This item is ALWAYS out of stock everywhere, it’s the Nintendo Wii Fit balance board and serves as the foundation for a variety of interactive exercise (and fun games) including yoga, dancing, skiing, surfing, snowboarding.

I just spotted it AVAILABLE in stock at Amazon Canada for $89.99 with free shipping… won’t last long…

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How being African American can save a life …

On December 2, 2008, in Health, by Robin

No, this has nothing to do with Obama… but yes, it is about change.

Tamu Townsend will be interviewed by DryerBuzz on the efforts of the late Emru Townsend who passed away recently after a long battle with acute myelogenous leukemia. His biggest challenge became his biggest cause; finding a marrow donor… it became very obvious that there are very few minority groups that donate marrow and it makes it all the more difficult in helping those most in need when they need it most.

The podcast is on tomorrow morning at 8am EST and you can partake also by phoning in to 646-652-2642.

Info: DryerBuzz Podcast on visibility, education and action…21

I just watched a truly disheartening and frightening CTV W-Five episode covering a subject that is often not discussed – far less so by the Federal ministers on Parliament Hill just blocks from one of the worst drug, prostitution and homelessness problems anywhere in the nation. None of them, including Public Security Minister Stockwell Day, accepted to meet with CTV W-5 saying they were “too busy”…

They hounded the Premier of Ontario, but he also brushed off a reporter and hustled into a building…

Personally, I am not surprised by this report. I’ve been to Ottawa many times over the last 20-25 years; my ex-wife and much of her family were from there, as was my late stepfather.

In January 2008 I began a series of about a ½ dozen business trips, one every month or so, to the National Capital Region and usually stayed in hotels in the Downtown, or Byward Market area. The Byward Market is a charming 3-4 square block neighbourhood which, by day is a nice selection of multicultural restaurants and farmer market type stands. It’s next to one of the largest shopping centre’s in the Ottawa metropolitan area; the Rideau Centre Shopping Centre.

Now being a Montrealer, I like to explore a city’s nightlife and evening culture – we have a massive choice of cafés, lounges, showbars and nightclubs in Montreal – around the market.

A few of the times I stayed in hotels (including the Econolodge and Marriott Courtyard Inn) near the Byward Market. Those are both nice hotels; granted the Econo Lodge Downtown at 475 Rideau street is pretty much no-frills motor inn more than hotel with rooms straight onto an inside parking lot that is directly onto Rideau street across from a 7-11 and in the vicinity of churches, residential homes and … well a little pic of the Econolodge :

Econo Lodge Downtown Ottawa at 475 Rideau Street

What struck me most the first time was the number of vagrants, obviously mentally ill homeless people, drug users, congregating around the many missions and shelters in that area. It struck me as so “un-Ottawa like” which has always had a relatively pristine reputation of being a clean, if stoic, family town.

The name of the CTV W-Five episode is Capital Shame and was originally aired this spring I believe… and one revealing quote:

“One of my officers who emailed — I think at 1:54 in the morning,” recalls Police Chief Vernon White. “He said that’s he’s done, he doesn’t know what to do anymore after he drove around for a couple of hours with a prostitute who said she wanted help and he could not get her help and dropped her off at the same corner. I mean, I’ll tell you the frustration in that email — I think is what you hear in our officer’s voices everyday.”

I mentioned nothing to my business colleagues while I was there (doing IT training and coaching sessions)… but by the third trip I jokingly mentioned that I was staying in a neighbourhood that seemed “err” a bit “ghetto ish”…

I got quiet understanding nods of agreement, and people telling me that Ottawa (especially the downtown area near the market) has built up a critical problem.

Taxi drivers, with whom I enjoy exchanging the “real deal” with whenever I travel, confirmed that pretty much every night, 50% or more of people on the streets after 9pm were in some sort of serious trouble (mental, physical health, homeless, male/female prostitutes, drug addicted, or all of the above)….

This is obviously not ALL what Ottawa is about, but it’s more than a tragic reality that literally overruns the area around the Market. I have never seen such a high density of depraved and desperate souls in Montreal in the 32+ years I’ve lived around here.

I think the only Canadian city that may compare is Vancouver in certain spots?

But this is in the capital of our great country – less than 1-2 blocks from the Parliament Buildings?

Pleaselet’s not let Ottawa become Washington, D.C. …

See the entire CTV W-Five episode Capital Shame online (about 20 minutes playing time)

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Well, I have to be AT the hospital in Montreal at 7:45 a.m. tomorrow morning to (once again) go through my pre-admission tests necessary before my vascular surgery. It lasts about 4 hours (most of it waiting, trust me) and involves multiple blood samples and also (of course) peeing in a cup.

Usually rush hour on a Friday morning in the Greater Montreal Area isn’t so bad, but I’ll be setting my alarm for 6am nonetheless.

I get to eat breakfast (yay) …

Hopefully this time I will actually get to the OR on surgery day (in less than 2 weeks!) and not be bypassed for more serious vascular surgery cases (ie… cardiovascular emergencies!)

Stay tuned for the most in-depth photo blog on varicose vein surgery you have ever seen on the net ;)

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This is spooky.

I was actually tempted to buy the Dunn’s smoked meat package (huge of course, probably about 2KG).. and now there are reports that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning consumers not to use the individual smoked meat packages sold at Costco.

These are the 1KG packages separated into 6 pouches each weighing 175g.

The UPC code is 4 00007 55699 7 and the expiry dates range between November 1 and November 8, 2008.

They’re reported to be sold in Costco Wholesale outlets in Quebec – but also in Ottawa and the Maritimes…

Interestingly enough on a side note, the product is not really made by Dunn’s directly, but apparently under license by a firm called Les Salaisons Desco Inc located in Boisbriand, Quebec.

A few official links about this:

Official CFIA Recall Information about the Dunn’s / Salaisons Desco recall

Les Salaisons Desco: this is mysteriously mysterious. A quick scan of several online research tools seems to preclude any obvious website for this company but some other info:

They are SERVICE ALIMENTAIRE DESCO INC. at 97 Boulevard Prevost, in Boisbriand, Quebec with a postal code of J7G 3A1 and phone number (450) 437-7182…

They also seem to have numbered company as 9027-8672 Québec Inc. and Les aliments Q’Rico…

None of this is unusual as foodservice provider entities are generally low profile.

Now, I have the urge for a medium smoked meat at Schwartz! :D