Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bell sucks

I just can't let this one go. Bell Canada is throttling my internet and everyone else within their reach. I thought I was immune because I use for my ISP, but I was wrong. My house is run on a 'remote' from their direct network, so Bell has their claws in my ass. I would switch my ISP, but Bell holds all the cards.

I finally came up with a good analogy to describe what Bell is doing. They are acting like a drug cartel that owns all the distribution means in their kingdom. They are allowing other smaller entrepreneurs to sell drugs on their turf for a fee, but they will not allow them to sell a stronger product.

Sure I could have used a more flattering example, let's say oil companies slowing down gasoline production to ensure that prices stay artificially high, but I feel that Bells actions are more criminal. Sure the CRTC has so far ruled Bells practice as fair, but who gives a crap what the CRTC thinks. They are a just bunch of xenophobes that don't want any outside cultural influence on Canada.

I am frustrated that the only thing I can do about this is complain to myself on a blog, but what the hell, I guess it's at least cathartic.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Big Business, Big Crooks

Well it seems that the CRTC has decided that it is OK for Bell Canada to censor the internet.
Bell owns the lines that supply the internet in Canada, so they make the rules. Sounds fair? Not.

What they are doing, is slowing down your internet speed whenever you are using more bandwidth than they like. The reason I never used Bell internet in the first place was that they had caps on speed and content. They must have discovered they were losing too much business to smaller ISP's that weren't limiting peoples surfing. So the only way they could fix that was to screw over everyone equally.

Now, I am getting charged the same money for less service and there is nothing I can do about it.
This definitely seems like a conflict of interest on Bells part. The CRTC should be watching out for Canadians, not laying down for Bell.

This is bad business practice plain and simple. I've never been a fan of the CRTC. Unfortunately I used to be able to blame the Liberals for all the CRTC did. Now that blame falls squarely on the Conservatives.

I can already picture telling my grandchildren one day about how great the internet used to be.

The future continues to get darker.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What the market could bear.

I haven't chimed in for awhile because like many others out there I've been too busy soaking my investment statements in tears as global markets crash. I'm sure mattress manufacturers are rethinking their new lines and toying with the idea of putting a zipper in the side so people can stuff them with cash to keep it safe.

Actually, I rarely look at my R.R.S.P. portfolio. I just keep throwing money in there hoping that I can live long enough to see it put to good use and pray that some future Liberal or NDP government doesn't get into power and decide that my savings should be 'shared' with someone less fortunate that didn't save a nickle.

But back to the global market crunch.... I think it has been unavoidable for years. All that was needed was a couple of triggers in the U.S. economy to cause everything to go into the shitter.

The reason I felt that way was because business was getting too greedy. Just like drug dealers that keep it under the radar for years, but they try to make too much money too fast and they get burned.

Just like you, I had been wondering why everything has been getting so expensive. Every time I open my water bill, or electricity bill, or my cell phone bill I wonder how much more are they going to try and squeeze out of me. the price of gasoline kept going up, the price of diesel suddenly rose above regular unleaded and no one blinked. All these things kept rising and the one answer I kept getting to why this was happening was that they were just charging what the market would bear.

I must be honest and say that I figured if they raised prices too high, they would notice sales drop and roll them back. The problem was that nobody did. Then the tipping point was reached.

All the people who have been living beyond their means in the times of easy credit couldn't pay anymore. Specifically, the harshest reality was in the U.S. where it was policy to give mortgages to people who didn't deserve them. Those people just couldn't pay anymore and gave their houses back to the bank. This wouldn't have been so much of a problem if the banks didn't hand out so many of these mortgages. If a handful of reckless people lose their house, there is always someone else who can afford to buy it. If too many people lose their houses to the banks, noone can afford to buy them and the banks can't afford to keep them.

Then the big panic started, and the fear of a economic slowdown in the U.S. caused people to sell their volatile stocks and put the money in something more stable (like mattresses).

Once something like this happens, it's like yelling 'FIRE' in a crowded theatre. everyone rushes to get out and alot of good people get trampled and die.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Natural Lawn Care

People are just stupid.

With everyone trying to outgreen each other, the Windsor Star actually published an article telling people to pour horticultural vinegar on weeds in their lawn. That would be stupid enough on it's own, but this person is a Horticulture Technician graduate and vice president of the Windsor and Essex County chapter of the Canadian Organic Growers Association. and the claim is that it is done without chemicals.

As a St. Clair graduate myself, I can tell you that vinegar is a chemical and at 30% purity it is kinda nasty. The fumes would definitely choke you a bit.

"There are no chemicals in anything I use," she says. "They're all made from natural ingredients, so there's no environmental impact. I even let the kids apply it."

I am at a loss in trying to underline the stupidity in that statement.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Diesel is good?

I had no idea that diesel engines were more fuel efficient than hybrids. Why isn't 'Big Oil' telling everyone about this? If the Liberals believe in reducing greenhouse gasses (GHG) they would be promoting diesel.
Sounds like more people with good ideas and bad plans. Just because Dr. David Suzuki says greenhouse gasses are destroying the planet, it doesn't make it a good idea to shut down all carbon dioxide emissions.
I guess that most people are happier being sheep and following what people on TV say. Don't dare question the environmental movement or you will be cast a as heretic.

Wake up and get the facts before you make a stand. And be ready to change that stand if new facts are presented.
Keep an open mind!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Summer is almost over

Well, the summer is almost over. Less than a month to go before fall officially starts, school is just around the corner, and I'm on the last week of my available summer vacation from work. It's been a great summer spending time with all the kids and our family. We can all put our jealousy of teachers and students away for another 9 months.

Yesterday we took a trip to Cedar Point Amusement Park. It takes young fresh joints and ligaments to handle the rattle of a coaster of the jarring of a ride. I have always laughed at others who cry or claim "I don't like that ride". I always thought that was a lame excuse. But about halfway through the day I had a headache and was looking forward to the ride home. Luckily one of the kids didn't like coasters, so I was able to pretend that I skipped the rides to stand by and watch him. I could blame my general discomfort on lack of sleep, or my allergies, but I've performed better in the past when I felt worse going in.

So, as much as the peasant quote from The Holy Grail "I'm 37, I'm not old" still rings true, I do feel a bit old'er'.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Response for George

My friend George sent me this link and asked me to comment on it. So here goes...

Well, the simplest response I can give is that none of it matters.
We are trying to cause panic about the future by using such short range predictions. We (as humans) are so self-absorbed and arrogant to think that the planet has the same life cycle as we do (ie <100 years). The earth is disputed to be over 4-5 billion years old. And that is only a guess by scientists. It CANNOT be measured accurately yet. Trying to predict climate for the next 50 years by what happened in the last 30 is stupid. That's like saying that the earth is going into an ice age by watching what happens outside your window from November to January!

First the period of the last 30 years in regards to northern ice melting is insignificant for the reasons stated above but I found two things interesting.. 1. Because they don't tell you that the winter of 2007 it became the 2nd thickest on record. and 2. The South pole ice mass has been growing for the last 60 years.

In regards to sea level, I don't think they can accurately average global sea level withing 120 or so millimeters when the oceans are miles deep and cover 70% of the planet. The scale is completely out of, well, scale. lol

Carbon dioxide emissions are insignificant because all the carbon dioxide we produce by burning fossil fuels is already part of the carbon cycle. When we start importing CO2 from Venus, I'll start to worry.

Global temperatures is another example of bad data. If we were only concerned with the surface temperature of the planet it would still be flawed on the base of scale and measurement frequency. There's no way that enough measurements were taken in the 1890s to get a good global sampling and that probably holds true all the way up into the 80's when satellites were used enough. Looking at the last 30 years isn't enough to predict the next 30 anyway.
More importantly, they omitted global ocean temperatures which are currently being studied by a group of international scientists in the ARGO project.

I don't want to spoil the party , but no data they have collected yet shows ANY increase in global ocean temps. I believe they found the opposite. Maybe it's all the melting glaciers cooling the oceans? WRONG ! Don't forget about Antarctica growing!

That's all I can stand for now. I'm starting to irritate myself!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Question for debate.

OK, back to science class again.

If petrochemicals are the leading source of CO2 emissions, where did they come from? Well, I presume that they are the result of organic decay over millions of years. Or to oversimplify, dinosaur and forests and animals over time.

If this is true, then wasn't all this CO2 we are spewing into the atmosphere once part of the environment. I believe it is called the carbon cycle. We are not creating these greenhouse gases, we are merely re-introducing them back into the active carbon cycle.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bill C-61

It seems that facebook users have actually made a diference. I learned that this bill was going to be introduced back in December of 2007 but there was a facebook group of 20,000 opposed to it.
Now that it has reappeared, there are 50,000 members on that facebook group and other smaller groups splintering off.
I'm happy that awareness is rising.

I'm against the bill as it stands because it will not encourage or enhance business. It will only discourage it. The recording industry is not losing any significant money because of file sharing. In fact, I believe the opposite is happening. Because artists work is more freely distributed, more interest is created and more record / merchandise sales are made. The RIAA cried for years about Napster cutting into their sales, even when record sales continued to grow.

It's CRAP!

If the government wants to discourage rights infringement, make policy that would go after people who sell media illegally. I don't think it's morally wrong to watch a downloaded movie for free, but if someone downloads it, burns it, and sells copies to their friends, that would be criminal.

If bill C-61 is passed, a lot of media that I have paid for, would be lost because I would be forbidden to make back-up copies. CD's or DVD's with copyright protection software on them could not be transferred onto my personal Mp3 or video player without breaking the law.

I am conservative, but I do not support the conservative party on th e basis of this bill. If it causes an election, I will not hold it against the opposition.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Messing with Religion

OK , as a Canadian it doesn't get any closer to religion than Hockey Night in Canada. It's a tradition going back over a half century to congregate weekly at the altar of television and watch our heroes and icons perform.

Hockey Night in Canada says that they will no longer be using the traditional theme song for their broadcast because of a contract dispute with the composer of the song.
They say it's "No big deal" because if they can't settle the contract they will simply start a contest to create a new theme song. Simple right?

Well, this would be as popular with the traditional Canadian hockey fan as throwing out the hymn book at church and replacing it with Karaoke. It just doesn't work.

Make it work CBC! Make it work!

There has to be a simple solution.

It turns out that the composer of the song sued the CBC a few years ago because of a royalty dispute about extra money for foreign telecasts which are not part of the existing contract. Details of the money involved were not released by either side, so likely both are being somewhat unreasonable.

The CBC pays the NHL hundreds of millions for the rights to broadcast the games, I think they could throw a few bucks towards the composer to make this work and keep us humming along for years to come.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Download fines? Not in my Canada

I'm truly upset with an attempt by the Conservative federal government to make us more American. And not even in a good way! I'm talking about prosecuting (or persecuting) internet file sharers.

I read in the National Post yesterday that the Tories intend to introduce legislation Wednesday that includes targeting illegal file sharers with $500 fines. If the Conservatives were looking for a way to make the Liberals carbon tax seem easier to swallow, they found it. Even though I still plan to vote Conservative for now as I have for the last decade, many will not.

Put the two side-by-side for comparison.

A) Impose $500 fines on individual taxpayers who occasionally use an unlawful copy of a ringtone on their cellphone


B) Implement a new tax that is revenue neutral (lol - no such thing) that causes big producers of green house gases to pay for global warming.

Neither option seems very appealing to me. But you could probably sell the second option to the people.

I have tried my best to explain to friends and coworkers when we discuss politics that the best way to appreciate the Conservative ideal is that they are the only party that believes that the more money you leave in the hands of the consumer, the better.
I feel the two other national parties (N.D.P. and Liberal) would just like me to endorse my paycheck every week over to them and hope for the best.

But with this move by the feds, I have nothing to defend them.

Looks like Dione might finally find a crack in the conservative shield.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Cold enough for you comrade?

It seems that Canada is attempting to increase it's northern ambitions by investigating the possibility of claiming rights to the seafloor beyond the north pole.

To be honest, I thought that the north pole was an ambitious goal for our aspirations of Arctic seafloor claims. It turns out that UN precedent indicates that a country can claim further than 350 km from their shores if it can be proved that the seafloor is a natural extention of the country's natural landmass.

Turns out the Russians were willing to let us set the pole boundary as good neighbors share an existing fence, but if it turns out that Canada has a right to go further, then we may have to move the fence.

Now, I'm a big fan of diplomacy and being good neighbors, but if Canada has rights to the seafloor then we should protect those rights by whatever means necessary. That would include manned patrols and some sort of security perimeter. Unfortunately Canada has let our military degrade from the second largest navy in the world 60 years ago to a living museum of second hand vessels and our own antiques.

I hope the Russians are willing to play nice, because if it comes down to standofs in the Arctic Ocean, we don't have much of a chance. Don't forget, other neighbors down south had a staring contest with the Russians for half of the last century. The yanks had a lot behind them to keep the stalemate going. We don't.

So if Canada wants the Arctic seafloor rights and the oil and gas deposits therein , we better hope that the Russians are intimidated by our own internal sense of moral superiority because that's all we have.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Carbon Taxes

Well it's always been the easiest way to solve any of society's problems. TAXES!

I don't care if you are going for the cap and trade kind or the grosse tonnage kind. Taxes to control carbon emissions are a bad idea. Wanna know why. We have always had them!!

Every time you go to the pump and spend a dollar, a good portion of that is already being sent to the government. This has been going on forever. No matter how high the price at the pump goes, the taxes keep coming in as revenue. They never lower taxes to ease the pressure at the pump, so why should they add to it?

The environmental movement is the greatest thing to come along for government and industry since child labour. Once big oil figured out that can let the tree huggers do the legwork and demonize something as innocuous as carbon dioxide emissions, prices could continue to rise and environmentalists would cheer on naively believing that people would use less and save the planet.

Now this might sound good at a rally or some college love-in, but the truth is, it doesn't matter how high the price of oil goes, people still need it! Especially in a country like Canada that is so vast, transportation of goods uses fuel. And the number one fuel out there continues to be OIL!!!

So thank you to the sheep in the environmental movement. You have given industrialized world leaders another excuse to raise my taxes.

Even if human induced global warming was a fact, taxes are no way to save the planet. Education and real conservation is the only solution.

Do not look for someone else to come in and save us. We have to do it ourselves.

Ronald Reagan once said the scariest sentence you can hear is; "Hello, I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Earth Day

I was not impressed with this years Earth Day.

That's no real shock because I have never been impressed by Earth Day. It seems to have no value at all. "What did you do for Earth Day?" was not heard once today at work. Out of the hundreds of people I see every day, there was only a small few that even knew.

I woke up that day to the sound of robins singing outside at 4:30 A.M. It was really annoying, I don't remember them being up this early before? I found out that the singing was so loud because
the damn bird was signing at the top of my chimney. I missed it with the rocks I threw only because it was so early and so dark. But I scared him away!

I see that the province of Ontario wants to ban all private use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes. I'm not gona like that since I have Hay Fever and all I don't need is more ragweed. Maybe I should make a note of that and ask for an exemption for medical purposes? (writing note to self....)

And Damn-it-all, I better get a new gas lawn mower, because it sounds like they will be banning them next in the cities. Maybe I'll just buy a goat and rent him out to the neighborhood?

I just can't get used to all the new bans that keep popping up because groups of self-righteous zealots want to control the world one neighborhood and city at a time. I'm sick of the anti-smoking Nazi's (Yes I said Nazi!). They were fascists just like the global warming fanatics.

Screw this. I'm going to light a nice big tire fire tonight.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dealers Are Criminals

I'm not talking about the ones selling drugs. I'm talking about the bad kind...

Car dealers.

My girlfriends lease was coming to an end this month and we decided that it would be best to buy the vehicle. The other option was to just give the car back and pay the penalties we've all heard horror stories about, such as tire wear, brakes, trim damage, scratches etc.

I thought that the dealer would be happy to sell the vehicle and go out of their way to accommodate the transaction. Well, my assumption couldn't have been further from reality.

My girlfriend called the dealer 2 weeks ahead of time to ask what is required on our part to complete the deal (such as price, ownership transfer etc.) . Well, she spoke to the receptionist who told her than noone in finance was available and transferred her to the managers voice-mail.

She did this 3 times over without a response. So without a response and the deadline closing she decided to call GMAC finance for the details which they were happy to provide. This was important because although there was a guaranteed buy-out price listed on her lease agreement, we forgot about sales taxes and a $51 penalty she was assigned at the start of the lease.

So now she has a price, but still no response from the dealership. She asked me to call because she was at work and very busy. She was also getting nervous because of the time ticking away.

Anyway, I go through the same problem with a receptionist and a finance managers voice-mail. I leave a message with my cell number. I get a response the next day while I'm at work. He quotes me the exact buyout price we were told by GMAC and I find out that we need a safety certificate for the car as well as an emissions test to satisfy provincial requirements for vehicle ownership transfer. I decide to have this done near our home at a private shop for less money. Which was fine.

We go to the bank and get the loan we needed for the exact price we were told by GMAC finance and the bank provides us with a draft for that amount.

I called the dealer to let them know we will be there in about an hour.

So after all this trouble, we get to the dealer and sit down with the finance manager. I show him the safety, the emissions test and all the paperwork as well as the bank draft.
He then asks, " And, how will you be paying for the rest of the transaction?"
To which we responded " What are you talking about?"
"Well, the fees for the paperwork involved in transfer of ownership etc." He replied.

We both paused and hesitated to answer because we knew we were about to get screwed.
We were told NOTHING of extra fees and transfer costs. If we were, we would've had the bank draft include the amount. I asked how much were we talking about and it was $353 !

WTF?!? Are you kidding me? (by the way, this is where we really lost it)

I don't want to drag this on too much , but I walked out to the car and grabbed the GMAC paperwork to get the phone number to call direct. When I did this, the manager offered my girlfriend $100 of the cost. She refused until I got back.

I gave her the number and she called GMAC on her cell to find out if all this was legit. They told her that if we had the safety and emissions tested, we could just mail them the bank draft directly with the paperwork and $10 to complete the purchase. THATS ALL.... $10

Needless to say we stood up and walked out right by the prick manager. I threw in a loud "Let's get the f%# out of here!" just to punctuate our departure.

We mailed the paperwork to GMAC and should receive the ownership in the mail by next week.

We feel like we won that day. She also got the managers boss' name and e-mailed him a complaint that her calls weren't returned and it took a man's voice (mine) to get a response from the dealer. My name isn't even on the lease and they were giving me financial details over the phone.

By the way, I would suggest you stay away from Jerome Taylor in Windsor. They know nothing of customer service.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Green is costing more for nothing

Happily, I've stumbled across a news link to a current topic of interest - Biofuels.

Everyone and their brother is lining up to denounce Alberta's tarsands because of the impact the extraction of oil from them affects the environment. People also argue that the cost of extracting oil from them is expensive and has little net benefit to the economy.

All the while, something as wonderful as creating fuel from corn has been embraced by all the 'greens' as being something that is better for the environment than oil.
While I agree that Ethanol has it's purpose as an additive to gasoline (mainly to help as a gas line antifreeze in winter) it comes at a higher cost. Food prices. Because there is only so much land to grow crops for food and fuel alike, the supply of corn (for example) is limited. Because of this, the more corn that is diverted to ethanol production, the less corn is available for food. This means that food prices go up. Which I'm sure some of you have noticed.

Some people would argue that you don't need to use corn for ethanol because you can use switchgrass or some other sort of crop. The problem with that is there is still a limited amount of land for growing crops.

Petroleum products such as oil are mainly used for fuel. And while it might cost more to extract it out of the tarsands, it is not causing food prices to rise because of supply shortages.

I strongly believe that the west has to put a lot of money into research and development towards alternative energy sources such as solar, wind and nuclear. Oil, coal and gas won't last forever you know and once they are gone, we will only have alternate choices. We will always need energy. But we cannot leave all the coal, oil and gas in the ground hoping to reduce our carbon footprint. and think that china and the rest of the world are going to do the same.

You know someone down the road would find a way to sell it to China anyway while we all sit in switchgrass huts becoming the new (green) third world.

Stop pushing for more ethanol. It will only cost us more and slow the economy while delaying the inevitable. The day we pull the last tank of oil, the last truck of coal, or the last cubic meter of gas from the ground is coming, but let's not cut of our nose to spite our face.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

I'm only 36!

I never thought that I would ever be saying "I'm only 36". I mean, that still sounds so old to me. I can specifically remember being a teenager thinking ahead to New Years Eve 1999 and thinking 'Wow, I'll be 27 then.' And that sounded old to me. I hope I have alot of years left to go, but I don't think the future looks all too rosy.

What I am getting at here is that even though I am still relatively young, I am happy to say that I am jumping the gun and going for early admission into the Grumpy Old Man Club. It makes sense because ;
  • I think the world is going to hell and we're all screwed if todays youth will be in charge one day.
  • I used to find other peoples stupidity amusing, but over the last few years now I find it more difficult to suffer fools gladly.
  • I complain about my taxes and the lazy people who benefit from me working. Especially politicians.
  • I think that the difference between police brutality and a justified beating is only a matter of your perspective.
  • I think the biggest problem with youth today is parents.
  • I think they call it climate change only to describe what is being done to the data to support a troubled theory.
We will see how long it takes me to stumble across a news bit that gets my attention and makes me say " Oh come on!"

Ciao for now.