Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The State of Sport

In one word - Sad.
Barry Bonds about to break a home run record while under investigation for cheating with strength enhancing steroids. The hated hero. NFL Football's Michael Vick attending illegal disgusting dogfights. Tour-de-France contender Alexandre Vinokourov having blood transfusions between stages. Hockey coaches running gambling rings. NBA basketball referees betting on games they control. Multi-million dollar professional players arrested constantly for drugs, or weapons, violence and woman abuse. Irreverence for anyone but themselves. Oblivious to the law or common sense rules of behavior. Sounds like Hollywood starlets, doesn't it?
Perhaps we need to differentiate 'sport' from entertainment? TV Wrestling makes no attempt to be sport. We all know it is theatre, nothing else. Maybe we should allow the Mark McGuires of sport to have their own realm, where anything goes. Take all the drugs you like, go as fast as you can, be the strongest in your world. Put those events on the Adult channels for the mentality that'll watch them. Like truck pull events but with freaky-humans. The kind that grisly guys burp and fart at while watching.
But Money runs the leagues. They SHOULD bar anyone from all games forever who does drugs. The money will still flow into the league coffers. Because there's always another player who IS clean. Return sport to being the best you can be without enhancements.
Sports that children can emulate. Like all those black kids who wanted to be Hank Aaron once. And the white kids who wanted to be Ted Williams.
What freaky kid wants to be Barry Bonds?

Bonds hit run No. 756 on Tuesday night, breaking the record Hank Aaron set in 1976 with the Milwaukee Brewers. Let the freak show begin.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

2010 - Northwest Territories

We're seeing this Northwest Territories logo everywhere these days.
Inukshuk it's called, there's a fine example right on English Bay beach, given to us by the Northwest Territories after Expo 86. There are other events using their logo but we cannot mention them anymore.
You see, the organizing committee of that 'event' now is hiring a "branding cop", who's going to police every mention and come down on you for using anything resembling that event's logos, pictures, wording etc.
Everything will be monitored, including TV, radio, home business, billboards, even cyberspace on the internet!
You won't be able to use words like "Games City," "Medals," "Vancouver," "Whistler," or even "Sponsor!"

Maybe we'll just promote our kind northern Canadians then.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

John Ferguson - a small memory

As the accolades and remembrances begin pouring in about former Montreal Canadian winger John Ferguson, most of the memories are about hockey and his illustrious career. However, mine is a small one from a distant past. Way back in the fifties at Vancouver Tech High School.
I didn't even know he played hockey until a few years later. But I was a sort of 'team-mate' in the class called Notorious Nine-E. It was different and the boys were different, East side kids mostly. But even then Fergie stood out, but not as the tough guy he became in hockey, but as the guy most of us liked to be around. He was fun, maybe not quite the class clown, but always ready for a laugh, or to instigate one at the expense of the teachers mostly. It was the most fun of my youth at school.
One time the principal was coming to class to address the students because of our irreverent behavior. The home room teacher's desk was up a step on a platform. Before the principal arrived, John edged the front legs of that desk to the very edge of that step up, within an eighth of an inch. The principal arrived, long faced, glum, and coined the phrase we all became proud of, saying, "So this is notorious nine E," to a tumult of cheers and clapping. He then began a serious reprimand of our pranks and conduct while our young home room teacher stood gravely in the corner. At one point he remarked that so far that year, not one of us had been absent a day. A reply from someone called back, "Hell we're havin' too much fun here!" which elicited another roar of laughter. The principal, trying to look more threatening, leaned forward on the desk, and sternly began talking when his weight made the shift we were all waiting for. He ended up sprawled across the desk and sliding off it head first like a crushed ant while everyone leaped up to shake Fergie's hand.
Our teacher and the principal left the room and we happily shared one more moment of what John Ferguson was all about to us of that era; full of life and fun.
A small memory but a nice one to have.
RIP #22.

Cellphone study ... er revelation

The Maritz Research company, one of the world's largest marketing research firms, recently conducted a study regarding cell phone use in mid-flight and customers' attitude towards it. The results of the study are not important for this post, the reason for the study is: that the technology is becoming available to make cell phone use in mid-flight possible.
Does this mean the 9-11 Truthers are right? That those mysterious calls from United Airlines Flight 93 and American Airlines Flight 77 could NOT have happened? And were faked? Hmmm.

It actually makes this call even more unbelievable -
Caller: “Mom? This is Mark Bingham. I want you to know that I love you. I’m on a flight from Newark to San Francisco and there are three guys who have taken over the plane and they say they have a bomb.”
Alice: “Who are these guys?
Caller: (after a pause) “You believe me, don’t you?"
Caller: “Yes, Mark. I believe you. But who are these guys?"
There were 14 other alleged cell phone calls made from Flight 93.

After years of many pilots, aircraft designers, cell phone and telephone company technicians saying cell calls from aircraft at speed and altitude could not be made on September 11, 2001, we just now are welcoming the technology to make them possible.

Hmm again. Does this mean the 9-11 Truthers are right?

NOTE: Don't confuse cell phones with AIRPHONES or Satellite phones which were installed on some aircraft. However American Airlines Flight 77 was a 757. Airphones were installed on American Airlines 777 and 767 aircraft, NOT on 757s. Reference the case of Barbara Olson on Flight 77 which supposedly crashed into the Pentagon. Note also that NO cell call telephone bills ever appeared for United Flight 93 or American Flight 77 passengers. Indeed, the passenger lists don't even show any mysterious travelers.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Food quality and your health

As it seems more apparent that imported Chinese food doesn't undergo much if any quality testing or safety inspections, it is becoming dangerous to eat whatever you buy at your supermarket.
Some of these problems may be caused by international agreements like the NAFTA treaty. Where we may have strict safety requirements in Canada for what we grow to eat, Mexico may not follow our rules, yet under NAFTA they are free to export their food products to us. So what about South American food exporting countries? Who is inspecting and testing this imported food product? No one. Who knows what toxic fertilizers or chemicals are added to food produced in foreign lands?
In many cases you just KNOW the quality of the imported product is far inferior. We always look for a Dole label on fresh pineapple, having been stung too many times by South American pineapple that simply rots before it ripens! Hawaii has been growing pineapple too long and guards their industry closely. And what about those lovely red strawberries from somewhere that are all white and woody inside? They produce them to LOOK wonderful, unconcerned about quality. This is only a taste issue, but it could become downright sickening. The recent pet food problem is an example.
It's hard enough within the US and Canada to monitor quality. The spinach ecoli problem last year. Salmonella in peanut butter. Botulism in carrot juice. Four children died and hundreds more got sick from eating undercooked hamburgers infected with a dangerous form of ecoli bacteria four years ago. Are we being told the truth about mad cow disease?
If food monitoring is out of control in our own countries, how can we expect safe food produce coming from foreign shores?
In the US less than 1% of imported food is tested or inspected. And people are clamoring for a label stating the country of origin. None of this has happened [yet] in the States because of special interest groups and lobbyists! Always the scourge of the consumer.
And did you know that in Canada, if you import tomatoes, for instance, and simply package them here, they can be labeled as 'Product of Canada'. Whoever got that deception through?
The European Union just announced ambitious plans for an EU-wide food safety program to include a new watchdog agency with more than 80 possible changes to food safety laws. And spurred by deadly outbreaks of E. coli and other food-borne pathogens, a group of U.S. lawmakers is pushing to put all food safety oversight under a single federal agency.

Time we Canadians started taking our food consumption seriously too, maybe using the Chinese method to jerk the chain of the food industry; they simply executed the guy in charge of food exports for not doing his job properly. Dereliction of duty.
Heads need to roll, maybe literally.

Friday, July 13, 2007


The BC Government Environment Ministry is targeting women and children in a campaign for more hunters in BC.
It is unfair to them that only men are going into the forest to kill our bear, deer, mountain sheep, goats and elk etc. We need more women hunters, and kids too! Give 'em guns because our hunting industry is suffering a serious downturn in animals killed. Ba-ad for the economy. Not fair that more BCers can't kill something.
Hmm? Is that the reason or is it the fact that hunting outfitters have always had a strong lobby with right wing governments here to allow more American trophy hunters into BC? Bravado guys who'll pay up to $50,000. to pull the trigger on one of our big grizzly bears.
Maybe the downturn in the hunting business is because more people are becoming aware of the precarious position wildlife is in worldwide? Maybe camera hunting is better? Maybe women and children are disgusted with the government's idea of them becoming brave macho hunters too?
Maybe out of province hunters are content to stay at home now and hunt in those penned-off reserves being set up in many American states?
And they can stay at home, literally - read our previous post of 05/01/5005 titled California bans internet hunting to see how totally ludicrous hunting has become in some states!
Maybe it is time those outfitters in northern BC learned some photography or looked for a new profession. The killing of wild animals for pleasure is a dying pastime but BC Government greed doesn't know that yet.

But wait, bringing along the wife and kids might be a surer way to kill hunting than banning it? Maybe take it one step further and require it. Pass me my beer, cigar and gun, Honey, and bring me my boots, kid, we're all going hunting!
Sure we are.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Stanley Park cleanup - where?

A walk to Stanley Park last week left me dismayed with the state of the so called cleanup efforts.
I mean in areas that are regularly accessed by visitors; around Second Beach and the Pitch and Putt golf course. There are trees and tree branches everywhere. Brown with rot. Trails are still closed near the Greig Rhododendron gardens. In that creek that leads into Lost Lagoon from Second Beach there are willow branches and junk. Some trees have been cut and the debris is left to litter the trailside. The little wooden bridge that crosses the creek has two rails missing and is simply closed. They keep saying they need heavy equipment to get into the park. But what would that take to fix the areas within view of tourists? A couple of hours by some guys wanting a little cash and firewood?
What is the Parks Board spending the money on? Letting their regular employees get the overtime instead of tackling it head on? Isn't there enough labour available on day rates? It seems to me that a couple of guys with chain saws and a pickup truck could clean up a lot of that mess in no time. What's the delay? Should tourists see a big mess like this?
It seems to me that the maintenance of Stanley Park has been deteriorating over several years now. Banks of grass that were once available to sit on to view English Bay are now overgrown with blackberry bushes. they seem to hire only about two gardners for the summer who can't keep up anyway, they need LOTS of simple labour in there. And NOW! It's time they started spending some of that money on recovery instead of administration. Stanley Park is a jewel in our city. Mismanagement is going on there somewhere.
The Parks Board should be ashamed of their efforts so far.

This response from Park Board spokesperson Yuna Flewen :

Scheduled timeline for the park clean-up is well within the mark, and we are also on track financially. A progress report is currently prepared for public distribution. After the storm we have invited experts from forestry, ecology and geotechnical fields and park stakeholders and prepared the official restoration plan, conducted public opinion polling on major issues that affect the operation, identified ecologically sensitive areas, took inventory of species at risk, assessed hazard trees and adjusted the trees that were deemed as dangerous for public safety. We have also conducted initial geotechnical assessment of the Prospect Point slope area and prepared a fire risk assessment and preparedness strategy.
Unfortunately, the open and visible blowdown area near Lost Lagoon has been identified as one of the most ecologically sensitive areas of the park for restoration. We have hired a consultant to work on a site specific restoration prescription, and we will begin debris removal process shortly.

The problem is simply one of somebody taking charge. It doesn't need studies, committees or strategies to remove dead branches. Again, TOO MANY ADMINISTRATORS!
Get on with it.

You may find information on our restoration website helpful in answering your queries.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Fish Farm Salmon - Ugh

Did you NEED another reason NOT to eat fish farm salmon? Now they are suggesting that human urine would be good to add to their feed! You can bet the fish farmers will embrace this idea. Probably hook up with local beer pub outlets!
It's true.
The ISME Journal, a Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology, reports that Bara Bihari Jana and his colleagues at the University of Kalyani, India, mixed ground water with human urine from the university's urinals and added the zooplankton Moina micrura, which is often fed to hatchling fish in commercial fisheries.
They also tried rearing the plankton in various cocktails of cow urine, vermin compost, (dead rats folks) poultry droppings and cow dung, all of which are commonly used in fish farming. All treatments used half a litre of urine, or half a kilo of dung, to every 4,500 litres of water.
Aside from the fact that the fish farms are said to be destroying the the REAL Pacific salmon runs because the young salmon passing near the pens acquire masses of sea lice which kill them, there is the point that they are Atlantic salmon anyway. They ADD colouring to make them red! Respectable restaurants here in BC are specific about advertising wild salmon on their menus. Scientists have advised that adults eat it only occasionally and never give it to children. And it has also been said that even dead fish are scooped from the bottom of the pens and sold!
Most of the product is marketed into America anyway and no one is telling our friends across the border. Too bad.
But now that pissing into their pens is an option, we think BC Fish Farm salmon should go into that same category as that contaminated food from China.

Guess I'll stick to my fish oil capsules.

Previous comment on BC Fish farm salmon here ;