Friday, November 28, 2008

Possible New Party Names if Liberals and NDP Merge

Today it's widely reported that Jean Chrétien and Ed Broadbent are in talks about the possibility of forming a coalition government, uniting Liberal and New Democrats. This would unite the left and center to form enough members to possibly defeat the Conservatives. Here are some names to consider using if the federal Liberals and the New Democratic Party do form a coalition party.

The Demerols

The Oppositiacrats/Oppositiacats

Dem Liberals

The New Demos

New & Improved New Democratic Party

The Equal Libriums

CBC (Chrétien Broadbent Coalition)

PCB (Parti de Chrétien & Broadbent)

NLDP (New Liberal Democratic Party)

The Librocrats

The New New Democratic Party and Liberals

The Chrétien Broad Band Connection

What the Reform and PCs Did II Party

Can't Beat Them Join Dem

Suggestions welcome

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pope John Paul, George & Ringo

The Vatican praises the Beatles. About time boys. Sure they weren't saints but through their words and music, did preach love and peace, that's for sure, especially John. Though he spoke out against organized religion, he did in later years, actually in his last interview on the day he was shot for example, acknowledge that Jesus, tried to bring about peace. He also said that people are free to follow religion and Jesus, and that's the way society should be - free, free to express yourself as you wish.

Jesus and John (Lennon) in some important ways had commonalities. We know much more about Lennon as practically everything he did or said was recorded, than we do about Jesus. Having said that, what we do know about Jesus is that he wanted people to live peacefully, and be caring and unselfish. John could not knock that.

Lennon was often a man of contradictions, for example, he hated the Beatles and/or Paul McCartney after the split, but at other times, showed admiration for his former bandmate, and his creativity. More to come on John Lennon in the next week.

Monday, November 24, 2008

An Astounding Musical Savant's Keys to Life

Thirteen year old Rex Lewis-Clack is a medical wonder who is doing what his parents were told he would never do. Born with a huge cyst on his brain, doctors said he would never walk, talk, or anything much. He had autistic symptoms growing up, hated being touched, his hands were constantly in fist formations, small noises would make him scream, and he still has great difficulty with basic tasks.

On his second birthday, his father bought a piano for him. That's when things really changed. The instant he touched the piano, something was unlocked in Rex. He quickly used his now opened hands to stretch across the piano keys, and search for notes, learn songs, and play. He is fascinating to watch play piano. In a sense he's a young Mozart - he can automatically replay a tune just after hearing it once. This is just as incredible - he's been blind since birth!

His strong affinity for music is a rare trait for autistic savants. Rex is astonishing to watch perform so effortlessly, yet, when away from the keys he has trouble putting a shoe on, or telling the difference between the shape of a circle and square. In the video you will see him play songs he hasn't heard before. He has a rare gift to imitate sound, but as you'll see, to also be creative, and mimic voice and language. A musician plays and sings Ave Maria for him, and he not only plays it back but sings it, in Latin.

Piano keys seem to be the keys to unlocking his doorway to normal human behaviors. He amazes as times passes and it will be interesting to follow his emotional growth as his brain finds ways to interpret and react normally to his living environment.

Here's the original 60 Minutes story. The video is also on this site, plus other videos of a younger Rex.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Paul White's Book "Fishing for Reality"

The province's first self-help book by counselor and motivational speaker Paul White is on shelves now.

White is the author of "Fishing for Reality". He is an education counselor and from his website, an "esteemator". Anyone who knows Paul will describe him as positive, full of energy, and determined to succeed. He is also determined to show people how to steer their "life" boats in the right direction to find personal and professional contentment. That's the focus of his book. White offers many valuable insights into personal growth and wants to tap into the locked up power within 'you'.

Fishing for Reality is a very enjoyable, relaxing and informative read. Skipper Bruce was White's grandfather and mentor, and a key figure in the book. "They" share their wisdom, and helpful hints about succeeding in life. There are quintals of good advice in there, and Fishing for Reality will have a positive impact on peoples' lives.

Paul will be signing copies of his book at Chapters, Kenmount Rd. on Nov. 23, from 2-4 pm.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gas Prices 1987-2008: Highs & Not As Highs

The tables below show NL gas prices over the last twenty years. For years gas price increases have been reported every other day, and you hear various reasons for it, from increased tension between some nations, threats of hurricanes, world demand, or more consumer demand in winter. The charts below are just for information purposes and anyone can look more closely to find trends. The information was found on the MJ Ervin & Associates (an Alberta based industry consulting company) web site, and pieced together to just compare NL gas flucuations. Note, you can also find prices on any given week for towns and cities in Canada.

Since 1987, St. John's prices have always been recorded. Eventually Gander and Corner Brook, and in the last few years, Labrador City, from this particular site.

One thing is for certain, NL prices are always above the Canadian average. And it might be safe to say, Labrador prices are always higher than Newfoundland prices. The trend of increasing fuel prices because of winter and cold months has not been a consistent one. For example, in 1988 and 1992 the price actually decreased from Jan. - June, and continued to drop in 1992. Other years also showed fairly steady prices.

The 2000's seem to show definite price increases during the winter/spring months in NL. Right now, prices are down to 95.9 cents/litre again, the lowest in a couple of years. They could go up again in the spring if the past number of years are any indication. (Have a look at the price increase from Jan. - summer for 2008, 2007, 2006, & 2005.)

The tables below are for regular self-serve gas. Click to view actual size.
2000 - 2008


1987 - 1989
To find fuel prices for many other places in Newfoundland and Labrador, check out the Petroleum Pricing Office web site right here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Freedom, a Daily Reminder   

It's just so unfair that so many of those who helped preserve our freedoms lost theirs in fields - fields, similar to those we use for peaceful recreation.

To all the soldiers, thanks for your action, sacrifice and bravery. You are all heros in our society.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Having a Have Celebration

Whether your fiscal yearly wealth is largely from the auto sector or the oil sector, it is good to be a "Have" province. As for a provincial party, as in money being spent on foods, drinks, music, and whatever, I think that is a waste. There is no need. The money could be used to purchase another piece of equipment for one of the hospitals. In the meantime, there's nothing wrong with someone celebrating it through a video.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Signal Hill Sunrise

One of my first Nikon digital shots from Marconi's famous hill. For visitors not from Newfoundland & Labrador, this is the first sunrise in Canada. Signal Hill is located in St. John's, Newfoundland and is the farthest east city in North America. Hmmm, not a bad spot to build a house, wonder what they're asking for Signal Hill property these days.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Election that Made the World Smile

(A shorter version of this was published in The Telegram on Nov. 22, 2008)

From Australia, to Kenya, to Asia, people danced in the streets when it was projected that Barack Obama was President-Elect of the U.S. This election was like no other in U.S. history, and there may never be one where millions of people celebrate in American streets. After the news announcement, the change that took place was instant. The change was one of attitude, justice, and freedom.

How many black Americans watching last night, never dreamed of a black man being elected President in their lifetimes? Many watching had lived through extreme racist violence against them decades ago. They were not allowed to use the same washrooms, attend the same schools, or sit on the same buses. They can remember open hatred toward them, and heard stories from their parents and grandparents of slavery and lynchings.

Until only several generations ago, when you were born black it was inherent that you were not a full person, were different, and better get used to a life of frustration. It was not until the 1960s that all restrictions on the black right to vote were lifted. So being an American "untouchable" was as good as being a genetic trait for African-Americans.

Despite being frustrated by a sick and inhumane culture of discrimination black America proved its ability on every front. However, the top job in the country was never that realistic, until 1984 and '88 when Jesse Jackson ran in Presidential elections. He won 6.9 million votes in the latter. Another African American candidate, Alan Keyes, made several attempts for the office in 1996, 2000 and this year. He was a conservative Republican and some of his views was seen as too radical when running against Clinton. Yet, there has existed the "great black hope".

Four years ago, Senator Barack Obama delivered a keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. That speech introduced him to the world. His speech was delivered in a manner that made viewers take notice of him as a confident, passionate, insightful and promising leader. He spoke of unity in the country, the hope of the U.S. for success, and talked about peoples' similarities. His presentation caused waves in the media, and many foresaw him as a future leader, including this blogger. You could tell that he had special abilities.

Growing up as a black person, though his parents were black and white, it appears he realized that to be an accepted leader for the majority of Americans, it would take patience, an ever so gingerly tactful set of speeches, a demonstration of knowledge, an empathy with the needs of whites, blacks and all backgrounds. His influence must heavily be Martin Luther King who also had to demonstrate patience, understanding and strength.

One of Obama's great strengths is his elocution. In order to captivate his audience with carefully chosen words and appropriately accompanying gestures and expressions, he must have spent many many hours of rehearsing his campaign in his own mind. To give speeches that were acceptable to a mostly white America, took much historical perspective analysis on his part. He had to speak not with anger or an air of revenge, but with a message that directed people to view the future for what it could be, rather than remind Americans of past injustices.

Not only did he have what it took to get elected, but the political climate was ready for a breath of fresh air. With the morbid war years and the despised international image of the U.S. particularly under Bush, the time was right for this "right" African American candidate. In a way George Bush could be thanked for helping him get elected. McCain was seen in public as being a Bush ally, and that was a turn-off for many.

What Obama ignited with his 2004 speech flamed into a burning vision of a new America where there is pride in being racially equal, and non-discriminatory. It may have also lead to the sense of their nation being released from the burden of its own historical conscience. It is a new reason for America to be proud of itself, and it is the hope and underlined emancipation that made the world smile.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Obama is America's First Black President

Yes he did! What a miletone in history! The United States can give itself a pat on the back for electing an African American as President. Though the popular vote was close in many states, the outcome was not quite the surprise as the picture above would suggest. Obama was favoured in over 100 polls done nation-wide in the U.S. since September, said a CNN reporter earlier. This event marks a proud moment for black America and for the nation itself, as it can begin a new chapter in race perception!

How Obama does as President remains to be seen but he has broken the color barrier, and given hope to all people who have incredible hurdles to overcome to succeed. This is huge for the African American population of the U.S., and minority groups everywhere in the world. This change is cause for celebration right now.

Monday, November 03, 2008

"Yes We Can" More Than Just a Campaign Slogan

The frenzy and excitement of possibly having an African-American President will climax tomorrow evening. For weeks polls have shown Barack Obama with a significant lead over rival John McCain. CNN's latest has a 7 percentage point lead. Black America is on the brink of mass hysteria, a nation-wide street filled celebration of victory, freedom and hope.

At this point John McCain will have to pray for a lightning bolt of brilliance to strike him in the next 24 hours, or pray for a major calamity in the Obama campaign. His downward spiral began after his September statement when Wall Street collapsed, that the "fundamentals of our economy are strong". Soon after he said that the fundamentals of the economy are "at risk".

Obama's campaign was strong, it had to be to withstand the challenge of formerly presumptive winner Hillary Clinton, to overcome negative ties from Obama's past, to overcome racial differences and doubt about a black leader. Over time, Obama impressed voters with his words and eloquence. The idea of change has come to mean many things to different people.

"Yes We Can" is positive message implying that there is hope, there is victory, there is success that is within reach. It encompasses all races, and backgrounds. For black America it also means, "yes, we can also work in a position where no black man has worked before, there are no limits on what we can do". The slogan sends a message from Barack Obama to fellow African-Americans that there is no longer anything that can really hold people back. It sends a message of intense pride of a race. The very electing of Obama in itself could have the effect of mass motivation, not just for blacks but for anyone, anyone who sees obstacles to overcome in life to succeed.

In ways, his speeches have been idealistic in vision, but the first order of business will be to handle the top priority of the economy, and peoples' personal economic crises. With an Obama Presidency there will be the most dramatic change perhaps ever. Not necessarily so in direct policy changes in the immediate years, but certainly it will mark a national attitude change about race and image. It will create a pride that all Americans, and outsiders can appreciate.

Related: The Election that made the World Smile