Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rock Bottom

It's been an uncharacteristically decent spring in Eastern Newfoundland this year. Normally fog would make it difficult to see the edge of this hill, let alone the beach below. It's not everyday there's something to see in the distance - on this day, it was a shore thing.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Not sure who got the biggest scare, the fox or myself. Was not exactly camera ready for the face the face contact (well about 60 feet away at first), but the zoom caught up with him/her making the escape.

Attention Tourists! Do NOT Do This!

On a trip to catch some easterly winds whip up the sea for some powerful crashing and thrashing on the shore rocks, my viewfinder found three daring souls who played with fire. Actually it was water, icy cold, manically brutal and unforgiving Atlantic Ocean water. Cape Spear is the place, like many other visitor lookouts around the 1000's of miles of coastline along the province's Atlantic edge.

So wherever you do see great breaking waves nearly split the shore boulders, take some shots indeed, get in the picture, But, do not go near that sea. Stay back a safe distance. At historic park areas like Cape Spear, there are signs posted, advising safe areas to stay behind - it's good advice.

The fellows in this shot really did not realize how lucky they were. They said it was their first time out there, and it was fun enough for them, but they clearly were unaware of being only a foot slip away from simply being in a chilly condition, to a grave one. Nice people though, but they were also unaware that several people had lost themselves to the hungry ocean, when they got too close to that monster.

For anyone not familiar with ocean waves, know this, the size and strength of them are never quite the same.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bonavista's Micheal Ryder on Fire!

The Globe has a nice article of "Ryder's revenge" (ed.).

It's said of revenge that it's a dish best served cold, but in his heart of hearts Boston Bruins winger Michael Ryder will tell you it's best served up in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Last evening Ryder scored 2 goals and assisted with a third to oust the great Montreal Canadians from the playoffs. Last year he was given his papers by that very team, but last night's game was sweet.

"It's definitely a good feeling to beat your old team here in Montreal," the Newfoundland native said after the game. "I kind of actually forgot about what happened last year. I'm a Bruin now, and it's a lot of fun." - Ryder

5 players from Newfoundland and Labrador in Playoffs

People usually go out west to find employment, but in recent years, more people from Newfoundland and Labrador are going west alright, to the NHL. This could possibly be another year with a home grown name on the Cup. Last year it was Daniel Cleary from Harbour Grace. This year, another Bonavista native, Adam Pardy is firing up fans there. Pardy is with the Calgary Flames.

Labrador City's Dan LaCosta plays goal with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Southern Shore fans, particulary residents of Fermeuse, are keeping a close eye on their own Ryane Clowe, who is a forward with the San Jose Sharks.

Good luck to them all. It's great to get to the NHL, better to reach the playoffs, and it must feel good as well to know that they have inspired other kids to achieve their dreams, and try to the best of their abilities, to win at their own game.

Down in the Brook

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Animal rights activist makes FBI's 'Most Wanted' terrorist list

Daniel Andreas San Diego, 31, is a member of the animal rights group, Revolutionary Cells, and is wanted in the bombing of research labs in California.

Animal rights and environmental extremism pose a significant domestic terror threat "To date, extremists have been responsible for more than 1,800 criminal acts and more than $110 million in damages." (FBI)

San Diego has a tatoo which says, "it only takes a spark". He is the latest animal rights terrorist to achieve public notoriety for extremist violent acts. PETA has supported similar terrorists in the past, by providing funding. The FBI says it paid $1,500 to ELF, the largest U.S. terrorist group. According to the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Centre)

PETA also provided funds to convicted animal- or environmental-rights terrorists, including contributing $20,000 to Rodney Coronado, convicted of a research lab at Michigan State College, and $7,500 to Fran Trutt, convicted of attempting to murder a medical executive.

The Intelligence Report, which is a project that monitors hate groups and extremism in the U.S., reports that PETA and the Humane Society of the U.S. regularly has extremist activists speak at their conventions. IR quotes PETA's Bruce Friedrich as stating:

If we really believe that animals have the same right to be free from pain and suffering at our hands, then of course we're going to be blowing things up and smashing windows. … I think it's a great way to bring animal liberation, considering the level of suffering, the atrocities. I think it would be great if all of the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories, and banks that fund them, exploded tomorrow. (source)

So, the people who appear to be so concerned with animal rights supports terrorists too. That's a donation well spent!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Poor Timing, Taste and Press for Helicoptor Book

Competition, timing and opportunism, all business virtues. When John Lennon was tragically slain on Dec. 8, 1980, a thin pictorial book called "Lennon Remembered" was on shelves within a week. Public figures like entertainers are in public eye and have to develop a thick skin as they are the news, whether it's true or not, or hurtful. However, survivors like Lennon's widow have not necessarily habituated to media's splattering of the tradegy. But it seems that getting by in this world means ignoring another's feelings.

Author Tom Badcock of DRC Publishing, is defending his book on the recent disaster.

Badcock said he was motivated to write the book before an out-of-province outfit did something similar. (CBC)

Some, including one insulting commenter at CBC's coverage of the story, thinks that the helicopter tragedy book is just a business opportunity, and spews "no wonder newfies are always broke". His comment did not reflect well on business ethics, yet perhaps, just reinforced what it can be. Every other comment considered the idea of a book on the crash in such a short time, to be disgusting.

It will take months before a report on the crash is produced. The public has been tuning in to every shred of information that was covered extensively by various media, and are informed as Mr. Badcock probably is. At this point, what is the point? Whether a book was published by an NL native or by an out of province publisher, it is not good timing or taste at this time. It's also a sad statement about life when it is considered a "success" (in business) to out-compete someone in producing a book just after a fresh trauma that people are still trying to heal from.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Some Good Hash Here

Thought it was time to rename the blog. Since there are a mixture of topics, postings, which are sometimes related to current events, or general life, photos, photo shopped graphics, etc., it was time to change the name. We are all observers to different degrees, and this one certainly watches politics at home and abroad, but it's not a political blog per se. It's just a blog site for expression with words, thoughts, pictures, and from time to time researching to find some truth to whatever the curiousity neurons need.

It's more than just about Newfoundland and Labrador, but NL's topics are specifically interesting , and you will find topics that relate to goings on here, plus photos of the place - and more to come. It's a beautiful province, with so many picturesque places to visit. Feel free to drop by both the province, and this site for a hash serving. Oh, and, just to be clear, it's the hash, as in food (for thought), a mixture, not the other stuff.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

This Headline has been Recycled: "Recycling Has to Grow"

NL has millions of pounds of renewable resources available to be recycled, reused, and eventually, resold. The province has made progress but there's much more to do.

The city of Calgary has had drop off bins throughout the city for years. You can take a few minute walk down the street with plastics, glass, or cans, and you will not only free up some space at home, but also at the landfills, for clean air, and your own lungs.

We are a resource rich province alright, a resource that is largely untapped. The St. John's web site has a section for free "white" bulk metals pickup - fridges, stoves, swing sets, etc. that's in the right direction. But we need to evolve more in the household recycling area, to increase pop bottles and cans recycling, and to include other types of bottles and cans.

Calgary appears to be set up to accommodate citizen recycling. Here's a pdf of Recycling Opportunities from Calgary's web site. Here's a snapshot: . Food containers have to be cleaned before they are dropped off for recycling, and it only makes sense. It's hard work to be sorting these items all day, let alone have to tolerate every foul food odor there is.

There is a huge potential for huge growth in recycling in St. John's and the province. There are a number of drop off depots getting around but it's not quite where we could be in terms of facilitating recycling and accommodating residents, even for recyclable items accepted now.

Just dropping off some newspapers, plastics, and pops cans to the Elizabeth Ave. depot reminds you of Tim Horton's success - re: the line ups are happening. The space inside the customer area quickly becomes a squatty 5 x 20 ft space, and people are backed up outside the door with bags of bottles, cans, juice packs, and whatever is acceptable. The people doing the sorting are kept quite busy, and seem to be doing a good job of sorting. But they need more space too. There really is a need for either a larger work and drop-off area, but preferably more locations, as there is only so much parking space at this location, and that becomes a potential problem.

Most people are working 9-5, and with work and family commitments, are not available to drop off containers. So there needs to be available hours to accommodate recycling. Most green depots around the province close between 4 - 5 pm.

Refunds are real for plastics and pop cans, and therefore a definite incentive. It is becoming common to see people driving to the depot towing trolleys loaded with large bags of recyclables. One person's renewable resources on Monday must easily have been worth $70-$80. We 100s of millions of plastic and aluminum containers in this province each year - permanently resource-based like other provinces.

Though a refund is real, it should not at all be the only incentive to make the effort to cut down on waste to the dump. Thinking of throwing out something useful, and which has value, is well, a waste.

Oh, can't forget paper. People do drop off paper, without refund, and we can now see the tip of that resource iceberg. In February NL Environment Minister Charlene Johnson announced $300,000 toward a recycled paper baling machine, located on Blackmarsh Rd. Good stuff, but there's plenty more paper work to do.

It's been said before, but no harm in recycling the idea. In fact, take a drive around the city while the tree limbs are bare, and the leaves have yet to hide the trash. St. John's is in fact not clean and beautiful, unless you think that the bags in the trees are pretty, this time of year. But the city could be clean and beautiful. There really needs to be more pride promoted in keeping our surroundings neat, everywhere in the province.

Imagine into the future when there are hardly any containers thrown out in the garbage. Then, imagine other items included. In South Korea, every straw, or coffee stirring stick is recycled. Now that's really into it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Little Piece of the Rock

Was experimenting with a new camera filter, and noticed a familiar island shape, though a bit obscure. In a second shot, just seconds later, that ice shape was out of the picture having floated on its merry way. Speaking of ice, this is iceberg season for berg and photo enthusiasts. They will float down along the coast of Labrador, along the northern peninsula, the northern coast side of Newfoundland, and some will drift close by the Avalon. is a site that tracks them.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Unemployment Trends to March 2009

Canada's Unemployment Statistics for Mar., 2009,
and last 4 months comparison

PlaceDec. ' 08Jan. ' 09Feb. ' 09Mar. ' 09Rate of change
from Feb.
ON7.288.78.7no change
SK4. change

Table figures were compiled from this source.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

"Anyone Who Breaks the Code of Conduct Should be Shot"

Did Yvonne Jones actually call PC backbenchers "yah**s"? [(do sign of the cross here) In the name of the Father ..] Cleanse thy mouth out ye beasts of the earth.

Ok, the name Yahoo is intended to be insulting, and though it is not harsh compared to the Premier's street talking reference to Eastern Health ".. they should be shot over there", Speaker Roger Fitzgerald did step in - as the Speaker of the House is expected to - and asked her to apologize.

From time to time politicians break the stated or assumed rules of decorum in the province's house of public representation, and it is the speaker's role to ensure civility. It would have been interesting to see what the Speaker's reaction would have been to Williams' remark had he been so unwise to craft so emotionally, those choice words in the Legislature. Would the Speaker who at times, is "Government-friendly", chastise him with an equal level of emotional anger? Perhaps a future fireworks will explode in the House starting with a man who has a "flare" with words, and we'll see.

Jones' Yahoo insult was hardly newsworthy, but it does help, along with Williams' much more newsworthy comment, to remind MHAs that they are acting as the representatives of the people to be constructive rather than counter-productive, and that they are in positions of influence that should model civility in discourse.

The House of Assembly has a Members Code of Conduct that the Speaker of the House is expected to enforce and promote. This document references the Integrity and Accountability Act which, referring to the Speaker's role in maintaining civil House of Assembly, states:
35. (1) The speaker shall, immediately after the coming into force of
this Act, refer to the standing committee of the House of Assembly on
Privileges and Elections the responsibility of developing and proposing to
the House of Assembly the adoption, by resolution, of a code of conduct
for members to assist members in the discharge of their obligations to the
House of Assembly, their constituents and the public at large by

(a) providing guidance on the standards of conduct expected of
members in discharging their legislative and public duties; and

The document does not spell out personal insults as such. It would seem that the Speaker, speaks this to the members, perhaps at the beginning of the sitting of the House.

In any case, there is an expectation of professional conduct which assumptively includes avoiding insulting remarks. That conduct is formally expected in the House and expected of politicians outside as well.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

While You're Still Alive There's Hope and that Goes for Ex-Politicians Also

Why he did it, perhaps only he can explain it, or maybe, not, yet. His salary was already good, over $100,000, supported his family, had the comforts of life anyone desires to have, yet he needed to have more, and purposely, illegally acquired it. To see a capable, intelligent and promising person, hurt himself by being dishonest is sad. Another reason it's sad is because he either could not wait for, or did not see the long terms benefits of staying honest. Ed Byrne was an MHA and cabinet minister, and had political power. Prior to the news of the scandal, he also was respected, and had a considerable amount of potential political leadership. The power potential was largely built on the image of honesty. We all want honesty, we support honesty - honesty can have a large following, until ..

Well, no one can change the past, only influence the future.

It is never too late to make a positive contribution to society. Ed Byrne can too. He's a young man, with potential to work hard. There has been a great deal of calling for his head over the last three years, and he must have personally endured many multi-angled pressure attacks, in addition to the obvious public ordeal. That had to be punishment, and most say it's not enough. Paying back money is a start and only fair, but it would not displease this blogger to consider his last three years as some time served.

It may not be popular to say right now, but good luck in your own future Ed. There can be plenty of good to arise from this experience. There's lots of good deeds needing to be done, and people do carry them out. Make plans to be a positive force in society. Make a fresh start, and look ahead.

Friday, April 03, 2009

We're Diverse Individuals, Le's Diversify!

As a province which gets its stay afloat income from mining and oil, NL needs to diversify more. Perhaps it needs to start with more accentuation on individual talents, in elementary and high school. We are individuals, with similar but varying talents, skills, and interests. From this blogger's age and origin perch, the older you are, the fewer career options you had. Now, with instant connection with all avenues of employment and personal self-actualization, there exists an introduction to more personalized niches for future career venture. Not everyone is perfectly designed to be a pipe fitter, welder, nurse, or instructor. There are so many permutations of individual "what can be's" that educators should be encouraged to promote in the educational experience. People/consumers like things with a twist, creativity. Offering a bed and breakfast is one thing. Offering a bed and breakfast with hiking and photography tours is a variation, and different. If you're a film maker with a bed and breakfast, that's another possible field of opportunity. If someone tells you you are good at something, that you like, pursue it. From this perch, it adds spice to life, career options, and overall, spices up the economy.