Tuesday 26 February 2013

Say Cheese! Crash, bang, boom!

Like everybody else, I caught my share of YouTube videos of the meteor falling over Russia on February 15, 2013. It was quite unusual and even spectacular in some clips. One fellow who was filming with a handheld camera was almost knocked over by the accompanying sonic boom and shock wave.

A curiosity came out of the many video clips posted by amateurs or picked up by the media outlets. Why did so many Russians "just happen" to have a dashboard camera in their car filming at the precise moment of the meteor streaking by? It seems that the Russians are nuts about these cams. It wasn't a question of "just having" a cam, it would seem everybody has jumped on the bandwagon and bought one of these things to record their time behind the wheel for posterity. Strange?

Russian courts apparently don't like verbal testimony but a video of what happened is a sure-fire way of pleading your case. And the cases? Holy cow! Fights will erupt over accidents. The guy in front of you will deliberately back up into you and claim it was your fault. People will fall onto your hood in front of a cop saying you hit them. The various incidents go on and on. People are filming everything out of self-protection. Yes they need proof for court or the insurance company but they also need to make the guy coming at them with a baseball bat know he's being recorded.

This plethora of video has resulted in some hilarious compilations on YouTube of some truly insane traffic accidents. Are Russians absolute lunatics behind the wheel? Then again, I'm sure all of us in North America have our questionable moments but we'll have to wait for the dashboard craze to catch up here so we will have the video evidence.

The following is but one example of the dozens of compilations of dashboard videos to be found on YouTube. I shake my head wondering what these people were thinking and sometimes I laugh out loud at the sheer lunacy of it all.

Published on Sep 26, 2012 by just4rofl
Russia Dash Cam Compilation September 2012 (8:45)


Wikipedia: 2013 Russian meteor event
On 15 February 2013, a bright meteor appeared in the skies over Russia at about 09:20 YEKT (03:20 UTC). Travelling at 18 km/sec (40,000 mph), it quickly became a brilliant fireball as it passed over the southern Ural region, exploding in an air burst over Chelyabinsk Oblast at about 15 to 25 km (9.3 to 16 mi) above the ground. The atmosphere absorbed most of the released energy, which was equivalent to nearly 500 kilotons of TNT (2.1 PJ), making it 20–30 times more powerful than either of the atomic bombs detonated at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) now designates the event as a "superbolide" event.

About 1,500 people were injured, two seriously, including a woman flown to Moscow with a fractured spine. All of the injuries were due to indirect effects rather than the meteor itself, mainly by glass from windows shattered by a shock wave. Over 4,300 buildings in six cities across the region were damaged by the explosion. The meteor created a dazzling light, bright enough to cast moving shadows during the morning daylight in Chelyabinsk and was observed from Sverdlovsk, Tyumen, Orenburg Oblasts, the Republic of Bashkortostan, and in Kazakhstan. Eyewitnesses also felt intense heat from the fireball.

With an initial estimated mass of 10,000 tonnes, the Chelyabinsk meteor is the biggest object to have entered the Earth's atmosphere since the 1908 Tunguska event, and the only meteor known to have resulted in a large number of injuries.

Jalopnik - Feb 15/2013
Why Russians Are Obsessed With Dash-Cams by Marina Galperina
The author explains why dashboard cameras are now common in Russia: Fights, bribe requests, scams, and an host of attempts to defraud both insurance companies and unsuspecting motorists. The courts don't like to deal with verbal testimony but a video tape is a sure-fire way of proving your case. ... This article is a must read. Driving in Russia seems like the Wild Wild West. It is Mad Max anarchy and seemingly dangerous as hell.

Radio Free Europe - Nov 24/2012
Cops, Cars, And Videotape: Russians Embrace Dash-Cam Craze By Tom Balmforth
Hair-raising car crashes and fistfights between drivers are just a sampling of the thousands of bizarre automobile incidents that have been inadvertently captured on video by Russian drivers and uploaded onto video-sharing websites. The videos are a quirky byproduct of what has rapidly become a major fad in Russia -- the use of dashboard-mounted video cameras. Motorists use these dash cams as a tool to help fight their corner against Russia's notoriously corrupt traffic police as well as against scammers trying to extort money out of drivers.

Google video search: dashboard cam compilation

Published on Mar 22, 2012 by Nate Berkheimer
The GNARLIEST car accident you'll ever see!!! (0:35)
On the other hand, this video is not funny; it is startling in its violence. The driver of an SUV loses control of his vehicle and crosses the highway into on-coming traffic and is broadsided by an 18 wheeler. Apparently this accident took place on February 24, 2012 near the village of Omutischi Petushki in Russia's Vladimir Region. Needless to say the driver of the SUV was killed.


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Sunday 24 February 2013

Lil Buck

Lil Buck? Jookin'? Do I live on the moon? I keep joking about living a sheltered life but sometimes I wonder. I seem to have no idea of what's going on.

Charles Riley aka Lil Buck is a 23 year old dancer from Memphis, Tennessee who practises "jookin'", a street dance that originated in Memphis. Stephen Colbert had Buck as a guest on February 21, 2013 and this young man is quite the dancer and an original one at that. He may have started out dancing in the streets but according to his own story, his dancing caught the attention of a professional ballet instructor who managed to make some interesting introductions. Below is a video of Lil Buck dancing while none other than Yo-Yo Ma. That is quite the collaboration. Buck was a backup dancer for Madonna at the 2012 Superbowl halftime show and was part of her MDNA tour. He has danced on The Ellen Show and appeared in a few music videos. Lil Buck's star is rising. You watch a couple videos of this guy dancing and you know you are watching a very original talent. It's poetic. It's ballet.

Uploaded on Apr 11, 2011 by OpeningCeremonyNY
Opening Ceremony Blog Exclusive - Spike Jonze Presents: Lil Buck and Yo-Yo Ma
Lil Buck performs with Yo-Yo Ma.


Wikipedia: Lil Buck
Lil Buck (born Charles Riley) is an American dancer. He was the artist in residence at the 2011 Vail International Dance Festival.

Wikipedia: Gangsta Walking
Gangsta Walking (often referred to as G-Walk , Buckin, Buck Jump , Jookin, Rollin, Reading, Raping, or Choppin) is a street dance that originated in Memphis, Tennessee alongside "Buck" music during the 1990s.

The Colbert Report - Thursday, February 21, 2013
A rumor links Chuck Hagel to a made-up Islamic group, for-profit incarceration teams up with football, MTV cons BET Twitter fans, and Lil Buck explains jookin.
United States: The Colbert Nation
Canada: Comedy Central

YouTube search: "Lil Buck"

Published on Jan 24, 2013 by Ole Schell
Lil Buck Goes to China
A twenty minute documentary by Ole Schell about the life of Lil Buck the dancer and his trip to perform in Beijing with Yo-Yo Ma and Meryl Streep as part of US-China Forum on the Arts and Culture. Featuring performances by Lil Buck, Yo-Yo Ma and Meryl Streep. Music by Yo-Yo Ma, Memphis Rapper Young Jai, Beijing Rapper Young Kin and genre-defying string quartet Brooklyn Rider. Watch as Lil Buck dances his way across Beijing and the great wall!


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Sunday 17 February 2013

Weather Report: Teen Town


Uploaded on Jan 28, 2008 by PureWaterGuy

Teen Town: composed by Jaco Pastorius

Wikipedia: Jaco Pastorius
John Francis Anthony Pastorius III (December 1, 1951 – September 21, 1987), better known as Jaco Pastorius, was an influential American jazz musician, composer and electric bass player.

Pastorius' playing style was noteworthy for his playing intricate solos in the higher register and for the "singing" quality he achieved on his fretless bass. His many innovations with the electric bass included his use of harmonics. Pastorius suffered from mental illness including a substance-related disorder, and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982. He died in 1987 at age 35 following a violent altercation at a Wilton Manors bar.

Pastorius was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 1988, one of only six bassists so honored (and the only electric bass guitarist).

JazzTimes - April 2002
Jaco Pastorisu: Teen Town by Bill Milkowski
The legend of Jaco Pastorius, the late, self-proclaimed “world’s greatest bass player,” shines as brightly over time as that of other musical immortals like Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix and Charles Mingus. “Like Charlie Parker, he was the shot heard ’round the world,” says his Florida mentor Ira Sullivan. “Bird was that step beyond, and I think Jaco was the same way.”

Wikipedia: Heavy Weather (album)
Heavy Weather is the eighth album by Weather Report, released in 1977 through Columbia Records. The release originally sold about a half million copies which would prove to be the band's most commercially successful album. Some consider it to be Weather Report's best album artistically as well. Heavy Weather received an initial 5 star review from Down Beat magazine and went on to easily win jazz album of the year by the readers of that publication. It is the band's second album with bassist Jaco Pastorius.

Wikipedia: Weather Report
Weather Report was an American jazz fusion band of the 1970s and early 1980s. The band was co-led by the Austrian-born keyboard player Joe Zawinul and the American saxophonist Wayne Shorter (and, initially, by Czech bass player Miroslav Vitouš). Other prominent members at various points in the band's lifespan included Jaco Pastorius, Peter Erskine, Alphonso Johnson, Victor Bailey, Airto Moreira and Chester Thompson.


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Friday 15 February 2013

Movie Review: A Good Day To Die Hard

Two words: don't bother. No, wait. "Don't" is a contraction. Does that count for one word or two words? Hmm, I use Microsoft Word to type up this merde and it's telling me "don't bother" is two words. So, let me use one word: whatever. I'm sure you are now wondering what this stream of consciousness about language has to do with a movie review. Maybe I'm just trying to avoid the subject.

What the F is the matter with me? I could gouge my eyes out. I buy a movie ticket on-line to leave work and immediately plop myself in front of an IMAX screen for a mind-blowing sensory overload then, yes then I check Rotten Tomatoes to find out much to my horror that the film gets a rating of 13%. 13%!?! Oh my God, you couldn't pay me to watch a 13% film. Hell, I wouldn't watch a 13% film if I was vacuuming my apartment and decided to turn on the TV to distract myself. Facepalm. $17.99 for 13%. If I bend over, may I ask you to give me a boot in the keister?

This film had a budget of $90 million and judging by the special effects, meaning big time explosions, car chases, and helicopter gunships, the money was well spent. Unfortunately, somebody forgot to pitch in a couple of shekels for a good story. I guess the basic ingredients are there but somehow the chef didn't mix them together correctly and undercooked the entree. Wha da ya got? Empty calories. Bruce kind of walked through this one and picked up a paycheque.

13%? Facepalm again. I so wanted to see "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" based on the trailer but when I found out its rating was 15% I took a pass. I hate arriving at the end credits of a film thinking, "I want two hours of my life back."

But I paid for the ticket before consulting Rotten Tomatoes and reading the reviews. What was I thinking? Oh well. My mission now is to inform anybody and everybody to avoid this film like the plague. Okay, let's avoid it like a nasty bout of the flu. It won't kill you but you'll be telling yourself to not repeat that experience any time soon.

Our hero John McClane goes to Russia and once again trouble finds him. Bet ya didn't see that one coming. Yippee ki-yay Mother Russia as the movie poster says. Bad guys, badder guys, and a bit of a plot twist involving a bad woman plus $90 million of crash bang boom. How can it miss? Anybody remember the 2011 film Green Lantern? A budget of $200 million dollars with the result of 26%. Yes it can miss and sometimes it can miss big time.

Final Word
One good thing about the film? It had a running time of 92 minutes. Let's not prolong the pain.

I like Bruce Willis. I like the Die Hard series. From what I see, there is another film in the works but I hope that the collective genius of writer and director can come up with a better offering. After all, Bond has had its ups and downs but the latest installment Skyfall wasn't just a commercial success but a critical success with a rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. That's the sort of thing the Die Hard franchise needs. I am sure somebody can come up with a good tale and when I say somebody, I am referring to the writer. Without a good story, a film sucks and ofttimes sucks royally. Our hero John McClane still has some life in him if only the right person with a good imagination can breathe that life back into the character. I'll be the first to yell, "Yippee ki-yay..." Okay, I'll stop here.


Rotten Tomatoes: A Good Day To Die Hard: 13%
A Good Day to Die Hard is the weakest entry in a storied franchise, and not even Bruce Willis' smirking demeanor can enliven a cliched, uninspired script.

Wikipedia: A Good Day To Die Hard
A Good Day to Die Hard is a 2013 American action film directed by John Moore and written by Skip Woods. It is the fifth installment in the Die Hard film series. Bruce Willis reprises the lead role of John McClane, who travels to Russia to help his estranged son, Jack (Jai Courtney), out of prison, but is soon caught in the crossfire of a terrorist plot.

official web site: A Good Day To Die Hard

Wikipedia: Die Hard (franchise)
The Die Hard series is a series of action films beginning with Die Hard in 1988, which was based on the 1979 bestselling novel, Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp. All five films are centered around the character of John McClane (portrayed by Bruce Willis), a New York City police detective who finds himself fighting a group of terrorists in each episode. There are also several video games based on the films, as well as a comic book series released in August 2009.

Die Hard (1988)
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Budget: $28 million
Box Office: $141 million

Die Hard 2 (1990)
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Budget: $70 million
Box Office: $240 million

Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)
Rotten Tomatoes: 52%
Budget: $90 million
Box Office: $366 million

Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Budget: $110 million
Box Office: $384 million


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Thursday 14 February 2013

Always let the other person speak first

When a high powered career woman is asked on a romantic date by her boyfriend, she decides to end their relationship there and then. Not content to let her man down gently, she goes in all guns blazing, prepared even to vent her spleen, but is she really prepared for the outcome?

Lucky Escape is a four-minute short, which was written, produced, and directed by Shane McCabe, and shot in one day on location in Rathfarnham Village, Dublin. Although shot in Dublin with an all-Irish cast and crew, the movie sets out to explore a universal theme.

Featuring Vanessa Keogh (Veronica Guerin, The Clinic, Fair City, The Tudors) and José Mantero (Bitterness, Fair City, Hooligans, 3 Crosses, WC), the movie sets out to examine the age old saying that we should always look before we leap. It aims to tell a simple tale, using a three act structure, making the audience believe one thing at the start of the film, but see the complete opposite by the end.


Uploaded on Sep 13, 2011 by ScreenDirectorsGuild

IMDb: Shane McCabe
Probable Cause (Script 2010): Writer, Director: Shane McCabe Films
The Base (Script 2009): Writer, Director: Fernlief Productions
Next Of Kin (Script 2008): Writer: Shane McCabe Films
Breakthrough (Script 2010): Writer: Shane McCabe Films
Lucky Escape (2007): Writer/Director/Producer: Shane McCabe Films
Never Judge a Book (2005): Writer: Trinity Films
Veronica Guerin (2003): Actor: Jerry Bruckheimer Films

Four Quadrant Films
Shane McCabe was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1963, and graduated with an honors degree from Trinity Collage, Dublin in 1991. After working for several years in Central Europe, Shane returned home to study acting, enrolling in the Gaiety School of Acting, Dublin and has been involved in the industry for a number of years now. Working on the 2003 Joel Schumacher movie, "Veronica Guerin" inspired him to go on to write and produce, and he has to date written six features and numerous shorts. His entry in the Touch Film Festival can be viewed Here.

His short film, "Lucky Escape" had its North American Premiere at the 2007 Rhode Island International Film Festival, and went on to screen at numerous International Short Film Festivals, including LA Shorts 2007 and Palm Springs 2008 where it was picked up for distribution by Premium Films for all of Latin America and by Network Ireland, who have since sold it to NBC Universal, (Italy), and Atom.com, Click Here.

official web site: Screen Directors Guild of Ireland

YouTube: Screen Directors Guild

More funny videos

my blog: The Flip Side: Valentine's Day

my blog: The Flip Side: What if the guys and gals switched positions?


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Monday 11 February 2013

My Gmail was hacked!

Why you blankety blank goddamn blank blank. Or should I do a George Carlin? Why you three'ing little one; what a two off! Whatever the case, I feel soooo violated.

My sad story started this morning around 10am. I have a couple of Gmail accounts for work, personal stuff, and testing. Yes, testing. If I'm doing mail forwarding or out of office, I like to verify that things are working the way the documentation says it supposed to.

My test account gets an email from my personal account with a link to what appears to be Hotel Gloria in Italy. I say appears to be because at first, I have no idea if the link is going to take me to a web page filled with trojans, worms, and assorted bits of nastiness meant to clean out my bank account. I was sitting by myself at the time but still said double you tee eff very quietly to myself. Shortly thereafter, somebody in my Gmail contacts sends me an email inquiring if I was recommending the hotel. Oh, oh.

I had heard of people having their Gmail hacked but how exactly? I remembered the recent kerfuffle with Java but had removed the insecure version 6 and replaced it with the more secure version 7.10 and had then disabled Java in all browsers. To double check, I opened the Control Panel and looked at my list of installed programs. Facepalm! There is Java version 6 installed along with version 7. What!?! How the hell did that get there? I had removed it. Did some automatic update put it back?

Then it starts, emails from other people in my contacts asking me about the email I had sent them. Oh boy, somebody has gotten into my Gmail account. But how and what are they doing?

Google has all sorts of information about security so I ploughed through it looking for clues and looking for what to do about this. Tip number one, natch, is to change my password. Done. Detective clue number one turns out to be quite startling.

In Gmail, scroll to the bottom and look on the lower right hand corner. You see "Last account activity: xx minutes ago" and a link called "Details". Details gives you a popup report showing the last ten times my Gmail account has been accessed. I see my IP address but guess what? I see another IP address from the United States ( The service "What is my IP Address" tells me the host is "mobile-166-205-067-200.mycingular.net" part of AT&T and its geolocation map shows something just outside of Wichita, Kansas.

At the moment I first see this, there are seven entries (Gmail just shows you the last ten entries) all showing the same IP. Is this a mobile device? Is it from Wichita or close-by? Whatever the case, I now know my Gmail has been accessed by somebody else. The question remains: How did they get my password? The only thing I can think of is that an insecure Java version 6 must have given somebody a means to get at me.

By now, I have had a number of people writing to me about an email I supposedly sent them about this Hotel in Italy. I apologise profusely and set about investigating the problem.

So, step number one was to change my Gmail password. Secondly, I removed all of Java: the insecure Java 6 and the newer Java 7. I have no idea if anything needs Java or not but I am going to run without it and see what happens. When I first installed version 7, I used their new security feature of disabling Java in all browsers. I didn't notice anything not working. Now that I have removed Java completely from my machine, I can see if any apps don't work but I doubt it. At least none of the apps I currently use have failed, Microsoft Office for instance.

Google's 2 Step Verification
I decided to follow Google's advice and use this feature. It connects your Gmail account (well, your Google account) to your cell phone. You log in the Google sends a code as a text message to your phone. You must then enter the code into the browser to complete the login process. As Google points out, hackers can get your name and they can get your password but they don't have your cell phone. While this seems inconvenient, Google has added an option to qualify your computer as a trusted machine. This means you can log in at that computer (I'm assuming they are tracking the IP address) without having to put in the code. Of course, a hacker doesn't have your cell phone so when he tries to access your account, he can't get a code. Actually, this makes a great deal of sense. If you decide to access your Gmail from an Internet café, you will have to have your cell phone with you to get a code.

Don't have your cell phone on vacation or you lose it? Google has thought of that too. You can add alternate phone numbers like a work number or the number of a relative. You can create a list of codes to print out and use while you're on vacation and don't have access to a phone at all. Ah, the hoops we have to jump through to stop those nasty hackers but at least Google has come up with a way to stop them.

My apologies
To anybody who got an email from me about the Hotel Gloria in Italy, I am sorry for the inconvenience. The DELete key is, in this instance, your favourite key. Certainly it is a reminder to all of us to look out for out of character emails. Unless Hotel Gloria is going to pay me a stipend, I wouldn't be recommending them to anybody.

Final Word
Man, these little f**kers would rob me blind and not think twice about it. Of course with the anonymity of the Internet and remote access, this may be easier than picking pockets down at the market.

My advice here is to immediately review your own security. This is the second time in eight months I've had my machine compromised and if I can get hacked, anybody can get hacked. Just because you haven't yet had to face the misery of trying to get your machine cleaned up, don't think you are totally secure. No matter what new lock hits the market, there is somebody out there figuring out how to pick it.


Google: Adding recovery options to your account
Losing access to your emails, your documents and photos can be frustrating. To make sure you can get back in to your account quickly, easily and securely, add recovery options. A few minutes now could save you hours of frustration and waiting later.

Google: A guide to staying safe and secure online
Explore quick tips and how-to’s that explain what you can do to stay safe and secure on the web.

Safer Internet Day: February 5, 2013
The idea started in Europe with the objective of promoting safe, responsible use of the Internet to young people. However Google celebrated the day with their own promotion of safety tips for all of us regardless of age. The Internet, like real life, has its share of nefarious villains and we could all do well to heed the advice of the experts by practising some common sense.

my blog: Adobe Flash Update: I'm infected! And I'm an idiot!
Infection? Okay, this isn't another of my postings on my health. Nope, this time I'm talking about my computer. If I ever get my hands on the techno-nerd computer genius who wrote this little gem of a contagion, I'll first shake his hand impressed by his programming proficiency then bash him over the head about his inability to comprehend the havoc he's wreaking on unsuspecting and gullible idiots like me. I hope you're reading this, you little f**ker.

Here's a video of me when I found out my Gmail was hacked


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Sunday 10 February 2013

Safer Internet Day: February 5, 2013

Okay, I missed it. Well, I missed writing about it but since this topic is timeless, here goes anyway.

It's the second day of the second month which in 2013 lands on February 5th. The idea started in Europe with the objective of promoting safe, responsible use of the Internet to young people. However Google celebrated the day with their own promotion of safety tips for all of us regardless of age. The Internet, like real life, has its share of nefarious villains and we could all do well to heed the advice of the experts by practising some common sense. In the video below from saferinternetday.org, we hear the following questions.

You wouldn't let your children talk to strangers in the street. Why do it on-line?

You wouldn't follow a stranger in real life. Why do it on-line?

You wouldn't poke a stranger in real life. Why do it on-line?

You wouldn't advertise your details to strangers. Why do it on-line?

These are good tips. The anonymity of the Internet and its ubiquity can lead to complacency. Yes, we can become complacent about what we do. Talk to strangers? Advertise your details to strangers? If you wouldn't do something in real life, why would you do it virtually on the Internet? Yes, the Internet and social media give us all an unprecedented means of communicating and connecting with other people. Coffee shops and bars also give us an opportunity to connect but I'm sure anybody would exercise a degree of prudence. Most of the people in the world are nice people but note that I said "most", I didn't say all. (see my blog: Amanda Todd: The cruelty in all of us)

Spam Emails
Since I know a little bit about computers, family, friends, and colleagues are forever asking my opinion on such and such. Did UPS really send me a package? or Why is my bank asking me to update my account information? and an oldie but goodie Should I send some money to Nigeria?

If it's in print, it's real. If it's in an email, it's real. If it's on the Internet, it's just got to be true. If you believe that, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

All right, it all sounds silly but scams are as old as time itself. Caveat emptor: buyer beware. It is our responsibility to be knowledgeable. If we are not in the know, it isn't even a question of somebody hoodwinking us; it's a question of us making a mistake out of sheer ignorance. Before we do anything, we need to prepare ourselves. Jumping out of an airplane? I did put on a parachute, right?

Here are a few guidelines about potentially dangerous emails.

UPS, FedEx, or DHL
I have seen all sorts of supposedly legitimate looking emails from courier companies professing to have a package for me if I only log in and divulge all sorts of personal information.

Do you see your full name anywhere in the body of the message?

What? UPS has a package for me but they don't even know my name? Ah, come on, if you have my email address, and if you really have a package for me, you have to have my full name.

When you hold your mouse over a link, what do you see in the status bar?

UPS says it has a package for me but I have to log in to get it. I hold my mouse over the link and instead of seeing "ups.com", I see "https://ClickHereSucker.com/login". If the domain doesn't match the company, this is like a one hundred and ten percent sign you are being scammed. (domain = name of web site as in "google.com")

Plane Tickets
An airline has sent you a notice than your tickets are now available. First of all, and I think this is a pretty good question to ask yourself: Did you book a plane flight? No? So, what are the chances this is legitimate? Seriously. Please think about that twice. Okay, how about three or four times?

Now go back to the previous points. Is your full name used anywhere in the body of the message? Does the domain of the company appear in link to log in?

Somebody has hacked into my bank account
How often does this happen? I can't give you a percentage but there are enough stories in the news that should make all of us sit up and take notice. When we unwittingly click on links, we open the door to our computers getting infected and once hackers have infected a computer, they can potentially get anything. It is like they are looking over our shoulders as we type away accessing password protected files, doing our online banking, and even typing in our PINs.

Adobe Flash Update
I have to shake my head. Last year I stupidly clicked on a popup window asking to update my Adobe Flash. Even though I had never seen such an update, for some reason (I was distracted with something else) I naively, stupidly, gullibly, idiotically, innocently, foolishly clicked and unleashed the hounds of hell. (see my blog below)

Anybody know what a rootkit is? Gee-sus H Kay Rist. The author is a genius. Yeah, he's a @#$%^& genius. If we ever meet, I intend on shaking his hand right before I punch his lights out.

As a result of my little bout of stupidity, I madly changed the password on all my bank accounts realising this little bastard could have been recording all my keystrokes and sending my personal information back to the mothership to sell on the hackers' eBay to the Russians or Chinese. Gee, how did my bank balance end up at zero and why is my landlord threatening to kick my sorry butt to the curb for one little NSF cheque?

Final Word
Your favourite key is the DELete key. Use it and use it often. I have gotten to the point where the subject and the subject alone is enough to tell me if the email is spam or not. I ofttimes delete such messages without even opening them up. Why bother? I don't have courier packages coming to me and I didn't book any plane tickets. DELete. Get lost. I'm not wasting my time.

Years ago, Time Magazine ran an article on passwords and the need to be more thorough in coming up with something original. The number one password? The word "password". It's a different world and we all must be more prudent. We all must be more knowledgeable clients of the Internet. Caveat emptor.


Google: A guide to staying safe and secure online
Explore quick tips and how-to’s that explain what you can do to stay safe and secure on the web.

Wikipedia: Insafe
Insafe is a European network of Awareness Centres promoting safe, responsible use of the Internet and mobile devices to young people. ... The Insafe network organises the Safer Internet Day, which has taken place annually on the second day of the second week of February since 2004 and also involves numerous countries outside Europe.

The mission of the Insafe cooperation network is to empower citizens to use the internet, as well as other online technologies, positively, safely and effectively.

Safe Internet Day
Safer Internet Day (SID) is organised by Insafe in February of each year to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people across the world.

Published on Nov 8, 2012 by saferinternetday2013
Safer Internet Day 2013

my blog: Adobe Flash Update: I'm infected! And I'm an idiot!
Infection? Okay, this isn't another of my postings on my health. Nope, this time I'm talking about my computer. If I ever get my hands on the techno-nerd computer genius who wrote this little gem of a contagion, I'll first shake his hand impressed by his programming proficiency then bash him over the head about his inability to comprehend the havoc he's wreaking on unsuspecting and gullible idiots like me. I hope you're reading this, you little f**ker.

NY Times - Nov 7/2012
How to Devise Passwords That Drive Hackers Away by Nicole Perlroth
Chances are, most people will get hacked at some point in their lifetime. The best they can do is delay the inevitable by avoiding suspicious links, even from friends, and manage their passwords. Unfortunately, good password hygiene is like flossing — you know it’s important, but it takes effort.

my blog: Amanda Todd: The cruelty in all of us
On October 7, 2012, 15 year old Amanda Michelle Todd posted a YouTube video (at end of article) in which she showed a series of flashcards describing her experiences of being the target of bullying both on-line and in real life that had been going on for years. Watching the video and reading her story is both startling and perplexing. Why would classmates and total strangers go so far in displaying such cruelty towards Amanda? On October 10, 2012, Amanda committed suicide in her home in Port Coquitlam, B.C., Canada.


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Saturday 9 February 2013

I am Canadian

Molson is synonymous with Canada: hockey, beer, and bacon. Anybody remember Bob and Doug McKenzie? Our beer-swilling dimwits, wearing winter clothing and tuques, would comment on life in the Great White North while punctuating their dialogue with "eh?" and calling each other "hosers". Ah yes, that's Canada for ya.

Back, way back before McCain commandeered Joe the Plumber for the GOP's unsuccessful run at the White House in 2008, there was Joe the Canadian. This was part of an ad campaign of Molson when they promoted their beer under the slogan "I am Canadian." Rah rah sis boom bah.

"The Rant"
In March 2000, using nationalism as a platform, the ad starred a man named Joe: an "average Canadian", standing in a movie theatre, with a cinema screen behind him showing different images relating to Canadian culture. Joe proceeds to give a speech about what is it to be a Canadian and what it is not to be a Canadian, making particular efforts to distinguish himself both from common Canadian stereotypes of Americans ("I believe in peacekeeping, not policing") and common American stereotypes of Canadians ("I don't live in an igloo," "I say 'about,' not 'aboot'"). (Wikipedia)

Uploaded on May 22, 2006 by vinko
I Am Canadian

"I'm not a lumberjack or a fur trader. I don't live in an igloo or eat blubber or own a dog sled. And I don't know Jimmy, Sally or Suzy from Canada, although I'm certain they're really, really nice. I have a prime minister, not a president. I speak English and French, not American. And I pronounce it about, not aboot. I can proudly sew my country's flag on my backpack. I believe in peacekeeping, not policing. Diversity, not assimilation. And that the beaver is a truly proud and noble animal. A toque is a hat, a chesterfield is a couch. And it is pronounced zed, not zee, zed. Canada is the second largest landmass, the first nation of hockey and the best part of North America. My name is Joe, and I am Canadian!"

The Canadians
On February 3, 2013, Molson posted its newest advertisement on YouTube and as of this writing; it has had over a million hits. I think that constitutes "going viral".

This time around, instead of one Canadian talking us up, we have loveable Canadians all over the globe showing people what a great country Canada is and what a great people those Canucks are. It's all in good fun. It's a warm fuzzy about Canada and heck, if it gets you to drink a Molson beer, so much the better.

Published on Sep 28/2014 by Marcos Montenero
Molson Canadian - The Canadians

Final Word
Here I am posting video ads for Molson. Is the company going to send me a free case of beer? Woo-hoo! Here's one hoser who won't refuse, eh? 24 bottles in a case; 24 hours in a day. Coincidence? I think not. Ha ha. So let's clink bottles and say, "Cheers! À ta santé!"


Wikipedia: Molson
Molson-Coors Canada Inc. is the Canadian division of the world's seventh-largest brewing company, the Molson Coors Brewing Company. It is the second oldest company in Canada after the Hudson's Bay Company. Molson's first brewery was located on the St. Lawrence River in Montreal where the Molson family continues to maintain its headquarters today.

Wikipedia: Bob and Doug McKenzie
Bob and Doug McKenzie are a pair of fictional Canadian brothers who hosted "Great White North", a sketch which was introduced on SCTV for the show's third season when it moved to CBC Television in 1980. Bob is played by Rick Moranis and Doug is played by Dave Thomas. Although created originally merely as filler to both satisfy and mock network Canadian content demands, the duo became a pop culture phenomenon in both the United States and Canada.

Wikipedia: I Am Canadian
I am Canadian was the slogan of Molson Canadian Beer from 1994 until 1998 (via ad agency Maclaren Lintas and then MacLaren McCann), and between 2000 and 2005 (Bensimon Byrne). It was also the subject of an extremely popular ad campaign centred on Canadian nationalism, the most famous examples of which are "The Rant" and "The Anthem". The ads aired in both English Canada and the United States. In 2005, shortly after Molson's merger with American brewer Coors, Molson announced that it was retiring the "I am Canadian" slogan.

my blog: 2012: I'm lucky to be Canadian
A few years ago, a friend made an interesting comment by saying that we were both lucky simply because we were born in Canada. He was stating that for no other reason being born in this country represented a stroke of good fortune. Canada as opposed to many other countries in the world gave all of us an upper hand by statistically giving us more choices and better chances than elsewhere.

Published on Jun 26, 2012 by MyMolsonCanadian
Canadian National Canthem


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Friday 8 February 2013

Two plus two equals five

George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984 painted an interesting picture of totalitarian society while introducing into our lexicon such words as doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, and memory hole. The Party doesn't just control the behaviour of the people; it tries to control their minds. While this was a deliberate attempt to get the collective we to goose step to a similar drummer in a work of fiction, does such a phenomenon exist in real life?

I can think of Nazi Germany and Communist Russia as examples of the state inducing something akin to mass delusion on an entire population. Cults like Jim Jones of the Jonestown massacre and David Koresh and the Branch Davidians of the Waco Siege come to mind as smaller groups displaying the same altered perception of reality. (Xenu, anyone?)

If one person spouts nonsense, we say he's crazy. But what if a group of people or even an entire country spout nonsense? Does the word crazy best cover such a wide-scale phenomenon?

In 1984, the protagonist Winston Smith is tormented during his interrogation by this false dogma: two plus two equals five. The state dictates that this is true therefore it is true and in the end, Smith is converted and comes to believe it.

But it's not true. We know it's not true. We can prove it's not true but everyone (the state) says it is true. Do we have a state of cognitive dissonance? Does our public persona say in front of everyone that two plus two equals five but privately we think otherwise?

Other writers before and after Orwell have used this expression to refer to "groupthink" whereby the desire for conformity in the group can lead to deviant or incorrect thinking. If everyone around you is saying two plus two equals five, at what point do you doubt yourself? At what point do you go along with the crowd?

Two plus two equals five is a fallacy. It's easy to see that it's wrong. But what about other statements which may be more difficult to verify? A well known example would be the debate between creationism and evolution. If two people are sitting in Starbucks talking over a cup of coffee, is either one of them at that particular point capable of conclusively proving their side of the argument? Nobody was around six thousand years ago to witness God creating the world. Nobody was around billions of years ago to see the stellar matter coalesce into the Earth. Each side quotes the Bible or scientific theory to try to bolster the validity of their point of view. But in chasing the elusive right answer, whether it be four or five or even six, we run into the problem of determining an accurate list of components making up the right answer. Yes, Genesis 1:1 supports the idea of the Earth being created six thousand years ago but is Genesis the word of God or is it a tall tale passed down from generation to generation of ancient groups of superstitious people who, by the way, thought the world was flat? Heck, do those scientists really known anything with their carbon dating?

Verifying the accuracy of two plus two is relatively simple. Verifying the accuracy of creationism or evolution isn't quite so clear cut.

So I see two things at play here.

First of all, who takes the time to verify what somebody else tells us? Our parents pass on to us what they know and we never truly check if what they are saying is right or wrong. We just accept it like so many others do and voilà, we have our traditions. For example, one of my pet peeves is that you do not need to put either oil or salt in the water to boil spaghetti noodles. Say what you will, I took the time to study this issue and can prove it's not necessary because the world's great chefs say it's not necessary.

Secondly, can we verify what somebody else says? Do we have the time and the resources necessary to do so? I may know my own experiences or some anecdotes from family and friends, but I probably am unable to do what's necessary to survey a sampling of let's say ten thousand people in a comprehensive cross-section of society to conclusively prove a theory. (The plural of anecdote is not data.)

During the campaign before the American election in November 2012, the Republican candidate Mitt Romney was caught on video tape making a speech before supporters during which he stated that 47% of Americans don't pay taxes. What? Those lazy no good for nothing moochers. Everyone should be pulling their fair share of the load. America isn't a charity! This so-called fact had been floating around Conservative circles for a year and had been debunked many times over as another example of the rights's twisting of the facts to generate fear in people, show the right as knowledgeable, and give the impression that the right was the only party who could lead the country. (The "taxes" are federal taxes. The 47% are lower income people whose income is so low they don't pay federal taxes at all or who get tax credits which equal out to zero federal taxes to pay. But the 47% are still paying state and municipal taxes. By the way, the 47% includes veterans and retirees. Those free-loaders!)

So who's going to take the time to verify what they are being told? And secondly who's got the resources necessary to verify something? At the end of the day, just how much of our everyday belief system is based on faith? Faith = I believe such and such to be true even when I do not have reproducible proof.

The 9/11 Conspiracy
Recently I tweeted a 2011 article I wrote about the 9/11 conspiracy theory where the World Trade Center buildings collapsed due to a controlled demolition. I don't believe that. The theory has been debunked but even if you don't believe the official reports, a controlled demolition is so extraordinary, you have to have a difficult time believing such a thing to be true. As I point out, the prez can't get a blowjob in the Oval Office without the entire world finding out about it; how can anybody believe some nefarious movement in the government could keep a lid on blowing up not one but several buildings in New York?

Nevertheless, a commentator suggested I'm an idiot and should think harder before embarrassing myself. There is nothing stronger than the faith of a convert. I'm also an idiot for doubting Xenu. I guess I tend to embarrass myself an awful lot.

Ignorance is bliss
Sometimes we have no idea of what's going on. Remember the stink about pink slime? This controversial processed beef product was originally used in pet foods but then approved for public consumption as a food additive in ground beef. If you haven't seen it, it actually is pink and it has the consistency of slime. Just what the heck are we putting in our mouths when we eat a hotdog? Maybe the FDA approved it but that doesn't mean I approve of it. Then again, out of sight, out of mind. If I ignore what's in my hotdog and focus on enjoying the wafting bouquet of flavourful meat by-products, I'm sure my baseball game is going to be so much more enjoyable. Color my pink slime and I won't know the difference.

In the 2000 film Erin Brockovich, the protagonist discovers Pacific Gas and Electric Company has contaminated the ground water of the small community Hinkley, California. The townsfolk are sick with various ailments and some have died. PG&E is attempting to buy people out to hide their culpability.

In a significant scene in the film (see video clip below), Erin confronts the lawyers for PG&E. One of the lawyers goes to take a sip of water when Erin says, "By the way, we had that water brought in special for you folks. It came from a well in Hinkley." There is a pregnant pause as the lawyer mulls over drinking the water then puts it back down on the table untouched.

Somewhere, somebody is assessing the pros and cons of something. They may decide that the dangers are not that great and release it to the public. Seems okay but I would ask them some questions. Are you going to eat the pink slime? Are you going to drink the water? If you wouldn't do it yourself, why would you think it is okay for other people to do so? You may think it's okay but if you wouldn't do it yourself, if you wouldn't let your children do it, why would you let others do it?

Final Word
Two plus two equals five. You can fool some of the people some of the time but eventually, the right answer will come out. That seems clear cut, doesn't it? Then again, someone could argue that it isn't important if you believe in creationism or in evolution; it's important that you follow the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. True, but unfortunately the belief in creationism doesn't just stop there. Faith in the Bible invariably leads to other things. Christain fundamentalists are against abortion, against sex education, against contraception, against gay marriage, against oh heck a whole bunch of things. I don't care what the problem is, the answer is 42.

Two plus two equals five. I would like to think that scientifically, objectively, and verifiably, we collectively could arrive at the right answer. However this is going to take time. We all don't take the time to verify what we're told and we all are not able to verify what we're told. As a consequence, we continue down the path believing what we're told and what we're told may not always be right. Oh sooner or later somebody will figure it out but that might be hundreds or thousands of years in the future. In the meantime, the answer is five. All I have to do is have faith.


Wikipedia: 2 + 2 = 5
The phrase "two plus two equals five" ("2 + 2 = 5") is a slogan used in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four as an example of an obviously false dogma one must believe, similar to other obviously false slogans by the Party in the novel. It is contrasted with the phrase "two plus two makes four", the obvious—but politically inexpedient—truth. Orwell's protagonist, Winston Smith, uses the phrase to wonder if the State might declare "two plus two equals five" as a fact; he ponders whether, if everybody believes it, does that make it true?

my blog: Boiling spaghetti: to salt or not to salt
When I was growing up, my mother told me to add a touch of oil and a pinch of salt in the water before boiling spaghetti. When I got out on my own, not being much of a cook, I never bought oil and rarely used salt. As a consequence I never followed my mother's advice. Through trial and error, I discovered the best recipe to end up with perfectly cooked pasta. Well, the best recipe for me as I was trying to minimize the amount of work involved in cooking spaghetti and said recipe did not entail oil or salt.

Out of curiosity, I thought I would go back and take another look at this age old technique of cooking pasta and find out if there is any truth to it or not.

my blog: Romney caught on video: 47% of Americans are Losers
47% of the people pay no income tax. No explanation. No details. Just the insinuation that these 47% are contravening the law, doing something bad, or are just plain lazy. According to the Tax Policy Center (Who Doesn't Pay Federal Taxes? 2011), out of the 47% who do not pay federal income tax, two thirds pay payroll taxes. Those who pay neither income nor payroll taxes are the elderly or those making less than $20,000 per year and pay no taxes because of tax credits. Those are legal tax credits which are an integral part of the current tax system.

my blog: Conspiracy: one man's truth, another man's lunacy
The collapse of the World Trade Centre was a controlled demolition. The United States government covered up the recovery of a spacecraft containing aliens at Roswell, New Mexico. Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. A secret group of reptilian humanoids called the Babylonian Brotherhood controls humanity, and many prominent figures are reptilian, including George W. Bush, Queen Elizabeth II, Kris Kristofferson, and Boxcar Willie.

Wikipedia: Pink Slime
In March 2012, ABC News ran a series of news reports about the product, which generated significant controversy and led to increased consumer concerns. Following the controversy, some companies and organizations discontinued the provision of ground beef with the additive, while others continued to provide beef with the filler.

Wikipedia: Erin Brockovich (film)
Erin Brockovich is a 2000 biographical film directed by Steven Soderbergh. The film is a dramatization of the true story of Erin Brockovich, portrayed by Julia Roberts, who fought against the US West Coast energy corporation Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).

Uploaded on Jun 1, 2011 by movieclips
A Lame-Ass Offer - Erin Brockovich (6/10) Movie CLIP (2000) HD


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Thursday 7 February 2013

Why are we talking about gay marriage?

Out My Window - Dec 11/2007
10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage Should be Illegal by Rick
  1. Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.
  2. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
  3. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.
  4. Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.
  5. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britney Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.
  6. Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.
  7. Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.
  8. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.
  9. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.
  10. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

Final Word
The economy needs improvement. Global warming is a concern. Unemployment must come down. People are starving in various parts of the world. Collectively we have to deal with pestilence, war, famine, and death. Gay marriage? This isn't at the top of my list of major concerns. In fact, it's not in the top ten. Not even in the top hundred. How about we all start paying attention to what's really important?


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