How does harness pony racing survive here?

In Bermuda we don't have any thoroughbred racing of course (cue small island jokes), but there's a small track where they have harness pony racing every weekend or other weekend or so. You even see some ponies on the roads, seemingly training (now, I'm not sure if they're allowed to at night-time, which I see all the time, but that's another story).

I'm curious to know how the sport thrives in this island? I can't imagine it being a well-patronized sport here, and I know that owning horses and equipment isn't an inexpensive business. Similarly I don't think that corporate sponsorship is present here, and as far as I know there's no legitimate gambling on the races to generate funds. I'm pretty curious to know how they do it.


Darn hosting

Peachy. My pages that reference a back-end database aren't functioning for some unknown reason. Think my host has gone stupid with the mySQL or something. Sigh. Good thing people only come here for the blog and the products page eh? Okay, it's really just the blog. Ah well.

Bermuda sports blogging

Props to the Bermuda Sun for initiating the first local blog geared to sports discussion, Talk Sport Bermuda. With everyone from the politician to the person on the street having an opinion of some sort (mostly negative, these days) about what's happening to our so-called "national sports", this avenue to gather up public thought and debate on Bermuda sport is much welcomed.

One of the first items that's made me think was the Club vs Country discussion that began when a local club coach wanted some of his players to skip one week of national squad training because the club is in line to win up to four domestic trophies this season. A local cricketer took issue with that line of thought.

It's interesting because it's a situation where the national team isn't slated to play their next World Cup qualifier for some weeks while the domestic season is nearing its climax. Big nations such as England don't make players train on a weekly basis before their Euro qualifier, for instance. Now, FIFA has mandated that players should be released for international duty and the BFA would probably be correct to insist that players show up for training.

Unlike the big countries however, our league is strictly amateur. These guys have to work for a living, perhaps on weekends too. For them to have to train as much as demanded is overkill. And there's probably some truth to the sentiment that many of these players don't have any dreams of competing in the World Cup Finals, but would love to hoist the local FA Cup trophy.

Unfortunately this is the kind of ammunition that clubs in Europe used when 'denying' players time to represent their country in qualifiers because they were from a 'no-hope' country. Happens all the time for us small island countries that are fortunate to have a player or two gifted and fortunate enough to play professionally in a European league or the MLS.

Is there a parallel to Cup Match and international cricket? Most likely, but that's another day. I think that the request itself was simple enough because it was only one day and well before the actual international match is concerned. I think the Gazette blew it out of proportion with such a fiery headline, to be honest. But it's served as a good launching pad for this new sports blog.


Three -oh-two

So I was home sick yesterday and I tried to get some rest and get away from the stresses of work (consecutive weekends at the office will probably weaken your immune system physically and mentally).

Anyway watching The Price Is Right during an awake period. They had this short woman, she was so loud and excited while in contestant's row but clueless as a bedpan. One item up for bids, someone bids $635. A bid later, she comes out with a hearty "$630!" I'm like, what the devil, how clueless is she?

So someone else wins and eventually there's another item up for bids. And I'm thinking that this woman can't get any worse. A guy bids $303 dollars for something (it was a set of iPhones I think, so it's way under what the actual price was). Would you believe that this person piped up strong with "$302!" Host Drew Carey looked like he was in total disbelief. I cracked up.

Funny thing is that she got the next round right, apparently, but I didn't see it. Just a strange story to put in while there's drama happening all over the island.


Beware this scam

In the employment pages of Wednesday's gazette, there was an innocuous-looking small ad asking for part-time assistants, with no further details. It asks for interested parties to contact someone at a yahoo.com e-mail address.

However, when that e-mail is sent, the response has all of the elements of a solid 419 Scam and should be immediately destroyed and not followed-up on. The problem of course is that the scammer has your sending e-mail address and will probably spam you in the future. Not that major if you have spam-blocking tools, I suppose.

Here's the e-mail in full and I'll comment on specific items below:
Thank you for your prompt reply, before I go further I thought I'd inform
you of both who you would be working for and what you would be doing.We
are into Manufacturing of Fabrics and Textiles with numerous customers
home and abroad and here is our site www.cheapfabrics.co.uk .We produce
various clothing materials,batiks,assorted fabrics and traditional
We need a representative in Bermuda who will be in charge of all our
payment from the Bermuda clients/customers because most of our customer
from Bermuda pay us through certified cheque, money order and cashier
cheques which are not negotiable here in UK. This brings our quest to
employ a credible and trusthworthy fellow as our representative to handle
our payments. This would not affect your present job but serve as another
stream of income to your goodself. Being our representative and assisting
us in processing the payments from our clients, You shall be paid weekly
and shall earn about 10% of every payment you assist us with because due
to the fact that we cant cash the Bermuda money order upon receipt here in
the UK immediately in the past we loose about 75,000 $ of net income each
month because of money transfer delays.
Your task is to coordinate payments from customers and help us with the
payment process.You are not involved in any sales. Our sales Manager
handle the sale of products. Once he makes a sale, The product is
delivered to a customer (usually through FEDEX).The customer receives and
checks the products. After this has been done, the customer has to pay for
the products. About 90 percent of our customers prefer to pay through
Travellers Cheques or Money orders based on the amount involved.
We have decided to open this new job position for solving this
problem.Your tasks are;
1. Recieve payment from Customers
2. Cash it at any cashing point or at your banks and you will deduct 10%
which will be your percentage/pay on Payment processed
3. Forward balance after deduction of percentage/pay to any of the offices
you will be contacted to send payment to.(Payment is to be forwarded
either by Money Gram or Western Union Money Transfer. Local Money
transfers takes barely hours, so it will give us a possibility to get
customer's payment almost immediately.
For example you've got 3000.00$
You take your income : 300.00 $
Send to us: 2700.00 $(minus the transfer charges)
First month you will have 15-20 transactions on
3000.00-4000.00 $
So you may calculate your income.
For example 18 transactions on 3500.00 $ gives you
6300.00 $ Plus your basic monthly salary which is 1000.00
$ Total: 7300.00 $ per month
After establishing close co-operation you'll be able to operate with
larger orders and you'll be able to earn more. Our payments will be issued
out in your name and you get them cashed in your bank deduct your weekly
salary and forward the balance to the company via western union money
transfer or money gram money transfer.
We understand it is an unusual and incredible job position. This job
takes only 3-7 hours per week. You'll have a lot of free time doing
another job, But this job is very challenging and you should understand
it. We are looking for a worker who is satisfied with our requirements and
will be an earnest assistant. We are glad to offer this job position to
you. If you feel that you are serious about this, We implore you to
reconfirm your full name,address and phone number so we can forward it to
our clients and they will start making payments to you as the company'
representative in Bermuda and i would be glad if i can hear from you with
all the information required.
  1. The punctuation and capitalization of words is quite poor. Usually, this is a sign of a Nigerian fraud attempt; for some reason nobody's been able to produce a letter with correct usage of grammar and punctuation, so I'm immediately alerted.

  2. In the second paragraph, if the business deals with overseas customers,
    why don't they have them use payment methods that they can use instead of
    local cheques? It sounds just too easy.

  3. They explain that 90% of their customers prefer to pay using travellers' cheques or money orders. Again, this is not something that you would expect from an actual business. Also, definitely not something that people in Bermuda would do when ordering items from overseas.

  4. They then summarize the scam. You receive money, likely a mailed cheque (which will later prove to be fraudulent).

  5. Then after withdrawing your cut, which will actually be your own money anyway, they want you to send them the 'balance' by using Western Union! Notwithstanding the fact that Western Union stopped operating here years ago (and should tell you that these guys don't know what they're talking about), this is also signs of something fraudulent. You never pay a business using this type of a service anyway. Major fraud alert.

  6. Then they throw some nice math showing how you can make a lot of money quickly. Very convincing if you haven't already rejected this as a scam.

  7. The terms 'trust', 'earnest', 'credible', are thrown about throughout this. It's a good way to make you feel secure and that you're dealing with someone equally trustworthy.
They put up a link to an authentic website to validate their authenticity, however anybody can do that. I can say that I work for Microsoft and put a link to their website, it doesn't prove anything, *especially* if my e-mail address isn't @microsoft.com but freaking @yahoo.com or another free email service.

What I don't like is that the gazette didn't seem to follow up on this kind of ad when it was submitted. They've unwittingly exposed the entire island to a big scam, after all the efforts by the Police, banks and parts of the public to tell people to be wary of offers that look inviting but
are truly malicious.


Stupid big cars and stupid drivers

It's bad enough that we allow for large-ass cars like this Kia Sportage on our narrow and winding roads, and I know that the trend to owning larger cars in Bermuda will continue unabated as there's no Government desire to try to reduce the number of "accidents" anyway.

One of these large cars was clearly driven by a poor and inconsiderate soul, as they parked it at such an angle that a poor woman in a smaller car couldn't maneuver her vehicle into the spot. Way to go, Kia abuser.

The days of compact cars are over, really. Although smaller cars are available, the popularity is low, mainly because people prefer the extra height of SUVs for example or like a larger car to hold more stuff in it. No, still no reason other than ego for the Hummer driver, I think.

Government's probably content with getting increased licensing fee dollars, the big car dealerships get to push out CRVs and Sportages (and tomorrow Jeep Grand Cherokees) and benefit from the patched roads (future post, I think) messing up their suspension, and the banks enjoy giving out loans in a no-lose situation for them. For all the talk about the benefits of electric or other 'clean' cars, I don't ever see it happening in great volume here.


I apologise, Mr. Stanford

I'd like to apologize to investor Allan Stanford and to the Caribbean cricket community for Bermuda's wretched performance in the 20/20 competition yesterday evening.

Sorry for yet again sending an under-prepared squad who couldn't even put up a minuscule of fight whatsoever against a better opponent.

This will once again ignite questions about the record financial investment by Government in a men's squad who have been overwhelmed in virtually every single match, whether it be first-class games, one-day internationals or the 20/20 version, which has been touted as our best chance to make a mark. Is it money wasted?

Aside from issues regarding unavailability of players which led to us sending what was practically our national Over-35s side or a failure of our national body in combination with the Ministry of Sport to arrange for proper training including actual played matches (not to mention a belief in some circles that the Board consists of too many individuals with their own agendas), the cricketers may have a lot to answer for.

Meanwhile, Bermuda remains a cricket laughingstock in the Windies. Once again I have to keep a low profile if I visit Barbados this year. Great.


Why the ferry pilot could be reinstated

Wow. The Bermuda Sun figured it out. I thought that one reason why the BIU may have been able to justify their stance that the ferry pilot should not be fired was that perhaps it was something that wasn't a fireable offense according to the terms of his contract.

So bingo. While if I was messing around at work, posting ugly and incorrect web pages to our company's website (bad example of course, we have plenty of users who do that anyway) and it was discovered that I had a stash of empty bottles of booze around me, I'd be fired because part of my Terms of my Agreement policy says that I'd be on the curb if working while drunk.

However there's no such thing at Marine and Ports. Oh, but it's "in the developmental stages". Blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah.


This driver needs to be stopped

First major dumbass cunt of 2008, the man overrtakes me on the CORNER by Francis Patton School, and cuts in literally 5 inches in front and to my right. I had to brake hard and swerve away from this jackass.

So, to the driver of that grey Suzuki Swift licence 38557, watch out. You're about to receive a nice fat 'dumbass who needs their licence removed before you kill someone' bumper sticker across your dashboard.