Fortress of Economic Solitude?

Posted in Miscellaneous on January 20th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

Naomi Klein offers a chilling view of how America is “expanding” its borders to the northern Canadian and southern Mexican lines to create what she calls Fortress Nafta. Klein: “A fortress continent is a bloc of nations that joins forces to extract favorable trade terms from other countries–while patrolling their shared external borders to keep people from those countries out.” She also describes how this is happening in Europe.

It has been snowing heavily in Edmonton since Sunday, and the temperature has dropped into the -20C range. This morning, I woke early because I had to team-teach at 9:00 am (4th year Civil Eng class), knowing the roads would be shyte and that I had to clear my driveway. While making breakfast, I cracked my head on an open cabinet door in my kitchen, and it started bleeding. When I was ready to leave, I shovelled my driveway, got in my car, backed onto the street, and got immediately stuck in more snow. I tried shovelling under my tires, etc., to no avail. Fortunately, a kind soul in a pickup truck saw this, and came by to push me out. I did make it in time for class, sore head and all.

Three weeks ago I injured a muscle near my left elbow. The pain continues, despite using a tennis elbow brace and prescription gel on the soreness. It hurt like hell to play guitar on Saturday night. I think I may return to the physiotherapist.

Alberta’s inability to think forward

Posted in Miscellaneous on January 18th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

It’s a snowy Saturday afternoon. The roads in Edmonton are shyte. Tonight I’m performing with Amelia (fiddler) and The Celtic Fiddlers of Edmonton for Robbie Burns Night at the Edmonton Scottish Society. It’s 2:20 pm, and other than getting a haircut at 10:00 this morning, I’ve been in bed sleeping…sheesh. I think grey days can make you feel sluggish.

At the U of Alberta yesterday morning, the Board of Governors passed a series of back-breaking tuition increases on students registering for the 2003-04 school year. Who do you blame? It’s easy: our provincial government. Note that they have cut provincial funding per student in half in the past 20 years. For every dollar increase in the price of oil, our government pots $108 million dollars. For every 10 increase in natural gas prices, it pots $163 million. The last provincial budget assumed oil prices would benchmark at $20US/barrel, and natural gas at $3/1000 cubic feet. As of Friday, 17 January 2002, oil was at $33.91US/barrel, and natural gas at $5.54US/1000 cubic feet.

The government’s standard whine is that “there isn’t any more money”, and “we’ve got to come to grips with (fill in the blank)”. Consider that ours is far and away the richest province in Canada. Our university administration says it must work hard to convince voters of the importance of university education, but I hear and read this plea yearly, and see no efforts made, except by the students. Read how many of them feel today.
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eBay and Its Effect on Scholarly Research

Posted in Observations on January 14th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

Courtesy of Fiona comes this interesting link to a story about how eBay is changing how some academics conduct their research. One of my responsibilities as a librarian is to instruct students in research and library skills. That scholars and researcher would be searching eBay for material relevant to their work was something I had not considered until now.

Burned a CD lately?

Posted in Miscellaneous, Music on January 14th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

My brother Chris sent this interesting story on the emergence of CD burning clubs. Group members chose a variety of songs, burn CDs, and send one back to every member. Downloading copyrighted material continues to be a hot topic. I agree with Dave Marsh’s comments in this article, and I’ve said this before: I’ve discovered more interesting music and been exposed to more interesting artists as a result of downloading and listening to new music from wherever. Copyright is the sacred cow in my profession. What I don’t like is the wholesale burning of an entire CD for someone else’s use, or downloading of anything for burning and resale. And so on goes the downloading wars.

It’s bloody freezing here in Edmonton today.

Am I the only person around who is not surprised of the lack of interest or outrage by Americans regarding the bankruptcy scandals involving corporate executives at Enron, Worldcom, Adelphia, etc? We’ve become numb to such events, I believe. There is so much crap happening in the world, that when we hear about senior Enron execs defrauding investors, we shrug our shoulders and check out the next news story.

New York/New Haven Pictures – Second Set

Posted in NYC on January 11th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

The second set of my NYC/NH pictures are now up.

Stuff 01.11.03(2)

Posted in Film, Observations on January 11th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

Just returned from the fascinating movie Narc. A suspended narcotics officer is asked to participate in the investigation of the murder of a police officer. Ray Liotta plays the slain policeman’s partner, and Jason Patric is the suspended officer assigned to the case. Not your typical buddy movie by any stretch of the imagination.

Yesterday at the Power Plant, in the midst of our giddiness, we tried inventing new band names. The one that had us laughing the most was Botox Nutsack. Have you invented any good band names?

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