“Montreal -40C”; ‘Trompe l’oeil ‘ (2006)
1) The First Three News Stories On ABC: World News Tonight, 6.30pm 02/05/07:
A) Bitter Cold Snap: Fifty-eight straight hours of sub-zero weather across the American mid-West, including a wind chilled -32 in Minnesota. Two feet of snow fell in the same period in Buffalo, New York. Emergency workers were finding people “at risk” (which is a nice euphemism for “not quite poor enough to qualify as homeless”) whose heat had been turned off for delinquent payments, or whose pipes had burst from the cold and flooded their homes. The only ones they were able to find, surprise, were black families and the elderly. In Ontario (Canada) it is illegal to shut the heat off, for any reason, as long as the landlord is responsible for the heat payments. I’m reasonably certain that it’s just plain illegal to turn the heat off during the winter period, it’s considered “an essential service“.
B) President Bush Requests $2.9 Trillion In New Spending: Defense spending would increase by 16%, he’s asking for $163 Billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year, and another $142 Billion next year. To date the two wars have cost, in dollars, $532 Billion. A US Congressmen used a chart to emphasize former Sec.Def. Rumsfelds promise the Iraq expedition would never cost more than $50 Billion. The spending announcement also came with a cutback announcement…Medicare and Medicaid will both be cutback this year and next. There were also some not-so-vague hints that more and larger cuts to social programs are coming. President Bush was then quoted as saying “there will be no tax increases and the budget will be balanced over the next five years.” In a weird side note that was left as either a note of irony by the reporter, or just dropped and forgotten, apparently the budget can only be balanced if “war spending” is decreased to $50 Billion by 2009. So either the Americans finally have an exit strategy or Rumsfeld’s running the budget office.
C) Senate Resolution On Iraq Filibustered: The Democrats want the Republicans to look like fascist assholes, the Republicans want the Democrats to look like commie fuckups. It’s a non-binding resolution that means nothing today, but later on someone can fill four-seconds of a thirty-second campaign ad that 20% of Americans will watch, but will not sway one voter to change sides.
2) The First Three News Stories On PBS: The News Hour With Jim Lehrer, 7pm 02/05/07:
A) Baghdad Security Clampdown: 90,000 American and Iraqi troops started to move into Baghdad in an effort to finally stabilize the city. An American general said “this will be [the largest operation] this city has ever seen.” The report went on to say it’s estimated more than 1000 Iraqi civilians were killed in “sectarian violence” last week, including 132 in a suicide truck-bomb on the weekend. President Bush was then quoted as saying “it’s a good thing that there’s a desire on the Iraqi government’s part to fix this.”
B) Soldiers Killed: Two American soldiers were reported to have been killed on Sunday, a British soldier was also killed.
C) Resolution Again: More aboot that non-binding thing.
3) The First Three News Stories On CBC: The National, 10pm 02/05/07:
A) Two Firemen Killed In Winnipeg Fire: Two firefighters were killed when a house fire flared out of control. Six firemen were trapped in the blaze, three escaped relatively unharmed with another receiving “life threatening” injuries. The two firemen who died were both thirty-year veterans. There was something called a “flashover event” where the intense heat, over 1000C, ignited the ambient gases and caused a super-intense and prolonged ball of flames. The firemen were in the home searching for residents.
B) Man Who Planned Canadian Diplomats Death Detained: Last year a suicide bomber in Khandahar, Afghanistan, killed Glynn Berry, a Canadian diplomat and critically wounded four of the Canadian soldiers detailed to protect him. The car was owned by a man named ‘Pir Mohammed‘, who was later found with a stash of heavy weapons and Taliban paraphernalia in his home. Soon after his arrest he was released due to pressure from “tribal elders”. This time he was arrested and brought to Kabul. In an interview with a CBC reporter Pir said that he had sold the car, but had no papers to prove it. An “elder” was also quoted as saying Pir bought and sold cars as a living. Pir also said he expects renewed pressure from “elders” will have him back out on the streets soon.
C) More Canadians Caught Up In Mexican Violence:Two Canadians were shot over the weekend while on vacation in Mexico. Neither were seriously wounded. Last year two Canadians were murdered in their hotel room, and just a few weeks ago a young man was “run over” outside a night club. There have been just enough screw-ups and shit work by the coroners in Mexico to leave a lot of questions in both of the later cases. Mexico is currently the number one “sun and fun” destination for Canadians.
4) The First Three News Stories On CTV: The National, 10pm 02/05/07:
A) Two Firemen Killed In Winnipeg Fire: Just tragic.
B) It Was Cold: CTV used exactly the same footage of American rescue people looking for shut-ins and poor people, but they spent more time on the Canadian part of the story… according to the CTV weather dude it was -49C in Winnipeg today, which is not a record.
C) Dude Steals Van With Kid Still Inside: I think this happened down around Toronto… guy steals minivan (which are really popular in Canada), then crashes it into a post, then steals another nearby car. Kid’s safe, thief got away.
If you find a broken link, or the YouTube stuff isn’t loading
properly, let me know and I’ll find an alternative…
I’m Canadian, it’s what we do. Off the ice.
Over here, England and Wales had a “massive” 3.5 inches this morning. Oh how you Canadians must be laughing as our entire neighbouring nation grinds to a halt.
Its coming for Scotland at the weekend but like you guys we are more used to it. We just shrug and wrap up and use it as an excuse for snuggling.
Over in the UK they can only disconnect if they get a court order but our power companies have a habit of making the poorest use powercard meters (which need to be fed with tokens bought with money)
This leads to many “unoffical” self-disconnections.
There is fuel poverty legislation in place meant to prevent it but generally the most vulnerable people don’t know this.
Much of my time in the winter, as a Housing Advice worker, was spent on the phone to the power companies trying to persuade them that they where in breach of this law by, for instance forcing alcoholics to go onto token meters (in effect cutting off their power supply, on the basis that their illness means they will spend there money on drink rather than fuel and will not fill their meters)
Powercard meters? Holy crap… talk aboot trying to score a few pennies off the most vulnerable during the worst time of the year… are the power companies in Scotland/UK/Britain private? They’ve been playing with the idea of turning Ontario Hydro into a private company but they dicked around and did a little bit here and a smidge more there and now it’s a Frankenstein.
The generation is still Provincial (www.opg.com/index.asp), the distribution is now mostly private (www.hydroone.com/), but the price is still set by the Province.
If someone in Ontario can’t pay for their own heat, and the lease says the landlord is not responsbile, the heat stays on until the Spring, then it’s shut off and the tenent is liable for any charges racked up during the winter months… that’s my understanding of the law.
That “token” thing is just fucked.
Back in aboot 1992 there was this house some friends and myself took over in Ottawa… we were all either too stupid to have the heat hooked up, or we didn’t have the proper financials or we just couldn’t find the number… whatever. There was a mostly ornamental fireplace in the livingroom, but we had no wood. So we stole chopped wood from the neighbours for a few months. Then they wised up and started putting out tarps and chains to protect their wood supply. So we went into a nearby park and stole three picnic tables and put them out in the backyard… kept us going for almost the entire winter.
If Toronto or Vancouver had received three inches of snow in one storm both cities would have collapsed into anarchic riots. Vancouver’s basically a rain forest climate. Toronto is basically New York City-lite. Neither city gets the average “Canadian-style weather” very often. I believe Toronto and London (UK) would be pretty similar. But, yes, unless you’re living in Russia or Mongolia you can pretty much take it for granted that we’re laughing at you when you complain aboot snow and/or cold.
Don’t forget about the planks that the landlord left to build the deck in the spring, that we buzzed up with the circular saw that we found in the garage…. or attempting to heat the house utilizing the Oven on 600 degrees, leaving the stove door open, all huddled in the kitchen until the stove wouldn’t work anymore, and we had to cook all the meals on a hot plate… funny how I was telling the same story today. Ahhh Sc*tt and Fr*ank, at least we had the SEGA 16 bit, freezing our asses off playing hockey… yelling “I’m gonna make Gretzky Bleed!!!”
Fuck. Ing. Funny. Christ… Sega. Remember when Fr*nk was up by four goals with, like, 45 seconds to go in the third and I won by two? Or was it four..? Or when someone, maybe Sc*tt, jammed a board into the fire while we were all asleep, and while it was burning more than half of it was still on the floor… either I woke up, or it was Fr*nk and he woke me up, but the room was filled with smoke and the board had burnt all the way to the stone mantle… good times. Cheap smokes.
Yeah our power companies were all privatised years ago. Thankyou Thatcher for that one. One of the worst bits of government “progressiveness” ever witnessed.
Had we had the Scottish Parliament in those days I think it may not have gone through up here (we only had the one power company in Scotland for many years anyway)
On a better note we just switched on Wind Turbines today which brings our total wind energy output to the one millionth home so I guess that is good.
I think I saw some of those turbines in 28 Days Later… didn’t the director digitally alter the British highway to include Scottish turbines? Something like that. Ontario is mostly nuclear with some coal-fired plants, Quebec and Newfoundland are pretty much all hydroelectric… I’m not sure aboot the others. I know most of the provices are talking aboot moving more energy production to wind and solar, but it’s pretty slow (ten provinces, eleven governments). In the meantime Ontario’s expanding its nuclear option.
I spoke to someone with a rental property last night and she was saying it’s pretty much impossible to evict someone based on non-payments of any kind in Ontario. She had a tenent a couple of years ago who stopped paying altogether… she had to get Ontario Hydro to put a “limiter” on the meter so the tenent could only use a few electric devices at a time… if the toaster was on the lights had to be off, that kind of thing… it worked.
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