Sunday, December 15, 2013

貓樣笑話 / Cat's Meow

Add caption

亮兵器 !!!

No more treats you say ?!?
Look at this and think again ....

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

加拿大宣佈北極屬楓葉國土 / The North Pole belongs to Canada

The Russians reportedly planted a flag under the Arctic Ocean to symbolically stake their territorial claim.

On the other hand, we Canadians planted our Prime Minister and his military officials on an ice floe for everyone to see.

So there !!!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

101st Canadian Football League CFL Grey Cup Final in Regina, Saskatchewan Nov 24, 2013

101st CFL GREY CUP FINAL NOV 24, 2013: 
(Saskatchewan Roughriders 45 - Hamilton Tiger-Cats 23)

OMG, the Saskatchewan Roughriders' Darian Durant and Kory Sheets are just unstoppable !!!

The last time I cheered for the Riders was when Ronald "Ron" Lancaster (October 14, 1938 – September 18, 2008) was their quarterback.

I was living in Flin Flon then, working for the mining & smelting company there.




Related article: The Toronto Sun

Grey Cup 2013: Ron Lancaster should be here
Here, in the place he made football famous.
The sun is trying to shine. The winds are blowing. The temperature is biting. And in a Grey Cup Week unlike any other, the most famous of all Roughriders didn’t live long enough to experience all this.
To see a growing and wealthy Saskatchewan as host city for a Grey Cup at old Taylor Field with these young Roughriders as healthy favourites: How much would Lancaster love this?
How much does the memory of him of linger this week — and when I mention that to others — somehow the sentiment is shared, they just knowingly smile.
This is a week of football celebration in Canada Ron Lancaster didn’t live long enough to see all the growth. He coached the last Grey Cup Hamilton team and the coached the Ticats when they were all but bankrupt. He coached the Roughriders before he was ready to in two of their worst seasons. “Regina, he once told me, “there’s a town that takes some getting used to.”
More then than now. Wonder what Lancaster, gone five years and two months ago, would think about all this today.


* The Toronto Sun:

Photo Credit:

* Wikipedia:  Saskatchewan Roughriders & 101st Grey Cup
* Canadian Football League: Photo of the two quarterbacks
* Facebook: T-shirt in support of the Riders
* The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan:  Ron Lancaster

"Up There" - A Deadly Funny Movie from UK

K and I watched the UK movie "Up There" at Library And National Archives Canada's auditorium on Wellington Street. The United Kingdom is one of the many EU countries participating in the 28th edition of the European Union Film Festival hosted by the Canadian Film Institute.

Here is a summary of the "Up There" story according to IMDb:

"..... Martin (deceased) is stuck in a dead-end job, welcoming the newly departed into the afterlife. All he dreams of is going 'Up There'. But his plans are thrown into disarray when he has to team up with the relentlessly chirpy Rash and together they lose a new arrival. The mismatched pair give chase and end up in a remote seaside town populated by cocky teenagers, sinister old women and the enigmatic Liz, who has 'suicide written all over her'. Can they stop bickering long enough to find the lost soul? Will Rash be reunited with his brother Chunky? And can Martin get back in time to finally get 'Up There'? UP THERE is a killer comedy about life, death and irritating friends.... "

Apparently, there is more fun "down here" than the final destination "up there" !!!

Related links:

*  You may also view the official trailer via YouTube at

* Wikipedia:

".... Up There is a 2012 British feature film comedy, written and directed by Scottish based film-maker Zam Salim. It stars Burn Gorman, Kate O'Flynn, Aymen Hamdouchi, Chris Waitt, Jo Hartley and Warren Brown. It is financed by the Bfi, BBC and Creative Scotland. It is based on Zam Salim's award winning short film 'Laid Off' which has over half a million hits on YouTube. 'Up There' received its World Premiere at the International Film Festival of Mannheim-Heidelberg on 18 November 2011. It won the award for Best Feature Film at the 2012 British Academy Scotland Awards....."

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Mr. Justin Trudeau at Ladies Night: Admiration for China's Dictatorship?!

Justin Trudeau has just given the Canadian Prime Minister and the Conservative Party exactly what they want to characterize the young politician: 
While we all know Prime Minister Harper gave China the cold shoulder when he first became Prime Minister, he quickly learnt that the world's most populated and fast-growing country is important to the future of our resource-based economy. As a seasoned politician, he turned around, changed his tune and even visited China to promote bilateral trade and try his best to improve and warm up the relationship.
But as much as the Prime Minister praises the economic achievement of China, he is always careful not to endorse the one-party political system of the PRC.
On the other hand, Mr. Justin Trudeau has inadvertently shown off the "fluffy" side of his personality in more than one occasion, mouthing off abt smoking pot (which of course is being quoted ad nauseum by Ford Nation supporters to justify the Toronto mayor's smoking crack cocaine), hosting a "Ladies Night" (which was blasted quite articulately by Conservative MP Michelle Rempel as unacceptable and disrespectful to women), and then the statement abt his apparent admiration for China dictatorship (which he later had to clarify and do damage-control).
So, as much as I want to give Mr. Trudeau the benefit of the doubt, I really have to say Prime Minister Harper is definitely the more seasoned politician based on what I have seen so far, not to mention the Hon. Thomas Mulcair who performs well in his role as the Leader of the Opposition. 
The young Trudeau has two years to convince voters like myself that he has the "right stuff" to potentially become Prime Minister. Now you don't have to take my words for it. Below are two articles that you should also read.

Justin Trudeau’s recent gaffes undermine his political strengths

National Post  |  | Last Updated: 10/11/13 6:02 PM 
"......   Thursday there was the strangely juvenile promotion, advertising a “ladies night” with “Justin Unplugged,” whereby Liberal women could contribute $250 apiece for the privilege of “really” getting to know “the future prime minister,” complete with soft-focus dreamboat shots of him ......
..... More problematic was the event itself, during which Trudeau said the following, in answer to an audience member’s question about which country’s government, other than Canada, he most admires:   “You know, there’s a level of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say ‘we need to go green fastest. . . we need to start investing in solar.’ I mean there is a flexibility that I know Stephen Harper must dream about of having a dictatorship that he can do everything he wanted that I find quite interesting.” 
.... The promotion and the China remark together are the worst kind of unforced, bone-headed error — the equivalent of Stephen Harper kicking a chair in public, or Tom Mulcair bellowing “Viva Che Guevara!” on the steps of the Centre Block.
.....  They go directly to his weakness — a lack of experience and, occasionally, judgment — and undermine his strengths...."

Justin Trudeau's 'Foolish' China Remarks Spark Anger

CBC  |  Posted:   |  Updated: 11/09/2013 8:48 pm EST
Members of the Asian-Canadian community are demanding an apology from Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, following his comments on Thursday expressing admiration for China's "basic dictatorship."
A round table of people from China, Taiwan, Tibet and Korea — all of whom say they suffered at the hands of China's dictatorship — said they were insulted by Trudeau's remarks, made on Thursday at a women's event.
The Liberal leader was asked which nation he admired most. He responded: ""There's a level of admiration I actually have for China. Their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime."
That statement was upsetting for people who say they were wrongly imprisoned or tortured by the Chinese government for speaking out for democracy.
"Can I use the word 'foolish'"? said one member of the Federation for a Democratic China, characterizing Trudeau's words. The political group advocates for the democratization of China.
'A bit silly'
"It seems to be that he's not well-informed," another member of the round table said of Trudeau.
Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair also reacted with surprise to the Liberal leader's words, calling it "a bit silly" to laud China rather than to praise democratic values.
At a press conference on Saturday in Quebec, Trudeau said his comment was a reflection on a growing economy.
Canadian members of the Federation for a Democratic China say that along with an apology from the Liberal leader, they also want an opportunity to meet face-to-face so he can listen to some of their personal stories of persecution at the hands of the Chinese government.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

馬拉松賽跑訓練計劃:比賽準備,長跑競賽, 賽後復原 / Marathon Training Plan: Preparation for a race, running it, and Recovery

Below is the presentation I made at a running workshop in October, 2013. Obviously, the information below are based on my own personal experience as an amateur runner and they might not apply to you at all. Please consult other more qualified athletes and use your judgment.


PRESENTATION (20131031 16h00 version)

1. Pre Race (3-4 weeks)

* Realistic Assessment: Run-for-time or Run-to-finish?
* Changes: Avoid new shoes, keep routine diet, maintain running weights, manage injuries
* Transportation/hotel: Confirm locations, distance, map, etc
* Health: Confirm insurance coverage abroad, replenish medications, etc
* Race details: Verify start time? where? corral? bag-check? route map, etc

2. Pre Race (1 week)

* Tapering: Keep moving/stretching, follow training schedule
* Packing: Start early esp if out-of-town travelling is involved
* Race kit pickup: Read instructions/info re time chip? start line? route changes, etc
* Clothing/gears: Check weather forecast regularly, draw head2toes body-diagram c/w gears (e.g. headlamp w batteries), avoid cotton undies, wear same outfit as in training if possible
* Health: Manage injuries, set realistic time goal, bring medications, insurance papers
* Food/drinks: Begin carb loading? choose low-risk food, don't suddenly change diet, don't eat/drink excessively 1-2 days before race
* Mind + Body: Visualize race event from start to finish e.g. start line (freezing cold?), pacing strategy (divide race into 1/3 chunks), drinking/fuelling ....
***** Racing could be 90% mind-game esp last few kilometres (ref: Winterman, Spartan Beast) *****
* Night before: Set up alarms, eat little/nothing after 6 pm, 5 hrs sleep min, one kungfu master said sex makes your feet wobble :O

3. Race Day

* 3 hours: Wake up early, start routine (drink coffee, light breakfast, etc), get dressed, check list, final packing, call taxi ahead of time
* 2 hours: Allow sufficient transit time (taxi, bus, parking, road-closure, etc)
* 1 hour: Arrive early, find warm place to settle/focus, start fuelling, vaseline/body glide, final check-list, baggage check, line-up washroom (or bottle?), check bib & time chit, walk to start-line (squeeze in & keep warm)
* 3 min: Be at start-line, drink liquid, set watch/mobiles, pump up, enjoy the moment
* 0 min: Off you go, run at your own pace, stick to plan (e.g. run 10 walk 1, "1/3" plan, fuelling/drinking, peeling off clothing), enjoy the experience, think positive - remember the mind game, check regularly running form/efficiency (foot-strikes, gliding, hands, core, breathing), listen to your body (cramps, heart, over-hydration, etc), enjoy the cheering crowd, smile to photographers, run up-right as you dash toward finish line

4. Post Race (on-site)

* Keep walking, eat/drink as req'd, get baggage & put on dry clothes, enjoy the crowd/ceremony/etc, wear proudly your medal & t-shirt cuz you've earned your bragging right !!!!

5. Recovery (off-site)

* Rest, take a bath, monitor health (e.g. blood pressure), healthy meals to replenish protein, electrolyte, nutrients etc as req'd, be careful walking downstairs, self-massage or hire someone
* Walk & stretch moderately for rest of week, listen to your body, get back into running and/or other strenuous exercises slowly, manage injuries, seek medical advice on lingering or emerging health issues, enjoy resting in the short-term but STAY ACTIVE (mind & body) for life !!!!


Photo Credit:
* Wikipedia / Grete Waitz
"..... Grete Waitz (1 October 1953 – 19 April 2011) was a Norwegian marathon runner and former world record holder ..... She went on to win the New York Marathon race nine times, more than any other runner in history. ..... She also won a silver medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and a gold medal at the 1983 World Championships in Athletics in Helsinki ..... and broke the world record three years in a row ....."

Sunday, November 03, 2013

富有想像力的照片: 混合普通物体和簡單的草圖 / Imaginative Photographs: Mixing ordinary objects with simple sketches

下貼的照片是厄瓜多爾藝術總監Javier Pérez 哈維爾·佩雷斯創意和幽默設計, 微小的假想世界是由一些小物件和一個簡單的草圖組成

例子:  葡萄成為一個年輕的男孩手中的氦氣氣球。花成為創紀錄的球員。奧利奧奶油和餅乾被視為一個轉動的地球。














Photo Credit / Related Links:
* Imaginative Photographs That Mix Ordinary Objects and Simple Sketches
* Images on Pérez’s accounts at Instagram and Behance.


And here is an imaginative photo I made on Oct 7, 2013 with the caption "David Against Goliath"

David is the little guy I painted on a chicken egg on the left. He is poking his opponent with a yellow plastic corn-on-the-cob holder. The pain is represented by some broken Italian bread-sticks.

The giant on the right is a double-faced stone sculpture carved by an aboriginal artisan. The dark waves that overcome Goliath are actually used coffee grind that I pushed around with my fingers.

Related link:

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Dare Devil Katie Hansen's Precision Skydiving into a Moving Car

A clip of this amazing precision skydiving stunt was reported by Canada CTV News on Nov 2, 2013.

YouTube credit: Uploaded by AviatorShow

The following description is based on a separate ABC News' transcript:

"..... This is a stunt you have to see to believe. A dizzying descent skydiver Katie Hanson is making spirals in the sky for a truly death defying challenge - she will lock in on a moving target to make a dramatic landing. How did she maneuver this incredible fall from the sky? .... The daring stunt seems nearly impossible in the sky: she's flying between twenty and forty miles per hour !!! There you see the convertible, the driver is carefully matching her speed and just as she approaches. Oh no, it looks like she's not going to make it. ..... But with a last-second glide, she has a flawless touchdown into the backseat .... Look again at the precision of her glide as though she'd done it a million times while in fact it was her first try !!"

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Toronto Police Chief: Video Allegedly Showing Mayor Ford Smoking Crack Cocaine FOUND !!!

Below is an extract from the Toronto Star concerning the breaking news. When The Star first reported the existence of the said video, the newspaper was accused by Ford supporters of lying. Mayor Ford himself also publicly denied its existence. The Star is vindicated with the announcement of Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair this morning: The digital file containing the reported video was recovered.

Now, whether any charges are going to be laid will depend very much on the content of the found video and other evidence that are to be examined by the police and the court.


Rob Ford video scandal: Police have the video that appears to show mayor smoking crack, Blair says - Ford friend Alexander Sandro Lisi charged with extortion related to the video, police chief says
By: Star Investigations Published on Thu Oct 31 2013

Toronto Police have recovered the video that appears to show Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine, Toronto police Chief Bill Blair said Thursday. Blair said at a press conference, “The video files depict images that are consistent with what has previously been reported” in the media. Ford has long denied the video existed. Blair also said alleged drug dealer and Ford friend Alexander Sandro Lisi was taken into custody Thurday morning and has been charged with extortion.

The Star earlier reported that Lisi, who also faces drug charges, was involved in attempts to recover the video. Ford has been the target of a police investigation that witnessed and photographed him taking part in meetings with Lisi, according to police documents released Thursday. Blair told reporters they recovered two videos from a computer hard drive that are relevant to their investigation. At least one will eventually be presented in court. The Star has been told by sources that the 90-second video its reporters saw was an edited version of the original.

“It's safe to say the mayor does appear in the video,” Blair told reporters.

Police recovered digital files from a hard drive on Oct. 29. The files had been deleted but were recovered by police. Based on the video, there is nothing now that would support laying a criminal charge against Ford, Blair said. Blair said he has seen the video. His reaction?

“As a citizen of the city, I am disappointed.” ......

For more details, please read the news article source: Toronto Star

2013年萬聖節: 一個令你呻吟的可怕故事 / Halloween 2013: A Scary Story that Groans on You

Frankly 'tis quite a groaner!
Said one pipe-organ donor.

Soundly with music so haunting,
You should've seen it coming!


A Winter Story: Frankenstein's Music (as told by Igor on Halloween night)

Bob Hill and his wife Betty are winter-vacationing in Europe.... as it happens, near Transylvania. It's getting late and snowing hard. They are driving along a rather deserted highway and Bob can barely see where he is going. Suddenly, the car skids out of control! Bob attempts to steer but to no avail! The car swerves and smashes into a tree. Moments later, Bob shakes his head to clear the fog. Dazed, he looks over to the passenger side only to find his wife unconscious and her head bleeding! Despite the winter storm and unfamiliar surrounding, Bob knows he has to get her medical assistance.

Bob carefully picks his wife up and begins trudging down the road. After a short while, he sees a light coming from a large, old house. He approaches the door and knocks. A minute passes. A small, hunched man opens the door. Bob immediately blurts, "Hello, my name is Bob Hill. We are in a terrible accident and my wife Betty here is seriously hurt. Can I please use your phone?" "I'm sorry," replied the hunchback, "but we don't have a phone. My master is a doctor. C'mon in! I will go get him!"

Bob carries his wife in. An older man comes down the stairs. "I'm afraid my assistant may have misled you. I am not a medical doctor; I am a scientist but with some basic medical training. We are far from any hospital and it's impossible to drive in this weather. I will see what I can do for you here. Igor, bring them down to the laboratory." Igor picks up Betty and carries her downstairs, with Bob following closely. Igor places Betty on a table in the lab. Bob collapses from exhaustion and his own injuries, so Igor places Bob on an adjoining table.

After a brief examination, Igor's master looks worried. "Things are serious, Igor, prepare a transfusion." Igor and his master work feverishly but to no avail. Bob and Betty Hill are no more. The Hills' deaths upset Igor's master greatly. Wearily, he climbs the steps to his conservatory, which houses his pipe organ. For it is here that he has always found solace. He begins to play and a stirring, almost haunting, melody fills the house.

Meanwhile, Igor is still in the lab tidying up. His eyes catch movement and he notices the fingers on Betty's hand twitch, keeping time to Frankenstein's haunting music. Stunned, he watches as Bob's arm begins to rise, marking the beat! He is further amazed as Betty and Bob both sit up straight!

Unable to contain himself, he dashes up the stairs to the conservatory. He bursts in and shouts to his master:
"Master, Master!.....The Hills are alive with the sound of music!"

(I am soooooo sorry..... but you really should've seen that one coming!!)

Sources / Photo credit:
* Text: Joke from TriRudy (with modifications by Haricot)
* Top two Photos: Wikipedia / Frankenstein
* Bottom photo: By Lotusandcedar at Camp Fortune (IMG00566)

Note: First posted on Jan 16, 2012; updated & posted again on Oct 31, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013



20131029: I am really glad I was able get a ticket to the Writers Festival this evening to hear what my favourite Ottawa writer had to say abt "Living History".


"Living History" with Denise Chong and Charlotte Gray
Hosted by CBC’s Lucy van Oldenbarneveld
Knox Presbyterian Church, Oct 29, 2013 18h30

Bio: Denise Chong is the author of the family memoir The Concubine's Children; The Girl in the Picture, a story of the napalm girl from the Vietnam War; and Egg on Mao, a portrayal of human rights in China. She lives with her family in Ottawa.

"..... International bestselling author of The Concubine's Children, Denise Chong returns to the subject of her most beloved book, the lives and times of Canada's early Chinese families. In 2011, Denise set out to collect the history of the earliest Chinese settlers in and around Ottawa, who made their homes far from any major Chinatown. This generation of immigrants lived at the intersection of the Exclusion Act in Canada, which divided families between here and China, and two momentous upheavals in China: the Japanese invasion and war-time occupation; and the victory of the Communists. Her new book, Lives of the Family: Stories of Fate and Circumstance, explores the trajectory of a universal immigrant experience, one of looking in the rear view mirror while at the same time, travelling toward an uncertain future...."

Photo/text Credit:

 Related links:
* Wikipedia: Denise Chong

Below is my favourite Denise Chong book "The Concubine's Children". Twenty years after its first publication, it has recently been translated to simplified Chinese for the PRC readers.

Monday, October 28, 2013

2013 Halloween in Canada: Scary Pumpkin Carving - PMO !!??

As Ottawa is embroiled in heated debates concerning alleged transactions among the three Senators that Prime Minister Harper wants to suspend, the PM's ex-Chief of Staff and others in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the Conservative members of the Senates and others in the Red Chamber, some members and associates of the Conservative Party, etc, somebody in the Twitter world posted this photo which has been quickly re-tweeted across the country.

While I do not necessarily agree/disagree with the sentiment of the photographer, I do find it funny. Only in Ottawa you say, eh? Pity!!

‏Photo Credit:
* Twitter photo: @tidridge #senca (with thanks!!)

Related links:
* CBC News - The National Oct 29, 2010 (
* The Ottawa Sun -
* The Toronto Star -

Thursday, October 24, 2013

紅塵有幸識丹青, 紫荊楓葉嘆無緣 / Love & Affair

Western Beauty
.... a love divine

Chinese Girlfriend
.... affair behind

(or, as per comments by SBB)

Related Links / Photo Credit: 

* Wikipedia: 永遠的微笑
".... 《蒙娜麗莎》(意大利語:La Gioconda;法語:La Joconde;英語:Mona Lisa)是文藝復興時代畫家列奧納多·達·文西所繪的麗莎·喬宮多的肖像畫。這幅畫可以說是世界上最著名的油畫作品,很少有其他作品能像它一樣,被人審查、研究或是演繹。它的擁有者法國政府把它保存在巴黎的羅浮宮供公眾欣賞。它是直接畫在白楊木上的,此畫面積不大,長77厘米,寬53厘米。這幅半身肖像油畫描繪的是一位表情內斂的、微帶笑容的女士,她的笑容有時被描寫為「神秘的笑容」。它也是達文西的代表作。.... 蒙娜麗莎是從英文「Mona Lisa」音譯過來,來自於達文西去世31年後由喬爾喬·瓦薩里(Giorgio Vasari)發表的一部傳記——《藝苑名人傳》。在其中,喬爾喬·瓦薩里認為這位模特是佛羅倫斯富商弗朗西斯科·戴爾·吉奧亢多(Francesco del Giocondo)的夫人麗莎·喬宮多。蒙娜在意大利語為Madonna,簡稱Monna(或作Mona),中文翻譯為「我的女士」,通常放在女性的名字前,相當於英語中的「Madam」。所以,蒙娜麗莎的意思是「麗莎夫人」。這幅畫的另一個名稱是意大利語「La Gioconda」,這是吉奧亢多(Giocondo)的陰性拼寫。意大利語中,「gioconda」的解釋是「輕鬆的,無憂無慮的」,因此「gioconda」也可以指「無憂無慮的婦人」。由於她的微笑,此名稱便有了兩層含義。法語名稱「La Joconde」同樣可以這樣解釋。19世紀以來,「蒙娜麗莎」(Mona Lisa)和意大利語名稱「Giocondo」已經成為了這幅畫固定的名稱。在此前很長的一段時間,這幅畫有很多描述性的名稱,如「某個佛羅倫斯女士」、「帶着紗巾的情婦」等等。...."

* Wikipedia (洋)紫荆花: ".... 有人稱香港的區花為紫荆花,只是張冠李戴而已。香港的區花為洋紫荆,是在香港首先發現並成功培育繁衍的亞熱帶花卉,是同科羊蹄甲屬植物,不屬於豆科的紫荊屬。香港主權移交之前,香港基本法出於文字避諱,把香港的區花稱為「紫荆花」,將洋字略去,中國大陸傳媒亦習焉不察,於是謬種流傳,香港的區花變為「紫荆花」。..."

* Lotusandcedar: I took this photo at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum on October 13, 2013. The maple leaves were turning red and locally farmed pumpkins were lined up along the side of the road.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

FIFA Ranking Oct 17, 2013 - Canadian Men's Soccer

FIFA Ranking:

Spain 1
Canada 111

Triple AAA rating is better than just one A, right ???

I hope this bad news won't deter the youngsters who are participating in soccer games organized at the community level !!!



TORONTO -- One year after an 8-1 humbling in Honduras that signalled yet another early end to World Cup qualifying, there seemingly has been little to celebrate in Canadian men's soccer.

Canada fell to an all-time low in the FIFA rankings Thursday for the second straight month, dropping five positions to No. 111. The Canadians stand 12th in the CONCACAF region, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Going into the Honduras game at San Pedro Sula on Oct. 16, 2012, Canada was ranked 61st in the world and sixth in CONCACAF.

Today, the Canadian men stand a hair above No. 112 Antigua and Barbuda, whose population is some 90,000 compared to Canada's 35 million.

Canada is below Angola, Botswana, both Congos, Gabon, Guinea and Niger, to name just a few.

The FIFA rankings are not the be-all and end-all in soccer, but it's hard to argue with Canada's decline given results over the last 12 months.

The Canadians have gone 0-8-3 and scored just once since being thumped in Honduras. They have been outscored 16-1 and have only Marcus Haber's goal in a 2-1 loss to Japan in March to avoid a total shutout on the year.

As it stands, Canada has not scored in 12 hours 32 minutes.

The rebuilding job has fallen to Benito Floro, who has just three games under his belt since officially taking as coach on Aug. 1. With an eye to the future, his focus has clearly been on changing the national team culture while educating a squad that is brimming with youth.

Floro, a 61-year-old Spaniard whose coaching career has taken him from Real Madrid to Mexico's Monterrey, has used long classroom and videos sessions to educate the Canadians in his two camps to date.

"I think it's been great," said 20-year-old defender Doneil Henry.

"I'm definitely optimistic and positive for Benito," he added. "He's been great so far and he really does know the game."

Henry's optimism extends to the Canadian squad, which he sees as "a team for the future."

Henry, who already has nine senior caps to his credit, was one of four of Toronto FC players aged 23 or younger in the Canadian squad that lost 3-0 to Australia on Tuesday.

Other youngsters who saw action included 18-year-old Samuel Piette, 20-year-old Russell Teibert and 21-year-old Stefan Cebara.

"If we can start getting these players the professional experience they need at the international stage, it will definitely benefit us in the long run," said Henry.

Recent losses, while painful, have shown the youngsters "that this is a man's game," according to Henry.

"There's so much more to learn," he added. "Especially myself going up against, playing against top players in the world. These are the games that we need.

"It's going to build our character and build us as individual professionals in the long run. I understand that results right now are hurting us but eventually there's going to be a turn."

Henry is certain that with the growth of the three MLS teams' academies and Canadians continuing to go overseas, "we're going to eventually be there with the top countries in the world."

Longtime leader Spain -- the defending World Cup champion --remains atop the FIFA rankings released Thursday, followed by Germany, Argentina, Colombia and Belgium.

The Canadian men reached a high of No. 40 in December 1996.

Canada last won in October 2012 when it defeated Cuba 3-0 in Toronto.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Speech from the Throne (Part B): SFT was delivered by the Governor General Oct 16, 2013

Here is a news article from the National Post a few minutes ago .....

Tories vow to freeze budget, shrink government and ‘defend’ consumers in 2013 throne speech

OTTAWA – Canadian families and consumers, take heart: Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s governing Conservatives have declared they are your best friend.
And for those Canadians unhappy with how the Tories put the country deep into deficit in recent years, Harper has a pledge.
He will introduce balanced-budget legislation that requires governments to stay in the black during “normal economic times,” and “concrete timelines” for eliminating a deficit after an “economic crisis.”
The messages came Wednesday in the throne speech, read in Parliament by Gov. Gen. David Johnston.
After nearly eight years in power, Harper’s Tories now promise a range of actions, including: letting cable TV customers pick the channel of their choice to pay for; slashing roaming costs for cellphone customers; forbidding companies from making customers pay extra for paper bills instead of electronic ones; and even amending the law to allow Canadians to taker beer and spirits across provincial boundaries for their own use.
“Canadian families work hard to make ends meet, and every dollar counts. While companies will look out for their bottom line, our Government is looking out for everyday Canadians,” says the speech.
“When Canadians make decisions about how to spend their money, they must be assured of a voice, a choice, and fair treatment.
“Although Canadians are among the most digitally connected in the world, we also pay some of the highest wireless rates in the developed world. As families know – especially families with teenagers – the monthly bills add up.”
The throne speech comes midway through the government’s majority mandate and after months of bad publicity, such as the Senate expense scandal that reached right into the prime minister’s office.

........ (to be continued) Speech from the Throne (Part C)

Photo credit: Government of Canada / Speech from the Throne Oct 16, 2013

Source of news article: National Post

Speech from the Throne (Part A): Canadian Parliamentary Cycle + Process leading up to the Throne Speech

Knock, knock, knock ....
Who goes there?
It's me, the Usher of the Black Rod!
OK, let him in, so instructed the Speaker.

Thus begins the Speech from the Throne SFT that will be delivered by the Governor General of Canada, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, who is to open the second session of the 41st Parliament.

On the day of the Speech from the Throne (SFT), I have done some research and would like to describe briefly in layman language the process leading up to the SFT and what follow.

(Disclaimer: The info presented in this blog article are oversimplified, do not represent the official Government of Canada positions, and may contain omissions and errors.)

1. The Parliamentary Cycle

According to the Parliament of Canada website: "Opening of a Parliament or a Session: After a general election, Parliament is summoned in the Queen's name by the Governor General. .... He/she acknowledges the election and confirms the traditional rights and privileges of the House. This is followed immediately by the Speech from the Throne in the Senate Chamber. Subsequent sessions of the same Parliament will open with a summons to the Senate Chamber followed immediately by the Speech from the Throne. ...."

Essentially, the Prime Minister wants to re-set and/or reaffirm the government agenda/priorities for the second half of its mandate and to set up the stage leading up to a general election to take place in abt two years.

2. Speech from the Throne

Again from the Parliament website: "The Speech from the Throne: At the opening of every new Parliament, and at the beginning of each session within a Parliament, the Governor General reads a speech, prepared by the Prime Minister in consultation with his or her cabinet. The speech is read in the Senate Chamber before the assembled Members of both the Senate and the House of Commons. Traditionally, the Speech from the Throne reveals the reasons for summoning Parliament. It begins with an assessment of social and economic conditions in the country. It then declares the Government's goals and intentions, and outlines its policies and legislative agenda ...."

What many Canadians don't know is that the SFT is not written secretly by the Prime Minister and the ruling Conservative Party. Many months before the Throne Speech, the policy shops of departments/agencies will have already prepared numerous Briefing Notes (Briefing Book in the case of a new Minister), Memoranda to Cabinet (MC), Aide Memories, and other types of classified documents for the Deputy Heads and the Ministers responsible.

Since the Federal Public Service (which is part of the Machinery of Government) is a non-partisan institution that serves the democratically elected government, bureaucrats are supposed to "speak truth to power" and to provide professional advice/recommendations to their political masters even if those are not what the latter like to hear. In reality, the Deputy Head is held responsible to manage the interface btwn the bureaucratic and political regimes, to work horizontally with his/her deputy colleagues, and to report to the Clerk of the Privy Council, who is the Prime Minister's Deputy Minister and the boss of all Deputy Heads (except those who report directly to Parliament, such as the Auditor General).

Once the signed-off recommendations are in the political regime, a Minister may choose to agree or disagree with his/her department's recommendations. (Previous CIDA President Bev Oda caused an uproar when she had allegedly changed the recommendation of the Agency to suit her own view. She could have just exercised her ministerial prerogative.) Armed with the knowledge provided by his/her department, a Minister then works with his/her cabinet colleagues to establish a coherent, strategic theme and agenda for the second half of the government's mandate. Thus, what goes into the Speech from the Throne is a cumulation of strategic policy advice/recommendations from federal public servants and well thought-out political calculations from politicians.

....... (to be continued) Speech from the Throne (Part B)

Related links:

* Wikipedia:Usher of the Black Rod
* Parliament of Canada: House Compendium/Parliamentary Cycle
* Parliament of Canada: House Compendium/Speech Throne

Monday, October 14, 2013

週年紀念: 法屬波利尼西亞鰻魚幾乎咬斷掉我的手指 / Anniversary: Eel Attack in the coral water off Fakarava, French Polynesia


It was exactly a year ago when my little finger was bitten to the bone by an eel in the coral water off Fakarava, French Polynesia. The toothy fiend either was ill-tempered that day or just wanted to try a bit of finger food. Little L5 is still having nightmare when I watch the 1977 movie "The Deep".

Now, let me make it perfectly clear: I did NOT feed the eel. It just came out of nowhere and bit my finger. I must have been too close to its nest. There was blood all over and when I came out of the water, all I saw was this white bone attached to my finger. All the tendons and nerves were chewed off. But at least I have my finger back.

The diver in the YouTube clip was not so lucky. He was being filmed by his buddy while feeding an eel with his bare fingers. He lost his thumb to the eel and ended with a transplanted toe to his left hand.

For more story, please read my blog article:
* 旅遊南太平洋大溪地及其它法屬波利尼西亞島嶼 (二) / Travel to Tahiti & Other Polynésie française Islands in the South Pacific Ocean (2)

Photo credit: Jacqueline Bisset in 1977 movie "The Deep"

Related links:
* Wikipedia: Jacqueline Bisset and The Deep (1977 film)
* Wikipedia: Moray eel

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

公民抗命: 以卵擊石? / Civil disobedience: David Against Goliath?

以卵擊石 / David Against Goliath


【維基百科】公民抗命(Civil disobedience),指發現某一條或某部分法律、行政指令是不合理時,主動拒絕遵守政府或強權的若干法律、要求或命令,而不訴諸於暴力,這是非暴力抗議的一項主要策略。

I recall that when I graduated from university, many of my classmates refused to apply jobs with companies that were involved with the war in Vietnam. However, the action back then was quite different from civil disobedience in which an individual deliberately breaks the law on the basis of his/her own political believes.

There are numerous examples of these individuals, dead or alive, e.g. Green Peace activists currently being charged with piracy by Russia, pro-democracy/anti-govt Chinese dissidents, Gandhi's non-violence fight against the British, Martin Luther King leading the US Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War draft dodgers, students who were shot dead by Ohio National Guards at Kent State University in 1970 during an anti-war protest, etc.

And more recently here, we have an 89 years old woman who refused to fill out the 2011 census form based on her political belief (rightly or wrongly).

According to CBC News: ".... An 89-year-old Toronto woman who is a Second World War veteran is in court facing a judge for refusing to fill out the 2011 census form. Audrey Tobias faces a criminal charge under the Statistics Act, which makes refusing or neglecting to fill in the census an offence punishable by a $500 fine and up to three months in prison. .... Tobias, who has become a peace advocate since her time in the Armed Forces, says she decided not to participate in the national census because U.S.-based weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin provides services to the Canadian government to analyze census data...."

There is an old Chinese saying that describes someone fighting against a powerful opponent: Using an egg to break a rock 以卵擊石 .

So, here are my questions:

(1) To the egg: How many smashed eggs will eventually break a rock?

(2) To the rock: How many eggs to smash?

***** UPDATED 20131009 *****

Census protester Audrey Tobias acquitted of not filing form

CBC News:

"..... An 89-year-old peace activist who refused to fill out the census because of its link to a U.S. military contractor is not guilty of violating the Statistics Act, a Toronto judge decided today.... Tobias's lawyer, Peter Rosenthal, had argued that forcing her to complete the census would violate her freedoms of conscience and free expression. The judge rejected the charter arguments, but said that Tobias's memory and some conflicting testimony left him with reasonable doubt as to her intent at the time of the refusal. Judge Ramez Khawly noted that for a conviction both the act and intent of a crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, so he had to acquit Tobias.... The judge also described the Justice Department's decision to prosecute Tobias, a Second World War veteran, as a "PR disaster." ...."



Related links:

* CBC News: WW II Veteran and Census Objector Audrey Tobias in Court

* Toronto Star: "...... When Tobias discovered the Lockheed connection, she ignored the census. A dangerous move. Ignore such forms, it says, and suffer fines and/or jail time. But she is a peace activist — “not a pacifist!” — and a war veteran. She just couldn’t associate herself with a company that builds and sells cluster bombs, missiles and the F-35 fighter jet .... "
(Woman Ready To Go to Jail Over Census Fight)

* The Globe and Mail: "..... In 2011, a Saskatchewan woman was found guilty and given an absolute discharge for refusing to fill out the now-voluntary long-form section of the 2006 census over the Lockheed software link, and is awaiting to hear whether the Supreme Court will grant her appeal request...."
(89-year Old Activist Defiant Ahead of Trial for Census Refusal Over Weapons Maker Link)

* Montreal Gazette: "TORONTO - A senior Statistics Canada manager says it's impossible for giant American arms maker Lockheed Martin to pilfer information on Canadians. Yves Beland says the agency did a thorough security audit on software the U.S. company provided. Beland's testimony comes at the trial of 89-year-old Audrey Tobias in Toronto .... "
(Peace Activist Defiant Ahead Trial Over Census Refusal)

Sunday, October 06, 2013

雲吞店:波利尼西亞牛肉 / Won Ton House: Polynesian Beef

This is what I have for supper tonight: A special from Won Ton House restaurant. The dish is actually half a pineapple stuffed with beef and vegies! Yummy !!!!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Symbol English Simple Mind

I picked out one spelling mistake WITHOUT the help of auto spell-check ;-)

法國里昂歌劇院 / Lyon Opera House in France

The day before our vacation ended in France, K and I went to watch a modern ballet show at the Lyon Opera House.

I must say it took me some time to get used to  the modern dance, music and setting, but after the initial adjustment, I was quite enjoying the ebbs and flow of the advant-guard performance.

Here is the modern ballet performance we saw at the Lyon Opera House: "Limb's Theorem" by William Forsythe. It was one of France's Heritage Celebration Weekend events in Lyon.

"..... Journées du Patrimoine 2013: Le programme des Journées Européennes du Patrimoine 2013 dans toute la France. Le week-end du 14 et 15 septembre 2013, les Journées du Patrimoine fêteront un double anniversaire : leurs 30 ans et les 100 ans de la loi de protection du Patrimoine ! Comme chaque année environ 16 000 sites publics ou privés seront ouverts au public... Consultez sur notre site le programme des journées du patrimoine à Paris et dans toute la France.... " Source: Le Parisien / Journées du Patrimoine 2013

Photo credit:
* I took these photos in Lyon, France, on Sept 15, 2013

Related links:

* Wikipedia: Opéra Nouvel
" ..... A first theater was built here by Soufflot during the 18th century. Nevertheless, the theatre soon became too small and the architects Chenavard and Pollet rebuilt a brand new one in a neo-classical style in 1830. At the beginning of 1980s, out of age and not meeting the needs any more, the Opera had to be renewed. A competition for architects was thus launched and won in 1986 by Jean Nouvel. The new Opera of Lyon was inaugurated in May 1993 and is now part of the international architectural heritage. Outside the opera house, Nouvel only kept the outer walls. He also dug new underground levels and added a semi-cylindrical dome that is used by dancers. On the opera house front wall, 8 muses have been kept in place (Uranie, the 9th one was removed to respect the symmetry of the building)..... "

* Wikipedia: Opéra National de Lyon
" ..... The Lyon Opera Ballet (Ballet de l'Opéra de Lyon) has a "classical structure directed towards contemporary dance", with a repertoire of American postmodern dance, various contemporary dance styles and the jeune danse française (new French dance), but also including "the radical reinterpretation of some standard works". The current artistic director is Yorgos Loukos. The dance studio is situated immediately under the curved glass roof of the opera house. The dancers recruited by the ballet come from all walks of life and are of all nationalities.
The ballet consists of 28 dancers Alexis Bourbeau, Julia Carnicer, Randy Castillo, Dorothy Delabie, Marie-Laetitia Diederichs, Simon Feltz, François Amandine, Aurélie Gaillard Thomas Gallus, Harris Gkekas, Yang Jiang, Mariane Joly, Caelyn Knight, Tadayoshi Kokeguchi, Misha Kostrzewski, Juan Carlos Lainez, Franck Laizet, Sora Lee, Coralie Levieux, Karline Marion, Ruth Miro Salvador, Elsa Montguillot of Mirman, Julian Nicosia, Mathieu Rouvière, Raúl Serrano Núñez Denis Terrace, Pavel Trush, Agalie Vandamme..... "

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chalon-sur-Saone, France

I drove the flat-bottom boat into town and our Captain Jenny parked it at the Port de Plaisance. Everyone was happy to get onto land for a change !!!

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