Archive for October, 2008

Canada is not part of the united states

October 28th, 2008

Weird Tales are offering a free PDF copy of their July-August 2008 edition, as a promotion and a way for people to properly sample the magazine without having to gamble on the money to buy it.

The subscription price varies dramatically based on whether you are subscribing from within the US, or internationally. And by “dramatically” I mean the price doubles[1] for international shipping.

And if you look at the subscription option for US addresses, they want to really make sure you are from the US. They have this sections under “fine print” (all emphasis in the source):

This offer is only for addresses within the United States. Other countries, please use our discounted international subscription options:

Which, well, makes sense. But immediately bellow that, they also have:

CANADIANS PLEASE NOTE: YOU MUST USE THE INTERNATIONAL SUBSCRIPTION OPTION. CANADA IS NOT PART OF THE UNITED STATES. WE CANNOT SEND BULK MAIL TO CANADA, MUCH AS WE WOULD LIKE TO.

Which cracks me up. Are there really any Canadians out there who think that Canada is a part of the US? Real people, living in Canada, who actually believe that? And enough of them to make it an issue that justifies adding this to the page? That’s a weird tale right there.

And that’s not all. They also have a similar bit on the page for international subscription orders:

CANADIANS PLEASE NOTE: YOU MUST USE THIS INTERNATIONAL SUBSCRIPTION OPTION. CANADA IS NOT PART OF THE UNITED STATES. WE CANNOT SEND BULK MAIL TO CANADA, MUCH AS WE WOULD LIKE TO.

For anyone who wants to play spot-the-differences, in the US page the text says “You must use the international subscription option”, while in the international subscription page it says “You must use this international subscription option”. I guess it’s accurate enough, if also a bit amusing.

Apparently Canadians also either have much easier time reading in all-caps than the rest of us, or they generally enjoy being shouted at. Nothing else on those pages (except some very short headers, or “BUY” links) is in all-caps. HINT TO WEIRD TALES: DO NOT WRITE TEXT IN ALL CAPS. IT’S EXTREMELY HARD TO READ. AND IT’S RUDE. IF YOU WANT TO MAKE IT MORE OBVIOUS, USE A BIGGER OR STRONGER FONT. OK?

So, just to make it absolutely clear: Canada is not a part of the US. You might have been tipped by the fact that it has a different government, their own military force, a border, their own military force, independent legal system, their own military force, their own ambassadors and foreign relations, their own military force (it bears repeating, in case someone failed to notice), and so on and so forth. But if not, well, I’m glad I could join with Weird Tales and help to clarify matters.

On an unrelated issue (well, related to Weird Tales, not related to Canada), Weird Tales need to update the site link they print in the magazine. The free copy has in it at least 5 place where it asks you to go to www.WeirdTalesMagazine.com. That site just automatically redirects to their current actual address of WeirdTales.net. An address which was registered in Nov 2007, so it’s not quite a last-minute surprise, I should add. It’s not broken, but it looks unprofessional.

And it’s not just the old printed magazines (though, frankly July-August 2008 isn’t that old), the old address is still listed on the site used to order the subscriptions. That’s an online copy, easy to change.

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  1. $30 USD to $59.95 USD. That’s for 6 issues of Weird Tales, and apparently two special issues of H.P. Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror[back]

Fast police response

October 6th, 2008

The police, both here and in many (most? all?) other countries in the world, provide a short “emergency” phone number. The idea being that it will be easy to remember, work from all phones in all locations, and be fast to dial in case of a real emergency.

The police here in Israel also has such a number, 100.

Except, it would seem, sometimes they just don’t bother answering it.

Last Sunday (28 September 2008) I went with a friend to a restaurant in the Tel-Aviv north harbour area. On the way back to the car (around 22:45) we noticed a large group of kids around two bonfires which they started along the beach[1]. About 5 meters from there stands a large sign with warnings about prohibited activities, and starting fires is explicitly listed there.

Normally I wouldn’t exactly mind, but those kids were loud and annoying; and those fires were quite large, with one of them burning really close to nearby plants. Plus, I was in a, ahem, fitting mood. So I decided to do my civic duty, and call the police to report the fires and the kids.

I dialled 100 on my cellphone. And waited. One ring, two ring, three rings, four rings, nothing. At this point most automatic answering machines would assume nobody’s answering, and pick up. But this is an a police centre that should be manned non-stop around the clock, so I guess they don’t have answering machines[2]. I waited a bit more (1-2 rings) and still nothing. I was very surprised, and hang up.

My friend was also amazed that nobody picked up the phone. So he tried calling them himself, from his own cellphone. He waited for 13 rings. Nothing. Nobody answered.

Nobody tried to call us back to follow up later on, asking if there’s a problem and why we called the emergency police number. None of our cellphone numbers are blocked, so they could have seen these calls on their incoming call logs (if they bother keeping them).

Good things that it, while being something that should be reported to the police, wasn’t really an emergency.

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  1. well, technically along the bank of the Yarkon river, which connects to the sea at this area.[back]
  2. And, when operating properly, they really shouldn’t need them, I agree.[back]