Friday, May 29, 2009

Judith Durham and the Seekers

Astonishingly cute with an angelic voice, Judith Durham was destined to be a star. The voice behind the sixty's hits "A World of Our Own", "I'll Never Find Another You", "Georgy Girl" and others, Durham still reaches the vocal octaves demanded by the hits that made her famous.

The Seekers were an Australian super group that formed in 1962 and disbanded in 1968, but reunited in the '90 - 2005 for tours and special performances, including the 2000 Special Olympics. Two of the previously mentioned hits were composed by Tom Springfield, brother of British 60's sensation Dusty Springfield. The Seekers composed songs with catchy riffs, but Judith Durham's voice shines through. The following is a series of of Seekers' live performances. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Moose in Custody

Two calves, and a large brown, chocolate moose, were checking out the neighborhood of an east end street Thursday afternoon. After a casual stroll up East Meadows they stopped for a break in a resident's yard.
A few dozen onlookers took some pictures, and waited an officer to fire a tranquilizer at the mom, the moose mom that is. It was then lifted into the bed of a pickup.

While they did not cause a disturbance, police and wildlife officials were soon on the scene. The mother looked very tired, patient, and curious as to what all the commotion was about.

This young calf was taken into juvenile custody, and will hopefully not re offend again.

Michaelle Jean, Governor General and Lady, Rises Above the Anti-Seal Fundraising Industry

Governor General Michaelle Jean was already impressive as a bright, first person of color, to be the Queen's representative in Canada. Ms Jean's humble roots in Haiti has given her an appreciation of diverse cultures and customs. This week Ms Jean has demonstrated a much needed act of rationality, and civility in an act of cultural connection. It has been fuel for media reporting even though she, like billions in the world, ate meat. It really should not be newsworthy at all. However, people who drive the notion of cruelty for one particular animal, have made it appear controversial, loudly enough to take up news space.

Though it was not meant to be a political statement, the Governor General said that people can take from it what they will.

On her view of harvesting seals:
"I think a person in my position knows exactly what's in the air and I'm aware of the context. I'm aware that now if you eat seal or wear something made of sealskin. . .it says that you recognize this activity."
"But this activity is part of the way of life of thousands of people in our country. In the North, in the Arctic, in the East, also in coastal regions," Jean said.

"It is part of their way of life. It is part of their economy."

"It is well-administrated. It is vital for them."

"It is done in a sustainable way. A very respectful way."

Here are some quotes from Jean in response from people who basically say she is uncivilized:
Jean said people are probably too conditioned by modern life and forget where food comes from.

"When I eat beef, I am totally aware that eating beef is also. . .a once-living thing. Vegetarians make a choice in their life."

"I haven't made this choice. When I eat lamb, I know that I am eating a lamb."

"When I eat veal, I know that I am eating a veal. Those, too, are very cute animals."

She points out that seal is an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients and has sustained the Inuit for centuries. (source)

What a breadth of fresh air! A level-headed person so self-assured, respectful, and above the nonsense that many European leaders pander to. Well done Ms Michaelle Jean. It's an honour for Canadians to have such a graceful lady as Governor General.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

You Can Always Rely on CTV Online to give Unbiassed (ha) Coverage of the Sealing Industry

Oh the power to generate messages and promote ignorance. CTV online has a story about Governor General Michaelle Jean eating seal, and saying that it is was delicious. Earlier today they used "Slaughtered Seal" in their headline, but have since changed it to "Gov. Gen. eats piece of raw seal heart in Nunavut". If the GG had eaten a hamburger would they say she was eating slaughtered cow? Oh well, CTV has helped out the cause of ARA's lots over the years, no surprise for them to keep injecting the word "inhumane" into related stories and surveys at their site. Today's poll is an example: "The Governor General's decision to eat a piece of raw seal heart was: (a) An appropriate gesture, or (b) Inhumane"

Despite the fact that all consumed meats come from animals that were butchered, and did not suicide or die of natural causes, and despite the studied-to-death consensus that the sealing industry is humane, some media still promote ignorance. Nice to see a person of grace like Michaelle Jean set an example like this, albeit it was only after all, eating meat.

A World of So Much

So much hate in the world
So needless
So much misunderstanding
So little patience to understand

So much human potential to learn
So much potential for empathy
So much in common, so much variety
So much pride in culture, and customs

So little tolerance of differences
So much need for understanding each other
So much potential for peace
So much waste of life and sadness

So much greed, so much poverty
So much inequality and imbalance
So much ignorance, so much it harms
So evolved we are, so unevolved as well

So much hope
So much communication needed
So much empathy and good will required
So much happiness can fill the voids of peace

Monday, May 25, 2009

Canada's Unemployment Stabilizes in April '09

Table showing last 5 months (%)

PlaceDec. ' 08Jan. ' 09Feb. ' 09Mar. ' 09Apr. ' 09Rate of change
from March.
Canada6. change
NL13.714.315.114.714.7no change
ON7. change
BC5. change

Table figures were compiled from this source.

Friday, May 22, 2009

New CBC tv Fall Shows that Might Not Last

Celibacy and the City

Extreme Hangover

Old Weather Forecasts

Canada's Worst Librarian

I Shouldn't Have Ate That

Monday Night Infomercial

So You Think You Can Step Dance

So You Think You Can Spit Far/Swear/Vacuum/Dish wash/Scrub/

Land and Sea with host Conrad Black

Things that are Too Boring to Discuss

Stuff that is Impossible to Do

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Old Drug Shows New Promise

This story made international headlines yesterday, and it is worth following. A drug called Ribavirin, which has been on the market for 10 years to treat other disease like hepatitis C, could be used to treat 30% of cancers. A small sample study was conducted last year and the results are promising.

Doctors in Montreal tested the antiviral drug ribavirin on 11 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), who had undergone several other treatments that had previously failed.

Nine of the patients saw their conditions improve within a matter of months, with one achieving complete remission and two achieving partial remission, all with few side effects. The results are published online in the journal, Blood.

This particular cancer news story is exciting doctors because it is already an established drug, and it has few side effects. It may indeed help many more people. It's good to know what options are out there, and to discuss it with your physician. More studies will likely occur as a result of this finding, so let's hope future outcomes are positive to help establish Ribavirin as a cancer fighting drug.

Nurses and Government agree on a Go Forward Basis

Whew, that was close. Well congratulations to union president Debbie Forward and Government reps for a last minute tentative agreement to avert a nursing strike. No one wanted that, no one really wins. At a time when health care in this province has been crippled and doubted, there is an immediate sigh of relief, but also more hope to at the very least stop the outmigration of nurses, but to perhaps have more enticing reasons for nurses to migrate here to fill some of the 1000+ vacancies. It's been a long time coming.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mulroney Cool on the Hot Seat

Seventy year old former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney is very careful. He's very careful with the words he chooses to use when explaining choice bits of information, and careful not to volunteer potentially damaging words that may further taint a public perception of the man.

At the Oliphant Inquiry, commission lawyer Richard Wolson, has been calmly interrogating Mr. Mulroney. Wolson appears to be extremely well prepared, and very knowledgeable of details in the Mulroney-Schrieber controversy, and is asking him questions that the PM would have never spoke about otherwise.

The controversy surrounds cash payments he received in 1993, 1994 and 1995 from German businessman Karlheinz-Schreiber. Schreiber said it was about $300,000, but $225,000 is stated by the apparently late taxpayer Mulroney. It was not until the year 2000 that taxes were finally paid on it. This came out in the inquiry today as well. Taxes were paid on only half of the $225,000. Mulroney explained that he handed the matter to a well known federal tax auditor who worked with authorities in Quebec and the government of Canada, and they determined the tax amounts that were paid.

It was suggested that Mulroney's tax situation in this matter was legal and in the tradition of regular income and tax protocol in Quebec. This is very vague to this blogger as well, just how that worked. But technically, there is no legal wrong doing up to this point.

Questions may remain even after this inquiry about why he accepted cash payments of $75,000 in the three previously referenced years. Schreiber and he had met in hotels, on different occasions, and an envelope with $1000 bills were given to Mulroney, who then kept the cash in a home safe, and a New York safety deposit box.

Brian Mulroney had practised law for years himself, headed up the IOC, and was PM, a bright and capable person. He helped negotiate the 1988 free trade deal with the U.S. Anyone would expect him to be cognizant of how his questionable behavior would affect his anticipated and personally cherished legacy. For a man who attacked another PM, Trudeau a couple of years ago in his book, you would expect him to be very careful when accepting payments for work done. It can also be known as money "under the table". For six years, it seemed that way, until Mulroney found out that Schreiber would make it public that he had tax issues. Then the PM acted, and had some taxes paid.

Why cash? He explained that the money was a retainer for his services. Maybe he was hoping to convince the commission that upon completion of his work with Schreiber, he would then have a final payment number, and then, pay taxes.

The Oliphant Inquiry has been an interesting drama. For the main characters involved, it is a sad culmination to what has to be extreme stress and embarrassment for them and their families. Mulroney admitted to at least making the mistake of taking cash.

Lawyer Wolson, armed with truth-seeking missile-like questions, also prodded the PM to elaborate on his meetings with Schreiber in the '90s. Previously he had merely referred to their meetings as "having met for a coffee for two". Hounded by the equally word-careful Wolson, Mulroney explained that he while he told the truth (under-emphasized and as simply-put as he told it), he did not previously volunteer the real essence of his meeting with Schreiber. This very fact is a key point in the inquiry - it sparks suspicion and doubts about Mulroney.

The Oliphant Inquiry continues tomorrow with Mulroney being questioned for at least two more hours. It's really too bad on a personal level that their business was done in cash and squirreled hidden away. On a human level, it is sad to see the former Prime Minister as a man in his 70th year, have this high level stress. However, if it's any consolation, he has been mainly cool under this public scrutiny, and his mind is connecting the neurons quite well in forming his answers. Unfortunately for him, the answers, or lack of, is the fire for the curiousity of the commission.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Season 2 of 2009 Gets 2 Thumbs Up

Here on the east coast of the east coast at least we are experiencing spring. Well it is spring you might say, but no, it's rarely really spring. But thank you global warming and perhaps some cyclical weather pattern that is giving us near 20 degree temperatures, early leaf budding, and walkers, runner, bikers and outdoorsy people everywhere. We finally did get rid of those fog devils. To be certain, the "May 24th" weekend is here and it still did not snow, freeze or shroud us in the grey stuff. Wow, dare I say we will have an extended summer from the front end. Ok that's all, now I must go over to the thermostat and not turn it up again.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Friday, May 08, 2009

Dumping Along Local Trail - You'll Need More than a Garbage Bag for this

After reading a story about Signal Hill being used as a dump, I thought it was a good time to share these pictures. There is a trail just off Stavanger Dr., behind stores Winners, Bowrings, and others, and there was a mess, or still is, at one area of the trail. It's uncertain who did the dumping, but as you can see from the pictures it includes shopping carts, a plastic bag of other strong plastics, and at least three sheets of styrofoam. (click pictures to enlarge)

The pictures were taken a week ago.

A Way to Improve Health Wait Times, etc.

Improve our own health habits!

There are many preventative health measures we can take to avoid visits to the hospital, and ease the demand on the health care system. Exercising, be it walking, which is excellent, other cardio, and/or increasing omega3 fatty acid oils (from salmon/seal or other fish oils), or decreasing harmful fat intakes. Even if our rich society promotes the idea that there is less wealth circulating to provide adequate health care, we need to just avoid personal health problems anyway.

So, let's take a typical summer's barbecue. It's a common habit, a typical summer tradition. Well, consider, you are eating more portions of red meat, more artificial bbq sauce, and possibly more fries, or even "skin-on" chicken. It may sound good, but it is speeding up your own death clock. Look, the food, and bbq-related industries will keep advertising their products to be associated with fun, happy and traditional times. It is to their benefit for Certain!! They will be making big bucks whether you live or die. Your clogged arteries is their success. But, you should think about whose interests they are looking after. Think about your own first. Keep away from health-causing fats, and protect yourself first. It's cool when you are the winner in the end.

Life does not have to be the same every day. You can improve the ol' diet, increase your own years to live, while increasing your own bank accounts!

Your own health determines what the good life is for you, not how some food company portends it to be.

It's interesting to note that a few generations ago, while people fished the most nutritious foods, and grew their own veges, they also exercised at the same time, which helped keep harmful fats in check, and reduce heart problems. Today, exercise is much more artificial and unnaturally incorporated into the daily life routine.

Makes you wonder if it has been a forward or a backward evolution increment.
Take charge of your own health, your life and future!!

Thursday, May 07, 2009