It was just a matter of time

We just hit an all-time low. First we had John and Kate +8 and now the bean counters at the networks have decided that more is better, so we have Octomom +16. 1 parent less and 8 kids more, just what we need to keep us all rivetted during the long winter months. A better plan would be to hibernate for a while and hope the whole thing passes while  having a nice wholesome nap after a very large meal.

Let’s see, root canal surgery with no anaesthetic using a wood drill bit or watching  this spectacle? Bring on the Black and Decker. Imagine the sheer delight of watching nappy changing, feeding, bathing and then repeat, at nauseam in glorious HD, and that is just the kids. Add to the mix the one known adult, who is a nutcase of monumental  proportions,  and the Addams family will seem positively normal by comparison. If there is any appeal to this, it’s like the people that watch Formula 1 just for the inevitable wreck. It has to happen, it is just a matter of time.

The only thing  fun about this is trying to guess which advertisers will be foolish enough to allow their products to be aired during this disaster. A few that would be a good fit would be condoms, tranquillizers and carpet cleaners.

The slightly sad part about all of this is that this project is even being considered, the really sad part about this is that the networks are sure that people will watch.

Update

A Minor Consideration president Paul Petersen, a former child actor who appeared on “The Mickey Mouse Club,” said he had monitored Miss Suleman since her octuplets were born on January 26.

He said he wanted to ensure that the children’s rights were protected under laws governing child entertainers.

Miss Suleman’s lawyers filed papers to have the case dismissed, with attorney Jeffery Czech arguing it was “not in the best interests of the Suleman children.”

“Once again, persons who do not have any knowledge of the Suleman children are interfering into their lives in an apparent effort to gain publicity and financial reward for themselves,” he said.

Asked for her response to the court’s decision, Miss Suleman, 33, told reporters: “I’m indifferent. Totally indifferent.”

Says it all doesn’t it

Star Trek Bikes

Over the last several years, boffins hidden in a garden shed in Acton Trussel have been working on a force field to protect bicycle riders. This force field detects the presence of other vehicles and automatically protects the rider from any collisions. The power source for this field is small black hole that absorbs all Stable Environmental Node Sonic Emissions from the rider.

Not only that, but an enhancement to the force field generator makes the bike and rider visible to all traffic no matter what the lighting or weather conditions.

Mr. Ivor Branecramp of the National University Testing Symposium said in a public statement that this startling breakthrough was the result of gene pool cleaning techniques demonstrated by an increasing percentage of riders.

My. Branecramp went on further to say that Newton’s Three Laws were also suspended by use of this field, but a side effect was that all traffic lights were no longer visible to riders.

In a final statement issued later, it was pointed out that the software for this technology was in Beta testing, and riders could expect hard crashes at any time and should ride accordingly.

Electric cars

The Ontario government has just announced incentives up to $10,000 for purchase of electric cars. The stated aim is by2020 to have 5% of the vehicles on the road powered by electricity.

Now on the surface, this seems to be a great idea, but as we all know, beauty is only skin deep.

There are a few issues with this scheme.

First and foremost that there are really no truly cost effective electric vehicles for sale at the moment. The G Whiz, give me a break, I’ve seen shopping trolleys that have better acceleration (and also more space for transportation of goods). The Chevy Volt – not yet for sale, so the jury is totally out. Other electric vehicles – well I’m sure there are a few in the pipeline, but don’t hold your breath.

Secondly, there are no current manufacturers in Canada, so this $10,000 incentive does nothing to aid our own workforce. If you think the Chevy Volt is going to be built in Canada, then I think your dreams are in bright vivid colours, and you already own somewhat damp land in Florida.

Thirdly, the whole life-cycle of these cars is not being considered. Sure, while they are operating, they produce zero source emissions, but that is far from the complete truth.  There are three inconvenient truths that are being shovelled under the carpet.

 The first inconvenient truth is that the Ontario power grid is not exactly in the first flush of youth, and its capacity is severly strained at a number of times during the year. Right now, that isn’t a huge issue, but people, we are in the middle of a recession and industry is not working flat out. Given that at some point we will be out of this recession, then the system will be back under strain with no short term strategy to deal with this, and you want to add 5% of the vehicles on the road as electricity consumers. Duh!

The second inconvenient truth is that electricity doesn’t come pollution free. While some of Ontario’s power comes from Nuclear and Hydro plants, pretty much all of the on-demand supply is either diesel or coal fired plants. Guess what – pollution. Now I’m not saying that the sum totals are equal between cars and generating plants, but it is part of the equation.

The third inconvenient truth is that electric cars have batteries. Besides the fact that these batteries are hugely expensive to replace, there is the additional problem that at the end of the life-cycle of the car they need to be disposed of. Batteries are sources of heavy metals and other really unpleasant substances, and to the best of my knowledge there are not too many effective ways of recycling.

This is starting to read like the ethanol fuels story. On the surface it looked good, but then the law of unintended consequences kicked in and suddenly we have a rise in basic food supply prices, because a significant proportion of food crops were being diverted to create fuel. The electric car story is similar, on the surface it makes good press, but the downsides are not inconsiderable.

Bird Sounds

I live in the world of technology, and must admit to having a blackbirds eye to snatching up anything that glitters. This has led me to having a fairly large pile of obsolete technology that is gathering dust in the corner of my office, so now I try to at least look a little before hurling myself off the cliff with nothing but a credit card to slow the fall.

I’ve made a few good choices – for those of you old enough to remember, I strategically chose cassette over 8 track, and VHS over BETA and was a very early adopter of the CD, despite being a total audio snob that thought it sounded soulless compared to my treasured record collection.

That being said, there are somethings I simply don’t get, and Twitter is one of them. The idea that you need the ability to notify the world of your every move just has me shaking my head. Most of the time, I’m more than happy that the world doesn’t know what I’m doing. Also, the idea that 140 characters is enough for any meaningful statement also takes a little getting used to. 140 words I could live with – but 140 characters?

I know that advertising is based upon the idea of sound bites, but do we really have to reduce everything to that. Some of my most fun times were during my student days where many an evening was spent drinking vast amounts of cheap plonk and discussing the state of the universe until the wee hours of the morning. Imagine having to do it 140 characters at a time.

What a good idea – not

India is demanding that Western countries pay 0.8 per cent of their GDP to fund what they call “mitigation and adaptation” – compensation for the West’s historic role in contributing to global warming, and the cost of changing over to green technologies.

Gee – thats a good idea – not!

Call me cynical, but paying anyone huge bunches of cash without complete oversight as to where it is spent is a receipe for 3rd world dictators and government officials to line their own pockets with little or nothing to show for an end result. Let’s look at all of the aid that is pumped into so called 3rd world countries – their ruling classes live lives that most of us can only dream about, yet their populations in general are still continuing to die by the millions. It is not effective and never will be.

The only way that anything like this can be effective is by applying ecomomic pressure at its most basic level. Turn around and simply say – we are not buying any of your exports unless you can prove that they are being created in a sustainable way. That includes the raw materials that are used to make them and the maufacturing processes that are used. Included in the raw materials would be the power that is used to operate the machinery.

Is this harsh – yes. Should we be applying standards for emissions over and above what is acceptable in the developed world – no. Is this simplistic – yes.

Would our imports cost more – yes – most certainly, the use of cheap dirty processes for manufacture are part of the reason that these imports are so cheap, as well as child labour, no environmental standards to speak of, and working conditions that make England in the 19th century look like utopia. These are all factors which can be controlled through buy/no buy decisions, and if we want to be able to take a moral high road, we should be taking those decisions, both in corporate and consumer buying.

A huge American chain such as WalMart could probably significantly change the world if it flexed its buying muscle in a moral rather than purely economic way. Not only that – it may take a hit in the short term by not having the cheapest prices on the high street, but I’m betting their marketting group could capitalize on that in spades.

Help the Third World – yes, line the pockets of every tinpot dictator and petty official who has his hand out – no.

Oh dear

Now that the knives and various other forms of sharp cutlery have been put away, Gordon Clown’s government of expense fiddlers seems to be getting back to business as usual. While you may think that this is the same as Nero fiddling away while Rome burns, just take that one step further and consider where that left the Romans.

The rigid idealogue politicians are merrily continuing to trample on privacy, education and any form of non-state sponsored free enterprise. The spin that is coming out of Whitehall would make a gyroscope dizzy, and the pronouncements by various and sundry politicians has about as much appeal as a whispered “come here little girl” from the Who’s Uncle Ernie.

While this government does seem to be in its death throes it seems to be reacting like a lottery winner with six months to live, with twin matras of “spend every last penny” and “lets try anything”

Whilst naked bungy jumping may be ok for an individual, seeing a government attempt it is like watching your 60 year old, overweight Aunt Hattie attempt the high hurdles – not a pretty sight to put it mildly and a receipe for an earthshattering and very embarrassing disaster.

Global Warming

There is a tongue in cheek saying – “what comes after two days of rain? – Monday”. It has never been more true, as we shiver through the coldest summer on record for a long time.

Now I don’t know about you, but to me the hysterical bleeting of green sheep about our planet turning into a giant childrens sandpit, and the oceans swallowing vast tracts of the continent do not seem to track with what you can see by simply staring out of your window.

I’m not saying there are not some seeds of truth in  the many dire and ominous predictions. Certainly if you go downtown on a hot and muggy day you can certainly see the sense in reducing vehicle emissions, the mountains of garbage that are generated everyday puts a huge tick in the recycle box, and the simple fact that a plastic bottle is going to outlast the Rocky Mountains means that things have to be done. 

What I have a problem with is this cataclysmic end of the world preaching and predictions of doom and catastrophe. I may end up buying a more fuel efficient car, I will certainly recycle (but please don’t send me a set of rules about it that make the Encyclopedia Britannica look like light reading) and I don’t buy disposible plastic water bottles. What I will not do is revert to a 15th century lifestyle on the say so of a charteuse nutbar.

When my mum made me take cod liver oil because it was good for me, I had faith in her judgement,  even through it took a half hour for my stomach to stop churning, but I will only take environmental cod liver oil when my mum says so, and she wants a hot summer too!

If Only

Racing sail boats is life as it should be.

It is a game of planning, execution, skill, teamwork and knowledge with a little bit of luck thrown in to make things interesting.

It has nothing to do with image, status, height, the car you drive or the size of the house you live in.

Now, it’s not  a completely even playing field. You can throw lots of money at it, and your chances of success will increase. Buying new sails seems to be an addiction for sailors, but as long as yours don’t look like a set of bedsheets after a roman orgy, then you can still compete quite successfully.

You can also spend bucketloads of cash on electronics, but quite frankly most of it simply gets in the way. Just like life, knowing where you are going is a very useful thing, but all of the rest of the add ons are like Twittering while you are driving on the 401 – as ideas go – not one of the brightest.

Nature is what keeps sailboat racing interesting. She has an evil sense of humor, and is always in the background ready to cut your ego down to size.

Leading the pack are we? Well, have a storm or two and see how that works for you.

Fetching the mark nicely are you? Well, lets try having wind in the other direction.

Mother Nature is quite the little minx, and you can’t forget that.

The other thing that makes things interesting for racers is that its a pack activity, and again like life, your success is determined by how well you deal with the people around you. Sure, you can behave like a bully and try to push everyone around, but there is always someone larger than you to even the score. You can behave like a wallflower and hide on the sidelines, but that won’t get you anywhere either.

No, the best way is to treat people fairly and have a few manners.

Gee – shame life isn’t like that, isn’t it?

A Confession

My name is Lee and I’m a gasaholic.

I first became aware of my addiction at age 16, when I would sit and look through color pictures of Ferrarris, Porsches and even American muscle cars such as the Ford Mustang. My mouth would be dry and I would sit and image myself at the wheel. I would lay awake at night and dream of the touch of the leather, the smoothness of the walnut interiors and the sheer excitement of pedal to the metal.

In those days, having a desire for excess horsepower was not seen as an assault against Mother Nature, and only the insurance companies had seen the light and were penalizing the few that dared to bring their fetish out into the light and puchase one of these gasoline and tire devouring monsters.

Of the British cars, those that drove minis, except for the hallowed Cooper S, were thought of as strange, and you wouldn’t invite them to your next Poker Party. You might allow them to date your sister, as they were safe.  As for the other British cars of that time period, only the Jag stood out. I was a fan of horsepower, sheer unadulterated vehicular testosterone.

But time has passed, and awareness of all things environmental has been raised by the great prophet Gore. Our children have been brought up to see and point out our errors as teachers have instilled the virtues of tropical rainforests, their sacred duty to conserve fossil fuels and to turn off lights. PETA has lectured them on the cruelty to animals involvd in Connolly leather upholstery, and the potential for insect injury if an innocent fly hits your windshield at high speed.  Local politicians have declared total war on the car, under the guise of reverence for public transport, and even Hollywood celebrities in their constant search for the next social mission are driving around in electric or hybrid cars.

So the kids are against me, the politicians are against me, the celebrities are against me, the teachers are against me, PETA are against me and horror of horrors Al Gore is against me.

You know what – at least I’m honest about my fun. Al Gore jets around the planet preaching conservation, yet has a carbon footprint the size of Manhatten. We see politicians preaching what is good for you, whilst fiddling their expenses and being chauffeured around in limosines. PETA are a bunch of crackpots that can ignore all of the suffering in the world to save a butterfly, and children are easy marks for social engineering.  Hollywood celebrities conventiently forget to mention their second cars are Hummers or Maybachs.

My name is Lee, I’m a gasaholic and proud of it

I’m Not Famous

Michael Jackson has passed away, and while for some of us, this isn’t a huge event, there are others that view this as something of great social importance. Let’s not go into the social relevance of having so much plastic surgery that your nose fell off, the potentially weird implications of wearing one glove, the baby dangling episode or the strange affectation with surgical masks. Jacko was one weird being, but I guess that is why this is news.

I’m more interested in fame.

The Jackson story shines a spotlight on fame, money and all of its ugly side in true technicolor. Don’t get me wrong, having money is a good thing, it allows you freedoms that you otherwise wouldn’t have, but there is a limit, and this story pushes the limit so far that it needs a passport.

Michael Jackson was introduced to showbiz at a very early age with the Jackson 5. There is documented evidence that he was a subject of parental abuse, and what is most certain, rather than having a loving and supportive family, he was used as a cash machine by those he most needed to trust.

He has gone through life with a coterie of hangers on, finanial leeches and potential enablers of a prescription drug habit that may have helped end his life. I’m not saying that Jackson would have been a normal person without all of this, but with this, he didn’t stand a chance.

Like Elvis before him and many others, fame was an enabler that brought human pirahnas to him like chum in the waters and his death has further brought this out, with the toxic sight of his father and Rev Al Sharpton holding media conferences.

The scrambling of human leeches to hook onto his children, and look after their “best interests” is enough to make a vulture vomit, and the line up for tell all books by everyone from his so-called friends to the guy that unblocks the toilets at Neverland grows by the day.

I’m lucky, I’m not famous. My friends are my friends because they like me, not because of what I can do for them.

Now isn’t that refreshing