I live in a place known for rain, a Canadian city released from the grip of old man winter in exchange for grey days. Occasional snow storms break the monotony, sunny days are few and far between.Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a recognized affliction; a form of depression caused by lack of sunlight.Winter is predictably gloomy, yet short – over in the blink of an eye.
My eye sees beauty in all that grey. Overcast skies are a gift, offered in exchange for stoically splashing through puddles. Ponder that gift of sight, and accept the opportunity to view the ordinary as extraordinary. Discover our world beyond sun splashed postcard expectations, and you’ll discover layers that expand horizons.
On Feb. 15, comet DA14 will come within 21,000 miles of earth. In cosmic terms; close enough to hear it whiz by. While not particularly large, at 150 odd feet, it could do considerable damage. Remember – a beach ball sized meteor could make a crater almost 20 feet deep and over 60 feet wide. There is no chance DA14 will collide with earth, at least not this time around.
Countless close calls populate our fragile existence. On April 13, 2029 Comet Apophis, at well over 500 feet; will come within a projected 19,400 miles of earth. This one is large enough to obliterate a major city In November of this year comet ISON; not close at 2 million miles, yet shining many times brighter than the full moon; will dazzle the naked eye.
I wish more of us pondered the cosmos. Governed by nothing but science; physics is the universal God. The United Nations itself, mandates that celestial bodies are for the benefit of all mankind Unfettered by politics, God, or back room handshakes; the universe is free to operate purely on science. No doubt the concept is lost on fundamentalists; the irony being that it could quite possibly be a space rock that bites us in the ass one day.
As we squabble like grade schoolers on the playground, squander our resources, and throw tantrums over religious righteousness – a big ass space rock strikes me as poetic justice. Not a punishment from God; simply a cosmic spanking, unleashed when orbits eventually collide.
As trivial as this may sound; the one thing Canadians universally snickered about was weak American beer. I’m not referring to craft beer – I’m talking blue collar, mass produced everyday beer. Years before the micro/craft brew market exploded, Canada drank beer that made American suds laughable. All the slick marketing, merchandise, Super Bowl commercials in the world couldn’t hide the fact – it was weak, tasteless, and inferior to Canadian brews.
I admit, my first experience buying beer in America made me feel like a kid in a candy store. The novelty of liquor displayed in grocery stores at a fraction of Canadian prices was blinding. Young and stretching every penny it seemed a dream come true. At home liquor was only sold in government stores; never open on Sunday, closing at 6 PM except for Friday nights when 9 PM gave us a few extra hours to plan the weekend.
As inexpensive as that beer was we just couldn’t drink it.
The other day I was given a case of Canadian 67. I vaguely remembered a television ad for it; four guys drinking and laughing it up – pleased because it only had 67 calories. Taking a closer look when I got home, I realized why. It was a mere 3% alcohol. I cracked one and nearly gagged. This couldn’t possibly be Canadian beer. Worse than any dishwater American beer, it tasted like the inside of an old drain pipe.
I’m begging you Canada. Have some self respect and stop calling this beer – it’s embarrassing. We’ve come a long way; liquor is available until 11 PM – even on Sundays. Beer parlors are now brew pubs offering up to 30 choices on tap. Beer is an integral part of Canadian culture; call this travesty beer and we’ll be the ones snickered at.
the Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes;
astronauts shall be regarded as the envoys of mankind;
States shall be responsible for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities;
States shall be liable for damage caused by their space objects; and
States shall avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies.
Pardon me if I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry. While tipping my hat to an extremely sensible set of rules, especially when considering the Cold War era of the authors – I’m laughing for exactly the same reason, a holy crap moment if ever there was one.
Almost 50 years ago, at arguably the pinnacle of paranoia and calamity; fingers poised on nuclear annihilation – a polite little agreement set terms for the final frontier. A practical approach – sensible, and designed for the benefit of all mankind. Principles too fantastic to ever consider applying right here at home.
Stuffy, mistrustful politicians crafted a masterful piece of science fiction, yet failed to catch the irony. I’m not so naive as to think any of them stuck to the deal, yet blissfully embrace the notion of a clean slate somewhere beyond our closed minds. I enjoy fantasy; the thought of a place existing free of earthly shackles, is as good a premise as any.
Until I hear differently – space is Shangri La. A place where all people are equal, liberated from war, matters of God, and any principles other than those that benefit mankind.
Darkness transforms the ordinary, it allows us to view our surroundings in a different light. Things we pass by every day without a sideways glance, busy hubs, our familiar streets – evacuated by darkness,transformed into works of art. Ponder a city at night; the place to understand its beating heart.