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David Barron

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Wednesday, 2 April 2014
The Walking Dead Marathon 2014


Every since I was a teenager, I've been a fan of the horror/thriller genre. I've also been a big fan of the zombie sub genre. Three of my favourite were "Dawn of the Dead, 1978", "Return of the Living Dead" and "Zombieland".

When "The Walking Dead" came along a few years ago, I watched it with great anticipation. There were some great shocks in the first episodes plus some pretty good action scenes with the zombies, however as the series progressed, the show became a survival epic for the main characters with no development of stories lines relating to religious, political, and military themes. I found the various soap opera subplots tedious because of the lack of humor and insight.

This weekend, I took a second look at the series in an AMC marathon that took me through seasons one to four. I discovered that certain humans and groups were worse than the zombies, even children under these circumstances would act badly. It was shocking and revolting.

Rick and his group still hung together trying to find a safe place not just from walkers, but from scum bags of the Earth who want to kill and even eat them. Check out "The Season Four Finale" about "Terminus".

The best thing about this series are the action scenes with the zombies and the bad guys plus the heroic acts of Rick and his group.

However, the series does suffer from excessive gore in the killing of zombies and humans. The shock value decreases with each repetition.

Will the U.S. with its mighty weapons ever show up to protect its population? Will a zombie master be revealed in the near future? Will the major characters debate about the reality of their situation? Are they in Hell? Are aliens or mad scientists behind this epidemic. Are they in an alternate reality, where the goal is to become "The Zombie Killing King"? Will anyone discover some dark humor is these situations?

To keep my attention the series will have to change into a mystery thriller with some complicated story lines and plot twists.

I getting tired of the many scenes where zombies get their heads smashed in.

Maybe "Season Five" will become "Lost Meets The Walking Dead".


Posted by qualteam at 10:09 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 2 April 2014 11:18 PM EDT
Thursday, 20 March 2014
It's been A Long Cold Winter, Thank God, It's Spring

Yes, spring has arrived, but Old Man Winter is late in leaving because hearty Canadians love the cold and snow.

It may have been bad in the Greater Toronto Area, but it was colder in Winnipeg (coldest in 35 years) and snowier in Newfoundland (try to locate the house in the snowdrifts).

Toronto did have "36 extreme cold day alerts"(a record) and an ice storm at the end of December.(Check out the slideshow from Brampton and other cities) 

When I lived in Barrie, as a young lad, there were snowdrifts that almost reached the tops of telephone poles. This is Canada, eh! Sometimes you have to travel with snowshoes or dogsleds. Why get miserable about the weather? It doesn't do any good. 

The couple above are enjoying a Canadian spring day with some steak and wine. Wimps ask "Why"? True Canucks say "Why not"?


Posted by qualteam at 9:37 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 20 March 2014 9:56 PM EDT
Wednesday, 12 March 2014
My Country Includes Quebec And Native Canadians

Over the last 30 years, we have had two referendums on Quebec sovereignty or something close to it. This all started as a personal feud between Quebec Premier, Rene Levesque and Prime Minister, Prierre Trudeau. There were constitutional debates in the late 1970s in which the provinces and the Federal debated repatriating "The British North America Act" from Britain. This was done in 1982 and it became "The Canadian Constitution".

I watched some of the debates in 70s on TV. It was apparent that Levesque was no match for Trudeau on the subject of provincial/federal relationships. Trudeau stressed that Canada was one of the most decentralized countries in the world. Quebec had gained power through cabinet seats in his government. "Offical Bilingualism" stretched from coast to coast. Transfer payments had increased for Quebec. Quebec had its own pension plan. Quebec had its own immigration policy.

Levesque had a different vision of Quebec and Canada. He presented this vision (Sovereignty-Association) to Quebecers in 1980 referendum. It was rejected.

In the 1980s, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney attempted to forge a deal with Quebec called "The Meech Lake Accord". It was defeated in the Manitoba Legislature by native provincial rep, Elijah Harper, because Native Canadians were not recognized in the accord. I still see him with an eagle feather in his hand saying "no". It was a proud moment for aboriginals and Canada. 

Lucien Bouchard, a former cabinet minister in the Conservative Government at that time helped produce another separation referendum for Quebec in 1995.

Bouchard used the "politics of humilation" to show how Quebec was isolated on constitutional talks. He was gaining ground for a "yes" vote. However, a week before the referendum, a large group of Canadians went to Montreal to show their love for Quebecers. It was a very emotional moment. The theme was"Our Country Includes Quebec". The "No Side" won by the narrowest of margins thanks in  large part to "The Montreal Love-In".

Because the referendum questions were unclear as to exactly want they meant. "What's the different between Sovereignty-Association and outright separation?" The "Clarity Act" was passed by parliament in 2000.

In April of this year The Government of Quebec, "The Parti Quebecois" is seeking a majority so it can hold a third referendum on Sovereignity Association. Haven't we been on this merry-go-round before? The divorce from Canada with bedroom privileges?

The techicolour dream is being promoted now with Canada agreeing to everything Quebec wants.

However, the stark reality of Quebec debt provincial and shared federal  lurks in the background.

In Canada, you can't take national unity for granted. We are a multicultural society that's includes more than English and French speaking peoples.

We are willing to fight for what we believe in.

 

 

 


Posted by qualteam at 9:41 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2014 11:34 AM EDT
Monday, 10 March 2014
The Future Of Ukraine And Crimea

It is obvious to me that Ukraine and Crimea will go in two different directions. One will go with the West and the other will go with Russia.

Needless to say "The West"(EU, U.S.A, Canada etc) have more resources to help Ukraine than Russia has to help Crimea. It is highly likely that Ukraine could become "The South Korea" of Europe while Crimea would become a military fortress like "North Korea".

The Ukrainians would have to elect democractic, non corrupt leaders who would lead the country to greater economic prosperity and financial independence.

This would take some time and lots of investment from the EU and U.S.

The tourist economy of the Crimea would go down the tubes and Russia would be left with paranoid, dysfunctional military bases.

The standard of living would go up in the Ukraine and down in Crimea.

Sooner or later there will be a "Russian/Crimea Spring". You can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.

Putin's Propaganda Machine in Crimea and Russia!!!


 


Posted by qualteam at 12:14 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 10 March 2014 4:51 PM EDT
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Ukraine Is Not A Prize For Anyone, Right Now

Of the Ukraines that I've met in Canada, I see them as hardworking and honest people.

However, as a country between Europe and Russia, it leaves much to be desired. This article from "Bread Basket To Basket Case" was a real eye opener. Some even called it a "Failed State". If Poutine, the Great, thinks of it as a prize, then surely it's a "Booby Prize".

The Ukrainians have been very unlucky in their choice of leadership, and Ukraine is on the same level as any poor country in the third world. 

Ukraine workers make half of what Russian workers make (5,000 roubles a year to 10,000 for the Ruskies).

Politically, Western Ukraine wants to be part of the EU and Eastern Ukraine wants to be part of Russia.

It would take few referendums on the right questions to guide politicians on the different directions the citizens want to take. There could be questions on economic unions as well as political unions, but, right now, Ukraine has to get back on its feet and elect a government they can trust first.

It will take a big effort to put Ukraine on the path to becoming a successful nation. The EU, U.S., Canada and Russia can all play a part in making that happen.

 


 


Posted by qualteam at 8:53 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2014 10:20 PM EST
Sunday, 2 March 2014
Ukraine Should be Separated Into Two Countries

I was quite surprised over the huge failure of international leadership over the crisis in the Ukraine. This includes both Canada and the United States.

Just look at the map above. Does it say anything to you? There appears to be two Ukraines. one that favours the West(EU) and one that favours Russia. This isn't brain surgery or rocket science.

Sure the Russians may have put their own people into Eastern Ukraine under Catherine, the Great, but with his recent actions at Sochi and elsewhere, the present leader of Russia will probably be known as, "Putin, the Great".

I would like to point out that Czechosovakia was peacefully divided into two countries in 1993, "The Czech Republic and Sovakia".

There's and old saying that "East is East and West is West and never the twain will meet". This applies to the Ukraine. Western Ukraine wants"The European Common Market" and Eastern Ukraine wants "The Russian Common Market" with Poutine, The Great, thrown in as a bonus.


 


Posted by qualteam at 2:06 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 4 March 2014 4:47 PM EST
Tuesday, 25 February 2014
A Canadian (Me) Looks Back On The Sochi Olympics


In medal count, Canada(25)finished behind Russia(33), Norway(26), and the U.S.(28). The first three countries have so many fine athletes that it's difficult to compete against them. Norway, a small country, excels in great skiing which is very hard to beat.

Canada does have some fine skiers and skaters, but what we're most proud of is our hockey teams(men and women) and our curling teams(men and women). 

The Canadian women's hockey team overcame a 2-0 deficit against the U.S. in the third period and then won it in overtime 3-2. It was a incredible comeback and the greatest highlight of this Olympics. The men's team put on a clinic of defensive hockey against the U.S. and Sweden which lead to shutouts and a gold medal.

In the above photo, The U.S.A's star player, Phil Kessel ended up with no medal, but his sister won a silver in the game with Canada. In the words of the late great comedian, Jackie Gleason, "How sweet it is".

The next finest moment was Canada's curling team gold medal victory against Sweden. Lead by Jennifer Jones, the women's curling team posted 14 straight wins, an incredible record.

Shortly after that win, the men's curling team skipped by Brad Jacobs easily defeated Great Britain to win gold.

It's not very often a bronze medal would make a list of memorable Canadian Olympic moments, but Jan Hudec makes it because he ended a 20-year old medal drought in downhill skiing.

Canada did not equal its medal totals from the 2010 Vancouver games, but the above milestones made up for it.

Please note that Phil Kessel plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL.

 


Posted by qualteam at 9:37 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 25 February 2014 10:37 PM EST
Monday, 3 February 2014
The Ups And Downs In Las Vegas 2014


Here I am looking for a good crap game on the Las Vegas strip. Lots of female butts, but the crap games were expensive $10 and up. I went down to Ellis Island which is just off the strip and I played a crap game for $5. I won $75 on a $20 stake, my fourth win at that table. The other players around me broke into applause.

Over all, I lost at blackjack, broke even at video poker and tournament poker, but I won at craps. Needless to say, we brought home some U.S. money plus cheap liquor.

I played very little slots and micro-managed my bankroll very well. 

At the beginning of the week, our luggage was late for a couple of days and we were depressed about it.

After our suitcases arrived, we enjoyed ourselves not only gambling but at the Bellagio and Fremont street. Check out our pictures of the Chinese New Year at the Bellagio.

Las Vegas is an adult Disneyland. Lots of laughs, lots of good times. Just manage your money well, use a discount coupon book and look for cheap drinks and meals. Ellis Island is good for that.


Posted by qualteam at 5:42 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 10 February 2014 4:13 PM EST
Wednesday, 1 January 2014
New Year's Prayers and New Year's Resolutions

I've made a major New Year's resolution that I've never made before. It's to make prayers for the New Year which will help humanity in unique, positive ways. It isn't the impossible dream. It's the possible dream. 

I'm not going for first contact with aliens or the discovery of warp drive in 2013. Both of those advances would change Earth in very profound ways. However, mankind has severe problems that must be addressed ASAP.

  1. Fortune tellers are always predicting environmental doom and gloom on the planet every New Year. Isn't time to put positive thoughts and energies toward the control environmental events that cause massive destruction like earthquakes, hurricanes, tidal waves, forest fires, etc.? What about a 50-year moratorium on catastrophes of all kinds? Then many millions of human beings would have time to live, develop and contribute to their cultures.
  2. I would also like to see huge advances in the areas of curing diseases and conditions like Cancer, Alzheimer's DiseaseALS, Aids, Autism, Fibromyalgia and any kind of aliment that causes chronic pain and misery. 
  3. I'd like to see improvements in the living and educational conditions of those in poverty.
  4. I'd like to see less war and less terrorism anywhere. Humans can only reach their potential when they have safe living and working conditions.
  5. I'd like to see more help from spirits who are responsible for minimizing the bad effects of environmental catastrophes, diseases, poverty, ignorance and war on this planet. The time has come to up their/our game and meet the challenges of the 21st century.
New Year's resolutions are much smaller in scope. They usually center around an individual who wants to improve himself usually by becoming healthier or wealthier. Here are two lists that you might find interesting: One from a doctor and another from a young person.

If you have any personal prayers or New Year's resolutions, feel free to communicate them to me. We all need help in making ourselves and the world better.

Start with yourself and just keep expanding (in a spiritual sense not physical).


Posted by qualteam at 3:06 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 2 January 2014 11:02 PM EST
Sunday, 22 December 2013
The Great Ice Storm of Dec/22/2013 In Ontario

This is what our street looked like after an ice storm in Brampton.

The biggest problem for many were old trees crashing down on power lines. This brought considerable power outages to Toronto where many lines are above ground. Our's are below ground and we only suffered a temporary loss of power (one minute).

There are more pictures of our street on my Facebook page.

The only comparable ice storm was further east in Ontario and Quebec (1998) which left one million people without power.

We spent half a day removing big branches from our driveway. There was a guy with a chain saw and he helped seniors who had their driveways blocked.

There was no rock ice to be found anywhere, so I used a couple of bags of ice melter that I bought at Loew's for $11 a bag. That wasn't all that effective. Fortunately, we had an ice cutting wedge to break up the ice and that worked better. I brought back the remaining three bags for a refund.

Hydro crews have been working hard over the last couple of days to bring power back, and apparently people are still in good cheer about Christmas too.

We've invited family over for a Newfie Christmas Eve dinner of salted Cod and sweets.

Some mummers may be able to dance through the ice branches on the street and the lawn. They may provide some warm laughs on a cold night.

For others, check out "Bad Santa" with Billy Bob Thornton. It was a hoot if you don't mind the language. The midget was priceless.

Have a very Merry Christmas.


 


Posted by qualteam at 4:55 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 24 December 2013 11:41 AM EST

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