My 2011 Wish List for Bermuda

A tumultuous year both for me personally, and Bermuda as a whole. As of now, if you were to gauge the overall "happiness" of people in Bermuda, I'd bet that the scale would tip substantially into the negative, and there are a number of factors at play, particularly as relating to the economy, jobs, personal safety, education of our young people, politics and sport.

Here's my quick 2011 Wish List:
  1. [Me] Become less apathetic to the goings-on in this country, less resigned to Bermuda's "fate".
  2. [Me] Get the website back on track, including the blog. 53 total posts is the lowest number since 2004, a bad trend.
  3. [Me] Be a better husband, appreciate my wife more and be a better contributor overall.
  4. [Me] Commit to bettering myself, physically and mentally.

  5. [Bermuda] Take personal responsibility for education - mentor a young child if you can, ensure your child excels despite the pitfalls of the education system.
  6. [Bermuda] Drive better, put your damn cell phones away, and ease up on the road rage.
  7. [Bermuda] Be willing to stand up for what's right.
  8. [Bermuda] Be wiser with your money and what you spend it on.

  9. [Politicians] Engage the public, communicate one-to-one, and lay off the b.s.
  10. [The UBP] Walk the walk.
  11. [The PLP] Demonstrate that you're about *all* of Bermuda. Listen to your opponents, don't ridicule them.
  12. [The BDA] Stop fighting for #2. Show Bermuda that you're capable of being the future Government.
  13. [My fellow bloggers] Continue to offer opinions and insight, no matter your political (or other) leanings.
  14. [Our athletes] Enjoy your sport, show a commitment to excellence, if you are representing Bermuda, give the best account that you can.

  15. [Bermuda] Help each other. Be more gracious and understanding. Live the Golden Rule.
Here's to a more happy 2011 for everybody.


Media, don't give credibility to the gangs

New rule, mass media, how about not displaying all the symbols and graffiti done up by these local gangs? I know that the media is supposed to be committed to providing the truth and facts, but I dunno, it just seems that they're these groups a sense of pride or something, and they can further thrive in their notoriety.


Education standards in Bermuda

Politics.bm sums up the release of this year's secondary school 'graduates' information very well:
In reality, to graduate implies proficiency. You cannot graduate 99% of students if a mere 23% of them are proficient in math for example. The other 77% did not graduate, they were simply moved on from the education system.
This whole sugar-coating approach is terrible. We're declaring that these students have *graduated* high school but are poor at mathematics? No, that's plain wrong. School leavers, perhaps, but graduates, no. That term should be reserved for those who are at least somewhat prepared to enter the workforce - and to do that you need to have some proficiency in mathematics. Anyway, politics.bm covers this way better than I can, so read the article in full, especially the fifth paragraph.


Thinking about personal firearms in Bermuda

A few weeks ago, we visited some friends in Alberta, Canada. It was a true vacation, and it was the first time in quite a while that I didn't have work issues to contend with (mainly because, work had no way to get ahold of me, heh, and I didn't have the temptation to check in on work).

One of the 'firsts' that I got to experience was the holding and firing of a gun. I wouldn't have considered myself to be a shrinking violet or a worrywart about using a firearm, but on the way to the range, there was no mistaking the adrenaline rush and tension going on inside me.

It was very cold (by Bermuda standards; it was probably in the high 40s at the time, with cold rain as well), not the ideal situation to be handling and testing out guns, but my buddy gave me the overview, how to load the weapon, train the sights on the target, et al. We had a Glock 9mm and some kind of 22mm pistol. These guns, for one, are heavier than they seem, perhaps it was the ammo magazine, I dunno. And they're far louder than one would think.

One truth of the matter, is that those gangster types who hold their gun sideways when shooting, you probably stand a good chance of evading the bullet. You really have to aim with these things.

Finally, we pulled out an assault rifle, I cannot recall its type but it was a modified version of an AK-type rifle with a telescopic scope. All I can say after trying it out is that I have serious respect for those who shoot competitively, especially those who do biathlon. Holding the rifle steady and hitting the target, very tough to do, especially in cold conditions.

Anyway, what does this all mean with relation to the topic title? Besides making this one of the longest blog posts I've ever done, discussions with my friend and actually using guns on the range, made me think about aspects like the right to bear arms as it relates to the USA, and if banning their possession in Bermuda by individuals gives the new generation of criminals here a bigger carte blanche to do whatever they want when it comes to robbery and assault.

While personally I'm of the opinion that letting the average Bermudian own a gun is still a recipe for disaster (consider the amount of people who beat and cut up others over such trivial matters as a cell phone or an ex-boyfriend), I'm definitely not as hard-line as I would have been a year ago.

Sure, we can carry a bat in our car and at our bedside, but against a crook with a firearm, you're going to find it hard to protect yourself or your family. We can get burglar bars, security cameras, even dogs, but would these measures be enough? What if you're walking down the street and someone decides to mug you at knife-point or even gun-point? The law-abiding citizen has little means to defend themselves, but if they were adequately trained, licenced and made fully aware of the consequences of using a gun (or say a tazer or pepper spray, even) in an unlawful manner, would this help to make our country safer?


Update: The Great Wall of Warwick

A few weeks ago, the powers that be addressed the issue of the butchered sidewalk adjacent to the Great Wall or Warwick, and managed to smooth out the sidewalk, and move the old poles.

It's much better than previous, however while observing all the pretty plants that they placed at the top of the wall (must have been a special request from the property owner, hmph), it wasn't hard to see that there was still work to be done. Namely, that the end of the sidewalk is still a potential danger and needs to be flattened out properly.

Including that hole at the end which is a twisted ankle situation in the making.

The work equipment is nowhere to be found, unfortunately, so I fear that this is it for this area until the next election, at best.


Online billing hell - that means you, Digihell

Actually I have a beef with both Digihell and Belco, it's just that Digihell has been a pain in the behind for substantially longer.

I've arranged E-billing through both services, and yet things seem to fall through the cracks.

In Belco's case, I haven't received a bill via email for some time now, so I have to remind myself to go to their website and log in to see my invoices, et al. A bit of an inconvenience considering I gave them my email address so that I didn't have to go through a bunch of browsing around and stuff, everything is easier on all sides. Well, nope. Yet somehow, when I'm overdue, a customer service rep is able to send me an email, call my work phone, et al. Must be nice to be a monopoly and be selective with contacting customers that *need* your service.

As for Digihell, got one of their SMS messages this morning. Usually it's spam, but this time they're telling me that payment could not be secured from my credit card on file. Whatever, Digihell. You're not getting my credit card number so you can pull cash willy-nilly. I will pay you WHEN I get my invoice... which I haven't seen anytime soon. So instead, I go to their stupid website, log on and retrieve my invoice from there.

Anyway, bills are (hopefully) paid off now. Of course it could be worse, they could be like Cablevision Bermuda, and simply revel in inconveniencing customers day and night.

Rant done (for now).


Hoopla about Cabinet

Over the past couple of days, the ruling political party elected new leadership, and by extension, Bermuda has a new Premier. Paula Cox has taken over the reins, figuratively speaking.

A new Cabinet has been created, with a few veteran faces combining with some new ones to make up the batch of Ministers and Senators. Several are probably going to be considered controversial, to say the least. But you know what they say about opinions.

What this week has shown (if it hasn't already been made obvious) is that there are huge gulfs between segments of our community with regard to how certain political figures are viewed. Even if you don't see the extreme contrasts between some of the threads on BIAW with that on Ewart Brown's Facebook page for example, you'll know that for many people, the PLP leadership appears to be either strongly loved or strongly despised.

Is there middle ground? Probably, but it's muted. It's probably along the same lines as what's been happening in the United States lately. Unfortunately we don't have Jon Stewart around to push a Restoration of Sanity Rally in Bermuda.

Web page troubleshooting

I'm sure that many in the computer programming business experience this at one time or another.

You go through day after day of going through code, trying to figure out why a particular piece of code is not giving you the desired result, and eventually on a wing and a prayer, take a different tack...

And discover that you have a piece of code that you put in, in order to test some functionality, was not commented out when you ran the script in full.

That's right. In this case, within a few thousand lines of combined HTML, ASP.NET and SQL code, I could have saved myself three days of grief by adding a pair of hyphens in a procedure. Sigh.

Good thing the pub is nearby. (Kidding, boss!!!)


No Blackberry

I've been without a Crackberry for two weeks now. Despite the missus claiming that I'd miss it like a best friend, I've done very well.

We'll see how long it lasts. One thing though, it was nice not having to check the work mail (although I'm now suffering a bit, perhaps).

We really do live in a world where people have this 'need' to have information right at their fingertips, huh.


Barbados in mourning

The Prime Minister of Barbados, David Thompson, passed away this weekend at the age of 48.

I expect that the entire nation is mourning - Mr. Thompson to me appeared to be a hard-working and genuine politician, He was leader of the DLP when I was at school there, and was able to persevere through several political defeats to eventually win the most recent General Election and become in a position to implement his visions for Barbados as a nation.

This particular article is a really inspired tribute to the man, and he is sure to be missed by many Bajans both there and overseas. Blessings to the people of Barbados and especially the family of David Thompson.


Licence plate snapped in half

This made me laugh. Yesterday I was leaving work and I'm at the junction of Church and Par-la-ville (yeah I know, but this time nobody's running the red light, heh).

One of those black Kia Sportages comes rolling to the traffic light. First thing I notice, is that the licence plate on the front is snapped neatly into two. You can see clearly a pair of 7s on both ends, the left side of it hanging almost vertically.

Second thing I notice, is the woman, sunglasses on and all, is yakking on a cell phone.

I'm not sure if irony is the correct term to use here, but it goes on. Naturally, she inches past a cop car. And of course, it goes unnoticed.

La de la la la. Another day on the anarchy that is Bermuda's roads. La la la.


Schoolchildren and buses

So the Transport Ministry finally decided to appeal for schoolkids to use dedicated school buses.

(a) Whoop-dee-doo.
(b) As suggested in some of the comments adjacent to the article [Bda Sun] [Bernews], it can be difficult to get particular information on the exact schedules for a particular school.
(c) They simply haven't gone far enough. Someone posting under the name 'Swan' in the Bernews article suggests that the whole 'free rides' gimmick should've only been applied when leaving a particular school, not from the central bus terminal. That indeed may help to cut down on the kids loitering around town, knowing they have a 'free ride' home whenever.

It would be nice indeed if the schoolkids took buses only to and from school (and parents didn't have to drop them to and from, grumble grumble traffic grumble), but there are several other issues with public transportation that haven't been addressed, as well as issues convincing schoolchildren that 3:30-5:30pm isn't "free roam around the City" time.


Random thought - we need calypsonians

It's a shame that folk music and calypso in Bermuda is a virtually dead art. I can only imagine the tunes that Gabby or Red Plastic Bag could come up with when putting the antics of our politicians and others, into song format.
Dunkley, Dunkley, Dunkley need some ketchup...
Not for french fries...
But for his big foot;
Policeman very tired of his complaining...
without reason...
Crap, only thing I can think of that rhymes with foot is soot. Back to the drawing board.


The farce that is National Heroes Day

Government is determined to ensure that the selection of 'National Heroes' remains in complete control of the Government, rather than the community.

Why the devil can't the committee responsible for choosing the candidates, be composed of primarily persons unaffiliated with Government at all? Why not a group of historians and educators?

The MP who made the announcement made this weird quip with regard to having people who weren't politicians:
"We have looked at where they tried that in other jurisdictions, such as in the Caribbean, and it did not work."
Please, please, elaborate.

Anyway, until we get a suitable explanation, the whole process is an even bigger farce and waste of resources than before.

She (the Government Minister) has effectively said that a panel of politicians from the ruling party is a better solution than having respected independent voices decide. A complete and disdainful farce.


Return of traffic

I sure don't miss when schools are out for summer vacation, traffic seems to double when schools are in.

We hear all the usual reasons, of course, but nothing's ever been done to try to encourage a curbing of morning road traffic.

Ho hum, I suppose. Let the road rage continue.
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Respect religion even if it differs from your own

I could be flabbergasted at the selfishness and unawareness of the pastor of that Church that wants to have a "Burn the Koran" day, but it's hard to reason something to a guy and his followers that they're unwilling to listen to.

I get the 'free speech' angle of it, but seriously, *IF* the guy wanted to see Islam stamped out or whatnot, why would he consent if the site for the mosque in Manhattan was moved a few more blocks away from Ground Zero?

Here's the thing. It's totally unnecessary. First off, in the same manner that Christianity is, not all Muslims are out to destroy non-believers. Secondly, if you want to show your desire to honour Septebmer 11th 2001 and bring back Christian values or whatever you're planning, there are TONS of ways that don't involve inflammatory (excuse the pun) gestures like burning books which is considered holy and sacred to members of another faith.

Instead, this pastor went right out and got people's blood boiling all over the world. Way to intensify the tension in dangerous areas like Afghanistan, Mr. Pastor, and potentially inciting violence.


Treasure life

Stop the shooting, the slashing, the knifing.

Stop the robbing.

Stop the lying.

Life and love seem so easily squandered nowadays, and it's really senseless. Don't we know that every day on Earth is a gift and a blessing? Some people, many people, aren't as fortunate. Young and old alike.

Honest work for honest pay. Respecting the other person's property. Valuing life as if it were your own.

Our society needs to collectively start to stem this tide of negativity.


August Heat (should've stayed at the office)

How cruel is it when you get home after a day at the office and the electricity's out at home?

No AC.
No fan.
Not even a cooling drink.

Grr, Belco. Help us out already...

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Bored of politrix

Dog days of summer, indeed. The month's half over and this marks the first post of the month. Mind you, I'm not alone in the blogging community when it comes to posting topics. I think many of my fellow bloggers are going through some combination of R&R, apathy to the situations going on in this country, frustration with the continued state of political affairs.

I had a 'State of the Blogosphere' topic I wanted to go with but I don't even know if it's worth the effort. Then came the outcry of an assasination attempt. And in typical fashion, the established media seized the opportunity to further 'probe' into the goings on of an online forum (not to be confused with a blog, although many locals lump the two together).

Whatever, Government and the mass media.

People are still getting attacked, people are still frustrated and we have this not-so-pretty smokescreen (for who knows what) that could easily be debunked by freaking common sense.

Common sense, people.


Changing the Municipalities Act, et al

One of the more unpopular bills that has come up in recent times (I suppose the Gambling proposal ranks higher) is this Municipalities Reform Act. The public appears to be overwhelmingly against this, namely on the basis that it's seen as Government taking over certain aspects of the Corporation of Hamilton's functions (and thus drowning it in its own bureaucracy), yet the ruling government party is adamant that this must be done, and also be given priority.

Personally, stamping out the gun violence and crime ranks as a much higher issue to me (as well as issues dealing with the economy, tourism, traffic and road use) but ces't la vie, I suppose.

One thing that bugs me about the way that Government has gone about this, is that apparently up to $800,000 - that's eight hundred thousand dollars - went to some overseas consulting firm for the purpose of allegedly determining how to reform the CoH and Corporation of St. George's. However the findings of the report have not come close to sniffing the air. Nobody outside of the PLP inner circle appears to know the findings of this expensive study. Makes one wonder if the purpose of the consultants was instead, how to come up with a bill to successfully put forward a bill which can serve Government's wishes, while yet appearing not to be the prophecy of doom that the CoH may think will happen (and have enough lingo that certain MPs can use to deflect criticism).

I dunno. More astute and critical posts exist at Vexed Bermoothes and Politics.bm, and I'm sure they and other local sites will have posts on the fallout soon enough.


Recman gets it

Bermuda's senior men's team have been pretty poor of late. Their results over the past couple of years have been disappointing in all aspects, and in every one of their matches there's at least one area that has shown up to be abysmal (usually the batting effort).

The popular newspaper columnist known as 'Recman' attributes this to the demise of the longer form of the game on the island, a stance I completely agree with.

Bermuda's cricketers have fallen in love with the swash and thump that 20-20 cricket affords them, and on our minuscule grounds, it's a delight for the casual fan to behold. But it does nothing at all for developing sound cricketers.

It's been proposed by many a person in the island that if anything, the domestic season can start with proper 'open' or two-day cricket, followed by your limited overs matches and then you can have your wham-bam cricket at the end of the season. By then, the good habits that are hopefully picked up earlier on can then get applied to playing decent cricket when the shorter form of the game comes around.

Unfortunately, I think the horse has already left the stable, so to speak. Good luck to the national programme.


Cell phone ban in Bermuda

It's at least four years too late, but Government actually did something I agree with, in regards to banning the use of cell phones while driving.

What remains to be seen is how this is enforced; police resources appear to be stretched really thin, and with cell phone use in cars and on motorbikes now firmly entrenched in our culture, it's going to be hard to see a drastic improvement in driving habits at this time.

And Government must make it clear that this legislation is not just simply another way to make some extra cash, but an actual road safety improvement where MPs and the like lead by example.

But at least it's a start.


Too hot for black

More power to MPs Paula Cox and Neletha Butterfield - Friday afternoon I'm heading home and I see the two Government Ministers walking down Front Street in the heat and humidity - both wearing black outfits.

The hell? I don't know how they did it while still looking comfortable but definitely more power to them.

Perhaps that's a good sales pitch for the Ministers - keep their cool even when the heat and pressure is on.


Do we call it soccer?

Jon Stewart the other day had a pretty good proposal on his show. It basically was, if the U.S. managed to win the FIFA World Cup, then the rest of the world has to call the sport 'soccer' instead of football.

Sounds like a good deal to me, although there's no tradeoff if the U.S. fails to win. Still say everything's solved by just calling the American form "gridiron". Ah well. Like 2/3 of Americans care.


Psycho lady touchy-feely

We're in Lindo's Warwick on the weekend, with our baby in the stroller lying contentedly. The missus and myself are looking at some containers of formula in the aisle, when suddenly there's a long arm reaching in the stroller, stroking my baby's leg!

The hell?

Looking over, there's this giant of a woman lovingly gazing at my baby. She finally sees us glaring at her, and then decides to say, "You don't mind if I touch your baby, do you?"

Now if my wife was in front of me, I'm sure there would be a clear "Hell no, get away" (she's way less tolerant of crap than I am), but I was too stunned to respond. Heck, I was worried she had a knife in her bag and would stab me to steal our child!

It appeared clear that she was a baby stalker, though,... later on she was seen walking up to an unsuspecting parent holding his baby, touching his leg and then later trying to strike up a conversation.

Beware, parents.


A big middle finger to Bermuda and the Police

This Gazette article is, in my opinion, highlighted by the photo (which the Gazette is guilty of not providing a decent res version) of the defendant wearing a T-shirt with the caption "Stop Snitching".

"Stop Snitching".

Worn in court. At a trial involving assault charges.

This guy effectively gave a big middle finger to the judge, the Police and by extension the Bermuda public. The Police have been feverishly begging the public to come forward with evidence or statements, but this shirt worn by an accused,... it would be funny if this wasn't reality.

In other jurisdictions, this guy may have been found to be in contempt of court. Here of course, it's a bunch of 'whatever'. Mind you, we have MPs who want to ban certain brands of bubble gum, I expect him to come down hard on this case.


About the Great Wall of Warwick

I'm glad Sue Garland wrote a LttE about the new eyesore sometimes known as the Great Wall of Warwick. It took W&E crew a few months to erect this behemoth, originally meant (well, that's the word that we got) to prevent debris from raining down on pedestrians. It caused some traffic hindrances, but at some point the wall was 'completed' and work crew no longer were spotted at the site.

However, what we now have is an unpainted 30 foot tall wall overlooking a sidewalk that is so jacked up that I avoid putting the baby stroller on and think that runners or walkers won't want to use much at all, with old telephone/electricity poles in the freaking middle of the sidewalk at points. Perhaps it's another case of lack of consultation with BTC/Belco etc., but maybe it's more-so just simple abandonment like the letter writer suggested.

Bad enough that there aren't enough sidewalks on the island in the first place, but having one of them in such rotten condition while the big ass wall towers over everything... well it's just disgraceful.


About Bermuda Shorts, and who's wearing them

Noticed this item when browsing one of the online forums, and am curious now - when was the last time a Government Minister wore Bermuda shorts? Most notably, I speak of those in the Tourism Ministry, which perhaps ought to play up the Bermuda shorts (hell, it's in their marketing logo that they splash all over the place) a bit. However in all the photos that appear, you may see hotel officials or other persons decked out in the classic style... with the exception of the Minister who's wearing normal business attire.

Missed opportunities, to say the least.


Red lights are just a suggestion - special edition

This was a weird one today. Par-la-ville Road headed to Front Street, this guy on a rental bike (but almost certainly a local) reaches the red light.

In a moment of ingenuity (ie unnecessary dopiness, but whatever, right Bermuda's powers that be?), the guy hopped off the bike, walked it past the light and around the corner, then hopped back on, riding away into traffic.

It was such an unneeded maneuver, I caught up to him less than half a minute later.

Anyway, Booking deserved (O 062) however it doesn't mean much since it was a rental scooter.


Arm the Police, pow pow

I'm in support of the recent decision to introduce tasers to the Police here. It may be unfortunate that we've reached this point, but it's imperative that the police officers be equipped with ways to overcome a criminal who may be in possession of a firearm.

There are guns on this island, and too many of them to boot. Robbery is at a high level, assaults are constant and with the shootings happening on a fairly regular basis, I don't think we had much choice. A baton and some pepper spray versus someone with a gun?

Sure it may be disconcerting to see officers with them on the street, but I figure that if you've got nothing to hide, then you shouldn't have anything to fear, either. Here's to hoping that the police officers get trained up efficiently and effectively. And if even the sight of a taser will dissuade a potential crook from causing damage, then that can be seen as a positive thing.


Grow up, PLP

Tonight on the Let's Talk programme, Minister of Education El James wound up being the latest PLP senior member to say something along the lines of him not reading the Gazette and thus not being in the know about certain things said.

When will the governing party stop their petty crusade against the only daily? I get it, you don't like it. However you're doing everyone a disservice by claiming to not be aware of what the Gazette produces.

Until the Workers' Voice (or another entity) becomes the most popular news source on the island, please cut the crap.


Bermuda's dumbest TV commercials

You know, I get what Marketplace tries to do with their ads showing how much they save, however it's very hard to believe that this person is a random customer when they have their big-ass "I work at the Marketplace" badge front and center.

I mean, please. The director of those clips should be ashamed. Wish there was a clip online to show the world the ineptness of these ads.


Wishing ill fortune (reckless riders edition)

I see this guy on a black bike swoop onto Keith Hall Road (cutting the corner), then proceed to accelerate. The bike is super loud. And as if he wasn't annoying enough, he pulls a wheelie all the way up the hill. I really wanted him to slide on a oil spot or something. Yeah I know I'm bad. But anyway, watch out for BM539, its rider clearly doesn't give a crap about road safety.

Yeah, I know few people care, but it's certain irritants that linger.

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There's been a big, overblown, hullabaloo over the 'Bermudians-only' IB employees meeting hosted by the Minister of Public Safety, but when I read about there being damn wristbands to identify the attendees, I had to laugh.

Whoops, I guess the Budget's already overrun.

It doesn't get much sillier than that, but in the pettiness that is Bermuda politics, it shouldn't surprise a soul.

Devil Island is on the same wavelength as I am on this topic, while Politics.bm and Vexed offer useful commentary.


Good Friday shooting

Most people know the significance of Good Friday in the Christian religions, and by default that means most of the Bermudian population are aware of it.

How can it be, that in what I think is the most callous and brazen incident I've ever heard about happening in Bermuda, today on Good Friday, somebody went to Victor Scott Primary school field, where lots of kids and their parents were enjoying kite flying, and then chose to shoot someone, murdering them?

That's right. On one of the most religious holidays of the year, on school property, where lots of people including small children were congregated, someone shot and killed another human being.

If this is not the bonafide, no doubt #1 ISSUE facing the island, way above $800K reviews of the City Corporations or changing the gambling laws, then something's immensely wrong.
If CrimeStoppers and the Police aren't getting any assistance from the public (as hinted here), then this country is truly doomed.

The powers that be, including the public, must do everything in their power to stop the madness and the anarchy.


Cycle theft!

HAAAAAAATE cycle thieves (as if you didn't already know).

They're so callous they would swipe your bike right in your front yard.

Last time it was a public parking lot (and I'm still bitter at CoH, too). Now they've struck closer to home, literally.

But how brazen can you be to go into a condo area and steal a bike?

In Bermuda there's no active investigation into cycle thefts, it's more of them just patrolling the area and when they find it abandoned, they let us know. It's frustrating, but I don't see the police doing it differently (then again it's hard if you can't really do things like check for prints).



Rearranging the side links

I'm kind of disgusted that it's been over 200 days since I last picked up a volleyball. sigh. I know Bermudians don't get it, but I'm still a bit upset. Not like I'm in any shape to be any good to anybody right now, of course. It's all about motivation, though.

Bowling though, probably a lost cause. Even though Warwick Lanes is a 5 minute drive away.

Rearranged my Online Community links somewhat slightly. Bringing back New Onion, which is a cleanly-designed site, with posts categorised neatly and the topics always of local interest. Finally got around to removing Prog Minds, which is effectively dead. At least they got rid of the spam posts.

I still think we'd be better served with at least a couple more local blogs run by females. Discounting Jewel, we only have two or three (Vexed Bermoothes I still don't know about, honest). Again, the proliferation of Facebook discussion areas (I can't call them forums or boards) may have shifted the scope of local opinion sharing away from traditional blogs or forums. So we may not see any new blogs in the near future, unfortunately.

Waiting rooms

You know things are bad when it's Standing Room Only at the doctor's.

Hopefully this is the last time we will ever have to go to Dr. Emery's office. An hour and a half of waiting for the scheduled appointment is just insane!



Zombieland: what happens when you have a sleepless baby

I gotta apologize to all the people I came across on Friday on the street, Portofino's and Lindo's. Chalk it up to sleep deprivation, I think. No-one said raising babies was easy, and it's a challenge so far handling the late night wakeups for food and diapers.

It'll get easier, I think, as the routine is formulated.

Until then, expect to see the zombie in town and elsewhere. You may have to holler louder to get my attention.


Followup to the Report on 'Gaming'

The Gazette editorial that discussed aspects of the Green Paper on 'Gaming' covers a few of the issues I had with the content of the report.

Namely, the tie-in of 'gaming' with tourism as a whole. If the point of the discussion was solely on tourism, then there's absolutely no need for national lotteries to be investigated. No tourist, whether from the United States or elsewhere, is going to visit Bermuda in order to buy damn lottery tickets.

If they want to discuss lotteries, then it should be discussed not from a tourism aspect but a national revenue aspect, and the potential social issues, cut and dry. Like I've said ad nauseam over the years however, we already have at least one national lottery in place, it's just under a different name.

This aspect of the research was a complete waste of time and money if the goal was to evaluate the tourism benefit of 'gaming'.

Internet gambling as well. How is someone who plays online poker for example, with funds raised going to Bermudian business, suddenly considered in any form a contributor to tourism?

It's a situation that could have been prevented by making the research more about raising money for Bermuda and Bermudians alone instead of this tourism angle. Keep it about casinos (and perhaps looking into hosting international events like World Series of Poker tournaments) and this report makes a ton more sense.

Here's the kicker that many political pundits and commentators are probably looking into with regard to the casino in town, it's on Page 19 of the report (the pdf as viewed in Acrobat Reader, page 9 of the report as printed out):
Allow an independent casino to be developed to accommodate locals and tourists seeking a larger, more energetic gaming environment. This property would likely be larger and, not being in a hotel, would likely attract the majority of the local patronage. The property would also appeal to tourists seeking a gaming
experience that are not staying at hotels offering casinos as well as hotel guests that may seek larger casinos that typically feature more energetic environments. We have identified this situation as a possible stand-­alone casino in downtown Hamilton.
Let the rumours begin on where such a development could be situated in 'downtown Hamilton'. Two areas right off the bat, can be guessed at. Page 24 (page 14) gives you the added hints on location (shh, waterfront).

I like that they covered what they call 'Ambient machines' in the report as well. These of course, are commonly known as the 'one arm bandits' that used to be available locally until they were banned in 2005. These are common features of certain kinds of casinos, and one would think that if they were allowed to exist in any new casino that the current crop of bars and restaurants that once had them would immediately call for the law to be repealed to avoid the perceived hypocrisy of the situation. The report itself suggests that these 'machines' aren't recommended, mind you.

My issues with the whole debate on the social issues surrounding 'gaming' (and really, I'm tired of quoting 'gaming', so I'll use the real term - gambling - going forward) is that Bermuda already has an abundance of real gambling avenues, and it's only antiquated laws that say that gambling of one form is perfectly fine while another is abhorrent and vile.

The list of social issues in the report is: crime, burglary and related, loan sharks, crimes at casinos, prostitution, bankruptcy, suicide, family impact, child abuse, homelessness, substance abuse, domestic violence and divorce. These already exist on the island, some in greater quantity than others. And if you wish to tie these to the people who already go to Seahorses or GameTime every day to place wagers on horse racing or European football pools, then shut them down.

What I hope for, in the end, is that the current laws relating to gambling be reviewed and restructured where applicable, and this is without the use of the Green Paper recommendations. There are some outdated, and in some cases, nonsensical, provisions in there. I hope that the powers that be address them along with their decisions on allowing casinos to set up shop.


Shocking - 'Gaming' recommended

It's pretty convenient that Government consultants came up with a Green Paper that outlaid the Government leaders' wishes to a tee while offering significant olive branches to those who would ordinarily be against gambling as a whole in Bermuda.

Taking a look via the Gazette article:
  1. a casino is recommended, especially in the (soon-to-be taken-over) City.
  2. the olive branch to church groups by recommending against a national lottery (even though Bermuda already has at least one - it's called 'Bermuda Bingo'.
  3. the other olive branch being the no Internet Gaming stance. The most 'Duh' moment of them all, one would think.
I'd link to the Green Paper hosted on the Govt portal, however it's currently inaccessible (how surprising). Ooops. Vexed luckily has it uploaded on their site.

It's as clever as you can get with regards to trying to win over PLP MPs who opposed the original plan to allow cruise ships to open on-board casinos while in port. By emphasizing the importance of casino gambling to tourism, the argument becomes more one of neccesity and less of morality.

Spending $300,000 on this pre-determined research however, just seems wasteful. Everyone on this rock knew what the 'findings' were going to be, but no matter. Consultants rule.


Random thoughts of the week - Budget and more

  1. The Budget statement doesn't inspire confidence. Cutbacks of significance weren't announced, instead the public (employees and employers) is being asked to shoulder a bigger load in this climate. All businesses, both local and foreign ones operating here, are being told to shoulder a bigger burden. Retailers for one can't be happy.
  2. I am strangely fascinated with Olympic curling. Since NBC continued with their dramatic stories form of televised coverage I was lucky to get this (British?) telecast on one of the cable channels which showed tons more sport. The Sweden-Canada women's final was compelling. Of course, it's not really TV-friendly but the telecast suited me just fine.
  3. The Southlands-Morgan's Point situation has turned ugly really, really fast, or at least that's how it appears in the headlines. Most likely the developers have been stewing for a while on the lack of a resolution and right now nobody's happy at the situation.
  4. I think the BDA Party is getting there, but needs to step it up even more. Right now they're still not at the level needed to realistically challenge the PLP in an election, rather they're just splitting the old UBP support block. Swing voters overall still have to be convinced that they're truly viable.
  5. Kellon Hill's murder looks more and more like a situation where justice won't be achieved in the courts. I feel terrible for his family and friends.
  6. Avoid Lindo's supermarket in Warwick on Saturday afternoons. Checkout lines extending into the aisles. Maddening... although it beats MarketPlace in town on Wednesdays easily.
  7. Global catastrophes seem to be more frequent or immiment nowadays. It's scary to think that disaster is potentially so close.
  8. We need more hangars at home. Yeah, throwing a *really* random thought out there.
  9. I cannot recall the last time I went to a local movie theatre. I guess it's sad, but either there's no "must see now" movies out there or the prices have just gone past high and into crazy territory. At least Specialty/Little sells nachos now, right?
  10. Babies at home reduce your sleep allotments, test your resolve when they pee everywhere and can possibly cause more stress,... but I won't trade him for anything.


Getting food at KEMH

Got to experience a bit of the hospital over the past couple of weeks. You hear both horror stories and tales of enjoyment, but at the end I have a few observations as a relatively frequent visitor:
  1. No way the front desk should be 'closed' at 8:30pm. Having everyone routed to the emergency department entrance at night just seems out-of-place for some reason. At the very least, put a sign up in the lobby so I don't go all the way up to the electronic sliding doors for them to not activate but instead mock and laugh at me.
  2. I was stunned to find out that not only does the hospital cafeteria close at 12pm on Sunday, there's no vending machine or anything else in the area where a visitor can get a beverage or light snack. This is 2010 and Bermuda used to be a developed country.
  3. Whoever commissions the toilets there, two things - firstly they gotta raise the seats, but secondly they need to install whatever motor is propelling the flushing action in our house. Like a jet engine.
  4. Most importantly, the nurses and staff working in the SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) have been an absolute joy to talk with and get information from. They've helped to make our time there so much more pleasant with their encouragement, professionalism and care.
I'm not sure if the talks about the replacement hospital have fallen off the country's radar but I hope it's addressed again in the near future because I think the environment there could use improvement from an infrastructure and facilities point of view.

What about the Causeway

Read a short piece by Vexed Bermoothes today relating to the Causeway here. Essentially, it's the only way for people to get from the mainland to the Airport and St. George's, and vice versa. The powers that be have had to close access to it a few times recently due to high winds and storm.

The discussion on a replacement or enhancement to the Causeway has been going on (and off and on) for quite a few years now, with nothing close to a concrete plan being determined. But according to the VB post that I linked to earlier, plans are going to be soon revealed by Government. The website created for this initiative looks to be pretty informative.

Vexed rightly points out potential issues from a spending and financing point of view, for me, the idea that they may choose to bypass the existing location of the causeway and instead go through Coney Island and potentially Ferry Reach, that's quite surprising. And almost certainly, something that would not be appreciated by the owners of Swizzle Inn, Bailey's Ice Cream Parlour, and Blue Hole Shell gas station.


About the Lindo's TV commercials

You know, Lindo's supermarket in Bermuda have gotten a fairly good reputation for witty and clever TV commercials over the years (by local standards, of course).

However, for some reason the producers continue to have the microphones for the actors in the most obvious and visible places ever. Such as these two:


Surely they could hide them to give them a bit of a realistic appearance?

There's also one not yet online where there's not only the obvious mic attached to the collars of the actors, but if you look at one guy's shades you can see the reflection of the video camera operator. Sigh. Pity.


Where I've been

World events, local issues, politics, community, crime, I've put off (for the most part) in great detail over the past few weeks.

When you become a parent, all other things tend to pale by comparison, at least for the first several days. There are few awe-inspiring moments (and right now I can't think of a single one) that can match watching your son emerge into this world.

He was born a few weeks before due date, so right now we're still in the "wait for him to put on some weight" stage and have to visit the hospital often to see him and get some quality time in as far as interacting and making those bonds with.

It's great though, to be a proud dad.


Drinking in school uniform

The other day I was a bit perplexed. Was on the ferry heading out from town and at Albouys' Point I saw a bunch of fellas congregated around the benches. It's the norm at that time of day for there to be quite a few. They tend to do the usual; talk, smoke, drink out of paper bags.

Then it was pointed out to me that one of the persons was wearing a school uniform.

In broad daylight.

Even weirder, of all the drinks that this wannabe tough guy was chugging before taking the arm of some young girl and walking off, it was a freakin Blue WKD. To each their own, naturally, but you'd expect the beverage of choice being passed around to be a Heineken or even an Amstel Light.

Back in my day (yes I'm sounding old), the kids who snuck beers or cigarettes, took pains to ensure that nobody could see them when they were drinking or smoking. After all, you could get into serious trouble with both the school *and* your parents if caught (not to mention the law).

Well, now we have a schoolkid in plain view of dozens at Albouy's Point and the Ferry Terminal chugging one back.

Quo Fata Ferunt.


Help Haiti if you can

I can't add anything to what the major news outlets have already covered, concerning the tragic earthquake that struck Haiti earlier this week.

But imagine.

Estimated 50,000 people dead.

It's nothing short of a tragedy. And we need to try to help as best we can.

As far as I'm concerned, anybody who can browse to this site, surely has the capacity to show and demonstrate compassion and generosity. Please donate if you can, to the Red Cross in your area or other organisations that can provide aid to this impoverished nation.

These are our fellow human beings.


More of the same sad news

Both our road fatality count and the gun shooting count have increased by one.

It's still January. My last post is already outdated.

And we have to add the reported shooting attempt the other day in Somerset, and the multiple serious traffic collisions recently.

Vexed Bermoothes believes that much of this can be traced to the erosion of the nuclear, two-parent, family. Kids aren't being raised as well as they could be, the influence of community and church is dimished greatly, and the fundamentals of being a productive citizen aren't learned.

I think there's great merit to this line of thought.

Red lights in Bermuda are just a suggestion (VII)

I haven't been on the bike much lately, but got me another example of the blatant breaking and don't-care attitude of our traffic laws - bike, 141 AJ, not only goes through the red on Burnaby to merge into Front Street traffic, but then proceeds to overtake cars on the inside.

Life goes on, I guess.


A LttE complaining about a TV commercial's impact

This is confusing.

According to this Gazette LttE, the letter writer firstly *admits* that they don't pay attention to TV commercials.

So CADA airs a public awareness announcement (it's basically an old 'commercial' that was produced by MTV, with different background song and labelling at the end) about drunk driving and it successfully served the purpose of catching his attention, and now he's complaining about the 'shock value'?

What the hell?

We need a little shock factor in our system, since our society is so damn apathetic to the dangers of driving while drunk. And since the only time most Bermudians are watching the same program is usually the Y&R-evening news-Oprah block, this is the best time to drive home the point to the general population at once.

Shoot, by this one single event and response, CADA has totally trumped everything that the Road Safety Council has. Well done.

Besides, young people aren't going to be traumatized by seeing someone wet their pants. Hell, it may actually stimulate conversation between the kids and their parents! As for a *gasp* thong on the air, there are surely more unpleasant things that come on the air before and afterwards. Substitute the thong shot with the proverbial "plumber's crack" and it's the same effect.

But perhaps he'd be happier if they just put up some happy smiley face telling the island to "just say no" to drinking and driving. Then he and the other 'average joes' can continue to ignore the commercials as usual.

Hit and run on a pedestrian crossing

Continuing the theme of lawlessness in the New Year, the Gazette reported on a pedestrian getting hit (first reported on ZBM) while *on a crosswalk* while the person who struck her *continued to drive on*.

I hope Mrs. Holder makes a speedy and successful recovery from this incident.

The person who drove the car ought to be dreadfully ashamed of himself for a myriad of reasons, primarily the total disrespect for a fellow human being that he injured.

Disgusting and detestable.

I hope they find him, name him and shame him, and lock him up for a long time.

I have to admire the husband who's shown great compassion and capability to forgive; he's made of far stronger stuff than the average person.


Thieves are SCUM

Serves me right for riding my bike to the ferry stop at Darrell's Wharf, I suppose. In this current climate, people will be lawless and will seize any opportunity to get something for themselves, regardless of how it negatively affects other people.

After getting off the ferry this evening, turns out someone stole BOTH (selfish twat, couldn't even save one for me) of my mirrors and may have been trying to take more than that.

Now this is the second time my bike's been tampered with (the first time, some scumbag hot-wired it for a joy-ride) but it doesn't lessen the anger at the low-lifes the second time around. On top of that, this incident has the additional effects of:
  • making me not want to use the bike, instead getting a car and add to the traffic and parking issues
  • turning me off from using public transport, because the parking bays of course have no security
Anyway, I have no sympathy for thieves and think they all deserve locking up. They disgust me.

Not off to a good start to the year, Bermuda

One road death, and one murder by gunfire.

Bermuda has work to do.