1.10.2012

Burning Man did Dr. Seuss

Based on Dr. Seuss's final book before his death, this is a story about life's ups and downs, told by the people of Burning Man 2011. Directed by: Teddy Saunders - www.tedshots.com

1.07.2012

American Green Dollars won't stop Harper

Stephen Harper is warning us that big green bucks of the environmental kind may flow into Canada in an attempt to thwart the legitimate conservative, whoops, I mean corporate efforts of the Ethical Oil folks.

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Today the CBC reported that the Prime Minister of Alberta and the rest of Canada "...told journalists Friday he's heard concerns expressed about the use of foreign money by interveners opposed to an oilsands pipeline proposed for northern B.C. by Calgary-based Enbridge."

So now we know that the federal government that slashed its own global warming monitoring division, is going to ensure the Environmental review of the pipeline project will get about the same amount of scrutiny as the omnibus crime bill.  And he is warning the big bucked foreigners to stay away.

Odd, Mr. Harper didn't seem to mind when the Exclusive Brethren, a secretive anti-gay religious group from the USA spent thousands of dollars delivering leaflets in Canada in an attempt to stop same-sex marriage in June of 2005.  I guess those foreign dollars are less green.

Oiled vegetation floats upstream of the Ceresco Dam
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says his government will look into measures to prevent the approval process for energy projects from being "hijacked" by opponents of the developments.  Suddenly I see another light coming on.  If we're (our federal government) going to put in measures to prevent those that think we should scrutinize development projects, why not just eliminate public consultations all together, it worked with the Canadian Wheat Farmers, why not the Ethical Oil extractors. It's brilliant, what good is a majority if you have to consult with people that disagree with you.

Enbridge has had hundreds of spills from their pipelines, many which may have been preventable if the company had fixed problems identified by authorities.  Two weeks before a huge break in one of its pipelines and facing many demands by authorities to fix defects in the pipeline, Enbridge asked the approval agency to allow it to simply reduce the flow of oil through the 'defective' lines.   They never got a reply to that request, the pipe burst and sent 20,000 barrels of oil into the river.  Picture this, laid end to end, 20,000 barrels would be over 14 miles long and would fill a two foot trench to the top the entire length.  Let that oil get into a river or lake and you can see what damage it could do.
Enbridge pipeline leak into the Kalamazoo River July 2010


Back to the pipeline, the general public still doesn't know much about this project.  Many people hear about a pipeline and think that's okay.  They have yet to connect the dots on this.  The raw oil product once it arrives in Kitimat BC will have to be pumped into super-sized oil tankers.   The tankers then must get the oil sludge to California and or China. That means they have to travel along BC's coast.

Oil Tankers spilling their loads is not an if question, its a question of when.   Just like pipelines and maintenance of those pipelines, oil tankers are all about accepting there will be a spill and the focus shifts to how one mitigates the damage.

Kitimat BC
When you know there will be a spill or spills, do you think it is a risk worth accepting. Big companies try to build in a cost factor. How much will it cost to maintain the ships, how well trained and rested is the crew, how much will back up systems cost and then they get into the clean up cost.  They never get into the cost of the loss of wildlife, the damage to water and decades of lost life sustaining ecosystems.

Any mistake along the way could contribute to a disaster.  The question for BC and the rest of Canada is this, is it a risk we can accept?  I suggest it isn't.

Prime Minister Harper has thrown out a 'green' herring, raising foreign money.  It's clear he will accept nothing less than a speedy conclusion from the environmental review, that concludes with a green light for Enbridge's proposal.      


1.06.2012

I'm probably going to hell via the karma of pedantry

"I'm probably going to hell via the karma of pedantry, or at least end up 'tarred & feathered' {wink}." - Howard Ish
My friend Howard passed away yesterday, he was 50...

Howard was kinda like that crazy uncle we all know of.  I would be hard pressed to find or hear tell of someone that could match him. Eccentric is not enough to describe him, besides I think you need to be rich to be eccentric, poor folks like Howard are bat shit crazy!

A few years ago he moved to a house built for and by other fae boys. His father passed away and left Howard enough to get a car and house. Shortly after the sale of the house closed Howard got very sick.  I took him to his doctor in Kingston, whom immediately called the hospital.  He was in there in a flash, albeit he insisted on stopping to mail some bookkeeping stuff  and post cards.  He was insistent. Here I was with a guy the doctor said had to be in emergency asap and he wants to mail a postcard. Everything had stamps on them.  The irony was one of the post cards was sent to me.  I didn't know that at the time.

Jules, bless him, looked after many things for Howard after he got his house. The Patron Saint of Fae ones in need you are Jules.  Howard was in hospital for a week and Jules asked me if I would like to go down and visit and help Howard pack up his ChatchKas.  He has so many!

Jules and I drove down and this is the result of our visit...  Check out the video, Howard loved it.  After leaving Howard that night, we drove back to MacDonald's Corners.  It was after ten that evening and found we had no wine.  I had beer at the Land, alas Jules wanted wine.  Out of the blue, (Jules is going to kill me for this story) Jules said, "you know, I bet Howard still has some wine."  He was saying it shyly, not wanting to completely admit we were so desperate as to check Howard's place for wine.  "It's Kelly's," I added, "it's fortified."

"what the heck, lets go, I said to Jules. Now I had let him off the hook, It was me that said okay!  We got in the car and headed to Howie's Chatchkas palace.  Once inside, we found the Kelly's, a whole unopened bottle. (How lucky was that!)   I grabbed a cider from the fridge. It was like being in high school.  We laughed at ourselves, all the while clutching the bottle of Kelly's.  Back at Jules we sat outside and savoured the sweet Kelly's wine.  (I added water to mine, but Jules was tough, he drank it straight up).

I often picked Howard up in Perth or his house to bring him to the Land. He was always charming. Harmless really!  I would always give him a hug, pick up his bags, tent, sleeping bag and throw it in the truck. Then as I was doing it I would hear, "I can do that Ricky."  Almost always I would respond, "So can I, see Howard its in the truck." It was a game in a way. Howard was having a tough time of it. He couldn't move much faster than a turtle on the Lanark road.

At the Land, Howard would usually be the first one up after me, arriving at the Erection (Summer Kitchen folks, when you build something you are erecting!) about 6:30.  He would come in and see me. One look at me would tell him if I had my coffee and was ready for his renown waggishness!  He would get the old flower vase for water to drink out of. Fill it with ice cubes then after he settled at the end of the table, silently gathering the playing cards, positioning the salt bowl, he would start playing solitaire.  Not a word spoken between us.  Snap went the cards.  Snap, snap.  Chomp chomp went the ice.  He couldn't resist making his presence known. Finally, coffee brewed, we would move outside to the fire pit, me with my coffee and Howard with his fancy flame throwing lighter and pipe.

We would chat about lots of things.  He would entertain me.  I was a good listener, he liked that, he wanted to be liked, he tried so hard.  He made me laugh so many times. Irony was his forte. It could be about the news, or some happening at the gathering.  I have not met his equal in that department.  His quick turn of phrase was always on the mark, often irreverent, mostly  irreverent.

After moving to the country Howard often had appointments in Ottawa, He would stay at Pinkie and Roy's. He would have a a few glasses of wine, (Okay he had many). Pinkie would help Howard out and the next day Howard was still there.  It was funny, that weird Uncle thing again.  Howard would be off, back to his home.   

Howard of course had to survive in a redneck village. That did not deter him. I would often find him hitch hiking into Lanark,wearing a fur stole and Purple overcoat. I can only guess the reactions he received, yet he was able to get rides. Howard wore his life on his sleeves. He was out there and it worked.

Howard loved being a Canadian. He loved being a subject of Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second. He was for a time a member of the Monarchist League of Canada. He took it seriously, trying to be more Canadian than the rest of us. He would always vote, and he voted in the US elections as well.  He hated George W Bush and Stephen Harper. He loved Bernie Sanders, the only socialist Senator in the US and a Vermontian.  He loved Vermont.

When he lived in Gananoque, he would hitch hike to Perth.  I or someone else would pick him up in Perth.  I always marvelled at how he managed to get rides. He looked kinda rough to me. He would hold up a sign that said "Harmless".  It worked.   Often at the end of the gathering, Chiplandia would load up all the beer cans and take Howard to the outskirts of Perth after cashing in the cans, handing Howard the money when he dropped him off.  Howard was struggling so it helped a little.

I will miss Howard, especially on those early mornings on the Land.  It was home to Howard.  It was his community. Howard was an important part of that community.  Below is a video of Howard singing "Run around Hugh" during one of our 'Know Talent Shows'.



Howard had many friends at the Land, aka AmberFox. Don was one of them who would stop and pick up Howard these last couple of years, run him home to get his meds, feed the cat and get another lighter because he lost the last Flame Thrower. This passed summer we heard from Howard's mother.  She had not heard from him in four or five days.  We checked the hospitals, all his friends and nothing. Don drove an hour down to Howard's and broke in through the Kitchen window. No Howard.  He was eventually found in hospital.  We were all concerned.  He was okay in the end and we rejoiced in that.

Howard, I will miss you. You lived it to the end.



1.05.2012

Official Catholic - Get gay teachers out!

The Catholic establishment has made war against gays for years. Now they want to ensure gays do not work in the Catholic school system.  
Catholic schools must remove those practising same-sex relationships says the title of an editorial by Fr. Alphonse de Valk in the online magazine, Catholic Insight. 
This guy is living in 1958. There have always been gays in the catholic system. Today I know of three teachers personally that teach in Catholic schools.  de Valk suggests that the union representing these workers ought to have its name changed to remove "Catholic" if they approve a motion to include same sex relationships.  


de Valk also outlines the history of Catholic Insight and its fight against the 'Homosexual Agenda".  
...Catholic Insight took the homosexual agenda as the most virulent threat to society. Why? Because unlike abortion which does not leave any survivors, only victims, those practising same-sex relations grow in number and ruthlessness as their agenda is strengthened by newly coined “rights” in law and public acceptance. Supported by the enormous popularity of modern pornography, assisted by prostitution and the elimination of old restrictions on human behaviour mostly through judicial fiats, their own insatiable immorality demands public approval for more and more deviant behaviour.Fr. Alphonse de Valk


Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
The language here is inflammatory, insights hate and demonizes all of us queers.   de Valk says,  “The Church does not claim that people with a homosexual orientation are bad, or that their children are less loved by God … But what the Church does teach is that sexual intimacy by anyone outside marriage is wrong; that marriage is a sacramental covenant; and that marriage can occur only between a man and a woman. 


These beliefs are central to a Catholic understanding of human nature, family and happiness, and the organization of society. The Church cannot change these teachings because … they are the teaching of Jesus Christ…"


This is the indoctrination of youth. It is no different than those that would teach being a Jew is bad, or Blacks are inferior, Arabs are terrorists or Indians are heathens.  All of these things, the Catholic Church has said or supported over the last century.  


I know the majority of Catholics in this country do not support the views expressed by the very righteous de Valk.  It's time the people in the church took on these systemic and hate laden statements from their leaders within the church. 


my thanks to Scott Dagostino on twitter for the link to this story

1.03.2012

Pass the popcorn... GOP Reality Show

After spending a couple of weeks in the USA I still do not understand how Iowa is important, especially this year.  Its a tiny State. It's almost all white and they're easily swayed by millions of dollars of advertising.  Advertising from super pacs and the candidates.

Most of the candidates are fighting it out to be the number one opposed to abortion. When they aren't attacking a Woman's right to choose, they take delight in spreading hate against gays.  In their spare time they rail against medicare, they swear allegiance to the other accepted religion, the NRA.

See this from the Daily Mirror: Iowa caucuses: Adulterer, fantasist, gun-nut, gay-hater - 

The GOP race should be seen as a joke. It's like one of those reality shows.  You are just waiting for the next display of idiotic behaviour. Like @inlawsoutlaws tweeted tonight, pass the popcorn...

Now some of my favourite tweets from tonight. Tweets about Iowa and the GOP race.

@pourmecoffee: All political and media people are in Iowa. If we could somehow fence it off, this is our chance to start a new society.
@poniewozak: Carville finally comes up w new GOP base/Romney analogy: "It's like trying to give a dog a pill. They keep spitting it out." h/t to @godammitkitty
@inlawsoutlaws: Romney's a businessman. His bizness 4 the past 8 years has been trying to get people to like him. Hasn't turned a profit so far.
@MontrealSimon Oh no. My poor Newt is tanking. Damn you Freddie Mac !!! Damn you monogamy !!!!! #iacaucuses

@birbigs Bachmann may have only gotten 6% of the vote, but she's 100% crazy. h/t to E___Anderson 
@Johnfugelsang 3 hours and the only thing we've learned is that tomorrow 'Santorum' will be on everyone's lips. (trust me, google 'Santorum', you'll never look at him the same way again!)


Sixty-two dollars in my pocket

Here I am back in Toronto after travelling to the Okanagan and then back to the Toronto airport to jump in the car and drive to Erie Pennsylvania to enjoy a fabulous suite for the night before heading onto Durham North Carolina.  

I flew back last night (after three weeks) with sixty-two dollars in my pocket.  If the US and Obama's economy doesn't improve, I can at least say I did my part!  It's into the bank today to transfer more money.

Not only was my cash flow almost below zero, so was Toronto's weather.  Upon clearing customs (do you know how long the walk is to customs? Somebody should fix that!) I went outside and was almost slapped back indoors by the first real cold snap of the winter.  Coming from a balmy 18 to a -10 was a shock.

I searched out the airporter to go downtown. I missed it. The next one would be ten to twenty minutes.  A limo driver asked if I wanted a ride. How much I dared ask?   Sixty dollars he said nonchalantly as if it was a small price to pay. He had me. It was dang cold, I had three bags and just wanted to get home.  I told him hopefully, I had twenty US bucks and forty pretty dollars. He said sure.  I got in.

The long ride to downtown was quiet. I really wanted coffee.  With only two dollars left, I decided I would make some as soon as I got in the door of our apartment.

The apartment looked familiar albeit all cleaned up by my partner. The kitchen was well stocked he told me, (he comes back next weekend) so I would not have to go out right away,  I set my bags down, opened the cubbard to find a brand new bag of coffee beans. With my winter coat still on, I opened the bag, poured the beans into my grinder and a sweet rising smell attacked my senses.  The aroma from the ground beans filled the room, I could almost taste the coffee.

Then for some reason I plugged an old portable (it's 60 years old, so portable is not quite true) electric heater in. I took my coat off, the lights went off.  I blew a fuse.  Now my apartment is 40 years old, they have those glass fuses.  I rummaged around looking for a flashlight. Whew, it was on the top of the fridge like it always is. Something was working as it should.  While at the fridge I thought maybe this job requires a beer.  I opened the door to find smiling back at me, a whole 2-4 of beer.  My partner really does look after me. I then searched out the tool drawer in the kitchen.  I found the fuses.  I took a handful.

Into the dark hallway to the fuse box in the closet.  I opened the door and tried to determine the right one to replace.  I took the first one out and replaced it.  Still no lights. I set that aside and did another, no luck.  I did it five times. No luck.  I went back to the drawer and found another fuse.  Eureka!  It worked, now back to coffee.  I also unplugged the heater!

My beer is half gone by now.  I open the door where we keep the coffee filters. They're not there.  I open the door next to it, none.  What the heck!  How could he tease me with a full bag of what are the most useless things in the world without a filter. I continue searching.  By now I have opened every door in the kitchen. Not a filter to be found. Now I was reconsidering how well my partner looks after me. You would think that if we were out of filters and he bought beans he would have also picked up filters.

I finish my beer and decide it is helping me think, I open a second.  It was now 11pm, I had been home less than thirty minutes.  I have two dollars, I could go out and buy a coffee, its only two blocks in what is now -15 and a howling wind. I'm not that desperate yet but its going to be difficult call soon.  I finish that second beer and decide I will try using a paper towel as a filter.  The beer is working!

I walk into the kitchen, and for some reason open the door to the cubbard by the stove, I look in and see the elusive filters. The beer did help. I pour water in the coffee maker. I'm feeling better about my partner now. I open the top to put the filter in. Guess what, we have a permanent filter.

I was only gone three weeks. We have had this elixir making machine for three months.  How could I forget?

The coffee was good, I still have two dollars. I feel pretty well done by!

1.01.2012

New year with threat of arrest in USA

I started the new year in my pj's locked out of the house at about 7:30 this morning. I would have just walked the mile to the coffee shop had I been wearing my Superman pj's but I was wearing some cool rocket ship ones. they are super cool but likely would have made me a spectacle. Not that I am opposed or not predisposed to make a spectacle of myself. The difficulty here was my location. I am in Durhan NC. In America you can nowbe held without warrent by the military effective today.

I am kinda sure I would have been okay. It's the possibility that it could happen. Maybe they would have considered me a threat to national security, or worse a sexual criminal. Now don't get me wrong. My rocket ship pj's don't convey anything other than maybe being age inappropriate. They are cool. Some people likely would have said they wished they had them. The reality is that in the USA today, you can be held indeffinately for the silliest reasons.

 Happy New Year everyone.