Thursday, 23 October 2014

The day after...let's have some thoughtful reflection

National War Memorial
Chateau Laurier in background
That was quite the day. I lived 25 years in Ottawa and have many happy memories of singing in the choirs on Parliament Hill on Canada Day, July 1st. Ambling across the huge lawn. Last summer my daughter and I had dinner beside the Memorial, and walked up to the hill where the horrific incident took place. Those in charge who did not have a knee-jerk reaction, but, in the cold, clear light of day determine what changes might be made to the free access citizens and tourists enjoy on the Hill.
We must explore various reactions to the crisis. Canadian Armed Forcers, Parliament

The Media

Reporters must rethink how it is they use Social Media. In the good old days they check sources before putting anything in print. In this age of technology, it doesn't matter how accurate you are, as long as you are first. Rumours of a second and third shooter.
Reporters similarly passed on rumours that a motorcyclist/shooter was on the highway.
Interviewing eye witnesses, who had been corralled, taken down to nearby OPS headquarters, were
Downtown Ottawa
interviewed by police. Then, the media jumped on them, picked up and retweeted in 140 characters on Twitter.

The foolish Globe reporter who used his Crackberry to video the security staff takedown. Can you imagine if he'd been accidentally shot? Those marble walls and halls could have a ricochet effect. Let the experts do their jobs. If I were your mother I'd smack you upside the head.

Having to fill air time, TV hosts filled time with insane images, and no commentary related to these images. There was no sense of what was current, what was done, including videos of people and places where potential victims were being escorted by police.

Then, since many reporters are located downtown, and CBC Ottawa offices are in the Chateau Laurier, many media members were affected and had to be interviewed and reinterviewed. When do they manage to take an objective view of the situation, when their friends and colleagues are in a lockdown? The press became the story.

Finally, US Media, who truly sensationalize the news, since All-news media are finding it difficult to provide content 24-7, are guilty of a heinous crime. They reported the name of our soldier who was the victim of the gunman, before this was cleared by the military, and family members were informed. At least Canadian media held back on this.
We were in lockdown when the US began broadcasting.

US Media could take some time to do research. Have you heard of Google? This is NOT our PM! He'd like to be, but...
AMAZING “ABC-TV just ran news promo w/voiceover "In Canada, the Prime Minister addresses the nation" & this visual.”


The Twitter rumours were horrible. Citizens must realize that
Twitter Trolls
spread many rumours
perpetrators also use Social Media and posting and reposting photos of the police snipers atop nearby buildings was pretty ignorant. Did they think this through?

The Peace Tower on
The Hill
Then those who were ranting and raving when it wasn't clear who was responsible and why. Muslims must fear the repercussions. For this wasn't a Muslim. Truly, the Muslim students and families I worked with upheld the true values of the Islamic faith. This is not evidence or extreme Muslims, for Muslims do not believe in this type of violence. Islam is peace.

Raving lunatics, delusional fanatics are claiming the mind, body and souls of our young people. Those who are trying to find their way in the world, are looking for direction and something to belong to, and they suck in these kids who are lulled into this fanatical behaviour.  We must stop glorifying the so-called terrorists. These are murders, who lull these kids into their lust for violence, softened by video games  and violence in the media.

So-called Experts

The press did their best to find experts. When a situation is on-going, perhaps talking to the press, other than telling citizens what to and what not to do, might be a good idea. Retirees are the ones most guilty of this. For example, a former Special Operations Commander was explaining about the security footage in Parliament, and explaining that they need to balance the appearance of the government being open and accessible, with the safety and security of the politicians, and the public.

The experts, as well, must examine the laws surrounding this perpetrator who shot down our soldier. For he, and the young man who ran down two soldiers the previous day, have been targeted by police and thanks to intelligence, CSIS knows that they had extremist tendencies. They knew these wannabe terrorists, in fact, had both had passports taken away at the airport, as they tried to go and join the terrorists in Turkey and Syria. Threats sould not be taken lightly and bizarre behaviour must be monitored. You may be able to think it, but if you write about it, and communicate with terrorist groups, like the 90 potential perps who are being tracked,  there must be consequences.


Here is a crazy thing I saw. The PM plants a question in the parliamentary session to plant the notion that we are being attacked by terrorist.
When the Prime Minister becomes a central character in story of a terrorism incident
At the centre of the news about a terrorist attack this week, there was, in a curious way, the Prime Minister

What is to be remembered

The heroes who went to heroic efforts, beyond what our fabulous First Responders are trained to do. Then there are the First Responders, who tried, valiantly, to save the victim of the shooting.
The Security Guards who took the gunman down, and the two guards who were shot during the event. Look for the helpers, stop the blaming and shaming, and jumping to conclusions.
Speaker Andrew Scheer entered the Commons in the ceremonial parade through the halls of the Centre Block. Accompanying him – to applause from others in the hall – was Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, who was among the security officials who shot the gunman who entered the Centre Block Wednesday morning when MPs were meeting in caucus rooms just steps away from the scene.

Look for the helpers and heroes
The schools, having gone into safe and secure mode - in a fully thought-out plan created after 9/11, kept the kids indoors, for safety, and informed parents with robocalls that all was well and it was a safety precaution.

I shall always laud the fact that my two granddaughters, age 4 and 6, had little idea of the ramifications of their safe and secure mode. They were happily carving pumpkins last night. Their parents had not enlightened them, since there was no need. Older kids will have to be debriefed, since we cannot protect them from this disaster, but there are guidelines, written by a psychologist for this.

During 9/11, the foolish principal in my school got on the PA system and informed staff and young students (JK - gr. 6) the the towers had gone down. My gr. 6 student knew people who worked there and the children were insanely afraid to walk home. They feared being bombed. I hope we've learned this lesson.

I'd like to thank those who refrained from snarky comments, trolls,  such as those comments implied that PM Harper should have been taken out. This isn't a day for politics. At one point, once the lockdown was continuing, I turned off the TV.

On Parliament Hill

I liked seeing the PM Harper, even whilst Twitter trolls were still contemning him, who brought us all together by lauding Vickers, crossing over to him and giving him a hug, then shaking hands and hugging Liberal Trudeau, then NDP Leader Mulcair.
The holes in the ornate carved wood, all will be a reminder that we will move forward.
I like the speeches by Harper, Muclair and Trudeau.

Elizabeth May

Motivations, connections, must be verified by the police, OPS and RCMP. Isolated deeply troubled men are being drawn to something crazy. We must keep peace, order and good government.

Nobody in the Canadian TV news business emerges as especially thoughtful and skilled at handling the circumstance

This was a thoughtful piece. Well done. I would hope that journalists, as do police, etc., have a debriefing and talk about the mess many made of the day. The Twitter rumours perpetuated ignorance and fear, even Mansbridge called up false notions many CBC reporters passed on. These reporters need to stick to the facts, not unsubstantiated rumours. The myths of the motorcyclist was shocking. They needed to back off and let the police do their jobs. Police spent much time hustling reporters away, rather than finding out what was really going on. There is a balance needed between capturing an image and allowing officers to protect us.

Photos the day after

  1. Breitbart News ‎- 3 minutes ago

    Twitter page that proudly sports the Islamic State flag published aphoto of suspected Ottawa gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau with the caption: ...

Photos from before

Chateau Laurier Hotel

Many tourists
The East Block in July

Famous Five statues behind The Hill, c.1999

On the hill, 1967

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

En-route Auto Program - savings for good drivers

Here is an interesting idea. For us, we don't do a lot of driving. And, you know how the bad kids in the class always got all the attention? This will reward us for being good drivers, which we are!

We are with Co-operators

en-route auto program

Insurance. Hubby went off to renew our policy and they offered, firstly,  a 5% discount with the installation of this device and up to a 25% discount when we renew. It's the size and shape of a cell phone battery, and simply plugs in.

The device connects to a port near the steering wheel, and sends information to Co-operators, rather like a black box, and tells them our speed, our driving behaviour and the like.

Now, we don't drive to work every day, it is 5km into town and we don't drive at night, either.
 If you know you are a good driver, you don't accelerate or brake frequently, if your night driving is minimal, as ours is, then you'll get a discount on your car insurance. Our long-distance driving has consisted of going into the city for medical appointments (83km into Ottawa) and we love our daycation driving.

"The en-route Auto Program™ tracks your driving in real time and rewards you when you practice safe driving habits. Fewer occurrences of sudden braking, rapid acceleration, late night driving, and distance travelled will increase your savings."
The kit comes in the mail


 Below is the type of data that the device collects on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It's only been two days for ours, but you'll get the drift. In our case, I installed it Sunday, and hubby has had a couple of trips into town for groceries. He's taken me twice into the ER and then to the drug store (that's the map's last location!). I had a cold first, then viral-induced asthma (they Rx'd me a puffer, which sure helps). And yesterday, with the coloured phlegm and mucus, it's gone from viral to bacterial and I have antibiotics.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Book Review: dust tea, dingoes & dragons

dust tea, dingoes,
& dragons
Yes, judge a book by its cover! This one, at least. It's hilarious. Of course, the retired teachers amongst us shudder at the lack of upper case letters in the title. The rest of the book is well-edited, however. That was a relief.

R.F. Hemphill put together the letters he wrote to his father while he was 'on the road.' For Bob, though, on the road meant 10 years of travel across the pond and back, logging 4 million airline miles. A business man, he tells self-deprecating stories of adventures involving crazy stories, had me laughing. These travels predate 9-11, a different time and place.  READ AN EXCERPT (PDF)

My hubby, a retired manager in the airline industry, would often travel, encountering jet lag and long days. The toll it takes on your circadian rhythms are terrible. He seldom left the airports, though, as his meeting were on airport property. He'd leave home at 4:30 a.m., and arrive home around 11:00 p.m., having running and juggling his shoes, watch, briefcase, laptop, and pocket change through American and Canadian security to make a connection. Business travel has changed post 9-11.

Bob is a hoot. I feel I can call him that since he shares so many of his often foolish encounters with foreign culture, foreign foods and business dealings, and makes himself out to be an American traveller with whom we can share a laugh, not laughing at him, but with him. We've all met the American in Paris who demands the people serving him speak English. These are the ones who are not inclined to learn merci or si vous plait, at the very least.

After his encounters with brains, intestines, pancreas and stomach, nothing surprises our hero, Bob. Here is a cute snippet. Bob, and his colleague, Paul, are in a German restaurant. The server, in heavily-accented English, offers a special: "der medallions of vild boar mit der frezh entrailz." Paul, like Bob, is a hoot. He was game, if you'll excuse the pun. With visions of heaven knows what, the dishes arrive. Bob's sauerbraten mit noodles is good. Paul's medallions turn out to be accompanied by chanterelles. Oopsie!

Bob jumps into his overseas experiences whole-heartedly, explaining his boardroom deals, seeking backers in foreign countries, and sucking up information on how to back a movie. The funniest tales arise, however, in his retelling of his encounters with local culture and cuisine. I think he can be summed up in the 'when in Rome' category, jumping in with both feet, sometimes putting his foot in his mouth. Signing a form, professing to be an infidel, in order to have Muslim dispensation to have room service bring him a drink. It was a good read, all told.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Letter carriers vs. mail boxes

I've always loved the post office. Not so much the boxes, but getting mail. When we lived in Bala, we'd walk the 2km to the Post Office.

My hubby's mother worked for Canada Post in Chesterville for many years. She supported her mom and dad, as well as hubby, this way. Don't we need Canadians to have jobs?
This box hangs open,
you can see how small they are!

Now we rely on our mailbox at the end of the driveway. They deliver the mail in a wee truck, driving wheel on the right. This is rural mail!

We order a lot by email. These packages often fit into our mailbox, but sometimes they come through UPS. My UPS guy is a pet, as my mom would have said. He told me a little bit about their working conditions. He delivers to our area, about an hour out of Ottawa. He has to drive back into the city at the end of the day. I asked if he had kids and he said, no. He told me their hours are too long. He often doesn't get home until 8 at night, and this is bad for families. Many families are ending up divorced. Despite UPS claiming to be a people oriented employer, it is impossible to get time off for things like kid's soccer games.

This is the way Canada Post is going to go. Private companies will rise up, employees won't have union rights, nor any bargaining power. This will take us back to the bad old days.

I've signed a petition. I think it might be slacktivism, but since CUPW is lobbying, I figured it couldn't hurt. I can't remember Canada Post asking my opinion.

Rideau Ferry Postal Boxes
It's a nice shelter
What a mess

Winter is a trial


Then there are the men and women who will lost their jobs – from coast-to-coast.
Why weren't Canadians thoughts considered? Small businesses want daily mail. Canada Post refused to grandfather door-to-door. 
Citizens wanted to go to every-other-day services, at least, rather than nothing.
They are ticking off many people with the placement of these boxes. It is fine in a new development, but think of inner city locations and the suburbs, where there isn't space.
A Kanata woman will no longer have to ask for help to get her mail after Canada Post said Tuesday they have switched her to a box that's easier 

  1. Canada Post | National Post

    Union taking Canada Post to federal court over plan to end door-to-door mail ... a 'serial job killer' as hundreds protest decision to end door-to-door delivery ...
    The conversion from door-to-door mail delivery is not going smoothly in one Kanata neighbourhood where some residents say Canada Post is ignoring their suggestions about the placement of the street...

  3. Olivia Chow decries Canada Post cuts as ‘destroying’ mail services while Justin Trudeau slams timing

    'These job-killing and service-cutting measures will isolate seniors, the poor and the disabled living in urban areas,' Olivia Chow said

Sunday, 19 October 2014

After the storm last Friday, the colours were amazing

The colours have been marvellous!  Such a strange day. Pouring rain, 26mm or so on Friday, the 10th, . This was the front yard as the dark clouds contrasted with the brightly coloured leaves.

April 12th, 2013
The fishies...happy with the strangely warm weather. They still don't want to come indoors. I
See how the trees have grown!
keep telling them it's going to look pretty white and feel pretty cold soon. Today, Oct. 19th, the overnight temps were about 5 C. and we'll have ice on it soon!

The colours of the yard are amazing.