Slumdog Millionaire in the Caribbean

Well the film Slumdog Millionaire finally came to this tropical burg. The Lovely One and I went to see it last night and it moved us like no other film that we have seen. It deserved every Oscar that it got and more.

The film lifted us from reality, totally engaged us and rendered us speechless after the movie. People in the tropics never have emotional displays, yet this movie got an ovation in the theatre. This was the first time that I have seen this in the tropics.

It is a film that has it all. It has all of the classical themes of love, redemption, goodness triumphing over evil and yet it is a modern film with stunning photography. It is a film that has humour, and gory unsavoury bits all artfully blended together. The way that the Three Musketeers thread weaves it way through the film is stunning and unexpected.

If you haven't seen this film yet, you simply must.

Shrinking Money, Shrinking Coins

Well the recession is has finally hit the tropics. Money is shrinking all over the place. I came back from the grocery store and took a look at my varied pocket change. It really is varied because the dime here is almost the size of a quarter with fluted edges. And the money that you get in change here is vastly polyglot. You get a mix of Canadian, American and various Caribbean coins in your change.

The penny here has really shrunk. It is now smaller than a dime. And it is almost useless in this country where the cost of living is astronomical. And now, all that the penny is, is a tiny shrunken head.

The one thing that still hasn't changed, is that this is a poor Third World country, and I still find more pennies on the street than I do in Canada or the United States. Go figure.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Church In The Tropics
I snapped this pic last Sunday. I heard chuch music filling the street and from my vantage point on the sidewalk, I saw this procession of clergy.
Update on the parafychologist (see blog entry previous). I sent the Sety dude an email asking what exactly a parafychologist was. No answer as of yet.

Parafychologist

This ad came out in the local paper. The guy claims to be a parafychologist. I was sure that this blog entry would be about a guy who can't spell parapsychologist. Just to make sure that I wasn't barking up the wrong tree, I decided to google it. There is only one reference on the entire googleverse to parafychologist. It was someone who was asking a website that hosts questions and various visitors answer the question.

I am always fascinated by words that appear very seldom on google, and parafychologist is one. I think that it is a made up name much like chiropractors have their "subluxation" terminology to give a scientific credence to what they do.

Anyone, someone answered the question stating that a parafychologist is someone who uses candles to divine the future. It comes from parafin. I think that this is a made up answer as well.

However, I did do a reverse lookup for the domain name in the ad, and it turns out that the guy isn't even in the Caribbean. He is in Toronto Canada. Here is his contact info:


Toure, Sety
sety15@hotmail.com
1530 victoria park avenue apt.102
north york, Ontario
m1l4r9Canada
(416) 285-9192

It appears that his name is Sety Toure, so Sety is his first name. It also sounds Haitian. So the next step is to check out the telephone number. I did a reverse lookup, and it turns out that the phone, which is also listed on the website is not registered to him. Here is the info:

Diaby F
416-285-9192
1530 Victoria Park AveNorth York,
ON M1L 4R9

So our Parafychologist isn't using a phone registered to himself. It is registered to an F. Daiby. He claims that he can bring good luck in business. I hope that he can bring himself enough good luck so that he can buy his own phone line.

The devil in me will email him and ask what a parafychologist is. I will report back on my findings.

Kids & Politics

When we were kids, we had "forts" and clubhouses, and tree houses and places were we could congregate and exclude the kids that we didn't like. Generally we played fantasy games and our heros were either superheros, or action heros. We also played war a lot. My how things have changed.

I saw this girls' clubhouse on a side street. They had appropriated an abandoned house and set up headquarters for the "Office of Condelisa Rice Administration Fans Club". For information "See Minister Tyga". Later on Sarah Palin's name was added to the sign.

It was an amazing social insight. Young girls choose female American politicians as their role models. I would have thought that singers like Beyonce, or actors like Hannah Montana, or Halle Berry, or even Michelle Obama would be role models. I thought that some fictional characters would make the grade. However, it is the female politicians that these girls worship. It must be true that politics makes strange bedfellows.

It was an expensive pig

The National Trust, the same group that hosted the luncheon with His Royal Highness Prince Edward is at it again. This time it is a pig roast. We are all supposed to dress up 'Cuban chic" and pay $150 per person to get pig on a stick. It is some expensive pig to pay $150 per person.

But I am also having problems with the Cuban chic part as well. I don't like putting grease in my hair, wearing straw hats and Hawaiian-like shirts with shiny patent leather black shoes. And dancing ... well. Last week the Lovely One and I went to a salsa lesson. That was a waste of an hour of my life.

The instructor belonged on Dancing With the Stars. The lessons were held outdoors on a flagstone portico. There was what seemed like 150 people in the class. We were in the third row back and couldn't see her. She would give us a step. We would go through it, and then immediately she would give us an advanced variant on that same step. I still hadn't gotten the original step.

It didn't help that to my left was one big dumb bozo whose limbs were all akimbo, and his grotesque gyrations were throwing me off. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a pile of motion akin to the motions a person who can't swim would make when they are drowning. And when we were suppose to do a fuelta, (a spin) everyone was facing left, and he was turned 180 degrees facing me and facing right.

So, I don't do romantic Spanish. I would love to learn the tango, but learning calculus at age 12 seemed a whole lot easier. And this is what perplexes me. I can do the most advanced math easily. I actually understand cosmology, and how the Higgs Boson adds mass and why Black holes aint so Black. I also understand the four dimensions of space-time. I can do a Fast Fourier Transform with a pencil and a slide rule. I can shoot a fish with a Hawaiian sling. I can ice skate backwards with my skates untied. I can do a lot of stuff.

But I can't dance. Furthermore, I really don't see the point of dancing. If dancing is the vertical expression of a horizontal idea, then let's cut to the chase and eliminate the juxtaposed contrivance and get down to the real thing. But that's not romantic. Somehow romance is subtle. And there is nothing subtle about paying $150 for pig on a stick. As for dancing, gimme that old time rock and roll.

Potcake XII - Positive Affirmation

Our resident street philosopher, known as the Potcake was recycling messages this fine, warm Sunday. His message to day was quite simple:

  • "Potcake Says: Yes We Can !"
The message was coupled with two pictures of President Barack Obama.

That's quite a positive affirmation considering that his last few messages were about the economic recession.

For the canonical list of Potcake epigrams and sayings, please click on the "Street Philosopher" tag below this blog entry.

Opa -- Greek Festival

The Greeks came to these tropics a century ago. They came because they were sponge divers, and the sponges around the Greek isles were either either exhausted or suffering from a blight. They had a good run here until the sponge industry collapsed. Now there is a rather large Greek community here that has been here for a hundred years or more.

Today was the Greek festival. It was extreme fun. The Lovely One, her mother and I went to the Greek Church and community center. Admission was three dollars. They had a taverna with ouzo, Greek beer and various other libations. They had a lamb shack, a seafood stall where one could get everything from cod cakes to calamari and paella.

Then they had the charcoal grilles with the pork, chicken, quail and the saladerie had everything from the tradition Greek to the lentils, and spinach and about 6 other salads. Inside was Mamma's kitchen, with the stuffed grape leaves, moussaka and other dishes too numerous to mention. There was a Greek grocery store that sold everything from wines, to cheeses, to olives, to honeyed yougurt. A few stalls down there was the pastry shop with the baklavas and nut cakes. There was Greek merchandise, a silent auction, a book store, and cultural immersion materials.

We indulged in the salads, the souvlaki, the pita and the desserts. Then we went into the church and spoke to an iconographer who painted the icons in the church above. He had a fascinating story and we are going back tomorrow for the food (again), and the art lectures by the iconographer.

It was just plain refreshing to be immersed in another culture other than the Jimmy Buffet culture.

Cuban Mamey Recipe

In an earlier blog entry, I mentioned that I had bought at Cuban Mamey (pronounced Mammy). It was a brown torpedo thing that was hard as a rock. I left it in the fruit basket for several days until it softened. Last night I deemed it soft enough and we had a delicious dessert. Here is the recipe:

I peeled the Cuban Mamey. The skin was like that of a kiwi. The flesh was a deep pastel orange and there was a surprising amount of fruit. There was a medium sized seed, about the size of a 30-30 shell, maybe a couple of inches long. The seed had a high gloss finish like a beautful piece of polished varnished mahogany.

I put about six ice cubes in the blender with about half a cup of half and half cream. Then I dumped the fruit in and pureed it until the whole thing had the consistency of a sherbet. It was fabulous. It did taste like creamy pumpkin pie, and all at the dinner table agreed that we should purchase Cuban Mameys whenever we see them at the market.

I planted the seed, and hope to have a Cuban Mamey tree:

Karla Homolka Again

Well, it seems that me posting the article in the Tribune, has stirred a hornet's nest. I have been getting a lot of emails, and comments. Enough so, I have to revisit the original posting. I have been thinking a lot about the article, and the pictures, and here are some of my thoughts and conclusions.

1) The Tribune is not exactly known for its investigative journalism. They print news releases word for word as news articles. My belief is that a reporter was surfing the web, and found the 2006 allegations of the pair in the Bahamas, and reprinted it as "news".

Furthermore, it would seem highly unlikely that Karla is in the Bahamas. However there are several tantalising clues to the opposite. Unfortunately I cannot reveal them because they were sent to me in confidence, but one of them is pretty plausible.

I will undertake to check with the reporter of the Tribune article to see if he has anything new to offer.


Let's look at the pics. In the first one, even though the baby is held by Luka, it is in fact a Negroid child. This would indicate that the baby belongs to Thierry Bordelais, the putative husband.


Let's talk about Thierry Bordelais and the "French Antilles". In these parts of the Caribbean, nobody says Antilles. The Antilles are broken into the greater Antilles, the lesser Antilles, the British Antilles, the Netherlands Antilles, and the greater and lesser are divided among the other monikers. Secondly, the population of the Antilles is not that high, and as a rule they are not an exporter of people to Montreal. However Haiti is.
For example, the Governor General of Canada is a Haitian immigrant and there are about half a million Haitians in Canada. My bet is that this Theirry Bordelais is of Haitian extraction, and got out of Haiti to one of the French speaking islands before landing in Montreal.
Then we have the vacation pics. I happen to live on Paradise Island where these pics were taken. The big Egyptian chair is definitely at the entrance to the Atlantis casino, but like the taxi drivers here, I look for other clues. Take a look at the wrist bands. They are from the less ritzier Riu Hotel, which is an all inclusive next door to Atlantis. This would suggest an inexpensive vacation. If Luka did have an agent here, he would not be staying at the Riu. Someone suggested that the woman in the photo is his mother. Entirely possible:


And then we have the Cabbage Beach photo of Karla. On the original, the whole photo is reverse -- flipped vertically. I know this because Cabbage Beach is my backyard and I swim almost every night. I flipped the photo and you can compare it to the photo of my blog. You see the high high palm trees as in my photo as well. If you look the other way, you see Ocean Club (Bond, James Bond) and Atlantis. Past Atlantis is the world famous Sivananda Ashram, which you cannot see. So why is the photo flipped?
It is hard to be definitive, however I am less and less convinced that Karla Homolka is here.
I do have an ace in the hole. I travel in the same circles that intersect with the Minister of Immigration. I have his private cell phone number. When I get an excuse to call him, I will casually ask him if he knows if Karla is in town.
I will keep you posted.
UPDATE: I spoke to Alex Missick, the reporter who wrote the Tribune article. She had concerns from Bahamian citizens about Karla Homolka and trolled the internet for the story and wrote it up. She has no new information about Karla other than what is on the net. However there is a Bahamas connection that is intriguing, but cannot be disclosed at this time.
If you want to see all of the postings on this blog about Karla Homolka, click on this link:
http://cosmologicalcabbage.blogspot.com/search/label/Karla%20Homolka



 Facing Retirement Without Money, or Have No Job and Can't Get one??  Take advantage of the latest trends with Job Chunking and utilize your existing experience and work history.  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/259619  or on Amazon Kindle:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ADM5JBA

Mummy's Butt, A Cat's Breakfast -- My Morning Photo Essay

Well I woke up this morning and just wanted to shout like Robin Williams: "Good Morning Vietnam !" I went outside for my morning coffee, and it was a jungle out there. I had my camera to create a little photo essay of my morning:

The jungle out there


The weather is great. For all my northern friends reading this blog, the temperature today will be 78 degrees, or in Canuck-speak, it is 25 degrees Celsius.

The Lovely One's mother is visiting us and the first thing that my camera spied when I went out on the patio, was Mummy's Butt. Here is a picture of it:



Scroll down ........



Scroll down ........



Scroll down ........



Scroll down ........



Scroll down ........



Scroll down ........



Scroll down ........



Scroll down ........




It was a real cat's breakfast:


And here is a quick pic of my breakfast before I took off walking to work:

The sunglasses were a little indigestible, but the grapefruit was real good. It came from island of Andros and was grown by the Mennonites. (The womenites helped too!).

Speaking of Andros, we are going to charter a small plane and fly Mummy's butt to Andros to check it out. They have a place there called Fresh Creek which sounds kind of intriguing.

Everyone tells us that Andros is like Warsaw. If the first prize is a week vacation in Andros, then second prize is two weeks vacation. I dunno about you, but that sort of whets my appetite to see the place.

Tropical Flowers

I have to get a book on tropical trees, plants and flowers. I was walking home from work and saw the above flowers blooming. The petals are quite thick fo flower petals, and the flower seems to be a sturdy, drought-resistant thing. There were a fair amount of flowers on the bush.

I spent some time Googling this to no avail. It is not exactly a pretty delicate flower, but it is colourful and enchanting in its own way.

If you have any idea of what this flower is, please leave the name of it in a comment.

Dogs Searching For Homes

I am on an email distribution list, and it seems that the above dogs have reproducing. Their progeny is shown below:



One of these things is not like the other. One of these things is not quite the same. Can you tell which is not like the other? (singing Sesame Street songs ....)

So, if you live in these islands and feel that you might be interested in one of the puppies above, give me a shout.

As far as I am concerned, one of the noblest dogs is this fellow below. He is a fellow searching for a home as well. He currently hangs out at the harbour marina, and he is a beautiful potcake:

Jujubes and Cuban Mameys

We went to the farmer's market this weekend, and there was a chap selling tropical native fruit from his garden. I bought a Cuban Mamey (pronounced Cuban Mammy). It is the brown torpedo thing in the pic above. He also gave me what he called a JuJu to try. It looked like a yellow cherry, and its core is beside the Cuban Mamey. I ate most of it and was left with the huge seed in the middle. I dug up a picture on the internet what they look like.

They are also known as jujubes, and we used to eat a candy of the same name. However, don't let the name fool you. These things don't taste like candy. They taste like a sweet concoction of apple and baby vomit.

The scientific name is Ziziphus zizyphus, and they are also called jujuba, Rhamnus zizyphus, Jujube, Red Date, and Chinese Date. The Koreans use them as medicine to relieve stress, and there is an Australian drink called "1-bil" which uses these things as a pick-me-up drink to relieve stress.

The Chinese dry and smoke the fruit, and also make a wine and vinegar from them. You can also get a syrup to go into your tea from the jujubes. Asians consider the fruit and aphrodisiac and in Bhutan, the leaves are used as an insecticide potpourri.

Now, the Cuban Mamey is something else. I haven't eaten it yet, because it isn't ripe yet. However I have had its cousin, the sapodilla or dillie and it is creamy delicious. The caimito or star fruit is also of the same ilk. It tastes like creamy pumpkin pie.

The Cuban Mamey is also known as the mamey sapote, and Pouteria sapota. The fruit's flavor is variously described as a combination of pumpkin, sweet potato, and maraschino cherries with the texture of an avocado. Again, some consider the fruit to be an aphrodisiac. Folks here make ice cream, smoothies, milkshakes and fruit bars with the rich sweet fruit.

The fruit has antiseptic and bacterial properties. In the Spanish American War, they used to dress wounds with the fruit. The Cubans to this day use it for gastrointestinal maladies as well as a purported cure for venereal disease.

Once I do eat the Cuban Mamey, I will give a full report. When I blogged about eating the cousins of the Mamey, the Caimito and Dillie, I waxed eloquent on the taste and texture. You can read those blog entries here:

http://cosmologicalcabbage.blogspot.com/2008/04/caimito.html
http://cosmologicalcabbage.blogspot.com/2008/04/under-dillie-tree.html

No More Haitian Sloops

This was the scene last month. They are Haitian sloops anchored around the Paradise Island lighthouse. They are hand made entirely of wood and their sails are found fabric, bits of advertising banner and various nylon shells stitched together.

They have no engines. They sail entirely by wind power, and they have no GPS, radar or radio. It takes them from three days to a week to sail from Haiti to here. They no longer grace our harbour.

They are intercepted at Matthews Town in Greater Inagua, and detained there. The Haitian sloops not only carry Haitian produce, and carry back remittances, but of late, they have been carrying human cargo and drugs. As a result, the marines at Inagua intercept them.

It is a pity. They are the last of the wind and wood traders and I miss their presence in the harbour.

What the tourists didn't see

Today's entry is appropriate for Friday the 13th. Never mind that last night I had a dream about a plane crash and there was one in New York. Never mind that it was one huge coincidence, in spite of the fact that I have never dreamed of plane crashes before. There is no such thing as real psychics. If there was, we wouldn't have things like lotteries. But the topic is much more mundane -- mudanity.

Tourists come and look around and never pay attention. Walking around this paradise is like a big TV show set. They gawk and look around, but never REALLY observe. And they never look up. If they did, they would find that they really don't have to leave home to see eye candy, or something completely different.

The above pic is a good demonstration. Here you have a boatload of tourists going out on a cruise. They look bored. But if you take a closer look and zoom in, you will find that the most interesting scenery is on board the boat:

Pigeon Plum

Whilst strolling home from the office, I came upon a group of Haitians picking fruit from a tree. This tree was very near our house, and I had passed it many many time before and never paid any attention to it. It is an easily missable, non-descript tree. It had these berry-like things on it.

I stopped and asked them what the fruit was. They replied "pigeon plum". The pigeon plum looked an awful lot like a seagrape. I have already made seagrape jelly.

The tree has thick leaves and apparently withstands a lot of salt. The berries are in a group, and do not all ripen at once. They are bitter until they look a bit withered. Then they stain your fingers purple and are sweet, but there is precious little fruit. Most of the berry is seed surrounded by a small layer of pulp. Apparently they get there name because pigeons eat them and spread the seed around.

The fruit is both tart and sweet, except if you get a bitter one. It has a "different" texture on the tongue -- a bit dry is the best way to describe it. It is delicious if you have the patience to pick the ripe ones. When you do start picking, by jiggling the bunch, all of the ripe ones fall to the ground.

I picked some for the Lovely One. She bit into it and immediately spat it out. She chose the only bitter fruit in the bowl. Somehow that was the way that her luck was going this week. Pigeon Plum will not go on my list as gourmet delights.

Getting the Modem Bank to Answer the Phones

Spent a couple of hours trying to get a modem bank to answer the damn phone. We need to have modem banks because most of the merchants accepting our micropayments card do not have internet in their stores. To communicate with the Point of Sale Terminals, we need to use telephone lines.

So we took a look at the RapidPort/4 modem that hooks up to a USB port. There are four modems per box, and you can daisy-chain up to five of the things per USB port. One USB port can answer 20 phone lines. They are relatively inexpensive and they are supposed to be plug and play. The instruction/installation manual is just a couple of small pages.

So if you follow the instructions, and load the software from the CD you can see all of the modems when you install and then click on the Phone/Modem control panel. They you can open up the configuration tool that is installed, and you can change the ports. Then you open the system control panel, click on the hardware tab and every thing looks okey-dokey. So you try to phone in, and the thing doesn't answer the damn phone.

You google the problem and google is useless to you. You uninstall and re-install and history repeats itself. You go back to your single test modem and it works perfectly. So you re-install the modem banks, re-boot the machine and the thing still won't answer the damn phone. You go to the internet support site. They tell you pretty much the same useless tripe that you get on the small, sheet of toilet-paper-sized manual.

So for the fiftieth time you re-install. They say that the definition of insanity, is trying the same thing over and over again, hoping for a different result. You go down that route for a while. Now it is time to try something stupid.

After the firty-first time of re-install and reboot, you disconnect the power to the modem bank and quickly plug it back in. All of the panel lights come up, and the thing starts to behave beautifully like a modem bank. It works beyond expectation (except that they generate a surprising amount of heat, but they do have a lot of electronics packed into a very small package).

So now it is time to add the second downstream bank to the daisy chain. This time the machine (the modem server) automatically recognises the machine and adds the ports. Everything seems fine on paper, but the second modem bank will not answer the damn phone. By now you are a smart learner. You know what to do. You unplug the power plug and plug it back it, and it lights up like a movie marquee. It works perfectly.

So if you ever trying to set up a modem bank, and want the thing to answer the damn phone, and it won't -- cut off its power to punish it. It will work perfectly. I wish that they would tell you that in the instruction manual. The good thing is now there will be a google result on how to solve this problem. I accept cash donations.

Spring is SPRUNG !!!

Northern residents will not appreciate this blog entry. In these tropical climes, spring is SPRUNG! All of a sudden the flowers have burst out. The cold winds and the whitecaps lacing the ocean waves are gone. It was hot walking to work today. The gardens are all a-bloom! This is the traffic circle at the Paradise Island Bridge this morning:


As I was walking down the broad boulevard of Paradise Island Drive, a gardener was turning the soil. In the sun, the soil emanated the heady essences of the earth and it brought me back to the days of my grandfather's farm.

Further on down grass was being cut, and the smell of cut grass is one of the sweetest fragrances on earth. It is a comforting warm bouquet that says that everything is beautiful.


And finally after a couple of dull months, the hibiscus have come out again.

These next three months until May are the best months in the tropics. Mother Nature puts on her finery before the heat of summer, and the best part of tropical spring, is that this is like the wonderful warm of a northern summer. In the words of Sheryl Crow:
I'm gonna soak up the sun
While it's still free
I'm gonna soak up the sun
Before it goes out on me

Paul Grady -- Songwriter Extraordinaire

My life has been either fraught or blessed with strange coincidences. Saturday was one of them. The Lovely One was ill, having caught a pernicious bug on the flight down from the North after a skiing vacation. On top of that, the tropics have not been the tropics. I was wearing blue jeans and a fleece top indoors as a cold north wind blew down. I was sitting at the computer and needed a dose of home. When I am in a reflective, wistful mood, out comes the music of the songwriters.

The first song on my personal hit parade on Saturday Night was Four Strong Winds as sung by Neil Young. Then I moved on to On the Nickel, by Tom Waits, another brilliant songwriter. One of the most powerful songwriters (and tragic stories), is Townes Van Zandt, and he was next with If I Needed You. I then progressed to Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, and I was ready for suicide after listening to Cohen. I needed something lighter.

I was never much of an Ann Murray fan, but one night while I was watching satellite TV, there was nothing on, on the 900 channels so I watched a CBC special on the making of Ann Murray's latest duets album.

I have always been a fan of the storyteller songwriter and the songs that they write. So when I heard snippets of Song For The Mira, and Another Pot 'O Tea sung with EmmyLou Harris, I was intrigued enough to get the mp3s.

From Song For the Mira, the lines that caught my attention were:

Can you imagine a piece of the universe
More fit for princes and kings?

And in the song Another Pot 'O Tea, I was enchanted by the following snippet:

Put on another pot o' tea
'Cause I'm in love with the Irish accent to your story

Discerning the meaning was easy enough for Song for the Mira, but Another Pot 'O Tea was cryptic. Finally I put Another Pot 'O Tea and Run River Run on repeat and went to play on the internet.

I googled the lyrics and was pleasantly pleased to discover that Another Pot 'O Tea was written by Paul Grady. I was familiar with his song "Get There By Dawn" as sung by John Allen Cameron. When I was crossing the threshold from my teens to my twenties, I listened to Get There By Dawn over and over again.

When I read Paul Grady's online bio, I realised that we both lived in the same small city during childhood. I went to school with a Grady that I presumed to be his brother. I sent him an email, expressing appreciation for his songwriting talents. He kindly replied, giving me a sense of how Another Pot 'O Tea was written, and confirmed that his brother was indeed in my class.

When songs speak to me, they really speak to me, and Paul Grady seems to have the knack of establishing a rapport with my psyche through his music. The vagaries of fame and fortune are capricious. Sometimes fame and fortune strikes with the blow of sledgehammer and at other times, it brushes by like a feather in a breeze, moving on. No one knows why, except that when a butterfly flaps its wings in Beijing, it rains in New York. Life is one big chaotic mess.

However if there was a songwriter worthy of international fame and fortune, it is Paul Grady. His songs have a message relevant to us all, and the world deserves to hear them.

Paul Grady can be found on the internet at:
http://www.paulgrady.net

The French Connection - Lifestyle Voyeurism

I was on my walk-about yesterday, and I espied a list. Since I am a lifestyle voyeur, I cannot resist picking up a list and reading it. A list offers insight into how the list maker, or the lister bearer behaves.

This list was from the French boat Salima in the harbour anchorage. The Salima is about a hundred foot yacht according to Google. However, there exists the possibilities that there is more than one boat named Salima. After all, go to any harbour, and you will see a plethora of boats with the name Escape or variants thereof.

I googled J.P. Ligaud, presumably the boat's owner. Only one JP Ligaud came up, and he is a French mathematician who is working in pseudo-convex algebraic topologies. No matter what they say about the French (or what I will say later), they do come up with good mathematicians. You have LaPlace, Fourier, Descartes, Fermat and a whole plethora of French mathematicians whose formulae I use regularly in my job. According to the books The Numerati and SuperCrunchers, math pays a lot these days -- enough to own a yacht.

It will become inferentially obvious that the boat is a yacht. It has staff. The first thing that you see is a UPS number. Gee I wonder what they could be ordering. I have an idea, but I will translate the rest of the note first.

They need a pneumatic Shell, or air vent -- 36 centimeter outer diameter. The boat may need a main pump with a question mark. There is a crossed out line that I cannot comprehend. It is a bucket for sure, but it looks like the words after it are for found glass or melted glass or shattered glass -- no idea.

Then we come to Yasmine. Yasmine is a female's name. She must be the purser or the money keeper. The first item is 1,000 Euros drawn against vacation pay. That's close to a couple of thousand bucks. Item 2 is invoices. Third item is a bottle of gas (cooking gas or propane). They need it 4o centimeters high, with a diameter of 25 centimeters, and an intake of outer diameter 27 millimeters.

So there you go. Someone needs supplies for the yacht. Back to the UPS thing. I hope it isn't what I think it is. When I turned the piece of paper around, I found this on the back:

Gun shops and gun supplies from Florida. Is the French boat importing firearms? I dunno. But we all know what happens to Frenchmen soon after they start to bear arms:


Fly

This is the third or fourth day in a row when a cold northern wind has been blowing down on the tropics. Today's high was 71 degrees. The ocean is flecked with whitecaps, and I haven't been able to swim for days and daze.

I need exercise and I need it bad. Things at work are hectic. We are coming on a product launch that will make or break the company -- the souvenir tourist cash cards that are both tap-'n-go and swipe card hybrids. Once again, I designed the system from beginning to end. The Ministry of Tourism is offering these as an incentive to boost tourism. These cards are instant revenue for our micropayments company.

On top of that, a major bank wants us to process local debit card payments to merchants. Having it done offshore in the United States is just plain too expensive for merchants. This will put our company in the big leagues. And a couple of established financial institutions are expressing interest in becoming our corporate parents (buying a huge stake in our company).

Whatever way you look at it, we are poised to fly. I can't sit still. I work long hours. The exercise provides the release. Usually, I swim the length of Cabbage Beach (shown in the photo at the top of the blog). However, with the wind, high surf and pounding waves, it is out of the question.

So today, the exercise was walking the steep bridge back and forth from the small island that we live on, to the main island across the harbour. The loop is a couple of miles. While at the apex of the bridge, seagulls were skimming the winds and soaring on the zephyrs. We had the regular seagulls, and every once in a while, I would see a gargantuan unknown seagull which is brown instead of white, sail over my head. I snapped a pic of it.

We are both flying. In my case, it is metaphorical.

Samuel L. Jackson Teeing Off

This is a picture of actor Samuel L. Jackson's golf swing. It is left over and missed being posted when I posted the rest of the pics from the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament.

For the geeks in blogland

This blog entry is solely for my fellow programmer geeks reading this blog. Nothing to do with celebs, Karla Homolka, Michael Jordan, ghetto weddings, or my life in the tropics.

I wrote a small program so the the technically challenged people on our staff could upload comma-delimited files (.csv) directly to our database without any knowledge. Typically these files would be collected from the computers and PDAs on a small SD memory card, inserted into a computer and uploaded in the MySQL database. This program can load from any device or directory.

Here is a screenshot of the design:




As you can see, you navigate to the directory where the files are, using the top button. It opens a file chooser. When you select the directory, any .csv files are shown in the yellow checkbox list in the left pane. You select them by clicking on the checkbox and hit the "Move Files Button". Then you press the "Upload Selected" button, and away you go.

Here is the code.


using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.ComponentModel;
using System.Data;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.Windows.Forms;
using System.IO;
using MySql.Data.MySqlClient;
using MySql.Data;


namespace UploadFiles
{
public partial class LoadFiles : Form
{
public LoadFiles()
{
InitializeComponent();
}
private void Form1_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
this.btnMove.Click += new System.EventHandler(this.btnMove_Click);
}
private void btnMove_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
{
if (this.chkListPossibleValues.CheckedItems.Count > 0)
{
this.lstSelected.Items.Clear();
foreach (string item in this.chkListPossibleValues.CheckedItems)
{
this.lstSelected.Items.Add(item.ToString());
}
for (int i = 0; i < shell =" new" folder =" (Shell32.Folder2)shell.BrowseForFolder(" text =" folder.Self.Path;" di =" new" rgfiles =" di.GetFiles("> 0)
{
this.chkListPossibleValues.Items.Clear();
foreach (FileInfo fi in rgFiles)
{
try
{
this.chkListPossibleValues.Items.Add(fi.Name);
}
catch (Exception mm)
{
MessageBox.Show(mm.Message);
}
} // for each file in directory
} //if many files
}
private void button2_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
FileStream istream;
string myConnectionString;
myConnectionString = "Database=myDatabase;Data Source=127.0.0.1;User Id=myId;Password=myPassword";
MySqlConnection conn = new MySql.Data.MySqlClient.MySqlConnection(myConnectionString);
label1.Text = "Please wait .... Connecting .. ";
label1.Refresh();
conn.Open();
label1.Text = "CONNECTED !!";
label1.Refresh();
label1.Text = "Server Version " + conn.ServerVersion;
label1.Refresh();
foreach (string item in lstSelected.Items)
{
string ccc = textBox1.Text;
string hij = ccc + "\\" + item;
System.IO.FileInfo fi = new System.IO.FileInfo(hij);
// MessageBox.Show(fi.Length.ToString());
// doesn't allow null files
if (fi.Length > 2)
{

label1.Text = item + " being loaded";
char[] seps = { '\\' };
String[] cc = ccc.Split(seps);
string crappo = "\\";
// string query = "load data local infile '" + cc[0] + crappo + crappo + cc[1] + crappo + crappo + item + "' into table transactions fields terminated by ',';";
// MessageBox.Show(query);
string query = "load data local infile '";
string filname = "";
for (int i = 0; i < i ="="" query =" query" filname =" filname" query =" query" filname =" filname" istream =" null;" istream =" new" istream =" File.Open(hij," dozer = "c:\\" outstream =" File.Create(dozer);" sw =" new" reader =" new" lines =" 0;"> 0)
{
++Lines;
// Read a line from the file
string str = reader.ReadLine();
string gh = str.Replace("'", "");
sw.WriteLine(gh);
// MessageBox.Show(gh);
}
sw.Close();
istream.Close();
outStream.Close();
reader.Close();
string doozer = "c:" + "\\" + "\\" + item;
query = "load data local infile '" + doozer + "' into table transactions fields terminated by ',';";
// MessageBox.Show(query);
try
{
MySqlCommand cmd = new MySqlCommand(query, conn);
cmd.ExecuteNonQuery();

}
catch (Exception efg)
{
MessageBox.Show(efg.Message);
}
File.Delete(dozer);
}
conn.Close();
MessageBox.Show("Done");
}
}
private void button3_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
this.lstSelected.Items.Clear();
}
private void button4_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
this.Close();
}
}
}

No Tourists, No Cry

I walked to work today, and these islands are a ghost town. No tourists. Empty Shops. The above pic is Marina Village. Usually it is packed, even in the morning. Tourists who are leaving take a final stroll, and everyone goes to Starbucks for their morning coffee.

90% of the tourists are from the US, and the US is suffering an economic recession. That is visibly reflected here. Tourism is 75% of the economy here, and it looks like tough times ahead in paradise.

The Central Bank published some numbers, and this country is down about a million tourism arrivals. That is serious stuff.

Palette of the Indies -- Part II

I was walking to the office on a Saturday (I know, I know) and came across this island scene. This pic screams "Island in the Sun" and is typical of what everyone pictures as a tropical fish market scene.



Even though I took the picture, I myself was amazed at the tropical palette and range of color that defines the tropical experience. I needed to capture some of the color palette of this photograph. I have done this before. To see the previous attempts to capture the Caribbean palette, click on "color wheel" in the tags section.

Essentially what I do, is open the pic in Photoshop and sample the color. I then create a virtual color chip and assemble them into a palette. Here is the partial palette of the colors in the above photo:



If I ever get to the bottom of my ideas list, I will put this on. I will come out with a line of paints with tropical colors gleaned from my photos.

Why it pays to fly first class

Why it pays to fly first class!

Dicking with Stickability -- the first 10 seconds

I am dicking with stickability. Even on the un-busiest day of the the internet, I get a lot of hits. Unfortunately, the blog visitors typically visit a particular blog entry, say a ghetto wedding, or how to cook crabs, or gawking at Josh and Fergie's wedding hardware, and then they disappear like a fart in the breeze, never to be seen again.

I already have a proprietary page view estimating formula. I already have climbed over 100,000 places in the technorati rating, but I want to keep the casual visitors coming back.

What I have to do, is catch them in the first ten seconds of arriving at this page. I used to write for a popular outdoor magazine, and the editor, who is now mouldering in her grave, gave me a lot of good tips. Her favourite line was "You have to grab them in the first ten seconds", otherwise they would skim your article and move on.

In the print medium, one of the mechanical tricks was to make words unskimmable. The eye stops naturally at words with unfamiliar letters like "q" and "z" and such. Words with "ing" mixed with "ily" were supposed to stop readers' eyeballs in their tracks.

On a web page, it is a little different. I want the picture of the beach, because that conveys that this blog has a Caribbean thing going for it. So the only place that I have to zing folks, is in the pithy saying under Cosmological Cabbage.

My first iteration had words to do "My life in the Caribbean". Everyone thinks that I am a son-of-a-bitch for being lucky enough to live in the Caribbean, so that didn't work. Then I had words to do with "the memes of my life". How nerdy is that? I was quite geekazoid to write that. Then when I switched the saying to what I have now, I started to notice that visitors (just some) would come to the article that Google sent them to, and then click on the main blog. So I have achieved partial success.

This blog is a perfect laboratory, so I will continue to test for catch phrases of stickability. Who knows ... there may be lessons to be gleaned about web psychology. And as usual, they will be open source.

In the meantime, if you are reading this, for the Love of God, please click on another link on my blog. Thank you.

Invitation to a Royal Luncheon

In my previous life, I never did get an invitation like this to attend a luncheon where royalty is the guest of honour. Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex is the third son and fourth child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He will be in these tropical islands to hand out Governor General Awards, and he is a Patron of the National Trust, of which I am a member.
This is a pic of Edward:
The rather unfortnate part is that I cannot participate because I have a business meeting and also the Lovely One is flying in and I have to pick her up at the airport.
In spite of that, life has a completely different flavour for me, than in the previous dull incarnation of my life up north.

Karla Homolka Reprise

Wow! I got responses from two continents on the Karla Homolka article in the Tribune. Above is a shot of the article. This is what the front page says:

Fears That Infamous Canadian Former Female Convict is in Bahamas

By Alex Missick
Tribune Staff Reporter

Concerned Bahamians feat that one of Canada's most infamous convicts, Karla Homolka, is either residing or vacationing in the Bahamas.
Several media reports claim that she is living in the Caribbean with her new family. They say photographs have surfaced showing her posing at one of New Providence's top resorts.
Immigration officials claim that when a person's passport is scanned upon arrival in the country, they can see whether the person has been convicted or spent time in jail.
Photos surfaced on the internet of Homolka with her new husband porn model Luka Magnotta. They have a three year old son. Karla has changed her name to Leanne Teale and Luka goes by the alias Thierry Bordalis the reports claim.


Here are some photos from July 2008 that support that contention:
Luka Mignotta and baby.
The Egyptian chair pictured here is in the lobby at Atlantis just at the entrance to the casino:

This is Cabbage Beach, the same beach pictured at the top of this blog:

Update: If you want to see all of the posts on this blog about Karla Homolka, click on this link: