By Ray on December 5, 2005 - 3:19pm
On our site there are probably many talented people,
such as poets, and musicians, and just general hecklers
like me. So here's the idea:-
What say we put our heads together, and see if we can
come up with our own unique Christmas Carol. Words and
music by the contributors to Urban Vancouver....
Think about it, everyone, and add your comments please.
We'll call it something like "Christmas in Vancouver",
or maybe "A West Coast Christmas" or (suggestions please!)
What do you say?
By Ray on December 4, 2005 - 11:22am
I firmly believe there's a little kid inside each of us
trying to get out, and this being the Christmas season,
here's a list of six of the top websites for Santa:-
Check them out, and enjoy!
By Ray on December 3, 2005 - 3:05pm
My neighbours across the street moved here from Beijing
in 1998, and they tell me that Beijing has a population
roughly equal to about half the population of Canada.
So this gateway photo collection just might be a bigger
project than we first thought. There are some good photos
of China on Alfred Molon's website at www.molon.de
By Ray on December 2, 2005 - 5:52am
The latest upgrade of our favourite browser is now available
for downloading, and it includes a feature for automatic updates.
I've just got mine, and you should get yours too, if you haven't
One word of caution, though. If you Google "Firefox" to get to
their site, the first listing on the page isn't the official
Mozilla site, but one which takes you to another which asks you
for personal information such as your e-mail address, etc., so
if you're like me, and want to make sure you're dealing with
the genuine Mozilla site, check down the list until you find
the official Mozilla web address, and click on that. Mozilla
does not require personal information before allowing you to
download their terrific Firefox browser. Get it today, and see
how good a browser really can be. And thank you, Mozilla, for
making this available.
By Ray on December 1, 2005 - 3:06pm
Here we are, Folks, up to our armpits in political ranting,
brainwashing, arm-twisting, and the attached bill is only
another forty or fifty or sixty million bucks, right when
we're already hard-pressed to find the money for Christmas.
What brought all this on? I blame former Prime Minister
Jean Chretien, who started the ball rolling with his
clandestine plot to "sell Canada to Quebecers", and thus
started that sponsorship scandal with its hundred million
or so of taxpayer dollars being spread among his Liberal
Party faithful, some of whom kicked back some of that into
the party's coffers, we're told.
Let's take another look at that for a minute. Here's a
federal party leader excessively if not sickeningly proud
of the fact that he's "a little guy from Shawinigan" and
a Quebecer himself, attempting to bribe his proud fellow
Quebecers into giving up their separatist dreams and
embracing federalism. Surely, he must have known what
their reaction would be when they discovered what was
going on. They were quite naturally outraged, and suspected
another sneaky anglophone plot. Perhaps, just the reaction
Chretien expected them to have, and one that gave the
separatists among them a real boost.
Shortly afterward, Chretien retires, perhaps expecting
the party he ruled like a dictator to retire along with him.
His leadership rival Paul Martin takes over amid this mess,
By Ray on November 22, 2005 - 6:22am
Now that the municipal elections are past, and those high-flying
prima donnas have all sat down again to either bask in glory,
or lick their wounds, maybe a little peace will return to the
The national stage is a whole other ballgame. For months, we
have been treated to a vengeance display by the major opposition
parties hell-bent on teaching the Liberals a lesson they will
never last long enough to forget. There are several things
wrong with this scenario. Such as the following:-
(1) None of these "also-rans" have enough clout to form a
government, nor enough diplomatic skills to form a
workable coalition with the others.
(2) All of them believe that the Liberals are so thick that
they can't grasp the amount & intensity of voter displeasure
with their recent performance during the sponsorship mess,
and other recent serious blunders they've made.
(3) Each behaves as if God has personally chosen their party
to lead us out of the wilderness of political disaster
and guide us safely through the alligator-filled swamps
of bureaucracy surrounding government.
(4) None of them has any particularly desirable past record
to show us that they have or could do better.
The Conservatives, during their last major period in government,
set what was then a new record for increasing national debt,
and it took years of belt-tightening and high taxes to get us
By Ray on November 19, 2005 - 5:46pm
The Editorial in today's Vancouver Sun takes them to task
for this sneak-attack on us taxpayers, and rightly so.
In my daily blurb to Dear Editor yesterday, I said that
connecting the dots here, it's obvious why the government
and opposition have been enjoying a new period of sweetness
and light this past few weeks. They were simply working
on their raises together.
This brings up a question, along the lines of my regular
"Question Everything" feature in the daily blurb:-
How many other jobs can you name where your employers,
in this case you & I, allow you to set your own salary?
And how many of these people are worth it? What are their
qualifications? Can they show us a Job Description for it?
Let's face it, Folks, anyone with the money for election
posters and a pamphlet about themselves can run for public
office, whether or not they have the faintest idea of what
the job entails. Once in there, they can literally write
their own tickets. Does any of this strike you as either
fair or reasonable? Why don't we have a set scale of pay
for our MLAs, with rules about increases, such as having
those keyed to the cost of living, or the average of the
wage increases for the workforce in general? Where's the
controls over these increases, and why aren't there some?
By Ray on November 18, 2005 - 10:49am
Today's Vancouver Sun announces that CN has backed off
on its demands for excessive crossing fees and outrageous
amounts of insurance coverage for those using private
crossings along its lines in British Columbia, and says
it has been taking another look at all that "for weeks".
Apparently, they've seen the original story in the Vancouver
Sun, and perhaps even discovered my blog here. It seems
they've declined that "award" I nominated them for over it.
So score another one for the powers of the press in all of
its various incarnations, Folks. And three "Attaboys" to
the Vancouver Sun, for telling the world about this.
Enjoy your day, Everyone!
By Ray on November 16, 2005 - 11:55am
Today, on the front page of my favourite daily paper, there's
a feature article about the CN Railway harrassing a widow who
uses a private crossing on their tracks to access parts of her
property out in the country, near Clinton, B.C., and as if that
isn't low enough, they're telling her that she won't be able to
cross the tracks to get home unless she coughs up $20,000.00
for crossing fees.
Now then, just a little background on this railroad for you.
The CNR was formed between 1919 and 1923 by the amalgamation
of several other railways, and originally was owned and
operated by the federal government. Our taxpayers covered
their losses and their mistakes, and created an environment
in which they thought they could do no wrong, because God
and the Prime Minister were on their side.
This egotistical attitude evidently still pervades the CNR
which recently tried to tell us that their trains jumping
the tracks and dumping carloads of toxic chemicals into our
salmon rivers, or plowing up farmland, aren't having any
more wrecks than usual. Usual in this context meaning too
damned many for most of us. As long ago as fifty years ago,
one of their head-on wrecks between two freight trains on
their main line near Sudbury, Ontario almost wiped out the
bunkhouse and cookery at an Ontario Hydro plant where I was
working the night shift that night. So wrecks on the CNR are
By Ray on November 15, 2005 - 6:33pm
Both Firefox and Thunderbird have new releases available.
Update yours if you haven't in the past couple of months.
I probably don't have to remind you how great these are.