Monday, December 22, 2008

Santa is coming.... time for some serious planning.

Hello Everyone,
Its cram time for little boys who have had some serious violations of Santa's Naughty or Nice Policy.
Take Care
P.S. I fyou blow up the image you notice that the items without blue checkmarks are the one's he doesn't want, that leaves ten of twelve on this page he does.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My son is solid

Hello Everyone,
   The Pictures are back so I thought I'd include a couple themed photo's
    Take Care

Sunday, December 07, 2008

In regards to Jessie

"OK, cool bike, but you think this'd be comfortatble LA to NY, even with travel peg's?
I mean Come On, riding through the arctic with windchills of -5o or going to bed in LA with this lady?

Reader submited comment:
Someone left a comment that contained some personal info I didn't want to share.
The edited comment is was "hi i'm from Inuvik and I work for the guy riding with jeesie plus I'm on the ice road crew, it took us 4 days to open the road to tuk we finished last night about 11 pm and jessie and the crew were camping out in tents about half way last night ."
Ok, all sarcasm aside from Jessie's journey, I'm thrilled to hear they have progressed so far successfully. And I'm sure the people of Aklavik and Tuk are very impressed that this event not only will bring attention to their communities but will also open their road that much earlier.
Still I must return to my original point. What the hell possesses someone to ride a motorcycle at speed through wind chills during temps that sit around -30 to begin with. Man, that's a whole new sort of tough, And I was surprised to learn from this reader that they are sleeping on the land. Fantastic, I wish more people could experience this to gain a better understanding of the trials of the native people of the northern regions.
Ok. so Jessie is tough, but I will return to my original argument.
1. You are a millionaire
2. You go to bed every night with Sandra Bullock
3. Riding the Baja or the Drakar is very tough but won't kill you as fast as the Arctic.
4. Ok, who are we kidding lets go back to #1 or #2 and ask a basic question. What in the hell made you ever think going to the far north and riding a bike through one of the most desolate reaches of civilization, when you could be in a bed in California with Sandra Bullock watching your bank account grow, Not a tough decision for me...
Take Care
P.S. If I've offended you in some way Jessie, I'd love for you to drive down here and punch me in the face. As long as my wife gets to take picture's, no law suit, no retaliation, just satisfaction for both of us. If I haven't offended you enough, then please let me know what your tender spot is and I'll do my best.
P.P.S. I wish I could write about you every day, I mean, Man, Google searches for you are almost as interesting as searches for your wife.
Take Care, take a lot of care.

Morning in the Firehall

Hello Everyone,
For some strange reason the town's new fire truck has air brakes, which means every couple of weeks I end up taking it out for a run to recharge the brakes. While a minor inconvenience for me Christopher seems to like it. Today he changed his life goals from policeman to fireman.
Take Care
P.S. I just noticed that they spelled the name of the town wrong on the fire engine. Course most likely only people who live here know how to spell it anyways, but it does have a large impact on the pronunciation.

Politicians and why we should pass a law against them.

Hello everyone,

This weeks suprise was the Canadian coalition, unless of course you watch whats happening in the rest of the world. I'd hate to think that Dion had a original thought. I can't belive that a month after the election we're going though this crap again, hey I'm not happy with the outcome either but lets just move on.

Read the article below this one. It has pictures :).

OTTAWA–NDP Leader Jack Layton and Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion have signed an historic accord to form a coalition government to replace Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

In an extraordinary scene on Parliament Hill late this afternoon, Dion and Layton signed a formal deal to work together through to June, 2011.

And they signed an agreement with Bloc Quebecois Gilles Duceppe that commits the separatist party to support the coalition through to June, 2010.

Liberal leader Dion would serve as prime minister.

The opposition parties are threatening to defeat the Conservatives next week.

However, their plan to assume government would require the blessing of the Governor General.

As well, the Conservatives appear quite determined to remain at the helm in Ottawa.

"We will use all legal means to resist this undemocratic seizure of power," Harper told Conservative MPs and staff gathered at an Ottawa hotel for a Christmas party.

"Such an illegimate government would be a catastrophe for our democracy, our unity and our economy," Harper said, according to his aide Dimitri Soudas.

Harper said that the NDP and Liberals have entered into an "unholy alliance" with the Bloc Quebecois - "a party that is here in Ottawa for no other reason than to destroy the country we all love."

Earlier in the day, two senior Conservative cabinet ministers emerged from a meeting with Harper within an hour of the coalition’s news conference and framed the coalition as “undemocratic.”

Jim Prentice, Harper’s de facto deputy prime minister and chairman of the government operations cabinet committee, said everyone should "take a breath and pause,” and think about what’s in the best interests of Canadians.

“This is an attempt to impose an alternative government upon Canadians, a government that was not elected barely six weeks ago, and a government – a coalition – that is supported by separatists, people who would break up our country.

“This is a serious situation that is irresponsible, and it is undemocratic.”

Prentice said the government will consider all "steps that are reasonable to protect the interests of our country and the interests of Canadians particularly in these uncertain economic times.”

“There is a need for calm, there is a need to step back, appraise the situation...and consider what is in the best interests of our country at this point in time and that clearly does not involve a government that was not placed before Canadians, propped up by separatists who do not support our country governing Canada for the next year or more.”

He refused to outline what options the government would consider reasonable in such an “unprecedented” situation.

Under the deal, the Liberal caucus would be responsible for choosing the finance minister, a key role as the country faces economic storms.

The NDP would get six positions in the 24-member cabinet as well as six parliamentary secretary positions.

Dion will serve as leader until a Liberal leadership convention in May. Liberals Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae and Dominic LeBlanc, all candidates for the party leadership, appeared together to show support for the decision.

Ignatieff told reporters that the ongoing race would not preclude any of the contenders from serving in a coalition cabinet.

Ignatieff and Dominic Leblanc said it was the prerogative of the prime minister to choose.

"The decisions on who is in cabinet are made by the prime minister of Canada, they’re not made by me, they’re not made by Dom and they’re not made by Bob," said Ignatieff.

"And that’s very clear in the accord that’s to say the authority and the prerogatives of the prime minister have not been compromised. It’s up to Mr.Dion to make the choices that he feels are right for the country."

Leblanc responded "Michael is always right!"

Layton said the coalition would move with a stimulus package that is "prompt and prudent."

That plan includes infrastructure spending, home construction, renovations and financial support for "struggling sectors" that can demonstrate a viable business plan.

He urged Harper to accept his looming defeat "gracefully" and not make moves that create "further instability and delay."

Duceppe said his party would not introduce any non-confidence motions or vote against any budgets or speeches from the throne until the agreement expires but would be free to vote as it wishes on any other legislation.

Conservatives appeared stunned by the turn of events, even as the coalition was confirmed.

Heritage Minister James Moore said in French the Opposition parties campaigned in the fall against forming a coalition, and now they were reversing themselves, but in French, he did not press the argument against the dangers of “separatists.”

"If the three Opposition parties are proud of what they’ve done today, if they are confident they are on the side of the angels, and on the side of Canadians,” said Moore, “they should ask Canadians for a mandate to impose what they decided today.”

“They should have the courage to put this before the Canadian people and none of them will.”

Asked whether the government hadn’t brought itself to the brink by refusing to reach out to the Opposition, Prentice dodged a direct answer.

Prentice answered a question about the government’s own miscalculation, saying “that is not the issue presently before us.”

He said the seeds of the coalition were sown well before the government brought in its economic statement.

"It’s amazing that a Justin Trudeau and Stéphane Dion, son of (the late federalist) Leon Dion, would be handing power over in this country to the separatists, something nobody ever dreamed of in the last election," said Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan.

Though a PMO official appeared to downplay the prospect Parliament could simply be suspended through proroguing, some Tories want the breathing room.

Mississauga-Erindale MP Bob Dechert said he would counsel Harper to prorogue Parliament so that the government could provide some details of the economic stimulus it has promised for the budget.

He said, "there may be stimulus announced in the next few weeks," and he said a delay would help Canadians.

"People should know what our plan is before they hear from the three-headed Frankenstein monster of the new Liberal-Bloc party."

He and others said that the "worst thing" for Canada’s economy right now is a change in government. "And I’m pretty sure you’ll see it in the stock markets today and tomorrow."

Conservative MP Darryl Kramp, however, said his government had to face the reality in the House, and he doubted an election was an option.

"I don’t think there is an out. Personally, I think this is a done deal. . . I think we’re into a coalition."

But he was angered at the prospect of any BQ hand on power.

"This is over the top now. This is a coup d’état. It makes us look like a banana republic. The only difference here is there’s no blood, thank goodness."

Lisa Raitt, a rookie Conservative minister, was among some Conservatives who put on a brave face, saying she was honoured to have served the people of her Halton riding even if it turns out to have been a short time.

Liberal leadership candidate Rae said "there’s no turning back" from plans to toss the Conservatives from power.

Liberal MP Martha Hall Findlay said the deal was done and no announcement by Harper - short of proroguing parliament, which she does not believe he will do - is going to stop the opposition parties from defeating the government next Monday.

Ignatieff told reporters that the ongoing race would not preclude any of the contenders from serving in a coalition cabinet.

Harper got a standing ovation from Conservatives as he took his place in the Commons with two notable exceptions - Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Trade Minister Stockwell Day.

Dion got a standing ovation from Liberal and NDP MPs as he kicked off question period with a question to the prime minister about stimulus for the country’s economy.

The prime minister dismissed Dion’s shot in the Commons about playing partisan games in his economic statement.

Harper shot back that the Liberal leader was "about to play one of the biggest political games" in the country’s history.

Harper appealed to the opposition to wait until seeing the budget, scheduled for Jan. 27.

"I understand he wants to be Prime Minister. . . . I wouldn’t want to be governing the economy in his position," Harper said, referring to the coalition of "socialist economic" and "separatists."

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty accused the Liberals of making a "deal with the devil" and said the NDP "don’t know the first thing" about running the economy.

Sources said the deal calls for the coalition government to deliver a federal budget immediately after taking office. The budget would include a major package of stimulus measures to shore up the troubled economy.

The game of high-stakes political intrigue has set the stage for a week in which Harper's Conservatives will fight to retain power.

Flaherty kicked off the day yesterday with a full-scale retreat from his Nov. 27 economic statement, with a promise of economic stimulus measures in an early budget on Jan. 27.

For the first time, he hinted strongly that Ottawa would bail out Canada's struggling Big Three automakers.

But the Liberals and New Democrats said the latest concessions from the Conservatives are not enough to derail the move to defeat the Tory minority and take power with a coalition cabinet. A confidence vote that could topple the government is expected on Dec. 8.

Another bitter episode was spawned when the NDP said it might pursue legal action after the Conservatives taped a private New Democrat caucus meeting Saturday and distributed the transcripts and recordings to the media yesterday.

In the meeting, NDP Leader Jack Layton tells his caucus that "moves" with respect to the Bloc Québécois "a long time ago" helped lay the groundwork for the coalition now being discussed – a statement the Conservatives say suggests the fiscal update is merely an excuse for the revolt.

Yesterday, in another reversal from the economic package, Flaherty told a telephone news conference the government would remove from legislation implementing the package a bid to temporarily ban public service strikes. On Saturday, he backed down on the plan to scrap federal subsidies for political parties.

Flaherty stressed that the government has tried to stave off an economic slowdown by using lower taxes – he brought in a six-year, $60 billion tax reduction program in 2007 – to improve business conditions. But he said there will be further stimulus to the economy, and suggested it might include help for the auto sector.

"We're going to have to deal with the automotive issue, obviously," he added. "Will we have to help a particular sector or more than one particular sector? The answer is probably yes."

The federal and Ontario governments have asked Ford, General Motors and Chrysler – thought to be collectively seeking $3 billion to $4 billion in aid – to produce recovery plans by Friday.

Flaherty's statements indicate the Tories are trying to limit damage in the wake of an economic package that has raised questions about the government's credibility and political smarts.

"The stability of the government and the economy is paramount," he said. Rather than propose to scrap the federal subsidy for political parties, the Conservatives will move to freeze the payments at the current $1.95 per vote and put the issue before the public for future debate.

Flaherty sounded unusually subdued. While his future was not discussed, questions about his role as finance minister can be expected now that the economic strategy has blown up in the government's face.

Since last week, the Liberals, NDP and Bloc have been involved in closed-door talks aimed at preparing a coalition government.

There were questions as to whether the Liberals could act cohesively to join in an attempt to oust Harper. The main issue surrounded which Liberal would head the coalition and potentially become prime minister.

In a meeting in Toronto last night, Liberal leadership contender Bob Rae tried to convince fellow contenders Michael Ignatieff and Dominic LeBlanc to show a unified front by accepting the deal with Dion as coalition leader, according to a Rae supporter. Rae argued there is no reason to change "the legitimate leadership process" that will replace Dion in May.

For the opposition, the "central issue" continues to be the Tories' lack of a package of significant new measures to address the economy, which Flaherty admits has fallen into a recession, said Liberal finance critic John McCallum.

"I still don't think anything has really changed," McCallum (Markam-Unionville) said after Flaherty's news conference.

He said there's also a growing question of credibility with the Harper government. "Here we are when they're desperate to save the government and they'll promise us the moon. But when we're promised the moon, I don't think we necessarily believe it."

Deputy NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said the provocative economic update was a "terrible miscalculation by the Conservatives."

"We're not going to give them another chance," he said. "We're structured, we're organized, we've worked very hard for the past four days and you're going to see the fruits of that labour very shortly."

Mulcair also said the covert taping of the NDP call "shows the desperation of the Conservatives."

Pierre Poilievre, Harper's parliamentary secretary, told CTV the transcript shows there were "members of the NDP who were working with the separatists who want to destroy Canada in order to take control of the country in a perilous coalition.

"All of this was hatched long ago, well before any of the controversy over the fall economic statement. That is shocking news," he said.

The recording was made by a Conservative who was able to dial into Layton's teleconference call with New Democrat MPs.

Mulcair denied his party was engaged in discussions with the Bloc before the Nov. 27 economic statement. The situation is no different from "consultations" Harper had with the NDP and the Bloc as opposition leader against the minority Liberals in 2004, Mulcair said.

He also said the NDP is looking at its legal options, saying party discussions were "illegally intercepted."

The Tories downplayed the 2004 consultations, saying there was never any intention of a coalition.

There were several signals over the weekend that the affair has damaged Harper's leadership. Several senior Conservative government members admitted they had been hearing from supporters outraged over Harper's moves.

With files from Linda Diebel


Thai party 'can form coalition'

Thai opposition MPs
The Democrats say a new coalition could resolve the crisis

The main opposition party in Thailand says it has enough support to form a government and end the political crisis that has gripped the country.

The Democrat Party claims it has the backing of more than half of the 400 lawmakers in the lower house.

It follows protests by the People's Alliance for Democracy, against rule by allies of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

Blockades of Bangkok airports were ended on Wednesday after a court ruling that deposed the prime minister.

On Saturday Suthep Thaugsuban, secretary general of the Democrat Party, said it could form a coalition with the support of five small parties in the ruling coalition.

"Everyone here is fully convinced about the political situation of the country. Therefore we decide together to form a coalition government to solve the crisis of the country," he told a late night news conference.

The BBC's Jonathan Head, in Bangkok, says the Democrats must have persuaded some MPs to defect from the governing People Power Party (PPP), which was dissolved this week by a court over election fraud.

Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat was also forced to step down.

Airports open

On Friday, Thaksin's ex-wife returned to Thailand for personal reasons.

A spokesman for Pojaman Shinawatra said she was visiting her ailing mother and her return to Thailand had nothing to do with politics.

qThe whole episode has damaged the economy and has affected Thais from making a living
UK businessman in Bangkok

Her arrival prompted speculation in the Thai media that her return was linked to attempts to form a new government.

It had come as a surprise as she was found guilty of tax evasion in July and left the country the next day after filing an appeal.

Pojaman, who was married to Thaksin for 32 years before divorcing in November, flew into Bangkok's international airport from the Chinese territory of Hong Kong.

The airport returned to full operation on Friday after anti-government protesters raised their week-long blockade of it and Bangkok's domestic airport.

However, an airport public relations official warned that it could be at least a month before traffic was back to normal.

The protesters, who regard the government as a proxy for Thaksin, withdrew after the PPP court ruling.

'No politics'

Pojaman's spokesman denied that she had arrived to influence the People Power Party's successor, the Puea Thai party, which is due to pick a leader on Sunday.

Pojaman Shinawatra and her ex-husband Thaksin Shinawatra  in July 2006
Pojaman and Thaksin are reported to have divorced in Hong Kong
"[She] doesn't want to be involved in politics," the spokesman said.

"Puea Thai party has a process to choose its leader. Certainly, it has nothing to do with her."

Pojaman was found guilty last July of evading tax of 546m baht ($16.3m) in a 1997 shares transfer in the family telecoms business.

In October, Thaksin was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to two years in prison in his absence.

No reasons were given for the couple's separation and Thaksin's current whereabouts are unclear.

Tangled up in Blue

Hello everyone,
The sun has set. These are photo's from the drive home last week from Inuvik. These photo's are around 3:00 pm and they have not been photoshoped, this is the type of light you get when you don't recieve the full specturum of sunlight. Ain't life amazing?
Take Care
P.S. Yes mom, that is my hair at the bottom of the photo, I know its too long, and it is also in a ponytail and I'm not going to do anything about it . Sorry. Love you.

What makes a person successful? Intellegence???

Hello Everyone,
The man pictured above is Jesse James. He claims to be a descendant of the "real" Jesse James. He is married to Sandra Bullock. He is worth a few million dollars and designs some very nice bike's. He is also apparently a monumental idiot.
So how does one,become a millionaire as a mechanic, marry one of the most beautiful women in the world, when they are so astoundingly stupid that they are incapable of understanding how a globe or calender works? I work hard, I think hard, I have tattoo's, why is he getting all the action while I sit up at 12:30 pm watching Lost and resenting the worlds biggest idiot?
Sure, He obviously has a level of genius, His bike's are beautiful works of art (that unfortunately I'll never own), but lets deal with the fundamental truth of a civilized society. If you tattoo "pay up" on your right palm your genius might be questioned. Maybe its a matter of a idiot savant?
Let me get to the heart of the matter, Jessie James is filming a show for the Discovery network. It involves him riding a bike from Aklavik to Tuktoyaktuk. Now this might be a interesting idea, the Dempster highway is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. However, the road from Aklavik to Tuk is not the Dempster, and this is not summer, this is a ice road, and he arrived on Friday to embark upon this journey... from California. His bike arrived on Thursday, a beautifully decked out BMW, Once it arrived 1.5 inch spikes were installed on the tires. The road to Tuk is over 300 km's from Aklavik, and is made usually of ice.
The temp in Thursday was -32 with no wind. The engine on one ski-doo, the oil was too thick to allow the engine to run, and when it was running it could never warm up enough to continue running, the starter cable on the other snapped with the cold, . Now lets review, we have a California boy, arriving in Inuvik to ride his Beemer 350 km's across one of the most treacherous roads in the world. This is absurd, but achievable for the right person... except for one little thing, the road to Tuk won't be completed for another three weeks. Unless this superman can fly, his trip is doomed to failure, unless he plans to take more than three weeks on the land and sea reaching Tuk, which is equally absurd. Mr. James is about to learn a very hard lesson from mother nature, she is the meanest mother on the planet bar none. If he left with ten fingers and toes, he'll be damn lucky to come back with them.
Here's your sign.
Take Care

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Everything is Relative.

Hello everyone,
Tonight I sit in front of my laptop in a hotel in Inuvik. Something strange just struck my eye reminding me that this is not the south. Sometimes it seems we forget and fail to appreciate the differences that life offers in the far north. Tonight, I glanced at the door of our hotel room. I have stayed in a lot of hotels of my years but never have I read anything similar to what I just did. Every hotel has to post the emergency procedures on the back of the door exiting all hotel rooms. They all offer standard fair and I won't bore you with the usual stuff, but its the first line that I found to peak my interest. As such I shall quote it directly:
"In case of fire alarm
1. Immediately put on all winter clothing".
I don't imagine this type of warning appears anywhere else in the world. I can't see a hotel in the Caribbean with the warning "Immediately put on all available sunscreen". The difference is, well quite simple. Respect mother nature, cause she sure as hell has no respect for you, You can die simply going for a walk up here.
This lead me inevitably to review how my life has changed as opposed to 4 years ago. For the first time in a few years I needed to buy some clothes recently. I noticed a change in my shopping habits, this time I was looking and bought items with Ad Lines such as "Nail Biter", "indestructible", "fire resistant", "the best pants you'll ever sleep in". Instead of shopping at Harry Rosens, I now shop at places in catalogues where within three pages of my dream pants you can purchase a wolf snare and that really cool new Remington Boss with the suppression muzzle (hint, hint for Christmas). My pants must have a weight beside them and anything less than 10 oz is unacceptable. Anything, lined with flannel goes immediately to the top of the list, I now have over $400.00 in thermal underwear. I still have over twenty silk ties, and they remain vacuum sealed in a bag in my closet from when I sealed them nearly 4 years ago. Any boot rated above -45 is a waste of money. I still love my Italian leather shoes, and they look terrific in my closet, I used to polish them weekly, Now I dust them. The weight of my indoor clothes on any given day exceeds three pounds for a shirt and pants, outdoor clothes included, 16 lbs. I have six different styles of face and neck warmers, and I wear them based on activity and weather, snowmobiling is different than walking, walking is different than working freight, etc. I have three different types of emergency heating equipment in my house, propane, kerosene and electric. I would much rather spend 24 hours outside in -30 than 4 hours outside in +30. I personally know three convicted murderers (two of which have been pictured in this blog and I consider to be two of the most reliable friends I've ever had), 6 people who've been attacked by bears, 80% of the people I know have lost a immediate relative to the environment, I no longer see frost bite as a injury but rather that someone had fun on the weekend, I find the "city" of Inuvik to be too metropolitan for my liking (it has a population of 1,200). I like planes where I get to sit within six feet of the pilot, and depending upon the weather he may ask everyone to look out the window and see if they recognize any of the lakes.
Everything is relative,
Take Care

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

School Photo's

Hello Everyone,
   We finally got our school photo's back and were hoping to send them out for Christmas.  They were in our hands for a hour before we had to send them back to the studio.  Many of the photo's had a problem that you can see in one of the above photo's.  Can you spot the problem?
    Take Care,

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Is it just me?

Hello Everyone,
I have a confession, I no longer watch tv. Not at all, really. I do however watch TV on DVD, I found myself this weekend buying a few TV series that I have never seen. I've heard they were good but rather than being committed to a certain day, at a certain time, I'd rather just buy the damn thing on DVD and watch it when I'm available and willing to dedicate my time. I've noticed this trend over the last two years, other than news and children's shows I really don't care. I watch a lot more movies than I ever did in the south and I own a lot more TV series than I ever thought I would. After all why would I pay for something when its for free at someone else's convenence... Cause it's damn inconvenient. I also hate commercials, and above all else I hate commercials on DVD's I've purchased that use stupid little tricks to convince my DVD player that it should play the whole thing. Damn those marketers.
Take Care

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Reflections in the Snow Covered Hills

Hello everyone,
For awhile I've been thinking about "interviewing" another northern blogger to figure out what makes them tick. I chose Megan from one of my favorite blogs because of her dedication to her blogs, her interesting views on a variety of topics and her very diverse counter blog. Also, she seems to like being insulted, which you have to enjoy, cause I like insulting people. Hopefully we'll be doing three separate sections and here is the first insight into this very interesting lady.

Hello Megan,
I'd like to thank you for entering my living room so that we may
discuss ... well, you.  I've hoped to do this interview for quite a
while but I haven't been able to find the time (my military commitments
within the Holy See, have taken up much of my time recently). I'd
like to do this interview in three parts, all will be strictly
defined, so if you deviate from the line of questioning you will
receive a quick light shock (actually, the chair your sitting on is
actually made from a grouping of 78 car batteries that I'm running
through a step up transformer, but I'm sure the 12,000 volts will be a
pleasant experience for you). I have tested this system before so do
not be afraid, In late July, I tested my interview system with Sarah
Palin, and although the resulting brain damage was unfortunate she's
been wearing it well with good results.

You currently manage two very distinctive blogs, "Reflections of the Snow-covered Hills" and "Uriel-flame of God". Please characterize
these blogs for us, give us a idea of your agenda for these blogs, who
is your desired reader and what is your message?

Megan-Reflections in the Snow-Covered Hills is my main blog. I started it years ago, and my original idea was that I would use it to stay in touch with family and friends who live far away. At the time, it was called "Steve & Megan" (hence the URL). I renamed it two summers ago and I plan to move over to eventually. I write about whatever's on my mind: journalism ethics, personal struggles, questions from readers. I don't really have a message, but I do hope to contribute to the blogosphere in my own small way. If I have a goal beyond amusing myself and my readers, it's to improve Canadian journalism, but I don't write about journalism every day. My readers are really eclectic, but many of them are current or former journalists. I also have a lot of readers with legal training.

Flame of God is a satirical blog. I originally did those posts on my main blog, but many readers didn't get the joke, so I banished Uriel to her own space on the Interweb. I usually only post over there when someone's hypocrisy has really gotten to me. It takes time to work up that much anger. The whole thing's a gag, much like the David Hasselhoff stuff on my main blog. Even now, I will occasionally get questions about Uriel from someone who's not totally sure if I'm joking.

Curtis- I read very few blogs regularly however I find myself attending and participating in your blog more than I wish. Its very well done and interesting, Uriel however, confuses me.

Uriel seems to be initiating controversy without offering its reader “a out”. I'm not a religious person and I find her comments to be the absolute in religious bias, but without the reward system of the christian church. Let me cut through the chase Since your blog is presented in a serious format, and the satire is for the reader to interpret rather than written, is this blog not furthering the negative stereotype of the christian zealot? I've read that your father shares your sense of humor, but with his lifelong dedication to the church has Uriel ever caused any friction between the two of you?

Uriel is not really a Christian. I think of her as a member of a splinter sect that meets only on the Internet. Clearly, the Bible is one of her holy texts, but she bears no resemblance to any Christian I know. She's more like the weirdos I see on online forums.

Every blog reader has an "out": he or she can simply choose not to read one of my blogs. And the comment section is always open. But Uriel's critics prefer to contact me directly. I have a few Christian friends: one thinks Uriel's funny but is careful to mention that she doesn't actually believe the things Uriel writes about. Another thinks she's insulting, and pointed out that I probably wouldn't like it if he wrote as the stereotypical woman. He might be right: it would really depend on whether his satirical blog was funny.

My dad understands that it's a joke, but he did say once that I should just let Uriel die. (Wait a minute! I thought he was a right-to-lifer! What would Jerry Falwell think?) I don't spend much time in his company because he lives far away, but whenever I crack a joke as Uriel, he laughs. So I think he's OK with it.

  How much time do you spend blogging in a average week?  What do you
take from the experience?   What other web communities or activities
do you participate in?

It usually takes about an hour to write one of my posts once I figure out what to write about, but I spend a lot of time reading other blogs, responding to reader mail like this interview, and commenting on other blogs. I hardly ever watch TV because the blog takes up my evenings.

I'm not a member of any formal online communities, but the northern blogosphere is a really nice informal community. I purposely stayed out of it for the first year, mostly because I wasn't sure what Name of Paper Withheld would think of me. We now know what they think: They believe I should not point out their errors in grammar and journalism. Also, they suspect that my blog is increasing their taxes. I don't really understand that one, but my brother the Philosopher King is the expert on logic.

Is it fair to hold “the Name of Paper Withheld” to your southern standards of journalism? Working in the north you must realize that many of the staff that we can employ do not use English as their first language and have had limited exposure to higher education, further adding to the difficulties of the editorial staff that may not be present by their southern brethren.

I am more than fair with Name of Paper Withheld. I hardly ever write about them unless they've done something really ridiculous or a reader has asked a question about them (like you've just done). Everyone makes mistakes: I'm not going to pick at the minor details or occasional typo. That really wouldn't be fair.

But neither is it fair to suggest that their staff don't speak English very well. I know their staff. They speak English and they have access to higher education. Even if they didn't, it's the copy editor's job to fix those mistakes. Name of Paper Withheld's main problem is with editing. Editors have overall responsibility for the product that goes out every day. They are supposed to hold stories that haven't been fully researched, think critically about issues before writing editorials, and make sure that the details are correct, right down to spelling and grammar. They don't do this enough. I think this is because they are desperate to prove that they can play with the big boys: they can find a scandal every day, just like the New York Times! Unfortunately for them, this is a small territory and there really isn't a scandal every day. They've forced themselves into a situation where they are railing against ridiculous things.

Newspaper publishing is a tough business. I think they'd produce a better product if they cut the number of pages in half, but they probably can't afford to do that. I haven't seen their financial statements, but I'm guessing that they're in the same situation so many other papers are in. I'm going to write about the economics of newspaper publishing eventually, but the Cole's Notes version would be that in general, costs are going up, advertising is shrinking and readers are abandoning dead-tree versions for the Internet. Newspapers haven't figured out how to make money off the Web yet. They've got to find a business model quickly, or we'll all be worse for it. The news media is critical to democracy

   As a American infiltrator within Canada you have obviously gained
vast levels of foreign political experience, you have made obvious
attempts to subvert our recent political election, what is your
ultimate goal.  What are your intentions in regards to Hockey and the
Canadian brewing industry, is it your intention to regulate our
brewing industry until it produces a product like your homeland brews?

That is an EXCELLENT idea. Let me call Sarah Palin. I hear she's taking calls from Canadian radio personalities, so maybe I have a shot at getting her number.

Funny you should bring up Palin as you have made a poorly executed attempt to deflect the question, maybe you'd like to discuss your gay friends at this point? Canadians want to know about our Hockey and Beer, stay on topic or you'll make McCain mad.

I'm going rogue. I DO have gay friends. Actually, at times I have felt that I have no straight friends. After high school, almost all of my male friends came out.

    How long have you lived within our borders?  What factors
influenced your decision to move to the northern regions?   Is your
working in the media industry a personal choice or is it simply the
first stage of the American invasion?   How does your handler feel
your progressing towards your goals?

I moved to Canada in 1988, influenced by the fact that my parents were moving here. At the time, I felt I had no other choice. Believe me, I would rather have stayed in Maine at the time. We lived in Montreal for a year and then moved to Newfoundland. I spent the late nineties in university in Halifax and came north to work for CBC. I was not forced to work for the MotherCorp: it had been a dream of mine and I felt very lucky to get a permanent job. I still miss it and think about going back, but I'm happy where I am (I'm a writer/editor for a government agency).

WHICH GOVERNMENT? Is this the beginning of a confession? Why would anyone dream about working at CBC, I thought that was where careers went to die?

I work for the territorial department of justice, but I don't blog about it because my blog is personal and not affiliated with work in any way. Actually, I think this may be the first time I've ever mentioned where I currently work. It's irrelevant to my blog: I'd write about the same things if I was a flower arranger or gravedigger.

CBC has done a very good job of promoting itself as the ultimate place for a journalist to work. This is interesting (perhaps it's worth a blog post) because at the same time, they treat their staff like garbage and many of the journalists who work there are miserable. So we have this push and pull: People who work for the CBC are desperate to find other jobs, but what would that say about them? Anyone who's a great journalist will want to work for the CBC! If you work for the CBC, that means you are a great journalist! What would happen if you quit? Maybe the magic would be lost!

My American parents say I am a Canadian. I think they meant this as a friendly insult.
    If you were a tree what kind of tree would you be and do you feel
that new developments within particle physics are going to finally
facilitate time travel through the development of nano-computers?

I suppose I'd be an apple tree, wouldn't I? I'd probably be an apple tree that's half in the shade and half in the sun, so only half of the apples would be sweet. The others would make people send me hate mail and incoherent threats.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Canadian Rednecks... or maybe scarf-necks

Canadian humor

Forget Rednecks, Here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about Canucks.
If your local Dairy Queen is closed from
September through May,
You may live in Canada .
If someone in a Home Depot store
Offers you assistance and they don't work there,
You may live in Canada.
If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time,
You may live in Canada .
If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation
With someone who dialed a wrong number,
You may live in Canada .
If 'Vacation' means going anywhere
South of Detroit for the weekend,
You may live in Canada .
If you measure distance in hours,
You may live in Canada .
If you know several people
Who have hit a deer more than once,
You may live in Canada.
If you have switched from 'heat' to 'A/C'
In the same day and back again,
You may live in Canada.
If you can drive 90 km/hr through 2 feet of snow
During a raging blizzard without flinching,
You may live in Canada.

If you install security lights on your house and garage,
But leave both unlocked,
You may live in Canada .
If you carry jumper cables in your car
And your wife knows how to use them,
You may live in Canada .
If you design your kid's Halloween costume
To fit over a snowsuit,
You may live in Canada .
If the speed limit on the highway is 80 km --
You're going 90 and everybody is passing you,
You may live in Canada .
If driving is better in the winter
Because the potholes are filled with snow,
You may live in Canada .
If you know all 4 seasons:
Almost winter, winter, still winter,
And road construction,
You may live in Canada .
If you have more miles
On your snow blower than your car,
You may live in Canada .

If you find 2 degrees 'a little chilly',
You may live in Canada .

If you actually understand these jokes,
And forward them to all
Your Canadian friends & others,
You definitely live in Canada .

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sunday Musings

Working the nets on the newly frozen Arctic Red River.
Old George patrolling the limits of Georgetown, wish I had a tenth of the strength of this 70 something guy. He still lives out of town, without water, heat, electrictity, etc.
The bend in the river about a mile from town, the river is still open, this is all the shoreline.
Boats awaiting next June.
A view of town from Hollywood hill.

The view up the Red River.
Quite possibly one of the last ferries to cross this year.
The morning ice on the MacKenzie, with that freaky fog.

Hello Everyone,
Lets just move on to todays random thoughts. First, Sarah Palin was on Saturday Night live last night. This scared me slightly. I believe one of the major flaws with McCains campaign has been in bringing this inept fool on board, but this represented her chance to win back many of her detractors, she had the chance to win "Joe and Jane sixpack" back in one foul swoop, the type of resurrection that Slick Willy performed on Leno with his saxophone. Luckily for the world she failed miserably at this as well, she might have well as phoned in her appearance. I must say publicly just once, John McCain must be so astoundingly stupid to make his choice of VP that it staggers the mind. I just wish he would publicly announce he was really drunk at the time and let the world move on with his defeat.
We are on the verge of the end of the ferry season, any day now we will enter the isolation of Tsiigehtchic. There are very few communities in the north that experience the type of isolation that this community experiences. The major difference is that this community has no airport, and also that the major route out of town is such a large river. some communities experience similar isolation but none as long as the six weeks we are without outside contact. Its straight out "The shining" and a very nervous time for the community. Do we have enough food, what is someone gets really sick, what if the police are needed, what if there is a fire, many questions but the answer remains, we will resolve it ourselves and pray for a boring freeze-up.
My announcement has been delayed, a change in the situation within town has changed our expectations. So a future announcement time is unknown.
Take Care

Hoar frost

  Hello everyone,
   Just a couple of artsy photo's from this afternoon, I was going to title it whore frost in a attempt to boost traffic, but took the high road instead.  That would have been as cheap as using the word boob in a posting.  Opps.
   Take Care,

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sunday Stuff

Hello Everyone,
We went to Inuvik this weekend for the last time before freeze up, predominately to go swimming with Christopher but a good time was had by all.
I`ve noticed that lately the weatherman has given up on Tsiigehtchic, everyday is the same 60% chance of snow. That a nice statement, if it snows, your right, if it does not ... well hey, that left 40% Right? Today was definitely a snow day, it was a long ride home, a white knuckle, vehicle bouncing and sliding its way through drift encrusted bad visibility conditions. We didn't make it home faster than anyone else, but we made it home, everyone happy except for daddy who had a headache and sore shoulders before pulling up to the door. Unfortunately, we didn't get to do much shopping as I rushed everyone out of town as the weather seemed to be getting worse. Five hundred spent to get about $80.00 in groceries, oh well, you have to give it a shot (and its not all our fault, the butcher at the Northmart seemed to think just running a couple of rounds of ground beef was more than enough for a Sunday). And we did have a lot of fun swimming and just getting out for a night.
On other fronts, its going to be a busy week, hell, its always a busy week when you have 3 jobs and two community commitments to keep you busy. Two DEA meeting this week, one being the AGM so that will eat up a whole evening, but hey, we only volunteer for the glory of it right? Can you tell I have nothing to say, or maybe I do ...., actually I don't ... today, but by the end of the week we will have a major announcement, that is with any luck.

Take Care

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday, a day of rest.

Hello Everyone,
One of the considerations of coming north was to uncomplicate life, settle my work hours down to reasonable levels and spend time with my family. That now means I have to take my family to work in order to spend time with them. Here's Christopher and I at the fire hall (so I can inventory the Med supplies and check the breather tanks), yesterday (my first Saturday "off" in 6 months) was spent cleaning the fire hall so we could get the new truck inside. Today I have to inventory all the modems for my newest job, I'm now the internet provider for the community. Luckily I have nothing to do for the DEA today (except for making 75 muffins for the breakfast program) and I'm not running a recycling day today as most of the cans in town are currently being donated to the school for a fundraising drive. Add this to my usual 60+ hours at the store and somehow I still prefer to be here than at Wal-Mart. Ain't life amazing?
Take Care
P.S. We got half a foot of snow last night.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Stranger Amoung Us.

   Hello everyone,
   My home has been invaded, compromised, infiltrated, my thoughts are no longer my own and frankly it creeps me out.You see I have a WiiFit program.  This thing is just too eerie, all it is a board that sits infront of your TV and connects via wireless to your Wii, no visable camera's, microphone's or any other nefarious device's that are apparent.  Yet the device can do things it has no capacity to measure, when doing Yoga it knows when I start to breath through my mouth, it knows when I use a item for support while doing strength exercises and I invited this stranger into my home.  What else is this incredible device doing, reporting my eating and television viewing preference's to big brother?  Influencing my political leanings while asleep, making my hair grow while I'm not looking. All of these things are currently of concern to me and undergoing rapid changes...  and I paid a lot of money for this device, simply cause the dark season is coming up and I wanted to lose 25 lbs. For this computer databases all over the world are filling up with intimate data about my life, I think it might even be making me a little paranoid.
   Seriously though, this is one cool little device that I am certain will allow me to reach my goals when actually going outside doesn't appeal to me, and a video game does.
   Take Care

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gotta love pop science.

Hello everyone,
Please click on the link to this article to really see what steams my shorts.
I am not a scientist, but I have been taught and understand the scientific method, so lets take a look at this wonderful article brought to you by the worlds largest and most authoritative news service.
"It's definitely a bad report. We did pick up little bit from last year, but this is over 30 percent below what used to be normal,".... please slow down, come on, we're not scientists, give us a chance to figure this out. We're better than last year, OKAY (although I seem to remember you telling me this would be the worst year ever)... "up a little bit"... what is that in layman's terms, 5% or 50% or maybe a complete avoidance of the actual number?
Now what was that last bit at the end, please remind me. "but this is over 30 percent below what used to be normal".
Okay, thanks. Now lets look at this professional scientific statement. 30% below what used to be normal... what is normal? Is he referring to 10 years ago, 20, 100, 1000 or the last ice age? I mean come on, what kind of statement is that?
Second paragraph.
"This past summer, the Arctic sea ice dwindled to its second lowest level. Arctic sea ice is usually 1 to 3 meters". shouldn't we quantify "second lowest level" wouldn't a year actually be shorter? "Arctic sea ice is usually 1-3 meters thick"... and what was it this year? Wouldn't that have been a useful number to a reader?
"Scientists have monitored sea ice conditions for about 50 years with the help of satellites." I never realized they had thermal imaging satellites in 1958, shame on me I guess (kinda like CNN's expert).
"We are still losing the ice cover at a rate of 10 percent per decade now, and that is quite an increase from five years ago,"......Ummmm, I thought the unit of measure was a decade, which I thought was ten years, so why, oh why, would you suddenly switch to a five year time frame unless ten years ago.... never mind, don't want to get myself in trouble.

"Scientists have noticed increasing reports of starving Arctic polar bears attacking and feeding on one another in recent years. In one documented 2004 incident in northern Alaska, a male bear broke into a female's den and killed her." Scientists have noticed? I though scientists document, people reading papers notice. The best example you can come up with is one incident from 4 years ago... Maybe that bear was having a really bad day, maybe he just watched the last Soprano's episode and was really mad, I mean come on. Scientist are supposed to speak in proofs, These sort of statements wouldn't be acceptable in a grade seven science class and yet here we are spoon feeding this tripe to millions.

I've never had a lot of respect for the media but articles like this shouldn't be allowed under any disguise of legitimacy.
Take Care

Sunday, September 21, 2008

School and other things.

Christopher's classroom.
His desk is the one in the corner closest to the camera, with no children around him. His best friends desk is the one on the opposite side of the room. This is also a different desk placement than they chose on the first day of school.... Hrm. Strange how these things just seem to move, I seem to remember steadily making my way to the front of the class during my studies as well, but even I never achieved the Full Monty in two weeks. This is the grade one and two class, seven students.
This is the kindergarden class in the opposite side of the primary class room. Christopoher's old Alma Mater.The senior class room, grades 6, 7 and 8. Four students.This is a strange fog that rolled in early last week. And I mean a wall of fog. blow up this image to see the sheer volume of the fog, it blew threw in less than ten minutes.The secret to great art is in deep planning. Here Christopher is sketching his next masterpiece, to be painted on a shirt. This event was part of his wellness weekend events.
Santina.Another key to brilliant art is attention to detail.
Here you can see Christophers focus upon his work.
And here is Christopher losing focus.
Sometimes you just need a break.
Time to draw up a new plan.
Some idiot wrote the last one on a shirt thats covered in paint.Christopher has a critial eye towards his mothers work.
Just a bit more planning to avoid that mess that mom is creating.
Apparently the key is to a color palette that contains all the colors.
Then you just have to brush them on and they'll sort themselves out.
The semi final result is...
Hello Everyone,
We'll see the final results of both efforts tommorrow hopefully.
The weather has been hovering around zero for the last few weeks, we has some snow last week but unfortunately the last few days have been raining consistantly so thats not good news to a early freeze up. It is now official, Christopher has lived more of his life north of 60 than south of it, I don't know what it means but I found it interesting. As you can tell I'm currently struggling to write in this darn blog with any regularity, seems when I have time I don't have interest, when I don't have time, I have focus, hopefully it will work itself all out when we get through this season change. I find this to be the worst part, adjusting to the daily reduction in light and resetting your body from 24 hours of light to ever decreasing levels of light. Maybe I should just turn this into a photo blog anyways.
Take Care