Bring on 2010

The only sure thing that's going to happen in 2010 is that it will prove to be a challenging one for Bermudians, and for that matter, many others all over the world.

The year's ended pretty much the same way as 2008 did - concerns about crime and gun activity dominate the mindsets of many, our road deaths and serious injuries haven't diminished, most people are distrustful of politics and politicians and the worries about the future of International Business and tourism on the island - which affect the livelihood of all residents - are still present and are even greater than before.

Over the course of the past week, two of my friends have had parents pass away. The issues going on in the world and even locally can pale in comparison to these most personal of moments, as it should be when it comes to friends and family. I hope Bermuda, and the world at large in their own individual communities, doesn't lose its sense of empathy and understanding.

Times are tough and we need to be able to support each other.


I was surprised to find out that a poll indicated a large majority of residents were in favour of mandatory recycling.

Considering how callous many residents are with their trash, recyclable or not, in how they dispose of it when in town, on the road or at the beach or sporting events, and that you're always going to see discarded bottles at bus stops or just in the bushes, it's surprising news.

The question is now, are the steps in place to encourage and actually get residents to dispose of recyclables (as well as regular litter) correctly? There have been steps taken towards this in 2009, I see more bins designated for recyclables next to trash bins in town and other places, and I suppose KBB have other ideas and initiatives that they'd like to implement.

People can be disgusting

See this photo? I could not get too close because of the smell, but the photo is of a couple of plastic bags that contain what appears to be horse crap. The volume is too large to be from any creature besides livestock.

Someone scooped up or shoveled up a big pile of crap into some old plastic bags, and then tossed them into the bus shelter on and in front of the bench.

I'm not an expert on the best way to dispose of animal waste - there was bush behind the shelter and a trash bin just to the right of the photo - but there's something inhuman and disgusting about dumping this crap right here.

Somebody thought it was the right thing to do. This is what we have to deal with. How sickening is this?


Peeling the bus stop poles

This picture depicts the reflective coating that was glued over a bus stop pole. As you can see, it's peeled off and is only attached by a couple of screws in the pole itself.

According to the W&E Minister lawless people are responsible for stealing the reflective material.

Yet this one hasn't been stolen. And it's in a central location.

Perhaps if Government didn't waste money on such a substandard application we wouldn't have peeled-away plastic hanging off our poles?

Yep, the Minister's statement appears to be a classic case of blaming somebody else (but me) and passing the proverbial buck.


More on Rise Above

As follow-up to the post about the community group formed to address some of the critical issues in Bermuda, they've launched a website. Check it out.

Be safe on the roads

With the gun crime situation being deservedly the most critical endeavor that the Police are going to focus on during the next couple of weeks, my wife remarked that there hasn't been as much talk about the increased potential for road collisions during this time of year, particularly as pertains to drinking and driving.

Hopefully, people will be more responsible - if you're staggering out of the bar, find a taxi or find a friend.


Bowling and volleyball

Update on my "Days Since" chart to the right...

Over 140 days since I played volleyball. Sigh.

And over 495 days since I went bowling. Pathetic, huh.

I only got some time to play Final Fantasy XII because I was home sick all last week. Got my behind out of the Great Crystal and am preparing to hunt the Behemoth King... check back with me come February, I suppose...

Anyway, talk about depressing, folks. Hopefully if I'm inspired enough I'll try to at least get back into volleyball in time for the King of the Beach circuit. Meanwhile, anybody wanna go bowling before the New Year? Anyone? Bueller?

The Road Safety Council's website

In follow up to the commentary of praise in an earlier post on this group, I have to ask the anonymous poster how they would rate the efforts to promote the discussion on their Facebook and blog site.

Personally, I think the TV ad spots aren't too bad - the "drinking is our culture" one and their advisory on the "new youth licence" are informative and useful. However, it appears that the public pretty much zooms past them like a V50 through rush hour traffic.

Nobody so far has "gotten real" nor "joined the discussion", unfortunately. I'd suggest the following, one or some of which may have been already contemplated by the group:

[1] get the radio DJs and TV talk show heads to discuss things, stimulating some two-way conversation.
[2] forget the 30-second clips currently on the air, get the required 3 minute commercial time and air (damn the censors) the well-known clip of the British girls text-messaging in their car and then crashing. Get graphic, get the people talking.
[3] call a press conference or something similar, invite the Minister of Transport and in no uncertain terms call upon changes in the Police applying the rules of the road and in the legislation being adjusted or enhanced to take note of the seriousness of infractions.


Professional courtesies

When you've already been waiting 8 months for your wedding photos to be produced, and have already dealt with various email and phone messages advising us that things are 'going to be complete soon', what can you do short of lambasting with the curse words?

I mean, I'm a patient person, to a fault. Perhaps that gave our photographer the green light to beat around the bush on us, however, how unprofessional is it to not give us the honest answers and or results that we would like to have?

Our wedding day was in April. It is late December and we do not have our wedding photo album. It's ridiculous. If this is more of the 'Buy Bermuda' mantra, then we'll be contracting such a service to an overseas person in the future (screw the work permit argument).

The kids want peace

Apologies for the long gap - it's not been a great December, and I also think that applies to Bermuda as a whole, as most of the news has had to deal with gun crime and murder. I think many overseas readers would be stunned to believe that there is gun violence in this little country, but the truth is here.

I was encouraged by this montage from local primary schools a few Saturdays ago where the children drew pictures depicting their thoughts on violence or peace. They were very creative in their drawings and some of them really showed the reality of the situations at hand, such as broken families. The kids seem to get it, and that should be encouraging.

Question is, once these kids get a bit older, how do we maintain the focus and desire to live a clean and healthy lifestyle, and allow them to reject a lifestyle where they're committing serious crimes against each other?

There's a group called "We Will Rise Above, Bermuda" that formed recently, with a series of action plans to try to tackle the problem at the grassroots/community level. I think it shows real initiative. People are tired of relying on the Government to come up with answers, and may also be frustrated with the Police for not being able to apprehend everybody at fault (then again, there's an issue with people not being willing to report incidents... another story).

I think it has the potential to bring hope to the community and a way to cutting off some of the problems at their roots. That said, we still need to take care of the bad issues that are already malignant in our society.


Fix the traffic lights at Albouy's Point

Bad enough that drivers constantly run through red light there, now the pedestrian lights aren't functioning - the one at the exit of Point Pleasant is permanently red, while the one on Front Street does not change even if someone's pressed the button.

It's problematic as pedestrians are assuming that the pedestrian light is about to change in the regular rotation once the light at Parlaville has turned red, only to be surprised when Front Street traffic has been given the go-ahead.

Does Corporation of Hamilton have an email addy?


Cutting back on public transport

In the wake of Government's announcement of the cancellation of the St. George's to Hamilton daily ferry service, as well as this recent article about the reduction of the #6 bus route for St. George's to St. David's, I have to wonder what exactly Government sees its public transportation role as.

Considering that Government promised to make public transportation free for all in their election manifesto, and indeed followed up with enabling schoolchildren to ride buses for free, it should be clear that they're treating the bus and ferry services as services to the community at large - taxpayer dollars rightfully going to what can be considered an essential service to the population.

However the claim that they're cutting routes because they don't get enough passengers or that there are financial constraints at play doesn't make sense.

Make up your mind. Don't short-change your customers, particularly those in St. David's. The Government should be pushing hard to encourage people to leave their cars at home, thus reducing congestion, noise pollution, exhaust fumes, while making the streets safer at the same time. However you have to provide the means, and that includes having consistently running buses and ferries, adequate parking at the ferry stops, sheltered bus stops (and include sidewalks/pedestrian crossings in the vicinity), to encourage the populace to do so.

Public transport isn't likely to be a profitable industry here, so don't try to make it as such. The value of a good public transportation can be measured in other ways than dollars earned or spent.


Road improvements for safety

I chuckled when I heard Minister Burgess speak on the TV news last night about people 'stealing' the pink and blue coatings from the bus stop poles.

"A bus shelter maintenance programme is underway, but the Minister also had to report on a disturbing trend of thieves stealing bright pink and blue coverings from bus stop poles.

"We deplore the kind of anti-social conduct that leads to removal of the coverings and call upon the public to speak with one voice against it," he said."

He conveniently omitted the fact that the coatings were put up in such a shoddy fashion that as soon as summer approached, the coatings were peeling off in the first place, making it very easy for somebody to pick away at the remnants. Maybe if they had gotten it done right in the first place,... ah who am I kidding.

It's the same with all the road works. We get shoddy 'improvements' done where they just patch up the road, a rain shower comes, some big trucks roll over the ground and it's torn up all over again. Just do it right the first time, and it'll save money over the long term.

Then there's this piece about pedestrian crossings:

"Mr. Burgess said other planned road safety improvements included installing flashing amber beacons at pedestrian crossings"

How about getting the regular street lamps in working operation instead of them flickering off and major roads being encased in darkness?

I suppose the installing of flashing lights at pedestrian crossings isn't a bad idea, but it's no guarantee to be a success what with our drivers' tendency to roll as soon as the person is out of their line of vision. What if the person had dropped their purse and turned around to pick it up? But that's a beef I have with drivers, not the powers that be. I've noticed that some signs indicating a pedestrian crossing is nearby, aren't around anymore - such as Reid Street where it intersects with Queen. I'm still of the opinion that a better way to ensure pedestrian safety is to raise the crossings, forcing drivers to slow down - and if anyone wants to make it into a ramp, good luck.

Of course, in an effort to be less doom-and-gloom, the promises to resurface East Broadway near the Crow Lane junctions are a good thing and enabling wheelchair access to some of our beaches is a good start to making the island more accessible to all of our residents and visitors. A lot needs to be done, particularly in the City, and it should be a priority of our Government to implement.


Too many guns, and too much lawlessness

One of the worst parts of these incidents of course, is that everybody is expecting the Police to solve everything. While there are legitimate issues one may take with their actions and policies, the fact is that we have people's sons, brothers, cousins and boyfriends (and occasionally daughters and sisters, too) committing terrible acts and we're unwilling to talk with them directly.

How not to run a local television station

The fact that nobody at Bermuda Broadcasting was monitoring their signal from (possibly even before) noon to 5pm on Sunday, giving us some static image for the entire duration (and thus, not broadcasting CBS's NFL coverage), and or not bother to check in and flick their damn switch (or whatever it is they use to get the network feed), proves without a doubt that the powers that be at Bermuda Broadcasting simply can't be bothered.

They just killed every ounce of goodwill they gained with their new "Let's Talk" show. Just give up the ghost already, either shut down or let someone with the will and aptitude to run the company take over. Stick to radio. Yeah, it sucks for those who are unable or unwilling to get a subscription TV package, but enough is enough.


I hate Bermuda's drivers, 2009 version

So this morning we had a monsoon strike the island. Seriously, it poured, constant and relentless. And we were forced to ride the bike in because of an appointment outside of town.

What is a major irritant, is the fact that most Bermudian drivers when it rains, don't bother to slow down when pedestrians or motorbike riders are approaching. I mean, it's bad enough that they're vulnerable to getting soaked as it is, but then they take a huge splash from a driver going along the road.

I got heavily splashed no less than 8 times between Paget traffic lights and Berry Hill Road by cars that refused to at least slow their ass down, even when I honked my horn and flashed my lights. We have a lot of insensitive drivers, and I suppose we've had them for a while. I just wish that I could dump a couple of gallons of dirty water on them so that they could know first-hand what it feels like.

Briefly on the Alliance

As our good friends at Catch A Fire pointed out, I hadn't said anything about the new party launch for the Bermuda Democratic Alliance so far.

I think I share most of the sentiments expressed in the posts at Bermuda Longtail and Bermuda Fables. The fact that this party (I can now say 'party' instead of 'movement', I suppose, thank goodness) is new, professes to be different, makes it an attractive option to many who are fed up with the current political landscape, so by default possesses a sizable support base. Can they build on that and attract people who traditionally lean PLP?

Their method of attracting interest is a novel one to Bermuda and there's a discussion on Bermuda Jewel that appears to dig through the merits of their 'open forum' method of developing policies and agenda items.

One thing, and the Triangle's Tip blog touches on this, is what exactly is the alliance made of? When I think 'alliance' I tend to think of groups coming from different places joining up in a common cause. What we're seeing is a group of people who have left the UBP, joined up with... each other. The public faces are all former UBP members. They claim to have former PLP members in their fold that are 'waiting in the wings', but that just doesn't make sense to me to have them not out front, to prove that they are truly not an offshoot of one particular party.

And as far as the posts concerning the acquisition of the bda.bm domain not going to the new party, perhaps if the party had gotten themselves organised months ago, maybe they would have had a decent leg up on getting the domain name in the first place. But at least everyone agrees that the process of getting a domain name with .bm is very antiquated and outdated.


Fun with ferries

It's bad enough that the Dept. of Marine and Ports announced that the St. George's to Hamilton ferry service was being cut (and thus now provoking a petition from St. George's residents) but we had a very unfortunate situation yesterday where hundreds of passengers were forced to queue up for ferries headed to Dockyard as a cruise ship was berthed there but without sufficient numbers of transportation vehicles to get these visitors out and about (and potentially, of course, contributing to our economy).

Seems like a recipe for frustration and disappointment among visitors and resident commuters alike.

Perhaps the Minister of Transport is working on ways of remedying the situation as I speak, though.


Call the Stats guy to explain the education results

It's good to have the Bda Longtail Blog back, and the author has just summarized the confusing stats from our secondary school students in the two posts here and here.

Our public secondary school students are achieving miserable GCSE pass rates under 50%, yet the percentage of graduating students is 97% and 99%?

You know what I would infer from this?

That the latter two figures are based on the amount of students enrolled in the school right up until the end, *not* the amount of students who started the year.

So it must be completely misleading to believe the 97% and 99% figures, unless the standards for graduation are so low that all you need to do is show up to take a GCSE exam.

And even if you allow for 'graduating' students to get the extra boosts by taking the 'free' Bermuda College courses, they're still completely disadvantaged when compared to their peers from other countries.


Obama-like movements and moments

I'm sure we're not alone in the world in this, but many Bermudians, from all sides of the political spectrum are fond of using the last name of the current U.S. President as some kind of synonym for unity and cohesiveness.

It's played out to the point of exhaustion and madness.

So stop it, people. Can we ban the phrase "Obama-movement" with regards to politics, especially now that we've since learned that all isn't so peachy with the U.S. after their great watershed moment of their election result happened and trying to run the country has turned out to make half the country angry and fed up?

Enough is enough, and that goes for all our local politicians. Shoot, I liked them better when they were on that whole stupid "testicular fortitude" bollocks. No pun intended, of course.

Everything's happening, or nothing's happening

Let's see:

The Report into Young Black Males.
The Bermuda First Report.
The reveal (of sorts) of the new political party.
Corporation of Hamilton has a meeting open to the public.
A UBP leadership battle tonight.
Parliament re-convenes tomorrow with the Throne Speech.
And the PLP has its Banquet on the weekend.

Not to mention recent announcements concerning PATI and the Foote Report on Overseas Territories.

It would be a lot to digest over the course of a week (heck, the first report is 220+ pages).

But for the talk and reports and pledges, crime hasn't abated and we had another damn shooting last weekend. It seems like business as usual for the Island's frustrations concerning education and the economy.

I dunno, looks like everyone's trying to take headlines and the like at an inopportune time. It's not all being done deliberately, I know, but it's not easy to shake off the feeling of 'here we go again'.


Red lights in Bermuda are just a suggestion (VI)

The usual spot on Front Street near Par-la-ville. This time it was a clean double-dose of red light running fun. Lights just turning red all around (which leads to pedestrians being given the all-clear). White van zooms through the red at the Par-la-ville exit, heads west and clears the red light onto Pitts Bay Road. Got the licence number: L2396.

We've collectively allowed our driving culture to descend into one of "Rules and laws are only suggestions" and as long as the powers that be continue to absolve themselves of any responsibility in trying to reverse the trend, it's just going to get worse.


Wash your dang hands

With the serious advisories about H1N1 flu virus and other infectious diseases floating about, why is it that some fellas *still* do not even bother to wash their hands after visiting the airport restrooms?!

It's just disgusting.


Part 2 of my beef with Cablevision Bermuda

I was ranting so much about Cablevision not accepting cards as a form of payment that I didn't even mention the other issues I was a little concerned about with their billing and payment process.

Firstly, the customer rep mentioned that they do not have a copy of my bill or provide me with some kind of invoice, because apparently all the billing statements are done overseas.


We are outsourcing the printing of bills.

I guess that means that Cablevision Bermuda doesn't qualify as "Buy Bermuda" now.

The best I can do is get a computer printout of the charges racked up. The printout is like the old-school printouts you would make from a VT-100 terminal (if you haven't heard of VAX or related mini or mainframe computers, skip this paragraph). It's a bunch of numbers printed off with no logical path to come up with my actual balance broken down in easily-understandable fashion.

The other thing is that they say I can pay 'online'. I'm like, yeah I pay all my bills online in the first place, it's the billing that I'd probably like to see online so I don't have to wonder if the Post Office has my bills piled up in some back room because they can't identify my cluster box number or some crap.

They hand me a flyer containing a bunch of freaking ATM locations and drop box locations for cheques. What the hell? I already have Internet Banking, so this 'information' doesn't help me pay my bills more quickly. It would still be way quicker to ride to a damn ATM, withdraw cash and drag it back to the office, because if I pay a bill via either the ATM or using my Internet Banking services, I'd still have to wait for it to be received and dealt with by Cablevision, particularly after hours.

Cablevision, wake me up when you get online billing in place. That's all.


All the technology, except when it comes to helping the customer

Cable's out when I get home, so I call their customer service number. Person on the other end tells me that I'm overdue a bill payment. Now I haven't received a bill for some time, so I figure it's another one of those gaffes caused by the Postal Service being a pain in the behind lately and my bill for whatever reason is probably lodged somewhere in town (or who knows, someone else's mailbox).

I ask for my balance and get it (by the way, we in Bermuda are paying insane prices for cable TV - any American or Canadian friends reading this would shudder to hear the monthly rates), then am told that I cannot pay it by card over the phone. I'm a bit bewildered, as they say that I can make the payment in person at their office if I get there before 7pm.

Okay. So I head up there. It's about a 10-15 minute ride, I suppose. Get to the front desk, and pull out my card only to be admonished that they only take CASH or CHEQUE. No freaking cards. I had thought they just didn't accept them over the phone because of fraud issues or the like, but I was mistaken. No cards, period.

This is the year 2009 and this isn't some small sole-proprietorship business selling hand-held fans. It's one of the two sole outlets for subscription television packages on the island, by far the largest, with an enormous customer base. They charge us up the wazoo for their services, and probably make serious profits on a yearly basis. And they will not accept a debit or credit card as a legitimate form of payment?!

Is it really hurting their bottom line to get some point-of-sale terminals on-site, at least?

If I didn't live in a condo and was forced to stick with Cablevision (there's a ban on external antenna for some dumbass reason) I'd be strongly tempted to switch providers STAT.

I'm quite flabbergasted!

More mobile phone spamming

I've posted on my cell phone being spammed with promotional offers in the past; now it's my office-supplied Blackberry that's receiving pretty messages from M3 Wireless telling me to come on in to ME and get a new Blackberry Curve 8520 for just 99 dollars! Hooray! Nice of them to include the disclaimer 'Conditions apply', of course.

Damn, I hate our mobile phone swindlers/providers.


Red lights in Bermuda are just a suggestion (V)

This morning, near Supermart on Front Street. Lights go red for the pedestrian crossing to switch. Guy, riding 135AL, looks over, peers around a big truck parked near the crossing, then vooms ahead.

I don't care *what* Government and the Road Safety Council or the Police say, this kind of incident isn't going to be reduced by mandatory Project Ride or teenage curfews.

They may as well save on the electricity and turn off all the traffic lights, the way people are ignoring them ad nauseum.


Red lights in Bermuda are just a suggestion (IV)

You know the spot.
Junction of Par-la-ville and Front Street. Person on bike AW374 makes his way to the front of the queue on Par-la-ville, as soon as traffic stops flowing from along Front Street, he's on his way, even though traffic was just about to come out from Point Pleasant Road.

Meh, meh and meh, are probably what goes through the minds of the powers that be.

Oh and don't mind the fact that Dundonald Street continues to be a haven for cleanup crews after so-called 'accidents'.


Involved in bribes, don't worry

I'm glad Vexed Bermoothes is back. This recent article illustrates what i think is a failing in the court system.

Seriously, this person was bribed to approve driving exams for a bunch of people, and to say nothing of making our streets potentially less safe, is given a conditional discharge.

Not even a fine for this illegal and unethical action.

Nice to see that breaking the law gets rewarded so easily.


Broken record: overtaking on the inside

Maybe because the rider of BM887 had a big jacket with "Security" labelled on the back, he's allowed to weave around traffic, overtaking cars and bikes on both the outside and inside along Front Street, but otherwise just your normal morning commute that does little to lower the blood pressure and stress levels of drivers.


Road Safety Council

Either I'm out of the loop, but the Road Safety Council (who I've maligned in the past for various inactions on key issues) have had a website up for some time now.

There's a blog component as well, but it's only sporadically active, it seems, which is unfortunate. There's also a Facebook equivalent which has 260 subscribers, however again it would seem to be in a dormant state.

I wonder if they promote their online channels via the traditional newspaper and other mass media routes?

It would be very good for the Road Safety Council to become a more prominent voice both in print and online to highlight some of the issues with our driving culture and pressure Government to discuss in serious depth ways to cure these problems.


Advertising overkill

There was a LttE in the Gazette today that asked the question of why East Broadway is now a regular series of live billboards.

It's been going on for a pretty long time now, and it seems that it's at least a weekly activity to hawk some product or service. The worst offenders (or most persistent users of this method of advertising) are the mobile phone companies: Digihell, M3 and CellularOne. Although during the summer we had a close-to-scandalous one by a motorcycle company that featured a heap of bikes parked along the meridian with a bevy of girls wearing short shorts posing in the oh-so-obvious sex-sells way.

The whole thing is pretty tasteless, but this country has one of the highest ratios of mobile phones per capita on the planet. The shameless advertising is going to continue unchecked until someone causes a ten car pileup by ogling one of the beauties and smashing into something.


Sympathy lost over cell phone abuse

So the morning after the near miss that I blogged yesterday, I see the same truck on Harbour Road. Same driver, this time he's got the cell phone lodged to his ear.


ABC News had a story on last night's World News programme that dealt with texting on the cell phone while driving and the risks that it poses.

At least it's being discussed seriously at the government level. Here, it's allegedly being discussed behind the scenes (yeah right) but has failed to get much traction at the House of Assembly level.

Fact is that this is being ingrained into our driving culture and the powers that be are just as guilty of poor driving habits as the community at large, hence nothing is being done. We shouldn't need a new law prohibiting texting while driving or having cell phones wedged into our helmets while riding, but we're so damn pathetic and lack common sense that we absolutely need such a law to be implemented (and enforced) for us, to save ourselves from our stupidity and carelessness.

You know what else I saw this morning? A fella, riding BG 875, riding one-handed with cell phone lodged to his ear, overtaking traffic.

Carry on, Bermuda.


Letting traffic out versus cell phone abuse

This morning, we're in the usual crawl of traffic along Harbour Road, and we approach the junction with Chapel Road.

A silver Opel stops and waves his hand out, to allow a white car to enter Harbour Road. However, the driver of the white car doesn't even look in the other direction before barreling into the road.

A dump truck is in the other lane, of course, and has to stomp on the brakes pretty hard to avoid a collision. It took really quick reflexes to pull that off, considering that the road looked a little wet and there wasn't much time for him to react.

Since traffic headed into the city was still pretty much at a standstill, the driver of the truck, and I sure can't blame him for being upset, stopped to chastise the driver for that reckless move. It didn't seem like the driver paid the truck driver any mind at all.

A bit later, I was able to move past this car to see who it was that decided to play Bermuda's favourite traffic game.

A woman, cell phone lodged to her ear.

You, driver of 04778, are a menace to road users and need to put the phone down and focus on the road, or stick to catching the bus and ferry. Damn.


Red lights in Bermuda are just a suggestion (III)

It's almost identical to the incidents I mentioned earlier this month. This time, the rider of BA942 was at the front of the queue, and while the light was still red, he looked to his right, and then drove off.

We don't have a "Turn on Red" signal anywhere on Bermuda's roads, but due to ineffective or invisible monitoring of locations like the traffic lights on Front Street near the Bank of Bermuda HQ, people are knowingly and willingly running red lights without any care for the LAW or people's own safety.

Phil posted a comment that implementing a system of cameras and automatically fining the owner of the vehicle is a way to go. I have no hope that our Government would consider such a thing because of a variety of reasons - which all are related to them always being in election mode. And unfortunately now that Michael Fahy's no longer a senator, further discussion of poor driving at the House or Senate level is likely to be close to zilch.

Let the anarchy continue.


Multitasking while driving

Common sense should be applied when driving, not mascara. Yet, because people feel that they can do whatever they want in their own car (or on their bike), these things, which are clearly risky activities to do while in traffic, are observed during morning rush hour along East Broadway, Reid Street and other locations where stop-and-go is the order of business.

Today's thoughtless driver was driving a grey Suzuki, 41259. She's applying her mascara and therefore keeping her eyes on herself and not the road. So if something suddenly came across her path, would she be able to react in time? Who knows.

Of course, the Police have chosen not to monitor traffic along East Broadway in the morning, instead counting on the public to police themselves or each other or something. Way to discourage bad driving habits, guys.


Police vehicles again

It's not been a good month for the police car drivers. Several reports in the news highlight collisions of recent times...

And today, while going up Scaur Hill, we see a collision where it looks like the police car rear-ended a car which may have been slowing down to turn.

Rained earlier this morning so slick roads could've been an issue. But either way, no excuses.

Can the Police issue their canned press releases to themselves regarding driving with care and caution?

The BIAW folks are gonna have a field day when they hear this news.


Getting mail?

So the new postal regulations are in place, apparently. Really? Got my mail yesterday afternoon - in the usual location of my doorstep. So what's up with the big condo mail cluster box that everyone had to install on the property?

Seems like there are going to be a lot of growing pains with the new policy allegedly designed to improve service for everyone. Heck, who knows.


Collision stat down, but habits likely haven't

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the stats on road collisions that are in the police press release posted earlier for crimes, and after a couple of threads on the BIAW forums, now recognize that despite the initially apparent good news about the decrease in reported collisions, there's still a lot of vague elements to the statistics.

First and foremost, traffic collisions are all lumped together, and it's only road fatalities, which we of course can gather easily through the mass media, that we have other data to analyse. The fatality rate, of course, has not dropped at all over the past few years.

We don't know the trend with regards to serious road injuries, or the amount of collisions attributed to speeding, drunk driving or bad judgement (such as overtaking, cell phone use, etc.)

The raw numbers can be used to justify the current policy of using primarily speed traps and monthly blitzes for seatbelts and tint in monitoring road use and booking those who speed on straight roads, so maybe it's fair not to just take the numbers at face value but continue to question why or will there be further efforts taken such as using mobile or stationery cameras, inplementing more speed bumps, changing some of the pedestrian crossing locations or monitoring red light runners.

Schools coming back in - the traffic begins

Only some schools have begun their new terms, but the effects can already be seen in terms of traffic coming from the West End. Man, I wished I still lived East. Ah well.

The Bermuda police released some statistics on crime last week and it's worth a read. The Police should be commended for making data available on the web and for updating their methods of producing the statistics. Crimes are categorised as one of six possible classifications, two of which focus on traffic issues, one on drug offences, and one each for crimes against the person, property and the community.

Side note: Bermuda Police, do not use Comic Sans for a professional document ever again. This is not a cartoon.

The concluding bullet points in the press release highlight an encouragement to businesses to install CCTV to aid in the recording of possible crimes and gathering of evidence. By the way, Corporation of Hamilton should be included as one of those businesses, particularly relating to the public car parks.

Also, touting Crimestoppers is continued and in a small community, people should be made aware of the hotline on a regular basis. Fact is that people are reluctant to report information that could help to catch criminals, whether it be through apathy, a desire to avoid possible retribution, lack of trust in the police or justice system or a combination of the above. But the community at large needs to bear some responsibility for helping restore some safety for the island's residents.


Could the One-Way in Bermuda be just a suggestion, too?

This was funny, although of course it could have led to some really bad things.

I'm parked at Bank of Bermuda this morning on the obviously one-way lane that circles the building, known as Point Pleasant Road (well the road name isn't really well known, to be honest, but I digress).

I then see this car coming along the road from Albouys Point. The wrong direction! Which means that despite the obvious visuals of cars on either side of the lane facing him, he still either was oblivious or simply determined to cut through.

He's met by a nice big truck that's just turned into the road.

The fella, clearly startled by this sudden development, considers asking him to back up, then looks behind him and I think he's shaken up. I feel bad for him. He has a young passenger in front so maybe that's the cause of it. He eventually backs up and perhaps realizes the correct way he should have taken to exit the area at this time.

I'm being very cruel here because I think this guy didn't deliberately break the law like so many other fools on the roads, but I'm still gonna BookTM him and his grey Atos 35712 for general lack of awareness and alertness on the roads.


One track mind philosophy

Recently, a young man was in court accused of offensive profanity towards a cop, resisting arrest and other charges.

To me, reading the article highlighted some disturbing trends among segments of Bermuda's youth. They include:
  • People getting drunk and preparing to ride a bike
  • young people showing no respect for authority (the police)
  • young people using profanity and racial epithets
  • young people feeling entitlement because of family being in a place of privilege, instead of their own merits, at least

And these aspects should be up for serious discussion. However, the PLP blog has decided to continue with their tunnel vision approach. That means, yup, racism. With a nice side order of calling the UBP out.

And as someone pointed out in one of the discussion forums, when senior PLP politicians are using the N-word on the radio or other forums.

Politics should really be the last aspect of this galling situation to be discussed, but it's probably asking to much to expect more mature responses.


Getting back to business

While I haven't been bowling in over a year and I haven't touched Final Fantasy XII in three whole months, this evening I managed to knock down at least one of my "Days Since I've" items back to zero in that I've restored the BeachLime.com home page content. Yaay.

Much work is still needed. My page needs some enhancements as well as some code adjustments. My Contact us form I don't think works as it should anymore, my links bar is in need of visual and other adjustments and of course the subsites need now to correspond more faithfully with the blog component (or, if I migrate to Wordpress, theirs).

But it's satisfying to have my familiar pastel coloured website up instead of black-on-white Notepad-looking pages. We're getting there, friends.

Red lights in Bermuda are just a suggestion (II)

I can't believe (or rather, I shouldn't be surprised) that this happened yet again and that I could very well have nearly been a statistic this morning.

Same junction, this time though I'm at the exit of Point Pleasant Road (the road that goes around the Bank of Bermuda big-ass building). I watch traffic while I wait. I see the pedestrian light for my road has just gone red which means that soon it's time to go green. I think to myself, how many drivers are going to try to beat the light.

Two cars and a bike do so just before my light turns green. So I head out, looking to my right to make sure nothing else is plowing me down.

Yep, some bitch in a blue SUV has run (badly!) the red light and is maybe 4 yards away from me. I'm in disbelief, laughing to myself at the fact that people treat red lights as a suggestion rather than the freaking law.

I tried to look behind to get the licence number but no such luck. Why can't we have officers monitoring this area? Idiot drivers surely aren't going to listen to a private citizen, that's for sure.


Red lights in Bermuda are just a suggestion

Another common activity on the streets is the optional red light. Today, I'm at a red light. Actually I'm 3 cars back of the light. The pedestrian light is flashing. Bike, licence BN412 (yeah, I know, pointless) goes around everyone, looks quickly in both directions, then rolls along onto Front Street like nothing.

And like I said, this is not an anomaly among especially bike riders. And either it's tolerated or ignored by the powers that be, oblivious to the safety hazards that this entails.

Ho hum. Apathy breeds anarchy and the cycle (no pun intended) continues ad nauseum. How many 'accidents' this week?


By-election thoughts

To be honest, I don't have many. This particular constituency isn't one that would be considered representative of Bermuda's population as a whole, and unless one of the following happens:
  • The UBP candidate surprisingly wins
  • The UBP candidate gets slaughtered and gets say 20 votes, tops

then there's nothing to be learned about how Bermuda's voting base may lean.

Now, while both candidates are well spoken for, I've realized that it doesn't matter to most Bermudians and it's the party machine that really does count, unfortunately.

Business as usual. The Gazette has a piece about it online, with some speculation and analysis.


More cricket woes

After getting comprehensively beaten yet again in a home international, I think it's now officially safe to say that Bermuda cricket has fallen to new lows.

No, I don't want to hear that we lost our senior members to retirement and had to deal with people pulling out at the last minute because wearing national colours pales in comparison to county games, et al. Uganda had a number of issues to deal with in terms of just getting a side over here to play and our team simply wasn't good enough, especially in the four day game.

I used to beat up on the Cricket Europe ratings but I'll defer to them from now on. Sigh. Bermuda cricket, I'll still support and encourage, but there's little optimism or expectations from this uninspiring unit for the forseeable future.


Who's the translator?

So I'm reading up more about Ryan Brathwaite's great win and IAAF has a profile page titled 'Flash Interviews' where he apparently gives an interview after his victory.

But the text is extremely bizarre, especially the last three. Did they translate from English to German and back again or something? For example:

"It was not good. I hit the last hurdle and it slowed me down. I cannot afford to do this - especially not at the World championships. Ryan is a young kid and he became a world champion. It is something above his ability."

"I am just a boy from a small village who got into the big athletic world. I am happy that I showed to all Czech athletes that it is possible to get so hight. This is my dream and I believe that if I did not have the health problems during this season, I could have ffight for medals. But I am very satisfied with this and I want to send a message to the world that I do not give up and they have to count with me."
What the hell does that mean? I'm sure he didn't say it exactly like that. Ah well. Still celebrating the historic victory for Barbados athletics.


Proud to be a Bajan

Ryan Brathwaite has won the first gold medal for a Barbadian athlete at the World Championships today, in the 100m hurdles final.

With only a 0.01 second gap between him and the two guys taking silver and bronze (both Americans, I believe) and a photo finish needed to show who crossed the line first, it must have been agonizing and breathtaking for the athlete.

But I'm excited and congratulations to all the folks back in Bimshire.


Clayhouse Inn revisited?

It's waay past time but it's good to hear that there are plans to do something with this eyesore of a property.

According to the Gazette article people are already objecting to it, but when you have to choose between a derelict building that could very well be home to people of poor repute and an attraction for rodents and other vermin and a prospective new development that makes your neighbourhood look better, come on.

To channel Ronald Reagan, "tear down these walls".


Dreaming about blogrolls?

Strange dream I had last night. I was reading the PLP blog and they had written something or other about BeachLime being ill-advised or something or another and my link was no longer on their blogroll.

Maybe my sub-conscience was reacting to me slighting the ruling party over the past few months, or I'm probably on blogging/posting overload... which you'd expect when you start dreaming about blogs.

For the record I don't know exactly why my blog has been in the PLP blogroll - I'm certainly not a member and don't think my blog is generally supportive of them. I think it's still on the level of 21 Square which is a far more worthy politically-themed blog in terms of affiliation with a political party. I guess because it's more harmless it's considered acceptable to them, for the time being. And that every now and then I say something along the lines of 'UBP sucks'.


Another blunder for our bus system

Basically, this is another example of making changes to our public bus system just because the idea sounds cute rather than considering what the public actually needs as well as how it's going to work in practice.

Whether it be accessibility issues, convenience of routes or access to purchasing tokens, our bus system needs much more than the pop and sizzle of swanky new rides and free access to schoolchildren if it's to become more utilized on the island.


Cockroaches, Hell's sentinels

Personally I've always despised the standard flies more than any other creepy crawling thing if only for their tenacity at buzzing around, defecating every time they land and being a general irritant to me, but today was one of those days when my ire at the insect kingdom was switched to the great insect survivor.

And in Bermuda, many of the roaches have wings developed enough to glide and fly around.

Which can be startling even for a seasoned battler of Bermuda bugs. This morning I was alerted to a roach on the bathroom door. Gathering up the not-as-trusty-as-the-1980s version of Baygon and a handy sneaker for the coup de grace I entered the bathroom and spotted said roach lounging around.

Not in a good position to nail it with my shoe, I fired a slight stream of Baygon to try to get it to move to the wall or drop to the floor.

Nope, it goes into aerial mode.

I quickly step backwards, forgetting momentarily that this is a small bathroom. The back of my legs hit the tub and I tumble backwards. Reaching outwards instinctively, I only succeed in grabbing the shower curtain, which promptly collapses, taking the tension rod with it. I land painfully in the tub, the shower curtain all about me and the rod on my chest.

The roach? It ran to a spot near the toilet where I think the spray got it squirming. At least that's what my wife said; I was too busy trying to shake off the pain and (more) embarrassment. She wished she had a camera to take a precious memory of the incident, I said I would have to kill her if she did.

Cockroaches are evil and hell-spawned and are now my sworn enemy for life. Die, vermin.


East Broadway near Corkscrew Hill

Apparently the junction is a well-known 'accident spot' to even the Police and Government, however there haven't been any great efforts to make it safer by the powers that be. Since the unfortunate death of another person on the roads this weekend, a number of people have discussed the pitfalls of that particular area, such as the unusual banking of the road going contrary to the curve of it.

What we continue to have in Bermuda is the Opposition, spearheaded by Senator Michael Fahy, recommending a number of Government-led initiatives to enhancing the current road structure, namely skid-resistant surfacing and cats-eye reflectors; while the Government has adopted a keep-quiet-and-hope-it-goes-away attitude, preferring to push the cries of "be careful" on the motoring public.

Apparently another 23 collisions on the road resulting in injury and a further 18 vehicle-damage-only incidents this past week, according to the Gazette. Yep, current policy is a rip-roaring success.


Cup Match - again, only in Bermuda

Only in Bermuda is the MVP of Cup Match not selected on the same day that the contest ends. On occasion, we don't know who the MVP is until weeks later. I think one year, they didn't even choose a MVP because the adjudicators couldn't agree on a person or something.

I'll put the over-under at Friday 2pm this time around but wouldn't be surprised if it took them until mid-August.

Just another 'quaint' tradition of our archaic-at-times summer 'classic'.


Craziness in cricket

I'm actually speaking about the West Indies cricket team, this time. The Windies just finished getting whitewashed by Bangladesh in both the Test and ODI series, the players association and the Board continue to seem to be at loggerheads and the latest news is that the WICB have selected a preliminary squad for the upcoming Champions Trophy in September that only features one of the players (Fidel Edwards) who was part of the senior men's squad earlier this season.

Clearly the WICB are sticking by their guns and refusing to give the upper-etchelon players like Sarwan, Gayle, Chanderpaul and Bravo a fair shake.

A recent report from Cricinfo contains some interesting commentary from the legendary former captain Clive Lloyd. He's pretty much told off both sets of antagonists for trying to milk the profits for themselves and being stubborn with their demands.

Basically, the biggest losers are fans of the West Indies and fans of cricket in general who wish to support the best players giving it their all and not have to wonder why politics is determining which players don their national colours.

I, as well as a few others, wonder now if this is the beginning of the end of the West Indies as a cricket nation.

Here's a great essay. Not many people in Bermuda know any of the heads of state of a Caribbean country, but they definitely knew about Brian Lara or Viv Richards and probably know Chris Gayle or Shiv Chanderpaul.

August 11. That's the date for elections with the WICB. It will be interesting, the next couple of weeks in the cricket world.


My profile pic is me in a wifebeater

I'm watching the FreshTV coverage of Cup Match today, and right now the match is interestingly poised with Somerset out cheaply in their first innings and St. George's in a spot of difficulty replying to the score. Game could go in any direction from here.

Of course we still have our so-proud tradition of players questioning umpire decisions and trying to intimidate opponents, making more mockery of the gentlemen's game...

What's quite strange is when FreshTV puts up their player profile charts and so far at least two players photos are of them in freaking wifebeater vests. No cricket uniform, or blazer, anything looking reasonably professional.

Who thought that this was a good idea for the players to be represented in this way? WTF?

Welcome to the iiiiiiiiisland (tm).


Road adventures continue

Sometimes when crazy crap happens on the road I don't even bother to get angry. The powers that be have convinced themselves that their current policy of trusting the driving public to change their bad habits and utilizing the "please slow down and be courteous and wear a seatbelt and don't make a third lane blaaah blaaah" message every weekend is such a success that they'll continue with it for the remainder of the year.

Keeps the auto repair shops in business, as well as the personal insurance companies, of course.

Anyway I'm riding along Middle Road towards town and this woman approaches the exit of Chapel Road. She pauses, looks in my direction!, and then bolts a half a length into Middle Road before realizing that I'm actually not stationary but actually moving.

I was attentive enough to see the whole thing unfold and was prepared to stop quickly if this woman had indeed failed to give way by driving all the way onto Middle Road, but what if I was a little bit closer to the junction? It was a bright day and I'm positive that my bike could be seen from that distance. Would I have been able to avoid this sudden chunk of metal that appeared in my lane?

I rode along, knowing in the back of my mind I just avoided one of those so-called "accidents" they keep talking about.

Next time, I'll probably be closer to an unavoidable situation. Because nothing's going to change, thanks to the great combination of TPTB doing nothing as far as policy and enforcement and drivers knowing the score and continuing to drive carelessly.


more BeachLime problems

Serve me right for procrastinating. My domain name seems to be hijacked although it still shows up as being owned through my current crappy host.

Pissed doesn't begin to describe how I'm feeling right now. I need this thing rectified asap. Damn.


What goes into blogging

I was glancing through the archives earlier just to see what month had turned out to be my busiest in terms of volume of posts. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to find out that December 2007 was by far my most prolific time, with 27 posts in that period. January 2008 trailed behind in second place. Of course the main headlines featured the fierce local elections, proving that politics remains a popular discussion topic desipte its capability to frustrate people.

My blog was never intended to dive too deeply into politics; after all there were good Bermudian political blogs out there at the time such as politics.bm. So I could focus on keeping my blog's original purpose - provide commentary about anything or nothing, honing my web design skills and using it as a means to communicate with others without necessarily bombarding people with random e-mails.

But politics has a weird way of staying on the scene. It's not like religion, where one person can declare that Mary for instance never physically died and someone else argue strongly in the opposite fashion, and no physical or mathematical facts can be called upon as evidence. Here, we can look at policies and initiatives and campaign strategies, and analyse how effective they are, and yet still bring in issues of ethics and morality to the debate.

I like to think about how each of the individual blogs formed, evolved and operate today. 21 Square may be the closest to mine in terms of aim and intention although the author is more dedicated to research and providing stats to back up his thoughts. Devil Island may also be a bit of a kissing cousin as it's not geared to be a political blog.

Then you have Vexed, Longtail, Freshie and Catch-a-Fire which I'm pretty sure were intended to focus directly on political issues. I'll also include the on-hiatus New Onion and Imho.bm (which itself forms part of what I term the 4 Horsemen) for this purpose. Built with the initial purpose of presenting opinions and views primarily geared to political issues.

I think I want to include Bermuda Fables into this grouping as well, although it's probably more suited to the former group because there are some discussion items that don't fall into the political realm as much. Where Fables (and Longtail for that matter) differ from the rest of us is that the writing perspective is from a female, a demographic not represented with any significant volume in the online discussion arena. Simply put, local women don't post in the blogs and forums. You may be able to argue that men are more likely to be on a computer because of technical inclinations, but (a) creating a blog is as easy as setting up a hotmail account and (b) lots of local women go online - see Facebook and Myspace.

Prog Minds, which is also distinct in that it was a creation of a political party rather than an individual, is also strictly political. But it can't be considered to be in the same realm. That site had a defined strategy and served the additional purpose of being a promotional tool for the PLP.

Which brings us to the Jewel. The newest issues-oriented blog is aimed squarely at political discussion; with the input of the authors of established bloggers at CaF (male) and Fables (female) it has the capacity to emerge as the most popular of all. There's an additional element of this particular blog in that it aims to foster greater citizen input and involvement outside of the blogosphere. It's taken great care to explain that it's not its own political movement, but is willing to promote the formations of new 'grass-roots' movements that may be seen to have an impact on a new form of government that empowers the everyday person more than the current systems in place.

Can the political blogs, however, keep up their pace and resolve? We've seen quite a few storm on the scene but leave, citing a kind of mental exhaustion where they've put forward their opinions, had people comment on them, but seen the powers that be go in a direction totally opposite from what they believe is the right way to go. Only CaF and Jewel by extension have shown much activity in recent weeks; Vexed recently also taking a break from active posting. That said, politics.bm went on for over 5 years and so did Limey, although I don't think Limey started out as a political blog by any stretch. These two blogs, along with Imho.bm and the defunct BravoZulu.bm, formed my proverbial "Four Horsemen" and pretty much helped to launch the exploding growth of the Bermuda blogging community. Guess that the added publicity in the Gazette helped. But if you look at the blogging community, you'll see the changes. One may have scoffed and said, "oh 4 white fellas - clearly biased, yadda yadda yadda"; but hey now we have a couple black fellas, a few white fellas, a white female, a couple black females;... it's getting there.

Our blogoshpere continues to evolve.


Still with Michael Jackson?

HLN is stilllll yammering about Michael Jackson, apparently. No wonder people complain that there's "nothing on TV" despite having 80+ channels to choose from.

Thanks to the Internet era this is going to easily eclipse Princess Di and Elvis for drawing out somebody's passing away. How many days until the NFL returns?...


Volleyball in the rain? No problem

Got to fill in this evening in the BVA Summer League... braving some heavy showers and potential thunderstorms, yep brings back the ol' Kolij memories huh. Got to update my "Days Since" ticker... now only if I can get back into bowling. Wife despises it so I'm likely waiting either for someone to host an event or the company have a fun night. What can ya do...

As for volleyball itself, maybe more later on my favourite sport and why I don't get to play it as regularly as I used to/want to.

Why don't you wash your hands?

One of the strangest phenomena of living in a 'developed country' appears to be that despite the proliferation of bacteria, germs and other viruses that are easily spread, there are people around who don't wash their hands after being in a public restroom, such as on the job, or in an airport.

I mean, even if you weren't brought up so as to wash your hands after going to the toilet, wouldn't you have at least read the advisories showing how easily those little nasties can get spread in a public place, and adjust your habits accordingly?

I'm kind of afraid to shake anybody's hand now. Going to use the company-provided desktop hand sanitizers from now on, that's for sure.

This too, shall pass (II)

As first reported on the PLP party site, the ruling political party is going to try to keep a united front and retain the current party hierarchy. I don't think that this result should particularly surprise anyone, despite the events of recent days where MPs (including ones with Ministerial control) publicly spoke out against their Premier over a myriad of issues.

I suppose that the party is going to try to back up their statement with a number of declarations aimed at promoting an outward appearance of unity. With the opposition UBP still unable to declare the way forward for them and losing members every House session, it's a ripe opportunity for the PLP to regain trust and confidence by the public, despite many people declaring that they're done with supporting the PLP.

Again, another master stroke by the Premier.

What remains to be seen: with El James and Terry Lister no longer holding Ministerial portfolios, how will the Premier allocate the vacant posts. He doesn't appear to have many loyalists available, and the ones who are do not have much experience in either those fields or as Ministers themselves. Perhaps a reshuffle of the deck is in the cards.


It couldn't be because I'm black, right?

Saturday night my wife and I had a nice dinner at the blu restaurant at Belmont, and then go to check out a friend's wedding reception after party at The Deep night club. As we get there we see a couple of people that we recognised and got to make some small talk with them. We're about to step inside when this staff member walks up to us and asks us "Can I help you?". Instinctively I explain that we're about to go to the night club then the guy immediately brushes us aside to I assume have a chat of some kind with the guys responsible for giving out the wristbands. But as we turn around we realize that the staff member did not ask anybody else if they needed help. We also noticed that we were the only black people in the vicinity.

Now, I'm no icon of fashion, but I'm sure I wasn't dressed like a hoodlum or someone potentially dangerous. We didn't look like we were lost, in fact we had just finished talking to the groom (by the way the groom looked sharp and the bride absolutely stunning).

To the two of us, the conclusion was clear. And we were completely disgusted by it. Unfortunately I didn't get the guy's name (my wife may have), but we weren't in much mood to party afterwards and left fairly quickly after that. Way to ruin a good night with what seemed to be an assumption that because we were black that we could not have any reason to be hanging out at this reception.

I'm sickened even now thinking about those events. Screw them.

Political gamesmanship

Pretty bold, to say the least, was the Premier's calling of a vote on a controversial bill after seemingly telling everybody that it wouldn't be called.

Even if it had passed, how can it have really gotten made into law by a Senate that would have seen the sneaky tactics used to get it to their door anyway?

Some MPs are apparently very upset about the tactics used, and it's hard to blame them. Considering the Premier himself said that he's not going to put forward a bill unless he's sure it would get passed, you'd have expected him to go back to the drawing board, work with his fellow MPs and come up with something more palatable for all MPs in his party.

Was he under pressure to get this settled before the summer recess?

Apparently the PLP is going to have a Central Committee meeting this week where presumably this situation will be discussed. Could there be a call for resignations, or a restructure of some sort? Or even the chance that members could be censured? Or even a situation where Parliament is forced to dissolve? Yikes, but maybe the snowball has begun to roll down the mountain.

Bob your head for three easy payments...

I just love ads, don't you?...

This device is supposed to strengthen the muscles in your neck and tone the skin, and sure it doesn't make one think about other activities that this simulates, no sirree bob,...

Tell you what, though, it's really cool (well, funny, at least) what these inventors come up with and the TV ads that are produced to hawk them.

HLN = National Enquirer TV

When did HLN, formerly CNN Headline News, become less of a news outlet and more of a show business/entertainment online version of TMZ? The only time I actually feel interested in that network is when Robin Meade is on (yeah, got a little crush on her) but the stories seem to be nothing but fluff, and they've been running Michael Jackson "investigative reports" nonstop for the past two weeks.

I get it, the average American viewing audience is probably more interested in Michael Jackson's death, Jon and Kate, 'reality TV' and the latest sex scandal among politicians,... but damn I'm glad the BBC is available to watch in the same cable package.


Return of the LttEs

I'm overseas again but have been able to follow some of the goings-on this week, and not for the first time I'm impressed with some of the content in the Gazette opinion and LttE columns.

First from the LttEs: I'm not "Hope Springs Eternal" from Southampton but the letter posed by him/her was brilliant. Any new political movement cannot thrive if current politicians are involved. That also includes Khalid Wasi, for one, and may also be applied to former politicians. People like Renee Webb or Stuart Hayward may yet to have a voice in local politics, for example, but they still represent something of a 'relic' perspective. If Jamahl Simmons didn't show up at the PLP rally donning a green shirt he *could* have been an option, perhaps. But no, ideas must be seen as fresh and unsullied by the current perception of same ol' politricking.

The very first listed letter asks the Gazette to omit defining race in its articles, and this could be a good idea to trot out. Without defining race, the reader is probably not going to come to snap judgements about what people say. It's unfortunate, but that's modern-day Bermuda for you.

A whole bunch of commentary about the Premier's actions is in today's column and they're all pretty poignant. Almost all are critical, but previous publications do have letters in support of the decision. I think that's fairly representative of what the general population thinks of the situation; many people just don't like the decisions made without discussion with the Governor, and think that the whole "immigration" response is baloney.

It ends with a call to keep a new city park tidy and free from vagabound-types. I have seen the situation that the author mentions about the pedestrian crossing now only being accessible by going into the road - it's really piss-poor and somebody should be slapped for not fixing that issue beforehand.

The Sports Editor has a new piece as well; often his writing comes across as a pointless rant, but sometimes it makes good sense and this is one of those times. The Island Games have served our 'minor' sports quite well and even our established sports like track and field and sailing have seen benefits. With international football currently running backwards, perhaps the bar needs to be lowered and development using the Island Games should be considered by the football PTB.

He mentions that many of the sports facilities in Aland are funded by revenues from a gaming sector; I like that. I've always thought that supporting sport and the arts is a great way to distribute earnings from such ventures, and if Government does elect to go that route it's potentially a good win-win situation. We need small-island solutions for our small-island society, and if we observe what places like Aland, Faroe Islands, our neighbours in the Caribbean and others do, we can learn what to consider implementing and what to avoid like the plague.

He ended up with an assault on the big-game fishing community. Now I don't have a full opinion on sport fishing, except that I think it's a bit of a pointless pursuit. Fishing shouldn't really be a sport, rather an activity with the end result being food on the table, with the entertainment value of finding and reeling in the fish factoring in. It's interesting, I have to admit, and something ordinarily not on Bermudians' radar.


Supporting football

Kyle Lightbourne is absolutely correct. The Bermuda Hogges aren't going to get the local support that a professional team needs to thrive. Local clubs get more fan support by a mile, and while people will flock to get an Arsenal or Liverpool jersey, for instance, you're not going to see many people wearing Bermuda Hogges jerseys.

Despite the best efforts of the guys behind the Hogges outfit as well as the Island Soccer League, it's looking like a futile effort to take the quality of football to a higher level. Best they can hope for is getting the top individual talents noticed to the point where they may be able to sign for a higher-level league squad overseas and make the national programme a more cohesive and promising unit.

That's just how it is. Football may be a national sport, but domestic success is the limit for the island. Government should allocate funding to the BFA accordingly in future.


Smaller portions

One of the signs of the economic crunch in Bermuda seems to be the diminishing size of portions from the takeout places.

I just got a lunch from Chopsticks and not only am I getting less pieces than say 6 months ago, they're smaller as well.

It's only a matter of time before we start seeing conspicuously smaller containers as well...


Welcome the Jewel

As discussed in other media forms, a new Bermuda blog has been created, it's known as Bermuda JEWEL (JEWEL being an acronym for 'Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education and Liberation') and carries instant name-recognition by one of the creators being a former Government senator.

The post at Catch-A-Fire provides greater detail into its creation and development process. I'm impressed by the fact that they have a FAQ page of sorts even before the first set of 'Q's have been posed! Heh.

The aims of this blog are note-worthy and if this leads to the blogosphere picking up a greater quantity of contributors, particularly female ones, that can only be a good thing.

Oh, and I'm going to beat everybody else in the blogosphere and be the first to add it to my blog listings... woohoo...


Death to apostrophes... V13.1

I don't really pay that much attention to the official PLP Blog if only to see if there are discrepencies with what the Gazette and or Bermuda Sun report on political issues, and often times it's either glossed over or spun around, as political parties tend to do anyway.

But sheesh I am freakin' tired of the author continuously using the word "it's" instead of "its". Grr.

People of Bermuda, do *not* rely on your computer's spellcheck feature. It will not correct those kind mistakes. Learn some elementary grammar rules, pleeeeeeeeeeeze.

Oh yeah, the article in question is about Government announcing another new hotel development for the City of Hamilton, without the presence of any member of the Corporation of Hamilton. I think it's pretty easy to connect the dots with Government's plans to take over the CoH,... shrewd moves by the purveyors of 'platinum'...


Michael Jackson, entertainer extraordinaire

I grew up in the Michael Jackson era, as did many of my peers. His performances were legendary and despite his many publicised personal and financial issues over the years he remained in the eyes of many, an icon in the world of pop music.

His passing today will be remembered by all.

We aren't likely to see a legend of his stature for a very long time.


Getting active with the Wii

We recently got the EA Sports Active game for the Wii (see CNet review here) and have had a chance to give it a whirl. It's a good workout, which means I'm often cursing out the virtual trainer especially when she's calling me to do those nasty and evil lunges and squats.

All jokes aside, I'd like to keep at this for an extended period of time and see if it helps with the cardio, endurance, flexibility and balance that it ought to. Only thing is that I'd have to do my own ab and strength training work elsewhere (shouldn't be a problem as I have some dumbells and a floor mat), and motivation as always can be a challenge.

Give this game a try, fellas.


This too, shall pass

So the Premier said, and so shall it be.

According to the eagle-eyed, well I guess that's really owl-eared, people from BIAW forums who gave a running commentary on the 'debate' last night, the motion failed with people following the party line.


Again not surprised at all.

Party first, people last. Bermuda politics.

UBP, give it up. Dismantle at once, you're completely unviable. PLP, do what you will.

Me, I'm spoiling my ballot next election. Even though I'm in a new constituency (left Hamilton West recently, thank the Lord since I don't know what Wayne Furbert represents anymore anyway), my vote is just as likely to go to a carrot as it is to a current politician in Bermuda.

I hate these Customs forms

Why do they keep revising the wording? Trying to fill this thing out and the wording gets worse and worse; I don't know what boxes to check anymore. "Transfer of residence allowance"? WTF is that?

Oh, and Public Notice 30 is NOT on customs.gov.bm, at least not found on my BBerry browser. Shut up, Customs Dept.



What a week

I'm a little upset to not have been in the country this week as Bermuda was host to two protest demonstrations in the manner of a few days, and the reactions of the politicians involved sparked much discussion.
Have a lot of catching up to do, but I've already been notified that Al Sharpton is coming to the island to reprimand us for not swallowing the Premier's unilateral, who-needs-to-consult-anyone, decisions that impact Bermuda, with a smile on our faces and offering standing ovations.

That guy has enough on his plate in the States so why the hell is he needed here? Someone's pulling favours out there and I don't like it.

Anyway, read the Vexed blog and others, including:


I expect that this no-confidence motion apparently now being discussed won't go anywhere, and by that I mean not necessarily passed or fail, but that it will get drowned in a sea of rhetoric and business-speak that accomplishes nothing nor reveals what our MPs really think or wish.

Sorry, not optimistic of anything right now...


Bike parking at the airport

Happy Heroes Day, Bermuda. Pretty slick, having the same holiday in 8 months...

In the airport right now about to head overseas but I have to remark on the lack of bike parking here. There is one small section and it's packed full. A few riders parked in the adjacent car bays and have been ticketed.

I decided to wedge mine in between two other bikes and try to avoid getting an unfair ticket. More than likely I'd probably get screwed when I come back.

Just looked out the window and saw another rider go fruitlessly through the bike parking area. Realistically what do they expect us to do in this situation? Ride to St. Geo and hire a taxi for the rest of the way back to the airport? Damn!
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One man's decision

Over the past couple of days I've read through dozens of postings on BIAW, Catch-A-Fire and virtually every active Bermuda blog out there. Oddly enough it wasn't until I came across some Facebook pages that I found independent, non-partisan voices in support of the decision to take in the former Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

I would guess the radio talk show circuit may present a different skew, but the opinions online are well worth taking into account, and representative of a large proportion of the local population.

Where I think the supporters of the decision may be misguided is in believing that those opposed are doing so because of xenophobia, fear of terrorists, fear of losing their jobs and the like. The vast majority, of which I think I would be classified as, are simply opposed to the manner in which this decision was made. While there are probably national and international security concerns that may have prevented an all out discussion in Parliament on this motion, the fact that it appears that one man, the Premier, made a decision on behalf of Bermuda without any consultation or discussion with other parties, most notably the Governor and members of Parliament.

Now, the UBP has called for a no-confidence motion in the Premier, and things could easily disintegrate into the same old political crud that's plagued this country with every controversial move the Government's made over the past several years.

There is talk of a protest demonstration against the Premier (not the ruling party, however) this week and with the world's attention somewhat on our country the past few days, a lot of interesting scenarios could come up. However I don't think one of them is having the former prisoners sent either back to the United States or to China.


Electricity is out

The electricity is out all over the place.

Let the theories begin with regards to China being behind this development...
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Bermuda accepts Gitmo detainees

The talking point in Bermuda has quickly become all about the sudden announcement that Bermuda is taking in four fomer detainees from Guantanamo Bay with the expectation that they will settle and obtain Bermuda status.

The blogosphere has erupted:

Vexed Bermoothes was first on the scene, I think, and was highly critical of this move. This was quickly followed by a lengthy series of postings on the BIAW forum, Catch-A-Fire, Newstocks and the Progressive Minds blog. Each of them are slamming the decision on various grounds, including:
  • why this decision was made without consulting the UK government, or even Parliament itself
  • why the United States isn't absorbing the people into their own society
  • what kind of payoff is involved, as it's been reported that Palau has taken on 17 former prisoners in exchange for a sum in the hundreds of millions of dollars
  • is this seen as a slap to the face for guest workers who have no chance of residentary rights despite giving back to the community and or becoming parents to Bermudian children
  • is the island potentially jumping into a figurative landmine by becoming involved with suspected terrorists

Message threads also exist on the Bermuda Sun website. Expect the local TV news to deliver lengthy reports on this story this evening and tomorrow.

There aren't many opinions in support of this move at this present time. I spoke with one of my buddies this afternoon and he essentially chided Bermudians for being self-centered and focusing on the wrong issue. He said that we ought to be thinking of the people, who have been declared innocent, yet are in a position of being without any form of residency now as China may not be willing to take them in and let them live freely, and the U.S. may not want them either because of still remaining as perceived threats to their country.

He mentioned that in the mid-1970s Bermuda took on Vietnamese refugees, as did many other countries. These were people who were without a country, so to speak and Bermuda played its part in taking them in. Not sure if any still reside here now, but I think my friend was trying to illustrate that when others need help we should be willing to lend a helping hand.

Relayed that opinion to another friend and his opinion remained that the issue remained that of being unfair to another section of the local population (namely guest workers) and a possible underlying factor of greed and deceit.

Let the debate continue.


ZFB's funny self promotion

ZFB's airing a couple of promos for itself now. They tout themselves as the #1 watched network on Cablevision. Big achievement, huh?

I suppose in a way, yes, if you're dealing with trying to get local businesses to continue to advertise on that station. It's a good sales argument.

However, come on. The ad makes it appear that ZFB is its own source of original programming or something when the only local material is the local news, and that only airs on its sister channel ZBM now anyway? ZFB's chosen (perhaps wisely) to air ABC's "The View" in that slot instead, a fairly popular daytime show. ZFB's biggest draws indeed take place in the 6:30pm-9pm slot and feature The View and Oprah, whom Bermudians have loved since the 1980s. I would't be surprised if over half of all people watching TV at 8pm are tuned into ZFB.

In fairness I give Bermuda Broadcasting some credit to continue to try to serve Bermuda viewer interests; airing the 20/20 World Cup is testament to their efforts. Can't be easy when the workers are unhappy and senior management is perceived to not be interested in renovating their product.


Drivers are untrustworthy

I'm really trying to avoid another rant about Bermuda's driving culture but this Gazette article prompted me to mount the soapbox yet again.

"However, we are appealing for individuals to take responsibility on our roads as that is the key to a successful road safety campaign.

Legislation has its place; enforcement has its place. But at the end of the day, it's down to an individual making smart choices."
What everybody's not realizing is that we cannot trust the individual. We need Government and the Police to take further action. Individuals are choosing to not obey the laws of the road. The powers that be cannot just throw their hands up and say they can't do anything. If they truly cannot, then we need a new set of powers-that-be.

The current strategy is not working, so change the strategy. Dump the radar guns at Kindley Field Road and the like. Legislate the use of cameras at traffic lights and nail those who run the lights. Stop talking about third lane riders and book them if you indeed consider it dangerous driving. Take people off the road who are reading the newspaper with one hand, applying makeup with the other and have a cell phone wedged by their ear. And if someone's drunk and crashes, bring the hammer down hard on them.

Because right now, the only solution for an individual is to get off the bike, heck don't even be a pedestrian. It's to get a big thick car and at least feel safe when some fool crashes into you.


What is a soldier

I feel bad for posting this today, for reasons I'll outline later.

When people are referring to their peers or other local people who have died as a result of a traffic collision or a violent attack, they tend to use terminology such as 'fallen soldier'.

While I understand the sentiment of those mourning the person who has passed away, and can appreciate the strong feelings involved, I find it a bit distasteful to make the analogy to a person who is serving his country's government in battle. It's really two different things and I surely wouldn't want that label applied to me if that situation was to befall me.

That said, there are more crucial matters at hand than a matter of semantics. Perhaps a military widow would disagree. Again though, just an observation on my part and I'm not interested in posing debate on this particularly since there are recent deaths which have raised this issue in my mind and I'd rather just show respect to the parties mourning their loss.


Listmania: Foods

'Normal' foods that I despise:

  • peanut butter
  • yoghurt
  • egg sandwiches
  • peas
  • cheesecake*
  • sweet potato
  • pumpkin
  • ginger snaps

* A while ago my friend Darnley made cheesecake and I tried it and I enjoyed it. However I'm still turned off by the smell and taste of it, generally speaking.

Anyway this is part of a little challenge I'm having with the sig-other, because generally speaking I'll eat most foods out there (psst, unlike her). So feel free to invite me over for dinner anytime, I will eat and enjoy.



One of the things that we've tried to instill in the kids we're coaching youth cricket is sportsmanship. It's accepting a loss or bad decision with your head held high, and not using victories as a chance to taunt or mock your opponent.

Not easy when you see grown adults, some of whom are millionaires, being poor sports, and then not realizing when you're being a poor sport.

LeBron James, one of Nike's superstar pitchmen and maybe the best-known professional basketball player in the world right now, was part of the losing side in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

After each series, it's become custom for the two teams to shake hands and offer congratulations or condolences, and appreciation for everybody's contibutions on the floor. When the Cavaliers won their earlier two series, LeBron James was around to shake hands with his defeated opponents. However this time around he was nowhere to be found. After the final buzzer he made a beeline for the locker room.

His response later on:

"It's hard for me to congratulate somebody after you just lose to them," he said. "I'm a winner. It's not being a poor sport or anything like that. If somebody beats you up, you're not going to congratulate them. That doesn't make sense to me. I'm a competitor. That's what I do. It doesn't make sense for me to go over and shake somebody's hand."
It's one thing to be frustrated and disappointed. It's another to not realize that you're coming off as an immature brat by believing that shaking the opponent's hand after they defeat you doesn't make sense.

I don't think this guy knows what being a poor sport means. Or what a winner is.

I may have to bring up this example in the next training session. Fortunately there are still some sportsmen out there to emulate.