Thursday, October 28, 2010

Scammer Call #2

Got the call again, and used a line from a friend:

Scammer: Hello sir, I'm phoning from Bell Canada. We want to give you a free cell phone.

Me: Do you have service in Antarctica?

Scammer: No. Sorry sir.

Me: That's a problem for me. I hate getting off the helicopter at Vostok Station and finding I have zero bars. If you start offering service in Antarctica, you be sure to phone me back and we'll talk some more.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Scammer Call #1

I get regular calls from scammers, so I thought I would start posting my conversations. Mostly they are from people claiming to be from a phone company, telling me that I qualify for a free cell phone. Here is one of the calls, from which I borrowed ideas from a friend.

Scammer: Mr Shawn? Good news. You qualify to receive a free cell phone.

Shawn: Does it run on batteries?

Scammer: Yes.

Shawn: That's a problem for me. Battries wear out. Do you have one that is nuclear powered?

Scammer: No. It's a cell phone, not an atomic bomb.

Shawn: Well you be sure to phone me back if you get some nuclear powered models.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I would like to know how Ontario Hydro customers can be required to pay a monthly debt reduction charge when the utility is increasing it's debt. You look at this charge and say to yourself, "OK, for whatever reason, there is a debt. Paying off debts is good. So I won't grumble about paying the extra." But it's all a shell game.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hillary visiting Ottawa

Hillary Clinton is visiting Ottawa, and is generally shooting her mouth off. She's been rudely suggesting that Canada continue to provide troops for Afghanistan after the 2011 end of our mission. She doesn't seem to understand that all she can accomplish is to embarrass herself, her President and her hosts by asking a question for which the answer is "No."

However today, her stupidity eclipsed her bad manners. Taking us to task for an initiative for mother's health care, she said, "You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health and reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortions." Well no. What she could have said was, "You cannot have women's health without reproductive health and reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortions." Maternal refers to motherhood, and it seems to me that contraception, family planning and abortion are about preventing and ending motherhood.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


The following is a quote from the Canadian Parliamentary Hansard for March 26, 2010, by Conservative member of Parliament Pierre Poilievre (just after the visit to Canada by Ann Colter):

Mr. Speaker, the member has raised a very important question about an American commentator who has come to this country with some outrageous comments: comments supporting the Iraq war, comments supporting the use of torture, and comments referring to Israel as a war criminal. But enough about the leader of the Liberal Party.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Moral Lethergy

The headlines are telling us that a NATO warship has recaptured a ship that was taken over by Somali pirates. Good news, right? But read the article and you will see that when the pirates saw the NATO special forces coming, they left the ship. No pirates shot, no pirates disarmed, and no pirates arrested. After all, there are restrictive rules of engagement, and even arresting a pirate is problematic due to a lack of laws.

But I shouldn't be too hard on NATO forces. After all, the Ottawa City Council can't even deal with some coyotes prowling around a local playground. The council has got permission from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to watch the coyotes for a month. If they are deemed dangerous, the animals will be trapped and released. But regulations require the release site to be within 1 km of where they were captured. So the whole exercise will remove the coyote for about an hour. In the mean time, our council is beginning an information campaign to tell us that coyotes tend not to be dangerous unless they are sick or provoked. And I am sure that if a child encounters a sick coyote or "provokes" it, our municipal and provincial governments will find a way to modify their information campaign, or get the coyote some therapy or something.

We have to be the stupidest people on the planet. Western civilization totters on the brink, and most of the world must wonder how we were ever a power to be reckoned with. And we can't even come up with the moral energy to deal with a coyote.

By the way, my wife asked is farmers were allowed to kill coyotes that prowl around their livestock. I don't know if "allowed" is the right word, but I suspect most farmers know how to handle the situation without asking the government to help.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Back to the Moon? Not on my watch...

Rumour has it that President Obama will cancel the current plans to return to the moon. More troubling is the possibility that he will cancel the Ares I and Ares V rockets, which were to be a replacement for the Space Shuttle. The Shuttles are at the end of their lives, and the Ares replacements have already started test launches. The Ares program is almost ready to go, and canceling them means another decade without a major launch system.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

American Politics

To hear some conservative pundits talk, Obama's health care plan is finished and Obama himself is on the way out. Perhaps as a somewhat dispassionate observer, I can make a few suggestions:

(1) don't believe Nancy Pelosi when she expresses doubt over the health care bill passing. Just because the Dems lost Teddy's seat doesn't mean they have given up. Which Senators are on the fence and could be swayed by some pork tossed their way? What options does Pelosi have?

(2) Obama is not finished. I don't like Obama's politics or worldview, but I am under no illusions. If the Republicans want to stage a comeback, they will need to work hard. Victory is possible, but it is not assured. Obama is a resilient, disciplined and crafty opponent.

(3) Republicans have failed because they have failed to provide a compelling alternative to the Democratic health care proposals. Almost every American I talk to expresses concern/fear about health care. Your TV stations are flooded with ads for insurance. It is a national obsession (a fact that is only apparent to those visiting your country). But Republican's alternative is to talk about how bad socialized medicine is. The arguments against socialized medicine might work when Republicans are talking to die-hard Republicans, but the average American seems to want some better options. If you provide some better options, you will be in the drivers seat. If you stick to your dogma, the Democrats will determine what the health care plan is.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Security Measures

So another religiously inspired lunatic has tried to blow up an airliner on Christmas Day, showing a complete lack of respect for other peoples religion (which of course they demand for their own religion on pain of death).

But that's not the focus for this blog posting. The focus for this posting is airport security measures. Let me state that I understand that these security measures are a necessary part of modern life. But unfortunately they leave the impression of closing the barn door after the horse has escaped. Having come within inches of disaster, our governments will now show how zealous they are for our welfare by tightening up security measures that wouldn't have prevented this act of terrorism.

The answer to this particular problem is simple. When a father phones the U.S. embassy and says his son has become a dangerous jihadi, take the warning seriously. Put the lad on a watch list. Find him and have someone chat with him.

Now there are other reports, which I don't know are true or not. Like that he was living in a $4 million apartment in London. And that he showed up at the gate without a passport. If these reports are true, then someone should be fired for incompetence.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Next Liberal Party Leader?

Government by the Conservatives no longer feels like a temporary aberration from the natural order of the universe. And it's getting harder for the Liberals to play the "Harper is scary" card.

The Liberals may hang onto Iffy, but if they don't, I suspect they will be looking for a white knight; that fabled leader who through personal charisma alone can turn their fortunes. And maybe I'm mistaken, but I'll bet they stake all on Justin Trudeau. There are others who are a bigger threat to the Conservatives, but having failed twice I don't think the Liberals will look for a steady hand who can rebuild the party, but someone they can rally their hearts towards.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wondering about the Rumour

There is a rumour going around the Internet that the American ambassador is in negotiations to hand several provinces over to the Taliban, including Kandahar where Canadian soldiers are stationed. I hope this is completely unfounded, given how many Canadians have died to hold Kandahar away from the Taliban. It would be the height of arrogance for the U.S. ambassador to be holding such talks, and would make a mockery of the sacrifice of so many Canadians. I guess we'll know in a couple of days.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The missing ingredient

I got an email today from someone who was quoting Anthony Robbins, saying that the only thing holding you back is your imagination and commitment. Of course Robbins didn't say anything about intellect, because most people don't have enough of that and would like to think that if they can just dream bigger dreams they'll be successful. Sorry folks, but chances are you aren't smart enough to be a brain surgeon.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Responsibility Exists in Alberta

My hat is off to the government of Alberta. After news broke that the Calgary Flames hockey team jumped the priority line and got vaccinated in a private clinic, the most senior decision maker in this process was fired.

Harsh? Not if you believe in the broken window theory. The theory says that once a few windows are broken in a building, people will break the rest. And it applies not only to vandalism but also to any other sort of social breakdown. Applied to the present situation, people will wait until the highest priority people are vaccinated and will stand in lines for hours... provided they are assured that the system applies equally to all people. But once they believe there is favoritism, the social veneer comes off and it is every man for himself. And who can blame them. If anti-social behaviour is rewarded, who will continue to act in a civilized manner?

In any case, Alberta took strong and appropriate action.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

More on the Flu

I can handle the fact that I am not part of the priority targeted group. I don't mind waiting my turn. Well, I wouldn't mind waiting my turn if it were not for the line jumpers. The local hospital immunized their staff, plus whatever staff spouses and children showed up. The hospital said they struggled with an ethical question, but decided to vaccinate the relatives because the care givers would be unavailable to work if their family members were sick. Uh huh. Sounds more to me like they just didn't want to say no to their friends.

And then there are the Calgary Flames, who not only got a vaccination but didn't need to stand in line with the plebes. Yup, a private clinic. And no, they are not part of the priority group but they still got their vaccination. After all, hockey players are important, not like the rest of us.

Frankly, my opinion is that the people making these decisions should be fired. On the spot. Just maybe the rest would learn.