Sunday, April 26, 2015

Denman's New Crossing...The Hahn In The Cable Machine.


We've been writing quite a bit about the exploits of BC Ferries post-Daveyboy CEO Mike Corrigan lately (see here and here).

Which spurred 'scotty from denman' to drop by and remind us that the ferry system that is still (kinda/sorta but maybe not) ours is much more than Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, return:

A large proportion of the Denman Island ferry workers have been offered packages by the dys-management so's, it seems, to be rid of them before the hated cable ferry is launched. There seems to be an increasing number of symptoms of political toxicity affecting the BC Liberals' and their minions at BC Ferries Services Inc, the freakish "privatized"---but not really---public ferry system. BCFS Inc is plainly nervous about its image, purging any potentially disgruntled workers (presumably to be replaced with a few happy, smiling deckhands) whose demeanours might augment those of disgruntled ferry-riders. The Corrigan twaddle is just another symptom. And the Comox Valley Echo newspaper has, a la Black Press' amity for its neo-right government, has (co-incidentally?) fluffed out more puffery by way of staff-writer Drew Penner's April 21 piece on the pending cable-ferry.

Penner shows a modicum of journalistic integrity by acknowledging the cable-ferry "hasn't been the most landmine-free build ever," referring to locals' fury at planned job-cuts (not including the early severances). Despite the BC Liberals' assertion that the ferries are arm's-length and "private", the rest of Penner's piece reads as much like propaganda as it does like advertisement. Perhaps only Islanders will get the irony Penner pens of BC Ferry's cable-ferry rationale to "maintain the same level of service locals have come to expect": fact is Denman and Hornby Islanders have come to expect reduced service like the three sailings recently eliminated, and the highest rate of fare increased of any BC Ferry run. With regard to questions about cable-ferry safety, Penner quotes BC Ferries as saying "We've got a proven track record for safety and reliability," never questioning how that could be before the cable-ferry is even launched. Great advertisement, excellent propaganda, Drew, but journalism? Nuh-uh, not much.

Too bad cuz I was wondering how Transport Canada's gonna certify this run with three of its six deckhands eliminated. I mean, what if there's a vehicle fire halfway across? Is three enough to take care of the fire, the ferry and the passengers all at the same time?

Resort to absurdism is symptomatic of an increasingly self-conscious, nervous government. It would only serve as extra proof if we could be apprised of caucus prayer sessions beseeching that the cable-ferry had better work as billed, and the ferries system in general had better start providing serviceable advertisement and propaganda---this absurdism is plainly getting old.

Thanks, as always, scotty.


My So-Called Obsessive Life.


We've been spending a lot of time in the lab these days working on 'applied' projects.

Which is a long way from the old days where everything was discovery-based.

There are all kinds of differences between the two, the biggest of which is that there is no net underneath the discovery stuff.

There is also no blueprint, which means you really have to be on top of the thing to pull something meaningful out of the hat at the end.

Which is something that gets harder and harder to do if you are an experimentalist and an academic moving towards geezerhood.

Mostly because you increasingly spend parts of your 10,000 hours working on all that non-experimental stuff that academics do. Which is important institutionally, but it is also the kind of stuff that any self-respecting kid sneers at when they are in the throes of total obsession-hood.


We've still got one more pure discovery paper to get out with a former gradual student who was the real driver of the project.

And I'm pretty sure the paper is going to be good.


This weekend I holed up in the subterranean blues room and did my best to get as obsessive as possible in an effort to get the thing ready to send out to the collaborators.

Which I've just done.

And, speaking of kidness and obsessiveness and all that....Boy have I ever listened to a lot of Green Day in the last 36 hours.

Mashed keyboard in image above?....Actually kind of proud of that....Guitar fret fingers!


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saturday Night's Alright For (Uke Cover) Fighting!


First, the Original, by a couple of Bay Area originals...

Next, the Cover, from, as it should be, a kid who is a Rancid fan in her bedroom...

You can see Mr. T. Armstrong and his always and forever DIY band power up the tune that he and B.J. Armstrong wrote more than 20 years ago on a front porch...Here.
Because of this Green Day goes to Cleveland thing...And all that meant for the folks concerned at least... And, because the Geezers are planning to do a new (to us at least) GD tune at next week's gig, I fell down a bit of a Youtube hole earlier today while ostensibly working on the next paper....It's that business of bringing the kids up on stage that Armstrong does...Call it hokie if you like, but stuff like this just slays me...


This Just In: Special To The Globe Announces That BC Ferries CEO Can...

...Jump Sharks In Skates!

Earlier we noted that John Gleeson of the small town Coast Reporter paper let us know that BC Ferries' latest CEO has been doing some most impressive shark jumping regarding the fares up/ridership down issue:

BC Ferries CEO and president Mike Corrigan says the public campaign against high ferry fares is keeping tourists away and could become “a self-fulfilling prophecy” that hurts coastal economies along with the ferry system they rely on...

And do not misunderstand Mr. Corrigan  (who keeps right on jumping over the snapping jaws in Mr. Gleeson's) piece, because he really is implying that it's not the high fares that are decreasing ridership but instead he's flat out making stuff up about how it is people who are trying to roll back the fare increases who are the problem

And then, almost as if from nowhere, a superfine bit of puffed-up puffery in the Globe's 'Report on Business' told us just how great Mr. Corrigan is at his job because he once played junior hockey and now plays beer league hockey.

Or some such thing:

Still an intimidating and skilled hockey player, British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. president and CEO Mike Corrigan knew early that he wanted more than an unpredictable NHL career.

“I didn’t want to be a mediocre hockey player in my late 20s with nothing to fall back on,” said Mr. Corrigan, 53. “As good a junior hockey player that I was, I learned how insignificant you can be in life, fairly quickly.”

Since 2012, Mr. Corrigan has been the head coach at BC Ferries, one of the world’s biggest ferry systems, with 35 vessels, 47 terminals and 184,000 annual sailings that carry 20 million passengers and eight million vehicles. He joined the company in 2003, after being recruited for a job as vice-president of business development from an executive position with Westcoast Energy. “I immersed myself in the business,” he said, admitting he knew little about marine operations. By 2006, he was second-in-charge, as chief operating officer...

Given Mr. Corrigan's meteoric rise through the BC Ferries ranks during the age of the Gold Bricked 'n Laced Parachutist, I figured that even the a 30 paragraph-long puff-piece in the business boosterization supplement to Canada's (so-called) national newspaper would actually have at least an example or two of what actually makes Mr. Corrigan so good at his job.

As such, I searched through the entire 30 graphs and found one, kinda/sorta:

...As chief executive officer, he (Corrigan) remains on 24/7 alert, ready to stick-handle unpredictable events, such as on-board medical emergencies or vessel breakdowns. “The last thing I do at night and the first thing I do in the morning is look at my e-mail,” he said. “I’m more confident knowing than not knowing.”

Mr. Corrigan’s journey from ice to sea has been marked by astute self-awareness, a blue-collar backbone and the smarts to manage $3-billion in capital spending over the next 12 years while taking hits, not from defencemen, but teams of critics who scrutinize ferry fares and executive salaries, shipbuilding contracts and cancelled routes...


There you have it.

Mr. Corrigan is fantastic at his job, despite the 'teams of critics' (like, say, these folks)  who make a fuss about all that icky stuff that really and truly affects how the Ferries are run and how much it costs to run them that the Globe's fluffery pufferiest dared not touch, because...

Wait for it...

He reads his Emails regularly.

Paging Ms. Montgomery.

Given that the Globe's scribe wouldn't go there...Here are reminders about real, actual longterm/systemic problems at the Golden Era's Frankensteinian Floating Baby regarding fares, offshore-built ferries, cancelled routes and executive salaries, none of which the good Mr. Corrigan has done anything significant to correct, either by reading Emails or lacing up the skates, as far as I can tell.
And do you think, per chance, especially with the big proMedia puffery-in-pocket, that maybe the good Mr. Corrigan thought he could bamboozle the little guy from the Coast Reporter into starting up a 'blame the activists' newscycle meme?....Nahhhh...The fine media massage therapists at Ferry Corp. would never try to do something like that.... Right?
Tip O' The Toque to an Anon-O-Mouse on the comment thread attached to the original shark jumping post who gave us a heads up on the ROB puffery....There's a lot of good stuff in that thread, including facts and figures that appear to indicate that this is not the first time that Ms. Corrigan has made statements that are at odds with said facts and figures.


Friday, April 24, 2015

The Thing I Learned Today...


Today I learned that, when it comes to real policemen at least, Don Cherry just might be wrong.

Because, as Travis Gettys writes in Raw Story, a Swedish boy bandish quartet of cops who look to have more in common with Borje Salming and Inge Hammarstrom than Stan Jonathan and Terry O'Reilly can really get the job done.

Without anybody getting hurt:

Four vacationing Swedish police officers helped out after two homeless men began fighting on a New York City subway – and showed it’s possible to subdue violent suspects without hurting them.

The officers — Samuel Kvarzell, Markus Asberg, Eric Jansberger and Erik Naslund — were riding an uptown No. 6 train Wednesday on their way to see “Les Miserables” when they responded to the subway driver’s call for help, reported the New York Post.

A bystander began recording cell phone video after the officers pulled the pair apart.

The video shows one of the brawlers sitting calmly on the floor, flanked by two of the Swedish police officers, while two others kneel on the other man – who is more unruly – to hold him face-down on the floor.

“How do you feel?” one of the officers asks the seated man, who says he feels fine.

The other man struggles, but the pair of officers calmly keep him pinned to the floor.

“I can’t breathe,” he screams, as he rises occasionally from the floor but is unable to escape.

“Take it easy,” one officer repeatedly tells him. “Sir, calm down, OK? Everything is going to be OK.”

The man eventually calms down, and he admits to the officers that he’s not injured after they ask.

The Swedish officers held the men until New York City police could board the train and take them into custody.

“We came just to make sure no one got hurt,” Asberg said. “We were trying to stop the fight.”...

Look, Ma.

No Guns.

Photo credit.... Stefan Jeremiah in the New York Post.


BC Ferry Fares...The Hahn In The Seawest Lounge Machine.


I remember a time, back when the man with the gold brick lined parachute was still in charge, when it was almost impossible to get the BC Liberal government minister kinda/sorta responsible to even consider the possibility that 'fares up = ridership down' was a valid equation.


It would now appear that the current CEO of BC Ferries, Michael Corrigan, has jumped all the sharks in the toll booth.


Because Mr. Corrigan figures the real problem is the fact that folks are actually talking about how high fares are causing less people to take a ferry.


John Gleeson of the Coast Reporter has the story. Here is his lede:

BC Ferries CEO and president Mike Corrigan says the public campaign against high ferry fares is keeping tourists away and could become “a self-fulfilling prophecy” that hurts coastal economies along with the ferry system they rely on.

“At some point in time it becomes almost a pile-on effect,” Corrigan told Coast Reporter in an hour-long interview last week in which he also defended the current BC Ferries business model.

Corrigan said he knows of potential tourists who are avoiding the coastal ferry system due to the negative publicity...


If the good Mr. Corrigan really wants to get some proMedia traction on this latest bit of shim-sham-flimmy-flammy-jambalaya, perhaps he should call up the Keef and offer him a fun-filled plane ride to all the terminals in the realm rather than talking to folks like Mr. Gleeson.

Why would I say something like that?


You know.

Do not get the wrong idea based on the link immediately above...This is not an official 'Keef Report'....However, if you would like to read seven or twenty of those they can be found...Here.


This Afternoon In Clarkland...The Third Day In The Ol' Turdstormer's Valley.


Days One and Two in the Valley are described....Here.

Day Three is described by the Globe's Justine Hunter. Here is her lede:

BC Hydro is missing its energy conservation targets by a wide margin and may have to turn to private power producers to make up the difference, Energy Minister Bill Bennett said Thursday.

The Crown corporation spent $150-million last year on its annual program that is designed to persuade industrial, commercial and residential customers to reduce their energy demands. It is a critical part of BC Hydro’s long-term plans to meet the province’s future electricity requirements...


What's this (pre-planned?) failure really all about Alfie?

Well, if Hydro misses it's targets it will be 'forced' to turn to the rapers of rivers for help.

And pay a pretty penny for it.


Why might the current CEO of BC Hydro want to have a plan like that in place I wonder?

Ol' Turdstormer?.....You bet.


Federal Election (Not So) Slow Train Comin'...Where To Find Local Coverage.


First, for some really good stuff on what's up in various and assorted ridings province-wide, check out proMedia guy Justin McElroy's amateur blog (it's kinda/sorta like McSushi Boy's place back in the old days). Today he's got a post up on the 13 ridings where anything could happen.

The following, on Vancouver South, is but one example of Mr. McElroy's insight and sense of humour:

...Wai Young, who defeated Oscar Bluth Ujjal Dosanjh in the Conservatives’ only Vancouver win in 2011, faces a tough battle against Harjit Sajjan, a lieutenant-colonel who also served on the Vancouver Police’s gang squad. This is one of those ridings the Liberals have pencilled in if they have any chance of forming government come October, and with no declared NDP or Green candidates yet, it could shape up into a de facto one-on-one battle with the CPC that would favour them.

Having said that, the effect of a nasty dispute over Sajjan’s nomination that went public late last year won’t be known until campaigning begins in earnest. And the riding has increasingly favoured right-wing candidates in municipal and provincial election...

And for those that won't real detail a good starting place is the Port Moody-Coquitlam Election 2015 blog. It's a bland name, but a most interesting hunka hunka burnin' notlove for all things Con, at least so far, in that riding.

Tip O' The Toque to Alison for the heads-up on the PoMoCoq blog.


This Day In Clarkland...Two Day's In The Ol' Turdstormer's Valley


Day One, courtesy Cassidy Olivier in The Province:

Energy Minister Bill Bennett accused B.C. Hydro critic Adrian Dix of cherry-picking on Wednesday following claims by the NDP MLA that the number of employees at B.C. Hydro who are making more than $150,000 a year has more than tripled in the past decade...

{snippety doo-dah}

... Bennett claimed Dix, whom he called “a very smart guy,” was “cherry-picking” figures. Bennett said Dix used 2006 as a starting point because that was the year that Bennett said the B.C. Transmission Corporation was folded into B.C. Hydro. That “jacked up” the global number of employees earning over $150,000 a year as of 2006, Bennett said...
Day Two, also via Mr. Olivier:

...(Opposition Hydro critic Adrian) Dix said Wednesday the number of employees at the Crown corporation and its subsidiaries making that amount or more had tripled in the past decade, from about 220 in 2006 to just under 700 in fiscal 2014. The bulk of that increase was in middle management, Dix added.

Bennett replied that Dix was using 2006 as a starting point because that’s when the B.C. Transmission Corporation (BCTC) was folded back into B.C. Hydro. In reality, the BCTC wasn’t folded back into B.C. Hydro until 2010, at which time about 100 employees earning $150,000 were added to the payroll.

“I made a mistake,” Bennett told The Province on Thursday...

I guess that's what the good Mr. Bennett, who some say is a 'very smart guy', call's 'bringin' it'.

Here's hoping the good minister is a wee bit 'smarter' when it comes to those Sparkle Pony power ranger numbers for Site C.

Of course, we're still waiting to hear if the Wizards of Clarklandia are going to invoke their lightning rod of total logic and absolute reason destruction deflector spin strate(r)gy by replacing Mr. Bennett as energy minister with the good Mr. Virk. 
Don't know about you, but I kinda think the proMedia herd might have turned a little over the past week...More on that to come.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Thing I Learned Today...


In the thread to the Ska-Punk post from the other day Scotty, following up on a helluva comment from Don F, suggested I should go have a listen to Muddy Waters' 'Electric Mud'.

So I put it on.

A whole lotta crazy psyching-up of a bunch of  Mr. Morganfield's classics there, that's for darn sure.

I mean, heckfire, there is even distortion and wah-wah pedals on the guitars.

Which is, to an ear like mine at least, super cool.

But that doesn't mean it was all that satisfying for Waters himself:

"...When it came out, it started selling like wild, but then they started sending them back. They said, ‘This can’t be Muddy Waters with all this shit going on, all this wha-wha and fuzztone.'..."


I get that I guess.

Not going to keep me from getting a loop pedal to call my own though.