February 23, 2005


The New RO interviews the Not-so-abominable Snowman, Canal, Ottawa
It's not everyday the New RO gets a scoop like this.
Canal, Ottawa [view large]

The New RO interviews the Not-so-abominable Snowman, Canal, Ottawa
"Can you hear me? Is the detail on his fur ... good, good."
Canal, Ottawa [view large]

A child approaches the Not-so-Abominable Snowman, Canal, Ottawa
Turns out the Abominable Snowman is, well, not so abominable.
Canal, Ottawa [view large]

Not-so-abominable Snowman, Canal, Ottawa
Braving the unpredictable behaviour of this ... oh, never mind.
Canal, Ottawa [view large]

Posted by anatole at 12:08 AM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2005

Hot or Not?

The Economist September 2003 coverJust seventeen months after The Economist declared that Canada was cool (see cover at right), the renowned magazine is slagging current Prime Minister Paul Martin, noting that he has become known as "Mr. Dithers".

But 15 months after succeeding his fellow-Liberal, Jean Chrétien, Mr Martin, a successful finance minister for almost a decade until 2002, cannot quite shake off the impression that Canada's top job is too big for him.

As finance minister, Mr Martin acquired a reputation as a tough and decisive deficit-cutter who transformed the public finances and oversaw the renaissance of the Canadian economy. But as prime minister, his faltering leadership has earned him the sobriquet of "Mr Dithers".

Source: The Economist

(c) The Economist cartoonThe Globe and Mail, running the headline "Prime Minister dubbed 'Mr. Dithers': Economist magazine dismayed with Paul Martin's first 14 months in office", notes:

And in an apparently unintended twist on Pierre Trudeau's famous line about Joe Clark -- "headwaiter to the provinces" -- the accompanying cartoon depicts Mr. Martin as an apron-clad chef shovelling tax dollars onto the plates of hungry customers.

Source: Globe and Mail; Cartoon: The Economist

Ouch. Jean Chrétien must be loving this.

Posted by anatole at 11:15 PM | Comments (0)

Lac Philippe, Gatineau Park

Women's and men's outhouses, Lac Philippe, Gatineau Park
Size matters?
Secteur Lac Philippe, Gatineau Park

Sunset, Lac Philippe, Gatineau Park
Secteur Lac Philippe, Gatineau Park

Morning frost on picnic tables, Lac Philippe, Gatineau Park
Morning frost on picnic tables
Secteur Lac Philippe, Gatineau Park

Late morning shadows, Lac Philippe, Gatineau Park
Late morning shadows
Secteur Lac Philippe, Gatineau Park

Posted by anatole at 07:40 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2005

Happy Kyoto Day!

The Kyoto Protocol came into force today.


Let me try to capture the tenor of the news in Canada:

NHL cancels season!  The end is nigh!

Oh, and, significant global climate change treaty comes into force

On CBC's The National, anchor Peter Mansbridge announced -- and I credit him for at least grimacing while doing so -- that news of the NHL announcement was bumping special coverage of the Kyoto Protocol to the next night.

Posted by anatole at 08:16 PM | Comments (1)

February 15, 2005

Under a blood red sky

Orange-red winter's night sky, Ottawa

The sky was a brilliant orange-red last night in Ottawa.

Posted by anatole at 11:34 PM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2005

Night and day ...

Lac Philippe, Gatineau Park       Lac Philippe, Gatineau Park

More tripody goodness from Gatineau Park. Shot at about 5:55 p.m. and 11:25 a.m. respectively.

Added a couple more to the sidebar also, including a brighter-but-blurrier night sky featuring Orion.

Posted by anatole at 01:55 AM | Comments (2)

The Jean-and-Paul Show

So the sponsorship scandal strangeness continues. Paul Martin apparently led a "rousing ovation" for Chrétien at a Liberal caucus meeting yesterday after the former Prime Minister's performance at the Gomery inquiry. Martin is reported to have said that Chrétien did a "tremendous job for Canada and for the Liberal Party he led.'' What? I'm not sure I can put it much better than this:

A senior Liberal said: "They are applauding the guy who just handed the nuts of the commissioner of the inquiry they appointed to him on a plate. Obviously, [this is] some bizarre attempt at party unity."

[Source: globeandmail.com]

Chrétien was not as kind to Martin, leaving him on the hook after implicating him explicitly in the continued operation of the unity fund. So far, Martin appears to have escaped unscathed from that particular trap.

Speaking of JC not being kind to "PMPM", I think the closing lines of Chrétien's opening statement to the inquiry may hold one of his harshest barbs for Martin:

"We all may have been criticized at some time or another for our approach to national unity. But in the case of the unity of Canada every prime minister from Sir John A. Macdonald to myself has always put country ahead of anything else."

[Source: globeandmail.com]

Is it accidental that Chrétien's "from ... to" construction leaves out Martin? Knowing him (and those close to him who helped craft his appearance before Justice Gomery), I think it was just another subtle jab at the current Prime Minister. I can't help but think that these days Chrétien is thinking something along the lines of the current The Walrus cover lead headline "Québec is gone: Martin shatters Trudeau's dream."

Posted by anatole at 01:27 AM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2005

Lac Philippe, Gatineau Park

I took my new tripod (a Manfrotto 190 (Q)CLB with 486 RC2 ball head) for a test drive near Lac Philippe in Gatineau Park last weekend. I'm still getting the hang of things and need to pick up a remote shutter release, I've realized, but this is one of the first photos I managed that would have been much trickier before. There are a few more on the left sidebar, and I may post some more later.

Posted by anatole at 01:33 AM | Comments (5)

February 08, 2005

Still swingin' from Shawinigan

It turns out it's as hard as ever to get the last laugh on the Right Hon. Jean Chrétien. You'll recall Justice Gomery had referred to the sponsorship program's purchase of golf balls with the former Prime Minister's signature on them as "small-town cheap." Here is the end of Chrétien's appearance at the Gomery inquiry today:

MR. SCOTT: And then finally, Mr. Chrétien, may I conclude this inquiry by asking you about the golf balls? First of all, did you order golf balls, that is you personally, with your signature on them -- your signature and the maple leaf on them?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: No, I did not order them myself.

MR. SCOTT: Those golf balls existed, as we can see again from -- if you look at Exhibit JC-3 under Tab 17 ---

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Page 25.

MR. SCOTT: Page 25. Thank you, sir. There are only three of us here to find this page. And there are golf balls shown on page 25 and page 26, and those golf balls they may be here now but they were when the photographs were taken, were in your storage archives; is that correct, sir?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Yes. These are the balls that were not used.

MR. SCOTT: So they still exist and are unused; correct?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: They still exist.

MR. SCOTT: And do I understand that they represent about half of the golf balls that were made?


MR. SCOTT: And where did those golf balls come from?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: You know, what happened is -- I have to explain to the Commission is when we are travelling abroad, social things arrive and we gave little gifts or received little gifts, and at the beginning in '94, I received golf balls from presidents of the -- from the President of the United States, and I received many. They were giving the same balls to the bodyguards who were with me and so on as a courtesy thing, as a souvenir. So we decided that we had to do the same thing, and so we had -- somebody said "We should have balls with your name on it."

MR. SCOTT: All right. Now, these golf balls that we see in the photographs of which there are many remaining, Exhibit JC-3, were those golf balls that were given out in your capacity as the Prime Minister to, for you have given examples of, officials of other countries?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Yes. It was not used for the unity file. When the government -- when the Prime Minister or any minister had some things to buy, the buyer for the government is the Department of Supply and Services. So we have to request there, even the Prime Minister, to buy for us.

MR. SCOTT: All right. So were any of these golf balls given out at your own golf tournament ---


MR. SCOTT: --- the fundraiser for the Liberal Party?


MR. SCOTT: And were golf balls ---

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Not these balls. There were some given ---

MR. SCOTT: All right. Who paid for those?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: --- or caps given in my riding.

MR. SCOTT: And who paid for those?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: But we paid for it. The association paid for it.

MR. SCOTT: All right. Come back to these golf balls then that are in the photograph. You said you got golf balls from others.


MR. SCOTT: Who did you get them from, Mr. Chrétien? Do you have some examples?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Yes, yes. I have a ball here with the seal of the President of the United States and signed by a Texan by the name of George Bush.

MR. SCOTT: All right. What other ones?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: I have one here signed by a gentleman from Tennessee, Al Gore with the Capital Hill on the ball.

MR. SCOTT: Just stopping you there, if I might, sir, ---

MR. CHRÉTIEN: No, no, no, it is too much fun. I have one here that was given to me -- these balls here were given to me -- a very nice presentation, Mr. President, by a small-town guy from Hope, Arkansas. Look at the nice box. His name, his seal, the ball, nice box and the ball you open and there is a ball signed again by the small-town guy of Hope, Tennessee, signed Bill Clinton and the seal.

MR. SCOTT: What seal?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: The seal of the presidency of the United States. Here I have one from another guy from Texas from small town Crawford, Texas, George W. Bush with the seal of the presidency and his name signed. Here I have one from a small town-guy, I guess, from Manila, Philippines, President Ramos, plus the flag of his country, and it is very common. I have one here by a very well-known group, Ogilvie Renault. You know them? Mr. Roy and Mr. Mulroney and Mademoiselle Gomery are all members of that firm. I cannot call them small town and call them Westmount cheap. It would be an oxymoron.

MR. SCOTT: All right. Mr. Chrétien, did you receive those golf balls from the persons you have identified?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Yes. Only one that was given to me by another; it is from George W. Bush. The others I received them from them.

MR. SCOTT: And did you give them golf balls with the maple leaf and your signature on it?

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Yes, and I gave them to their bodyguards and/or their partners who were playing golf with us.

MR. SCOTT: Thank you very much, Mr. Commissioner.

THE COMMISSIONER: Thank you, Mr. Scott. Is that all for the witness? Thank you, Mr. Chrétien.

MR. CHRÉTIEN: Thank you, Mr. Commissioner.

THE COMMISSIONER: We will adjourn until Thursday at 1 9:30.

Posted by anatole at 11:45 PM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2005

And another thing ...

Madhava reminded me today that the premise for "The Terminal" was not only "interesting and contemporary" but also -- remarkably -- true. Merhan Karimi Nasseri, a political refugee from Iran, has lived at Charles de Gaulle airport since 1988. Stranded for a ridiculous number of years by a series of cruelly bureaucratic responses to the theft of his refugee documents, Nasseri has more recently passed up opportunities to leave the airport. The Urban Legends site has the full story, including an alleged payout from Dreamworks for the rights to the story to make "The Terminal."

And while I'm linking to strange-but-true travel tales on the Urban Legends site, check out this story about cashing in big time on air rewards by buying chocolate pudding. Talk about win-win.

Posted by anatole at 12:08 AM | Comments (1)

February 01, 2005

Life lessons

The early bird, I am told, gets the worm.

The walking-to-work bird*, evidence shows, gets the beautiful shot of Parliament shrouded in fog framed by a frost-nibbled tree.

Meanwhile, the busing-to-work bird gets, uh, well, not much, really.

[*] Incidentally, Lana will be showing some of her work on the canal this weekend at Winterlude's Art on Ice (Patterson Creek Gateway, 10am-4pm). If you're in Ottawa, check it out.

Posted by anatole at 12:24 PM | Comments (1)