*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
Κυνόσαργες

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Catholic 'Public' schools

I work in an anachronism, a public Catholic school board in a suburb of Toronto.  There is no way these should still exist (nor should I have been dumb enough to have taken the job...) and the UN has commented, for what little that is worth.  The idiocy never ends as the, satirized but fundamentally accurate, email below explains.  I have also shortened it considerably, because I am not an ass that works in PR off the public teat.


From: Head of Public Relations for the suburban Catholic public school boardTo: all school board staffRe: throw the results of the Government's survey on public education, even though your front-line jobs would be assured in an amalgamation of public Catholic and regular public school boards, but mine may not...
The Ontario government has an online survey asking the public for opinions about improving education.  Heaven forbid they should get accurate results, or realize that our board is an asinine thing to have at all, a minority of the families in it take their children to mass (as is true for staff), and that the writing's on the wall as such boards have disappeared in other provinces.   
I am asking you to go on the survey as a 'private citizen' and skew the result any way that you can, as if that would alter the truth of the thing.  Look, every other province that has done this has retained all the positions below superintendent, where people do anything like education, but not a position like mine: a Golgafrincham.  I did my best to get out of the classroom to be a bureaucrat, fuck all of you and your children and protect me!

NB: I ask you to volunteer to do this, but on your own time and home computer, so that we can deny we threw the results, and pretend you did this as a private citizen.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Toronto Challenge!

Complete a TTC trip without seeing something important malfunction or broken. Today's fails: Presto reader, subway doors. Haven't even got to the second station!

Look at any Toronto marketing without a baleful laugh.  Today, the TTC 'subway' map.  The 'Airport Express' is a fucking bus on a public road, not to mention that numbering the lines is sad when you have two, dated from the middle of last century; #3 is a stub run on obsolete technology that will be changed to a streetcar, and #4 is four stops to nowhere, but Ikea.

Drive, cross a road or cycle without murderous rage at the hybrid of selfishness, gross incompetence and inattention that is the Toronto driver.

Endure winter temperatures without annoyance at the fact that there's no good come from our winters: there are no hills, the snow is too inconsistent for Nordic skiing, as it is for outdoor skating, unless the rink surface is artificially cooled (and all parks ban skating on ponds, even during a long cold snap, because imagined liability). 

Locate any 'eye-candy' (any gender or ethnicity).  There isn't any of age, and little enough too young: obesity and sloth the norm.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

How many times can you jump a shark, Japan?

With focus on wartime past, Japan’s global PR message could misfire


Many of the funds will be used for soft-power initiatives to cultivate “pro-Japan” foreigners, such as supporting Japan studies at universities and setting up “Japan House” centers to promote the “Japan Brand”...
Conservatives have welcomed the bigger budget but want priority placed on correcting perceived errors about history...
 Aware of the danger of a backlash, diplomats seem to have mitigated pressure to make the Japan House centers — to be set up first in London, Los Angeles and Sao Paulo in late 2016 — beachheads to market an official view of history. Instead, the facilities could provide what one bureaucrat called a “platform for balanced discussion” on controversial topics, for example, by sponsoring seminars...
Conservative politicians however want bolder steps...
“Dragging people into a long discussion about history . . . seems like they are going to brand Japan with that atrocity in terms of its image,” said Dartmouth College professor Jennifer Lind. “It’s a losing battle.”
Arististhenes deduces that '1984' wasn't on the curriculum at, or to enter, Toudai; only an idiot thinks the Ministry of Truth is for other than domestic consumption.
"Everything faded into mist. The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth."

Robots and foreigners are the answer as Japan’s population ages, says investor Sawakami


Arisististhenes has addressed this already: too late, fuckwits.

    Friday, 30 January 2015

    About that plan: cycling and coasting Canada's 'Maritimes'

    One of Japan's ad nauseam platitudes is that people are mountain or ocean persons.  Why choose?  Well, unless one is in British Columbia, you get only one or the other here.

    If I do not have a partner for this canoeing trip, as is likely, I'll go off cycling Les Isles de la Madelaine, PEI, Cape Breton, and the south coast of Newfoundland, with a side trip up to Gros Morne to hike, and St. Pierre et Miquelon to say I've been to France.  The plan to go by bike and ferries, camping as available, but getting under a roof every time I'm knackered or need to scrub out my kit.  I see this taking three weeks in July.



    This trip would once have cost a fortune, when Canada had only one air-carrier of any size: Air Canada which every Canadian resents.  It was not long ago consistently cheaper to fly Toronto to London or Hawaii than anywhere but Montréal or Ottawa, which you could still drive to for a fraction.  Flights within Canada now are just expensive, rather than usurious, now that Porter and West Jet compete with them.


    As much as I'd rather take this boat to start my journey, it's twice the cost of flying, and with a train Toronto to Montréal and an overnight there, nearly three times.  A shame.  However, my bicycle and I on various ferries will get enough coasting, in a more rustic manner, than a cruise full of bourgeois: after the islands, next to Souris, PEI by ferry; some cycling there, another ferry from Belle River to Pictou on mainland Nova Scotia; yet more cycling, and a ferry from Sydney to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland; my ride to Burgeo with a side trip to Gros Morne to hike, followed by ferry coasting along the south shore including the trip to St. Pierre et Miquelon; then a ride into St. John's and a flight home.  Something like 1700km by bicycle, and nearly as many by sea.  The sea routes making fortunate 'rest days'.

    Nobody does this here!  Canada's coastline is ignored for tourism.  A bicycle's an ideal way to travel the road bits in between the sailings, since it costs a fraction to have with you than a car, and then there's not being a 'cager'.  A motorcycle in Canada would just get you dead for our shit drivers. I have been through New Brunswick and the main of Nova Scotia, and the coasts between them and Maine, so this would all be new to me, and seafood!

    These are the sea legs.

    The south coast may, or may not, have discontinuous boat routes, and I would not want to have to go far out of my way via Stephenville to Burgeo to make it work, by bicycle.


    The road bits are tooling about Les Iles, and the following.


    Not certain I won't sometimes cheat so that I do not have to backtrack on the bicycle.  I hope beyond hope that the ferries connect across the south coast of Newfoundland, otherwise, including the side trip to Gros Morne, I am facing this much more by bike, or car or bus if I cheat.  There seems to be a 20km stretch on that coast without a link, which I should be able to pay someone to ferry me, ideally not paying it alone.

    Going all the way north to L'Anse aux Meadows...?  Nope.

    Thursday, 29 January 2015

    "I love it when a plan comes together"...?

    So I have a mad idea for July,,,
    Either canoeing the Missinaibi as posted previously...
    Or, bike Charlottetown to St. John's, via the Cabot Trail, and... taking the ferries past the outports of NFL's south coast, stopping by France (St. Pierre) on the way. Include a short side trip by rental car to hike in Gros Morne.
    1500km of riding, and about as many by sea.
    All paved.

    i think Missinaibi solo is mad
    this trip will be a lot of fun
    The cycling?
    Seafood.
    Flights for me only $600 CAD.
    Whole thing not much over $1500 if camping's invloved over three weeks.

    wish i could join - I've always wanted to see Gros Morne park
    'Tis a long way from where you are [California].
    You could take the family, and we meet up for that part, but... coordinating would be a stretch.

    ya, there's a very low chance of that happening

    we'll probably be doing family visit in China during vacation this summer
    My lungs will certainly be better off...
    I shall probably have to take my slower touring bike, esp if alone to carry the gear, no matter how light I go.
    Either that, or pay for a lot of hotels...
    I have gear to carry 100l of baggage, and a tent and pad strapped on back. I'll take HALF of that, but doubt I could get 50l on my road bike. OTH, I do have racks for it I just do not like to use...