Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Paying For Local TV

Next time your sitting there for minutes on end watching all those annoying commercials think about the commercials telling you that your not paying for local television.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Myths and Religion Defined

Myths: other peoples' religions

Religion:
the myths you believe in

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Dedicated to My Father and My Brothers and Sisters on the INCO Picket Lines



My father, was a hard rock miner, a construction leader at INCO's Frood Stobie mine, who died too early as a result of a medical condition from working underground.

I remember the first INCO strike (and all of those since). I was only eight years old in 1958 but as a miner's son even then I understood that it was about fairness, rights and dignity. Although we did not have much under the tree that year we still had a good family Christmas filled with love.

If there was one thing I learned from my father it was solidarity and to never cross a picket line. Indeed as a student working at INCO to pay for my university education I walked the line with my brothers and sisters. That people are crossing the lines in Sudbury is astounding to me, as is the fact that they are allowed to. Perhaps it is just a different time than when I grew up in Sudbury.

You can read more about the proud history of Sudbury's INCO workers and their unions here: A Short History of Sudbury Labour by Mick Lowe


Fair Deal Now
Support Local 6500 Sudbury

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Does "climategate" Matter

After all if the deniers didn't have hacked e-mails to misinterpret and distort they would just make something else up.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Looking Forward to Next Biking Season

The Season in Review

As the snow falls and the salt trucks prepare to dump their loads of corroding crap on the roads and paths it is time for my season end report. I did my first below freezing ride Sunday and it was not too bad. This is the latest in the year I have ridden in recent history and I just might not stop yet.

Overall I have ridden 2684 kilometres (175 hours) this year, 508 (45) on the mountain bike and 2176 (130) on the hybrid.

My season had a poor start though with my riding only the 30 km route in the CN Cycle (formerly Tour Nortel) and dropping out of the first Ottawa Mountain Bike Association (OMBA) South March Highlands (SMH) Group Ride and never getting back into them. My first attempt at organizing a Greenbelt group ride also proved unsuccessful, hopefully just due to poor timing.

CN Cycle for CHEO

Ottawa Mountain Bike Association (OMBA)

But things did pick up and I got into the swing of things. The early part of the season saw a lot of rain and muddy trails so I spent a lot of time on the hybrid putting the kilometres on. When the trails dried up I did a lot of Greenbelt riding and ventured into the South March Highlands. I made a point of getting out on the old Kanata Lakes Trails to ride them before we lose them, as well as riding the upgraded Rockhopper Trail. I also had an interesting ride riding along the new Terry Fox Road right of way, after it was bulldozed for surveying.

Terry Fox Extension Caterpillar Track

Near end of the season I tried out a night group ride in the Greenbelt, where I managed to lose my helmet light. But that did get me back interested in night riding and the search for a new light began, and just as I decided on a new light to buy my light was surprisingly found on the trail by another rider. But it was too late, I had already decided to buy the better replacement light. That is until news of a new better and cheaper alternative was posted on the OMBA website. That is now my new light of choice, I'm just waiting for some trail reports from other riders, who are buying this light in droves, before I purchase it, likely in the spring.

OMBA :: Topic::Latest in lights....

My wife has decided that snowshoeing into work from Kanata to Stittsville just takes too long in the morning so we got ourselves a winter bike - a $100 Supercycle with $200 worth of studded tires for her to ride the two days a week she goes to Stittsville. So I might take it out sometimes during the rest of the week, as long as the weather does not get too cold - but that's a big "might" right now.

Another experience I had this summer was discovering the undocumented Stittsville Trails. And I use the term discover here in it's true meaning, just as the early explorers did - I found something that I didn't know existed but that others knew about and have used for long periods of time. It was still fun exploring them and mapping the trails to add to my collection of GPS Trail Maps.

Stittsville Trails

GPS Trail Maps Website

This was part of the impetus to reorganize and redo my trail maps and move them to a new home. The site can be found here:

Richard's GPS Trail Maps

It started with establishing a new site on blogspot and deciding to add trail descriptions as well as annotating the actual maps with more information. That led to adding photos and actually redoing some of the maps. I then decided to make the GPS data available which meant creating GPX data from the Google Earth kmz files for my earlier maps as I did not save the GPS files for them, as well as cleaning up the GPX files by removing overlapping tracks as much as possible. The project just sort of mushroomed, including photo sessions especially for the project.

And now I am looking at adding additional map views from different maps and satellite images, possibly over the winter, since I discovered another mapping program to add to my collection.

OMBA :: Topic::TopoFusion

Mountain Biking Advocacy

I was also busy this season blogging and making submissions to the City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission on Mountain Biking Issues, in particular the South March Highlands Management Plan and the Greenbelt Master Plan Review.

My blog postings and submissions can be found here:

THE FIFTH COLUMN: Greenbelt Master Plan Review

THE FIFTH COLUMN: South March Highlands Management Plan

I will be presenting further submissions on both of these issues.

Other Mountain Biking News

This season saw OMBA's catweaver formalize her after school rides into MTBCAT - Mountain Biking Children and Teens to provide opportunities for children and teen to experience adventure through mountain biking and other outdoor activities. MTBCAT believes every child deserves the opportunity to explore the great outdoors so they provide the equipment. This is a great program that not only gets children interested in a great sport but also brings them into contact with nature, two things that many children today are missing. The program provides proper equipment to youths who otherwise would not have access to proper mountain bikes to learn on, as well as teaching them bicycle maintenance and repair skills.

Mountain Biking Children And Teens

MTBCAT and OMBA sponsored this years International Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day on September 26th.

This season also saw the announcement of the Joyride 150 Indoor Bike Park in the Greater Toronto Area, much closer to Ottawa than Ray's in the United States.

Joyride 150

As well there was the announcement of the closure of the MTB website a silvertouch and it's replacement by PrivateerMTB.

PrivateerMTB

Talking about MTB websites, the grandaddy of them all, MTB Kanata, is still around but struggling. Check it out.

mtbkanata.com

Looking Forward to Next Season


So here I am already thinking ahead to the spring and next biking season.

First thing on my mind is keeping and getting into shape and doing enough early season training to complete the full 70 km route in the CN Cycle for CHEO.

I also hope to get back into the OMBA SMH Group Rides as well as do more riding in SMH by myself, including the old Kanata Lakes Trails before they are gone. Maybe this year will be the year to get around to riding Outback again. My hope is to do a nice easy paced beginner group ride of Outback with the pace set by the slowest rider, and just hope it isn't me.

I also expect to do a lot of Greenbelt riding, in particular the mapping of Trail 10 and area near the Ottawa River and Trail 29 and connecting trails at Bruce Pit. I also plan to re-activate my series of weekly Greenbelt Rides rotating through the western Greenbelt Trails, including some night rides.

One ride in particular I have been planning for years is a 40 km marathon Greenbelt Trail ride of the western Greenbelt Trails. Maybe next season. Hopefully.

Finally of course will be lots of hybrid riding when the trails are too wet to ride. This past season I didn't get any real long 100km hybrid rides in, so hopefully next season.

Happy riding to all of you riding throughout the winter and see you on the trails in the spring.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Monday, 7 December 2009

Climate Change Is A Hoax

How do I know this. I heard some of these climate scientists being interviewed about their computer models and it turns out they are all based on AlGoreIsms.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings

As an atheist who celebrates Christmas, because it is part of the cultural milieu I was brought up in, am I part of the "War on Christmas" for recognizing that the world does not revolve around Christianity.

Indeed, there are billions of people worldwide celebrating holidays and events other than Christmas during this season, and even at that not everyone who celebrates Christmas is Christian as it has become as much a secular as a religious holiday.

Indeed if anyone is guilty of a "War on Christmas" it is the Christians who have turned Christmas into the High Holy Day of Capitalism.

Let me take this opportunity to offer my best wishes to those celebrating these occasions and holidays this month:

Religious Holidays

Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) - Buddhism
December 8

Masa'il - Baha'i
December 12, 2009
The 15th month.

Chanukah - Judaism
December 12 through to December 29, 2009
Chanukah, meaning "dedication" in Hebrew refers to the joyous eight-day celebration during which Jews commemorate the victory of the Macabees over the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. and the subsequent liberation and "rededication" of the Temple in Jerusalem.

First of Muharram - Islam
December 18, 2009
Islamic New Year, 1431. The first of Muharram marks the first day of the first month (Muharram) of the Islamic year. It begins at sundown the previous day.

Tohji-taisai - Shinto
December 21, 2009
Grand Ceremony of the Winter Solstice. Celebrates the joy of the ending of the yin period of the sun, when it declines in strength, and the beginning of its growing power or yang period. The sun is of central importance in Japan, expressing the presence of Amaterasu Omikami, the Kami of the Sun.

Yule - Wicca
December 21, 2009
Yule, which marks the New Year in the Anglo-Saxon and northern traditions of Wicca, is the celebration of the birth of the Gof as the winter-born King, symbolized by the rebirth of the life-generating and life-sustaining sun. It is a time for ritually shedding the impurities of the past year, and for contemplating avenues of spiritual development in the year ahead.

Christmas - Christianity
December 25, 2009
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus, along with themes such as family, goodwill, giving and compassion.

Death Anniversary of Zarathustr
a - Zoroastrianism
December 26, 2009
The anniversary of the death of Zarathustra (Zoroaster), the founder of the Zoroastrian faith.

Ashura - Islam
December 27, 2009
The tenth day of the first Islamic month (Muharram). For Shi’ite Muslims, this day mourns the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Husain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad. Devout Shi’a commemorate this day of sadness with retelling the story of the battle fought in Kerbala.

Sharaf
- Baha'i
December 31, 2009
The 16th month.

Gahambar Maidyarem - Zoroastrianism
December 31, 2009
This day celebrates the creation of animals. It is also a time for the equitable sharing of food.

My apologies to anyone that I have missed, please add your holiday in the comments section.

Non-Religious Holidays and Commemorations


Rosa Park's Day
(December 1)
Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus in 1955.

International Day of the Disabled Person (December 3)

International Volunteer Day (December 5)

Human Rights Day (December 10)
United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights in 1948

UNICEF Anniversary (December 11)

Winter Solstice
(December 21)
First Day of Winter

Kwanzaa (December 26 to January 1)
Kwanzaa is a unique African American celebration with focus on the traditional African values of family, community responsibility, commerce, and self-improvement. Kwanzaa is neither political nor religious and despite some misconceptions, is not a substitute for Christmas. It is simply a time of reaffirming African-American people, their ancestors and culture.

New Years Eve (December 31)
Celebration of the New Year

And many many more, too numerous to mention.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

City of Ottawa Auditor General Opposes Openness and Makes Secret Deal

According to CTV Ottawa:

CTV Ottawa has learned the city's auditor general, whose job includes monitoring transparency and spending at Ottawa City Hall, has been given a $100,000-payment that was never supposed to be made public.

"I don't know how it became public because I said it was an issue that was discussed in-camera and the information that you received should never have been received by you," Alain Lalonde told CTV Ottawa on Thursday.
So the City's Auditor General thinks it is completely appropriate that the city make secret deals with employees that hide their compensation from taxpayers.

Regardless of how good a job he may have done and what the rationalizations for the secret deal might be [we had to pay him that to get his expertise but we didn't want other employees asking for the same sweetheart deal], do we really want someone in charge of auditing the city's books that approves of, and is part of, that kind of secrecy.

And I really do not know what to make of these reported comments:
Although Lalonde isn't saying much about the payment, he told CTV Ottawa the leak is a breach in city policy.

"I would suggest the person that provided that information to you should be very careful," he said.