Bring some measured thought for 2014

That's all I hope happens here in 2014. After more of the same, yet again, in Bermuda by the powers that be (as well as the common man), we just need to walk the walk.

Stop the silly games, show empathy and consideration for each other and be willing to collaborate.

I'd be lying if I was optimistic of it all, but who knows. We're due a pleasant surprise, I imagination.


New Bermuda political blog

Looks like a new blog is on the scene (in time for the holiday season). It's known as Bermuda Independent, and I presume that the title has to do with comparing itself to current media and or referencing itself as free from political bias, as opposed to seeking actual independence for the country, heh.

But anyway, always nice to see a new blog on the Bermuda scene. Blogging is not yet an outdated communication mechanism in Bermuda, thank goodness.


The wrong audience for talking about gang violence

It's all well and good for church leaders and politicians and the like to have special services in their environments to talk about returning to old-time values and principles, in order to reduce crimes in the community, particularly violence.

However, they all too often are figuratively, and apparently now *literally* preaching to the choir.

How about going out to those men and women in their areas and having heart-to-hearts and discussions on 'their turf'? If they're truly influential community leaders, then it shouldn't be any problem at all to get time to spend with those at risk of falling into illegal and dangerous behaviours.

After all, the chances of those already in the cycle of crime, attending those churches, or even watching the TV broadcasts of those services afterwards, is zero. Take it to the streets, take it to the people.


The OBA flip-flops again

It's official.

The One Bermuda Alliance, in another sign of being reactive instead of thorough planning, has done another about-face on a planned policy.

They are now officially full of crap, and have lost any sense of trust by myself.


Political cartoon 'uproar'

On ZBM TV news last night, two government senators took offense to a political cartoon in the daily which accompanied an article about popularity ratings of politicians, because the Premier was depicted in overalls and holding a clipboard, while two other politicians were shown in ties (the fourth, was in shirt and Bermuda shorts).

The claims varied from being offensive, inappropriate and potentially racist.

And because stupidity knows no bounds, it was politicians from *both* sides of the aisle who took offense.

One thing that I've understood as politicians is that you ought to have a thick skin or you'll never survive in that atmosphere. Yet, whenever it comes to things as simple as political cartoons, politicians act as if they were shown hanging from a tree or something equally nefarious.

It's overalls. God.

I don't have the archive to go through but it would be safe to presume that each of the individual cartoon images were pulled from separate cartoons drawn up in the recent past. The one of the Premier must have been from one where he was getting down to work, while the others may be of some business-type meeting.

And even so. If you, as a politician, are taking offense to a depiction of the Premier, or any politician, wearing garb that shows him as working (I think carpenter, but it could be bricklayer or painter or plumber), then you need to get a damn grip.

Hell, we need more carpenter/plumber/electrician types in Parliament in the first place, and less strutting suits. People willing to get down in the trenches instead of preaching silly things like political cartoons. Shame on them.


Another way to phrase the gambling question

"Do you favour the introduction of regulated casino gaming for the purposes of increasing the risk of gambling addiction and social turmoil?"

BEST or one of the amalgamated church factions should get the jump on the OBA with this one, I imagine.


A naive OBA?

I wonder if the ruling OBA party are aware of how much doubt a large section of the population have in the party's capacity and capability to lead.

For a group whose most significant function this year has been the equivalent of calling a manager's meeting, they seem awfully naive to the realities of what "painful decisions" are.

We get it, they (and this goes for the other political party, too) don't favour polls that show your team in a negative light. We get that they would rather be seen as the group that focuses more on getting things solved. Problem is that the OBA is coming across as doing neither; neither making the voting public happy or encouraged nor making the so-called tough decisions.

Frankly, and the collection of OBA fanatics posting on Bernews and the RG would be in total uproar at this possibility, I agree 100% that if an election was held today, the OBA would not only lose control of government, they'd lose by a significant margin of seats.

It should not have taken nearly a full calendar year to address issues like expanding gambling (that's what it is, not "gaming"), for example.

Get the tough stuff sorted out, and show the people why X, Y, and Z will benefit Bermuda, without coming across as dictatorial (or the other extreme: wishy-washy), and the average swing voter will appreciate it.


Ha ha ha ha (scam)

Salam & Greetings:

I am interested in building a hotel in your Bermuda. I need you as a consultant, guardian and supervisor. I have my hotel plan drawn already by my architect. If you are willing to work with me on a confidential funds transfer from my country to execute this project, then we can build this hotel. Please reply for more details.

Mr. S. A
Ha ha ha ha ha ha...


The biggest (legitimate) scam in Bermuda

Which is it, Bermudians?
  • The ISPs
  • The cell phone providers
  • Belco
  • The local insurance companies
... or all of the above?

These recession-proof businesses have been laughing their way to the bank for so long it's a bit sad.

Edited to add that I've posed this poll off-site at BIAW. Have a look at the results.


Keep trying, scammers

Whoever it is that keeps trying to masquerade as a Bermuda bank seeking account verification here, they're a persistent bugger.

Today's one alerts me that my account is listed for suspension (the horror):
"Please be informed that your account has been listed for suspension and may be disabled if you do not activate now. Some errors were discovered in your account. For security reasons, you are now required to have your account activated immediately"
Kindly proceed to activate below.
[Link removed]Yours sincerely,
Capital G
© 2013 Capital G
All 'official-looking', and that. heh. They couldn't even be bothered to copy the company logo into the mail this time around. Getting soft.

All jokes aside, and I'm probably preaching to the choir (or lack thereof) again, these kinds of things are scams, don't click on links in the messages, don't reply to the message originator.


You can't privatise Bermuda's bus service

One thing that often comes up when it comes to government cost-cutting, is allowing certain services to go into the private sector, with the belief that the private sector would find ways to run the service more efficiently and more profitable.

Problem is, that there are certain services that shouldn't be expected to be profitable. Minimise losses, sure.

Healthcare, postal services, trash collection and public transportation are often mention as suitable services to be run independent of government influence. Each of the above have great value to our community, but it's difficult to envision a system of privatisation of either that wouldn't immediately lead to a loss of service.

Throw healthcare out of the discussion immediately; this community is too small to sustain any semblance of a profitable hospital and support services. And a centralized hospital (and support clinics, etc) with access to all members of the public is essential.

Postal service, perhaps. It may be the least essential of the above-mentioned services, and from one perspective, it could probably be streamlined somehow to be more efficient without cutting service to those who use it most.

Trash collection, well, we've been using twice-a-week trash collection for several years now, and with the amount of trash that we seem to generate, things like cutting back pickups to once-a-week or a staggered system (e.g. every 4/5 days) wouldn't find favour with several residents. Would people be willing to subscribe to a privatised trash collection service? Could be something worth listening to if some budding entrepreneur had suggestions and a sound business plan.

And of course, the bus and ferry system. What's hilarious is that most of the people who advocate privatisation of public transport appear to have no experience whatsoever with actually using buses or ferries, nor any semblance of reliance on them for any period of time.

Let's say that buses and ferries are all sold or distributed to a private enterprise. The first thing that the new owners will do is streamline routes. Face it, some routes get far less volume than others. So bye-bye, #4 Spanish Point route. Hope you're happy with one bus in the morning and one in the evening. Similar story for the #2 Ord Road, #5 Pond Hill, #6 St. David's. Senior citizens and other disabled persons on those routes? Sorry, but you can call a taxi or maybe pay triple fare on those misnamed "minibuses" (really, hired vans). Weekends on those routes? Ha. Good luck with that. And don't chuckle, folks on the #1, #3 and #9 routes. You think it sucks being cut off after 6:15pm? Try 5:45. Then you're stuck with a cab or bust.

The point is that service would become so drastically cut on a privatised bus system, along with a major hiking of rates, that the bus system (and ferries, for that matter) would cease to become anything of worth whatsoever. It's just not that easy.

I haven't even brought up the very real issue of deliberating and arrangements with the workers' unions involved. That would pose a major challenge to any initiative even if it was green-lighted by the powers that be. I think that the proposed schedule adjustments submitted to them are a decade old and not acted on. Wonder if the new Transport Minister has even looked at it, much less acknowledged it. Doubtful. But that's another topic.

Newsmedia and watermarking overload

Now I've seen everything.
Local online media outlet Bernews has a story up about a petition.

No joke, they've taken a photo of the petition and put their company watermark on it. A photograph of a printout. Or possibly a scan of a printout.

Mind you, further down there's a photo of the building at the centre of the issue, but no company watermark. Weirdness abounds.


Turn signals optional

I do wish, someday, that the majority of motorists in Bermuda would actually use their turn indicators. When did using a turn signal stop being mandatory and become more of a suggestion?

Just reason #11 that there's so much dang road rage and dangerous driving conditions on this little island.


The PRS, music and Bermuda

A UK-based group called the Performance Rights Society has recently put Bermuda in its crosshairs; under the intention of ensuring musicians are paid for the broadcast of their performances, they're advising local businesses that they will need to pay a particular licence fee.

Let the web of copyright, broadcasting and who's to pay who, begin. Perry Footwear, I'm sure you're on notice already.

Just what we needed, of course - watch the grocery stores, who sometimes air music while people shop, then have to pay a few thousand bucks to this PRS, and then to make up the shortfall, impose further hikes on their produce.

I wonder if that church group that plays that ominous theme you always hear in movie trailers, is also subject to paying royalties...


Gay rights discussions: Why do people get bent out of shape?

I don't think there is any topic that generates more online discussion than gay rights issues. This isn't just a Bermuda issue, as I've seen it in discussion boards based in other regions. Why is it?

Is it because it brings in the religious crowd, the politicians seeking votes and every Tom, Dick and Harry with their own interpretation of moral standards or the Golden Rule?

Politics, wars, community violence, heck, even celebrity 'news' pales in comparison. If someone prominent in society comments on gay folk, people en masse will pile on the debate (or chaos, whichever term you prefer to apply).

All I know is that my hit count would quadruple if I started a post with Leviticus 11 (18? 20?... oh, whatever chapter the 'abomination text' resides in...)


Gambling is already legal in Bermuda

While the current government hems and haws and pretty much remains ineffective, the issue of legalising 'gaming' remains stuck in neutral.

Yes, the OBA painted themselves into a corner by pledging to a referendum which at this time, I'd imagine would fail to pass; however by sitting on their hands instead of at least doing *something*, they're only frustrating the public.

At least former Premier Alex Scott tried to get the ball rolling on discussions for Independence, despite the majority of the public appearing to be against the motion. If the issue of tourism revitalisation is so critical for Bermuda, one would think that after over 6 months in office, something would have started. No Town Halls, debates, nada. Just random soundbites from a few MPs (that may or may not contradict each other as it is). The Green Paper rolled out during the last administration is more than a few years old already.

Just get the ball rolling, and end the uncertainty.

With regard to gambling itself, I've already come out in support of ending the ban on gambling that doesn't fit Bermuda's current exceptions list, because really. There is no difference whatsoever between blackjack and poker tables in a licensed venue and blackjack and poker tables in a fundraiser environment. You put in money, you 'hope' to win rewards, the house comes out on top in most cases. There is no fundamental difference at all.

I can walk to Seahorses, Triple Crown or GameTime and gamble all day on horse racing. I can go to a church hall or club anytime and spend the whole evening putting in cash playing Bingo with the hopes of landing rewards. I could go on the Web and play online poker at any time. So if there's concern that gambling will shred the fabric of society and lead to a proliferation of gambling addicts, why haven't those persons spoken out against those establishments? Even once?


How many more...

Many in our community are saddened by the continued violence here. Was reminded of an old tune from Barbadian John King:

Still relevant and poignant today. 


Phishing on overdrive

This is getting ridiculous now.

Seems that it's not just one "company" blitzing my e-mail inbox with junky scams, they're now coming in thick and fast.

"Capital G. Internet Banking." wrote: 

New CGIBS6023 Security:
Dear Valued Customer,
(Please be informed that there was a recent upgrade on our banking  server, all customer account was disabled for verification)
All clients with Current and Savings Account are hereby required to activate their account now.
Activation: http://CGIBS6023[SCAMMY LINK]
"CAPITAL G Internet Banking." wrote:
(Please be informed that there was a recent upgrade on our banking server, all customer account was disabled for verification)
All clients with Current and Savings Account are hereby required to activate their account now.
Proceed with activation:
https://ebanking.capital-g.com/Security.aspx (The text here is correct, but the link behind it points to a scammer)
Lord, scammers are a persistent lot. Don't get tricked, folks.


A Deacon's blog

No, the Bermuda clergy haven't waded into the blogosphere just yet. The former Acting Editor of the Gazette has launched a blog, which ought to provide some useful insights into the goings on around the island from a different point of view.

Looking forward to future postings and musings. Hopefully he won't have to deal with everybody asking him "what happened", "why isn't the paper taking comments" or the like.


Lego Cup Match

Because part of me is still 11 years old, I was inspired to dig up my old Lego collections from the 80s and see if I could come up with a cricket scene for the office Cup Match decorating festivities.

People seemed to enjoy it, I had to do some customisation to produce cricket uniforms for the players but for a first draft at short notice I was pretty happy with the effort. If only Lego wasn't so expensive nowadays, I'd be really enticed to expand on this project in future years. As it is, I'm there are some budding young future engineers and architects in Bermuda that could do a smashing job at creating a miniature Wellington Oval or Somerset Cricket Ground and enter it in those Phoenix Stores competitions they have every year.

Perhaps though, I could add "More lego bricks" to my Christmas list (ahem, for my son, of course... ahem).

A coworker suggested that I go a step further and try to make a video of some of the scenes, but I don't really think I had that kind of time on my hands this year.


The most heralded baby since, who knows when

It is a bit laughable how the birth of one little baby is such a well-publicised event that's drawn fanatics from all over the globe.

It's the sort of mass media madness that we usually only see for disasters and celebrity weddings/funerals.

To me, the hype over someone who someday will likely inherit the title of "His Royal Majesty" is enough to make me want to be a Republican (not to be confused with the US political party).

With all due respect to any family celebrating the birth of their newborn, there are more critical issues facing the everyday man and woman worthy of far more discussion and debate.

Mind you, I chuckled a bit when I read a suggestion that the new 'prince' could be given the name Joffrey.


Another lame scam attempt

One example of a Phishing scam
It's amusing (to me, anyway), to see such lame scams pretending to originate from a local bank. The e-mail address of the sender isn't even from the same domain, the text of the message is pure garbage,... it would be hilarious if I didn't know that at least one or two folks around here would get tricked.

Please, people, do not fall for these kinds of scams. The warning signs are everywhere. Look up the term "phishing" to find out more about how to recognize the scams, and be aware of the dangers involved. One example is provided by Scamwatch.


State of the Blogosphere 2013

Oh, dear. Unfortunately, it's not been great for Bermuda blog owners in recent times. I chalk it up to general burnout, for the most part. Despite a new political party in power, controversial issues rampant on the island (gay rights? Let's rock!) and continued problems such as unemployment and race relations ever-present, we're down to no more than three regularly-active blogs* in Bermuda (this discounts wholly-personal blogs, which aren't covered here).

One could say that the corporate world has won; Bernews and the Royal Gazette don't suffer from a lack of article commentary, and from what I gather, the Facebook groups that discuss issues remain at least somewhat popular in terms of quantity of subscribers/members.

The political parties here seem content to operate their online ventures in a vacuum-of-sorts; the OBA remains isolated to Facebook while the PLP blog continues to operate as a propoganda machine instead of a conveyor of information and suggestions.

However, there's still a place for independent bloggers, I think. As long as popular blogs like Catch-A-Fire remain thriving and relevant (and I see no reason to believe that won't be the case over the next year or two), local blogs still have the opportunity to thrive and become a point of reference for Bermudians in general. We may just have to re-invent, expand and innovate. No, that doesn't mean I'm giving away $1,000 for the next blog comment, in order to get more traffic.

Archived SotBs:
* (Catch-A-Fire, Vexed and Breezeblog)

Buy local, West Indies edition

From Caribbean News Network UK:
"Indian apparel company TK Sports has been confirmed as the exclusive supplier of team apparel for the Caribbean Premier League"
Not shocking, but perhaps disappointing the folks couldn't try and get a local supplier a decent gig instead?


Damn cellphone-using drivers

While on the bus this afternoon, saw a woman, cellphone glued to ear and chatting along, drove her car right into traffic near the Fire Station, forcing the bus to stop suddenly. Up to now, she has no freaking clue how close she came to getting herself run over by a far larger vehicle.

If you happen to come across this, lady driver of white hatchback 20111, you need to change your dangerous habit immediately.

I guess Bermuda and the authorities here still have a long way to go with regard to changing their driving cultures. Because for what it's worth, we saw a woman near Trimingham Hill roundabout do a similar thing, this time texting on her Blackberry (keeping it out of sight? Nice try, lady).

Stop the freaking madness, Bermuda.


Dirty Bermudians

In the "You know what really grinds my gears" edition...

Picture this. Bus shelter. Well shaded. Trash cans in plain view. Yet we find empty plastic bottles, containers and used napkins scattered underneath and wedged into the bench and the general area.

I don't care about Bermuda's so-called reputation for cleanliness. We have a bunch of filthy-ass folks living here who just don't give a crap. And it's disgusting.


Bermuda College students and Drugs

Wow. One quarter of students at Bermuda College identified as being current users of cannabis.

What a great message to send to employers that may be looking to take on Bermuda College grads. 

Regardless of what the community at large feels about how harmless the drug is, it's still freaking illegal to use it. Combine that with the high percentage of those claiming to drink alcohol, and I'd be wondering how productive these potential employees could be in a work environment, much less be focused in classes and excel in exams.

On top of that, there's the implication of date rape, as well as the usage of so-called designer drugs, at play here among these students.

I don't know if it would violate invasion of privacy policies, but perhaps Bermuda College should look into drug testing for students, especially since it's at least partially Government-funded (and thus taxpayer-funded) higher education.

As a side note, I wish however, that whoever created the actual report could proof their writing. Reading sentences like "There behaviour was self-reported" makes me cringe. This is supposed to be an official government document, for crying out loud.


Bermuda airport, arrivals and immigration

I know there were several locals who were delighted that the portraits of the (former) Premier and or Minister of Transport were removed from the Airport Arrivals Hall, but for me, all I see now is a wide, dank and empty space. A solitary portrait of the British monarch hangs above a disused fireplace in one corner of the area, and that's it.

Surely, that wall could be enhanced with some kind of Bermuda-themed accessories? Some flags, maybe maps, historical photos,... something?

On another note, it had been a long time since I had the opportunity to fly off and back to the island, and every time I do, I always have to do guesswork on those Customs/Immigration forms. Do I check the strange "claiming change of residence allowance" box or not? And, why don't we have to complete Immigration/Departure forms anymore? Are the airport computer systems setup to gather that information automatically by passport scans these days, or do they simply not bother?

Hate to say it, but this is one time that I wouldn't mind Gov't spending a few bucks on a TV ad promotional campaign to help us figure out the new system with its quirks and whatnots.


Heroes' Day revisited, again

A couple of years ago I addressed the farce that was the handling of the new National Heroes' Day holiday by the government.

I wasn't alone. The Gazette's then-editor weighed in on the craziness back in Setember 2010, and it was pretty clear that the thought that the selection panel was too heavily weighted with politicians (from a single party, even) was a shared one. Essentially, government owned the entire decision-making process instead of the people. Hell I *still* don't know what they meant by "it did not work" with regard to having people who weren't politicians involved with the selection process.

Anyway, we have four selected National Heroes already cemented, for better or worse. How I would go about enhancing/revamping/overhauling this:

Immediately break up whatever current committee exists and start fresh.
Appoint a seven-member group to handle the next nomination and selection process. No more than one active politician from either political party can be represented. It would be pretty awesome if both parties declined that particular invite, to be fair (albeit unlikely). The remaining 5 (or more) can be determined by mutual agreement of the Premier and Opposition Leader, the Governor on advice from said leaders or the Independent Senators.  As mentioned previously, we should have a collection of historians, scholars, researchers and others with knowledge of the historical accomplishments (which could include present-day activities, of course) in all fields of Bermuda. Therefore, you could have those with great accomplishments in literature, sports, the environment, science, education, all being considered at the same level as your typical politician-types.

I've been weighing up the pros and cons of a public vote on the finalists; I tend to lean against it only because I don't think the majority of Bermudians (myself most certainly included!) would have more than a passing interest or knowledge of the various candidates. Even if we did our homework (the excellent site bermudabiographies.com is a very good site to begin), I don't think we'd come close to having the hands-on knowledge of the nominees that the committee would certainly possess, potential biases aside. Rather, the public should be free to suggest, publicly or via written submission, the names of said persons, to the committee for review, and those should certainly be taken into account (for example, if there's overwhelming public support for say, Clyde Best, they should push his name through immediately).

After that, the committee can deliberate and debate amongst themselves. Eventually, they should be able to come up with SIX worthy candidates to add to the four already chosen by their predecessors, it can be announced late in the year. To interject quickly, the announcement can come from the committee itself. Not submitted to a government Minister for approval. Not run by Cabinet for tweaking. Committee has final say, period. The following year, National Heroes Day can be set up for special recognition of the ten chosen heroes. And that's it. No additional members should be considered until ten years have passed. This will allow adequate time for the current crop to get full recognition, signage, inclusion on murals, buildings, public parks, etc. After ten years, if Bermuda so wishes/needs, the committee can reconvene (with new members if needed) and we can go through the process for a next group of FIVE. We shouldn't have to go through this process every single year, it's a waste of time and money when it can be done thoroughly and efficiently once every ten years.

I don't know if the new Government has Heroes' Day on its immediate agenda, it's not as critical an issue as employment, the economy, education and crime, of course. But I'd be happy if they at least took some steps to get rid of the ad-hoc, amateurish setup of the current process, and put in place a process that is clean, professional and one that Bermudians can be happy about.


Free Burial Plots

Saw the below ad on a newspaper site the other day:
So morbid, it made me chuckle...


Polls, the Unscientific Study

Well, this is interesting. In the wake of what is uncreatively titled as 'JetGate' in Bermuda, the two newspapers put up similarly-themed polls on their website.

Admittedly, the questions aren't identical, and there may be subtle language in one or both of the questions to lead an independent respondent to favour one response or another, but I'm not an analyst. For all intensive purposes, the polls are similar in scope in my opinion to warrant the same kind of result, which they clearly do not (see below):

The Gazette:
RG Poll
The Bda Sun:
Bda Sun Poll
It's pretty amazing that the results of these polls don't match up at all with each other. It also enhances claims that Bermudians may also be divided on which newsmedia they support, and how it may corroborate also with political leanings of each site's viewers.


Gambling in Bermuda, again

One of the things that bugs me the most about our antiquated laws regarding gambling is how Bermuda seems to pick-and-choose which particular aspects of games of chance are deemed to be legal and perfectly acceptable.
  • Poker? Nope.
  • Bingo? Yes.
  • Roulette? Nope.
  • Roulette at a Fair? Yes.
  • Slot machines? Nope.
  • Raffle tickets? Yes.
  • National Lotteries? Nope.
  • Betting on overseas horse races at various establishments? Yes.
  • Crown And Anchor? Depends on the day of year, and the venue. Sheesh.
Why the government feels obligated to legislate 'morality' is both silly and hypocritical. Appease the church lobby and perceived huge voting block? Almost certainly. But it doesn't change the fact that the above contradictions exist.

Bermuda missed the boat on not only a national lottery with revenue being used for either sports, charities or the impoverished, but also the poker tournament craze. Either of these had the potential to be a revenue stream for Bermuda (the latter serving as a tourism-boosting product, of course). I'm neither here nor there about the casino option; if the hotels wanted it, fine, but what about those bars/restaurants that used to have slot machines that were later confiscated? Surely it would be hypocritical to allow hotels to do it but not regular bars/restaurants? Anyway, I digress.

So here we are, another decade later, and the government considering a referendum to allow (only) casino-style gambling establishments to be implemented.

And if the proposed bill is anything like the crazy crap that turned a simple cell phone use while driving law into a convoluted, legal hole-picking misconstruction of a 'policy', we're in for some more crazy crap, with accusations of collusion, favour-dealing and other chicanery ready at the launch.


Naughty newspaper, naughty!

First it was the 'Combined Opposition', now the daily paper is being labelled by PLP supporters as 'North Korea style'...

Some things never change, when it comes to perceptions of news media in Bermuda.


Webbing from back in the day

Dear lord. I went to the Way Back Machine website on a whim because I wanted to see what crazy silliness I put up when I thought I knew how to design a website.

Again,... dear... lord. And no, I'm not going to share with you the original URL from my 'DAG on the Web' days of '99. Only long-time followers of my exploits (of whom I imagine have all forgotten the URL anyway) would be able to guess at it, at best. But try out a site like Pepsi or McDonald's to see their not-so-sharp beginnings on the Web.

But because I'm not a complete arse about the 'early days', I'll show you some screenshots.

Yes, that's an animated gif at bottom-right. Made with GIF Construction Set. Totally hip. Note too the frames. Good news is that I provided a non-frames version of the site. This was back when I thought many people still used Lynx browsers or something.

My circa 2001 site had a splash page complete with Java applet. Can't recall what it was supposed to do, though.

In 2002, I think I started pseudo-blogging. For some reason I still thought white-on-black was bleeding-edge stuff. To the left, I think was one of those web counters in vogue during that time. Thank the Lord that trend died off.

My last page before migrating to BeachLime, extremely minimal at this point. Yes, I rode that weird collage graphic on the right-side the entire time.

But think about this: before even these variations were around, I had a typical faux 90s-cool site, white text on black background, colored 'divider lines', and yes, the dreaded Under Construction logo. This one...

At least it was relatively small. Completely high-tech.


The grocery bag suggestions

Several years ago I was in a London supermarket, and at checkout I was more than a bit surprised that the store didn't automatically supply bags to carry your purchases out, rather you had a chance to purchase x-amount of plastic bags after which you could then fill them with your purchases and leave the store.
On reflection now, of course, I imagine it was just something that people got used to after it was implemented, and I imagine that the same situation will happen here if Greenrock's proposals to implement a charge-per-plastic bag at local grocery stores comes to fruition.
One of the major issues that many have with this proposal is that it seems a bit misplaced; while many people do indeed use the plastic (and paper, to some extent) bags only a single time, to several others, those bags see reuse. Many a Bermudian has used a paper bag as a text book cover when growing up, for example. Plastic bags can get used in lieu of garbage bags, serve as a form of carrying anything from laundry to food when out and about. I've even seen bags used by people in kite construction.
There's also the argument that the focus is too narrow/wrong in scope. Why attach a cost to a plastic bag and not, say, promote purchases/giveaways of cloth/canvas bags? Or, why not push for a reintroduction of a bottle bill? Lord knows there wouldn't be *any* Heineken or Elephant bottles scattered in the bushes or ditches around here if people knew they could cash them in.
Here's a so-far-undiscussed knock on effect, there are more than a few people, usually school children but sometimes seniors as well, who take on bag-packing duties at grocery stores. They bag your groceries and it's usually customary to offer them a small tip for their service (I think between $1 to $5 or more, depending on volume and how well they groceries are packed). Putting a charge on bags could lead to more people choosing to bag their groceries themselves instead; bag-packers could become in shorter demand. I could be wrong here, but I wouldn't be surprised.
What I expect, despite the current Environment Minister giving his support to the venture, is that public sentiment will discourage Greenrock and the supermarkets from implementing this policy. Bermuda is still in a recession, people are still struggling to make ends meet, and to the public they're seeing it as a literal nickel-and-diming of them. After all, as of this date the online petition has fewer than 400 'signatures', hardly enough to be seen as a significant portion of this country's population.
Interestingly enough, the two print news media have offered support, both the Gazette and the Bermuda Sun have so far contributed positive endorsements for the campaign. That alone, should give the campaign enough legs to keep the issue prominent for a few months, so who knows. Greenrock has some opportunities, perhaps, to sway public opinion in their favour before it's too late. I'd suggest teaming up with one of the major advertisers/promotors on the island (CellOne? Digicel? Lindo's?), have some giveaways (so yes, they'll need to raise some funds) involving reuseable bags, including stations on the grocery store sites themselves. Get people to buy-in, figuratively and possibly literally too.


Space colonies - probably not just yet

Found this bit speculating about colonization of other planets pretty fascinating. Of course it's all purely academic at this time since we can't even get along on Earth without someone wanting to destroy someone else, but nevertheless, one can imagine.