Exasperation plucks my last nerve. I’m tired of politics, climate debate, religious soap boxes, poverty, racial injustice, gender inequality, gun violence and hate. All we do is wring our hands clucking blah, blah, blah. My news is real, yours is fake, yak, yak, yak. Media bobble heads spoon inane bat shit into gaping mouths of catatonic numskulls hungry for affirmation of their bias. I’m tired of dimwits who parrot partisan absurdity as fact, lunkhead patriots void of independent thought and verbatim regurgitation of misinformed lunacy.

Freedom is tired of her name being taken in vain. I wouldn’t be so tired if  free speech wasn’t masquerading as free to twist whichever reality furthered personal gain, religious agenda or corporate coffer. Wake up!

Pondering North Korea

Pondering North Korea begins with 28 approved hair styles for men and women. Women can choose from 18 government sanctioned styles – married women must wear their hair short, single women are allowed to display long locks. Men choose from 10 styles and are prohibited from hair longer than 5 cm. Senior men are forgiven for hair up to 7 cm in length.

North Korea takes a dim view of crystal meth, but tolerates opium and marijuana. While not technically legal, pot smoking North Koreans have little to fear. Marijuana is cultivated along railroad tracks and readily available in local shops.

In North Korea the year is 106, not 2017. Year one began April 15, 1912 – birthday of their first leader Kim II-Sung.

In North Korea, the year is 105, not 2016.

North Korea’s “Three Generation Rule” is a nasty reality for citizens declared political dissidents. That person is sent to a hard labour prison camp along with their entire family. Parents, siblings, children incarcerated by association – not just for the rest of their lives, but for the lives of two future generations born, living and dying in prison. A practice deemed necessary to cleanse and maintain government ideals.

As of 2016 an estimated 5,899,000 persons, 25% of North Korea’s population formed the world’s largest paramilitary organization. Mandatory conscription for males, selective female conscription require 10 years service with the KPA (Korean Peoples Army). Watching them march is mind blowing –

Due to trade sanctions, 2010 marked the year acute fertilizer shortages saw the proliferation of shops selling human feces for fertilizer.

North Korea farmers face a fertilizer shortage because international shipments have been cut off.

Ponder a glimpse into North Korean propaganda –

What’s So Great About Carl Sagan?

The other day I was asked “what’s so great about Carl Sagan?” Caught off guard, indecipherable splutters formed the sentence “how much time do you have?”, followed immediately by “I’m sorry, that was rude. What do you know about Sagan?” The response, “he had a TV show about space, Cosmic or something like that”, landed with a thud. Answering “yes he narrated a show called Cosmos”, gave me time to think.

Throughout the brief exchange continuous loops of “what’s so great” played in my head. Feeling disinclined to spew snippets of Sagan’s accomplishments forced me to admit I was annoyed. I heard myself say “Google Carl Sagan’s biography if you want to know the magnitude of his influence, listen to him if you need to know why I consider him a great man”


Pokemon Go

Dialed middle son this afternoon, hadn’t talked in a few days and wanted to know if he knew about Pokemon Go. Raucous laughter took a moment to subside, gaining composure he replied ” I’m on the seawall hunting Pokemon”. What was I thinking? Of course you are.

He was six in 1995, the year Nintendo solidified Japanese anime in popular culture. The premise was simple – mythical Pokemon were not created equal, each one has unique abilities, basic powers were varied but common, all powerful Pokemon existed but were extremely rare.  Human “trainers” captured Pokemon pitting one against the other in “battles”. Players started with a basic Pokemon, climbing levels as they acquired Pokemon and won battles.

As lone non-gamer in the household, it wouldn’t be fair to attempt discussion of Pokemon’s popularity. As a parent who fulfilled Nintendo Christmas wishes, drove kids to comic book stores to spend allowance on Pokemon trading cards, bought Pokemon pajamas, bedding, toys and lunch boxes – I “get” masterful simplicity capable of crowning Pokemon the second most lucrative game/media franchise in the world after Super Mario Brothers. As of September 2015, global revenue of 40.5 billion U.S. speaks to global phenomenon.


Last week Nintendo released Pokemon Go in a format dubbed “augmented reality”. Forget hand held controllers tied to television screens, Pokemon Go uses cell phone GPS to transform a player’s location into the matrix. “Go” is a literal term, play takes place in the real world. Ponder “real world” – get off the sofa, go play outside. The game knows where you are and what time it is, dispatching Pokemon accordingly. Locations where battles take place are called “gyms”. I won’t claim to understand intricacies, but had to laugh when reading Westboro Baptist Church, the den of U.S. abortion, homosexual and racial intolerance is ruled by pink Pokemon “Clefairy”. In accordance with game rules, nicked named “love is love” by the current gym leader.

Back to middle son. This afternoon he walked the seawall hunting Pokemon, late last night a twenty minute walk to join players in a local park. Apparently the game tracks distance – walking 10 kilometers allows players to “hatch” rare Pokemon. Calling his behavior uncharacteristic is putting it mildly.

Late this evening youngest son told me something that prompted another call to middle son, asking him “how did you download the game, it hasn’t been released in Canada?” Fervent hullabaloo clouded the fact Pokemon Go was only released in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. His answer left me feeling middle aged. No closer to understanding how to pirate  video games, I knew one thing for certain – Pokemon Go was worth the effort. Augmented is the new reality of gaming, I don’t have to play games to know Pokemon Go single-handily revolutionized the future of entertainment.



Boaty McBoatface

Last month Britain’s Natural Environment Research Council settled on a splendid idea to raise public awareness of science. Launching a website dedicated to naming the UK’s new state of the art arctic research vessel, the public were invited to submit and vote on names. Not having seen the site for myself I can’t speak to contest regulations, nor assume knowledge of approval or moderation. Whatever the guidelines – the call went out, submissions were made, citizens voted in good faith.

Within hours of a wise crack suggestion by former BBC Radio host John Hand, “Boaty McBoatface” took a commanding lead. When contest dust settled, Boaty McBoatface prevailed with four times the votes of second place Poppy-Mai (a baby girl with terminal cancer).

Panties in a wad, aghast Science Minister Jo Johnson gave the over my dead body to Boaty McBoatface. Johnson was firm, saying, “I think we were clear when launching the competition that we were looking for a name that would be in keeping with the mission.”

Yesterday “more suitable” designation went to fourth place Sir David Attenborough, the RRS Sir David Attenborough will set sail in 2019. Hoping to squelch a shit storm of public dissent, geniuses behind the debacle spoon feed voters a trite assurance – one of Sir David’s mini submersibles will bear the name Boaty McBoatface.

The UK screwed this up on so many levels I don’t know where to begin. Ponder those dumb asses brain storming  to raise awareness of science – think, think, think erupts into back slaps and chortles when one of them says “let’s have a contest to name our vessel”. Unanimous accolades seal the deal. Hearts beat faster as submissions roll in – ‘oh my goodness it’s working!”. Good, bad, we don’t care – people are voting. Gulp, what’s this? Boaty McBoatface – WTF?

Here’s the thing Jo Johnson, you asked the public to name a research vessel, you claimed desire to raise awareness of science. At any time you could have rejected names not “in keeping with the mission” or narrowed submissions to a handful of acceptable suggestions. You could have taken submissions and announced a winner without public input. But no – you tossed it to chance, conned people into thinking input mattered, then spat in their faces. Do you have any concept of what you’ve done?

Boaty McBoatface spanked the competition because it made us smile. McBoatface would have become an entity. You’re an idiot! McBoatface might have had millions of social media followers. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – where’s McBoatface, what’s McBoatface doing, ask McBoatface a question.  On what planet would Boaty McBoatface not raise attention? You’re a nincompoop Johnson! Boaty McBoatface could have had story books, television programs, lunch boxes – your precious arctic explorer could have ignited a generation of scientists but for the fact you’re a dumb ass.


"Boaty McBoatface" likely will not be emblazoned on the side of the U.K.'s polar research vessel.