Friday, December 16, 2011

Why the Net really doesn't need SOPA / PIPA Legislation

As some of you may know, there are bills wending their way (successfully, it appears) through the United States legislative process that will force search engines and ISPs to become tools of censorship. Basically, the record companies, film studios, and pharmaceutical companies are worried about their intellectual property.

I am too. I lived off've the avails of music publishing for quite some time, and I think the rights of the artists who create music, film, and yes, even drugs are immutable.

The rights of the companies that distribute them? Not so much.

Nine Inch Nails gave their last album, the Slip, away for free, and also had the opportunity for fans to pay for it. Guess what? They made a mint from the sales, and it charted at #13 on Billboard. Trent Reznor has also given away music from other projects he has been involved in, including the two soundtracks for The Social Network and Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Recently, comedian Louis C.K. tried an experiment wherein he sold a show, circumventing big media, for $5 - direct to his fans. Guess what? He made money at it!

In what is probably the worst, and best marketing email I've ever received, he explains the hows and whys (below).

my point ultimately is that film studios and record companies are dinosaurs in their death throes - and they fail to understand the new sales paradigm that is now in place. Things will change, over time, but in the meanwhile, the geriatrics in the United States legal system are trying to ensconce the anachronistic way of doing business into law. And in the process, breaking the Internet, according to and 80 people who actually helped to create the technologies that underpin this fun thing we all enjoy.

Here's Louis C.K.'s email, which I think is absolutely brilliant, and proves my point.

Hi.  This is LOuie.  It seriously is me. Im even going to leave the O stuipdly capatalized because who would pay an intern to do that?? Okay so you bought the thing with my fat face on it and you clicked the button that said i could email you. And i know that now you are thinking "aw shit. Why'd i let this guy into my life this way?". Well dont worry. Because i really swear it that i wont bug you. I will not abuse this privalage of having your email. You wont hear from me again... Probably, unless i have something new to offer you. The reason i'm writing now, in the back of a car taking me to the Tonight Show set, is to let you know that as of now there is some new and cool stuff on my site, related to Live at the Beacon Theater. Theres a thing where you can download and print a dvd box cover and label so you can burn and make your own dvd of the video. And theres a new option where you can gift the special to as many people as you want (for 5 bucks each) and they'll get a nice gifty email from you with a link to the video.

Also, some of you may know, i recently made a statement (that sounds so dumb. Like i'm the president or something) about how the video has been doing online. Im pasting it in here below in case you missed it.

Lastly I'm planning to put some more outtakes of the show on youtube and i think i will put one on the site that is only available for free to you folks on this list, who bought the thing and opted in. But dont hold me to that because really i just thought of it and typed it.

Okay well please have a happy rest of the year and more happy years after that. And please even have been happy in your past. What?

Thanks again for giving me 5 dollars. I bought 3 cokes with it.

Regards. Sincerely, Actually,


People of Earth (minus the ones who don't give a shit about this): it's been amazing to conduct this experiment with you. The experiment was: if I put out a brand new standup special at a drastically low price ($5) and make it as easy as possible to buy, download and enjoy, free of any restrictions, will everyone just go and steal it? Will they pay for it? And how much money can be made by an individual in this manner?

It's been 4 days. A lot of people are asking me how it's going. I've been hesitant to share the actual figures, because there's power in exclusive ownership of information. What I didn't expect when I started this was that people would not only take part in this experiment, they would be invested in it and it would be important to them. It's been amazing to see people in large numbers advocating this idea. So I think it's only fair that you get to know the results. Also, it's just really cool and fun and I'm dying to tell everybody. I told my Mom, I told three friends, and that wasn't nearly enough. So here it is.

First of all, this was a premium video production, shot with six cameras over two performances at the Beacon Theater, which is a high-priced elite Manhattan venue. I directed this video myself and the production of the video cost around $170,000. (This was largely paid for by the tickets bought by the audiences at both shows). The material in the video was developed over months on the road and has never been seen on my show (LOUIE) or on any other special. The risks were thus: every new generation of material I create is my income, it's like a farmer's annual crop. The time and effort on my part was far more than if I'd done it with a big company. If I'd done it with a big company, I would have a guarantee of a sizable fee, as opposed to this way, where I'm actually investing my own money.

The development of the website, which needed to be a very robust, reliable and carefully constructed website, was around $32,000. We worked for a number of weeks poring over the site to make sure every detail would give buyers a simple, optimal and humane experience for buying the video. I edited the video around the clock for the weeks between the show and the launch.

The show went on sale at noon on Saturday, December 10th. 12 hours later, we had over 50,000 purchases and had earned $250,000, breaking even on the cost of production and website. As of Today, we've sold over 110,000 copies for a total of over $500,000. Minus some money for PayPal charges etc, I have a profit around $200,000 (after taxes $75.58). This is less than I would have been paid by a large company to simply perform the show and let them sell it to you, but they would have charged you about $20 for the video. They would have given you an encrypted and regionally restricted video of limited value, and they would have owned your private information for their own use. They would have withheld international availability indefinitely. This way, you only paid $5, you can use the video any way you want, and you can watch it in Dublin, whatever the city is in Belgium, or Dubai. I got paid nice, and I still own the video (as do you). You never have to join anything, and you never have to hear from us again.

I really hope people keep buying it a lot, so I can have shitloads of money, but at this point I think we can safely say that the experiment really worked. If anybody stole it, it wasn't many of you. Pretty much everybody bought it. And so now we all get to know that about people and stuff. I'm really glad I put this out here this way and I'll certainly do it again. If the trend continues with sales on this video, my goal is that i can reach the point where when I sell anything, be it videos, CDs or tickets to my tours, I'll do it here and I'll continue to follow the model of keeping my price as far down as possible, not overmarketing to you, keeping as few people between you and me as possible in the transaction. (Of course i reserve the right to go back on all of this and sign a massive deal with a company that pays me fat coin and charges you straight up the ass.). (This is you: yes Louie. And we'll all enjoy torrenting that content. You fat sweaty dolt).

I probably sound kind of crazy right now. It's been a really fun and intense few days. This video was paid for by people who bought tickets, and then bought by people who wanted to see that same show. I got to do exactly the show I wanted, and exactly the show you wanted.

I also got an education. And everything i learned are things i was happy to learn. I learned that people are interested in what happens and shit (i didn't go to college)

I learned that money can be a lot of things. It can be something that is hoarded, fought over, protected, stolen and withheld. Or it can be like an energy, fueled by the desire, will, creative interest, need to laugh, of large groups of people. And it can be shuffled and pushed around and pooled together to fuel a common interest, jokes about garbage, penises and parenthood.

I want to thank Blair Breard who produced this video and produces my series LOUIE, and I want to thank Caspar and Giles at Version Industries, who created the website.

I hope with all of my heart that I stay funny. Otherwise this all goes to hell. Please have a safe and happy holiday, and thank you again for all this crazy shit.

Sincerely, Louis C.K.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

J.D. Falk - Bad Pictures of Good Food

Death Didn’t Win

During the last months he spend with us, my friend and colleague J.D. Falk reacted to the death of a fellow cancer patient, Canadian New Democratic Leader party leader Jack Layton, with the same aplomb and approach he had his entire life.

Specifically, a columnist had noted, quite rightly, that Layton had not ‘lost a fight’ to cancer, and called for a better nomenclature related to the disease.

Did Jack Layton die from cancer because he didn’t fight the disease hard enough?

Of course not.

It’s a common cliché, one many of us use when talking about a disease that is often feared and rarely understood.

But to those touched directly by cancer, equating the illness with a war against the enemy, fighting an adversary, or suffering in order to survive can diminish understanding of the challenges and complexities faced by patients and their families.

“The idea that he was waging a battle which he lost demeans him,” said Robert Buckman, a medical oncologist at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. “I absolutely feel that he did not lose to an adversary.”
J.D. wrote a note to us all on Facebook, announcing the terrible news that his treatments didn’t go as well as we had all hoped, and with his usual unflappable optimism and positive attitude he was far sicker than anticipated. But rather than wallow in self-pity, he also took his typically contrarian stance with the article above, agreeing with part, but providing additional insight

A few days ago I posted an article about Jack Layton, and how the "fight" against cancer is an unhelpful misnomer. There is some fight in the process, though. It's not a fight /against cancer/, but against all the things cancer evokes in us and in people around us: fear, negativity, worst-case-only statistics, the desire to just give up and die. Fear is natural, statistics underlie important research, but neither serves us well as a permanent lens on life.
 In the case of both these men, and in fact all of us when we die, death doesn’t win the fight of finality.

The departed leave a deep legacy with those that have known them: Our fond (and sometimes not-so-fond) memories of the person serve as a way to bridge the gap between life and death. The person who has passed is of course physically gone, but their memory endures, and provides us with comfort.

Time may try to rob me, all of us, of J.D., but nothing will ever diminish what remains in my mind; his gentle ‘hee hee’ when we exchanged a joke, our mutual passion for travel (we shared a pork sandwich on the side of the road in Bali, Indonesia that became legendary between us as the best lunch EVUR), and an agreed-upon dedication to the betterment of our society through our countless hours of work to that end. We both had a synergistic passion for music, and would gift one-another things to check out.

The things I shared with JD: Food (of which he took bad pictures), sushi, more food, more sushi, coffee (we once shared a cup of $30 coffee! OK, it was pooped out by Civet cats, but who the hell drinks $30 coffee?!? (it wasn't that good, BTW)), writing, … it is a list that somehow seems meaningless to enumerate, because it fails to express what one person means to another. Relationships are far more complex than a list of shared likes or dislikes. And so I’ll stop listing, because it is truly the shared experiences. Not the coffee itself, or our shared taste for it, but the experience drinking that coffee is what was and is most precious.

I’d be remiss to say that there is something about Jews. We have this thing about black humour, and that too is something J.D. and I shared, joking about his cancer, throughout his illness. I’m certain few could appreciate why we did so, and would have been horrified to listen in, but is was a coping mechanism we both shared, and happily so. There is no such thing as ‘too soon’ or ‘off limits’.

J.D. gave me my first speaking break in the Anti-spam Industry back in 1999 - I predicted, with Bill Gatsean-accuracy the end of spam within the year. Despite that, he let me speak again at other events he organized.

Some of the last moments we spend together were some of my best – when I recently won an award (and he had an active hand in my getting the award), J.D. was front and centre, despite his illness, a gesture for which I will be grateful to the end of my days. I found a new part of my family – J.D. was there for that, too. Those are instances in time that will never disappear, until I do.

J.D. was famously contrarian to those that knew him, particularly those that fell into an adversarial camp – he had no time for silliness, bureaucracy, or immorality, and would provide alternatives to puffery put forth by panjandrums, usually with frustratingly immutable logic, but always done in a calm, friendly manner. Here again, being one of those panjandrums, I often received a correction by my pal. A lingering memory, one I hold dear.

Death simply can’t end these memories; it failed to end J.D.’s life. J.D. and I often lived at opposite ends of the continent from one another, and these thoughts stood in his place when he was alive, as they do now with his death.

J.D.’s was a life incomplete, not because he hadn’t made a significant impact during his time with us, but because he was so energetic, and focused, he had a set of plans he hadn’t time to finish; something I envied of him. We had planned to buy a Villa in Bali. He had planned to finish two of my impenetrable documents, editing them to legibility. Oh, how I wish you were here for this one, old friend!

Death is seemingly monstrously final when it first occurs, but eventually the grief mutates into something bittersweet. It becomes a not-unpleasant place where we can go to visit our friends and loved ones, and share more time with them.

There is a wonderful story by a famous Polish-Jewish rebbe (teacher) called the Dubna Maggid, recounted to my Mother, Sister and I at my Father’s shiva by our Rabbi, I share it with all who have an aching heart over the loss of a friend, a loved-one:
A king had a large beautiful jewel, a ruby, especially precious to him because it was a gift from his deceased queen mother. Through some careless accident, the jewel was ruined by a deep scratch and the king was in despair about this. He called many experts to repair it. Some tried polishing. Some tried chemical solutions. Nothing worked.
A proclamation went out that if someone could remove that scratch the king would be indebted to him for a lifetime. Many tried and failed.

One day, a jeweler of humble demeanor came saying that he would like to try and the king, nearly giving up hope, turned it over to him.

Some weeks later the craftsman returned.

The scratch had not been removed, but the king was delighted because through his artistry the craftsman had turned the jewel into something far more precious than ever before.

On the surface of the jewel at the end of the scratch, he engraved a beautiful rose. The scratch had become the stem of the rose through that craftman's skill; a curse turned into a blessing beyond price.

The scratch on our hearts will heal in the fullness of time, and it is our job to turn that scratch into a rose, to keep J.D. alive in our memories, and to honour him by furthering the tenets he held dear: volunteerism, charity, kindness and wisdom, and applying them to make the world around us an incrementally better place, as it was when Jesse David Falk was with us. Simply put, honour his legacy by continuing it. 

I shall try.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

120 Spam to An address stolen from / Pinsent Masons

In March 2012 I began to receive spam to an address given only to

I alerted them by way of editor, he told me they were looking into it, then went dead in response.

I upped the ante and copied in the following addresses on complaints, to no avail.,,,,,,

Apparently Pinsent Masons & don't care enough to admit the issue and alert their subscribers.

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09/09/2011    09:36:37    "account manager"     NACHA security nitification
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09/07/2011    21:15:33    "ANNABELLE Audley"     Re Re Re
09/07/2011    07:49:13    "Pankratij Fane"     Re Back to School Software Sale
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09/05/2011    12:55:13    "ALEXANDRA Barnes"     Fw Re Medicare and Medical Insurance conspiracy
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09/02/2011    07:25:33    "ach 01"     ACH Transfer Review
09/02/2011    03:04:31    "Prokopij Fane"     Fw Re Medicare and Medical Insurance conspiracy
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08/25/2011    01:36:32    "Prokopij Haig"     Fw Re Windows 7, Office 2010, Adobe CS5 ...
08/24/2011    13:00:54    "Mokej Edwards"     Fw Fw Fw
08/24/2011    10:37:59    "NACHA notification center"     ACH Payment Canceled
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08/23/2011    21:26:38    "MICHAELA Young"     Fw Fw Fw
08/23/2011    12:18:27    "info 2"     UPS notification 521456
08/23/2011    11:50:14    "info 3"     UPS notification 349496
08/23/2011    07:34:48    "support 8"     UPS notification 092783
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08/23/2011    04:36:16    "GABRIELLA Richards"     Re Re Windows 7, Office 2010, Adobe CS5 ...
08/22/2011    07:47:08    "info 4"     Uniform traffic ticket
08/22/2011    07:22:36    "no-reply 5"     Uniform traffic ticket
08/21/2011    12:25:27    "no-reply 9"     Uniform traffic ticket
08/19/2011    18:29:58    "no-reply 2"     Uniform traffic ticket
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08/19/2011    07:39:13    "info 7"     Uniform traffic ticket
08/18/2011    08:55:36    "phamshop sale"     SALE OFF Pharmacy store!
08/17/2011    04:17:12    "automailer -095"     Uniform traffic ticket
08/16/2011    12:46:23    "adv store"     SALE OFF Pharmacy store!
08/15/2011    08:20:55    ""     Companies that fall below card payment standards risk being fined, ICO says
08/15/2011    04:35:41    "support 4"     UPS notification
08/13/2011    21:37:57    "support 3"     UPS notification
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08/12/2011    12:37:18    "support 1"     UPS notification
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07/20/2011    08:00:50        Federal Tax payment returned
07/20/2011    00:05:47    "Max Gentleman"     MaxGentleman Enlargement-Pills
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07/14/2011    06:25:58    LinkedIn Security Alert
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06/30/2011    10:28:22    "Notification robot"     Credit Card Overdue
06/30/2011    07:14:50    "Notification robot"     Credit Card Overdue
06/29/2011    06:31:38        Your Federal Tax payment
06/28/2011    07:36:33    "PHARMACY SPECIAL"     Pharmacy USA Discount Price !
06/27/2011    20:14:56    "Notification robot"     Credit Card Overdue
06/27/2011    14:53:35    "Notification robot"     Credit Card Overdue
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06/22/2011    00:43:51    "United Parcel Service"     United Parcel Service notification #16343
06/21/2011    10:29:22        Rejected Federal Tax transfer
06/20/2011    06:35:56    "United Parcel Service"     United Parcel Service notification #93816
06/20/2011    02:55:30    "Gucci Louis.Vuitton"     Replica-SHOP Luxury Watches, Bags, Shoes rqp
06/18/2011    15:22:31    "United Parcel Service"     United Parcel Service notification #23372
06/17/2011    01:57:28    ""     Price comparison sites may be breaking financial advice regulations, says FSA
06/15/2011    06:18:21    "PHARMACY SPECIAL"     Buy.Now VIAGRA-CIALIS !!prwm
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05/31/2011    08:05:52    ACH payment rejected
05/27/2011    10:47:13    Wire transfer was canceled
05/03/2011    05:10:21    ACH payment canceled
04/27/2011    09:31:02    Rejected ACH payment
04/25/2011    09:48:39    Your ACH transfer
04/05/2011    10:12:28    ACH payment rejected
03/30/2011    06:49:15    Rejected ACH payment

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Newmans, MacCallums, apples, tobacco, and raspberries

As I noted over on Facebook, it appears that I have a biological family which is pretty cool.

Monday, 16 May 2011 at 07:29

I've been searching for my biological family since the mid 1990s. I had attempted to gain access to adoption records to no avail, they were terse, and uninformative.

I'd submitted my gene sample to some time ago and over the weekend, I was matched with my biological sister. I also have a brother, and my mother is still alive and living elsewhere.

The family history and the 23andme gene-matching appear to be quite convincing that this is the situation.

I spoke with my (adoptive) sister last night about all this, quite confusing, and not at all what I thought it would feel like.

Right now the news is quite stunning, and I am proceeding slowly, this is very new emotional geography to me.

May 02, 1960 - June 04, 2011 - RIP separation!

Over the weekend, I ended a 18,600-day separation between my original mother and myself, thanks to my sister Jolie Pearl and also got to meet her husband Steve, and my gorgeous & intelligent niece Ariel Phoebe Pearl-Butler (upon whom nobody is ever allowed to hit, lest they find themselves without a Facebook account. Do govern yourselves accordingly). ;-)

I'm still processing what it all means, it wasn't the massive emotional event that I had anticipated, rather, it was nuanced, subtle, deep, and the commencement of a relationship. And, very satisfactory, to use my mother's term.

I can't say I've ever been happier than at this time.

Updating the family tree has been interesting. my grandfather, Harry Schwartzman, was a tobacco farmer, he owned in this house, le Maison Antoine-Lacombe, in Joliette, Québec

The maccallums have a bit of history in Scotland, apparently the family has a castle - I'll be staying here this coming September

On the other side of the world, well actually, in Lachine / Lasalle, my biological grandparents were doing some farming, too; Cecil P. Newman was a purveyor of apples and the ""best commercial raspberry" on the continent".

He was also the first mayor of Lasalle, had a school named after him, and founded oldest Anglican Church still standing on the Island of Montreal - St. Stephen’s at Lachine.

Here's a kind of cool speech given at the dedication of the school - enjoy!

A Note on the Background of its Site and of the Family whose Name it Bears

A talk delivered by Percy C. Newman at the formal opening ceremony of the Cecil Newman School at Orchard Avenue, Ville LaSalle, Quebec, February 3, 1958.

"I have been asked to tell 'a little of the history and background of the site on which your school stands, and of the family whose name it bears'. I would, however, first like to thank the School Commissioners of Lachine for the privilege of telling you something of these things. It is a good idea, it seems, to me, that when we are in school we hear something of what happened in the place where our school stands, and something of the man whose name was taken for our school. Now the schools of the Montreal region usually take the name of their district, or of their street, or of some historical figure, or of some person known locally. The name of your school is the name of a man who was not widely known among the Canadian people generally, but who was known widely indeed among those people in this country and the United States who did the kind of work he did.

As for the early history of this part of the Island of Montreal, I do not intend to dwell on it. Not that I wouldn't like to. Once I thought I knew a fair amount about it. But in recent years, the historians have been changing their ideas about the region. They have found, for example, that it isn't 80 easy to be sure just where Robert de LaSalle had his homestead, and from what point he set out to explore the Mississippi River.

It is clear, though, that the street we now know as LaSalle Boulevard, which used to be known as the Old Lower Lachine Road, was long ago the road of the explorers. In the 1660's the Jesuit priest, Father Paul LeJeun, passed this way.

And in his report to his Church Order in France, he wrote:

“We marched on guard, as in enemy territory, there being no place in which the Iroquois is not to be feared.”

So about three centuries ago, there weren't many dull moments for Europeans near the site of this school.

The land here was rich and it was farmed almost from the time of the first settlers in New France. The interest of the Newman family in it dates from just after the War of 1812. A friend of the family had been here as an officer in the British Army. He described it to the Newmans who lived near Bristol, England. The younger of the family's two sons, Ashburnham Cecil Newman, who was the grandfather of the man whose name is on your school, must have liked what he heard. He came out here in 1831 and bought two £arms which he combined into one. He was then 35. and he knew something about farming, for his family had a lot of farmland near Bristol.

In the 1830's, there were a good deal of woods around here, many open fields of hay and oats and grain, separated by hedges. There were also some fruit trees. In England, the grandfather of Cecil Newman had lived the life of a country squire. Out here, he became a close friend of a man called Colonel Crawford - the Crawford Park district of Verdun was once part of Colonel Crawford's farm. So until the 1860's these two men, Ashburnham Newman and Colonel Crawford, along with their friends, rode to the hounds chasing foxes over the ground where your schoo1 stands.

One of the early acts of Ashburnham Newman was that he, together with two other men, founded the oldest Anglican Church still standing on the Island of Montreal - St. Stephen’s at Lachine.

Besides having his fun with horses and dogs and foxes, this old gentleman did make some changes in the farm. He planted currant bushes and some apple trees.

And from that time, there have been four generations of his family growing apples, four generations of Indians from Caughnawaga helping them do it, and, let me not forget, several more generations of boys and girls slipping through hedges and fences to help themselves to a few when no one was looking.

Now the old fox-hunting gentleman’s grandson, Cecil Newman, unlike his brother and two sisters, did not come into the world in these parts. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 29,1867 - the year of Canada's Confederation. His father had been working for the Pennsylvania Railroad in Cleveland and - returned here that year to run the farm. One thing Cecil Newman's father did should be mentioned in any account of this farm. He brought to Canada a cooking apple that was to go into countless Canadian pies. From France he introduced the Duchess Apple to this country.

These were some of the things that happened on this land where your school stands before the man who bears its name began farming it.

When Cecil Newman was the age of many of you in this auditorium, he was going to what was then the Lachine Model School. He was in its classrooms during the 1870's. The Lachine Model School was about midway between the present Ville LaSalle limits and the Lachine Canal Bridge at Sixth Avenue. It was on the river side of the street. I believe we still have a picture of it.

It was different going to school in the 1870's from now. Cecil Newman, for example, either walked there - a mile and a quarter - or he got a lift. Usually, I believe, the youngsters this far away got a lift, particularly in winter. Neighbours would take turns in giving each other’s youngsters a ride to school.

A good deal of sharing of this kind was done by people here in those days. But the difference in going to school then wasn't only because there were no buses or cars, this was especially true in winter. For days and days after a winter storm, the drifts on the Old Lower Lachine Road remained as great waves of snow. A horse and sleigh would rise and dip like a small boat on the high sea. It took a long time to travel from here to the Lachine Model School.

I need hardly tell you that in this grade school that Cecil Newman attended, everything was plain indeed beside what you have here. And the teachers weren't nearly as good as those you have. They didn't have the same training as your teachers. The Lachine Model School i8 what people mean when you hear them speak of the "Little Red School House".

There is something about such "Little Red School Houses" that you students are not usually told. You may have heard some older people speak of the "Little Red School House" as though it were a wonderful place to get an education. Actually, we know it wasn’t. And we’re not guessing. A few years ago, an American teacher collected a large number of examination papers written by boys and girls in schools back in the l840’s, and it probably wasn't much different in Canada in the 1870's. This teacher went over the different examination papers and he found they were much easier than in schools like yours. He also found that the answers of the boys and girls were pretty terrible beside those given by boys and girls today.

But, whatever the Lachine Model School classes were like, Cecil Newman, it appears, did his homework well. He passed readily and went on to Montreal High School. He left Montreal High early and entered Royal Military College in Kingston. In 1886 he graduated as a civil engineer. He was 19 and second in his year.

Two years later, when his father's health was failing, he was given charge of the farm. Then, like his father and grandfather, he began to make some changes in its operation. He went much further in fruit-growing than they. The place became the largest fruit farm in the Province of Quebec. Most of the people who helped the Newman's in their fruit growing were Indians - men, women, boys and girls from Caughnawaga. Among them were some highly colorful characters. One of these who for long worked on and near the site of your school, was known as Big John Canadian.

A great jovial fellow, Big John was in his day one of this country's most expert boatmen. Towards the end of the last century and in the early years of this one, he frequently navigated small boats down the Lachine Rapids. Quite a feat! Once he offered to take Cecil Newman on one of these risky trips. There'd be no charge, he said. However, Cecil Newman's mother objected, as mothers are apt to do, and she got her way - also as mothers are apt to. Her son could only view the dangerous rapids from the St. Lawrence shore.

Now, Cecil Newman wasn't only interested in how much acreage was given over to fruit. He was even more interested in finding better varieties of the fruit he grew. He wanted to discover the best that could be developed in the soil here. It is one thing to grow a particular fruit well by seeing that the soil is properly prepared, that the fertilizer is right, the planting right, the cultivating, the pruning and the rest. It is quite another thing to breed plants that will do better than any others. Those who do this are exploring new areas in plant life.

Cecil Newman tried to do this and in trying he became one of the outstanding men of this country at it. By the time the First World War broke out, he was known to research people like himself in every American state experimental farm in those states where the climate is not too remote from what it is here - from the Geneva Station in the State of New York, to Minnesota, to the State of Washington.

In 1931, the leading society of fruit growers in the United States honoured him for his discovery of the "best commercial raspberry" on the continent. Later he developed others superior to it. He went on to find new kinds of apples and other fruits. Today most of the best raspberries, some of the best early apples your parents buy are varieties developed on this farm.

Because of his work, experts in his kind of farming used to visit this farm where your school stands. They came from different parts of Canada, from the United States and from Britain.

Besides agriculture, Cecil Newman was much interested in the community where he lived. When Ville LaSalle was established as a town separate from Lachine, he was elected its first Mayor. For a number of years he was one of the town's aldermen.

He carried on his experimental work until May 1952 when, in his 86th year. he was trying to find new winter apples. He sent some examples to the Dominion Experimental Farm at Ottawa for testing. Two weeks later, on June 3rd. he died.

Speaking on behalf of the Newman family, I would like to say that we are appreciative indeed that the Lachine School Board chose his name for so fine a school as you have here.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Acceptance Speech for the Mary Litynski

I was honoured with the Mary Litynski award on June 09, 2011. Read about it here.

This is not the first award I've received from the MAAWG community. A few years ago, at a meeting in Washington, D.C., I received an honorary doctorate when recognized me as Dr. Evil. At the past meeting, at Disney, you honored me with a t-shirt branding me as Grumpy, from the Seven Dwarves.

As much as I treasure those memories, this award is very special to me.

Mary Lytinski was a warm, helpful, friendly person. It is nice to see that MAAWG is applying these criteria when deciding a suitable winner of the award in her name.

Seeing Mary at the registration desk was our opening ritual three times a year, and her greeting -- no matter how busy -- told every attendee that this was going to be a good meeting. Mary's contribution to our community and our cause cannot be measured.

I can’t begin to express my gratitude for this award, named in honor of our old friend; I am profoundly humbled, particularly when we consider the roster of others in our community undeniably as deserving of recognition.

My contributions to the Internet community, like that of so many others, began as a volunteer. To some, that might be a puzzling thing, to do something without financial recompense. To others, most in this room, it is the most natural thing of all.

There are a number of reasons why I try to embody a spirit of volunteerism. For one, my mother volunteered her time throughout her life. She undoubtedly passed this aspect on to me.

When I got online in 1992, the net was largely non-commercial. There was no world wide web. It was all about text, and community spirit, and volunteered contributions. Even when employees of a commercial entity worked on standards or software, it was with humility and a sense of collaboration, of building the Internet together.

The commercialization of the net has brought with it some astounding, wonderful new technologies and contributions to our global society. I am able to write to my friend, one of the happiest people I’ve ever met, a peasant girl named Shandy, who lives in rural China, because she has a Hotmail account. A far-flung community was able to express our love and support for our friend and colleague J.D. Falk, by way of Facebook, and email, and AOL Instant Messaging. Perhaps most profoundly, an offshoot of Google, 23andme, allowed me to reconcile with my biological mother, sister and brother, this past weekend after 50 years.

These are the things that motivate me to voluntarily advocate for the anti-abuse community. Because along with all these commercial offerings, there is still a fundamental, precious human element, a drawing together of the global village that criminals, if we let them, would rend asunder. There is still real, honest human communication -- that abusers sully. This human element is the magic intrinsic to the Internet, and something that must be protected. It isn’t just about email systems being spammed, and websites under ddos. It is what they represent -- the people, the data, and the ability to communicate -- that we strive to protect.

The DNA of the Internet, the vast majority of underlying technologies and protocols, were dreamt up and realized by volunteers. Grassroots, volunteer anti-abuse efforts such as my organization, CAUCE, many of the DNSBLs, discussion groups -- all manner of efforts to stave off the wolves at the door, nearly all done on a voluntary basis or as a contribution to the community.

And then there’s MAAWG.

While most of us are paid to be here, involvement in MAAWG can take up a tremendous amount of time. It often encroaches into one’s personal life, or one’s ability to accomplish the balance of our paid work, in effect, MAAWG is very much run by people volunteering of their time, expertise and brilliance.

And so, I accept this award on behalf of all the volunteers past, present and future, my peers and my betters, with the hopes that our work is properly honouring the person for whom this award is named, our dear departed Mary Litynski.

Monday, May 16, 2011

It appears that I have family

I've been searching for my biological family sine the mid 1990s. I had attempted to gain access to adoption records to no avail, they were terse, and uninformative.

I'd submitted my gene sample to some time ago and over the weekend, I was matched with my biological sister. I also have a brother, and my mother is still alive and living elsewhere.

The family history and the 23andme gene-matching appear to be quite convincing that this is the situation.

Right now the news is quite stunning, and I am proceeding slowly, this is very new emotional geography to me.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Apple has a file on my computer that lists where I AM?!?! OMG OMG OMG

These are the 39 apps on my iPhone that know where I am too, and I know 100% that they all 'call home'. Now what?

Alarm Clock
Camera +
CBC Radio
GPS Drive
INRIX Traffic
Speed Test
Sunrise & Set
Take Me To My Car
What's On

Friday, March 25, 2011

Why I'm voting conservative for the first time ever this election Pt. I

The Geeky Ex-rock Critic Industry Minister Tony Clement

Who tweets and interacts. And got a Canadian anti-spam law passed

A Liberal former astronaut. Yawn

Anyone thinking of voting Bloc Quebecoise?

Robert Bouchard

Gérard Asselin

The Bloc seem like good guys, interested in representing their constituencies.

For example, here's a bit of a Hansard transcript from Robert Bouchard, Bloc MP (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord) and Vice-chair of the parliamentary INDU Committee:

Robert Bouchard Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, the Conservative government will have another opportunity to support the forestry industry. Bill C-429, which is sponsored by my colleague from Manicouagan (Gérard Asselin) and which would increase the use of wood in federal buildings, will soon be voted on at third reading in this House.

Supported by municipalities, the Quebec order of architects, the Coalition BOIS Québec and forestry associations in Quebec and Canada, Bill C-429 sends a strong message to the industry by helping to highlight its transition towards processing and develop new markets.

This is also an excellent opportunity for the Conservative government to improve its record in the fight against climate change. For example, France expects to achieve 14% of its greenhouse gas reduction commitments through its wood, construction and environment plan. This government should do something good for the environment by taking the lead in promoting the use of wood.
 Very nice!

Let's take a little closer look, though.

M. Bouchard's constituency office is located at 267 Racine Street East, Suite 303 Chicoutimi, Québec. One might logically expect to find a magnificent log cabin housing this supporter of wood rights, but it is not to be. Google street view indicates very little wood.

Surely the proposer of the bill (which was given three readings in the House of Commons, at taxpayer expense) M. Asselin will fair much better. Checking out the luxurious pine, and cedar, and maple that ensconces M. Asselin at 55 Comeau Blvd. Baie-comeau, Québec will be a feast for the eyes! Sadly, Google Maps + Streetview is no help here. However, a fly-over with Google earth leaves us with the same distressing fact - no wood anywhere in evidence.

To Messers Bouchard, and Asselin, I suggest what is good for the goose must first be good for the gander.  You could even shoot an episode of Survivor! In Baie Comeau, it gets a tad chilly in the winter, and in Chicoutimi, things are not much better.