Seriously


Trump nation fosters acute disdain for Canadian perspectives. Blinders sewn of propagandist misinformation demand immediate dismissal of even the most respectful engagement, based solely on the fact it’s offered by an insignificant Canadian. Apparently I’m a “Libtard” fool living in a Fascist nation. Whoa. All I said was Canadians don’t take issue with mail-in ballots. Sheesh, settle down.

According to Pew Research Center, a survey of 13 democratic countries including France, Japan, Britain, Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden reported U.S. approval ratings between 57-72% when Trump took office in 2016. Today favorable U.S. approval has fallen to 34%. Global consensus by 84% of respondents cited terrible response to COVID-19 by the United States as reason for failure to impress. More telling was confidence in Trump, a paltry 16% gave him approval. Less than that of Russia’s Putin ( 19% ) or China’s Xi Jinping ( 23% ). Compare that to Obama who left office in 2016 with approval ratings between 68 and 93 percent among surveyed democratic nations.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/trump-has-pummeled-the-us-into-deep-global-unpopularity/2020/09/18/2e7c3782-f90b-11ea-89e3-4b9efa36dc64_story.html

Trump nation doesn’t care about global opinion, as far as they’re concerned external trepidation is born of left wing indoctrination. Thumping patriot chests, they scoff at unsophisticated interlopers daring to challenge their lofty hubris. Good luck Trumpsters, mock this Canadian and the rest of the world with wild abandon. When the dust settles you can clean up the mess, no skin off my Liberal nose.

I leave you with Seriously, a video from the Lincoln Project. Former Republications united to oust Donald Trump –

600 Moons of Jupiter


Jupiter has 79 known moons, second only to 82 identified moons of Saturn. That’s a lot of moons, but what if Jupiter had 600 moons? How cool would that be? University of British Columbia researchers Edward Ashton, Matthew Beaudoin and Brett Gladman studied archival images of Jupiter taken over a 3 hour period on Sept. 8, 2020 at Canada, France, Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Factoring in variation of movement across the field of view, they digitally combined images from 126 different viewpoints. Voila – 52 possibly unknown Jovian moons appeared, Further analysis kicked 7 to the curb (known moons with irregular orbits), leaving 45 eager applicants vying for official Jovian moon status. Curiously, all in retrograde orbit. ( orbiting backward in relation to Jupiter’s orbit ).

So why 600 unidentified moons of Jupiter? Their search was limited to one square degree of view of space surrounding Jupiter. Extrapolation concluded as many as 600 or more unknown moons of Jupiter. Lead researchers will present their findings virtually on Sept. 25, 2020 at the Europlanet Science Congress 2020.

Admittedly these moons are small, 800 meters or so, struggling or barely within reach of IAU (International Astronomical Union ) rules requiring one kilometer in diameter to qualify as moons. Stark contrast to Ganymede – Jupiter’s largest moon, largest moon in our solar system, a moon larger than planets Mercury and Mars.

See the source image

https://www.sott.net/article/441048-New-detections-suggests-Jupiter-could-have-600-moons

Not a day goes by without science learning more about the cosmos, 600 possible moons of Jupiter is remarkable. Hats off to science.

Global Air Quality Index – Vancouver B.C. Worst In the World


A closed Canada/U.S. border is no match for invasive plumes of wildfire smoke blanketing the West Coast. For days, stinging brown haze has beset Vancouver, obliterating sunlight, vying with Seattle and Portland for worst air quality in the world. This morning Vancouverites woke to a staggering reality – official ranking as most hazardous air to breathe in the world. Link to worldwide air quality – https://aqicn.org/here/

See the source image
See the source image

I’m not crying in my maple syrup or diminishing the plight of countless thousand American lives impacted by the inferno. What I am is alarmed by unprecedented voracity of this disaster. Wildfire season is a fact of life, periodic stretches of regional forest fire smoke settle over Vancouver every few years. What I can’t recall is Vancouver ever having the worst air quality in the world. Nor air so hazardous Canada Post suspends mail delivery, If this is the face of climate disruption, we need to take notice.

See the source image

https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/vancouver-worst-air-quality-world-september-14-2020

No Loud Music


A comment from Peter at https://ppazucha.wordpress.com/ dropped my jaw. He lives in Wisconsin, read an article by a local food critic attributing one third of all COVID outbreaks to restaurants. He thought of me, knowing hospitality pays my bills in Vancouver B.C. Peter kindly reached out with heart warming concern. I doubt he knew that 1/3 of outbreaks linked to restaurants would blow my mind.

No wonder the U.S./Canada border remains closed. In all of Canada 9,170 COVID deaths are attributed to 136,141 confirmed infections. British Columbia has 6,162 infections, 211 deaths. Across the border in Washington State 82,645 cases account for 2.080 deaths. ( All figures accurate today )

Offhand I can’t think of a single outbreak linked to Canadian restaurants. Almost all outbreaks in Canada were traced to senior care facilities or food processing plants. Certainly not food service, emphatically not restaurants. If a third of U.S. infections stem from restaurant visits, what does that say about America’s mindset?

In British Columbia bars and restaurants were closed from late March to end of May. Re-opening guidelines were strict – 50% capacity, 6 metres between tables, maximum 6 guests per table, mandatory masks for staff, mandatory contact tracing info collected from all patrons. To create higher capacity, restaurants are allowed to block off street parking, fence in additional outdoor seating. Meticulous regard for legislation, the only thing standing between economic survival and bankruptcy. Trust me, local businesses know what’s at stake. By no stretch of imagination are restaurants in Canada contributing to COVID infection.

All good until daily infection rates started to climb. (From single digits to 100 or so a day) Despite no correlation between restaurants and rising daily infections, restaurants, bars and banquet halls took it on the chin. This week nightclubs and banquet halls were ordered to close effective immediately. Liquor sales must cease at 10 pm, alcohol can only be served with food, all bars and restaurants have to close by 11 pm. In addition, music can’t be louder than “conversation level” – loud music forces people closer to talk, facilitates shouting which spreads respiratory droplets.

See the source image

Silly as it sounds, absurd or ridiculous as it seems, Canadians will abide by the rules. In my mind that explains the staggering anomaly between U.S./Canada pandemic statistics.

Finding Polaris – Embrace the North Star


Ah Polaris, commonly known as the North Star – humanities guide since the dawn of time. Located directly above the north celestial pole, northern hemisphere skies rotate around this near constant pole star. Knowing where to find Polaris means you’ll always know which direction to travel. Face Polaris, stretch your arms out sideways – the right hand points due east, the left due west. About face and you’re pointed south.

Very many bright concentric circles in sky around a bright irregular dot, trees in foreground.

Ken Christison captured these glorious star trails around Polaris, the North Star. He wrote, “For the most common and often the most spectacular star trails, you want to locate Polaris and compose the image so it is centered horizontally and hopefully you can have a bit of foreground for reference.”

To find Polaris locate the Big Dipper, focus on Dubhe and Merak, two stars forming the outermost edge of Big Dipper’s bowl. In your mind’s eye draw a straight line to the tip of Little Dipper’s handle – voila, that’s Polaris the North Star.

Think of northern hemisphere skies as a clock with Polaris at the centre, the line from Dubhe and Merak to Polaris as the hour hand. The Big Dipper rotates once around Polaris every 23 hours, 56 minutes. A few minutes short of a day, equivalent to 361 degrees in 24 hours. As such the North Star moves ever so slightly with each passing day. What never falters is the hour hand from the outermost bowl of Big Dipper to Polaris. Find the Big Dipper, you’ll locate the North Star. Do that and you’ll never be lost in the woods.

Diagram: White sky with four black Big Dippers in a circle around Polaris.

If you’re in the northern U.S., Canada or at a similar latitude, the Big Dipper is circumpolar for you, always above the horizon. Image via burro.astr.cwru.edu.

Glory Holes


Oh Canada. I thought a closed U.S./Canada border and polite socially distanced mask respect for fellow citizens accounted for low COVID infection rates in Canada. Say what you will about Canada, but above all – we don’t shy away from open discussion of safe sex practices during pandemic times. Such is our nature, no stone left unturned. Seems we’re acutely aware of safe sex practices.

Ponder content of a recent brochure issued by the CDC in British Columbia. Fear not Canada, lest there be any doubt, government doesn’t shy away from straight answers. It recognizes our sexual nature with gloriously detailed recommendations.

In a perfect world government would have persons inclined to engage in sexual activity with another outside their immediate bubble – take matters in their own hands. It suggests masturbating in the same room as your partner, or engaging in virtual sex. Barring that, wear a mask, avoid kissing, choose a position conducive to least amount of face to face contact. Ever a wealth of practical solutions, government boldly advocated for physical barriers, specifically “glory holes”.

http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/prevention-risks/covid-19-and-sex

A “glory hole” is a hole made in a wall or other type of partition where a man can insert his penis and receive sexual stimulation. They are usually used so the sex partners can’t see each other and are anonymous.

A hand gives a thumb's up out of a hole in the

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/glory-holes-coronavirus-sex-covid-19_ca_5f18bed5c5b6f2f6c9f10049

This satirical sign appeared on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive. –

This Canadian appreciates the effort, recognizes creative impetus pegging the heartbeat of my home and native land. Lighten up people! It’s a public service announcement, not a manifesto promoting glory hole annihilation of western civilization.

Conservative American heads imploded when glory hole advice made headlines. One right wing site I refuse to dignify with a link said – “Soon enough the Canadian government will be putting out manuals on how to do anal sex. Soon enough the Canadian government will be putting out manuals on how to fist-fuck your own asshole while gay niggers rape a goat in front of you. Soon enough the Canadian government will legalize child rape so that Justin Trudeau and his tranny wife can abuse their own children. This is what Canada has become: an absolute cesspit of evil and cultural decay. The Canadian government is swimming with perverts, pedophiles and zoophiles.”

Hey America, don’t be mad. At least Canada isn’t afraid to speak frankly. Nor do we pretend sexual encounters are exclusive to same sex partners. I’ll take realistic practicality over preposterous family values ignorance any day.

Worst Year of Your Life? Really?


A recent poll conducted by Leger Marketing in partnership with the Association for Canadian Studies asked – “Up until now, is 2020 the worst year you have ever lived?” 50% of Canadians, 58% of Americans answered yes, 2020 is the worst year of my life. Canadians and Americans, 41 and 46 percent respectively cited death of a loved one as reason. (Not specific to COVID-19), followed by stress, anxiety and future uncertainty at 41% for both countries.

Sure, it’s been tough. Took some time to adjust, adapt and digest, but worst year of my life? Not even close.

Pessimism flourished along geographic and demographic lines. 62% of respondents living in southern U.S. states declared 2020 worst year of their life. In Canada 56% of those aged 18-54 declared 2020 the worst, compared to 47% over 55.

https://nationalpost.com/news/half-of-canadians-say-2020-has-been-the-worst-year-of-their-lives-with-younger-people-more-pessimistic-poll

In my mind, 2020 as worst year of life represents collective misappropriation of frustration. Worst year of life internalizes external circumstance, it creates dismay rather than sparking unity. Worst year of life is a personal declaration, it’s lonely and depressing. Granted, I speak from a Canadian perspective. ( 121,00 cases, 9,004 deaths compared to 5.15 million cases, 164,000 deaths in America ). That said, cause and effect can be debilitating, or it can facilitate a fundamental shift in perspective – reevaluation of priorities leading to social awareness, empathy, government foibles and personal responsibility. Is that so bad?

COVID-19 is a cautionary tale, how humanity responds defines our future. Unexpected, devastating, inconvenient, sobering, contentious, political, alarming, needlessly fatal – yes. Worst year of our lives? Only if its lesson eludes you.

Okanagan Road Trip


Taking a road trip in pandemic times wasn’t an easy decision. Ultimately we left Vancouver with acute awareness of COVID-19 – face masks, hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, lengthy discussion with family in Penticton regarding outdoor social distancing. We booked 4 nights in Penticton, fully prepared to turn tail if safe road trip red flags called for retreat.

Provincial regulations stipulate late check in, early check-out, no in room housekeeping during your stay. No big deal, I can make the bed, use a towel more than once, allow housekeeping extra time to deep clean between guests. Beyond our hotel, restaurants, wineries and businesses were the only ones following provincial health regulations. We chose out of the way restaurants without line-ups, every last one asked for contact information in compliance with B.C. health guidelines. Activity on local streets was a different story.

Penticton is a resort town nestled between Skaha and Okanagan Lake in B.C’s southern interior. My birthplace, home to my father and brother. Despite moving to Vancouver 43 years ago, I still consider it home. Tourists flock to the Okanagan in summer, soaking up sun, water, wine and outdoor sports. It’s said the population of 35 or so thousand doubles in summer. Local businesses rely on tourism to survive. I get it, understand why every motel/hotel is sold out, oblivious partiers pack beaches, campsites and bars.

Festival, an old post describing Penticton summer – https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/festival/

Pandemic road trips require fresh perspective, specifically reminding ones self that road trips are the purest form of travel. Reason why pandemic road trips demand more drive time, less local interaction. Such was our weekend getaway – long way up and back, daily exploration of secondary highways ringing the Okanagan Valley and idle meandering on sleepy roads.

Random images along the way –

2020-07-23 16.26.19

Highway 1 near Lytton B.C.

2020-07-23 16.30.35

Graveyard adjacent church on Hwy. 1 near Lytton B.C.

2020-07-25 17.09.24

Black Sage Road near Oliver B.C.

2020-07-24 17.11.29

View of Penticton from lookout on Munson Mtn.

2020-07-27 15.09.10

Gerry Fruit and Veg in Keremeos B.C.

Maid of the Mist….


Tourist mecca Niagara Falls straddles the 49th parallel, Canadian province Ontario on one side, New York State on the other. No visit to Niagara Falls is complete without an excursion on Maid of the Mist, a sight seeing journey guaranteed to soak blue plastic raincoats regardless of which side of the border you shell out for the privilege.

Today, pandemic times courtesy Maid of the Mist serve as a stark reminder as to why COVID rages out of control in America while Canada flattens the curve. Ponder this image – see all the blue raincoats on upper deck of U.S. Maid of the Mist? Cast your gaze down to the Canadian boat, see any blue coats? I rest my case.

niagara-falls-covid-hornblower-maid-of-the-mist.JPG (620×349)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/maid-of-the-mist-niagara-falls-hornblower-covid-1.5658620?cmp=rss

Walmart Canada Fashion For Little Girls


A Surrey, B.C. father wanted a summer dress for his five year old daughter. He landed on Walmart Canada website, searched “summer clothes for kids” and found this –

Unfortunate mix-up? Nope! Well maybe, but still absurd. Headline reads “Summer Style Children Dress Off Shoulder Dress Striped Dresses for Little Girls”. “Features” read – “has a design that is very sexy for little girls. Great for party, beach, festival etc. Suitable for girls aged 3 – 8. Stylish and unique design will make your kids more attractive.” WTF?

Surrey dad shocked after ‘sexy’ fishnet one-piece listed under kids’ section on Walmart website

Walmart declined to comment, but has since removed the item from their site.