Tuesday, October 31, 2006

October ends

Here's a picture of the hounds that I walked today.

It was cold and crisp and bright. Summer is gone for sure.

I've been really busy working on my new blog - It had over 850 hits on it's first real day.

What have I done?

Monday, October 30, 2006

cola + mentos domino effect

This is wacky, with catchy music to boot.

cleaner air?...Beta 2.0

In an earlier post here I wrote about the (neo)Conservatives' "Green Plan" (makes me green around the gills).

Yesterday I stumbled upon this blog - Far and Wide (a good read), and was led to Progressive Bloggers, where I found this countdown clock to cleaner air.
width="250" height="150">

height="150" loop="true" type='application/x-shockwave-flash' wmode="transparent"

"Lord Kitchener's Own" wrote;

I wonder what the internet will be like, far in the future, when the clock hits 0.

Of course, I also wonder what the WORLD will be like in 2050 when the Conservatives hit their target of 50% reductions in Greenhouse Gas emmissions.

I hope we still have Polar Bears!

I'll only be 75, so I should make it and see.

I'm not sure if I'll live long enough to see them raise PEI back out of the ocean again, though. One can always hope

My only criticism of this clock is that it is actually 16,060 days until the target is reached (Edit - Steve V from Far and Wide commented that the clock was keyed to smog and ozone, and that the emissions targets are for 2050. My apologies for any misrepresentation.), and as LKO says ...After 44 years of unquestioned Tory rule, I'd imagine it'll be a very different place indeed.


You can get the code for this counter @ Progressive Bloggers if you want to put it on your own blog or web page (I believe that Steve V wrote the code).

James Lovelock (the author of the Gaia Hypothesis) wikipedia link predicted that by 2100 there would be only 200,000,000 people surviving on this planet - concentrated above the Arctic Circle. 6.1 billion people will have starved, drowned, or been stricken by emerging diseases. This prediction is only 94 years away from fruition (?), and as we prepare for the birth of a child in February, I wonder what hell we are bringing this child into. My old Grandma always said to me to "get some land where you can grow some food", and I believe her prescience was accurate. The thing is though, it will be hard to defend that food against 6.1 billion starving people.

I have always thought that there have been 5 great civilizations of mankind on Earth (the present one being the fifth - the fourth was the Atlantean civilization), and that there will be another "cleansing". The sick part of it is that our greed and rapaciousness will be our own undoing, and the undoing of the innocents not yet born.

Man, I hate Mondays.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

dark freesia

sea anenomes

taken at Long Beach, Vancouver Island

tangled web blog

Badajoz at dawn
photo by author

Blog on Web.
Web on Blog on Web.

When I started this blog, I was not sure where it would go, or what it would turn into. I wanted it to be organic, and to evolve naturally. Looking back over the past month, I recognize that it is becoming a tangled web, dripping with dew, and catching nothing.

I am all over the place - politics, paintings, photo's, (un)real estate, ponderings upon ponderings as I wonder at the feast that is my life. Thus, I think that I will set up at least one more blog, and separate the ideas. People interested in my (un)real estate views are not necessarilly interested in my cat, or my alarm clock, etc., and those interested in morphs between photo's and paintings are not necessarily interested in politics.

Bear with me while I sort it out, and I will provide links to what you are looking for.
Edit - the link to vancouver (un)real estate is now in the sidebar.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Get the mad off the streets

elderly man on the streets of Lisbon
photo by author

I heard on CBC radio yesterday that the Campbell government sees the need to start helping out the mentally ill by reinstitutionalizing them, and increasing shelter benefits for those on Social Assistance. At first blush, it seems like a good thing, and I was surprised that this government was giving the issue attention (link to online story) - it was, after all, this government that slashed tens of millions of dollars from the budgets of Riverview Hospital, and other facilities for the mentally ill (edit - it was not actually this government - a lot of those funding cuts happened before this gov't came to power). Many of these afflicted psychiatric patients ended up on the streets, where they are helpless, and prey for all kinds of predators. The shelter allowance for those on social assistance has been $325/month since 1994. Meanwhile, the cost of housing has more than doubled, and many of the SRO (single resident occupancy) hotels have been shut down and torn down (the land is too valuable), or converted to boutique hotels, or condos.

So, I am a slightly cynical person (rendered so by the cynicism of governments at large), and as the day wore on, I continued to wonder at the sudden (and uncharacteristic) philanthropy of the Campell "Liberals". First thought to mind was that there is a desire to hide the homeless problem in Vancouver in readiness to show a good face for the 2010 Winter Olympics (I still have to publish my rant about the Olympics) - that is what was done in the run-up to Expo '86. Then I began to wonder if homelessness would become evidence (to the government) of mental illness - why would anyone be indigent in this booming economy? Perhaps a sinister new version of vagrancy legislation. Round them up, and lock them up for the duration of the world's focus on Vancouver.

I can't remember who was attributed as saying that the measure of a society is how it takes care of it's elderly, sick and downtrodden, but by that measure, this society is failing (and has failed) miserably. Cynical laws such as the Safe Streets Act - which basically makes it illegal to ask for money on the streets, and enables police to jail those who are fined and cannot pay the fine. What a choice to make (for the indigent) - beg for money, or starve. Receive a fine (up to $2,000!) for begging, and either beg for the money to pay the fine (and receive another fine), or be imprisoned. Now there will be a new tool - you must be mentally ill, so off to Riverview - and you will never get out of there until the government slashes the funding again, and you will again be on the streets.

Qu'elle vie.

A story on poverty at The Republic

Safe Streets Act links;

Tyee article
SFU Peak article
Vancouver Courier article


The Safe Streets Act specifically stated that there was to be no pan-handling in front of liquor stores, banks and pay phones. Tonight I stopped to get some fermented grape juice, and there were 4 young lads collecting money (pan-handling) in front of the liquor store. If I was really mean-spirited (like the "Liberals" are), I would have called the police to complain about it.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

"Black-Box" Voting

So, we know that there were "irregularities" in the last couple of Presidential elections in the US. In 2000 Bush "beat" Gore to take the election. There were extreme irregularities, in Florida specifically, with "African-Americans" (were they born in Africa?, or is that just a politically correct way of saying black, coloured, Negro, nig.....?). Many non-Caucasians there were denied a vote because they were falsely listed as felons (there is a world of information out there about who was responsible for that...). Then there were the "hanging chads", "dimpled chads", etc., the absentee votes that were never counted, the recount stopped by the Supreme Court, and Gore's concession to Bush (how many of you know that they are actually cousins? That's another story though...).

In 2004, there was another huge mess, and obvious "fixing" of the results in Ohio and New Mexico that led to Bush "winning" by a spurious number of votes.People were forced to wait in line (in the rain) for hours to vote, and then saw their vote for anyone other than Bush magically register in front of their eyes to be a vote for Bush. Exit polls indicated a clear win for the Democrats, but for the first time in history, anywhere, they were wrong. Another stolen election.

There is a mountain of information regarding all of this, but everyone has forgotten - distracted by wars, nukes, public servant scandals, plasma tv's, real estate bubbles, and so on. I fully expect the 2008 elections to the South to be suspended because the country is "at war", and it is perfectly "legal" to do so. The only hope for our American cousins is to impeach those lunatics before they have the chance to do that. Bush keeps repeating that America is at war - to drill it into people's heads. It is a "war" that will never end, because the "enemy" is a ghost. It's different ideas at war, not different countries. It's an invasion of people's minds - besides actual lands. It's psychological/ideological warfare.

I have been warning against "black hole" voting in Canada for quite some time, and am very concerned about it. Harper is a Bush sycophant (psychophant), and is bound to take a page from that book to make voting in Canada even more irrelevent, and when that day comes, we will have to refuse it, and demand paper ballots.

Below you will find two links to the recent "black hole" voting experience in municipal elections in Quebec. In one riding there was a vote that defied 130 years of history. And guess who provided the voting machines? If you guessed Diebold, you would be correct.

Watch out for this kind of travesty in your riding.

wired.com on black-box voting

Macleans on black-box voting in Quebec

Video by an organization of American citizens to "Video the Vote" in the upcoming Congressional/Senatorial elections in the US of A.

morphin'e .5

This is another "morph" that I created using a photograph of myself, and morphin' to a self-portrait that I painted.

Monday, October 23, 2006

80 years in a plymouth

This is a 4 second morph I did from two photo's of my Grandmother.

The first photo was taken around 1921 with Grandma in front of her first car - a 1920 Plymouth.
The second photo was taken around her 100th birthday in front of a 2001 Chrysler (Plymouth) that I rented while visiting her.

My Grandparents never owned anything but Plymouth/Chryslers. Hence the name of the vid. ...

ice floe

click on image for larger view

This is a picture that I took of my Grandma on her 102nd birthday. We decided that it was time to cut 'er loose, and in the tradition of the Eskimos, set her on this ice floe to drift off to her maker.

Ah, I'm just leading you on. It really is a picture of Grandma on her 102nd birthday, but the picture was taken in the garden of the nursing home where she spent the last six months of her life. I "Photoshopped" her onto the ice floe because when I signed the papers for her admission to extended care, I felt that I was setting her on an unstable piece of ice in the Arctic. And, I'm an artist...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Goos the water lovin' cat

Here's the video of Goos chasing water that I promised.

This goofy little white cat loves water. She comes running whenever I water the garden, brush my teeth, wash my face, have a shower...


call to prayer

I bought this alarm clock in Abu Dhabi while I was working there. It plays a tinny rendition of the call to prayer that I just love. J hates it though, so I keep it in my office.

I loved the call to prayer (live) while I was there. It is a beautiful sound floating across the steaming air - especially at dawn, and dusk. It left me feeling that I was in Casa Blanca, or Lawrence of Arabia or such.

2:56 of electronic caterwauling will ensue when you hit the play button.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Vancouver Unreal Estate 2.1

I lifted this from Vancouver Housing Market Blog.

It illustrates what can be bought for $499G's in Ottawa, and $499G's in Vancouver.

The weather here isn't that fantastic, and I don't ski. So what's the big deal with Vancouver anyhow?

Garth Turner

image from the Burlington Post Oct. 20, 2006

I posted the following at Garth Turner's blog (link at sidebar). Although I am as cynical about government as the next person, I cannot ignore it and pretend that it has nothing to do with me.

I have never belonged to any political party, (and likely never will), never voted for a Party, but always have voted for someone that reflects my own values. Federally, I have voted for the Reform Party, Progressive Conservatives (remember Joe Clark?), NDP, and Canadian Action Party. Politically, our country is in a mess, with few decent people representing us. I have never known what to think of Garth Turner, but I am glad that this tempest in a tea-house has blown in.

I await, with bated breath, the outcome of this. We are at a critical point in our history, and the future of Canada is up in the air.

Seriously Garth,

I hope that you don’t join the Green Party - they don’t need you.

I have suggested the Canadian Action Party, and I see that they have been here making the same suggestion.

We need change in a very big way - this is not about “Stevie” Harper, it’s about our country, our National identity, and our sovereignty. We have been sold out in increments since Mouldroney and NAFTA - at least. Connie Fogal (leader of the CAP) is the widow of Harry Rankin - a great man. Ms. Fogal was instrumental in revealing the MAI to Canadians, and was the impetus that stopped that travesty. Take a look at their philosophy, and I think that you will see that it is a good fit for you. They may seem at first to be socialist, or wingy, but it is Canadians at-large that interest them the most.

Canada is slipping into the same corporate fascism that the US is dying under. Harper seems to be bent on the same “Deep Integration” that Martin and Cretin (sic) worked towards.

The fact is that the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party are as about as different as the Repugnants and Dumbocrats are in the US. It’s all about money and power, and The People be damned.

The hegemonic, fascist, kleptocratic doctrines that have become so entrenched in Western governments have made us all poorer in every way. We are ripe for a revolution of thought. This (present, and failing) government that we have is hopefully the shake to awake us from our slumber.

What we need is men (and women) like you - who will speak for common sense, and stop playing popularity games to hood-wink the populace and maintain power and entitlement. We need coalition governments of independants.

I welcomed minority government for the last two elections, and hope that we never see a majority again. Let’s rid ourselves of the personality cults, scribes and pharisees. There are too many diseased minds throughout our political spectrum.

I hope that Harpercrit gets toasted soon, and that the Liberals do not select Ignatieff as their leader (but Rae has too much baggage, and is just another pharisee). We need people like Ed Broadbent (so sad to see him go), Alexa McDonough, Connie Fogal, Garth Turner, hell, even Trudeau - Canadians who are Canadians, and want to stay that way.

No more secret conclaves of oil barons and military psychopaths in Banff.

Please look at the Canadian Action Party at least. Give Connie a call (if she hasn’t called you yet), and hear her out.

Friday, October 20, 2006

still smokin'

click on image to enlarge

This is an e-mail that I sent to my friend Rags, who had a great blues band named First Thing Smokin'. He also did an ongoing poetry thang called Skin Up with Kari, which was recorded by Danny at Dubvibe Productions. Very cool too. Someday I will get some cuts up here, or on my website.

Hola mi Amigo, mi hermano,

Como as estado? Ooops, wrong amigo - you can read Engrish...

This beautiful flyer for junk food came in the junk-mail with the Courier, and when I espied it, it reminded me of First Thing Smokin' being ripped off by the Village People - what with all the fruity lookin' "firemen" and all.

So I scanned it for your amusement, and then for my amusement, photoshopped some dogshit onto the plate. Mmm-mmm good. They sure do look happy and hungry, and how about those fries?

I wonder what happened to the Dalmatian - it's missing.

I am now looking for a Korean fast-food flier that features spotted dog and kimchi.

Stay cool mi hermano,


clean air?

Great - the Conservatives have come up with a clean air act that will reduce emissions to "45%-65%" of 2003 levels by 2050. Never mind that the earth is melting, that cancer is more and more prevalent - as is asthma, COPD (Coronary Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), plants are choking and going chlorotic, etc., etc.

It is telling that Rona Ambrose is the daughter of an oil executive. We now have the same problem with our government as the Americans do with theirs (vis-a-vis the environment), in that the fox is in charge of the hen house. The Conservatives have also said that the economy is more important than the air we breathe. The proposed regulations will not be enforced if they "hurt the economy".

Rona Ambrose is a piece of work. She is scary. Where the hell did they pull her from? The Sydney Tar Ponds link? She is just making crap up. Example:

OTTAWA -- Environment Minister Rona Ambrose is under fire for statements to a committee that appear to have been inaccurate.

Sun Media has learned that costing figures cited by Ambrose during testimony to the environment and sustainable-development committee don't match estimates offered by the purported source.

Ambrose told the committee last week that electricity costs would rise 65% in Ontario and 40% in British Columbia if Canada tried to meet its Kyoto protocol commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 6%.

When asked where the numbers came from, officials in Ambrose's office said they were extrapolated from a study by M.K. Jaccard and Associates in Vancouver.

The company's general manager Chris Bataille said Ambrose's projections for the electricity figures don't match the company's analysis.

"Looking at our latest calculations, they should be more like 26% for B.C. and 32% for Ontario," Bataille wrote in an e-mail.
Minister's Kyoto figures questioned -Toronto Sun

She (Ambrose) trotted out some pie-in-the-sky ideas such as Transit Pass Tax Credit - which, it was claimed, would take 56,000 cars off the road every day. That is assuming that people will get out of their cars, and use the woefully inadequate (in Vancouver, anyhow) public transit systems. The tax credit will only really benefit those who already use public transit.

“Just based on the ridership that we have today in Canada, the transit pass tax credit alone is the equivalent of taking 56,000 cars off the road, every day,” Ambrose said. “That’s a lot of greenhouse gases.”

Michael Roschlau, president and chief executive of the Canadian Urban Transit Association, said he was mystified as to where Ambrose was getting her numbers.

“I’m not familiar with those figures,” Roschlau said. “They certainly didn’t come from us. We have no way of measuring that at this point.”

The Conservatives have put forward the idea of a 15% tax credit on a monthly transit pass costing $80 ($12/month). For the projected 56,000 drivers leaving their cars for public transit, that adds up to $672,000/month, or $8,064,000 per year. If every household in Canada changed just one 60w incandescent light bulb for a 20w compact fluorescent bulb, it would save the equivalent of 64,000 cars off the road.

I think that it would be more effective to subsidize the lightbulbs.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Vancouver Unreal Estate 2.0

This is the house next door to me. It was bought sight-unseen for $450,000 in April 2006 (the house was intact then). It went on the market again right away at $550,000. A few people looked at it and walked away.

In July it was reduced to $539,000, then to $499,000. Finally, the guy that bought it decided to tear it down, and build a new place. It has a great view (over the laneway, and the house behind it) of the city, and the North Shore mountains.

Now here is what you can get in the South-East of France for the same money.link

Vancouver Unreal Estate

Vancouver or France?

A sickening comparison between two houses priced roughly the same (the French Chateau being $109 less!...).

This was posted by 'exvancouverite' over at the Vancouver Housing Market Blog, and again at Vancouver Condo Info, and it gives a shocking comparison between house "values" in Vancouver and (in this case) France.

Here's the (West Side) of Vancouver house: $1,280,000 link

and here's the French "house": 899,000 Euros ($1,279,891 CAD)link

The Vancouver house is sitting on a 40'x~120' lot, while the French lot is over 1 acre...

If I had the $1.3 million to drop on a place, I would opt for the French place without more than .25/second of thought.

Which would you go for?

It should be noted that the Winter Olympics will not be hosted in the beautiful Loire valley in France, while the 2010 Winter Olympics will be hosted ~ 3 hours (by road) away from the Vancouver pad.

Ahh, now I see it - the Olympics have added huge value to the Vancouver pad because they might be able to rent the spare room out to Olympic visitors for $200/night.

I will be posting other such comparisons in the coming days, and will also be posting a rant about the 2010 Winter Olympics (if I can ever compose myself from my frothing lividity), so check back soon.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

El Nino

El Nino is supposed to affect us this winter, with warmer, drier weather. I like that kind of weather, but it is delusional to hope for it. We depend too much on the rain. This is, after all a rainforest, and we need more vegetation, and less fires.

September 21st is officially the last day of summer, but summer held until this past weekend - when we had real rain for the first time in months, and the daytime temperatures dropped from 20C to 12/13C. Just as well really, as we needed rain, and will need it over the winter to replenish the snow pack - else we stand to have water problems next summer. It's pretty good though, it is the weather that kept me here - cloudy with light rain in the morning, then sunshine in the afternoon, and then maybe rain at night.

I do welcome El Nino home none the less.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

North Korea's Dangerous Toys

Ha! Let's have fun!

I got this notion from Stromboulopoulos on - CBC's The Hour

He got on to The Democratic Republic of North Korea's webpage, and sent an e-mail from their contact link, asking for an interview.

How about if we all spam them and ask them to quit playing with dangerous toys?

If you are really good, I will send you this badge -

CC your e-mails to artbag and I will post them after removing your e-mail address and any identifying information. Send me any replies you get, and I will send you this badge too -

Euthanasia 2

Well, today Que seems better. The Arsenicum does that - slows down the seepage, and makes her more like her old self. Weird.

So, no euthanasia this week.

The resolve falters...

more Goos

just because I can.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


OK, so maybe things are a little hard-edged the last couple of posts. I'm going to try to lighten it up a bit.

This is "the Goos" (aka Luz, Luce, Lucy, Goos, Goosey Lucy, etc.). She came to us in May. J has always wanted a white cat to compliment our orange cat - Moses (aka Fat Boy, Fag boy, Piggy, The Orange Cat) and our orange and white cat - Puss-Puss (aka Puss), and she got the Goos just before she found out that she was preggers.

We named her Luce for "the bringer of light", and indeed, she has brought light - we found out about the baby just after she came (the cat, not J!).

She is crazy for water, and comes running whenever I am watering plants, brushing my teeth, washing my face, when J is in the bath, anything to do with water. She chases the water from the hose when I water the garden, and gets completely drenched, but still loves it. She has also insisted that the dogs love her, and has absolutely no fear of them. The younger dog is confused about that, and the older one is just resigned about it. The Goos is a character through and through.

I have some video of her chasing the water from the hose (and getting soaked), and will post it here as soon as I figure out how to do that.

Friday, October 13, 2006


Friday the 13th. Ho Hum.

Should I be scared? Are you scared?

So what is it about the number 13, and especially Friday the 13th?

Paraskevidekatriaphobia is the fear of the Friday the 13th, and triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13, and it shows in quite a few places.

Buildings often have no 13th floor (well they do, but they number the 13th floor the 14th floor. Does this make it any "safer"? It is after all still the 13th floor).

Many people (in the western world) avoid work, driving, eating in restaurants, etc. on Friday the 13th. There is an irrational fear attached to this day. Why?

13 is the sixth number in the most primary Fibonacci sequence - 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13. Fibonacci was a 13th century mathematician.

13 is a prime number - divisible by only one and itself.

There used to be 13 months of 28 days in a year (364 days), and 13 signs of the zodiac (the Gemini twins each had their own zodiacal sign). Women have 13 menstrual cycles (28 days) over the course of a year, and there are 13 moon cycles related.

Strangely, there is evidence to suggest that Friday the 13th is actually unlucky. Psychologists have found that some people are especially likely to have accidents or fall ill on Friday the 13th. This has been attributed to such people feeling a heightened state of anxiety on that day (see nocebo effect). The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina estimates that in the United States alone, $800 or $900 million is lost in business each Friday the 13th because people will not fly or do business they would normally do. (from Wikipedia - link).

Some say that Friday the 13th gained it's reputation after the Knights Templar were arrested on Friday, October 13th 1307. Most of them were tortured and executed, and all of their holdings were seized. Some say it goes further back - to the Garden of Eden.

The name "Friday" was derived from a Norse deity worshipped on the sixth day, known either as Frigg (goddess of marriage and fertility)(is this the root of the word "frigging"?), or Freya (goddess of sex and fertility), or both, the two figures having become intertwined in the handing-down of myths over time (the etymology of "Friday" has been given both ways). Frigg/Freya corresponded to Venus, the goddess of love of the Romans, who named the sixth day of the week in her honor "dies Veneris."

Friday was actually considered quite lucky by pre-Christian Teutonic peoples, we are told — especially as a day to get married — because of its traditional association with love and fertility. All that changed when Christianity came along. The goddess of the sixth day — most likely Freya in this context, given that the cat was her sacred animal — was recast in post-pagan folklore as a witch, and her day became associated with evil doings.

The Mayans did some pretty freaky stuff in observing time. They calculated time over 100's of millions of years - pinpointing specific days, in one instance at Tikal, 400 million years ago. They had cycles of 13 days, 20 days, 260 days, 52 years, etc. Interestingly (and simplistically), it all revovles around the number 13. The Mayans were also aware of, and using zero even befor the Arabs discovered it.

Some say that the world will end (according to the Mayan Calendar) on December 21st 2012 - the end of the 13th Bak'tun, but the Mayans actually indicated that the world would "end" on October 13th 4772 - or did they?. Gird your loins none-the-less.

2012 Mayan calendar
The end of the 13th b'ak'tun is conjectured to have been of great significance to the Maya, but does not necessarily mark the end of the world according to their beliefs, but a new beginning or time of re-birth. According to the Popol Vuh, a book compiling details of creation accounts known to the Quiché Maya of the colonial-era highlands, we are living in the fourth world. The Popol Vuh describes the first three creations that the gods failed in making and the creation of the successful fourth world where men were placed. The Maya believed that the fourth world would end in catastrophe and the fifth and final world would be created that would signal the end of mankind.

The last creation ended on a long count of Another will occur on December 21, 2012, and it has been discussed in many New Age articles and books that this will be the end of this creation or something else entirely. However, the Maya abbreviated their long counts to just the last five vigesimal places. There were an infinite number of larger units that were usually not shown. When the larger units were shown (notably on a monument from Coba), the end of the last creation is expressed as, where the units are obviously supposed to be 13s in all larger places. In this age we are only approaching, and the larger places are nowhere near the 13s that would match the end of the last creation. (Schele and Friedel 1990: 430)

This is confirmed by a date from Palenque, which projects forward in time to, which will occur on October 13, 4772. The Classic Period Maya likely did not believe that the end of this age would occur in 2012. According to the Maya, there will be a baktun ending in 2012, a significant event being the end of a 13th 400 year period, but not the end of the world.Wikipedia

So there is the tip of an iceberg of facts, conjectures, superstitions, etc., relating to the number 13, and Friday the 13th. I will, over time, be commenting on numbers and their strange qualities. There is indeed a lot of strangeness to look at.

Happy Friday the 13th!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Deus Pai

J's Dad died this morning in Toronto.

He had been suffering with Alzheimer's the last few years, and had been in long-term care for the last while. He had his breakfast this morning, went to sit in his favourite chair, and quietly shrugged off his mortal coil.

He brought his wife and 12 children to Canada from Portugal in 1967. He spent his whole life here working his heart out to support his family until he retired. He started declining after that.

He lived for his faith, and we fervently hope that he has found his heaven.

Let angels sing him to sleep.

A Deus Pai.

Monday, October 09, 2006

nihilism, nukes and North Korea

So, North Korea purportedly did an underground test of a nuclear bomb yesterday. If the 4.3 Richter reading reported was a nuke test, it could not have been a plutonium bomb, and is thought to have been a dud.

We all knew that N. Korea was working towards possessing a nuke capability, and there has been much sabre-rattling, and posturing on the part of the United States administration, but over-whelmingly, I have sensed almost an ambivalence to the issue. China seems to have distanced itself somewhat, and has hinted at restricting energy aid to N.K., but ruled out food aid restrictions. Iran seems to be ambivalent as well, and is likely watching to see what happens as they pursue their own nuclear ambitions. North Korea has been thought to have the bomb for the last ten years, or so, but not the delivery system (missiles capable of carrying it). If they do have it, they are the 9th country (although Isreal has not admitted it yet).
So what to do about it? Cut off aid? Impose sanctions? That will accomplish little - as the North Korean people have been dealing with famine and such for years. It seems that the military (and bomb and missile making) have been higher priorities than the people for a long, long time. A naval blockade? That could trigger problems with China - who for sure has nukes, and delivery systems capable of reaching into North America. Send in ground forces? Umm, North Korea has a highly trained standing army of about a million soldiers. The U.S. is bogged down in Iraq, so unless they draft a huge segment of the population, where will the troops come from? Other options? Well, the U.S, or the U.K., or France could nuke 'em, but a) isn't that the pot calling the kettle black? and b) it could set off a nuclear conflict to destroy all life on this planet. Ignore it and hope for the best (as in India and Pakistan)? Diplomacy?

And why shouldn't N. Korea, or Iran, or Luxembourg, or Honduras, or Calgary have nukes? Because the U.S. and her allies don't want them to? If the bully in the school yard (and his coterie of wannabe thugs) have big sticks, and are constantly threatening to take (and are taking) your lunch money, and beating the crap out of the other weaklings, why wouldn't you arm yourself with your very own big stick? This is the so-called nuclear deterrent. Mutually assured destruction is a good reason not to pick on the weaker states of this world. N. Korea has never seemed to have any itchiness for empire, so what might they do if they do have a few bombs? Protect themselves from bullying is the first thing that comes to my mind. When you give the school yard bully an unexpected shot in the nose, he tends to gain respect for you, to lose interest in you, and sometimes even changes his ways.

Further, the U.S. has basically thrown out the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty by developing small-yield nukes, bunker-busters, working towards "Star Wars", and what about all that depleted uranium dumped in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq? That is poisoning all of us thanks to global air currents.

Nukes for everyone.

Don't hesitate to bend over, and kiss your ass goodbye.

Edit: I failed to point out that Canada - who has been known as a fair-minded, peace-keeping country for a long, long time, has joined that coterie of wannabe thugs lock, stock and barrel (literally). Rather, our government (a minority with only about 32% of the vote) has made that move. Most Canadians do not want to be involved in aggression, just as, I'm sure, most Americans, or British do not want to be at war.

So why do governments act as they do? Do governments really represent the citizens of their respective countries? England's Blair has been lying to his countrymen. Bush and Co. have been lying to Americans. The Canadian government is doing the same. Voting is a sham - we still end up with governments that do all kinds of shiite that is diametrically opposed to the intent of the citizenry. What can be done about that? Over time, I will attempt to open up that discussion here.

Stay tuned.


This is our old dog Que (kee-a). She has been with us since she was 4 months old, and has been a great dog. She is brave (was a great bear dog - keeping them away from our camps, and chased them without fear, would stand up to anything, but is very gentle with people), loyal, and has been a big part of our life for 14 years. She has traveled everywhere - across Canada as far as Montreal, to Mexico twice, and spent ten summers with us while we planted trees in northern B.C. She has gone after porcupines, and received a face full of quills - in the mouth, and up the nose, and let J take them out with pliers - without anaesthetic. Five years ago she had two huge lypomas removed (weighing almost 4 pounds together). Tough as nails she is.

This spring she started to grow new, huge lumps in her abdomen and chest, which turned out to be a type of haemosarcoma - cancer. We immediately accepted that that was the beginning of the end, and that we might have to consider euthanasia eventually. In July we decided to give her a homeopathic remedy of arsenicum album (10M), which was meant to help her make the decision to let go of life by herself. I was very upset when I gave it to her because I did not want to cause her death. Our veterinarian (who is great) assured me that it would not cause death, but would help Que make the decision on her own. She did not succumb, and still wagged her tail, was interested in her food, and still wanted to go for walks (although she was barely able).

In August, we decided to try the Arsenicum again. As with the first dose, she seemed to improve for a while, but by now the cancer had ulcerated, and a lot of serum and blood was leaking out, so we had to start bandaging her. She kept ripping off the bandages, and eating them (in an attempt to hide her weakness from the world, or out of hygiene - a question unanswered), so we had to put a "lampshade" on her to keep her away from the bandages. The serum smells very foul, and she needs the bandages changed, and the site washed frequently.

In September, we tried another dose of arsenicum, but she still hangs on. She couldn't walk much more than a block by then, and her legs kept failing her, resulting in numerous face-plants.

With every dose of arsenicum, we said that if it didn't work, we would have the vet over to administer a lethal dose of barbituates, but Que did not seem ready to let go, and we don't feel that it is right to force the end on a beautiful creature that does not want to go. I have put animals who where obviously suffering out of their misery before (a cow with a broken back, a pelican with a broken wing - starving on the beach, a couple of very sick hamsters, and various mice and birds that the cats caught and were torturing), but I had no attachment to them, and it would have been cruel to let them suffer. Que shows no sign of being in any pain, and does not seem to be suffering.

Last week I got another dose of arsenicum for her (50M this time), and we have decided that if that doesn't work, we are going to decide to have the barbituates by the end of the week. It remains to be seen if we have the resolve though

My Grandma lived to be 102 years old, and enjoyed pretty good health and strength until she was about 98 (although she was stone deaf, and had only 10% vision in only one eye). She went downhill slowly after that, and beginning around the age of 99 she started to tell me that she was ready to die, wanted to die, and wondered when she would. She eventually made the decision to stop eating, and died about three weeks later. She was well cared for at the end, and did not suffer (she was given morphine patches to eliminate any pain). I would never have made the decision to have her euthanized, so how to make that decision for a creature that cannot speak?

A Perfect Indian

this is one of my favourite paintings. I did it a few years ago after having a dream about a daughter that I did not have.
I titled it A Perfect Indian - inspired by a Sinead O'Connor song containing the line - with eyes like a wild Irish Sea.
I am hoping that the babby coming in february will be as beautiful as the girl in this painting.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

First Posting

welcome to the blog it's a new game for me, so bear with me.

for a couple of weeks, I could not figure out how to get back here, thus the dearth of posting here. I have lot's to say, but I forget what it was.

gonna be a father for the first time in february. that is pretty cool. I am pretty freaked out. will I be a good pappy? everyone says that I will, but I wonder. I suppose that is normal.