Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Luminara reveals true corporate nature of Victoria's Times Colonist

The Luminara has been part of much local debate lately. Especially the unsigned editorial of January 21 has fanned the flames. Let's have a look how the editors of the Times Colonist skew the facts to make all of us think that commercialism is the way to go for the Beacon Hill Park.

The TC begins their bullying right from the start: the Friends of the Beacon Hill Park are the "most unfriendly folks imaginable". According to the article, "all the rules and regulations" make "the the park no fun to go to anymore". No fun anymore? The rules haven't changed, but the opinions of our favourite (and only) Island newspaper clearly have.

The article continues with an abundance of complaints, you wonder what their coffee breaks are like. I will address a few of them.

1. We (most probably meaning: the editors of the Times Colonist - the TC is definitely not talking for all of us) are denied a Great Canadian Family Picnic. Well excuse me, what's wrong with bringing your own lunch?

2. The editors of the Times Colonist "can't buy an ice cream cone there on a hot day": can someone send a free city map to the editors of the TC and mark where the Beacon Drive Inn is located? It seems the "journalists" are not only bored to death, they're also either lazy or stupid.

3. "There's no place to sit down for a cup of tea." Where does this nonsense come from? There is plenty of space, just bring your own tea. Can someone else sponsor these editors with a thermos? (Don't forget to include the instructions :).

4."God forbid a beer or glass of wine". Hey, I have to agree with the TC on this one. When will it be possible to have a drink in public? Coming from the Netherlands (yes, pot country, gay marriages and what not), drinking a beer in the open is one of the things I miss. Symphony Splash with a beer? I'm for it! But don't blame the Friends for it, they do not make the rules.

The Friends are also blamed for the rules and regulations, set by the city counsel, that wouldn't let the sponsors of the event show their names inside the park. Rules that do not allow commercial activity to take place in Beacon Hill Park. Are the Friends of the Beacon Hill Park wrong by abiding the law?

Finally we get to the heart of the matter: According to the editors of the Times Colonist it is also "naturally" that sponsors, who would like "a little credit for their generosity", are giving up on the Luminara and therefore there will be no "lanterns or children's faces shining in the park".

Is it so usual that sponsors give up funding when they can't even show their names in small print inside the park? I don't think so. I am sure there are lots of people in Victoria who regularly donate (yes, donating is also sponsoring) activities and good causes, without needing much in return: a tax receipt does it for most of us. The tsunami donations, were a perfect example of real generosity. Unfortunately another breed of sponsors used to fund the Luminara. And this breed is used to getting what they want, or else.

Who are they? And what do they want? Maybe someone can fill me in on the first WHO question?


There are many ways of letting people know who is sponsoring the Luminara. Sponsors can inform their own clientèle through newsletters, they can buy some advertising space on one of the local radio stations "claiming their generosity", they can even buy advertising space in the TC.

But, the Times Colonist thinks that this is "naturally" not enough. Sponsors want a "little credit for their generosity". Their imposed advertising practices should also be allowed inside the park. And that's what the Friends are against, and so am I.

Commercialism without restrictions is a dangerous thing. It has ruined the objectivity of most North American TV stations and newspapers, and quite obvious that of the Times Colonist.

I like the Luminara. I like the Beacon Hill Park. I'm starting to adore the Friends of the Beacon Hill Park for taking a firm stand to sticking to their principles. I am disappointed about the stand of the TC. Not only are they (and their corporate friends) imposing their advertising on us whenever and wherever they think they can, they also bully well meaning volunteers with their false and inciting statements.

The Beacon Hill Park is a peoples park, not a corporate park. Let's keep it that way.

Friends of Beacon Hill Park, keep up the good work!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Recording Industry Australia in court

Malik in Sydney Australia is wondering why the Australian Recording Association is in court, and not Britney herself.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Terminator at work

Gov. Swarzenegger's executes in real life. Visit his first execution.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

CanWest, Big Music and File Sharing

Today in the Times Colonist's Arts section an article about file sharing. The title caught my eye: "File sharing costs artists millions, law still vague."

Having followed this story closely, I was surprised to see that these ridiculous statements are still being printed. Do CanWest's articles not have to pass some kind of "smell test?" Obviously this must be an opinion piece, since their claims are far from today's reality.

According to CanWest the legal debate is murky. Being a Dutchman, not totally sure what murky means, I looked it up in Merriam Webster:
murky: 1. Characterized by a heavy dimness or obscurity caused by or like that caused by overhanging fog or smoke.

So why murky? Because "in the U.S. lawmakers have cracked the whip on file-sharing" but in Canada "no definite rulings on the [file-sharing] have been made". "Therefore it is currently not illegal". Don't you like it how these CanWest people try to make you believe there is something wrong with the Canadian law? The Canadian ruling is different from the U.S. position, but is different murky?

Like with many things, it all depends on who you ask. To CNET the last rulings on file-sharing in Canada is clear: file sharing in Canada is legal. Nothing about murky or any other related words (yes, this Dutchman checked Thesaurus). CanWest also states that "U.S. lawmakers have cracked the whip on filesharing" but "Canadian courts nor elected lawmakers have made definite rulings on the matter". Therefore, according to the article, it is not illegal.

First of all, not American lawmakers cracked the whip, but the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) did, by suing whoever they could (including 12 year old Brianna LaHara). And, why WOULD Canadian lawmakers crack the whip on filesharing when they already decided that it is totally legal?

The Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) is appealing rulings that make these downloads (and uploads) legal. Now why would they do that if the law is so clear? Fortunately no phone calls have to be made; they have their own answer.

If Canadians are comfortable file-sharing, they should be able to make an easy switch to a legitimate online music marketplace, once the proper conditions are in place.
The CRIA hopes to see everybody paying for "legitimate" downloads (read: paid downloads), but why would anyone in Canada pay for something that is already available for free? Exactly, that's what they try to change. Not for themselves of course, but for the artists. And CanWest is with them, with their article "File-sharing costs artists millions, law still vague".

After reading this article I started to wonder what the news worthiness was: nothing. No news in this article, only old facts, mostly directly from the CanWest's "friends" at the CRIA. I tried to look up the article online: for subscribers only. Good. People crazy enough "to pay" for old news, should.


Saturday, January 08, 2005

Huckleberry Mine: read Paul Willcocks blog

Any idea what's being done about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer? Read Paul Willcocks blog about the Huckleberry Mine and see what the BC Government is doing with your tax dollars.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Norman Spector: editorial

In Norman Spector's blog today (January 7th, 2004):

The Globe and Mail editorial board also weighs in against Alberto Gonzales; frankly, I don’t understand why they bother.

Who really cares what editorial writers in Toronto think of the next Attorney-General of the United States?
So I check and type editorial:
1. An article in a publication expressing the opinion of its editors or publishers.

An editorial is about opinion, and in this case the Globe and Mail seems to have one. Who cares? Norman Spector doesn't, but lets just be glad many other Candadians (or permanent residents like me) do.

But who cares about Norman Spector's opinion? Anyone?

Sunday, January 02, 2005

CBC: Promos

Don't get me wrong: CBC is probably the best general broadcaster available to Canadians. But there is lots that bothers me.

Promos for example. Right at the end of an advertising block I get quickly ready to continue to watch my favourite program... wait, first another promo. And then, oh, wait a bit more, a few more commercials first.

When the commercials are totally over; another promo. This time a promo for a "rerun" I already watched earlier this week: what an excellent way of spending time in front of the TV. Thank you, Robert Rabinovitch - good show!

And why do these promos look like commercials? Over the years I've learned not to trust commercials: companies will tell you whatever "you want to hear", as long as you buy their products. With these promos looking so similar, I start to question the intentions of the CBC: are they trying to sell us something?

Just get rid of these silly promos and use that extra time to make better programs: considering all the time that is waisted on commercials and promos there is hardly any time left for making a good TV program. After the budget cuts of the mid-nineties, to some the CBC might seem to have stabilized, but when is improvement going to be the new standard?

Quality, quality, quality - please stay at it.