A Rough Day For Notes

My line of work inhabits a peculiar realm. Far removed from normal, I teeter on the brink of absurd, and wouldn’t have it any other way. Explaining what I do (flawless execution of off-site catered events) falls woefully short of defining my profession. Hospitality scoffs at tidy little job descriptions. Forget regurgitated expectations, any fool could figure that out. Not for the faint of heart – reality demands a sense of humor, thick skin, willingness to change direction mid step while maintaining unflappable calm and finding solutions without losing control of bat shit situations.

I always start my staff training sessions the same way – “nothing you do in life will show you what you’re made of faster than the service industry”. Today, I was reminded of that.

Launching a full blown postmortem serves no purpose. Words couldn’t do justice to the magnitude of a truly rough day. Take my word – over thirty years in the business and I could count days this rough on one hand.

Tough as it was, all I feel is contentment. When faced with insurmountable odds, I had the pleasure of kicking adversity’s ass. Supported by equally fearless staff, this victory belongs to all of us. To any of you still standing – today wasn’t a day to gripe about. No need to retell gory details, or dwell on outrageous snippets – today proved what you’re made of.

Oh Donald

Today Univision, the U.S. based Spanish television network announced it will not air the Miss Universe Pageant. Do tell? Apparently Spanish Americans want nothing to do with Donald Trump. Trump’s very public association with the pageant came to a grinding halt at Univision when Trump blethered this remark on immigrants –

“We have drug dealers coming across, we have rapists, we have killers, we have murderers, I mean it’s common sense. Do you think they’re going to send us their best people, their finest people?”

Univision released this official statement –

Today, the entertainment division of Univision Communications Inc. announced that it is ending the Company’s business relationship with the Miss Universe Organization, which is part-owned by Donald J. Trump, based on his recent, insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants.

At Univision, we see first-hand the work ethic, love for family, strong religious values and the important role Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have had and will continue to have in building the future of our country. We will not be airing the Miss USA pageant on July 12th or working on any other projects tied to the Trump Organization.

Ponder Trump’s statement on Putin –

Putin has no respect for our president whatsoever. He’s got a tremendous popularity in Russia, they love what he’s doing, they love what he represents,” Trump said. “I was over in Moscow two years ago and I will tell you – you can get along with those people and get along with them well. You can make deals with those people. Obama can’t.”

“I would be willing to bet I would have a great relationship with Putin,” he added. “It’s about leadership.”

Did this nincompoop miss the memo regarding Putin’s shameful involvement in economic and political shenanigans?

This Trumpism speaks for itself –

Trump laid out his unique plan to defeat ISIS. “I say that you can defeat ISIS by taking their wealth,” he said. “Take back the oil. Once you go over and take back that oil they have nothing. You bomb the hell out of them and then you encircle it, and then you go in. And you let Mobil go in, and you let our great oil companies go in. Once you take that oil they have nothing left.”


Oh Donald, please stop –



Jagged Little Pill

A few days ago it dawned on me – Alanis Morissette released Jagged Little Pill twenty years ago. “Holy crap, has it been 20 years” gave way to pondering kick ass rocker girls. Alanis wasn’t much of a rocker but oh man, was she pissed off.

Jagged Little Pill  wasn’t about empowerment. Unlike Vancouver’s own Bif Naked making herself perfectly clear in I Love Myself Today – Morissette sang from the bowels of twenty something angst. She managed to encapsulate prickly nuances of imploding relationships into a jagged little pill.

Jagged Little Pill worked because even if you thought the songs were stupid, juvenile lyrics were freaking awesome. No beating around the bush, “were you thinking of me when you f**ked her” – outstanding.





Sixth Mass Extinction

Would it surprise you to learn a sixth mass extinction is underway? How about Earth’s species disappearing 15-100 times faster than the normal rate between previous mass extinctions? Knowing, not since dinosaur’s swan song has Earth witnessed such rapid eradication of species?

Image credit: Stanford University

A study published June 19, 2015 in the Journal Science Advances demands a little pondering. Scientists from Berkeley, Princeton, Stanford, University of Florida, and Universidad Autonoma de Mexico called for immediate action to conserve threatened species, warning the window of opportunity is closing fast.

Gerardo Ceballos of the Universidad Autónoma de México is the study’s lead author. Ceballos said:

If it is allowed to continue, life would take many millions of years to recover, and our species itself would likely disappear early on.

There is general agreement among scientists that extinction rates have reached levels unparalleled since the dinosaurs died out 66 million years ago. However, some have challenged the theory, believing earlier estimates rested on assumptions that overestimated the crisis.

Using fossil records and extinction counts from a range of records, the researchers compared a highly conservative estimate of current extinctions with a background rate estimate twice as high as those widely used in previous analyses.

The researchers wrote:

We emphasize that our calculations very likely underestimate the severity of the extinction crisis, because our aim was to place a realistic lower bound on humanity’s impact on biodiversity.

Study co-author Paul Ehrlich is the Bing Professor of Population Studies in biology and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Ehrlich said:

[The study] shows without any significant doubt that we are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event.




On June 21, NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) captured this image of coronal mass ejection (CME).  NOAA forecasters immediately issued aurora and geomagnetic storm alerts. Predictions of a 90% chance it would “catch up”, joining forces with 2 weaker CME eruptions from June 18 and 19 didn’t disappoint. Yesterday an impressive G4-class magnetic storm ignited auroras deep below the Canadian border.

Not over yet, the second image illustrates  “auroral oval” over tonight’s  northern hemisphere sky. NOAA predicts a 90% chance of widespread aurora activity June 23, diminishing slightly to 70% on June 24.

Meanwhile, sunspot AR2371 produced an impressive M6.5 flare credited with shortwave and low-frequency radio blackouts over North America. Click on the spaceweather link to learn more.


We tend to think of auroras as winter phenomenons, accustomed to images of northern lights skipping across frozen tundra. Don’t be fooled, stars have no seasons.

June 21, 2015 full-halo coronal mass ejection, or CME, from the sun. It's an expanding cloud of electrified gas from the sun. Read more about CMEs. CMEs aimed at Earth are sometimes called halo events by scientists because of the way they look in these images, which are made by NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO


Our Inner Pagan

I don’t care who you are or what beliefs get you through the day, something about the summer solstice commands our inner Pagan. I’m not making this up. Imperceptible tendrils of ancient ceremony take root as solstice approaches.Everywhere I look, the subtle blush of anticipation betray the otherwise oblivious. Nature is a determined master.

Call me crazy, it doesn’t matter.Summer solstice plucks primordial, Go ahead – dance, sing, howl at the moon. Let your inner Pagan breathe. Happy solstice.



New Horizons Teaser

On July 14, 2015 the National Space Society (NSS) probe New Horizons will arrive within 12,500 kilometers of Pluto. Launched 9 years and 5 billion kilometers ago, New Horizons is days away from capturing first ever close-ups of Pluto. This week the NSS released  a “teaser” video to celebrate Horizon’s “close encounter”. Watch and wonder.