Monthly Archives: April 2006

Newsbriefs Part V: Hudson Bay Company to Rewrite Own History

Founded in 1670, back when Canada was pronounced ‘Kanata,’ the beaver was the King of the predators and the British and French mocked each other with slurs like: “Aha, you have a funny accent!’ A small HBC rose to become what it has been for more than three centuries: a Canadian beacon, a symbol of national pride, and as of late a company who sold out to an American dandy with a few billions burning a hole in his pant pocket.

When the world is your oyster,’ said new HBC owner Jerry Zucker after the $1.5 billion purchase, ‘you can get bored of oyster juice pretty quickly.’ When asked what the fuck he meant Zucker replied, ‘I decided to start buying history! I am a genius!’ When pressed to stop smoking marijuana on interviews, Mr. Zucker further explained, ‘Now that I own the HBC group, I am officially changing its place in history, and I am writing myself in it.’

After asking Mr. Zucker for a few tokes of what was obviously good cannabis; he continued, ‘they spread insatiably far and wide and without mercy; they were the Starbucks of your early nation. But its history is a sleeper; there are no car chases and nothing ever blows up good. I am going to change all that.’ After a few minutes, it all started making sense. ‘That’s some good shit, Sir,’ said this reporter.

Throughout its history, HBC represented Canada as a mosaic of overpriced wet, smelly furs to just overpriced clothing today. ‘That’s great and good, but I thought for example, what if HBC employees travelled through Canada in helicopters as early as the 1700’s? That makes sense to me, I always wanted to be live in the 1700’s and I AM a certified pilot. I have tons of changes in mind, like why didn’t fur traders use machine guns? They are awesome! If they had used them they would have fought competition off more easily. If that had been the case, then maybe I would not have been able to buy HBC now. Woah, chicken and the egg man, chicken and the egg…’

Watch for HBC’s revised history to hit HBC’s books section as early as this summer.

–This and all Newsbriefs have been published at the University of Toronto’s satirical newspaper The Toike Okie, and/or the even more twisted BruckNews e-zine.–

Google Calendar: The Blue or Red pill?

It is simply amazing! Okay, taking the fact I have become an insomiac is not in question, or amazing. No, not really. But just how much technology is heading in the direction to make sure each single one of us is as interconnected with pretty much everything else. It is 10:00pm, do you know where your friend’s are? You can now, simply check with Google Calendar! We are Masters of our own lives but we are lending the keys to them to Google? We can trust them, right?

On a related note, just today, I was able to see a live shot of the Santorini islands in Greece. No, they were not rehashed pics from earlier in the year. Oh no, that would not have been techie enough. They were pictures taken only 30 seconds before. The catch is it is nightime in Santorini Greece and all you can see aside a few white dots in the distance is darkness. Probably just some people smoking tabacco, or not, but saying to themselves ‘Ah, life is simple here…and good.’ Perhaps completely unaware that I have the power to completely spy on them –assuming it was daylight– from half a world away. Why? Because someone thought it cool to put a webcam there re-freshing every 60 seconds. Sure this has existed for quite sometime, but webcam shots of utterly pitch blackness?

Which brings me to the whole connectivity thing. I mean, Google sent me an invitation to their new Calendar (Beta) project. Sure it is like any other on-line calendar, but it is also incorporated into my email and…ARE YOU READY for this? I can pretty much email my calendar to every single friend I have. How cool is that?
‘Hey guys! There is a party in my Calendar and everyone is invited!’

Now EVERYONE could just with a few clicks know whether I was with my wife, at my yearly prostate check, or at which time I am going to drop by my mistress. Oh, the joy.

Alright, I am NOT married or have a mistress, the point is, aren’t we with our geeky fantasies of being interconnected at breakneck speeds loosing our sense of self along the way?

Not only are we loosing our right to privacy –which is happening daily under many pretences– some may call it ‘security,’ but it seems we are mostly doing it to either satisfy a need to be heard or simple, unadulterated vanity. I believe we are loosing focus of the simplest things in life.

Of course, the irony has not been lost in the fact you are reading these pretty words of mine from a BLOG. However the truth is there. The Medium is the message, eh? An sometimes she\he is a bitch: “You don’t know how to use a computer? You looser!” Albeit we are generally too happy to comply. Since we keep thinking is the next step in human evolution.

I mean, with the craziness of blogs, photoblogs, apps like MSN’s My Space and an army of other tools like Messengers and LinkIn ( anyone?), very soon we are going to have choose to either live in the real world where is sunny and be left for technologically dead dinosaurs or jack ourselves in and be part of our society’s early version of a Matrix, yes, like the movie. What a cliched and weird methaphor. How sad.

So, I as sat earlier today, setting up my new GOOGLE calendar, I got a kick of sharing it (free\busy times only) to a few friends. Why just the free\busy times? Well, I do not want everyone to peek fully into my life, or at least that is what I am telling myself. Albeit not from Google Inc, who I am sure are keeping an ever watchful eye, you know, for BETA research purposes. It just reminds me of that scene from the movie: ‘Neo, do you choose the blue pill or the red pill.’

If it was up to me, I would say, ‘Uh, which one is the cool one?’ But until then, I have to admit I am getting hooked to this Gmail calendar, I mean, the thing is bloody useful. Then again, I know that since I work in IT, I am more likely to fall prey to this things than others. Hopefully I will snap out of it soon and go read a good book instead. But in the mid-time use me as an example and save yourselves!

When will Mr. Harper crack?

Months have gone by since Steven Harper was sworn in and yet, in typical Canadian fashion no coup d’état has been plotted and no demonstrators have swarmed upon Ottawa. Heck, am I to wager most Canadians have already forgotten the minutiae of being an election year already? Impressive. Could it be part of Mr. Harper’s insidious masterminding to keep his agenda so well hidden in some dark fissure within his conscious where even light cannot escape? Or is it another one of Tim Horton’s “Roll-the-Rim-to-Win” campaigns in full swing again and thus distracting the populous from the happenings within Parliament Hill? How could a country proud in our gay and abortion enlightened laws; laissez-faire attitude towards marijuana and hippy oriented diversity elect a leader who on multiple occasions has opposed our status quo? Let me start by saying I have my suspicions, but have no factual idea, so I will not start any second-guessing. Okay, now that’s in the open, let’s continue…

I still remember election day as if it was yesterday, bushy tailed ready to fulfill my civil duty and aid the due process to elect a new fearless leader. Did I really think the Liberals would win? No, not by a long shot, but I sure as hell was not going to allow some fanatic –including rightwing extremists— from getting a majority government.

Imagine my surprise when I found there was a voting station in the lobby in my very own building. Oh, the political squirm I would have released if I remotely followed or cared about politics on a day-to-day capacity. However, it was great having the knowledge of not traveling far to give my two cents; and if you are part of the immediate-gratification generation like I am, you know that’s about as good as it gets. Imagine my surprise when I found the lobby almost deserted. It was as if most people really didn’t care. Then I remembered how many times is had been repeated by both newsrooms and friends alike, ‘this will be the closest election in years!’ But I was there by my lonesome self, in the eve of election day, all alone. Except for two sad looking voting officials but I wasn’t counting them. I was shocked! That would be the third time for any of those counting.

Where were my fellow voters? I certainly recall being the election day geek, calling friends with a friendly reminder. ‘But of course, I am going to vote,’ they told me. “It is one of the closest elections in years,” said another when pushed. It seemed like the call to action had been raised way before I had decided to part-time as the pestering friend we all loathe to have.

Back at the voting station, a few people had showed up…finally. It was only 8 pm, ‘why not wait a little longer? You know, build some suspense.’ I thought. They were all from my building, which stands to reason, if you cannot be coerced to vote when the polling station is only meters beneath you then nothing will. Except for maybe free food, personally I would recommend booze –preferably wine if I had a say on it— perhaps we could vote on it? Unfortunately last time I checked such behaviour is considered highly uncouth, oh, and completely illegal. But heck, I say why not make a party of it? After all if most people don’t make it a priority to vote, would it matter if they did it while utterly smashed? George W. Bush used to do it during his younger years and look how far he got. Sure not the best plan but no one would deny the possible advantages. Which surely would multiply exponentially if people where allowed to hang around before actually voting. It would be the first time in history where people would look forward to waiting in line. Mmm, we might be onto something…Elections Canada, take note.

Albeit for the time being, we are stuck with Mr. Harper for the next few years…yet everything is still okay. No previous laws have been modified; the great lakes have not turned to blood and no sex before marriage bills have been proposed. No new taxes have been implemented –except for Mr. McGuinty’s tax\premium buffoonery— and no waves of endless locusts or in our case mosquitoes have eaten our collective skin or our crops. The future does seem friendly, which of course I take as the calm before the storm. Call it a prophetic itch but I just know one day Mr. Harper’s eyebrow will suddenly twitch and he will decide its time to “crack this bitch up.” I fear for that day. I just know it will come. When are we going to find out you drink your own blood Mr. Harper? Canadians deserve to know.