• ***---------->_____ In Toronto? Please hire me, need work. _____<-----***
  • Thursday, January 15, 2015

    Canada's Revenge, or our Comeuppance?

    This isn't one of southern Ontario's better days.  Supposedly.
    The Target retail chain has announced that it is abandoning all of its recently started Canadian operations.  Blackberry's stock price spiked yesterday, within an otherwise downward day for the overall market, due to a now-denied sell-out to Samsung.
    Toronto's streetcar fleet has numerous older vehicles out of cold-weather service, while dozens of new streetcars are well behind schedule due to non-fitting parts from Mexico and a northern Ontario strike delay.
    Leading news anchors at both Global TV Toronto, and the CBC's business news reporting division have or are under a conflict of interest supension or review.
    Toronto's red & white soccer team sent back last year's 'bloody big deal' star player to England - to no one's surprise.
    And - right after an active mature music band discussion with a longtime local DJ in a podcast from this week: local '80s pop band singer, Gordon Deppe, was interviewed this morning on CHCH's Morning Live program about his new biography book, Spoonfed My life with the Spoons.

    Do I know anyone who's written of any of these topics?
    A litle part of me is glad about these current news items.  I might be a failure, but at least I consistently stand up for local, national, and friendly U.S. /overseas free nations' businesses, and that I also - far more importantly IMO - stand against a silent (and not so silent?) smugness of much of Canada/Ontario's unresponsive cronyism and monopolized business practices.
    It is simply not good enough to 'succeed' where only within a heavily favoured environment.  Whether product or service, business, gov't agency, sports, and art: everyone and everything has to have their own worth.

    Everybody seemed to pile on against Zellers while rooting for newcomer Target.  And that was before Sears disappointedly shut down their own 60-year presence in Canada, too.
    So many disagreed when I pointed out that overseas company Samsung rec'd hundreds of millions in our gov't contracts from Ontario to develop green energy and also from Texas to develop mobile electronics.  Maybe Blackberry still fails, but maybe Samsung wouldn't have won out so quickly?
    I love the music band, Spoons.  A local group that achieved honest success back when I was a teen.  However, a biography for its lead singer?  Still active and great, c'mon they hadn't had a whiff of legitimately continued media support since 1988.  CHCH is their hometown (that also happens to be a rare independant) TV station.  If last month's Corner Gas 'movie' for Bell Media was a form of corporate welfare that showed in a few real theatres for just a few days before very soon airing at least twice upon main network TV, then what is funding the expectedly limited sales of Deppe's book?  34-years' and 90+ aged Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion's hardcover biography is already deep discounted to $8 at Indigo/Chapters after a November 2014 release date.
    And pro sports is merely a sometimes win and sometimes lose venture.  Okay.  However that is only if we will consistently try to win.

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    Sunday, January 04, 2015

    New Tipping Point in Canadian /Ontario Media Censorship.

    Canada's Journalism Industry just breached an obvious tipping point of censorship, here in S. Ontario.  For the first time ever [assuming], there are more locally receivable television broadcasters purposefully(?), and mutually, excluded from our region's TV viewing magazines, daily news media charts, and attached programming suggestions  - than are now included.

    Here is the uniformly acknowledged medias' listing:
    2.1 NBC - Buffalo
    4.1 CBS - Buffalo
    5.1 CBC - Toronto
    7.1 ABC - Buffalo
    9.1 CTV - Toronto
    11.1 CHCH - Hamilton
    17.1 PBS - Buffalo/Toronto
    19.1 TVO - Ontario (Tor.)
    23.1 CW - Buffalo
    25.1 CBC - french language (Tor.)
    29.1 Fox - Buffalo
    36.1 Yes /CTS - Burlington, Ont.
    40.1 Omni2 - Toronto
    41.1 Global - Toronto/Ont.
    42.1 CTV2 - Barrie (repeater signal)
    47.1 Omni1 - Toronto
    49.1 WYNO /MyTV - Buffalo
    51.1 ION TV - Buffalo
    57.1 CityTV - Toronto

    Total Included: 19

    Here are the other over-the-air broadcast TV signals (all from Buffalo, NY):
    2.2 - WeatherNation
    2.3 - Antenna TV
    17.2 - PBS, The World
    23.2 - Bounce
    26.1 - TCT
    26.2 - TCT2 (family)
    26.3 - TCT3 (kids)
    26.4 - ABN
    29.2 - ZUUS
    29.3 - Grit TV
    49.2 - Get TV
    51.2 - Ion2 / kids programming
    51.3 - Ion Life
    * 51.4-51.6 - used for Paid advertisements only
    56.1 - Cozi TV
    56.2 - Retro TV
    56.3 - Rev'n
    56.4 - Throwback Television
    * 56.5 - used for Paid advertisements only
    * 56.6 - unused frequency blue screen
    67.1 - WBBZ's widescreen MeTV / local affiliate
    67.2 - This TV
    * 67.3 - MeTV (full network in 4/3 dimension)
    67.4 - Daystar

    Total Excluded*: 20

    I live in a city of Toronto apartment (south-facing) and can often receive all/most of the above with a simple $15 indoor antenna and a $60 digital converter linked to an older analog TV set.  For most buildings existing in Ontario, a central-feed outdoor rooftop antenna line is considered as an illegal 'closed circuit' cable system.  Some townhouse complexes and their municipalities may have similar bylaws against personal TV and radio broadcast receiving equipment. 

    For those who will suggest a Cdn. inclusion of CTV's Kitchener affiliate channel or the Peterborough-Oshawa station, I would then counter with the PBS, Create sub channel from elsewhere from along the Lake Ontario and/or Lake Erie border.
    Grit TV (29.3) has only just started; a couple of the 56 frequency sub channels began in late 2014.  A few previous U.S. channels: Cool TV, RTV, and Universal Sports (pre-NBC) have come and gone since 2011.  Similar sub channel carriages will be found amongst other S. Ontario / U.S. border locations.

    When ALL S. Ontario Media Outlets agree to refuse to even list, refer to or acknowledge, locally free and over-the-air TV broadcast lineups, then all of us are living under a willful censorship.  Long standing government(s) to industry Financial Aids, frequency non-licencing and cable system, etc., pricing controls become further co-indications of our basic media censorship.

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    Tuesday, December 30, 2014

    Bell Media, isn't 'Shyster lawyer' a racial slur?

    The Monday after Christmas, TV is little out-of-schedule.  I was watching some of CTV's TV-movie, 'Wedding Planner Mystery' starring a favourite actress Erica Durance.
    Shortly after 9 p.m., her character refers to a crooked boyfriend / "shyster lawyer".  Huh?
    Given Bell Canada / Bell Media's Gas recent government movie welfare for Corner Gas, I was already intrigued by this additionally unexpected two hours of a prime time / main network tea-cozy.
    Isn't 'Shyster lawyer' a racial slur (applied against Jews) - originated from a centuries old Shakesphere play?
    There was an East-Asian actor - part of an inter-racial couple, a Black actor, a White female lead, a modern reference to smart phones and cloud computing.  Too bad about its overlooked anti-Jewish slur.

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    Sunday, December 28, 2014

    Not-Awesome #867

    # 867.
    Cropped ComicStrips in newspapers.
    This weekend's example: Hi and Lois (a care package gift for U.S. soldier Beetle Bailey).

    Except that its first two panels don't appear within the Toronto Star's weekend comic section.  I'm a sucker for nifty comicstrip crossovers.
    Cropped ComicStrips in newspapers, not-awesome.

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    Friday, December 26, 2014

    Are capable women, bad individuals?

    Is the mid-1960s Big Eyes painter, American Margaret Keane, a role model for women?  Should everyone now feel sorry for her?
    Keane's art work had become a pop phenomenon - for which her husband had taken all of the accolades.  Earlier this month I watched a Mary Pickford biography.  Back in the 1910s and 1920s, she, with her impoverished mother, negotiated for serious wages, married thrice (and divorced), started United Artists Studio along with Charlie Chaplin and her second husband, Douglas Fairbanks, plus she operated another film production company - while continuing her own leading actress career.
    Today's Hamilton Spectator (Dec. 26th) has a second editorial, entitled 'They Made a Difference'.  It is about two local individuals deceased during 2014; one of whom was 90 year-old Jean Caine. The shared editorial doesn't yet appear online; however their first editorial is online already - and a write up for the other [male] person is online as well.
    Laughable is another recent Hamilton Spectator opinion column by Latham Hunter, 'It's a holly jolly feminist [Christmas] minefield.  The column ends with: "How far we've come".  Tell it(!) to the Toronto-born Pickford and local S. Ontario commercial radio pioneer, including as a station manager, president, and chairwoman of the board, Caine.

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    Wednesday, December 24, 2014

    Bicycle Brake Patent turns 125.

    It was December 24th, of 1889, when Daniel Stover and William Hance patented a bicycle with a back pedal brake.
    H/t to The Hamilton Spectator's Today in [Sports] History feature.  Their current online posting is for Dec. 26th events.

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    Restoring 'Manasses' to Christianity

    At Christmastime, we have the usual prearranged arguments of 'Keeping Christ in Christmas' and a multi/non-cultural debate over "Happy Holidays".  Whatever happened to Jesus's assumed gay ancestor, called Manasses?

    He's listed right there on page one of the New Testament: Matthew 1:10.  In that section are 42 past generations of Jesus's stepdad, Joseph.  These are listed in three equal amounts of 14, 14, and 14.  Manasses is centrally listed - as opposed to being shuffled towards the fringes.  In fact, he is listed, while multiple others were excluded.
    Notice that he also wasn't renamed. There are a few other individuals, of whom even Jesus himself chose to rename. Funny how so many of the names, like Michael and Peter continued to translate into dozens of languages, and how a few of the other most popular names, such as John and Jean, Mary/Marie and Mario, or Daniel and Danielle/Daniella are doubly applied.
    Much of today's homophobic political biases throughout 'Christianity', if perhaps less so as against Judaism, focus upon a few of the Old Testament's scriptures. However, I am under the impression that the spirit of the New Testament is generally intended to supersede the prior laws of the former.
    Jesus hadn't shunned Manasses; with a book one, chapter one mention, it seems to me that perhaps He did the exact opposite.  Nor had any number of biblical language translators and church leaders back when Christianity was being directed into its living spirit-guided format.


    Congratulations to America and Economic Prosperity

    I apologize for speaking well of the United States.  Their Dow Jones stock market index closed above 18,000 points for the first time ever, yesterday.
    Why isn't this a bigger leading news item, coming as it does soon after a recent downturn and only a day ahead of Christmas?  That is not a surprise in a western world that* has increasingly preferred to worship other regressive nations ahead of our own abilities and / or successes.

    * Easier (Ontario, Canada) business news to locate(?):
    Kellogg's has fired 500 (and another 300 in Sept.) and shutdown a London Ontario plant.
    Ontario's public credit rating was downgraded a fraction this week.

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    Tuesday, December 23, 2014

    Silver Basketball Logo IS a Toronto heritage item.

    The Toronto Raptors' newest pro basketball team logo was quickly maligned, including by me.
    However I then reconsidered - courtesy of a central Ontario children's show YouTube clip by Retrontario.

    Maybe superstar rapper, and former Cancon teen-show actor, Drake is mistaken if he prefers a gold toned new basketball logo.

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    Saturday, December 20, 2014

    $25 stockings of coal - from TorStar's Hume/home 'to yours'.

    Housing critic Christopher Hume leads off the main Saturday edition of the Toronto Star asking how, oh dear how can his city have so much wealth and yet so much poverty at the same time? Um, seriously, welcome to my(!) world class city, pal.
    Generally I admire Hume.  Agree or disagree, that's sort of his steady paying job... Nice if you can get one of these?
    I'm visiting my elderly parents... they have both a Star and Spectator subscription.  The newspaper deliveries will - either or both - lapse occasionally from year to year.  Satellite Cdn. TV, absolutely none of the outstanding multiple over-the-air retro subchannels out of Buffalo, NY, and they rely upon the trusty ol' local (non hi-definition) Starweek TV listings.  So they end up watching the same old commercial free TCM channel, only Murder She Wrote and non-original run Columbo's from VisionTV, or the numbingly stale DejaView lineup, a lot.  At my home however, I watch tons of freshly exchanged stuff like The Joey Bishop Show which only started a short while ago from any time of the day or night.  And that's while constantly choosing from any number of other good classic TV series - at the same time!  My subscription-free ota lineup is never mentioned EVER within Toronto`s largest newspaper.
    However, I'll stick with Hume's front page poverty column.
    Check out the BACK inside PAGE of this Saturday's Star Week guide!
    Get your "New! Stocking Stuffers For Kids" at STARstore.ca.  Of the six books presented, three cost between $23.09 and $24.14 - before a $6.25 order shipping charge.  The other three each cost $12.59 (only $3.35 shipping for orders under $16).
    TO ORDER, Star week`s printed coupon form can be filled out to One Yonge St., attention: Stocking Stuffers.  Yes, they published this as attn: Stocking Stuffers.

    Living in my world, I haven`t spent $25, at retail value, per family member gift, plus stocking stuffers - including youngsters - in years.

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    Monday, December 15, 2014

    Route 66 - of course it is a 4x U.S. border stations' exclusive.

    I couldn't fall asleep much yesterday. Two evening coffees will do that.
    So at 2 a.m. I got out of bed and tried the 'over-the-air subchannels' TV.  Ending was a Christmas episode of* The Beverly Hillbillies upon TCT-kids.  Fun stuff as they drove around the Los Angeles freeway.  Then at the top of the hour I channel surfed.
    You know,,, I know,,,
    Guess what I found over on the recent arrival Rev'n (56.2).  Route 66.  That makes Rev'n the FOURTH U.S. subchannel (semi-receivable^ here in Toronto) to carry this anthology styled adventure series in the past three years.  The others were/are RTV (until 2011 at ch. 2.2), MeTV (ch. 67.1/67.3), and Retro (56.2, apparently a vastly downscaled and brand adjusted RTV - now mainly showing a variety of older Doctor Who episodes every weeknight).  Rev'n doesn't generally carry any fictional shows; it is actually comprised of mostly former car review and off-road motorsport programs of the 1993-2008 era.

    Earlier on, at 7 p.m. I encountered an option that might have caused an argument between my S. Ontario located folks: the once a week scheduled Black Sheep Squadron on one channel (MeTV) , versus a Bobby Darrin special (with Bob Hope) on another (Throwback Television, 56.4).
    Canadian Industry really is this pathetic.  For all the Rogers/Shaw Shomi, 'our' publicly private billion dollar subsidized [excluding an Ontario only separate TVO], "its free", CBC network, and Bell Media's latest CraveTV self-bravo's, we are literally getting lapped at least 3 times over in comparison to American Industry's minor league competitors. TV is merely Canada's easiest to identify societal failure to compete, or to even permit and nurture in-country competition. Ever noticed a map of North America's oil and gas pipelines, refineries, and drilling sites? Ever try - if allowed(!) - to buy the same product (Cdn., U.S. or Overseas made), from both nations? Same Canadian/U.S. non-activity for here deal. * MeTV has been carrying various TV Christmas episodes at every weeknight, so far, this month. I couldn't count just how many series' examples I have found - across all of the Buffalo, NY, over-the-air(!) retro TV subchannels. Someone in the United States believes that they get make a financial go of an out-of-date car reviews station. And they have the industry freedom to try and maybe to fail or succeed. One of the two movie channels broadcasting from Buffalo had recently taken on a partial schedule of varied college sports. And yes, the United States of America has big company(s) cable, satellite, and internet streaming services, too. They also have Freedom of Industry for all! The last time I checked there were about a dozen applicants, in Canada, hoping for a tiered-only cable channel licence, as limitedly granted by a government agency and deliverable only via a tightly controlled ownership cartel. Virtually all of these applicants were denied of course; Bell Media's marquee sitcom of the 2000s received government funding for a so-called movie, which expectedly played at just a few actual theatre screens for less than a week this month. ^ Our CRTC also requests various frequency restrictions against U.S. border stations. The channel 56 lineup of subchannels has a directional blockage; similar to how Hamilton's non-cartelled exception, CHCH, has its lowered transmission power permission.

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    Sunday, December 14, 2014

    Not-awesome #868

    # 868.
    Weigh Scales.
    While my own weight hasn't been a serious concern, those weigh scales tend to make everyone obsessed.  Five or ten pounds over, or under, simply doesn't matter.
    As I exercice regularly is often when this issue will develop, for me.  I'll then start watching my weight between consecutive days(!) of the same week.
    Eat well, enjoy a few snacks without self-guilt, and just maintain a healthy level of active fitness.  Let the weigh scale try to sneer back, if it can.  If permanent weight loss is wanted, it will happen.
    Weigh Scales, not-awesome.

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    Tuesday, December 09, 2014

    Toronto's worst shopping centre.

    Not a mall, nor a plaza.
    'The Stockyards' at Keele and St. Clair Ave (north west corner).
    Some years back, I had mused about Vaughan Mills.  That is an actual indoor mall, anchored [at least then] by a second tier store rather than a traditional major department store.  A look around most Toronto area malls nowadays will find emptied anchor locations since a recently concurrent elimination of U.S. closed Sears Canada and Zellers.
    The Stockyards, by comparison is entirely outdoors with all of its stores facing inward against a three level parking lot.  Not an awning or otherwise sky covering in sight.
    Three levels of parking; two surrounding levels of stores.  I had walked into this retail environment.  Although it is situated in the middle of Toronto's west half, it is extremely car focused and without hardly any foot traffic entrance ways nor directionally helpful signages.
    Although it is centrally located, I found that most of the options for traversing from one retail level to the next was via standalone (lonely) escalator enclosures.   Onsite poster maps were at a minimum as well.  Target has a location upon the raised second story level.  Having walked across the uncovered third level parking lot, I went in, looked around then walked out through their expected exit /entrance doors.  Where to now?  I ended up taking one of the stairwells.  Spotting an onsite map outdoors, I crossed the shopping centre's road which accepts Stockyards' traffic, steps away, as from St. Clair Avenue.  Oh, there was a Winners store on the second level?  Now I noticed an escalator that was attached to the side of the Target store.
    And I cycled right back to where the upstairs parking lot stairwell was located.  No, I don't see the Winners.
    I know it is north, so I walk north upon the upper parking lot and... take another stairwell.
    Back to ground level I can realize that the Winners location is built upon a separate building structure.  Now I had to cross (twice) at a roundabout?!?  In Canada.  An urban retail shopping centre that doesn't offer pedestrian crossing lights?  Yeah, I had to scoot over during a return crossing.  Was the car continuing around towards St. Clair Ave., or was it turning away to some other routing?  It was turning away and across my own under lit pathway.
    I wasn't surprised to find that - during a December evening - many of stores that I visited had as many employees on hand as they might have contained customers.  For me, their lack of customers also presented a lesser car volume to navigate.  Overall this newer establishment is nearby an extended 'standalone' series of, ground level only, modern big box stores located upon the other side of St. Clair Ave..  None of this area's stores are neither a dedicated 'Music and Video' nor Book seller.  There is a Future Shop nearby, but its entertainment product shelves won't be any larger than what can generally be assumed at a generalized Target (or Wal-Mart) store.
    I'm sure everyone meant well; I'd be quite surprised if any one (new) retail location here is turning, or will ever turn, an in-store profit.

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    Monday, December 01, 2014

    North American Entertainment is dead.

    A month ago, I called the Internet dead - after a worthwhile-less browsing.
    So I'm surfing across the ol' TV dial, today.  This was intended to be a newly available subchannel (Retro) 56.2's first day; it actually commenced last Friday.  It has very little 'there' there, beyond a just a few notable, and not-at-all-notable core programming choices.  So, I surfed along.
    'Hot Bench'.
    This is actually a currently produced show.  Carried on a main U.S. network affiliate's late afternoon schedule.
    Just make yet another small potatoes' court case show - only this time hire three(!) allegedly 'hot' judges.  A black woman with long cascading hair, a beige-toned woman with long blonde coloured hair, and some middle-aged Milt Romney like white guy with a Clark Kent haircut.  None of these judges are wearing attractive clothing; they are attired plainly enough with standard full length courtroom robes.
    I thought an announcement for an upcoming new (multi-racial) sitcom called 'Fresh Off the Boat' indicated both a lack of ideas and an underlying concept of inducing everyone to settle, expect all others', and aim, for being "how they're supposed to be".  That quote is also a lyric from a video-led hit pop song of this year.  Lord knows that it seems as if every current item of mass entertainment, of all types, is awash in meaninglessly overt violence, horror, stereotyped limitations, and/or personal grooming obsessions.
    Hot Bench.  So good: it is broadcasted two episodes at a time.
    R.I.P North American entertainment, (TV) 1915* - 2014.

    * 1915, I think that is about when an early series of Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp short films were made.  A few of these were recently reshown upon Throwback (now at 56.4).

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    Sunday, November 30, 2014

    Not-awesome #870

    # 870.
    Christmas Music's Shutdown.
    Why is holiday music always given the cold turkey treatment?  First it gets played out and (also) pre-started beyond most listeners' preference / endurance.
    Then, as of December 25th by early afternoon - no more!  Immediately, it is all gone.
    Why can't Christmas music ever be scaled back down as towards New Year's Day?  Or until the following end-of-regular-week Friday?  And the same goes for its opening seasonal re-introductions, by the way.
    Christmas Music's Shutdown, not-awesome.

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    Saturday, November 29, 2014

    Retro, another OTA Buffalo channel - not for Toronto area viewers.

    WBXZ has finally added-in the 'Retro' brand subchannel, at position 56.2.  Thankfully(!) it appears that Throwback Television continues, now shifted to position 56.4.  Something called Rev'n (revntv.com) is announced at 56.3, with the previously blank 56.5 now taking a lineup of paid infomercials.  Cozi TV owned by NBC leads this frequency at position 56.1.
    Never heard of any of these?  Than maybe I must be all wrong!
    Folks, I've written about the abundance of new digital subtiered, free transmission, over-the-air U.S. television before.  There has never been even one peep of a mention within our Toronto region's regular media landscape.
    Some of the programming at Retro seems to co-exist with Cozi's line-up, suggesting it is another division of NBC Universal's ownership.  A few 'new' items - since only last night - include older Doctor Who series, The Joey Bishop Show, and a pair of Archies franchise cartoons from the 1970s.  Short cartoon series, like The New Adventures of Pinocchio, rounded out the half-hour Saturday morning broadcasts.  (Cosby's I Spy drama series was also scheduled last night at 11 p.m., on Retro.  This is one of the duplicated shows with Cozi that I referred to. )
    The logo bug is not too attention-grabbing, and another previous 2000s' era Canadian series made an appearance (Da Vinci's...).

    For me, Throwback has the good stuff.  Maybe it has some shortlisted replays, but there's a ton of variety from Throwback.  Particularly so from the film era of the 1930s and 1940s.  Lots of serials like the Green Hornet and comedians including W.C. Fields, Laurel and Hardy, Chaplin, the 1950s TV series of Abbott and Costello, as well as Buster Keaton... Milton Berle... Did I mention Throwback's occasional inclusions of classic B&W commercials and stretches without any commercials?  Whenever you think you know its regular schedule; that's almost as quickly as many of these programs will be changed!  The Little Rascals are included within Throwback's weekday early morning and afternoon Rocketoon block.  An assortment of older Japanese kid programs and British Adventure series also abound.

    MeTV and Antenna TV (at 67.1, 67.3, and 2.3) still have their full schedule merits.  ThisTV (67.2) features mostly commercial edited movies of the 60s through 90s, although it too possesses a few good TV sitcoms (The Addams Family and The Patty Duke show)  and dramas (Sea Hunt, Highway Patrol, Heat of the Night, Stargate 1) at early dawn and during - mainly Sunday nights - weekends.
    Nearly all of the above free OTA subchannels are vastly(!) better than anything that has ever been provided from within Canada's specialty [extra tiered cable subscription only] TV industry.  This is especially so since the CanWest-Global channels changed ownership.  Only crappy and too-zoomed Cozi TV should be considered a poor equivalent to Canadian issued older TV formatted cable-only channels.
    It was just last August when new start-up WBXZ had been unable to add the Retro channel, despite a month-long countdown notice.  That's when Throwback came to fill in the void.  This time around, a station notice began only at the start of this week, and for a December 1st commencement.  Last night's (Nov. 28th) discovery was therefore a treat.
    Modern Country Music videos can be found over at Zuus (channel 29.2).  It doesn't seem as though a previously announced PB&J all-kids subchannel will be enacted by WBXZ.  Retro, however, seems to already contain most of that segment's programming.  I'm glad that Throwback is still a part of their dial frequency!

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    Friday, November 28, 2014

    Cursing at the TV, this week.

    I get around to other stuff, by the way.  Here is a shrug of TV that I happened to notice since Sunday:

    -  Sunday morning: Bounce Beats lists a song by Chris Brown ft. Usher as its #1 countdown song.
    -  Monday evening: I plugged the analog basic cable back into the set.  The gov't funded TFO was displaying a subtitled movie at 9 p.m.  The typed F-word and a hardened member were clearly shown.  Probably the film was orginally gov't funded too.
    -  Wednesday evening: I checked out a new U.S. sitcom, 'Blackish'.  The young girl disdainly calls a male nurse/hospital staff character, "Man who has a Woman's Job." 
    Funny, I thought there was a renewed hubbub about feminism and role models for girls.  And there was a public washroom scene about using urinals, as well.
    -  Wednesday night: The Daily Show's Jon Stewart gives the camera an unblurred middle finger.  Leno had a retrospective Mark Twain Award show on PBS last weekend.  I still miss Colbert's main network presence; I very rarely bother tuning into any of the late nights shows since Leno and Colbert left; Wednesday was simply an off-night for other programs.
    -  All-week:  Everyone immediately boycotting Cosby?  Sure, NBC's Cozi TV channel still carries 'I Spy' five nights a week at midnight.  Bounce had the Fat Albert movie on Thursday at 5 p.m.
    -  Thursday afternoon's NFL football.  The NFL is on both City and CTV during this U.S. holiday.  CTV airs a Sunday NFL schedule promo.  And yet... this will be just another year I can't watch the CFL Grey Cup, however.  (Basic 'analog' cable, btw is now reduced to channels 28 and lower - as it is getting eliminated.  TFO is at ch. 13)
    -  Global Toronto's news team has a couple of City of Toronto themed promotional spots.  For decades, that channel wasn't supposed to do that; it had a specifically non-city regional licence to operate.

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    Co-villian Victims

    This isn't a simple "pull yerself up by yer own bootstraps" entry.
    Two U.S. news stories have dominated the newscape recently, the Ferguson murder and Bill Cosby's off-stage routine.  In both cases, I have difficulty with the one-sided approach many are attributing towards the victims of each case.

    Let's examine the main complainant's Cosby case first.
    A young adult-aged sexy model goes to Las Vegas.  She approaches him.  She invites him not to a public restaurant or to pass along / contact agent and producer people, but to her private hotel room instead.  He's a middle aged, rich, married, comedian celebrity.  It is the early 1980s, she's white, he's black.  She claims to have wanted "advice" for her own career.  She accepts an offer of alcohol (wine).  She accepts an offer of taking unknown pills with the booze.  Innocent victim?
    For Cosby, the story is bad enough.  He's a repeat married womanizer, with an acting career as a TV dad type.  But who hasn't ever heard of Hollywood celebrity elites 'partying' excessively?  Why the deluge?  Cosby, along with some other leading U.S. blacks, have long endured a basic criticism owing to adverse racial and political expectations.  There are reports now of multiple past victims.  Maybe some were attacked and not openly offered pills and booze.  Maybe some did have their own careers at stake.  We need to allow each of the complainants their own fair processes.  If he's being hated on mainly for not living up to safe TV characters or no longer being as useful to Big Money Interests, etc., that's a little different.

    The Ferguson murder is that, a murder.  Everything else doesn't matter except for one fact: the police officer is the grown man in this story.  As such, he controls the situation.  He controls it by establishing the contact and tone with the young man.  It should never have devolved into a kill shot at the other person's head.
    However, I believe that everyone involved is a co-villain.
    The local justice participants that willfully rigged its jury investigation [not an actual court case itself]  9-3 by racial divide, identical to its requirement for a result, and yet refused to report their results by vote count.  The same goes for releasing their announcement at night, after treating it like an awaited visit by royalty.
    The Police Chief and Mayor, and predecessors, who never incorporated legitimate diversity.
    The young man himself, clearly shown on the convenience store video  - as a physically threatening criminal thug.
    The delay in calling for medical attention.  (And the assumedly commonplace delay accepted by medical participants.)
    The townspeople, supposedly black by majority, that never forwarded good people - across decades - into their municipal politics themselves.
    The rioters.  I've seen stories of small businesses, automotive shops, looting, and a black community church destroyed.   What the hell?
    The media that flamed unto this specific story.  Where is the news coverage of so many more 'black on black', etc., assaults and murders?

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    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    Not-Awesome #872

    # 872
    (loud) Whisper Talkers.
    How 'd I skip this posting, intended for earlier this month?  (These entries have all been mostly pre-posted - months ago, btw.) 
    A few can't use an indoor voice, others can't use a reasonably full* voice; and some people can't, or won't, use their whisper voice neither.
    This has never really been a NA item, until our modern era's increased compression of mass public transit and a paralleled lackening of courtesy.  Everywhere we go, it seems, there is a not-quite-small conversation between just two or three individuals, plus everybody else within hailing distance.
    (loud) Whisper Talkers, not-awesome.

    * That conserve item may find itself listed here as well.

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    Sunday, November 23, 2014

    Not-awesome #871

    # 871.
    Trilogy novels.
    What is wrong with the three-part novelized stories (that I've stumbled across), is that they are repetitive.
    The first includes set-up portions, in advance, for the next two books.  The last book rehashes ground covered by its predecessors.  And the worst is often the middle novel of any trilogy.  That one will both rehash and then also set-up towards its other two novels.
    Yawn, yawn, and (identical to its first two partners) yes, another yawn.
    Long-time series characters are a good thing.  Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, etc.  However, I only like novels where 'the entire story' begins and ends within its own pages.
    Trilogy novels, not-awesome.

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    Friday, November 21, 2014

    MapArt's BikeMaps were better.

    Recently I wanted to pinpoint a major street address.  (And no, I do not own a smart phone with a paid service plan in order to 'get an app for that'.)  I went old school and read a current, gov't issued as "free", foldout Toronto map - with bicycle routes indicated.
    No street addresses.
    Actually, I have a few editions of these City of Toronto maps - 2014, 2012, and a differently produced Parks Dept. map of 2008/09.  These are often available at municipal centres such as library branches.
    I knew I used to be able to approximate such addresses - as 600 Bathhurst Ave. for example.
    MapArt to the rescue!
    I still have a cherished 1998 map - that I purchased for $3.95 retail price.  Maybe the newer ones are customer-cheaper and produced upon slick paper, but yeah, I like the older MapArt edition better.
    Instead of 'helpful tips and information' blather - turn it around and hey, there's a complete street listing index.  Real data.  Plus all the colour coded recreational route data of that time, as well.
    Sometimes physical map navigation is like reading an actual newspaper.  It may not be automatically targetted, but I can still quickly locate a specific destination, plus discover any variety of other sideline places as well.  No tiny, guided trip, viewscreen advisor wanted.
    How many times had I taken a bike ride and trusted to the large foldout map - to re-determine a personal routing through unmemorized neighbourhoods?  How many times had I changed course - upon any moment's whim?
    And how many times had I used that same MapArt map to plan a directed approach to an unfamiliar street address?

    I will add that I'm not a great fan of MapArt's (and other companies') book-styled series of maps.  Whenever I have a comparable large foldout map instead - I always find that it is far easier to visualize myself within an entire journey's length.  Moving from page 18 to... page 34 over to... page 60(?) breaks up that concept.  Actual Distance is no longer a real measurement; I can't judge upon whether travelling south from A to G is farther or closer than travelling east from L to S.

    What would be nice are foldout bike route enhanced maps - with occasional addresses and prominent building markers - of the various Toronto suburbs.  It doesn't do a lot of good having a slow-loading website or a clumsy downloaded file - different for every locality, when I am in mid-journey.  The address-less City of Toronto map doesn't bother to either label or show immediately adjacent suburban border region streets.   MapArt's copy used to.

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    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    I support Taylor Swift, the naughty adult-aged grown woman.

    Mainstream U.S. music star Taylor Swift is releasing a new album today. She also refused her music to Spotify, a massive online streaming service.
    Why? She wants to be paid. Good for her!
    I noticed something about Ms. Swift, granted this latest album. She is not a 13 year-old.
    Why does it seem that most of the western world expects every 20-something to be compensated (and condescended to) as a child. In Swift's case, what's the streaming service payout? A bag of chips, a soda pop of choice, and a '$5 allowance' - if she's nice? Maybe - tell her that she did a good job? And to send her back to 'her room', at her 'real' home - that is, you know, her parent(s)' house - regardless?
    She is a grown woman.

    The other week, we had Canada's top federal banker publicly suggest that younger 'adults' should work for free. For dubious networking benefits. Apparently if they are paid, no one else will talk to them!
    I've never agreed with senority payscales either. If you are doing something, you should get paid for it. Period. When you are no longer performing the same (tougher) set of tasks, you shouldn't continue to get paid as though you still are. This is how Toronto has found itself with former bus drivers, collecting paper ticket fares and a $100,000 a year salaries.
    However, I do believe that current employees should always have advancement and side-promotion (inter-dept.) opportunities before new employees are brought in. (I've been there; where someone walks into the office and tells me they are my new supervisor or manager - and that role was never availed to a single person - corporation wide. Then most of a dept. staff gets sacked and/or pushed out within a few years anyway.)
    I also believe that laid-off workers should never be replaced, later on and sometimes through multiple attempts, by new hires and/or outsourcings under the justified cover of re-organization. (Same, yeah.)

    Soon enough there will become stories of active workers earning much less than preceding pensioners - who had already benefited during entire careers of earning more than their generational replacements. Active two-tiered employees are a too common enough issue. Only after such employers collapse - for everyone, might rosy-life pensioners receive a cut back. Detroit's municipal retirees still get 95% of their contracted pensions - per that city's latest bankruptcy news. Many likely don't even live within Michigan.

    I admire Taylor Swift for her mature resolve versus the music industry's non payout expectations. When entertainment presentation companies cannot structure 'radio', streaming or conventional, that's their problem to fix.

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    Modern Canadian footsies with Neo-Sovietism and Anti-Semitism.

    It seems like there are politically incorrect 'correct' trends as part of today's Canada. Here are a few recent news and activity item takes. I had written about Rogers Communications for it to re-order a digital 6-in-1 news channels' aggregator (ch. 179) since last Spring. When re-checked last month - Russia Today (RT) was still its chosen default active mini window selection. Canada, meanwhile, has had military personnel and democratic election observers forwarded to Ukraine - in Ukraine's protection against Russia.
    On the weekend there was finally some TV news hour reporting of Ontario University Football - owing to a now-playoff round. As during previous years - when regular season TV coverage had existed - that wasn't placed upon either Cdn. media companies' leading 'Sports One' channel(s). On Monday night, Rogers Sportsnet carried a Junior Hockey game versus a visiting Russian squad upon its primary sports channel. In a comparison, I did notice a U.S. regional(?) championship game of Women's College Soccer upon a regular Buffalo, NY, broadcast station's sub channel during the past weekend.
    Canada's 2014 Giller Prize for fiction writing was awarded on Monday to first time novelist Sean Michaels. His story was focused on a Russian main character.
    A Cuban Pro-Baseball player, 27 year-old Jose Abreu was awarded a Rookie of the year MLB award yesterday. He defected from Communist Cuba during an annual Baseball Classic int'l tournament. A nice news story. But whenever did the NFL acknowledge CFL player records such as for quarterback passing yards - for Warren Moon, Damon Allen (brother of a Superbowl MVP), nor Anthony Calvillo. Ditto for back when a teenaged Wayne Gretzky was refused a NHL rookie award eligibility.
    A former Japanese pro baseball player's combined leagues' base hits statistic was debated as to whether his numbers (with MLB) might establish a new career base hits' record. North America's at-home minor league stats don't get counted with the big league stats.

    Last week, Toronto's mayor elect John Tory was publicly reported to having Jewish-faith maternal grandparents. Tory, himself, is a United Church follower. It didn't get mentioned before the election, and not after his own false anti-Semitic charge against a second place opponent, shortly before October's election.
    Some years ago I opined that I thought he simply didn't look quite so "John Tory" as a name suggested. (I noticed his hair and skin tone, that was all.) Now, a further decade of public life later, multiple elections as a high level political representative, he has a suddenly acknowledged co-Jewish background?
    Every year throughout my life, in North America, it seems as though someone within a long-standing prominent public sphere comes out with a personal Jewish heritage. I believe - in my heart - that our overall society should be co-allowed a greater credit of acceptance. Outlines of positional context are deserved. It partially informs when influential speakers regularly debate worldly issues, for example. Positional Context matters when an debate is about Asia, Ireland or Africa - just the same. And it matters within mass entertainment as well. Too often, we still have rigidly assumed racist attitudes blindly fed throughout mainstream pop culture. We have a country, (yes) with its share of troubles, whose intended multi-cultural acceptance runs all the way back to our foundation of British, French, First Nations, and American co-existence. Our development deserves more than longly belated openness. I voted for former mayor Mel Lastman; I still would have voted for John Tory.

    Monday night TMZ reported upon a new Lyric video by Nicky Manoj. It is suggestive of Nazi German visual design. A marketing plan? Toronto rapper, Drake, is a featured co-vocalist for this song. TMZ noted that Drake's background is prominently co-Jewish; and that he most likely never had an idea of this pre-release video's concept. I thought TMZ could have also compared the same visual design to the USA's 2012 London Olympics team outfits. Earlier this year, singer Rihanna had briefly posted a pro-Palestine text message during the Summer fractus after three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered and when Palestine was firing thousands of rockets at Israel.
    This makes two young, and highly popular, rap music acquaintances of Drake, this year, so affected.

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    Sunday, November 09, 2014

    Not-awesome #873

    # 873.
    Lost yet Cool Fashions.
    Paisley design prints should never return.  However, there have been all sorts of great fashion styles over the decades.  One of my favourite fashion eras?  That would have to be the early 1970s.  Check out an episode of, say, 'The Partridge Family' music group sitcom.  Everything on that series looked great!  The clothes, the hair, the furniture..., the bus, lol.
    Then go to a typical store to buy something.  Ugh.
    There have been numerous in-fashion contemporary items of which I can only wish that I had (then) purchased three or five (brand new) copies of.  $15 lite canvas shoes with a business heel.  A lime green cotton sweater with a Tour Du France print.  A loose grey thin-demin jacket with too many to count pockets.  Cheap yet well-sized and backed wood veneer shelves and also a study desk.  An 8-sided, manufactured in Canada, coffee table.  Clock radios with green numberings instead of red.
    Lost yet Cool fashions, not-awesome.

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    Saturday, November 08, 2014

    Praise for Praise and Learning.

    I noticed that, besides older (B&W) TV and radio programs, and current science shows, etc., much of my entertainment focus has shifted to an assortment of Christian based programs from two U.S. networks, TCT and Daystar.

    Faith in History with William Federer is a daily half-hour show (on TCT) that examines U.S. history in the context of recorded statements of numerous leading politicians.  On Friday it discussed General Robert E. Lee - who led the Confederate Army during the U.S. Civil War.
    I have my own ignorances.  Therfore I have assumed that Lee was a racist and that war was only about The South fighting only to maintain Slavery.  Not so.  Before the war, Lee had freed all of the slaves which he inherited from his father-in-law (the adopted son of George Washington, btw).  Lee had built a prominent U.S. military career and even turned down an offer to lead the Union side.  He spoke of abolishing slavery.  When the Civil War began, it was more about a drastic imbalance of federal taxation policy.  Lee was from Virginia and decided to serve his geographical side.
    From a PBS documentary program, I've also learned that when U.S. slavery was abolished - there was a quiet loophole.  For decades after 'freedom', many southern black men were often and innocently rounded up for the intention of exploiting prison labour.  Notably, this occurred for harvesting activities and early 20th century coal mining used to supply steel.
    That's from only one episode's topic.  Faith in History does have a strongly favourable U.S. historical slant - sometimes that will conflict beside my appreciations of Canada's history and ideals or else an awareness of American based injustices.  Always it provides a thoughtful presentation - as focused upon direct Christian influences via quotations from various individuals.

    Jentezen Franklin (U.S.) and Brian Houston (Aust.) are two lesser known dynamic preachers.  To date, however, these men do not push stereotypical nonsenses such as touching someone as a way of 'healing' permanent illnesses or disabilities.  Nor do they press a donation button more, or equally as hard, then a devotion encouragement button.  They also haven't routinely condemned differing peoples and/or gov't policies such as public healthcare.
    Joel Osteen is well known, across Canada.  On Daystar, there is a full hour program each week, with the first half consisting of vibrant music.  Daystar also contains a few other musical programs - both gospel and Christian Rock.  I've mentioned that while I think modern CR is surprisingly good in tone; I'm not comfortable with its singularly devoted lyrics.  TCT's lineup includes a recorded program with a lively blue grass group, as well as the (less fanatical, IMO) Gaither Hour  - when I find it upon their schedule.
    Dr. Creflo Dollar appears every weeknight on Daystar.  These will be repeat episodes, naturally.
    Pastor John Hagee and son Matthew have their show.  The same goes for Dr. Charles Stanley and his son Andy.
    The above are the preachers that I've found to be closer, in degrees, towards my own views.  Of course there is a lineup of others as well upon both networks.  Some might not capture my attention and a few others I will disagree with.
    TCT now has a subchannel dedicated to debunking Islamic Texts.  We don't have anything like this upon Canadian airwaves.  It's not just 'blowhard' talk, however.  The leading host, Pastor Joseph, is a former Middle East Muslim; they knowledgeably debate the Quran within a call-in show format.  At first it was amusing; then I began to learn a bit about the actual framework of the Islamic faith.
    To me, there is a sharp difference between every specific religion and/or sect(s) itself, and individual good people following any one Faith (and Atheism).  Faith in History had discussed how U.S. Slavery and First Nations treatment began separately between the two Christian settlements in early America.  They had a same basic British /Dutch source population; yet each had followed a different sect within Protestant Christianity.  Many of the original 13 States identified with a specific branch of an otherwise common faith.
    A few Jewish programs are also present.  One is a weekly news program - from which I learned, early on, of this past June's Israel-Palestine Kidnapping situation.  As I often channel surf across all of the Over-the-Air channels, this is how I sometimes have found these various religous programs.  A couple of faith-based TV-movies had also found my attention.

    Two Canadian programs that caught my attention, in recent years, are Living Truth with Charles Price, and Rock of the Church hosted by Winnipeg's Pastor Mark Hughes.  Price's audience has always better reflected a local visible diversity of which I am more familiar.  Neither, however is carried by the two U.S. broadcast networks mentioned above.

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    Friday, November 07, 2014

    Please, Don't Shomi Violence on demand.

    Rogers and Shaw are co-debuting a new online TV service this week, called Shomi.  I'll stick with an over-the-air lineup of various U.S. sub channels, thank them very much.
    From chosen promotional appearances, it would seem like what I already knew: virtually every modern era TV series and film, U.S. or Cdn., or British, is all just a stew of harshness, callousness, and explicit aggression.  No thanks.
    This could well be another Target Canada of corporate failure.
    Who actually believes that the radio, newspaper, television, and magazine divisions of these mainstream companies, and others - Cdn. and Int'l. - are good?  'Walk before learning to run'?

    I had doubtful hopes for a local radio station, Indie 88.1, which began over a year ago under a smaller industry group company.  Smaller and Independent implied having their so-called ear closer to the ground, a fresher outlook, etc.  IMO, that was bull.
    They simply went out and hired on the same tired industry people pushing their same tired, anti-social and audience failing, industry ideas and practices.  Personnel changes would occur, Indie's mindset die is permanently cast.
    I had wished to hear recently issued music by such friendly, proven, yet mainstream abandoned artists as Men Without Hats, Ringo Starr, the Spoons, etc. alongside a variety of many brand new artists producing similarly non-angst driven quality songs.  I have listed my own findings of over a 100 new enjoyable songs - under a one per(!) artist guideline - each year, for these last four or five years.  Why can't the professionals do likewise?  I also wanted a good delivery of music - relevant, informative, to the point, and without sneer.  None of this had occured during my listening samples.
    Shomi may likely be just another such startup, except owned directly by... some of the same tired industry people pushing the same tired, anti-social and audience failing, industry ideas and practices.

    Shomi... (from Rogers and Shaw) a week of MeTV (affiliate's fantastic clean letterbox version - plus a 4/3 network feed for remaining programs), Throwback Television, This TV, Get TV, Antenna TV, Cozi TV (a few okay oldies otherwise just multi-houred repetitive crap, zoomed in too tightly), TVO and Buffalo's PBS - both in 24/7 widescreen, secondary PBS broadcast sub channel(s), plus selective TCT and Daystar programs.

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    Thursday, November 06, 2014

    Right after the crossword puzzle.

    I received a phone call soon after finishing my last entry's pre-posted draft copy.  It was an (alleged) employment agency person.  Regardless of hundreds of applications, I'm lucky if I can get more than two such calls per year.
    Could I understand her?  Barely, but that's besides the issue.  Was she asking, as example, for a nursing assistant or a supervising brain surgeon?  "Audit" and "Analyst" may mean real auditing and/or technical project, international law, case-scenerio works by the highest advanced professionals.  It can also mean filling out selective working papers as given out to a skilled yet general staff of clerks and/or less demanding indicator calculations with straight forward, business activity explanations.
    Um, of where was she calling from? Wouldn't say.  How long was this opportunity for? Had she reviewed a copy of my resume - before asking various basic career questions?  Do I have a payscale to request upfront?  Shortly enough, she then approached me to spend my money first.  Uh huh.
    So this wasn't at all a real opportunity through any legitimate organization.  It was just one of those hidden scam deals where desperate individuals are targetted.

    I had said that I needed an item of success.  Too often, I greatly pine that I will find any other people that deal simply within their basically fair, responsive, and open manner!  A snap of another's fingers and I could reintegrate myself.  Nothing quite so 'posh' nor self-entitled; just possibly applying myself with some abilities I actually have.  Contributing.  Not getting slid into a relentless despondency.  Not giving out four against one while claiming it as 'one to four'.
    Too many people assert to a mutually supported opinion of, "Refuse to grant genuine acceptance.  Leave any fallen(s) to finding anyone, anything, and anywhere else".

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    A sorely needed Crossword break.

    Hey, I completed a crossword puzzle!  In minutes!  From a newspaper.
    Okay, it was one of the free daily newspapers, 24hrs.  Tuesday's edition of Wordplay.
    I tend to be interested in many different topics.  However I am terrible at solving crosswords.  What precisely is that clue's name or word?  How exactly is it spelled?  What item(s) of trivia might I have previously known and yet can not immediately recall?  Why should I assume whether an unknown answer consists of two, three, or more words joined together?  Should a clue's answer be in a sing-song format?
    If I can struggle for about a third, correctly, of an attempted crossword puzzle - that's my 'success rate'.  I'm glad whenever there are other puzzle types to be tackled.
    With this particular crossword, only two given clues were far away from me.  One across: Highest Point, and 55 down (bottom right corner area): Israeli dance.  Gratefully there were no 'halfway across the world' foreign language River Name clues to answer.  Of course, I had a few other answers revised and/or solved after they were mostly filled-out through adjoining clues.
    Still, it altogether took me about as much time as writing this simple entry :)

    Sometimes I really need such a meagre token of success, once in awhile(!), in my own life.


    Ghomeshi' 5 for 5 Failed Organizations.

    I realized something that is overlooked from the Ghomeshi saga's chatter.  Outside of himself, he seems to have starred within a 5 for 5 organizational failure rate.
    - Big CBC, at Toronto, has a string of management miscues or disregardments.
    - The Cdn. division book publisher, cancelled, had its own ongoing executive level workplace cover-up issue, only a few years earlier.
    - York University - was home to Canada's all-time Men's Football team Consecutive Loss record while Ghomeshi was an advanced and school-leading student, studying Women's Issues rather than say, Arts or Sciences.  That loss record was later surpassed during the Univ. of Toronto's 2-78 record from '98 through '07.
    - A trendy bar restaurant which hosted Ghomeshi's once nightly/weekly(?) TV series, if I recall, had its own reported business dispute.
     - A knowledgeable criticism of Canada's music industry - as to its public funding sources was issued in recent times.  Exampled was that Lights and her manager, Ghomeshi, continued to apply for and receive annual funding aid(s) - after she had achieved a successful and popular breakthrough artist status.

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    Another badly published mystery novel.

    I just finished reading Ellen Godfrey's The Case of the Cold Murderer (1976, a Paperjacks edition).
    Now, I've mentioned a dislike of error prone book editing. I've probably mentioned another (IMO) bad mystery novel or two. I don't know where this combination example fits into.

    Page one, sentence one, the timeline is established as February 1969. Throughout the book, its crime solving sleuth is referred to as 70 years of age. Page 29, and a back history states that series' heroine was born in 1902. Final page, one week after the 'weeklong' mystery is solved, she is 72.
    A niece is introduced. Soon after a young adult son of a younger sister is introduced. This pair of characters are described throughout the novel as cousins.
    The first third of this novel wasn't bad - background hiccups aside. Nor was the remaining portion of this novel 'bad'. However it did feel as though the first part was better, and that maybe the rest of this novel was completed at a different time. Plus, I guessed at its murderer too quickly, once the second scene had begun.
    The first third's activity takes place in the city; the second part takes place in the country. The first section suggests a locked room mystery; the second scene is a countryside farm house, during a weekend blizzard condition, with all guests able to arrive but then unable to leave. Police show up, but help cannot be called for after they leave. The earlier locked room setup is tersely dismissed; all of the other characters become 'trapped' by a sudden afternoon blizzard. Within the final couple of pages, the second 'cousin' becomes a grandson again.
    The Toronto area author was a book publishing general manager with a novelist husband. This novel which involves around a fictional small publishing company - makes mention, early on, of its writer-sleuth character's annoyance with a received proofreading copy having extensive typos. That is part of the actual story's introductory phase.
    Real published typos, however, consistently plague the second portion of this novel. Some words being mispelt into non-words and many other, short and similar, words assumedly printed in substitution. I am not a professional writer and when online I make loads of personal writing mistakes. Online discussion forms - such as this blog and commenting threads - are not situations where I write a draft, step away, later review with a fresh take, revise own my words, and(!) repeat each of these steps for a third or final time.

    At least there was a murder action in this novel, occurring well before reaching its 80% point. Thankfully its typing mistakes did not also reside within a five novel omnibus edition. The second portion had contained too many adjectives IMO. Perhaps it was a page filling style difference that had accounted for some of its inattentive miscues? I'm reading a few short stories next, lol.

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    Monday, November 03, 2014

    Forgotten Freeware fallbacks.

    Daylight /EST time was reset this past weekend. So here is a belated freeware round-up; it goes with my earlier series of postings.

    Jolix CD Ripper v1.5.0 by JolixTools. Part of an expansive, somewhat confusing, series of available programs. It did the CD ripping job I wanted.
    Wavosaur v1.1.0.0. A wav.file creator /editor program. (I used to have a full-bodied 'Creative' music editing program - that only installs where/if it finds Creative brand hardware.)

    Logyx Pack v8.28 by Drazen Beljan. Currently this a single executable file containing over 100 puzzles and like-minded games. A few of these, I haven't discovered elsewhere.
    Color Suduku v3.1 by Petr Lastovicka. Many different shapes and sizes, plus an even/odd cell shading option.

    Spread32 v1.18 (2003) by (Stephen) Bye Design Ltd. A small freeware spreadsheet program. Alternative word/text processing programs, IMHO, seem to be a dime a dozen.
    Solway's Expression Calculator v1.2 by Kevin Solway. An one-line math expression program.
    SpeQ-Mathematics v3.4 by Jos de Jong. Some 'over my head' stuff.
    MWSnap v3.0074 by Mirek Wojtowicz. A popular screen capture program (2002).
    Pitaschio v2.26 by Ara (2009). Various GUI settings that can be applied to open windows, etc. Includes disabling of specific keys /buttons (such as F1, minimize, and caps lock). OpenSaveFilesView v1.00 by Nir Sofer. Surprisingly informative - until one considers its amazing freeware utilities' author.
    Search and Replace 98, v3.1.2.82 by The Andromeda Workshop. A multiple files' text replacer; I preferred this older program over another I had tried.
    LS FileList Generator v1.53 (2003) by Pyo. Quick and flexible settings.
    Text2Folders v1.12 by Jody Holmes / Skwire Empire. Creates a series of new folders based upon a simple text list.

    TimeBar v2.00 (1993) by Peter Middlestorb. If I'm gonna highlight 32-bit era freeware - in 2012-14, then this forgotten time-text 16-bit program really deserves a rememberance. It was an enjoyable software treat.

    Mostly I haven't noticed anything that's new and good this year, excepting from a few veteran freeware developers. Thankfully(?) I am stuck with a 32-bit Windows 2000 machine, while I've become intensely unimpressed by the 64-bit Windows 7 Home edition, Windows 8.1, and current Windows 10's preview testing reports.  I miss when computers were 'actually fun, user capable, and genuinely intuitative enough' to use!
    Most of the above software programs were simply missed during my earlier freeware discovery postings. Still looking forward, however, to this year's NANY 2015 possibilities.

    .25's New Music blog series notice:
    There won't be any 2014 entries, at this blog, to highlight 100 or more new pop songs (one per artist) - as personally shortlisted.

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    How do you keep a TV buff in suspense?
    Have me watch the first hour of a 1957(?) TV movie, starring William Shatner, Steve McQueen, Ralph Bellamy, and Martin Balsam.
    It was a Westinghouse Studio program entitled The Defender.  Bellamy and Shatner were a father-son legal defence team, McQueen was the defendant and Balsam portrayed the lead prosecutor.  It was re-aired Sunday Night as part of Throwback Television's (channel 56.2 in Buffalo) weekly 'Hollywood Hour'.  Unlike our dreadfully horrible Cdn. retro stations, I don't know of any other regularly scheduled repeats for this particular hour's programming.
    A special addition - without any updated mockery - was an original Westinghouse 'broad band' TV set commercial - featuring a hockey game image to compare their TV product line's 22% improved sharpness over regular television sets.
    I knew the hour was drawing nigh.  I figured it was maybe a 90-minute show and that it would be carried through.  I got the ol' "tune in next week" notice at the hour's end.

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    Sunday, November 02, 2014

    Not-awesome #874

    # 874.
    Extra Musicians, either On/Off Stage.
    How many guitarists does it take to play a tune?  How many people can manage to stand around a lightbulb?
    This is not a new thing.  Benefit shows feature this N.A.  A rousing encore finale appearance is one thing; having the regular on-stage playlist over participated is just clutter (IMO).
    Then there is 'the big sound from a supposedly small group'.  With advanced electronics this can be readily pre-recorded and hidden.  Other bands will utilize a squad of excess real musicans, tucked away out of the spotlights.  There are scores of musicans and backup singers who have careered themselves performing with popular 'super groups and acts'.  And they are never publicly recognized.
    Extra Musicians, either On/Off Stage, not-awesome.

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    Wednesday, October 29, 2014

    Praise for Mississauga's current development.

    Mississauga's long-time mayor McCallion was interviewed by Steve Paikin on his TVO program last night.  Unfortunately he dwelled only upon 'the past'.  Mississauga has been growing fairly well in its most recent years.
    I grew up in Cooksville, then 'Mississauga'.  I have said that everything I had liked about (south) Mississauga was already in existence BEFORE McCallion became its overall mayor.  I've continued to visit and travel between (west) Mississauga and its neighbouring City of Toronto - more so for decades rather than just 'years'.  Until four or five years ago, I readily maintained that same unchanged opinion.

    Mississauga has its own municipal issues; every city does.  But let's take a renewed look at their suburban landscape.
    - It has new separately paved bike trails coursing - continuously - beside its multiple major roadways.  Disappearing are the traditional sidewalks with those completely useless foot-wide elevated and short-ended 'paved curb strips' and their six feet in-between's of empty lawncare.
    - It has a visible Express Bus Fleet (blue) added to its traditional Every Stop Bus Fleet (orange).  Timed schedules have greatly increased, and there is now a hint towards operating a more purposefully inter-connected design.  (I still shudder upon my former 2.33 hours' bumpy(!) community college commutes, each way -  as compared to a 15/20 minute direct car commute via Hwys' QEW /427 and /27.)
    - There is a new dedicated 'Busway' that will partially begin this November and within a few short years will traverse that entire city from east to west.
    - It has major, legitimately major, highway routing(s) that do not leave out large districts - unlike say, Scarborough.  Businesses and corporate offices can now be found throughout all of their city's modern northern half.
    - The Square One Mall location was developed into a geograpically centralized 'suburban core'.  Toronto meanwhile still tries to insist upon its shoehorn scaled 1960s downtown - as though it were the only possible (and desperate) choice for future development.  Lastman's 1990s era North York where only directly upon upper Yonge St. being the lone exception.
    - Its waterfront - if no longer containing a necessary(!) industrial power generation site for our overall Toronto-area region - is at least no longer 'nothing'.

    It still does a few too many things (IMO) inadequately upon the dirt-cheap.  There is a lot of room between faux fancy-styled waste versus plain good service.
    Its post-1979 developed neighbourhood quadrants still suffer from a permanently sprawled and meandering cocoon effect.
    In this decade however, Mississauga is actively growing forward!  Compared to a local pro-sports slogan, Toronto is really only talking about a "bloody big deal".

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    A bagful of timely theme music.

    One of the things I greatly miss is my mp3 collection.  More so than downloads, I used to buy a goodly number of used compact discs containing bands and music of the 1980s.  Older Jazz and post-2004 (80s matching) pop music are also a listening preference.  Nearly all of this had been converted to 192bit mp3s.  However, all of that music is currently exiled to a hard drive, and backup storage, of a 2000s computer that no longer works.  The older plug-in designed IDE hard drives were/are fine; it was other components which eventually had failed to operate.
    Former radio jockey Scot Turner currently hosts a Sunday afternoon retro program on Toronto's 102.1 fm.  Intendedly the music is a reflection of that leading station's then-roots of the mopey-dancy-closeted new wave era.  I've found that it is more blended into the latter 1990s alternative white boy stompy anger era of Alternative Rock - as mixed with Rap and Canadian Rural rockers.  Two weekends ago, not having anything else going on, I listened in throughout the afternoon.  A late afternoon drop-in by Ivor Hamilton didn't makeup for its extensively alt-rock skewed hours beforehand.  This past Sunday was to be a Halloween themed show, although I had missed it.
    I usually enjoy the themed playlist idea.  Randy Bachman presents a two hour weekly program via CBC radio; mostly it is great 1960s popular music with crappy post-1995 'contemporary pop' choices thrown in.  That is something I miss from not having my mp3 collection .. at my ready.
    Often I would use my personal song title database to filter a new playlist.  This next Sunday (IMO) would be more ideal.  Between Halloween (on the Friday), a semi-annual time change, and Municipal Voting (today), all sorts of themes can be interwoven: Candy, Costumes, Party and 'After the Party', Changes and Voting Elections.

    So here is rough preliminary of 80s song selections that I might have culled together .. for my own listening:

    Fingerprintz .. Changing [I'm going to a masquerade... taxi waiting to leave]
    The Cars .. Candy-O
    Bruce Cockburn .. The Candy Man's gone. [I hate to tell you, but...]
    Tears for Fears .. Change
    Mi-Sex .. It Only Hurts when I'm Laughing
    Mi-Sex .. Caught in the Act
    Sad Lovers and Giants .. Sleep
    Crowded House .. Don't Dream it's Over
    Idle Eyes .. To a Vote
    Talk Talk .. Candy
    Talk Talk .. The Party's Over
    Roxy Music .. Same Old Scene
    Bryan Ferry .. Don't Stop the Dance
    Velvet Underground .. What Goes On [late 60s alt]
    David Bowie .. Changes [early 70s alt]
    Lou Reed .. Real Good Time Together [mid 70s alt]
    Gino Vannelli .. It's Over
    Corey Hart .. Sunny Place, Shady People
    The Big Dish .. From the Neighbourhood
    Bryan Adams .. She's only Happy, when she's Dancing
    The Box .. Closer Together
    Camouflage .. Winner Takes Nothing
    Culture Club .. Time (clock of the heart)
    The Cure .. In-between Days

    The mind boggles with blended music theme possibilities.
    However: No MJ and Madonna, no Tragically Hip, no Pearl Jam, No Public Enemy...  And then try not to lean upon typical radio's 'big hit' songs (a half-apology for a Bryan Adams album-cut pick, lol).

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    Sunday, October 26, 2014

    WWW. Dead at 19.

    I'm calling it: the world wide web is deceased.  Time of death: Sunday afternoon (EST), October 26th, 2014.
    It was back in Nov./Dec. of 1994 when Netscape had first released its free browser to the Windows PC masses.  Today I tried surfing the internet - as an enjoyable pastime.  Not so much.   I read about Microsoft's Windows 10 testing news, but otherwise there wasn't really any 'there' there.
    So many previous online activities I enjoyed just don't seem active anymore!  Flickr used to be a great site to browse and filter through sets and time-frames of downloadable photographs.  Soundcloud used to be a great downloadable site for modern music that doesn't get acknowledged by the giant media empires.  (Of course, to download mp3s I needed to copy cache files that were temporarily stored by a Firefox 3 era browser; that browser could no longer access Soundcloud when I tried it earlier this year.  Independant minded(!) blogs used to very numerous.  Only a small fraction seem to have remained active.
    Whatever the internet is today, it simply isn't what it was.

    I don't care at all for the rah-rahhed paidness of most 'popular' online participants.  I don't want my exacting and explorational music preferences replaced by some automated super-sized generator program and requiring a connected restreaming of the exact same content repeatedly while original content eventually becomes silently remastered and destructively mangled.  I don't want my television news to absolutely refuse the existence of better performing subchannels.  Ditto for all other news and commentary content.  I don't want a re-updated computer system if that means touting(!) the addition of a calendar app - which Microsoft had first provided in the 1980s, while forcibly removing the continued usage of good programs and graphical interface designs - at their choice, not mine.
    IMO, there just was nothing 'on' today as I tried to surf the web.
    R.I.P., WWW.

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    Not-awesome #875

    # 875.
    Showers that don't "take".
    Every now and then a bathing shower simply doesn't work.  Some might experience this as 'a bad hair day'.
    I mix up my shampoos, soaps, and/or gels every so often.  The Pert shampoo brand seems to always leave my 'normal' hair dried-out.  Conditioners can develop a waxy build-up when used too often.  But that's a hair condition issue.
    Worse is the 'bad full body day'.  Sometimes I will even feel more clammy, or grimey, right after taking a shower.  Renewed daily body odor might return within a couple of hours.  Shoulders might never dry.  Keep toweling,  keep toweling...
    Showers that don't "take", not-awesome.

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    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    Reading Amateur.

    I went to (one of) the University of Toronto used book sales this past weekend.  From its small (weekend-only) room, I bought one mass market paperback - cost $1.  Hardcover books and nicer quality paperbacks were located across the second floor's main hall.
    The 1976 mystery novel I selected was by a lesser known Ontario /Canadian writer.  I'm glad enough to have been able to find and acquire one intriquing book; at a low price, that was something I felt I wouldn't often re-discover at another booksale, plus by a writer - Canadian, Non-Literary, and Mystery fiction at that - of whom I hadn't read before.
    So I finally line up to pay my loonie.  A woman behind me (with a man at her side) snipes at me.  "One book?  Amateur!"
    One may suggest that she was being socialable.  However, prime-aged women are seldom friendly towards me and I don't cut cut much of an impressive figure.  Big city (downtown event) people generally don't snipe out at non-wealthy looking strangers as their opening conversational style neither.

    So I was 'told' - as I take it.  Before this I had been in a relaxed and contented mood, grateful to put aside personal worries for the moment.  I was at a book sale.
    Instead I got ignorantly disdained by a faux-elite hometown stranger.  C'mon.  It didn't even surprise me!
    At this sale, I had shortlisted against a few and declined a number of other selections.
    That woman's mass market selections: yup, a pile of commonplace Agatha Christie novels.

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    Sunday, October 19, 2014

    Not-awesome #876

    # 876.
    Spicy foods.
    I don't like having my own snot with my food.  So why is the entire food industry obsessed with making everything "spicy"?  As well, "Over-flavoured" is Spicy's twin of food-evil.  Both are terrible, in my opinion.
    Now, I'm not (at least I don't regard myself as so) a limpid, plain, and lukewarm mash potatos, only food person.  I enjoy a bit of food spiciness and flavour.  Within my personal level of stomach comfort.
    Yet, I shouldn't need to use a tissue paper while I am eating, though.  Nor should I need to have a large glass of water at my ready.  Especially once a humid Great Lakes' summer season has concluded.
    Spicy foods, not-awesome.

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    Not-awesome #877

    # 877.
    Wide Window bays.
    I just don't like wide length window blocks.  Ditto for clear patio doors.
    They makes me think of a small truck crashing through for a smash and grab robbery.  Then there is the matter of furniture placement.  Where do you put the television unit or the chair, etc.  What if you don't want sunshine fading down upon your belongings everyday.  A solid set of drapes to be drawn straight across?
    Household window bays with multiple narrow vertical windows are nice, however.  When they also have matching wall spaces between them.
    Wide Window bays, not-awesome.

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    Saturday, October 18, 2014

    About the Leafs' Lack of Ont. Players.

    Last week, Hockey Night in Canada returned with Coach's Corner, starring its long-time hosts Ron McLean and Don Cherry.  In Toronto, Cherry gave a sharp criticism of the Toronto Maple Leafs' 2014 draft choices.
    Last June, I almost wrote about the Leafs not selecting an Ontario / Canadian player during the first round of the draft.  Nazem Kadri, who's also a Muslim - ONTARIO BORN, might be the only Ontario born - Ontario development system first round player they've taken in many years.  As a casual follower, yeah I've noticed that most of the Leafs' upper tier players (drafted, traded for, and signed via free agency) have been non-Ontario (and to a lesser extent - neither from overall all-Canada) sourced!
    I SUPPORT the inclusion of foreign players, even star(!) foreign players - but let's keep Ontario's Own as first-in-line where the talent abilities are relatively equal!  Nearly all other - often winning NHL teams - seem to have no such chronic shortages of our hometown and regional players, chosen alongside of U.S., U.S. college system, and Overseas / Overseas trained-in-Canada players.
    Kadri turned out to be just like anyone else - perhaps to some high ranking people's disappointment.  He ended up wasting more years with the Leafs minor league team then many other comparable first round picks.  He then was also getting routinely slighted, publicly, for his skill and alleged overweight physical condition by the Leafs management.  The very wealthy Leafs team meanwhile achieved one, strike-shortened season, playoff appearance in about a decade.
    It was this way while the Ontario Teachers Pension Group owned the team, and so far it had still been a little early to rebuke the newer ownership tandam of Bell Canada (Bell Media) and Rogers Communications.  However I don't believe, given this franchise's recent 10-20 years' history, that the new ownership has the 'wiggle room' not to select a top-tier Ontario (or at least a Canadian-born and made-in-Canada) player.
    According to Cherry, the Leafs' 2014 draft was worse than just maintaining its unstated non-Ontario 'first round' selection bias.  Their draft picks were entirely(!) devoid of any Ontario born and Ontario (junior hockey) developed players.  In this, the Maple Leafs are one of only two NHL teams [Washington Captials is the other], within a 30-team league, to have made this exclusion.

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    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    Hopeless: Occupations I've only Dreamt Of.

    In the last posting, I stated that I honestly hate everything Microsoft (Windows) has produced since 2005.  I need to expand upon this topic.
    Throughout much of my adult life I have, or had, dreamt of obtaining employment with Microsoft (and/or Microsoft Canada)!  That's important to keep in mind.
    For example, I grew up worshiping just about every business variety of journalism, technology, marketing, aviation, consumer goods, sports, etc.  I respected and trusted upon most gov't institutions as well.  At everything I have always tried to perform at my very best.  I have always wanted to fit-in and contribute and to feel reasonably accepted and appreciated.  Who wouldn't?
    My very best sometimes simply just wasn't good enough in some situations - and I can accept that.  When I dreamt of Microsoft, it was never as though I imagined myself as one of its top executive leaders.  It is however, a place of thousands upon thousands of individual roles; and it is still just one part of a vastly larger industry sector.  That sector as being only one of almost innumerable others.  I believe that my dreams were and are realistic expectations to thrive towards.
    I have my own aptitudes along with some natural and/or developed abilities and a few other non-abilities.  Of course, a bunch of stuff also falls in-between ability and non-ability.  Every person should be able to live and become active besides only targetting against his weakness(es).  Sharing a handshake, however, requires more than one's self.  And it shouldn't always be unanswered absolutely and thus pleaded for.
    As I wrote about the two specialty quarters, this time period really has become [another] low point within my life.  Yesterday when I walked back from the library... I stopped.
    What do I mean?
    I stopped.
    I felt as though I just couldn't continue to step ahead.
    I stopped.
    It was a kind of stop while still recognizing one's remaining good fortune - but without comfort, attainment, nor hope for better.

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    Hopeless wish: who to vote for?

    Initially my mayoral choice was clear.  All-in-all an acceptable choice of an acceptable amount of compromise.  Now...

    Damn It:
    I want the Island Airport moved(!) to the Leslie Street Spit.  Hong Kong developed its major airport upon the ocean; our pre-existing 5 km Lake Ontario outer man-made wedge should be easier to adapt.  I don't want the existing site expanded directly in front of our immediate waterfront; I also don't want to have zero small airport capacity.  The Spit location [I've written about] addresses both
    I want public washrooms and other failings restored and/or corrected at such commuter interchanges as Islington Station.
    I wanted a Malvern to Summerhill and Dupont rail line away back in 2004.  One that would have created park and ride lots where the new Wynford Drive Mosque has just been built (replacing the former Bata Shoes' building) and at Kennedy and the 401 East.  One that would have moved passengers directly into the geographical centre of the city instead of saddling an already overloaded Union Station.  One that would have lightened the suburban car volumes upon the lower DVP and downtown.  BTW, no extra and expensive tunnelling was required either!  Summerhill's former train station was restored by the LCBO agency although adjacent rail-side land had been given over to housing only a few upmarket townhouses - why was that bothered with?  That interchange possibility became permanently crippled - for the sake of a few false-posh townhouses.
    I want 50-60% of existing buses upon major routes switched into differently painted Express buses.  I don't want more added buses since what is there isn't affordable.  I don't want fewer lanes of arterial roadway while increased volumes of new highrises and townhouses are approved and tightly compressed into those same areas.
    I want Grenadier Pond reclaimed for people first - and not to read about another Springtime death of a local senior perhaps only trying to view the returning ducks across the masses of overgrown reeds.  A few reed pockets here or there is fine; there are simply way too many.
    Yes, I want to see spending cuts.  No, I don't care when someone who's been taking $100,000 a year while standing by daytime road construction sites, collecting subway fares, driving a bus into and through a red light, tasers a cop-killed man (twice) on a streetcar, beats the hell out of unarmed innocent G20 onlookers or a large mentally challenged man walking to a mall slightly distanced from his mother, tickets parked cars, or otherwise squanders millions(?) upon worthless yet fancy sidewalk trees, loses his/her job.  They've got amassed income, new severance and a better continued lifetime health and pension plan than I'll ever see - let alone their secured employment(s).  I don't care about preserving any of the leading executives of such various troubled concerns neither.

    One political figurehead mayor won't individually solve any of the above issues.  One person can and needs to, however, establish the required tone.  Blame needs to be applied, proportionally to everyone involved, directly and indirectly.  'There there now' status quo gladhanding and/or empty populist rantings isn't at all that same tone.

    Looking to the councillor elections isn't much better.  Almost every incumbant (of a 44-membered* council) is guaranteed for re-election.  Every race has maybe six or eight candidates.  Even where a worthy challenger(s) is present, the natural vote splitting between so many candidates only contributes towards maintaining incumbancy favour.  Where doesn't a GTA mayor and/or councillor hang around for at least a dozen years, if not 20 or 30, unless they step aside?
    Particularly across the larger Greater Toronto Area IMO, most 'independent' voters will feel pre-conditioned into maintaining any leadership as their establishment of 'Canadian Good Governance'.  Fair questioning of any authority is usually regarded as disruptive and therefore is somehow bad.  "Keep Calm and Carry On" - as a democracy example - was a prepared WWII slogan from Britain's expectant Nazi-appeasing local leaders meant to lull its masses into submission.  Many people, nowadays actually cherish that saying.

    * Compared to the federal and provincial parliaments, we would need approx. 616 and 206 elected politicans to match our local representation.  These estimated figures would likely require another doubling if their comparisons are made by voting volumes received.  Jeesh, is it really that big a deal to handle potholes and snow clearing stuff?  Those fewer feds and provs, meanwhile, are sending Canadians into war zones and directing healthcare.

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    Hopeless wish: what computer should I next look towards?

    I've been (idly) revisiting the issue of considering what computer system I should next purchase /wish for.  Earlier this year, I had attempted to install a non-installable disk copy of Windows 98SE with a VMWare virtualization sandbox.
    Without losing myself into an ocean of tech talk, the following is the dilemma as I view it.

    I still prefer the Windows 9x interface and visual design; although I welcomed the XP (2002) advancements - only until Service Pack 2.  9x's style was both less fluffy and not so barebones plain; it was both firm and individually customizable.  (I hate those modern laptop monitors which distort visibility according to differing viewer angles.)

    With XP (9x style) I can easily substitute a variety of small freeware programs to mimic some of the latter Windows 7 and Vista GUI features /gimmicks.  With one such freeware patch, I can also reduce the width of the XP Programbar's text labels to any specified pixel width.

    I also strongly prefer using Office Suites of the 16-bit 1994 era.  Office 2002/03 is okay; except that the visual basic macro language is far too enhanced and 'nitty-gritty' in my opinion.  More and more, I admire the older and steadier filebar /toolbar layouts of the 16-bit era.

    My dream Office Suite would be Lotus Office 5, with an updated read/save allowance of 40+3 character length filenames - excluding all special characters.  (To hell with having to type an opening Equal sign for every number equation; see next item for remapping the Shift-required Equal Sign key to the front row.)

    I demand that I can still plug-in a late 80s 101 keyboard.  Keytweak will freely remap any keyboard button (like a second Alt or Cntl) as its lone missing 'Win key'.  Old keyboards: well spaced, two-colour and non-black(!) visibility of the surrounding extra keys, and firm to the touch.  (I never did get an old-fashioned 2-button joystick to install under XP Professional, btw.)

    Truth is, I have hated just about everything Microsoft (Windows) has released since 2005.
    I hate that the F1 key is Windows' default Help button, as located very close to the Escape key.  Plus, more than once I've needed to search online to re-learn how to re-adjust a laptop's keyboard after accidently hitting both the Caps Lock and Left Shift (or Function key with one or the other) button together - which causes a third character set to become invoked.

    I hate hidey-hole stuff, like needing to remember a dozen or more hotkey combinations and scores of text-less icon image meanings in lieu of the just-mentioned text label fix.  (It's enough already given everything else such as Pin numbers etc. in our vast modernized world.)

    I still love playing a small number of Dos games.  Ditto for an assortment of Windows 3.0 and Windows 3.1 games.  A shoutout to the [real tables simulated] 32-bit Visual Pinball program, however.  An old heavy-duty keyboard comes in handy with pinball and with playing true early 80s arcade games via MAME.  (Some hobbyists create or install specialized real arcade enhanced 'primary keyboard' devices.)  I added a freeware program to my ex-2000s desktop: it finally allowed for a second XP user setting to have a truly independent screen resolution scale - great for keeping those 640*480 layouts from shrinking into 1024*768.

    CD-roms were always the new floppy disks; I would have preferred more (IF safe and reliable) 'CD cracks' in order to not require their physical presence for some games and other programs.  Regardless of the mentioned joystick fail, I still needed to give up on some 90s computer games operated within a 2000s PC since its newer CD drive wouldn't ever stop spinning although no added files at all were being run and/or loaded into memory once their games were 'initiated with the actual CD'.

    I don't want an ever-changing internet brower, etc.  I was fine with using browsers as they were a decade ago; it was the e-mail programs and those ubiquitous Google Ad banners that demanded fussy re-updatings to continue to load properly.  Even online videos were accessible 15 years ago - if major service providers still really hadn't developed enough modem speed and capacity back then.

    When I consider switching to Linux (and the Wine emulator), all I find is the same as always: too many separate o/s variations, too many updates, too many conflicting installation instructions of each type, plus a constant rah-rah suggestion to replace everything that ever ran upon (older) Windows, Microsoft or Not - with an unknown authored collective of too loosely controlled open-source alternatives.  The one time I installed Open Office, my previous desktop was struck by two viruses within 30 hours.  Star Office, IMO, before this wasn't half of its own boasting neither.  Regular Freeware, in contrast, is developed and issued chiefly by individuals; their visions do not become as easily diluted.

    As the computing currently stands: unless I could obtain a NEW 32-bit and better quality laptop and/or desktop [each] with XP Professional, and then a separate and second/third machine (using undetermined) strictly for current online wishes and needs... what future computer device should I consider?  Where can smaller mobile devices fit into this environment?  Abandoning everything that was good before now is not an acceptable option.  Sticking with something that is no longer good isn't acceptable neither.

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    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

    Disappointing Day Treat - times two.

    What's the name of this blog?  Classic Quarters, or .25 as it's later been altered.  I like to collect 'circulation grade' quarters; No, I don't wish to spend throw away $20 on specialty item coins.
    There have been a few gaps, naturally, within my collecting.  It took awhile to find the 2005 Alberta centennial quarter as was obtaining a 2010 (2002/06 Moments) Men's Hockey quarter.
    Yesterday I went to the supermarket - bought two pies, post-holidays, on expired markdown plus a couple of sale flyer items - and my change was 60 cents.  Actually it was a rare same-day second supermarket drop-in; a first choice hadn't had any markdown products.  (Not much going on within the job ads via timed library internet access either.  Not much of a weather week around here, nor had I celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving beyond a plate of turkey-less veggies.)
    A blah day, in a rather blah week, inside of a blah month...
    I received not one but TWO missing quarters within my change of 60 cents.  I received not one but both of these as limited quanity, red colour added, circulation quarters!
    The 2012 (war of 1812) Tecumeeh script covered quarter.
    A 2008 Armistice quarter - to match the 2004 edition.  I had completely overlooked this 2008 quarter - given the ongoing Olympics Series plus that year's regular quarter.
    I've still to find one of the three 2011 Parks Canada quarters (my other two are their non-colour versions, btw), as well as a regular 2014 quarter.
    Spending less cash generally means less change returned which means fewer chances at getting any quarters - let alone a missing one, or two, or an alternate two with colour.
    I may have picked up two 'missing' quarters at a time before - but not where both had limited edition colour.

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    Saturday, October 11, 2014

    'I' suggested Friday Night CFL.

    One thing about Friday's TVO hosted debate* - and a claim asserted by former CFL Commissioner John Tory.
    'I' was the person who had suggested, in writing, that the CFL switch to a successful double-header Friday night schedule.  Back around the latter 1990s I would watch TSN's Off the Record sports talk show.  It had a former player / executive of the CFL as one of its reoccurring (3) guests.  Each time, this man would urge viewers to follow Canadian Football because it was 'Canadian'.  Its brief U.S. expansion was a past era. 
    After a third or fourth appearance, I then e-mailed+ this person  - at their league office - a response.  I wrote that:
    A) I never knew when any of the games were taking place - the league's schedule was then haphazardly arranged throughout the full week.  Outside of the SkyDome being baseball first - there should have been no priority scheduling restrictions to deal with.
    B) Even if I did find out when a next game was - I wouldn't know my home team's players due to its blackout TV rules (doubled with both Toronto and Hamilton's teams as locally affected.)

    Besides knowing the when's and who's, I suggested the Double-Friday schedule because:
    1) Younger men and women would take notice of the CFL being regularly displayed upon screens in every bar and sportsbar and thus choose to go to a few expectably scheduled future games as a beginning of a Friday night's entertainment.
    2) Parents with kids would re-discover the CFL as something they could enjoy together.
    2a) The same goes for younger preteen and teenaged males.
    3) Aging baby boomers were already getting a bit old for 'the club scene', but would still want a destination event.
    4) The U.S. and Cdn. TV and pro sports market was [then] dismal upon Friday evening scheduling.  And this league (especially back then) wasn't going to outdraw the NFL, PGA, etc., during weekend afternoon broadcasts.
    5) Multiple games 'in-one-night/day' generates excitement.  Even if one particular game is dull, more fans will stick with that because of wanting to keep up with any other game(s).  Viewers will tune in early or stick around if given two games, rather than only watching one.  I also suggested [just] considering an occasional third Friday night game - scheduled between the two other half-time stoppages.
    5a) Was it down to eight or nine teams then?  I also suggested keeping a few long-weekend Monday games as a change-up scheduling special  - but to keep the other extra weekly games to Saturdays.

    I likely received a 'thanks for writing' response at the time.  Nothing else.  One added fact is, I've never attended a live CFL game.  Why should I squander my money if modest home ownership (and used car affordability) was/is too often well beyond my insecure employment means?  That's another reason why I believe that the CFL's (plus Blue Jays, Raptors) TV contracts should always provide for a few regular season games (if only during a couple of Summertime long weekends  - fewer at-home viewers, btw) and the one annual championship game upon non-cable /tiered broadcasting signals.
    Paid Subscription (cable/internet) Only, with a less-concise season schedule, has become the CFL's recent years' standard; Canadian University football no longer has any TV contract  - here within Ontario.
    Even nowadays, I can watch occasional New York Yankees baseball games as carried by secondary U.S. broadcast stations.  Every major (U.S. based) pro league still places weekend games upon the main U.S. networks while each TV group now operates its own all-sport cable channel(s).  Although big city and winning teams dominate, their schedulers ensure that every league team will get some amount of broadcast-level inclusion - except of course for our non-U.S. located teams.

    * extra Fri. Oct. 10th Toronto Mayoral Debate(s) note:
    I also listened to a two-hour midday (and same day) Friday debate between the three main challengers hosted by Zoomer radio and its TV channel.  Larger Cdn. media groups seemingly only reported about the other non-televised Friday debate where no-name candidate Ari Goldkind was uninvited and then re-invited as according to conflicting main candidate responses of the very night beforehand.
    Shame upon the black community's local organizers of that 'inner-city issues' debate for refusing to invite a black female mayoral candidate instead of... Goldkind (again).  I agree with her on-stage protest.

    + Sure, I can assume that other people independently had the same idea.  However, I did write to the CFL's headquarters (directly to a regular guest of TSN's Off the Record) about switching to Friday Night doubleheader football.
    Ditto for all of those of bike path distance/direction markers added in 2008/09.  'I as CQ' wrote a series of public blog posts about that very issue AND describing approximately TWENTY local bike paths, during May of 2006.  I received zero correspondence (nor any basic level civic job enquires).  Back in 2006, only one such route (mid-Scarborough) had any path markers - and those were measured by mile fractions; Canada switched to the Metric system in 1976.  A few of these new marker posts now differ by only 50 metres.

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