is), to educate us on ethics in a positive way, if that is the supposed lesson of these blue pages.

The Ontario College of Teachers was formed on an act of the Harris government in 1996, called “The Ontario College of Teachers Act.” Many teachers at the time felt that the OCT was imposed on them, against their wishes, serving only a coercive role.

The link to the YouTube promo is festooned with teachers calling for the banning of the Blue Pages and even an end to the College of Teachers, which seem to serve no useful purpose. One colleague quipped to me that our College fees are being used to finance their lawsuits against us. They are also used to finance a large office building near Bloor and Yonge, which will soon be owned outright by the College, thanks to our fee payments, which we have all paid on time like good little soldiers. Meanwhile the other tenant, who obviously is not making as much money (Alliance Atlantis!) is going to have to find another place to set up.

I have a vision for the OCT that they will not, and cannot, justify themselves as a policing arm of the government, because we pay the dues. In that vein, I can forsee a major change in the role of the OCT, in that it can and should separate itself from the government and become an independent body. That way, it can have the teeth to monitor and do something about government decisions that lead to the watering down of standards, such as allowing non-certified teachers to teach credit courses as they do in the college and university system. That should be regarded the same as allowing a non-certified doctor to treat a patient, or an uncertified engineer to build a bridge. If we don’t do the latter, then we shouldn’t be allowed to do the former. At the same time, it can monitor abuses of power among teachers as before, but I don’t need the constant reminders in The Blue Pages. If I am really interested, I can go to OCT’s professional library and check it out. Or maybe they can give me login access to such filthy details. But I don’t feel that the Blue Pages makes me a better teacher. But the OCT designation? Well, I see possibilities, but the OCT has to change its emphasis.

Views: 143

Search terms that did not quite make it, annotated.

On WordPress, we can see a list of search terms people used to find entries on our blogs. Here are some of the more amusing ones. These won’t lead to anything useful on my blog. While my blog has the odd bit of nudity, this is not the mainstay of the blog. All mis-spellings are from the search string used:

  • valerie bertinelli topless
    • I have only a bad drawing of VB’s face; and it appears with about 20 other celebs on the same crappy album cover (CAC).
  • naked klingon women
    • I have no klingons, klingon women, or naked klingon women. Just a fully-clothed CAC with William Shatner, and a fully-clothed g-rated vid with Leonard Nimoy.
  • topless lobsters
    • If you are looking for topless lobsters, the closest you’ll get is to go to New Brunswick. I have only the odd CAC depicting topless women (human ones). Sorry to disappoint.
  • scottish kilt organist
    • I have nothing with kilts, few to no Scots that I can think of, and maybe a few organists, but they are wearing pants.
  • beautiful naked women with their legs sp
    • This search string was cut off just as shown, but I get the point. Most of the women here are on album covers; and if they are nude, they are not spread-eagled. Frankly, if you are looking for porn, my site is the most boring place in the world to look for it. By Internet standards, what I have in terms of nudity is campy, perhaps “naughty”, but I would stop short of calling it porn. By Internet standards, far short.
  • seventies boobs
    • Seventies boobs. Not the same as eighties boobs I suppose. There is an empty-headed blog article in this one somewhere, I know it.
  • lady wrestler leg photos
    • No lady wrestlers on this blog, so no lady wrestlers legs. The only wrestler I can think of, Sweet Daddy Siki, is male, as implied by the word “Daddy”
  • guy jumping guitar album cover
    • No CACs of guys with jumping guitars, no guys jumping a guitar (WTF?), and no CACs of guitars jumping. Sorry once again.
  • topless seductive nipples
    • … As opposed to “topped” seductive nipples? or topless “ugly” nipples?
  • topless flautist
    • The only topless flautist I have is a CAC of Herbie Mann. No topless women playing flutes (musical or otherwise) on this blog.
  • topless chocolate wrestle
    • Topless women wrestling in chocolate will only make it here if it is a CAC. None have been found, so as of yet we have no chocolate wrestlers, and no topless wrestlers.
  • swedish women football women beach tople
    • No football, no beach football, and no women’s beach football, no women’s football, and certainly none with topless women, topless Swedish women, or topless Swedes.
  • artistic hair dye raccoon
    • ?

Views: 244

(Video) Miraculously good/bad luck (link repaired)

A French vid (no words) from Daily Motion.Com. I believe these stunts were totally unintended. I imagine that people get hurt in many of the car scenes, but take a look at how close the pedestrians came to getting killed or seriously injured, instead coming out unscathed.

Views: 183