Help me win a camera—you too could win!
February 17, 2015, 12:32 am
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My camera desperately needs upgrading please help by entering yourself to win:

Jazz videos
November 3, 2014, 10:27 pm
Filed under: myCulture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The other day, I ran across a video I had not seen for years of Billie Holiday on a TV show with a band of the greatest. It is a real classic, but is only part of a full hour-long TV show from 1957. It never occurred to me to go look for the entire show. So, tonight I did and what a treasure. The Holiday part is somewhere in the middle.

It is a great intersection of jazz and blues and the vehicles bring elements of many types of jazz and blues from so many eras going back to the beginnings. There is a heavy leaning on the Kansas City and Chicago styles. I particularly like the way the cameras caught the musicians at their best, both playing and enjoying each other playing and from very artistic angles. Keep in mind, the cameras in those early days were huge bulky things on wheels and shots from above were done with cameras on special cranes. The equipment was not easily moved around for various shots and the cables must have been huge too. It doesn’t get much better than this from 1957.

Note: There are a couple of versions on YouTube. I chose one that has an extra segment on the end.

Halloween—why would someone do this to a child

I was gathering our mail from the mail kiosk at the townhouse complex we live in. As I pulled up, I noticed what looked like parents taking their small children trick or treating. All the children and the parents were dressed up and the townhouse was decorated with the traditional unfriendly decor.

All the attention seemed to be on a small child dressed in a black outfit with tiny yellow ears. I could only see his back. This child was obviously very unhappy and it seemed like the parents were trying to coax the child into the house as they all seemed to be friends. The child would not go. The man who answered the door was dressed as a pirate. He bent down to make a friendly gesture to the child and ease his fears. Then he squatted down to be level with the child. By now, a young girl, slightly older than the scared child, dressed in a blue princess or fairy costume, came out and was rubbing the back of the younger one.

It was a no go for the little one. The pirate man began, one by one, to take off some of his outfit, checking along the way, as if to say, “See, it’s only me.”

As I watched, I began to wonder what sort of memories this poor young child was going to come away with on this Halloween night? Is this really what we want to do to our children? Oh, I’m sure a lot of candy can sugar-coat the experience and all will eventually laugh about it. Really, come on. The frightening experience will be buried and covered in a grave of celebration of evil. But, no memory is completely erased.

I looked for an image to add here, but the overwhelming numbers of evil images made me think twice. Who really can believe in ‘Happy Halloween?’ Can celebrating evil actually be fun?

Think about it!

An $11,000.00 Compromise

From May 2013:

Last week I found out I was attacked by identity theft.

I was doggie sitting for the weekend and was in Safeway to get some milk when I received an automated, not human, call from TD (Toronto Dominion) VISA informing me that they had flagged some unusual transactions on my account and asked if I had made a certain large purchase. When I said, ‘no,’ I was asked to stay on the line, presumably for a real person, or I could call back. A grocery store was not the place to deal with this. When I called back, I discovered that someone had racked up around $11,000.00 in Toronto during three days. I was told that I was not responsible for these charges and that my card had been cancelled. I just got it not long ago, so I was not reliant on it. The charges will remain while they launch an investigation. The girl was very nice and made me feel comfortable that this would not be a huge inconvenience to me. I suppose, in the back of my mind, I knew this was just the start of trouble.


One other time, I had another card just canceled out of the blue. Their explanation was that the number of my card fell within a range of numbers that they suspected might have been compromised. Just to be safe, my card was cancelled and I had to wait for a couple of weeks for a new one. This is a good reason to have more than one card, otherwise one would have to resort to cash or some other form of transaction.

Just exactly what compromise really means is a bit unclear to me. Do these thieves get just my card number, or can they get other information? These days, there is so much information out in the abyss of the technojungle. One piece of information can easily be linked to other information. Just with a name and city, one can get addresses and phone numbers. That represents your physical footprint. You also have a digital footprint that can start with your E-mail or your social media links. We should have great concern for privacy and security.

The attack on my identity was not isolated to my VISA card. They tried to open an account with Rogers. Since I already have an account with Rogers they decided to not issue another account and promptly sent out a letter to me. When I called them, I was told to call their fraud department. That department was closed for the day, so I called the next day. I was advised to check with Equifax and TransUnion.

My first call was to Equinox, since I had heard the name before and understood that they had something to do with credit ratings. I entered an endless phone tree. It was completely automated. I could order a copy of my credit rating, get various reports and access a variety of other services. I got frustrated and hung up.

My next call was to TransUnion. I began the same endless journey through the phone tree. At one point, the voice stated, “If this is about fraud, say fraud.” The words had hardly left my lips when a real human voice came on. The heavy accent and poor pronunciation alerted me to the possibility that this person was not in Canada and probably did not have much authority, and that this might actually turn out to be more frustrating than the call I had made to Equifax.

He looked into my account/profile and said that Rogers had made some sort of request and then he asked if I wanted to report the Rogers request as fraud. I said no. Why would I do that? They told me to call TransUnion because of a fraudulent request made to them. We entered a conversation circle during which he must have asked me at least three times if I wanted to report the Rogers request as fraud.

Not far into our conversation and after mis-pronouncing my last name as Grawhome, he decided that he needed to verify some information. “Do you live at XXXX Rygeawood?” I told him that we have moved. He repeated and I insisted that we no longer live at that address and had moved some years ago. He told me I had to have the information updated. OK, I agreed, let’s do it. Not so fast. He informed me that I would need to send a registered letter and $5 to have the information changed.

Wait a minute. I explained that I never engaged them in any service agreement, that the company was keeping information about me without my permission and selling it to corporations and back to the individuals they track and now they want to charge me to have them correct information that they have wrong. I’m sorry, I don’t think that is right. If I had engaged their services and neglected to send in an address change when I moved, as I did with all the other services I was using, I could understand charging me to make a change. I was frustrated and hung up.

It seems like every couple of days we are hearing of breaches in security due to cyber crimes and yet, we are encouraged to do more online and adopt more technology. Wouldn’t this normally fall under the definition of insanity?

If we look carefully at our society, we find that our behaviour might well be explained by an addiction fed by large-scale multinational corporations that literally have no regard for us as humans, but only to forwarding their own agenda that has ‘make money’ at the top of the list. It would also follow that ensuring most of the ‘problems’ associated with a technology should not be publicized so users’ confidence would not be diminished. In other words, don’t tell people what goes wrong, just recoup the costs through higher fees and make sure more people use more credit cards more often so that we (the corporation that is) can make more money and the corporation will grow. Never mind that a large number of customers are never able to pay their balance off and feed the corporation even more through paying interest.

A credit card is a perfect example of technology that has inherent problems that, not only inconvenience people, but end up creating greater costs. To think that I am not responsible for the transaction is somewhat false. If the costs are not recouped from the perpetrator(s) of the crime, then someone has to pay. VISA is not going to cover the costs. They are out to make money. Do they have some sort of insurance? No matter how you look at it, the costs of fraudulent transactions most likely get passed on.

If you pay a fee for your card, then that fee probably goes toward covering losses. The same could probably be said for merchant transactions. Every time you use your credit card, the store pays a fee. Oh, and let’s not forget interest on unpaid balances. If the losses to the credit card company increase due to fraudulent charges, they will most certainly pass the cost on to us. If transaction fees to merchants need to increase, that increase will be reflected in higher prices to consumers.

VISA is not telling me that I don’t have to cover the fraudulent charges directly, I have to cover a portion of all the fraudulent charges on all the credit cards issued by VISA.

Think about it. The fraudulent charges on my VISA card amounted to more than I spend on the card all year. Now how does that work out? This may be the reason cash could be with us for a long time.

We all need to look at protecting ourselves. I don’t know how my credit card was compromised. Nobody has been able to tell me, so I don’t know how to plug the hole. Did somebody hack into a database somewhere? Was there a card reader device of some sort used to read my card when I used it somewhere? What happened?

The card did not have an RFID chip. I keep my chip cards in a protective wallet. Chip cards can be scanned without having to insert them into a machine or tap them on a reader. They can be scanned right from your pocket.

The truth is that this type of crime is becoming so common place that many people in our society just take it for granted. As I talk to people, they all have some sort of story about what happened to them or someone they know. Should we just let this become part of everyday life in the technojungle?

While personal identity theft is a big problem, corporate cyber attacks are a huge problem. If we only knew what really happens out there, we might lose confidence in more that just the banking and financial systems.


It took many weeks for the charges to be removed from my account. In the meantime, I was charged interest. Finally, I was sent an affidavit to sign stating that the charges had been removed. The problem, they missed six of them. I even noticed that charges were made even after the card had been cancelled.

As the weeks passed, I discovered I did not have enough accounting skills to figure out what they had done and where my account stood. I was on the phone many times. I had been told to list the missed fraudulent charges on the back of the affidavit and sign anyway. I was very reluctant to do that and protested, however, they convinced me to sign anyway.

In the end, I called again and complained that I was not an accountant and had no idea of what they had done, but I would accept the $183 positive balance on my account anyway.

I think I could be quite comfortable going back to using only cash and making transactions in person with, what, a real human being. Nowadays, that would be quite a novel thing.

Composing with Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters

Dave Grohl, an ex(?) punk rocker from the band Nirvana and now of his own band Foo Fighters, set out on a project of discovery and found the interconnectedness of many popular forms of music from blues and jazz to country and rock. He was tremendously affected by New Orleans where he connected with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and partook in a traditional Sunday jazz march through town. To me, it is interesting that a Punk Rocker discovers Jazz.

Watch the 60 Minutes story:

Be sure to watch all the associated videos.

60 Minutes Overtime

C’mon folks! I wanted to follow-up on the Grohl story by watching the related videos. I understand the need for advertising revenue, but to play the same ad at the beginning and end of each clip and to have the final clip repeat over and over is foolish. I have watched the same ad well over a dozen times—and Viagra at that! In one of the videos, a mention is made that 60 Minutes is a “family show.” I would not have wanted my kids (when they were young) to have to watch a beautiful woman talk about erections. I don’t think this ad is even appropriate for the 60 Minutes program. I will never buy Viagra and I may never return to the 60 Minutes Overtime website videos again, since I might get assaulted by the repetition of the same ad as I did tonight. Get real! This is not advertising, it is a waste of time and resources, not to mention, I found it offensive.

It’s falling out

It is fall and the rain is falling, thus it is falling out.

As you can see, I did get a couple of things written here and even more, I started a new blog focused around my slow to materialize book about the Technojungle. Back before summer Roger McGuinn’s guitar caught my attention, so for months now I have had some Byrds tunes rattling around upstairs and, in particular, Roger’s half guitar and half banjo style playing of the Rickenbacker 12 string electric guitar. Make sure you read the whole story. Also check out The Technojungle Project (see sidebar).

Most of our summer was pretty regular with son Malcolm taking summer engineering courses. I guess the biggest news is that daughter Michelle managed to move out of Kelowna after working for a year upon graduating from the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO). However, she did not stick around and after just over two weeks, we loaded her on a plane to move to Melbourne Australia for year.

We visited my sister and brother-in-law’s summer place in Gibsons, BC, a ferry ride away, where Patti discovered Kayaking. Now that they no longer reside at all nearby and spend winters in Palm Desert, we hardly ever see them. Patti’s mother passed away a year and a half ago and her brother and his family are all pretty busy with their own families. Nevertheless, we do seem to always be busy and going hither and tither including church and curling.

It has been very good weather, but now that the rain has set in, I am trying to get into some sort of routine for the winter. I continue to regularly make bread, pizza and pasta with fresh ground ancient grains, mostly spelt, ground into flour in our ViitaMix.

I have been a bit pokey about getting to a few tasks and projects, so hopefully I will get a bit more organized and accomplish these over the winter.

With it falling out, I am moving toward falling in—falling into a fall routine.


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