It isn’t Halloween until you howl to this Warren Zevon classic…..
It isn’t Halloween until you howl to this Warren Zevon classic…..
Last Sunday afforded an opportunity for adventure day three – a drive to Stave Lake following a series of Pacific storms. We got as far as the Ruskin Dam on Stave River, a power station responsible for Hayward Lake. Hundreds of local fishermen, families and the curious lined any soggy bank able to support them. Every few minutes, silence interrupted as another behemoth Salmon is pulled from the lake. Shores littered with fish heads and entrails, only noticed by those of us arriving without purpose. Without question, a most satisfying adventure.
I have a thing for abandoned places – sprinkled in unfathomable corners of the world, tattered testaments to hope and tenacity. Exquisite reminders of the human condition, posters for what defines mankind. Places cementing the essence of optimism, enterprise and good old fashioned delusion.
Places like Fordlandia (Henry Ford purchasing 25,000 acres of the Amazon jungle in Brazil, 1929. Attempting to create a model American town, populated with a workforce Ford imagined could fulfill his ambition to corner the rubber market – see link below)
Kolmanskop in southern Namibia, another decaying remnant of abandoned dreams. In 1908, a German railway worker found a diamond a few kilometers from the port of Luderitz in Namibia. He showed his supervisor – a decision leading to the German government declaring the area “sperrgebiet” or “prohibited area”. (At the time Namibia was part of the German colony of south west Africa). Miners moved in, building Kolmanskop in the image of German towns. Hospitals, theaters, bowling alleys, power station, ice factory, the first tram in Africa, and a rail link to Luderitz. The first world war wreaked havoc on German interests in Africa. Ultimately the diamonds ran out – the town was abandoned in 1954.
A musical interlude by Playing For Change – ponder war – no more trouble.
Following the attack on Canada’s parliament, CBC news the National, opened with a clip from Fox News. Why? It was an astoundingly biased, misinformed, hysterical, irresponsible example of right wing propaganda. Newsworthy from a Canadian perspective for illustrating all that’s wrong with so called “news”. Fox took the position America was about to be invaded by ISIS (reporting Ottawa was barely an hour drive from the border). Fox went on to say the border with Canada was the longest unprotected border in the world, and that militants were poised to invade America.
The CRTC (Canadian Radio and Telecommunication Commission) prohibits broadcasting “false or misleading” news – regulations that only apply to Canadian broadcasters. America on the other hand saw fit to abolish the 1949 “Fairness Doctrine” in 1987. (a federal regulation requiring broadcasters to present both sides of controversial issues in a manner that was honest, equitable and balanced) Apparently fairness violates freedom of speech. Right wing America consistently squashing attempts by Democrat politicians to reinstate fair reporting – the reason fundamentalist Americans gobble up Fox “news” as definitive “truth”.
Freedom of speech is a privilege, freedom to present anything you damn well please as news is appalling. Fox News is responsible for more hate, suspicion, misplaced rage, unfounded bias and plain old stupidity than any other propaganda factory in modern history. I’m so tired of imbecile hot heads spewing Fox gibberish as “truth”. If freedom of speech is more sacred than an obligation to speak the truth – I give up.
Posting this again – I don’t care who you are, what you do or don’t believe, where you plan to spend the afterlife, who you vote for or what you ate for breakfast. All I ask is that you ponder this….
Every last one of us should read these words by Tommy Douglas – then ponder long and hard. While no secret I have a soft spot for this great Canadian, I want to make it clear – my admiration has nothing to do with political affiliation. Decades later, truth resonates and deserves a moment of reflection.
I think of “phobia” in terms of a intense debilitating fear, one that drastically alters behavior. Phobia trumps simple wariness or aversion – it elevates uncertainty and caution to “clinical” levels. Phobia can’t be shrugged off as silly, it demands patience, support, understanding and therapy. Phobia comes from traumatic experience, repetitive negative enforcement and childhood impression.
Coulrophobia is a fear of clowns – a phobia Glenn Kohlberger, president of Clowns of America International takes seriously. Twisty the Clown, from FX series American Horror Story Freak Show , was the last straw. Last week Clowns of America spoke to the Hollywood Reporter about the “demonizing” clowns. They argue “evil clown” portrayals contribute to increased Coulrophobia in children and adults. Over the last few years clown membership has slipped dramatically – Kohlberger fears clowns hover on the brink of extinction.
Clowns are the laps of creepy “Uncles” children are forced to sit on, faceless strangers lurking behind masks – everything we warn our kids about, rolled into a grease paint atrocity. Children are powerless – adults create characters like “Twisty”. Adults brave enough to graphically illustrate what all of us are thinking. Clowns are freakin’ scary.Not some phobia, a universal fear of grease paint smiles and rubber noses.
Clowns of America, I beg you – it’s time to reinvent yourselves. If you value entertainment and loathe evil stereotypes – wipe off the face paint. There’s a phobia named after you. People are as afraid of you as snakes, spiders and spontaneous human combustion.
Link to the Business Insider – a brief history of clowns and why they’re so scary….
A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between Earth and the Sun. The moon has “phases” as it travels in a wobbly orbit around Earth. The “light of the Moon” is really just sunlight reflecting off the lunar surface. Depending where the Moon is in relation to the Sun, this light appears to us as new moon, crescent moon, quarter moon, half moon, full moon and so on – the moon orbits Earth once every 29 1/2 days, hence our lunar cycle.
A “new Moon” can’t actually be seen from Earth because the illuminated side points away from us. A solar eclipse can only happen during the new moon phase, and only when the wobbly moon orbit lines up between Earth and the Sun, as to caste a shadow – this is a solar eclipse. Because the Moon’s orbit is tilted 5 degrees to Earth’s orbit around the Sun, the “shadow” usually misses Earth. A couple of times a year the shadow falls on our planet, depending on the angle of orbit and global location, this translates to varying degrees of eclipse.
On October 23, a partial eclipse will dazzle those inclined to notice – if you reside in the “red zone”, click on the link below the graphic for optimum viewing times and duration.
Hang on for a lesson in solar dynamics – Earth is experiencing a solar sector boundary crossing. Let me explain….
The sun produces wind (currently 410.9 Km/second) that blasts across the cosmos. Just like Earth, our Sun has a magnetic field – known as the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). Whipped into a spiral rotation, wind driven IMF rotates in one direction. It divides into spiral sections pointing to and away from the sun along the ecliptic plane ( a direct line between Earth and the Sun). The edge of this swirling mass has a surface separating polarities of planetary and solar magnetism called the heliosphere current sheet.
Earth’s magnetic field points north at the magnetopause (the point of contact between our magnetosphere and the IMF). If the IMF happens to point south at contact (scientific term, southward Bz) the two fields link causing partial cancellation of Earth’s magnetic field – in other words, opening a temporary door for solar energy to enter our atmosphere. Welcome solar sector boundary crossing – a phenomenon born of high solar wind and coronal mass ejections (CME’s – aka solar flares).
It takes 3 or 4 days for magnetism to sort itself out – in the meantime, and barring the occasional high frequency radio disruption, wonky GPS and cell phones, peppered with sudden power grid failure events – we’re treated to kick ass auroras.
Lately I’ve been asked – “Do Atheists feel guilt?”, “Are Atheists more likely to commit murder?”, “How do Atheists feel about homosexuality?”, “Is there a symbol Atheists could wear to alert people wanting to talk about God?”, ” Would an Atheist “pray” for a dying loved one if they asked them to?”and “Do Atheists love anything other than themselves?”. Yikes.
My first reaction is disbelief – how could anyone be so stupid? Head shaking gave way to a “no shit Sherlock” moment – it wasn’t stupidity per se, rather an inability to fathom parameters unfettered by religious indoctrination.
My light-bulb moment did little to soothe prickled sensibilities – it did however lead to a vow. I promised myself – from this day forward I’ll try to remember, these people simply can’t help themselves.