Alberta and COVID-19 – Facts Amid the Fears (‘Rona #25)

Mass and Social Media have done a good job of making people highly fearful of COVID-19. However, as we learn more about the virus, statistics and studies support a less fearful scenario.

The media dwells on case counts but it is becoming obvious that confirmed cases are mostly mild and don’t, in fact, represent the number of actual cases. Many cases may have gone undetected because people didn’t have symptoms or didn’t seek testing. (If officials don’t know how many cases there actually are, how can they say what the COVID death or survival rate is?)

Here are the statistics in Alberta that I think are more important and less fearful:

1. The most significant metric of Covid is how many people died. Covid deaths to date are a very small percentage of both the population and of Alberta deaths per year. Covid deaths are less than 2 times greater than the flu season of 2017-2018, which was a high severity flu season.
– Deaths from all causes in Alberta in 2019: 26,972
– Covid-19 deaths to August 9, 2020: 213 (.0036% of Alberta’s Population of 4,428,247)
– Lab Confirmed flu deaths in the 2017-2018 flu season: 92

2. Another important metric is the number of hospitalizations. The 2017-2018 flu season (high severity) had significantly more hospitalizations than Covid. Covid Hospitalizations peaked in late April and have not reached a level anywhere near the capacity of Alberta’s health-care system.
– Covid Hospitalizations: 598 (.0091% of the population)
– Hospitalizations in the 2017-2018 flu season: 3047

3. The vast majority of Covid deaths were Seniors over the age of 80. The Average age at death was 83. Ninety one percent of the deaths were people over 70 years of age.
– Deaths 80+ years and older: 148
– Deaths 70-79 years of age: 46
– Deaths 70+ years and older: 194 ( 91% of the deaths)

4. Ninety percent of the people who died had 2 or more comorbidities. Officials have not said whether there is a distinction between death caused by Covid and death caused by the comorbidity but Covid was present.
– Deaths with 2 or more comorbidities: 179 (90% of the deaths)
Comorbidities include: Diabetes, Hypertension, COPD, Cancer, Dementia, Stroke, Liver cirrhosis, Cardiovascular diseases (including IHD and Congestive heart failure), Chronic kidney disease, and Immuno-deficiency.

5. Data and studies point to new assumptions that differ from those held at the beginning of the  Covid-19 pandemic:

– The perceived risk of transmission from contaminated surfaces is lower than it was earlier in the pandemic when not much was known about the coronavirus. (Linsey Marr, expert in the transmission of viruses, Virginia Tech, studies of the survival of COVID-19 on surfaces)

– The vast majority of transmission seems to be through close contact with an infected individual, primarily in an indoor setting. (Dr. Isaac Bogoch, infectious disease physician, Toronto General Hospital.)

Wearing gloves for extended stretches while touching various objects can lead to cross-contamination the longer you’re wearing them which winds up being less helpful than just washing or sanitizing your bare hands regularly. (Infectious disease specialist Dr. Zain Chagla, associate professor, McMaster University in Hamilton.)

Playgrounds are probably one of the safer places for kids to congregate, if they have to congregate. And the reason why is that sunlight kills off the virus pretty effectively(Linsey Marr, expert in the transmission of viruses, Virginia Tech, studies of the survival of COVID-19 on surfaces)

– Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. (New England Journal of Medicine, Universal Masking in Hospitals)

– The absolute risk of infection from an exposed individual was 12.8% at 1 m and 2.6% at 2 m. (From a Study of observational papers, published in The Lancet, June 1, 2020)

– We therefore strongly support the calls of public health agencies for all people to wear masks when circumstances compel them to be within 6 ft of others for sustained periods. (New England Journal of Medicine, Universal Masking in Hospitals)

– Recent data suggests that the human body reacts no differently to this virus than to other respiratory viruses: it mounts immunity, and once achieved, the virus gets cleared and there is protection from future infection. (Dr. Neil Rau infectious diseases specialist, medical microbiologist, Oakville, Ont.)

– Increased infections, as long as they do not involve the elderly or medically vulnerable, are an unavoidable path to herd immunity. Our “flattening of the curve” has once again proven the axiom: “You can pay me now or pay me later.” Holding out for a vaccine is impractical and likely naive, in light of previous vaccine failures with other coronaviruses. (George Delgado, MD, Covid Planning Tools)

Well of Lost Thoughts 2018 – Michael McIntyre- Man Drawer (Video)

When I find ideas that speak to me, but I’m not ready to blog about them, I save them on my Fueled by Chocolate ‘Well of Lost Thoughts’ Facebook Page. Here are just a few of the ones I have ‘rescued’ from there to share with you.

The Man Drawer

The Car Guy has more than just a Man Drawer – he has a whole Man Cave!

Tupperware is forever.

I had the square cake container and the lid finally cracked when it was about 25 years old. I contacted a Tupperware person and they got me a replacement lid – for free.

Tupperware® brand products were introduced in 1946. The first Tupperware Home Party was held in 1948. By 1951, the Tupperware Home parties were working so well that all products were taken off store shelves.

Tupperware advises that Vintage Tupperware (made before March 2010) is not BPA-free so should not be used for food prep or storage. It is, however, up to individuals to assess whether BPA is as big a health risk as the media made it out to be.

Health Canada’s Food Directorate continues to conclude that current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging uses is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and young children. This conclusion is consistent with those of other food regulatory agencies in other countries, including notably the United States, the European Union and Japan.
– Health Canada –

And What Are Plastics Made From? OIL!

Canada – 2018 was dominated by the Oil Pipeline Story. It continues in 2019 and the fall out could affect two elections this year. Alberta could turn their backs on the Left wing NDP party, while Canada may turf out the Left wing Liberals.

So to recap: Trudeau’s replacing the Minister who couldn’t get any pipelines built with the one who couldn’t get any infrastructure built, and replacing his former Trade Minister who couldn’t get any trade deals done with his former Natural Resources Minister who couldn’t get any pipelines built. That should make everything better, right??
– Conservative MP Blake Richards –

The issue is how to get Alberta’s Oil Sands product to market. Alberta wants to expand the capacity of existing pipelines and build new ones. They are not allowed to do this under today’s political climate. Until pipeline capacity is increased, oil is increasingly being transported by rail and truck, both of which are less environmentally friendly than a pipeline.

Environmentalists and activists, frequently funded by American money, have played a large role in blocking new pipelines. They have been highly effective in gathering public support and electing governments that support their anti-fossil fuel agendas. They live in a fantasy world…

Unfortunately, with two distinct functions in the economy, the misperception that more wind and solar (used for electricity) will displace oil (used for transport) feeds an ignorance that hinders sound energy policy.
– Jude Clemente, JTC Energy Research –

What would happen to the US today if the fossil fuel industry went on a strike of indefinite duration? What would happen if we gave the environmentalists what they want? Instead of nibbling around the edges, what if we just went all the way? What would be the consequences if Atlas shrugged?
What If Atlas Shrugged? By David Deming, February 7, 2013

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wrapped up its $1.1 million cleanup of the Dakota Access pipeline protest camps on federal land in North Dakota, hauling away 835 dumpsters of remaining trash and debris. The site, once occupied by thousands of environmental demonstrators, is now vacant.
– The Washington Times –

Speaking of Fuel

Last fall, 20 combines and drivers  joined forces to harvest Brian Williams’ crop of durum wheat near Milestone, Sask. Williams died right as harvest was getting underway.

The World Record – a total of 303 combines were working all at once in a field of winter wheat south of Winkler in Manitoba in 2018.  This event raisies money for Children’s Camps International (CCI) through its Harvest for Kids event.

I bought an ant farm. I don’t know where I am going to get a tractor that small!
– Steven Wright –

Every Day is Nude Day with Nudinits

Mike Rowe: “I’ve just been informed it’s National Selfie Day. Something to think about…”
David Vitti “It’s also international “Hike Naked Day.” It really bothers me that these two days coincide…”

About a Frog

A lonely frog, desperate for some form of company telephoned the Psychic Hotline to find out what his future held. His Personal Psychic Advisor told him, “You are going to meet a beautiful young girl who will want to know everything about you.”
The frog was thrilled and said, “This is great! Where will I meet her, at work, at a party?”
“No” says the psychic, “in a Biology class.”

Experiences from ‘The Good Old Days’

Question: Name a struggle you had growing up that kids today will never understand. – Matt Whitlock –
Answer: Fixing a typo involved pushing back your typewriter a character, inserting the white-out strip, re-typing the wrong character to place the white, removing the whiteout, pushing back the typewriter a character and typing the new character. You did this for each wrong character. – Blair King –

Literary Perspectives

When finding a new word, I tend to look it up before reading the rest of the written work to gain a full understanding. ‘Incel’ was such a word. After finding the definition in the urban dictionary, I couldn’t find the ambition to read the rest.
– Harold Sleeper –

Well to be perfectly honest, in my humble opinion, of course without offending anyone who thinks differently from my point of view, but also by looking into this matter in a different perspective and without being condemning of one’s view’s and by trying to make it objectified, and by considering each and every one’s valid opinion, I honestly believe that I completely forgot what I was going to say.
– Daniel Zimmerman –

Since 1982 the English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels. For example:

Knowing well the hand signals of his platoon leader, Private James Dawson silently dropped to the dirt, concealed and motionless for what seemed an eternity, a move that he had learned, coincidentally, from his parents whenever the Watchtower ladies would ring the doorbell.
– Peter S. Bjorkman, Rocklin, CA –

Animal Species and the Language Police

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has taken offense to phrases that they say trivializes cruelty to animals. They call it “Speciesism”. In a recent Twitter post, they wrote “Words matter, and as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves along with it. Here’s how to remove speciesism from your daily conversations.”

PETA suggestions for replacements of what they consider ‘Anti-Animal’ Language.

The response to this tweet was not particularly supportive of the concept. For the most part, the internet laughed.

“So you’re saying that there’s more than one way to skin a cat.”
“You’re flogging a dead horse.”
“So you’re advocating violence against flowers now.”
“PETA probably has bigger fish to fry…oops.”
“So, Curiosity thrilled the cat (not killed).”
“Hey peta! You forgot to let the weather know it has to stop raining cats and dogs.”
“I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, sound too pig headed, but want to address the elephant in the room, there is more than one way to skin a cat.”
“We should also address the 800-pound gorilla in the room who is the perfect weight because we don’t body shame here.”

There are hundreds of phrases that are inspired by animals. Do they trivialize cruelty to animals or are they simply a reflection of our interesting and complex language? How is our language being shaped by the growing influence of Pressure Group Language Police?

‘Hop like a bunny’ over to The Phrase Finder for an excellent compilation of Animal Inspired Phrases. If you don’t follow this link then all I can say is “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”
For more Animal Idioms, with some fun photographs, ‘train your eagle eyes’ onto 25 Amazing Animal Idioms. I’m not ‘sending you on a wild goose chase’, really!

What is your favourite animal idiom?

Mildly Amusing Missives – Ants, Misc

A Little Bit About Ants

I bought an ant farm. I don’t know where I am going to get a tractor that small!
– Steven Wright –

Ever so Virtuous

Virtue signalling: when you express an opinion in public to show your moral superiority and gain approval – without actually taking a significant action.

(Isaac) Newton wouldn’t last long as a ‘public intellectual’ in modern American culture. Sooner or later, he would say ‘offensive’ things that get reported to Harvard and that get picked up by mainstream media as moral-outrage clickbait. His eccentric, ornery awkwardness would lead to swift expulsion from academia, social media, and publishing. Result? On the upside, he’d drive some traffic through Huffpost, Buzzfeed, and Jezebel, and people would have a fresh controversy to virtue-signal about on Facebook. On the downside, we wouldn’t have Newton’s Laws of Motion.
― Geoffrey Miller –

Gender Neutrality in Canada

Gender neutrality is a hot issue is Canada right now. One line of our National Anthem has been changed from “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command.” (To be honest, I haven’t been able to sing our entire National Anthem since the unofficial English/French version became the ‘right’ way to sing it.)

Prime Minister Trudeau, at a recent Town Hall meeting, corrected a young woman who spoke about the “the future of mankind.” Trudeau interrupted her and said, “ we like to say people-kind, not necessarily mankind.” (Days later, he claimed he was just joking.)

Gender Neutral wording gets kind of tricky. Is the word ‘person’ gender neutral? (It contains the word ‘son’.) Are the words ‘woman’ and ‘human’ gender neutral? (They both contain the word ‘man’.) Last, but not least – the Province of ‘Manitoba’. Will we have to change that name to Peopletoba’?

Canada’s Government and Male Bashing

CBC Comedy (part of a federally funded Canadian Crown Corporation) isn’t all that funny sometimes. A recent post started off: “Air Canada announced this morning that as of 2017, passengers will be required to pay an extra fee to transport any emotional baggage they happen to be carrying with them onto their flight.”

While that is a funny line, the post goes on to condemn men in general: “When it comes to homophobia, misogyny, and deep-seated racism, we’ll be charging $500 per issue … the airline made the decision to introduce the fee last week after nine different businessmen on nine different flights loudly refused to turn off their electronic devices during takeoff and then proceeded to get blind drunk on tiny bottles of vodka and yell racial slurs at the person in the seat beside them.”

Internet Speed 

Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks.
– Author Unknown –

Do you remember when you connected to the Internet by dial-up? It could take minutes, if not hours, to load web pages onto a computer! The majority of internet users today would be frustrated by the lack of speed, yet for many people in the world, a phone line, and the relatively low cost of dial-up, is either their preferred, or necessitated method of connecting.

Factors that affect the speed: 
Your computer (and any other equipment that connects it to the internet); interference or conflicts from other equipment (depending on your set-up.)
Your Service Provider – In addition to Dial-up, you can connect to the internet by Broadband (cable, DSL), Satellite or Wireless Tower. Each provider will have varying levels of service with faster Internet service billed at a premium. Independent of what you level of service you are paying for, the number of people trying to access the service provider can slow things down. (Our service is also dependent on weather, tower outages and a misaligned receiver dish!)
Internet Traffic – Access to any site will depend on the amount of traffic that is trying to access it.

Would you rather the world be warmer or cooler?

We have one of the big glacier rocks (an erratic) near us, so this Climate Change joke seems pretty funny…

A New Yorker visits Vermont and asks, “Where did all these rocks come from?” And the farmer says, “They were brought here by a glacier.”
“Well, what happened to the glacier?”
And the farmer replies, “It went back for more rocks.”
– Blacklock’s Reporter –

Personally, I prefer a warmer Canada – we are one of the coldest countries in the world. We are the 2nd largest country by land mass with .49% of the world population spread out across our entire width. We consume about .6% of the world food production, but we produce and export 1.5%. We emit only 1.69% of Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

A Joke about Government Being Out of Touch

A cowboy named Billy was overseeing his herd in a remote pasture in southern Alberta, when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust. The driver, a young man in a Brioni® suit, Gucci® shoes, RayBan® sunglasses and YSL® tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, “If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?”

Billy looked at the man, who obviously is a yuppie, then looked at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answered, “Sure, why not?”

The yuppie parked his car, whiped out his Dell® notebook computer, connected it to his Cingular RAZR V3® cell phone, and surfed to a NASA page on the Internet, where he called up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then fed to another NASA satellite that scaned the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. The young man then opened the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop® and exported it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany .

Within seconds, he receiveed an email on his Palm Pilot® that the image had been processed and the data stored. He then accesseed an MS-SQL® database through an ODBC connected Excel® spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry® and, after a few minutes, receiveed a response. Finally, he printed out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet® printer, turned to the cowboy and said, “You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves.”

“That’s right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,” says Billy. He watcheed the young man select one of the animals and looked on with amusement as he stuffed it into the trunk of his car. Then Billy called to him, “Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?”

The young man thought  about it for a second and then said, “Okay, why not?”

“You’re a MLA for Alberta’s NDP government!”, said Billy.

“Wow! That’s correct,” said the yuppie, “but how did you guess that?”

“No guessing required.” answered the cowboy. “You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don’t know a thing about how working people make a living – or about cows, for that matter. This is a flock of sheep. Now give me back my dog.
– OLL –

A Few Poems

I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
After four I’m under my host.
– Dorothy Parker, The Collected Dorothy Parker –

The rain it raineth on the just
And also on the unjust fella;
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust’s stolen his umbrella
– Charles Bowen

This is my Crone Voice

On one of my recent ‘wanderings’ I came across the word ‘Crone’ or more specifically, the Crone Archetype. Initially, I had a not so pleasant vision of a ‘Crone’, but further reading made me realize that some might say I AM a Crone! Perhaps you are too. (If you are a man, then your corresponding Archetype would be Sage.)

If you are a woman of a certain mature age, have abandoned the need for ‘properness’, are up front, and don’t mince your words – you might be a Crone. If you are seen as a being a straight talking mentor, occasionally a trifle crabby  and perhaps even  a bit flirtatious and sassy – you might be a Crone. If you have found an inner peace and accept who you are; if you are realistic and have practical expectations – you might be a crone.

I ticked off a lot of the ‘You might be a Crone’ boxes. When I reviewed the content of my blog, my ‘Crone Voice’ was evident in so many of the posts that had defied all my attempts to corral them into a single category. This was the birth of  My Crone Voice.

That resulted in a new Facebook Page, This is My Crone Voice. I began posting links to all my favourite stories from conservative, pragmatic environmentalist, climate change realist, garden variety, common sense folks like myself.

Apparently this alarmed an algorithm or actual person at Facebook, because within  a few weeks of starting the page, I was issued a warning that ‘Limits have been placed’.

I don’t know what these limits are, nor what I have done to deserve them. I can’t find any explanation or documentation other than this:

I’ve appealed it, of course. I pointed out to Facebook that I only have one follower, a Sage called The Car Guy,  and I only get one ‘Like’ on most posts. I don’t publish spam. I publish links to posts that I agree with.  I am not being misleading, fraudulent, or deceptive – unless those are the descriptors Facebook assigns to conservative pragmatic writers…

I eventually decided to delete the page. I’m getting real close to deleting Facebook from my life…

 

Increase Your Chances of Being Right

In “post-fact culture”, where rationality seems to vanish in the storms of lies and conspiracy theories, beliefs about the future are crucial.
– Gapminder Data System –

Are you smarter than a chimp? Watch this funny, entertaining and encouraging video to see how your knowledge compares to the chimps at the zoo.

How much do you know about the world? Hans Rosling, with his famous charts of global population, health and income data (and an extra-extra-long pointer), demonstrates that you have a high statistical chance of being quite wrong about what you think you know. Play along with his audience quiz — then, from Hans’ son Ola, learn 4 ways to quickly get less ignorant.
– TED Talk by the Gapminder Founders

What facts surprised you or made you think more positively about the future of the world?

Do You Love the Skin You’re In?

Did you see the unretouched photo of actress Jamie Lee Curtis in 2002?  It was taken when she was 43 years old. Jamie insisted the photographer, Andrew Eccles,  shoot her with no makeup, no manicure, no hair styling – wearing only an exercise bra and underwear. She did not want the photo altered in any way. She said this was her contribution to stopping the Hollywood Myth of what women are supposed to look like.

Of course, it isn’t just Hollywood that contributes to the myth. There is a Beauty Industry  with products and advertising to tell us how to make our hair, skin, teeth and clothes conform to some standard of beauty;  a Weight Loss Industry that tells us we are too fat; a Cosmetic Surgery Industry to turn back the hands of time, and an Exercise Industry that is often advertised as a way to improve our looks.

How big is the  ‘Myth of Perfection’ Industry? The Global Beauty Market (hair care, skin care, cosmetics, fragrances) is expected to reach $265 billion in 2017. The Weight Loss Industry in the U.S. (New Year’s resolution gym memberships, weight-loss programs, diet food programs) takes in $60 billion per year. The Global Cosmetic Surgery industry is currently worth over $20 billion. The American Teeth Whitening Industry is $11 billion a year.

What is Body Shaming? – Are You a Victim of It? Do you do it to yourself or others?

Body-shaming (criticizing yourself or others because of some aspect of physical appearance) can lead to a vicious cycle of judgment and criticism. Messages from the media and from each other often imply that we should want to change, that we should care about looking slimmer, smaller, and tanner. And if we don’t, we worry that we are at risk of being the target of someone else’s body-shaming comments.
– Erika Vargas, MA, Walden Eating Disorders –

It’s not anyone’s place to shame a woman’s figure because it doesn’t meet their own personal (possibly unrealistic) expectations. And yet it happens, again and again, all the time. Sometimes it’s brazen, but often it’s subtle. Body-shaming might not look the way you would imagine. It’s not always as obvious as calling someone too fat or too skinny — sometimes it’s the suggestion that a certain cut of clothing isn’t “flattering” on people built like you. Regardless of the form it takes, one thing that’s for certain is that there is still far, far too much of it.
– Hannah Westmoreland Murphy, Romper, Feb 1 2016 –

Are You Really ‘Too Fat’, or are you a Victim of an Overzealous Obesity Campaign?

Conversations about Obesity often lump the Overweight class in with the Obese Classes:

The 2007-2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey says “more than 60 percent of adults were overweight or obese, with 24 percent being overweight and 37 percent obese.” The US Surgeon General says: “The crisis is obesity. It’s the fastest-growing cause of disease and death in America. And it’s completely preventable. Nearly two out of every three Americans are overweight or obese.”

When Overweight and Obese data is lumped together like that, the statistics include everyone who is a few pounds overweight to everyone who is several hundred pounds overweight. It makes the statistics on Obesity very alarming, but not very accurate.

Ewes not fat, ewes fluffy

I don’t think there is an ‘epidemic’ of Overweight people. In Canada , folks in the BMI designation of overweight (but not obese) have formed about 35% of the population since at least 1978. Remember, people in the overweight category include athletes who have more muscle mass than couch potatoes, a rapidly aging population that gains weight as their muscle mass and rate of burning calories declines, and all the women who put on a few pounds with the birth of each child and isn’t ever going to be High School slim again. I think that if it wasn’t for the Diet and Weight Loss Industries, most overweight people would think they were about as Normal as the ones in the “Normal” BMI category.

There is increasing evidence too, that Overweight people are at no more risk of disease and death than Normal weight ones. The results of a study at the University of Manitoba echoes other studies that have found little evidence to support the accusations that people in the Overweight category are unhealthy.

A Picture Story

Here are images of Women’s bodies as they correlate to BMI (Body Mass Index.)

What is your reaction to the body shapes as you look at them from left to right? Is the emaciated body on the left in a size ‘0’ a better body to own than the one on the right in a size ’28’? From a long term health perspective – if both women exercise, eat properly and make good lifestyle choices – health outcomes could be similar.  Unfortunately, the two body types won’t have the same social acceptance.

Stand in front of the mirror, with no make-up or clothing on. Do you accept and love yourself for who you are?

The Beauty Industry doesn’t let us forget that skinny is beautiful, but fat isn’t. Yet, Kathy Bates, Aretha Franklin and Oprah Winfrey are just a few of the more famous voluptuous women who don’t let weight get in the way of ‘living large’.

Living Large Cocktail: ¼ Dreams, ¼ Goals, ¼ Action, ¼ Courage
– Kerstin Wyman, EzineArticles –

Turn your focus away from what you look like and toward how you feel. For instance, you may look in the mirror and think you need to lose 15 pounds. But are you eating right? Are you taking care of your body? Are you being gentle and self-supportive? Are you healthy? If you can answer yes to these questions, consider that good enough. True health isn’t about fitting into a certain size or losing the muffin top — it’s about cultivating an internal state that supports a glowing, confident, and happy “external” you.
– Dr. Sooji Rugh, mbg, Feb 4, 2014 –

I Don’t Want Your Squirrels

A Black Eastern Grey Squirrel – an introduced species.

Really – I don’t want your squirrels. They are your problem. If you don’t want them at your place, why do you think I want them at mine?

Do you think you are being humane by transporting them out to the country to release them? Well, you aren’t. You’ve just signed their death certificate, but you are too ‘sensitive’ to kill them yourself.
– You’ve removed the squirrel from a home range where it knew how to find food, water, shelter, and how to stay safe.
– You may have trapped a mother squirrel – her babies will be left behind to die.
– You’ve spread a non-native introduced animal into yet another habitat where it doesn’t belong.

In the past week you’ve brought me two squirrels- a brown Eastern Grey Squirrel and a black Eastern Grey Squirrel. The magpies were quick to spot them, and followed them around and harassed them. With major predators, like hawks, owls, weasels, fox and coyotes, the squirrels will not likely last long. That’s good news for life in my forest.

In a perfect world, someone would drop you off in my forest for a few days too. How long did you spend in the trap – was that terrifying? You would wander through the woods, naked, with no food or water, no roof over your head. The Coyote Pack would be close by…

I love mankind … it’s people I can’t stand!!
– Charles M. Schulz, The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 5: 1959-1960 –

7th Anniversay – The Political Temper Tantrum

November marked my 7th Anniversary of blogging. Celebrating this milestone by writing this post turned out to be very hard. I’m mesmerized by the American election, and can’t seem to move on until I’ve digested what happened!

I’m not an American, but I have strong ties to both my American friends and a community in Arizona (where I spend the winter.) Then there is the not insignificant influence that the United States has on my country, Canada.  Research associate Simon Palamar  explained this relationship by saying “We’re sleeping next to an elephant, so when they shift in bed, we feel it.”

If I had been an American voter, and a Republican, I don’t know if I could have voted for Donald Trump. Of course, the same thing can be said about the Democrats and Clinton. Neither candidate seemed particularly worthy if you believed everything the media reported.

The QuipperyWatching the election night coverage on three different stations felt a bit like an indoctrination into why I should have got a college education (so I would know how to vote for the right party.) After the election, there were violent protests; the accusations that all Trump supporters are racist, sexist, homophobic bigots; the demand for the immediate suspension of the Electoral College, petitions to secede from the Union, etc. It reminded me of a small child throwing a temper tantrum, not a free society where one side might be unpopular with the other side, but that’s okay.

Would the words have been softer or the backlash less if the Democrats had won? No one can say for sure, though I’m sure there are media pundits who can generate a few thousand words to convince their faithful.

I can finish this post now because of hope. I hope people will start to question the value and veracity of all media. I hope people will look at the world through a lens of optimism instead of the lens of fear. I hope people will remember that a democracy is a political system of free and fair elections, and it is impossible for everyone to achieve everything they want all of the time. I hope Americans will give their President-Elect a fair chance.

Last, but not least, I hope people will be more tolerant. There is more than one religion, more than one political party, more than one way to think about just about anything, more than one way to do just about anything.

Trump is what happens when you spent the last 7 Thanksgiving dinners lecturing your angry uncle from your Vox index cards.
– Clarice Feldman, American Thinker, November 13, 2016 –

What makes your way always right, and the other person’s way always wrong?

Hawaii – Over the Top Writing Makes me do Just the Opposite

You’ve probably seen some of these ‘over the top’ words in Post Titles on the internet. They are supposed to be so enticing that you will click through to read the story. Here are some of the most common superlatives:

Utterly Strangest
Outrageous
Amazing
Groundbreaking Truth
Astonishing
Incredible Bombshell
Awesomely Stunning
Unbelievable (or You Won’t Believe Your Eyes)
Insanely Gorgeous
Impossible
Absolutely Unbeatable
You’ll Never Guess
Ridiculous
or Jaw Dropping

for stories, that will

Blow you away
Be to Die For
Take Your Breath Away
Change Your World
Freak You Out

because

well, OMG – This is Genius!!!

This style of writing has just the opposite effect on me – I simply refuse to click through to read it.

Just this once, though, I’m going to use words from the list above to describe my photos for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge (which is Opposites.) These photos were taken on a trip to the Hawaiian Islands.
ocean rocks trees

OMG! The scenery was to die for! My jaw dropped as I watched the waves crash onto the rocks. Bombshell – that soft looking water can crush the hard looking rock into sand!

cooled flow plants

I was freaked out by how this once hot flowing magma could become, like, just the opposite – cold and hard! Unbelievable!

The Quippery
That ends my attempt at this writing ‘style’ – would you add any words or phrases to the list above?