Why I'm Not Listening to On the Coast Anymore

”On the Coast” from CBC Radio Vancouver

On the Coast” from CBC Radio Vancouver

First off, I actually am listening to CBC Vancouver’s On the Coast, just not on the radio. I’m listening to it via their podcast [see image], because listening to them at the job would require either an actual radio, or an ‘all you can eat’ data plan for my mobile phone that I cannot afford; and I don’t get home until 5:45 pm at the earliest. So, it’s their podcast that means once a week or so I get to hear about ten minutes of their show and that’s all. As a result, I make do with listening to oodles of podcasts loaded on my iPhone. Sorry about the click bait.

The noise cancelling headphones I used to use have suddenly developed a super-​crackley loose connection that makes me willing to gouge out my ear canals instead of using them (so I wisely have set them aside until they get replaced). Previously I had been listening to music (and “live tweeting” as I worked my way through the careers of people like David Bowie and The Beatles, including information relevant to the albums), but the headphones I’m using now are Apple’s earPods and aren’t all that great for music so I’m going with the simpler sound demands of the human voice: podcasts.

A bunch of them I think enough of to actually babble about here, and if you’ve not heard of Any of them I recommend you check them out for yourself.

“Serial” from NPR

Serial” from NPR

The first, Serial, was the buzz of the entire world¹ at the end of last year. It was/​is about the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee and the subsequent trials of Adnan Syed who was found guilty by the second jury to consider the matter, the 1st time the matter ended in a mistrial. He claims to be innocent not merely because it didn’t happen the way it is claimed to have, but it didn’t happen at all. Everyone’s got their idea in reaction to the details of the case, including me² [SPOILER ALERT: reading the footnote will reveal a fair few things and/​or ruin your own unadulterated opinion of the case if you have not heard all twelve of the episodes], but the real fascinating part is the minutiae of the case being gone through at the time of the original investigation as well as hearing so many versions of the same story from so few people. Additionally, should the wheels of justice spin equally, no matter the end result, or not, and who really knows what ever happened ever? Do you know exactly what you did six weeks ago today (seriously, try to remember right now and try to avoid saying something like well, I probably was _​_​_​_​_​_​_​, but it was a normal day so I don’t really recall if you think you can). Intelligent crime reporting that isn’t really Crime Reporting. They’re coming back with a new season sometime this year, with a whole new story which hasn’t been revealed. Great stuff.

“Invisibilia” from NPR

Invisibilia” from NPR

Next, Invisibilia, is the one everyone’s buzzing about now³, from the people who formative in creating This American Life and Radiolab. It’s ‘science without the science,’ or ‘science that focuses on the sociological impact of things you don’t think have any. It’s not your high school physics class, nor is it a watered down version of the latest findings of cool technical research; it’s about how scientific things have no… um… it tells you about things you’ve never noticed before that have no… It’s… oh for pity’s sake; JUST LISTEN TO IT AND IMPROVE YOURSELF, ALREADY, OKAY?!

“The Invisible Hand” from CBC Radio

The Invisible Hand” from CBC Radio

Then there’s one from several years ago called The Invisible Hand, (which is sadly no longer available). Having listened to it at least twice now since it originally aired, then having heard a bunch of episodes of NPR’s Planet Money, I really do not understand why The Invisible Hand wasn’t renewed. I know it got a shit-​load of criticism of the “how dare you shove economics at me, you bunch of Capitalistic Pig-​Swine!” variety, but that sort of narrow-​minded, knee-​jerk, low-​rent, ‘protect me from questioning anything I already think is right or wrong’ reactionism is exactly what’s wrong with the world today.

“Planet Money” from NPR

Planet Money” from NPR

Frankly, if people want something to be irate about, NPR’s Planet Money should cause a good number of seizures: they’re investing money on the New York Stock Market right now, and they’re actually investing on the basis the stock market will go down! They’re betting that America will fail! They’re not making any money with this strategy, obviously, they’re illustrating how ‘sorting a stock’ works in practice. However, imagine a CBC programme trying anything close to this as a way of explaining how stuff works: people would shit themselves! Personally, I love the fact the people at the show are doing it, as it totally clarifies things, and the notion of getting people to understand how that there Economy stuff works is exactly what this show does and the CBC’s 12-​week summer experiment actually did. For some unfathomable reason, we’re happy to let the ‘experts’ do it for us instead, which strikes me as being damned dangerous.

I wish The Invisible Hand had continued, as I really enjoy where they were going philosophically: questioning pre-​conceived notions of what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ about the economy – even challenging what the economy is for that matter – is both an intelligent and interesting way into any topic, especially this one. The fact it was able to do so without shoving ‘egg-​heads’ at the listener made it all the more appealing to me. The economy doesn’t need to be as complicated as it is made out to be, unless you’re dealing with the really big stuff that the Governor of the Bank of Canada explains to people (with the hopes that some experts actually understand what he’s said, with the usual result of ‘no, no they didn’t’).

There’s a bunch more podcasts I am listening to, but those will do as recommendations for now.


  1. …if your world is full of white liberal people and is limited to North America.
  2. First off, Adnan did it. Maybe it was an accident, maybe not, who knows. The State Prosecutor’s case shouldn’t have seen the light of day, never mind the Jury in the courtroom, it’s so much of a joke; there are holes you could drive several buildings through. The right guy was found guilty, just not at all in the right way. The real mystery here is this: there’s way more that happened that day which probably involved Jay, more than likely all of this un-​known stuff took place sometime between 1:30 and 8:00pm when the cell phone seems to have moved all over Hell’s half-​acre, and neither Adnan nor Jay are talking about it. I predict revelations about this eventually, but everyone in society will have forgotten by that time and no longer care.
  3. op. cit.

Uncle Warren is Watching

Because the thought that ‘Warren Ellis is staring in the window of my flat in order to determine what exactly I need to be told’ amuses me, here’s something from the very last bit of this week’s Orbital Operations:

Take care of yourself, avoid death, and find pleasure in the little things.

The newsletter about what he’s doing (or not doing, because he’s so busy just now) is where this is from. You will subscribe by clicking here: http://​orbitaloperations​.com/

You’re welcome. Again.

…and thank you, Uncle Warren.

Dean Del Mastro

what a fucking scum-bag

Dean Del Mastro [from his web-​site]

Former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro [image, right] is a fucking scum-​bag.

I have no problem saying this, as it’s just my opinion.

He’s been convicted of every single charge laid against him about breaking the election act during the 2008 campaign. He was also convicted of falsifying a document attempting to cover-​up the fact. The Judge’s ruling was scathing:

In her decision, Judge Lisa Cameron said that in her view, from the timing of the contract and its language, it “is plainly a contract for election services.”

She also said that she found Del Mastro wasn’t credible, “frequently obfuscated” during his testimony and that there were a number of inconsistencies.

Here’s how recalcitrant he was right after the decision was given, amid suggesting that there would be an appeal filed (although his lawyer downplayed the idea):

The judge’s ruling “was not a final decision,” he added.

I’ve in no way broken any of the laws governing elections.”

He seemed unfazed by the judge’s finding that his testimony wasn’t credible.

I know what the truth is. That’s her opinion. My opinion is quite different.”

So… again, my opinion is that he’s a fucking scum-​bag. He should be able to ignore me just as easily as he is Her Majesty’s laws.

Mood: irate

Something to Always Remember

Once more Warren Ellis says the right thing for me to hear, and the right time for me to hear it.

Have a great week. And if it’s a shitty week? This too will pass. There has been joy. There will be joy again.

Thank you, kind sir.

He has a newsletter about what he’s doing (or not doing, because he’s so busy just now). You will subscribe by clicking here: http://​orbitaloperations​.com/

You’re welcome.

Mood: tired
Book: Onward: How Starbucks Fought for its Life Without Losing its Soul, Howard Schultz (with Joanne Gordon); Rodale, March 2011 [ISBN:978160961346]

The New Now

Odd note on discarded door in my car park.

Odd note on discarded door in my car park.

The last year or two has been a tad tumultuous, as some of you know. The end result of everything has been that I no longer live with anyone, as my wife and I are now separated.

While I shared the house with her since the end of January 2013, I had my own bedroom in the basement. It wasn’t an ugly experience filled with you suck! no, you suck more!! conversations, thankfully, but it was one which most likely tried everyone’s patience equally. It’s difficult to actually feel as though you really are your own person when your ex-​spouse-​to-​be¹ is still only a few metres and one floor/​ceiling away from you.

New place, new observations:

Less is more, and that’s awesome! I’ve pared down to what I actually need, without much of the detritus of a nearly half-​century of life cluttering-​up the place.

But yet, organising it all is tough sometimes: where does the desk go (which doesn’t even exist)? What do you move or clean first?

TOASTER!!

TOASTER!!

At one point, I didn’t yet own:

  • tea pot/​kettle
  • baking pans/​sheets
  • ice cream scoop (WTF?!)
  • broom
  • toaster [since rectified; photo, right]
  • coffee maker/​bodum/​french press [since rectified]
  • nail clippers [since rectified]
  • spatulas [since rectified]
  • wine glasses [since rectified]
  • highballs [since rectified]
  • steam iron (but I do have a new ironing board… WTH?) [since rectified]

LifeHacker–style Pro tip: if you don’t have – but need – a broom then substitute… a broom. Essentially, there isn’t one. You’re SOL, Sparky.

Also: this is fatness central, as inside a maximum of three blocks there are two of the breweries, as well as…

  • Dairy Queen
  • 7-​Eleven (open 24 hours, perfect for jelly-​babies and/​or licorice at 2:45 AM)
  • Convenience Store
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • McDonald’s
  • Little Caesar’s Pizza
  • On Lok
  • A&W
  • JJ Bean Coffee

Plus:

  • Foreign Auto Parts (20% off windshield wipers this week!)
  • a tattoo parlour (seems closed with a note to someone posted on the door about a “new key: see mgnt”)
  • at least two gas stations

More thoughts to come.


¹ If someone can come-​up with a better Proper Title for that situation, it would be appreciated. [back]

Mood: accomplished
Music: Discovery, Electric Light Orchestra [Released 31 May (UK) /​8 June 1979 (US); Jet]
Book: Onward: How Starbucks Fought for its Life Without Losing its Soul, Howard Schultz (with Joanne Gordon); Rodale, March 2011 [ISBN:978160961346]