March 5th, 2002


Somehow in the last week I have become a fan of both Frasier and Everybody Loves Raymond after having found boths shows essentialy unwatchable previously. Have I changed, or have the shows changed.

Also, after two episodes, Watching Ellie is growing on me.

Can Ban

The National Post has published an editorial coming out against PEI’s so-called “can ban.”

So I feel it only appropriate that I publish the contrary opinion. I have always thought the prohibition against selling pop in cans was a Good Thing. I don’t care whether it’s a anti-litter move, an economic assist to local Seaman’s Beverages or an aesthetic decision, it’s always made sense to me, from every angle.

The Post editorial’s main criticism of the law is that because other non-carbonated beverages are allowed to be sold in cans, the anti-litter, pro-environmental arguments for the ban must be false. Frankly, I don’t see the reasoning here; just because the law is incomplete doesn’t mean it’s ineffective or that the reasons underlying it aren’t genuine. Indeed it would seem to make more sense for the Post to argue for a complete ban on cans instead of an end to the partial ban we have right now.

Pop in bottles is one of the things that makes PEI a special place. I stand in full support of the current and former governments who, for whatever reasons, agree with me.

Conference Call Fun

Every Tuesday afternoon the friendly folks at Yankee Publishing, my western affiliate Johnny and I have a transcontinental conference call.

As related on his website, Johnny recently switched cell phone providers, and his new service with Bell Mobility appears to have some quirks: twice during the call Johnny lost his connection. Wasn’t a battery problem. Didn’t appear to be a signal strength problem (has was standing still throughout). He just disappeared.

The first time this happened, he called right back and I conferenced him back in.

The second time this happened, he called right back and I conferenced him back in.

Except the second time, it wasn’t actually him that called, but rather Irene Renaud from the PEI Crafts Council calling for Catherine. I didn’t notice the caller ID was different, and I didn’t say hello, assuming it was Johnny and he just listen in where he left off.

Irene patiently waited for a break in the conversation, and then chimed in, sounding somewhat bemused, to express her confusion at being included in a conference call about the minutiae of The Old Farmer’s Almanac and Yankee Magazine. She left a quick message, and disappeared again.

Lesson: always say hello when you answer the phone.

Kudos to ISN

There is only one Internet provider on Prince Edward Island powering its webserver with wind power, and that’s Island Services Network (we power our server here with the wind too, but we’re not an ISP). Kudos to ISN for their forward thinking attitude.

March 4th

Cold Hearts?

As I related here many times during our sojourn to Thailand, we discovered that Oliver’s role in Thai society was completely different than his role here.

In North America, Oliver is a 15 month old infant, revered by his family and close friends but otherwise pretty well completely ignored, sometimes even resented, by everyone else.

For example, 9 times out of 10 when we go with Oliver to a “please wait to be seated” restaurant here, we get seated in some horrible back of the restaurant kid ghetto, far from everyone else.

In Thailand, Oliver is a 15 month old infant, revered by everyone. Monk, police officer, scraggly looking guitar player, waitress, riverboat driver. Everyone.

In Thailand, we get seated in excellent seats in the centre of the restaurant, and the wait staff take personal responsbility for Oliver’s happiness. If Oliver is crying, they pick him up and walk around with him. If Oliver needs a distraction, they distract him. And everyone in the restaurant waves at Oliver, and Oliver waves back.

And I’m starting to think this isn’t just a Thai thing. Oliver and I were at a Chinese grocery store in Halifax over the weekend, and he received the same sort of attention: I was struggling with a collection of grocery items and Oliver all at the same time, so one of the customers — I’m guess she was Chinese from her language and look, but that’s just a guess — picked up Oliver and squired him around. A good time was had by all.

I have anecdotal evidence from others to suggest that this attitude towards children, while perhaps amplified somewhat by the fact that Oliver is a rare white smiling baby in Thailand, reflects a general difference in the way children are regarded in other parts of the world.

If nothing else, it makes the Canadian “seen and not heard” attitude towards children appear cold hearted and mean.

When was the last time you picked up someone else’s crying baby to help them out? I certainly know I never have.