Thursday, March 15, 2007

Canada's Most Discussed Topic

Special: 100th Post

Parliament in Winter (2007)
For the past several days I have been wrestling with what topic I should tackle for this blog’s hundredth post. It hasn’t been an easy task, which came as more of a surprise than I expected: first came a rather long exposition on the issue of integrity in this post-modern age of electronica, focusing on the conviction of “Scooter” Libby and the revelation of the fraudulent credentials proffered by a prominent Wikipedia editor.

Chateau Laurier behind Congress Centre (Winter 2007)
As a Canadian that would have been fine, but there is one thing that we discuss far beyond any other news item: the weather. Regardless of how many innocent lives may be snuffed out by the colonial impulses of one nation as it stomps on another or the imperialistic yearnings being expressed by some fanatical despot trying to immortalize their name as yet another megalomaniacal tyrannical mass-murderer, you can always be sure of one thing, the evening news in Canada will lead off their broadcasts (or at least the second story of the night) with something related to the weather (obviously this is not always the case … but it happens very often).

Chateau Laurier behind Congress Centre - closer - (Winter 2007)
We are obsessed with the weather; there are channels on television dedicated to weather coverage, twenty-four hours a day, and you can get weather updates sent to your cellular phone from Environment Canada, just in case you can’t tell that it’s raining while you are standing out … in the rain.
"Where the Hot Air comes from"
So, here we are coming to the end of winter. The Rideau Canal has been officially closed to skaters even though the temperatures are supposed to fall again over the weekend, but that is fine, it was a stellar season for the Canal; it fell one day short of tying the record of staying open the longest number of consecutive days which stands at 46.

Rideau Skaters (Winter 2007)

This time the photo that I am posting of the Canal I took myself, accompanied by some pictures (taken the same day) of our Parliament, the Chateau Laurier (behind the Ottawa Congress Centre) and, a black and white photo of the Parliament, which came out quite well (if I do say so myself).

As a bonus, I would like to include a series called “The Many Faces of Jackson”. Since I moved into my new digs there has been an added fringe benefit … a cat. I am now living with a friend of mine who has a very Kool Kat (sic) – the cat’s name is Jackson, though it may as well be Tinkerbell considering how well she responds to the name. Of course, I’ve had several cats in the past and I can’t recall a single one of them that responded to their name unless there was a promise of food in the mix (which, big surprise, works for Jack-O as well).

Well, it isn’t much of a surprise that I have taken a great deal of photos of this critter, though at times I get the impression that she isn’t so pleased with the process (particularly the flash). Too bad … you’re a cat, I feed you, pose, dam nit. Sorry, I had to get that off of my chest (this little kitty has SHARP feet … yeah, I know, whatever). Thus I present my series, “The Many Faces of Jackson”.

The only comments I have about the pictures are that they were taken with a 6.1 mega-pixel digital camera, and the images have been resized for this post. Many of the images have also been cropped for the purpose of composition, but no other effects have been applied (i.e. I have not used any electronic filtering to sharpen/soften or otherwise enhance the images). The pictures that have been posted in black and white were taken in that mode; they were not transformed afterwards … and now, on with the show! Enjoy the psychotic kitty (about three years old).

The Many Faces of Jackson

Thus ends the 100th post to this blog. Hopefully there will be more than another hundred in the months to come. Thank you to you, dear readers, for continuing to support this blog with your comments and visits, it is truly appreciated.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Perception is Everything

New World © by Ben Heine
Let’s face it; you only get one chance to make a first impression. Your mother told you that before you went out to meet little Miss What’s-her-name, before your first, and very forgettable only date that never amounted to anything (save for a great amount of taunting and whatnot in the locker room the next day at gym). First impressions are even more important when we have sloughed off the immaturity of youth and taken on the airs of an enlightened maturity. Even though we are supposed to be non-judgemental in our assessments it is still an inherent part of our nature to judge, and most of that judging takes place when we are first introduced to someone.

Perhaps it comes as no surprise that a recent survey by the BBC bears out the nature of impressions on a global perspective, in a poll that sought out the answer to the question as to what country in the world had the most negative image. More than 28,000 people were asked to rate twelve countries as whether or not they had a positive or negative influence on the world. The list of countries was: Britain, Canada, China, France, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, North Korea, Russia, the United States and Venezuela, but the results were not in that order.

We must remember that the world is a different place today: thanks to world news and the efforts of those on the Internet it is impossible for something to take place in public domain and remain unseen (for very long).

As a result of this it is no surprise that Israel came in dead last with 56 percent of respondents saying it was a negative force while only 17 percent indicated it had anything positive to add.

Iran came in 9th, with 54 and 18 percent respectively (the respondents obviously rated each nation rather than ranking each nation, thus numbers that will add up to more than 100 percent, so don’t bother writing, I didn’t do the survey and it’s an easy enough thing to figure out if you take a second).

Big surprise, in seventh place … or, in other words, the third WORST nation in the world: The United States of America received 51 percent negative with 30 percent positive while North Korea received a 48 percent negative rating but only 19 percent positive.

At the other end of the spectrum comes (dum-da-da-deeee) the Dominion of Canada, the Greatest Nation in the World, with a 54 percent positive rating and only 14 percent negative. The European Union, as a whole, was seen as being 53 percent positive and 19 percent negative (they obviously don’t adhere to the eschatological beliefs of the EU being the reinvention of the Roman Empire, and the future source of the Anti-Christ … of course, neither do I … but, then again, that was when the EU was limited to less than 14 countries, not the current 25 … so much for “modern” prophecy).

Suffice it to say, I’m proud to be Canadian (thanks Mom and Dad for moving here!), and … damn! it’s cold outside! (yes, that was worth two exclamation marks)! (or three)! …!