So, cooking is done (South African beef chili curry) and I’m relaxing trying to decide which romance oriented news / documentary / show I should be watching.

I’m flickin’ back and forth between Dr. Helen Fisher on ABC 20/20 ; she’s Chief Scientific Advisor for a big dating site with an awesome domain name and has spoken at the TED Conference too. When I turned the system on, it was tuned to CBC Newsworld with The Fifth Estate show Strangers in Paradise about how people get totally owned and into Second Life…. living in a total fantasy world.

Times sure have changed from when I met my first real girlfriend at the bus stop outside the apartment.

Got a notice for an excellent deal on the impressive BBC Planet Earth Complete Series Blu-Ray set for only $34.99 at the Discovery Store … today only (until 23H59 December 15th!) at the Discovery Store.

Planet Earth DVD at Discovery store

The Planet Earth series (David Attenborough) has to be one of the most visually impressive series covering all the natural wonders of the planet. I think this is probably one of the first (and most essential) HD Blu-Ray discs worth buying. Of course, to play this you’ll need both a Blu-Ray player *and* ideally a full 1080i/p TV set. Otherwise they have the regular (non-HD) DVD set for $42.46.

What’s better? This includes FREE standard shipping inside the US. In addition, they do ship to Canada ($10) as well as the UK ($34.95 sort of kills it for my UK blokes)…

I saw a preview in the theatre yesterday for this and it’s pretty mesmerizing. Since it’s done by the BBC I’m pretty sure the content matches the visuals. Have a look at the Amazon reviews (Over 1800 reviews with average of 4.5+ stars)…

For reference, prices at other stores: $59.99 (Canada): $74.99

Indigo / Chapters Canada: $87.46

Best Buy (USA): $64.99

BBC Canada Shop: 84.98

Even on eBay, the majority of starting auction prices are higher than $34.99 – and that doesn’t include shipping, and variable delays depending on which eBay seller you happen to wind up buying from. Mouse over the items in the widget below to see the current prices:

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Hmmm…. kinda early IMHO, but I think CTV News wouldn’t do it without some serious data mining and projection software :P

So Lloyd said it… conservative minority government: 21h49 EDT.

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 it was tough enough realising that Warrick will no longer be on CSI, and it was a great episode.

OK, enough with the jokes about how everyone is sexy and fit and charming (and works for the police) … I know only one such police officer (and I DJed at his wedding :P) …..

But I really liked Gary Dourdan as the blue eyed black african-americanmulatto cool dude with passion and style on the show.

Warrick on CSI Photo

According to most reports his departure from the show was “mutually acceptable”…..

It was a great premier episode in finding out who killed him :)….

So, CSI and CSI:NY are still in my top 10 fiction TV shows…. along with The Unit (which has been shuffled to Sunday nights at 10pm boooooo)

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