Canadian Hearts Fly At Half Mast


This morning Canada woke to news of a nation without Gord Downie, tonight our hearts fly at half mast.

Tears ran down Justin Trudeau’s face as he said goodbye to “Canada’s friend”. Speaking not as politician, but a man who understood and shared the collective sorrow of a nation.

Others can write biographical paragraphs detailing Tragically Hip front man Gord Downie’s life. Tonight, all I can do is watch and listen to an undeniable presence in Canadian music history. Starting softly with Ahead By A Century, then Bobcaygeon –

Eventually finding my way to Tragically Hip performing Grace, Too at Woodstock 1999. Love it, hate it, get it or don’t – know this clip epitomizes Gord Downie – poet, performer, unabashed storyteller, improvisational wizard, musical savant and embodiment of Canadian grace. Tonight Gord Downie walks among the stars, his constellation will shine for eternity.

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Ponder Human Experimentation Without Consent


Between July 9 and August 1, 1953 U.S. military airplanes flew over Winnipeg, Manitoba, dusting residents with zinc cadmium sulfide. Zinc cadmium sulfide is used as a fluorescent tracer, a way to monitor dispersion of radioactive and chemical weapon fallout. According to research by St. Louis sociology professor Lisa Martino-Taylor in her recently published book “Behind the Fog”, Canada willingly participated in what they believed a test of “chemical fog to protect Winnipeg in the event of a Russian attack”. America neglected to divulge zinc cadmium sulfide lurked in that fog.

In 1964 American military returned, crop dusting oblivious residents of Suffield and Medicine Hat, Alberta. Declassified documents detail U.S. military plans to “advance” experiments to include radioactive phosphorus-32 and nerve agent VX. By combining the two, America hoped to create a radioactive nerve agent. Internal memos discuss transporting 100 pounds of VX to Suffield. Additional memos inventory available hospital beds around Suffield. Fortunately America never got around to testing their project on Canadian citizens.

http://vancouversun.com/news/canada/u-s-secretly-tested-carcinogen-in-western-canada-during-the-cold-war-researcher-discovers/wcm/a0bee70d-5d24-4bd4-b9cf-435f7a1cae03

As experimentation without consent goes – Canada got off easy. It would be rude to complain over a foreign government misting a few hundred thousand Canadians with dubious chemical compounds.It wasn’t as if they spared their citizens, millions of Americans went about their lives blissfully unaware of Operation LAC ( Large Area Coverage ) spritzing them with odorless, colorless particles of zinc cadmium sulfide.To this day America stands by a 1997 National Research Council report declaring-

“After an exhaustive, independent review requested by Congress we have found no evidence that exposure to zinc cadmium sulfide at these levels could cause people to become sick,” said committee chair Rogene Henderson, senior scientist, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Albuquerque, N.M. “Even when we assume the worst about how this chemical might behave in the lungs, we conclude that people would be at a higher risk simply from living in a typical urban, industrialized area for several days or, in some cases, for months.”

C-119(021001-O-9999G-016)

http://military.wikia.com/wiki/Operation_LAC

Violation of medical ethics, international law and military policy has bigger fish to fry than zinc cadmium sulfide.America blisters with contemptible examples of human experimentation without consent. The link below is a mind blowing testament to flagrant disregard for human rights established in the Nuremberg Code of 1947 –

August 20, 1947: Judgment at Nuremberg

Nazi Doctors & Nuremberg Code_Annas & GrodinAugust 20, 1947: Judgment at Nuremberg: 16 out of 23 doctors were found guilty of crimes against humanity. The Nuremberg verdict also set forth the parameters of “Permissible Medical Experiments” known as the Nuremberg Code.

The Nuremberg Code laid the foundation for biomedical ethics mandating that medical experiments conducted on human beings must conform to well-defined humane, ethical standards; foremost is immutable standard:

The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential;
The information sought is “unprocurable by other methods or means of study;
The anticipated results will justify the performance of the experiment;
The experiment is designed “to avoid all unnecessary physical and mental suffering or injury;”
Risks to subjects be minimized to protect against “even remote possibilities of injury, disability or death.

The Nuremberg Code makes clear that ethical standards protecting individual human rights supersede arguments invoking the “greater good of society.”

http://ahrp.org/category/eugenics/scientific-racism/unethical-us-experiments-wwii-through-cold-war/

America fancied itself above the Nuremberg Code. Government didn’t stop at inmates, institutionalized psychiatric patients and developmentally challenged children, any citizen was fair game.

We’ve all heard of Syphilis experimentation, but how many know of Dr. Saul Krugman spoon feeding hepatitis infected feces to mentally disabled children.http://ahrp.org/1955-1970-saul-krugman-md-conducted-despicable-medical-experiments-at-willowbrook/ , refrigeration experimentation on inmates http://ahrp.org/1940s-a-series-of-hypothermia-experiments-at-harvard-and-the-university-of-cincinnati-subjected-mental-patients-prolonged-to-freezing-temperatures/, injecting prisoners with beef blood http://ahrp.org/1942-edward-cohn-md-a-harvard-biochemist-injected-prisoners-with-beef-blood/ , dousing unsuspecting indigenous citizens of Point Hope, Alaska with radioactive material http://ahrp.org/1958-1962-project-chariot/, or horrors at Holmesburg prison http://ahrp.org/1951-1974-dr-albert-kligman-conducted-many-hundreds-of-painful-non-therapeutic-experiments-on-prisoners-at-holmesburg-prison/

Human experimentation without consent is an ugly truth, a callous end justifies the means disregard for basic human rights. Much as we’d like to believe government safeguards citizens, common sense dictates a measure of caution. History proves ethics are subjective.

Jagmeet Singh and Roy Moore – A Tale of Two Nations


MPP Jagmeet Singh at his annual community BBQ in 2014 (cropped).jpg

Take a long hard look at Jagmeet Singh. Who is this man, where was the photo taken, does he frighten you, make you nervous? If seated next to him on a flight, would you ask to change seats, initiate conversation, bury your head in a book? All you have is an image and name –  faith, politics and geography determine whether you see a smile or menacing scowl.

Enough playing around – allow me to introduce Jagmeet Singh, as of October 1, 2017, leader of the federal New Democrat Party. World media qualifies Singh as “Canada’s first non-white politician to lead a national party”, and first “turban wearing Sikh to sit as a legislator in Ontario”. Apparently it never occurred to world media someone should ask  Canadians for perspective. Had anyone bothered, it wouldn’t fall on my shoulders to tell you Canadian tongues aren’t wagging over Singh’s colourful turbans. It makes no difference to us, all we see is a fresh face and youthful enthusiasm.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jagmeet_Singh

https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/kz7xjn/theres-good-reason-to-be-optimistic-about-jagmeet-singh

Singh’s turban isn’t remarkable, Canada’s Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan sports a tidy turban. We’re not shielding our children’s eyes or spewing right wing hatred of secret religious agendas.

Hargit Sajjan

Roy Moore

Time to meet Roy Moore, Alabama Republican gearing up to face Democrat Doug Jones in December election to fill senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions.Moore isn’t one to distinguish between Sikh and Muslim, one look at Singh would send Roy into Biblical orbit. Moore’s record of fundamentalist absurdity reads like an extremist right wing manifesto. Where to begin, do I start with once a Judge Roy suspended twice from the position of Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court – first for refusing to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments outside the Alabama Justice Building, again for instructing probate judges to enforce a state ban on same sex marriages despite a federal ruling that found it unconstitutional. Heck no, that would be regular crazy, Moore”s crazy deserves a shrine of shame. Ponder 9/11 and the Sandy Hook massacre being God’s way of punishing America for lack of religious commitment. He rejects evolution, wants homosexuality to be against the law, opposes homosexuals running for political office, wants to ban Muslims from entering politics, opposes preschool because attendees are “much more likely to learn a liberal social and political philosophy”, doesn’t believe Obama is a U.S. citizen and believes God put Trump in the White House.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Moore

Jagmeet Singh champions all that Roy Moore abhors. Jagmeet Singh wouldn’t be possible in America, Roy Moore couldn’t exist in Canada. Ponder that as a tale of two nations.

 

Season Of Spider Love


In my corner of the world spiders are considered summertime house invaders. With seasonal predictability they arrive on the promise of spring staking claim to the garden. As days lengthen we open windows and doors, inviting spiders into our homes with warm weather indifference. Canadian summers are fleeting, knowing they’ll be gone at first frost excuses occasional household spider drama.

As I write, autumn chill suggests a timely spider farewell – not so fast, this is the season of spider love.

Three species in particular, the Hobo, Barn Tunnel Weaver and “giant house spider” Eratigena Atrica reach sexual maturity in autumn. All three abandon their horizontal sheet or funnel garden webs in search of love. Just when Canadians let their guard fall with autumn leaves, harmless lovelorn spiders appear in bathtubs, basements and bedroom walls.

As spiders go they aren’t behemoth, venomous or likely to bite, all they want is a little love.Take a deep breath, stifle screams, scoop and show them the door.

Pass The Hand Sanitizer


Late August 2017 Lethbridge, Alberta, a perfect morning to watch the Whoop Up Days parade. We settled curbside, seated among families, senior care home residents and a smattering of tourists.Very much a regional celebration, sprinkled with local politicians,dance academies, beauty schools, financial institutions and community services. Local children came prepared for handfuls of candy along the route, loot bag bulges rivaled Halloween.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/15574096@N00/with/36874892205/

Along came a multicultural community group – dark skinned children carrying baskets of wrapped candy, beaming generous delight at outstretched hands. The family seated next to us let their children accept multicultural candy, then it got weird. The rising voice of Mom sent chills through an otherwise perfect morning. She meant business, Mom didn’t have to snarl twice – “get over here right now!” – plucked her children from innocence to realities of hand sanitizer  brandished with alarming urgency. Rabid purpose dispatched healthy dollops into outstretched hands.

Caught in my stare, Mom blithered half hearted platitudes – “the street is dirty, don’t want them to get sick”. Speechless, I turned away. Refusing to look back when snippets of insane jibber-jabber revealed Mom’s overwhelming need to explain hand sanitizer for strangers on the other side.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/15574096@N00/

This Canadian is grateful for hand sanitizer parade morning. As Canadians we possess an infinite capacity to finger Trump’s America, oblivious or politely indifferent to reality of racism in our back yard. I saw beautiful children full of hope and promise, hand sanitizer Mom saw dirty, inferior children who posed a risk to her family. As Canadians, regardless of faith, demographic or political affiliation, we have to stop hand sanitizing Moms. Next time I won’t look away.

Home From A Week On The Road


Last Friday sparked seven restorative days on the road with my husband. Seven days isn’t much time, 1,000 miles out, 1,000 miles back, another 1,000 meandering miles in between. Visiting family in Penticton, B.C. and Lethbridge, Alberta lent direction and purpose, far from burden or obligation we embraced structure, but for predetermined structure we might have driven to Kenora, Ontario.

Road trips are a state of mind, for us unspoken understanding of travel without tidy edges. We don’t care if it takes 6 or 14 hours to get from A to B, the road dictates absolutely no rules (correction – no fast food is a steadfast, unbreakable rule). Hitting the road without urgency is the essence of travel, an expedition of discovery beholden to no one.

For those who know me, a photo of ice cream Notes in Summerland B.C.  Taken on road trip day three, when was the last time I looked this relaxed?

Below – road trip gallery starting with a cell phone shot of my pinhole eclipse view in Greenwood B.C., followed by random unstructured glimpses of road trip majesty extracted from my phone, and husband’s camera –

Powerful and wise, the road delivered a better person home. Notes is back, all it took was a road trip to put things right.

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