To Bee Or Not To Bee

17 Sep
Our important little cousin again, threatened by the likes of Monsanto and Bayer

Our important little cousin again, threatened by the likes of Monsanto and Bayer

Capitalism AWKI – Incompatible With Human Survival…

15 Sep
A couple of species that just might outlast us...

A couple of species that just might outlast us…

This has been a week of cautious hope for me:

First: Naomi Klein has laboured for 5 years and come out with a new book called This Changes Everything. I have pre-ordered it from our big Canadian book chain as it comes out soon. Klein was just interviewed about this book by Michael Enright on his great Sunday morning program, The Sunday Edition. You can listen to the podcast here. Klein argues in her book that nothing short of a revolution is needed to remove the current impasse between where we need to be (i.e. in a sustainable biosphere) and where our capitalism-dominated model will inevitably keep us until we run out of oxygen. We could have taken a gradual route to sustainability had we taken action in the late eighties when the problem became obvious to anyone with a brain connected to a heart, but now no gradual options are left. Years ago I used the analogy of putting on the brakes before our runaway species careens into Mother Earth’s equivalent of a brick wall. A gentle slowdown vs flying through the windshield.

Bill Clinton’s America held out for a market-driven solution – LULUCF-based carbon sinks – as the basis for the doomed 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Ironically, after insisting on this complicated approach, they never signed the treaty.

I was saddened to hear that The Sunday Edition has been shortened from three hours to two. I had hoped that the best of CBC radio would somehow escape the partisan, anti-CBC financial butchering performed by Harper’s regime. Michael’s interviews are long enough to intelligently explore an issue. As a result, the 2-hour format limits the program to two in-depth conversations.

Second: I just received this really superb, easy-to-watch, four minute YouTube video produced by the Council of Canadians that efficiently (and charmingly) destroys the idea of building a pipeline to carry DILBIT (diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands) across Canada to our East Coast for export. Among other damning bits of info, the lively artboard presentation points out that the “cleanup” of  Enbridge’s 2010 Kalamazoo oil spill is entering its fifth year and has already cost a billion dollars.

So where’s the hope in all that?

Well, I do still believe there is a chance (rapidly diminishing, of course) for humans to avoid being perhaps the first species on the planet to engineer its own extinction. The intelligent presentations about these two, related, huge and urgent issues I witnessed this week have combined to nudge me ever so slightly above my normal bed of depression and despair.

We are not faced by a dilemma – to shit or get off the pot. We are left with this single choice: to get off the pot, and fast.



5 Sep

Small lake, tiny fish, concealed sun, great light:





John Lennons and Otrazhenies – So Needed Now

24 Aug

Averroës - an Islamic/Aristotelian philosopher from 12th C. Spain during its golden age centred in Córdova

Averroës – an Islamic/Aristotelian philosopher from 12th C. Spain during its golden age centred in Córdova

Woke up this morning late to the local 7 AM CBC Toronto news on our clock radio. That’s late for me. Lately I’ve been waking up at 4:30 AM with all sorts of timely crap buzzing around in my head.

The radio is an alarm – this morning it was more than that – it was alarming. There were half a dozen items – five wars and Harper visiting the Arctic to stake out Canada’s claim to part of the high Arctic – and, of course, the rights of the “Canadian People” to drill for oil there. Or, more accurately, the right of that same nebulous, convenient, idea, the “Canadian People”, to let foreign multinationals drill there and scoop up most of the profits.

On our regular 4 km walk before breakfast, I reflected on how harmful and obsolete the ideas of nation, state, race, creed, etc. have become. I had just read Otrazhenie’s heart-rending poem/post, War Is Evil, War is the Devil…. The raw emotion and deep insight in this piece touched me vividly. Otrazhenie is a person whose grandmother was Ukrainian and grandfather was Russian, as revealed in her post A Prayer for Ukraine. Her youthful summers visiting relatives in a coal-mining town in the Ukraine in the 1980’s are related in this delightful, candid and carefully crafted post, Private Mousen.

In these days of intermarriage there are a growing number of people like Otrazhenie who see the big picture. That is one of the few hopeful things on this planet.

We need to see all humans as one. More than that – we need to see all life as One. Creeds and borders must become things of the past, as must the hatreds that spring both from genuine persecution and manipulative, profit-centred propaganda.

All this made me remember John Lennon’s song, Imagine, and feel it more deeply than ever. It is truly a recipe for what ails the human spirit.

Jerez, Sanlúcar and Zahara – April, 2011

18 Aug

Morning ride at the mouth of the Wadi Kabir

Morning ride at the mouth of the Wadi Kabir

Early one morning we left Córdova, the richly complex and cultured capital of Moorish Spain from the seventh to the eleventh centuries (see my post on Córdova). We drove our little Eurocar rental about 2.5 hours to Jerez in the southern province of Cádiz, visited Jerez then went on to Sanlúcar de Barrameda in one, hectic day in April, 2011.

Sanlúcar de Barrameda is a city on the Atlantic at the mouth of the Wadi Kabir, as the Moors called it – the Great River – which the Spanish spell Guadalquivir. It is one corner of the “sherry triangle” and here a pale, dry sherry with a faint salty taste is made. It is called Manzanilla wine.

But first, Jerez:

We arrived in Jerez from Córdoba just in time for the 10:30 AM Sandeman Bodega tour. We were told about Sanlúcar’s unique drink by Velia, a semi-retired Melbourne, Australia teacher whom we met with her husband Ron while tasting several of the famous Sandeman sherries. She and her husband travel (backpack only) from Feb ’til July every year. We then attended, with our Aussies-well-met,  the incredible Royal Andalusian School of Horsemanship show in Jerez.

The world-renowned Horse Show put on by La Real Escuela Andaluza Del Arte Equestre featured Andalusian horses doing what seemed like dozens of dance steps in time with Spanish music. The costumes, braided manes and tails and ornate halters and saddlery were varied and beautiful. this is not the best show of horsemanship in the world it certainly must be as good as it gets: absolutely stunning – visually, musically and emotionally. Continue reading

MH17 – A Continuing Study Of Mass Media Self-Censorship

13 Aug

Fuselage of MH17 cockpit area appears to be riddled by many ~30 mm bullet holes. Credit:

I have decided to adapt my post of August 13 into an ongoing, updated “research project.”

Below, organized with the most recent stuff on top, are the results of the research I have done since deciding to act on what seemed obvious to me early on as an orchestrated Blame Russia Chorus by our dangerously provocative Western Media. All I’m saying, folks, is that the behaviour of the media surely point to the possibility of a deliberate attempt to blame Putin’s Russia, regardless of whether it is fact or fiction.

It is not my purpose here to present both sides, but to highlight the fact that one side is being systematically ignored (Russian evidence and the bullet-hole observations of Michael Bociurkiw, the Ukrainian-Canadian monitor with OSCE who was one of the very first to arrive at the crash site). I present here the ignored opinions of thoughtful observers. You and I can find as much as we want of the mainstream side. I acknowledge that I cannot know with certainty what agency is responsible for this horrible tragedy that happened on July 17, 2014. Sometimes the ugliest truths are kept secret for decades.

Here are my findings:

September 19 – One more subtle sign of suspicion from reading between the lines of the Dutch report: “The evidence that MH17 was shot down by a missile as the West insisted is missing because it never existed in the first place.” The opinion of this article in New Eastern Outlook by Tony Cartalucci.

September 17 – After a quiet week on the propaganda front, this is interesting: A client of a German fraud-investigation company, WIFKA, offers $30 million reward for any whistle-blower who can identify what agency killed MH17 and provide evidence.

September 15 – Retired Lufthansa pilot Peter Haisenko shares my disdain for, and suspicion about, the super-carefully worded preliminary Dutch report in this sarcastic piece. See also my reference to Mr. Haisenko’s earlier piece here opposite the date, August 5 and my post, MH17 – A Curious Lack of Curiosity.

September 10 – The preliminary Dutch report, on page 24, carefully reports – under photos of the cockpit fuselage – the following:

Noting that the investigation team has not yet had the opportunity to recover these components for forensic examination, photographs from the wreckage indicated that the material around the holes was deformed in a manner consistent with being punctured by high-energy objects. The characteristics of the material deformation around the puncture holes appear to indicate that the objects originated from outside the fuselage.

The report does not attribute these holes to a missile or to a fighter plane’s machine guns, yet mainstream media have again jumped to assert that this timidly worded piece designed (by whom?…) to find “cause”, not blame, “confirms” that a surface to air missile of the Russian BUK type was used.

All of this may, just perhaps, make the Dutch process simply part of a farce designed to keep us hating in the dark long enough for NATO sanctions to mangle the Russian Bear and, collaterally, some hapless European farmers and workers. In 2003 phony WMD reports “justified” the US invasion of Iraq. Lies are commonly used to advance a nation’s interests. Blaming Russia for MH17 may be just one more critical lie. It still seems to me that the facts somehow do not line up with the NATO hawks’ wishful thinking. The Dutch are in a very sad, Sisyphean situation if this year-long investigation turns out to be designed deliberately to hide the facts. One is reminded of the rape victim whose trauma is compounded by being forced to undergo the ignominy of a lengthy cross-examination in court.

Again ignored by Western media is Michael Bociurkiw’s statement in a CBC video (after observing the site while it was still smoking) that he observed what looked like bullet holes in the fuselage and had seen no evidence of a missile attack (see my paragraph dated August 5th below). The Dutch investigators’ use of the general word, projectiles and avoidance of the word, missile may be a subtle sign that they are aware of and respect Bociurkiw’s candid (and first-hand) observations.

Our media are again, predictably following the US-EU script. “Same old shameful same old” from the Guardian, Time, The Telegraph, the WSJ, etc.

September 4 – First Dutch report due on Tuesday and no press conference following

September 2 – I went away for eight days and look what didn’t happen…

September 2 – A preliminary Dutch report will be published “within a week.” With lots of questions still unanswered.Hmmmm…

September 1 –  The Telegraph, at least, is talking to Russia and printing the interview. No new news. The usual party line, plus Russia asking, once more, for evidence held by the Ukraine to be revealed. I wish us all good luck on that one.

August 31 –  Highlighting the extremely sudden change in Western media coverage I alluded to in my August 5 post

August 21 – A thoughtful Guardian article that points out how foolishly dangerous the anti-Putin rhetoric is. Backing a bear into a corner, indeed.

August 19 – Russia’s English language media source,, reports that, at a UN Security Council meeting called by Russia, their UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin was concerned about why information possessed by the Ukraine government was being withheld and UN’s air watchdog, the ICAO, seems to have been excluded from the investigation.

A quote from Churkin:

“How are the Ukrainians playing their part in the international investigation? What comes to mind: they must provide the records of communications of their air traffic controllers so that we could understand why they directed the Malaysian plane into the conflict zone.”

Here’s the link to thus far, the only media report of this UN meeting that I can find when I google MH17 news.

And, later, in second place… the Daily Mail reports it. Good for you, Daily Mail. Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?


August 14 – American Pravda: Who Shot Down Flight MH17 in Ukraine? by Ron Unz, an intelligent Republican. Mr. Unz boasts an IQ over 200. (That makes him very unusual – unique, perhaps in U.S. politics ;)

Continue reading

A Garden Speaks

13 Aug

A solitary sweet pea grows in our garden

A solitary sweet pea grows in our garden

A messy garden doesn’t reveal much about the occupant – basically like you have other priorities in life, leaving your neighbours to guess – or inquire – what they might be. You remain a private and, to the house-proud, a frustrating enigma.

A well-gardened property says a lot about who you are and what you value. It says that you have an eye for beauty if it’s mostly flowers and shrubs. Plantings of tomatoes, beans or onions on their own or among the flowers says you like fresh, home-grown fruit and/or vegetables. Our garden is mostly beauty with some edible stuff mixed in. We have several gardens, a small shed and a two-story house on our ~ 50′ by 145′ lot. We bought this place in 1985. It was one year old then, so we get the credit or the blame for how it looks now.

In the mid-1970’s I planted some corn outside our ground floor apartment in Etobicoke. It was cool to wake up and see the corn stalks waving in the morning breeze through our bedroom window. The message to our neighbours was probably that we were a little nuts. I was raised in the city, so there was no nostalgia involved. I didn’t say that a garden reveals everything about you.

Continue reading


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