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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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7/05/2003

Last Word


Until this very day I had been unaware that wife-carrying was, in fact, a sport. the National Post set me straight. Wife-carrying is the real deal with the carriers having to haul the minimum weight 49 Kilo wife across an obstacle course which includes two "log hazards" and a 10 meter water course which runs 253 meters.

A sense of humour is a prerequisite,

Women are allowed to carry men, but so far no woman has taken up the challenge. "A lot of the women were saying, 'I've carried my husband for years. It's about time he carried me,'" Mr. Esseltine said.

7/04/2003

w.bloggar working!



After about three weeks of not working because of Blogger's strangeness, w.bloggar
is up again. Yippee!. If you blog you own it to yourself to use Marcelo Cabral's wonderful little tool. It's free and it transforms the blogging experience.

7/03/2003

2010 and all that



How delightful, if a tad frightening, that Vancouver, my home town, won its bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Delightful in that it will provide lots of work, money and civic pride - frightening because it will goose real estate prices, again. Our last "world class" event, Expo 86, was a bit low rent but managed to ignite a condo building frenzy downtown which continues to this day. Leading to one of the most livable downtowns in North America and a real estate explosion fueled by offshore money. All good if you were in the market, a bit of a downer if you weren't.

The Olympics are likely to have a similar effect. I suspect I will miss this boom as effectively as I missed the last - though my then wife made out like a bandit - but by choice. With a bit of luck I'll be on an island just offshore, a mere fifty minutes by ferry, avoiding the crowds and the speculation.

7/02/2003

Ambler Agony



Kevin Michael Grace, to a degree tongue in wounded cheek, makes one of the most eloquent pleas for a dollar or two I've ever read. Hurled by the cruel fortune of having put his faith in the proprietors of the late Report magazine he is broke and without prospects.

Read the piece and look to your paypal account right here.

Fleeting Fame



For a while on Canada Day this blog was listed with Colby, David Frum and Rick Heibert as one of Ezra Levant's favourite Canadian Conservative blogs.

I fear Ezra may have read the blog and realized that while I am many things I am not really all that conservative...Struck from the list along with Jeremy Lott and Jackson Murphy...good company I say.

7/01/2003

No Steyn



It would appear to be official: Mark is off the Post.

Virgina Lee Burton



I was lucky enought to run across Mike Mulligan and his Steamshovel while looking for something to read to our proprietor pictured above. I liked Burton so much that I worte a piece for the Citizen which will be posted on the Review Scroll later today. But for now the graphic is fun.

6/30/2003

Liberals win Culture Wars



On all the "hot button" social issues -- abortion, government-backed prayer in the schools, and the rights of sexual minorities -- swing Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy have joined moderate liberals John Paul Stevens, David Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to thwart efforts by self-appointed "moral majorities" to impose antiquated preferences on fellow citizens when there are no valid public interests at stake.

Significantly, Justice Kennedy's self-assured opinion in Lawrence rested on "rational basis" analysis, finding that there is no rationality in legislated homophobia and its repressive sexual agenda. The gay movement has convinced not just law schools and judges, as Justice Scalia thinks, but most of America of the irrationality of treating one-tenth of the population as sexual criminals. So there is no going back now. As Thomas Paine once observed, there is no way to force a people who have been enlightened to "unknow" their knowledge or "unthink" their thoughts.
link tom paine


Jamin Raskin seems to me to get the tenor of the US Supreme Court's recent decision just about right in this article. Even its decision in the Children's Internet Protection Act can be seen as an essentially liberal decision as, while the majority upheld the right of Congress to make a law which made a federal grant of funds contingent upon compliance with that law, the justices went out of their way to point out a library could simply turn an internet filter off for any adult who asked.

I suspect there will still be some thrashing about by the bible Belt social/religious conservatives in the States and there will be talk about building a "real" conservative majority on the Court; but the fact is the American population has moved on. So should the so-cons.

Call the RIAA



Pirates I say, pirates.

"Japanese bookstores are set to launch a national campaign to stop so-called 'digital shoplifting' by customers using the lastest camera-equipped mobile phones.

The Japanese Magazine Publishers Association says the practice is "information theft" and it wants it stopped.

It is the kind of thing that most Japanese young women wouldn't think twice about doing.

They might spot a new hairstyle or a new dress in a glossy fashion magazine and they want to know what their friends think - so they take a quick snap with their mobile phone camera and send everybody a picture.

But the publishers of those magazines feel they are being cheated out of valuable sales.

Together with Japan's phone companies, they are issuing stern posters which warn shoppers to be careful of their "magazine manners'....

And only this weekend, newspaper ads warned phone users to avoid walking and writing emails at the same time.

But the success of this new campaign is open to question.

Japan's bookshop owners have already said their staff cannot tell the difference between customers taking pictures and those simply chatting on their phones."


via The Shifted Librarian and from the BBC.

6/29/2003

Second Wave



Working on my library filter blog I ran across this Forbes article by Rich Karlgarrd.

Net Boom, Act II is just getting started. Behind the revival is an array of cheap stuff, such as wireless broadband, 120-gigabyte disk drives for $99 and mail-order "blade" servers that are as powerful as $250,000 Unix boxes. The second-order effect of all this cheap gear is rapid Net penetration into poorer countries like India and China, which are becoming vendors of even cheaper products and services.
Net Boom, Act II will also be a serial killer. At the risk of sounding like the nerd who cried wolf, I ask you to close your eyes and imagine what cheap technology and clever entrepreneurs around the world--not just in Silicon Valley--might do to your business model. For example, I'm typing this editorial on a quiet Sunday afternoon from a leather chair in the den of my house. With home Wi-Fi, I now use my laptop in ways I never used to. I buy more things, from socks to steaks, on the Net. I read much more--by far--on the Net than I ever did. Whoa! Don't I work for a magazine that is printed on... paper? Do I hear the sound of the fat lady singing on Grokster?
link forbes magazine


While the 'net, at the moment looks like an Elephant's graveyard of abandoned sites and dead links, the fact is that all of the net technologies have gotten cheaper and better. Plus, people are now treating the online world seriously.

All which goes to the question of whether anonline replacement for Reports makes sense. A lot of comment has been directed at the fact Reports had the credibility that only dead trees give. Well, that credibility may have been crucial for reaching what Colby cosh describes as Report's geratric audience; but a magazine aimed at urban conservatives need not fell a single tree.

It would need to have slick design, intelligent debate and a target demographic of people who, well, use the web. This should not be impossible. And to see what can be done take a look at Jackson Free Press or Spy Mac both of which are based on blogging technology.

Update Not that I think this will "streamline mission-critical channels" or "evolve intuitive mindshare" but I have access to the Web Economy Bullshit Generator which will get frequent workouts in Act II.

Supreme Court Foibles



Colby also weighs in on the recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to strike down the sections of the Elections Act which limited Federal benefits to parties fielding 50 candidates or more in Federal Elections. He doesn't like the ruling because, I think, he objects to the Court taking a "broad and purposive" view. In other words he objects to a degree of judicial intervention and activism. Now there is a long and interesting debate to be had on that subject within the Canadian context; but in this particular case Justice Iacobucci was dealing with legislation and regulations which set arbitrary hurdles for the receipt of federal benefits.

The effect of the 50+ rule was the same as if Employment Insurance was a benefit enjoyed by all Canadians in the labour force but only if they worked for companies with 50 or more employees. In other words a systematic discrimination against people based soley on the size of their employer. At law, under the Charter, such discrimination must be subjected to rather strict scrutiny.

Where the effect of an Act of Parliament is to abridge or appear to abridge a fundamental Charter Right that Act should be subject to a searching scrutiny.

The political question is whether there should be any threshold and why - questions which I have yet to hear a very interesting political reponse to. The judicial question is whether or not the threshold is a reasonable limitation on the Charter Rights of the individual complaining. If it is not then it needs to be struck down and the government told to try again.