Friday, 20 February 2009

Stephen Harper must be looking over his shoulder

Michael IgnatieffI told myself I wasn't going to post on politics anymore. Yeah right.

It's Michael Ignatieff's fault. A speech he gave in Regina this week really underscored how dangerous he is to the Conservatives.
Michael Ignatieff says it was western Canadian rage which -- in part -- convinced him to back away from a proposed governing coalition with the New Democrats and the Bloc Quebecois.


"You are, after all, looking at someone who turned down the chance to become prime minister of Canada, and I did so, in part, because I felt that it would divide the country," said Mr. Ignatieff. "I want to be someone who unites the country, and that includes the West."

Westerners probably had trouble believing their ears. After Pierre Trudeau's open contempt for Westerners sunk the Liberal boat for decades anywhere west of Thunder Bay, the concept of a Liberal leader who actually cares what they think (or at least says he does) must be positively intoxicating.

Now, Ignatieff is probably making a virtue out of necessity, but having been raised in the West, I can imagine how delighted his listeners must have been. A Liberal Party that is intent on becoming a national party in fact and not just in name is a real threat to Harper's Conservatives, and I'm sure they know it. Western alienation is a force that they've tapped very effectively and if Iggy can compete in that arena, they risk seeing one of their strongholds crumble.

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Quote of the day

Sir Robert Borden"Political partisanship is closely allied with absolute stupidity."

Sir Robert Borden (Eighth Prime Minister of Canada)

And this from a politician, no less. I guess he had to live with the reality daily.

Hat tip to The Lotusland Soapbox

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I never would have thought of this on my own

but it's so true.

KFC’s Colonel Sanders Logo Totally Looks Like Environmental Activist David Suzuki

David Suzuki

In case you're not Canadian, David Suzuki is a virtual institution in Canada. He's been hosting TV shows longer than most of us can remember. And the resemblance is such a delightful irony.

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Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Facebook backs down [Updated]

Mark ZuckerburgEver since Colleen Lindsay's blog gave me the heads up, I've been following the Facebook saga with some interest.

For those of you who aren't in the loop, Facebook quietly changed its Terms of Service (TOS) a couple of weeks ago, and basically granted themselves full rights in perpetuity to anything you post on Facebook. In theory, that means they could lift any of your content - photos, poems, your name, your essays - and use them in any way they saw fit. It even sounded like they wanted in on anything you linked to that streamed in from another website. (Not too sure about that - that's my amateur reading of the legalese.)

Mark Zuckerberg must have been shocked by the uproar. Several Facebook groups opposing the new TOS sprang into existence, and the major media took an active interest also. Zuckerberg's claims that Facebook would never do anything nasty with your data, that they just wanted to make formal the fact that even if you delete your account, your pictures and such will still be kicking around your friends' pages for a while. In essence, "trust us, no matter what it says, we won't really use it." This made a lot of people legitimately nervous, particularly anybody doing creative work. We're not too keen on granting rights to Facebook - in perpetuity no less - for our fiction, our music, our artwork, our photography.

The ruckus was loud and global and Zuckerberg caved. He went back to the old TOS. I, for one, am not so sure I want to reinstate my blog feed on Facebook. I've only ever posted one piece of flash fiction here, but it's the principle of the thing. I'm going to double-check my privacy settings there too.

I sure hope Blogger isn't next. Are you re-evaluating your online practices as a result of the recent brouhaha? Or have you always been ultra-careful?

[Update] And here is a wonderful link that explains Facebook privacy settings and how to customize them.

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Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Confidence and the writer, continued

I am not the only person that has confidence on her mind right now. (Click here for my recent post on this subject.)

J.A. KonrathJ.A. Konrath, author of police thrillers, has a somewhat provocative post on this subject, called "I'm Better Than You". You might enjoy the comment trail, as there's a bit of dissension among the ranks. While I do get his point, I also think he's overstating the issue. I don't have to think I'm the best to feel confident enough to persevere. I do have to think that I'm pretty good, mind you, but I can sincerely think that somebody else writes better than I do, and still feel I can produce quality work. There's a lot of room out there, and I don't have to feel that I'm at the top of the heap to believe I have a place on that heap. Mind you, I want to get as high as I possibly can, not for bragging rights, but just because I love good work. My second response to a really good book, after "wow", is "what can I learn from this?"

J.A. does believe in a lot of hard work, both to improve your craft and to market your work, so he's not one of these starry-eyed types who thinks that merely believing will make it so. He just thinks that believing will help keep you motivated to put in the necessary work.

Editor Alan RinzlerEditor Alan Rinzler also addresses the question of how authors can keep their confidence up, but in his case he is proposing concrete measures to take to keep your morale afloat.

Most of this has applications to a lot of people other than writers. But since writers work mainly in solitude, with no physical audience to provide immediate feedback, they have to be a lot more pro-active in maintaining a positive mindset.

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Monday, 16 February 2009

The cat came back the very next day

Anybody who raised kids during the era of Fred Penner remembers that song. (Do listen to it. It's wonderful.)

The Cat Came back - Fred Penner

My cat just boomeranged back too, although it took her much longer than a day. She left home with my daughter and came back with my daughter. She has snowy white, fluffy, baby-soft fur. If you miss it on the cat, you'll get plenty of chances to experience it throughout the rest of the house. She's a very furry cat.

Those members of the household (which has magically expanded from 1.5 to 3.5, not even counting the cat) who are not too excited about having pure white cat hair all over their black clothes are not amused.

The cat, on the other hand, fit right back in as if she'd never left. Every other time she's been moved in her life, she cried and grieved, but this time it was clear she knew she was coming home. Funny, I really didn't think she was that smart. But her memory obviously extends well over a year and a half. Amazing.

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