Monday, November 27, 2006

brrr! snow...

This was the scene on my street this morning. Very unusual for November. We usually get a couple of days or so of snow around Christmas, but had about a foot of it over the week-end.

It's supposed to be -11 degrees Celsius tonight - also very unusual. I think that is the coldest in all the time I've lived in Vancouver. Brrr!

The boil water advisory was lifted today - after 12 days. That is also a first (the boil water thing) since I've lived here.

Here's another shot that I took in the forest today while out with the dogs.

For some reason, blogspot is squishing this pic', and I'm too brain-dead to figure it out. Click on it if you want to see it full size.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

after the rains

I took this shot on Friday while driving around. It had been raining, and yucky all day, until a break in the weather opened up this vista. It is always a bit of pleasure to see the mountains covered in snow after a week or so of grey skies and rain.

There is still a boil water advisory 11 days on. Maybe the snow will turn the water white, instead of it's yellow tinge that it has had.

The skiers and snowboarders will be happy about this.

Friday, November 24, 2006

bean and the crow

This is a cool shot taken the same day. Bean was not chasing the crow, it was just brave (the crow).

I like this shot because it is quite dynamic.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

flying bean-dog

This is one of my favourite photo's of our Ridgeback - N'kosa Zulu Blu - aka Bean, Bean-dog, The Bean, Red Dog, Red Dog One (I'm Red Dog Leader), QUIET!, GO LAY DOWN!, ON YOUR BED!, Baby Girl, Crazy Girl, etc.

She is a character, full of beans, and full of life.

Monday, November 20, 2006

time to build an ark?

The rains continue, and still, 1 million people in the Lower Mainland are under a boil water advisory.

Things are better, but there are still thousands without power after 5 days. There were reports of fist fights over bottles of eater. Restaurants and cafes were advised today that it is "safe" to serve hot drinks, etc. as long as the water reaches 74 degrees Celsius.

The fact is that the media makes it sound much worse than it really is - as if we are a city under seige, or something. I have lived here for 20 years, and have seen this water after big rains before. No one got sick, and no one died. This is the first-ever water advisory, and I have seen worse.

Perhaps I just feel unaffected because we have been drinking spring water from 18 litre bottles for many years. I have absolutely no concerns about washing my dishes, or brushing my teeth with the pee-coloured water from the tap.

Hype. It's all hype.

The silver lining may be that people decide that Vancouver is not the best city in the world and stay away. Then, we may see some saner prices in our real estate.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

standing strong

I wrote about the final chapter for Que a bit ago, but I have under-estimated her yet again. The deterioration reported then was due (we think) to her swallowing a large chunk of bone (her teeth aren't so good anymore), resulting in an intestinal back-up. She cleared that, and has been pretty good since.

She started seeping profusely again a couple of days ago, and yesterday I went and picked up another dose of Arsenicum Album (50M), and started dosing her every half hour last night. I don't expect the arsenicum to push her into her good night, but it does almost stop the seeping, and makes the old girl a lot more stable.

Watching and waiting.

Friday, November 17, 2006

third world class

This was originally published at my other blog, but I thought that I'd post it here for those of you who don't make it over there. That, and the thing about me liking to post every day, and I haven't been doing so. I'm busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest...

Welcome to Vancouver! Home of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games (well, unless the snow doesn't show up in sufficient quantities).

Vancouver is a world class city! It fits in comfortably with Mexico City (though we don't have the weather that they have, and they had the Olympics 38 long years ago), Tegucigalpa (though their water is more potable), and Addis Abbaba (though their mountains are not as spectacularly snow-peaked), and Los Angeles (though they only had the piddlin' Summer Olympics, and their cops are tougher).

Yesterday there were 2 million people in the Lower Mainland who were warned to boil their water. Today, that number was halved to merely 1 million people. One million pregnant women, children, elderly, and the heavily mortgaged. The news spread far and wide very quickly. Last night I had three calls from other parts of Canada - concerned for our well-being. I also had an e-mail from the US with the same concerns. I didn't even know of the advisory before receiving these calls.

Hotels in Vancouver were quick to spread the advisory to all hotel rooms, and offered bottled water to their guests. Coffee shops and restaurants were hit where it hurts as they had to refuse their clients anything involving tap water. There were a lot of cranky, caffeine-deficient people in Vancouver the last couple of days.

I can just imagine visitors filling up their bathtubs with the murk that is on tap, and thinking that they might be better off to smell bad for their flights out of town. And what if any of them become sick with Giardia (classically known as Beaver Fever. How very Canadian...), Cryptosporidium, or such. And what if they sent their nice white shirts to the hotel laundry, and they came back looking as if someone had pissed all over them?

I was not personally affected - we have been drinking spring water for years, and have a good supply of 18 litre bottles stocked (because of the chlorine, we avoid tap water for drinking. At least there is no fluoride added.). I have also had amoebic dysentery, and Giardia, and have a pretty tough intestinal tract, but I had those infections in the Third World - where it can be expected. But Vancouver? That's some bad press man.

Third World Class. The city where people live on the streets. Where you can't even brush your flipping teeth unless you use bottled water (good luck finding any). The city where the middle class can't afford to buy the crappiest house.

Are we over ourselves yet?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

la pluie

This was the view in Vancouver today. It does not show the downed trees and hydro wires, nor does it show the collapsed buildings.

It was an horrendous day. Not fit for man nor beast, yet J braved it this morning with six dogs, and I braved it this afternoon with 7 dogs. J got the worst of it, as it was pouring swimming pools of water, and the winds were very high. I had it better with intermittent downpours and lashing winds to 90km/h.

Was glad to get home after all that. It's nice to have a roof over one's head on a day like today.

Monday, November 13, 2006



Another example of improbable possibility.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

expensive post

This is just an illustration of what I was babbling about in the previous post.

Expensive because this painting lists at $1,000.

cheap post

This is a photoshop image that I made from a photograph I took at Trout Lake. I intend to paint it (someday) because I like it's Impressionistic mood.

I have done quite a few "walking on water", and walking in mid-air photoshops and paintings. It's a fascination that I have for making the surreal appear to be perfectly normal, and even likely.

Are there any psychologists out there that can make sense of this?

Never mind, just enjoy.

Cheap post - because so little thought went into it, and it means nothing.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


This is George Muggleton who fought in WWI.
He was a family friend of my Grandma, and it was he who wrote a letter to her from the trenches.

lest we forget

I'm a bit late on this post - I don't seem to find the time until the afternoon, or until much later at night.

Today is Remembrance Day. Let us remember all of the young men and women that died fighting for something they believed in. And let us remember all of the innocents that died too.

Canada has not had to protect itself since the War of 1812, but Canadians have always gone to war in support of the British Empire. In WWI it is said that we defined ourselves as a country by stepping up to help to defeat aggression in Europe. We did it again in WWII, Korea, Bosnia, Rwanda, etc. Now we have soldiers in Afghanistan.

I think a lot about this at this time of year, but I never wear a poppy until November 11th, and wear it only on that day. It seems that Remembrance Day has become Remembrance Month, which is not neccessarily a bad thing, but to me, diminishes the meaning of the day.

I learned the depth of that meaning from my Grandma, who lived through WWI, WWII, etc. She lost schoolmates and friends in WWI, and one of her most prized possessions was a letter from a family friend who wrote to her from the trenches in WWI. I have that letter here, and intend to give it to the grandson of the author. Grandma was a teacher, and lost a number of her former students in WWII. She took this day very seriously, and I learned from that. I remember all of that horror by proxy. As our Quebecois cousins say Je me souviens, although what they remember is not the same as what I am writing about.

What makes me very sad about this day is that we have not learned, and although we remember those who died fighting for their beliefs in freedom, we never listened to what those brave men and women tried to teach us - Never again!.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Tra-la Rummy

Glummy image lifted from somewhere and scaled

Well that mid-term election to the south was a relief. The people have spoken, and they are saying that they don't like what is going on at all. The Democrats have re-taken the Senate and Congress, and will be able to exert a lot of influence. I am heartened greatly. But it still has a long way to go. I don't think it so much matters which party has the Presidency so much as who the leader of that party is. Rumsfeld - one of the most detestable people I have ever had the misfortune to lay eyes on - is gone. Good riddance.

But who will replace him? Another of Daddy's boys of course. Sounds like a few of Daddy's boys will be stepping in to clean up Junior's broken toy. Are they less odious? Not as I know of them. Looks like Cheney might be resigning too. Hey, how about an impeachment? And a trial for crimes against all of humanity, and specifically against the united States of America*.
*This is the original as spelled on the Declaration Of Independance

Good news in Canada too. The people do not like the neo-con, evangelist bullshit of the Conservatives either. They have barely a point on the Liberals, and those dufus' don't even have a flipping leader. And whatever leader they do come up with will not be much more than uninspiring in my view. Stephane Dion would probably be the best bet, but in these times of image being more important than substance, Dion does not have the presence needed to engage the voters. He's kind of like Preston Manning in that way - somebody that can be trusted, but it's a liability exacerbated by sincerity. Oh well.

We could use a few personalities like Daniel Ortega, Hugo Chavez, Fidel, tempered by a few Joe Clarks, Diefenbakers, and Elizabeth Mays, with a dash of Jackie O. We need some fun.


This is one of the most poignant images I have seen from the Iraq invasion and occupation. There are 100,000's of images of maimed babies, men, women, children, soldiers, of prisoners being abused, and on 'til we become inured to the suffering of the innocent. I do not mean to diminish all of that, but this poor horse, with a leg blown almost off, really got me.

How much more innocent can you get than that? No one to comfort it in it's suffering, no one to heal it. And no one to put it out of it's misery.

When I hear people trying to justify this kind of ...I just want to...

Nice work Rummy.
photo from iraqi horse (click on image or link for larger)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

the hangman

image montage by author

I have been trying to get to this post, but have been very busy... Further, this story is so huge and convoluted that it will be hard to do it justice here. There is so much background and history to be studied to truly understand this.

So, an Iraqi court has found Saddam Hussein guilty of crimes against humanity in the 1982 killings of 148 people in the town of Halabja. There was an uprising there that needed to be quashed. Hussein didn't actually kill them, but as the leader of the country, he is responsible. Ironically, this incident is part of what the US administration cited as justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq (along with Hussein being responsible for 9.11, possessing non-existent weapons of mass destruction, having missiles that "could reach London" in 40 minutes, and whole lot more bullshit.), meanwhile, G W Bush signed the death warrants of 150 people in Texas while governor - including juveniles, and mentally handicapped citizens. And who can forget his brutal sneering at, and mocking of, Karla Fay Tucker? Saddam Hussein is an under-achiever in comparison.

Now what is this picture about? Rumsfeld congratulating Hussein on following the directions provided by the US on how to effectively kill Kurds with nerve gas? This photo was taken in December 1983 - not too long after the 1982 atrocity. No condemnation there.. Oh, and the elements that were used to make the gas, and the helicopters used to deliver them, and billions of dollars in loan guarantees, and other assorted military equipment, were supplied by the US.
image from tinyrevolution

They also intend to try him for genocide for the gassing of Iraqi Kurds in 1988. There is a bit of a problem with this though, because Hussein's conviction goes to automatic appeal, and once that appeal is ruled on, and the death sentence upheld, they have 30 days to kill him, which could well preclude the genocide trial.

There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein is an evil man, but he has been backed by a coterie of evil (American) men since 1979. He was/is an asset of the CIA (along with bin Laden). Everything was fine until Hussein announced that Iraqi oil would cease to be sold in American dollars, and henceforth would be sold in Euros. We know what has happened since then.

Hussein has been attributed with causing the deaths of over a million people, but what is never mentioned is that those deaths were around the 8 year long Iran/Iraq war - that was sponsored by the US after their man the Shah was overthrown. There are all kinds of numbers thrown around - most of them specious, or convenient. I have heard about 5,000 Kurds, 100,000 - 300,000, a million, blah, blah. Over 500,000 Iraqi children died as a result of UN sanctions against Iraq after the first Gulf adventure in 1991 (Bush Sr., did not invade Iraq then because it was illegal to do so - just as it was in 2003.) The British medical journal The Lancet, Amnesty International, the Red Cross, Johns Hopkins, and many other reputable sources, have put Iraqi deaths at 655,000 since 2003. These deaths are all attributed to the mayhem that prevails now. It does not count the future casualties from radiation poisoning caused by the thousands of tons of depleted uranium munitions used by coalition forces. More American soldiers are dead than civilians died in 9.11. Mercenaries, private contractors, and journalists are not counted. And those are just battle field deaths. Deaths of wounded in transport, in hospital, suicides, etc. are not counted. Many more thousands are maimed forever.

The Iraqi constitution and courts were imposed by the US (just as in Japan after WWII), which is in contravention of the Geneva Convention -

The Geneva Convention, Article 54 reads: "The Occupying Power may not alter the status of public officials or judges in the occupied territories, or in any way apply sanctions to or take any measures of coercion or discrimination against them, should they abstain from fulfilling their functions for reasons of conscience." This is confirmed in the The Hague War Convention, also signed by the earlier existing US, before it became a totally lawless dictatorship.source

Amnesty International, and others - including American judicial experts, have stated that there is more than a little doubt as to the fairness of Hussein's trial. Defence lawyers, body guards and witnesses have been intimidated and/or murdered. There is also doubt as to whether the man in the prisoner's dock is Hussein. He is known to have had many Dopplegangers, and this guy may be one of them. Hussein's wife says that it is not her husband.

It's a frickin dog and pony show put on to eliminate - er, that's a Freudian typo. I mean - manipulate the minds of America - especially at this important election time. Wag-the-Dog.

On top of all of that, I am firmly opposed to capital punishment. I used to be all for it, but now I would rather see evil people imprisoned in a very small cell, with no view to the outside, and the most meagre of rations, for the rest of their lives. That's punishment. It blew me away that 76% of Canadian respondents to a survey on the net were for Hussein's execution.

What are we coming to?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Euthanasia - the final chapter

I have written (here and here) about our old dog Que, and about her cancer, and our dilemna about euthanising her.

We did not choose to euthanise, and after the last round of high-dose (50M) arsenicum, she was almost like her old self again. The weeping of the serum dwindled to almost nothing, she went out with the pack a few times, the tumour(s) shrank, and we thought that she might hang on until the babby comes.

Today that all seems to have changed. She went out to relieve herself this morning and collapsed on the lawn. She just laid there for a while until J coaxed her to come back into the house. She wouldn't eat today, no wagging tail, no interest in anything. We feel that she may have finally decided that enough is enough. Her breathing seems a bit laboured, and she is just laying in her spot in the kitchen. She won't even loft her head to look at us. She is either very pissed off at us for some reason, or she has given up. Right now, I wonder if she will make it through the night.

We have taken the bucket/lampshade/whatever that she has been wearing to keep her from ripping off the bandages (and eating them), so that she can die in peace and with dignity. She is a very proud and dignified old lady, and she hates that bucket.

We are on a death watch now, and I will keep you up to date.

(The photo above is from about 4 years ago)

Friday, November 03, 2006

fall detritus


Grandma's geranium after a frost.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


bird of paradise Madeira, Portugal


lisbon train station 89

You may notice the rain in this picture.


rain gif "gifted" by Telus

Oh, brrr! Yuk!

Out and about with the hounds again today. Usually, this is an idyllic interlude from being rooted in front of this infernal machine, but today it was detestable. Cold and rainy it was.

The Ridgebacks (also known as Sun Dogs, or Lion Dogs) hate the cold and the rain just as much as I do. They are warm weather dogs who love to lay around in the sun and the shade alternately. I am a warm weather dog too. It's interesting, because they have the identical colour of hair as I, and are easy going and languorous in demeanour. Hey, they are really good-lookin' too!

J got soaked (as usual), but she likes to walk in the rain because there are less people around to take exception to a group of 6 or 7 dogs. I don't care about the people - I need warmth!

At least it is well above freezing. There is snow and very cold temperatures elsewhere. I still long for Mexico when this time of year comes though.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

autumn's last gasps

Just a couple of shots that I grabbed today.

November begins

Out with the hounds again today. It was cold and bright again. Last night it was down to -2 deg. Celsius. Brrr! I'm a warm-weather person, so I don't like that much. It's better than living in Winnipeg, or Nunavut though.

It was "Club Ridgeback" today, with four of them. On Friday I'll have five - maybe even seven if Simba and Biko come. I love having a group of Ridgebacks, they are such cool dogs. They have very gentle mouths when taking anything from one's hands, and are stubborn, aloof, and lazy.

It is Uncle Allan's birthday today. Happy Birthday Uncle.