Adventure Day Two

Waking to a perfect fall Sunday, adventure day two was launched – destination Squamish.

First stop – the “estuary”, a narrow spit running a Kilometer or so into Howe Sound. A little tricky to find – following signs marked “windsurfing” led us along washboard gravel roads until forest gave way to a narrow piece of land.

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From the estuary it was back to Squamish. Following the main road through town, pavement turned to gravel – a brief bumpy ride past massive stacks of logged ceder, to a lot designated “beach parking”.

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Archbishop’s secret child porn archive discovered

A holy crap Sunday morning ponder…..

Dear Kitty. Some blog

Archbishop WesolowskiFrom the Corriere della Sera in Italy:

Child Porn Found [on] Former Nuncio’s Computer

Józef Wesołowski knew how to use technology to make illicit internet connections. Grave violation of duties

by Fiorenza Sarzanini

ROME – Monsignor Józef Wesołowski kept a secret archive on a computer at the Santo Domingo nunciature. The 66-year-old Polish former archbishop, arrested three days ago for paedophilia by Vatican gendarmes at the order of Pope Francis, had more than 100,000 files containing pornographic photos and videos. Some were downloaded from internet and others the victims themselves were forced to take. The prelate stored part of this chamber of horrors on his own laptop. Images show youngsters aged between 13 and 17 being humiliated for the camera, filmed naked and forced to have sexual relations with each other or with adults. Inquiries to discover others involved continue as investigators seek anyone who may have aided…

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The Light of Street Photography

In my mind, outstanding street photography captures the ordinary. Extraordinary happens when that capture transforms ordinary into art. Light, shadow, movement, frailty, exuberance, calamity – infinite nuance revealed in a single frame. Photographic expressions of a world most look, yet rarely see.

I’m not artistic -perspective, shading and dimension cripple my crayon. Writing descriptive paragraphs faster than juvenile stick figures is my expression. Unable to shade simple drawings renders my photographic attempts expressionless, flat and unremarkable. I don’t understand light. Correct me if wrong – either you “get” light or you don’t. The art of street photography starts with light – a medium transforming ordinary.

My husband “gets” light – artists are born that way. He follows light – transforming unremarkable streets into photographic canvas. I don’t have to understand intricacies – art doesn’t work that way. His light evokes stark reality, captures secrets, exposes truth and bathes ordinary in extraordinary.

All images,




Blue Dot Movement

Champion of environmental issues, bastion of CBC television’s The Nature of Things, tireless educator and easily one of the most recognizable faces in Canada –  David Suzuki launched his Blue Dot Tour in St. John’s Newfoundland. The Blue Dot Movement reflects 78 year old Suzuki’s unwavering conviction – change is possible. In this case, “change” means Canadian Charter of Rights amendments giving the “environment” constitutional rights. In what may be his last hurrah, Suzuki will make 20 stops across Canada between now and November 9. More than a lecture – Blue Dot stops feature Suzuki supported by the likes of Neil Young, Margaret Atwood, Feist, Bruce Cockburn and Robert Bateman.  A who’s who of Canadian activists – a movement aimed at gaining grassroots support. Over 100 nations recognize constitutional rights of citizens to clean air and water. Canada does not.

Canadian government “spokesman” Shane Buckingham (from Minister of the Environment Leona Aglukkaq’s office), preferred a “party line” emailed response when asked for comment by a Globe and Mail reporter. The best the government came up with was assurance protection under the National Conservation Plan would be extended, along with “efforts” to cut emissions and “stringent” air quality standards. Excuse me?

A great link to countries with constitutional rights of citizens to clean air and water….

Click to access constitutional_provisions_related_to_environment_conservation___final.pdf

David Suzuki has taken some bad press – press bent on smearing his name, and side tracking his message. Right wing tongue wagging over his speaking fees run rampant across Conservative prairie provinces. Drawing parallels to America’s billion dollar, anti climate propaganda machine, is a sobering Canadian reality. Depressing as that is, don’t allow your “Canadian” to be extinguished. We’re better than that.

David Suzuki with Neil Young
Kick ass David Suzuki. Stir the pot, raise awareness, stand your ground, stand for change, stay the course and keep on being the voice of Canadian reason. Stephen Harper’s shocking government is intolerable to this Canadian. Change is possible – all it takes is for enough of us to believe.


India Orbits Mars

As a child of the 60s I grew up with Apollo missions and moon landings. The “space race”, a extension of Cold War posturing between twitchy Russian and American super powers. Captain James T. Kirk tempting imagination with “space, the final frontier”, science fiction, Eric Von Danekin’s Chariots of the Gods, and explosive technology. Despite jaw wagging possibilities – the heart of the matter fell squarely on two players – the U.S. and Russia.

In awe of the cosmos, obsessed with space weather, fascinated by ancient astronomers, oblivious to snickers and rolling eyes when opportunities allow me to enthuse over solar activity, planetary alignments, space missions and cosmic discoveries – it would be fair to say I know a thing or two about the universe. The era of U.S./Russian domination passed years ago. Thousands of satellites and probes – represented by China, Japan, and Europe, jostle the old guard for a place in space. Considering myself “up” on space exploration, came to a crashing halt with today’s gadzooks moment.

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) settled into a perfect Martian orbit. India has a space program? Yikes, not only did I miss the launch, I missed the entire Indian space program.

India launched Martian probe Mangalyaan on November 5, 2013. Ten months and 400 million miles later – India joined America, Russia and Europe in the Mars club. Not only was the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) first attempt successful, they pulled it off for a paltry $74 million dollars. Compare that to NASA’s Maven Mars mission at $671 million, or the European Space Agency’s Mars Express Orbiter at $386 million, and you have something to ponder.

Equipped with cameras and methane gas sensors, Mangalyaan politely settled into Martian orbit – cementing India’s place in interstellar exploration. Kudos India – you have my full attention.


Rockefeller Green

Ponder the modern world as an “age” in history’s timeline. Let’s call it the “Fossil Fuel ” age – hundreds, thousands of years from now – marked with linear bookends in high school textbooks. Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Ice Age, Fossil Fuel Age – simply another unit of study. Industrialization, steam engines, coal, striking oil, combustion engines, plastics – environmental waste, greenhouse gasses, carbon emissions, fouled water….. Another “age” with a beginning and end.

Historically speaking, each great “age” heralds monumental change – radical departures from “business as usual”. Changing “age” rarely happened without considerable turmoil. Bronze Age copper mines in present day Jordan for instance, obviously not pleased when smelted iron obliterated centuries old bastions of wealth and power. Control was reassigned, fortunes dried up or shifted, fresh opportunities presented themselves – ultimately civilization advanced. Ages of man don’t politely roll over, respectfully making way for new eras to benefit all. The Stone Age and smattering of Ice Ages aside – dawning of a new age, meant radical adjustments in wealth and power.

Like it or not, the Fossil Fuel Age is waning. On the precipice of disaster, mankind is waking to the certainty of change. Despite campaigns of denial and misinformation by corporations terrified to loose their bottom line, seeds of sobering reality are taking root.

Before today I’d never heard of the Divest-Invest Movement. From grass-root campaigns on college campuses to this week’s UN Summit on Climate Change, the movement is not only alive and well, but gaining momentum. In a nutshell – pension plans, corporations, and individual investors are pledging to “divest” themselves of oil, coal, and energy stocks – investing in “green” energy alternatives.

On the eve of the UN summit, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced intentions to divest (sell off) fossil fuel stocks. Rockefeller – a name synonymous with “old money”, “big oil” and the “1%” – publicly ditching oil stock? The Rockefeller organization – with estimated assets of $860 million, pledged to eliminate oil and tar sand investment, placing a minimum 10% funds in alternate energy sources. Rockefeller joins 180 organizations, universities, pension funds and scores of individuals in what has become a $50 billion dollar pledge to “divest” fossil fuels in favor of sustainable energy.

Fifty billion might sound like the GNP of a small nation – don’t kid yourself, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of millions oil companies spend every day on exploration and development. Until now, the list of divestment pledge members read like a ho-hum roll call of  usual suspects – the Sierra Club, World Council of Churches, city of San Fransisco, Stanford University (notably Harvard and the University of California refuse to divest), local foundations few have heard of – Rockefeller on the other hand, raises awareness to the stratosphere.

The age of fossil fuel won’t end in my lifetime. If we’re lucky – my children’s. children’s children will open their history book and study this moment in history – the beginning of the end to another age of man. If we’re unlucky – civilization will huddle beneath artificial domes protecting us from solar radiation and toxic gasses.


Total Eclipse

The early morning hours of October 8 promises North Americans a lunar spectacle. Beginning at 6:25 AM EST, and from 3:25-4:24 AM PST, the stunning sight of a low orbit behemoth full moon will pale in comparison to a full lunar eclipse. Anyone who witnessed the recent Harvest Moon appreciates the optical enormity of fall moons. Imagining an enormous moon transformed into an orb surrounded by red (in some places red and turquoise) light makes me swoon.

A lunar eclipse happens when the moon passes within the shadow of our planet. Sunlight refracted by our atmosphere creates the distinctive red “glow” , the intensity depends solely on current atmospheric conditions. Volcanic eruptions for instance can result in barely a hint of red light. Turquoise results from  light passing through the stratosphere and refracting off the ozone layer. The ozone layer absorbs red light, bouncing it back with bluish hues. According to NASA, conditions are perfect for turquoise – best seen with binoculars in the minutes just before, or just after totality.

This particular eclipse is worth losing a little sleep. Mark October 8 on your calender – get up early, go to bed late – you can nap or pack it in early the next day. I promise you – pondering a cosmic event will restore sanity in ways you never imagined.

Linked directly below – a worldwide eclipse visibility map courtesy NASA.

Click to access OH2014-Fig03.pdf



Shame On You Canada

Pakistan 2007, Jamila Bibi was accused of adultery. Accusations stemmed from a land dispute – land awarded to Bibi – property her husband’s family wanted. Outraged family members accused Bibi of adultery – in Pakistan, morality under Sharia Law trumps all else. Ponder hard line Islamic fundamentalists as extreme right wing Christians on steroids – self proclaimed keepers of the faith oblivious to proof, reason, fact or human rights – the punishment for adultery is “stoning”.

Based solely on the word of disgruntled relatives, authorities in Pakistan arrested Bibi. Released from jail in 2007 pending judgement – Bibi fled to Canada, claiming refugee status. In 2011 a deportation order followed denial of her refugee claim – the order placed in temporary limbo by the United Nations when her Lawyer asked the UN to intervene. The UN said it needed time to review the case.

For the next 22 months, Bibi went to work at a restaurant in Saskatoon, reported dutifully to authorities and waited for a UN ruling. Apparently Canada had little interest in reviews by the UN Committee Against Torture – by the time her Lawyer received a copy of the judgement enforcing immediate deportation, Bibi had been arrested by Canadian authorities – 5 days later Canada put her on a plane to Pakistan with $183 dollars in her pocket.

“Stonings” are legal in 14 Islamic countries. According to a Washington Post article published in May of this year (linked below) – 943 women in 2011, 869 in 2013 – were killed to restore “honor” to their families. Courts rarely bother with the minor details of murder for honor, preferring to look away as families dispatch horrific ends to innocent lives.

Jamila Bibi doesn’t know her date of birth, the assumption being her early 60’s. Her brave decision to flea Pakistan, escape death in the name of “honor” for greedy people capable of getting away with murder, and hopes of politely living out the rest of her days – callously shredded by a Canada  oblivious to human rights.

Shame on you Canada. This Canadian is appalled by your lack of regard for the United Nations, ludicrous justification, and embarrassing demonstration of absurdity. The country I’m proud of wouldn’t hesitate in protecting a terrified sixty something woman from sanctioned torture. What happened to common sense? On what planet did she threaten the fabric of our nation?

I hope you’re proud of yourself Canada. Take a long hard look at the face of the “adulterous prostitute” you sent to meet “justice”.  Pat yourself on the back – your asinine decision solidified this Canadian”s resolve to campaign for a country without Harper at the helm. Any decent Canadian would have done the right thing – shame on you Canada.

Canadian Border Services refused comment on details of individual cases – the court “removal order” stated in part….

“The applicant has not presented evidence before this court that could support a finding that she will face risks if she is removed to Pakistan that have not been already assessed on two occasions (by immigration officials),” Justice Marie-Josee Bedard wrote.

“Therefore, and considering that the applicant’s allegation of irreparable harm is based on risks, she has not met her evidentiary burden.”