Monday, January 30, 2006

Chavez’s Venezuela, Where Gas is Cheaper than Water

Chavez’s Venezuela, Where Gas is Cheaper than Water
by Eli Rosenberg‚ Jan. 30‚ 2006

"El petreleo, gasoline, is much cheaper here than water, and works out to about 15 or 20 cents a gallon."

Can you imagine? Wow, my life would be different with more disposable income that's for sure.

Venezuela is a land of contradictions. Copiously rich and unbearably poor, technologically advanced yet rural and rustic, consumerist yet without the economic freedom to uselessly consume, inefficient and loosely organized yet economically driven, Venezuela feels like a country hanging somewhere between the first and third worlds. I live in a city called Merida in the Andes which has a sizeable academic community and I know a decent amount of students at ULA, an important university in Venezuela, already.
Some of my professors have done international work relating to petroleum, economics and globalization. I spent hours talking the other day to the older brother of one of my professors, Daniel Urbina and supposedly he was one of Chavez's right hand men, and allegedly worked with other presidents here. He told me story after story about coups, assassinations, plots, guerillas, the future of the country and the future of the world.

The country feels like it is in a perpetual state of chaos; buses run late or don't show up at all, red lights are merely a recommendation, during the day the streets swarm with people walking in front of moving cars as if they could swat them away like mosquitoes.

El petreleo, gasoline, is much cheaper here than water, and works out to about 15 or 20 cents a gallon. Here they have professionals, doctors, lawyers, many people go on to get college degrees, but many people with college degrees cannot find adequate work and are forced to settle for low income jobs. The minimun wage here works out to be about 8 dollars a day, which is more than enough to subside on, but numerous people in rural and urban areas can't find a job at all.

Tucked in valley that is cradled by the Andes which loom immense on all sides, Merida, where I live, feels somewhat isolated and self-contained. From what I hear there is a distinctly different and unique culture in the Andes that differs from the rest of the country, there certainly appears to be more a rustic and rural vibe here and less African influence compared to the coastal regions.

While an undercurrent of political tension pervades the city, politics are a sensitive subject, and the country feels divided and polarized. Depending on whom you talk to, Chávez is either the messiah or the devil, there is little middle ground except in academic circles.

Political graffiti covers the city, MVR (movimiento quinto republico- movement of the fifth republic) posters plaster walls of buildings; spray paint shouts Viva Chavez! on the large white walls surrounding upscale suburban neighborhoods, that topped with large shards of broken glass plastered on top, form an intimidating warning to any intruder. Other government murals depicting Chavez, Che Guevara, Simon Bolivar and Jose Martí that declare loudly el rumbo al socialismo have large splashes of white paint covering the faces of both Chávez and Che.

Whether you love or hate him, most would agree that Chavez is a phenomenon, for better or worse. What has also been interesting has been that the majority of what has been presented in the media in the US has been incredibly oversimplified.

There is a complex debate here that is never presented in the US, i still feel like i am in no position to have an educated opinion yet. The media makes out the Chavez opposition to be entirely composed of the small minority that represents the economically elite in Venezuela, the lavishly rich, predominantly white, benefactors of oil-wealth. On a simple level this may be true, it's no secret that Chavez's base is in the poor, but there is a debate here and its not as simple as the wealthy not wanting their wealth taken away.

The family I live with is by no means wealthy by American standards; they live modestly by all means and while they are clearly well-off in Venezuelan society are not elitist or selfish in any way. They do however extremely dislike Chavez, and I respect their opinion ; these are middle class people, working as doctors, accountants, computer programmers, men and women alike, college educated and by no means overtly privileged or excessively rich.

Many academics who I've talked to respect Chavez's ideals and dedication to helping the poor and trying to create solidarity away from the US, but at the same time believe much that he has done has been hasty and ill-conceived. The older brother of the family I live with works and lives near Caracas, and told me that after every election there is a list distributed locally to managers and owners that says which employees voted and who they voted for, and he told me this goes on country wide. Those who voted anti-Chavez risk getting fired in certain circles.

These observations have come from talking to the people here, the family I live with and my professors. I’ll have more insights based on my own experiences in the weeks ahead.
The source.

What prompts me to post is our house guest from Merida, Adri. She's of the professional class that is addressed in the above article. Not overly wealthy, but within the context of her home country, very well off. She's no fan of Chavez and this article shed some light on her reality at home. Google alerts are a wonderful thing.

Paul's photography

The west coast of North America has had some rain. Paul's shots confirm that.


Maybe this will boggle your mind, I know it did mine!
The year is 1904. One hundred and one years ago. What a difference a century makes!
Here are some of the U.S. statistics for 1904:

The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years.
Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.

There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California.
With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!
The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents an hour.
The average U.S. worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year,
a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year.
A mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. took place at home.
Ninety percent of all U.S. physicians had no college education.
Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as “substandard.”
Sugar cost four cents a pound.
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason.
The five leading causes of death in the U.S. were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke
The American flag had 45 stars.
Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska hadn’t been admitted to the Union yet.
The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was 30!!!
Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn’t been invented.
There was no Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
Two of 10 U.S. adults couldn’t read or write.
Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated high school.
Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores.
According to one pharmacist, “Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health.” (Shocking!)
Eighteen percent of households in the U.S. had at least one full-time servant or domestic.
There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S.
And I forwarded this from someone else without typing it myself, and sent it to you in a matter of seconds! Try to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years .. it staggers the mind.


I am so sorry. I left a huge post here without a cut giving my friends unreasonably long entries. It was late, I have little RAM.blonde momment

The flu pandemic: were we ready?

Avian flu special: The flu pandemic: were we ready?

Nature magazine is a bit more steeply pitched that I was prepared for. Oh well, maybe someday I'll work enough to play more. Nature offered several reports about the avian flu this past fall. All were exellent. Nature thought they had reason to spread this information freely without need of a subscription. I want to have one come to my mail box!

Below is the one I enjoyed the most. And the other links are listed too.
Avian flu special: Is this our best shot?
Avian flu special: Avian flu: Are we ready?
Controlling avian flu at the source
Avian flu special: What's in the medicine cabinet?

Avian flu special: The flu pandemic: were we ready?

Welcome to my weblog. I'm Sally O'Reilly, a freelance journalist based in Washington DC. I've been researching a book on pandemic preparedness. But now the time for preparation has run out.
26 December 2005 It's an emergency — official
President George Bush has just addressed the press in the East Room of the White House. Here's the transcript: "At this hour, the World Health Organization has declared a full-scale pandemic influenza alert, with person-to-person spread lasting more than two weeks in Cambodia and Vietnam. During previous influenza pandemics in the United States, large numbers of people were ill, sought medical care, were hospitalized and died. On my orders, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services have today implemented the nation's draft Pandemic Influenza Response and Preparedness Plan. It will serve as our road map, on how we as a nation, and as a member of the global health community, respond to the pandemic. We are ready. Thank you, and may God bless America."

Ready, my ass! I've reported on avian flu for almost a decade. The first thing I did on hearing Bush's address was to get on my cellphone to my husband, Jonathan. I told him to pack some bags and get ready to take the kids to my mother's house in Florida. "Remember all that stuff I told you about how a bird flu pandemic might hit the United States? Well, I think it's about to happen."
28 December 2005 Journey to the source

Hanoi, Vietnam. I'm exhausted, and I can still taste the disinfectant they sprayed inside the Doctors Without Borders plane. I'm at the Bach Mai Hospital. It was here, three weeks ago, that what they're calling the 'Hanoi index case' fell sick. A Malaysian on business, he was transferred to a hospital in Hong Kong, where he died. Samples sent to labs in the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network showed he was infected with an H5N1 avian flu virus, but one that differed from earlier isolates. It had mutated.

But he won't have been the first patient with this mutated strain. As early as October there were hundreds of human H5N1 cases in the countryside south of here, but only a handful got picked up. Most went unnoticed by health authorities. Surveillance for human cases of flu in Vietnam has been patchy, and DNA diagnostic tests unreliable. WHO calls for more international funding were ignored. Now the virus has had three months to spread, pick up mutations and get better and better at jumping between humans.

What's weirdest is that there weren't any declared outbreaks of bird flu in chickens here recently. Farmers weren't exactly queuing up to declare cases, though. There'd been talk of setting up a global fund to help them cope with eradicating avian flu, to compensate them for lost trade. But it came to nothing. Then again, perhaps the virus came from ducks, which can be infected without showing symptoms.
29 December 2005 Life behind the mask

Today, I hooked up with the 15-person international team from the WHO's Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network. They're like the cast in that movie Outbreak, about some monkey virus.

We've got epidemiologists from the CDC — the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — along with mathematical modellers from Imperial and Emory, and virus hunters from the Pasteur Institute in Paris and the Robert Koch Institute in Germany. They're here to help hospitals control infection, and strengthen surveillance for human cases. Another team is doing the same in Cambodia. Across the world, health authorities are ramping up surveillance, trying to spot and isolate any exported cases as quickly as possible. They've grounded all commercial flights to and from the region. The chaos is way worse than with SARS.

Second evening here. The N95 face masks, which the WHO has advised us to wear, are the worst part. Your glasses steam up and you feel half-suffocated. I only take mine off to eat and drink. The team has a web video conference via a high-bandwidth satellite connection with WHO headquarters in Geneva. Its Department of Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response is coordinating the international response. Poor guys, there's just a handful of them.

They run through the latest stats. Here we go: 1,800 cases in Cambodia, 1,100 in Vietnam. Uh, oh ... six suspect cases in Tokyo and Johannesburg. So much for the flight bans. Overall, the mortality rate is 9%. That's nasty — worse than 1918. But it'll come down, as there's probably loads of asymptomatic cases.

The labs have finished sequencing the virus and we now have a template for an H5N1 vaccine. But it won't be ready for months. So for now, the WHO is trying a long shot, known as targeted antiviral prophylaxis.

Basically, the idea is to blanket bomb all index cases, their households and people in the immediate vicinities with antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu. Computer models predict that if we do this, we might just stop the pandemic in its tracks. But there hasn't been enough modelling, and now we're doing the experiment for real.

Continued modelling will be vital, though, to work out how to deploy the limited supplies of Tamiflu we've got, and how long we need to treat people for the drug to work. Geneva informs us that the WHO international stockpile contains just 120,000 pills. WHO officials have been on the phone today with countries that have national stockpiles.

The politicians know that stopping the pandemic at source would be the best solution. But they're reluctant to donate drugs, as they'll have less for their own citizens if this approach fails. No point asking the United States — they've only got enough pills for 1% of the population. Britain and France have enough for a quarter of their populations. Will they spare us any? Will they hell.
30 December 2005 Getting to know the enemy

Geneva announces that the latest epidemiological studies say that the virus seems to have a 'basic reproductive number', or R0, of between 1.4 and 2.0. This means that one case on average infects only one or two people. So if we can detect cases quickly and treat them and their contacts, the models suggest we could contain the virus most of the time. At the least, that might slow the pandemic and corral it in that region for a few months. That would win time to get a vaccine.

But we know there is a very short window. As time goes by, this virus will get better and better at transmitting between humans, and the R0 will increase. If it goes above 3, there's no way we'll contain it.

The latest news from Cambodia cheers us up. There's a slowdown in new cases. Control efforts seem to be keeping the lid on the virus there. But here it's a different story: the team is having difficulties finding and isolating contacts of patients in this crowded city.

This flu moves much faster than SARS because its incubation period is just two days. People are spreading the virus the day before they get sick, and asymptomatic patients without even being visibly ill. Tamiflu needs to be administered within two days of anyone showing symptoms.

As I wandered through the streets this afternoon, it wasn't looking good. People are walking around Hanoi coughing and spluttering. They've closed the schools, which is the right thing to do, but what are all the kids doing? Hanging out downtown enjoying the unexpected holiday.
31 December 2005 Six months to a vaccine!

Vaccine teleconference. There are 125 people — companies, regulators, scientists — hooked in, each with their own agenda. It's impossible. There's a lot of talk on whether the six-month delay before there is any vaccine can be shortened. Scientists had been working on methods of growing virus for the vaccine in large vats of cultured animal cells instead of eggs. That could cut the delay to maybe three months. But progress had been held up by US Food and Drug Administration concerns over the safety of the cell lines. In any case, it would probably take at least two years before the existing factories could be switched over.

So we're stuck with eggs. A fast-track FDA approval for an H5N1 vaccine is under way. Fortunately, the US Department of Health and Human Services last year funded Sanofi-Pasteur to test a 'mock' H5N1 vaccine, using antigens from an earlier strain. So we don't need to start the approval procedure from scratch for the pandemic strain. We've gained some time.

But US production capacity — one factory — is only enough to cover up to 90 million people. The situation is better in the European Union: it can probably produce enough to cover 30% of its 450 million people. The predictable news is that every vaccine-producing nation has just nationalized its supply to serve its own citizens first. The 'have-not' countries aren't going to get any vaccine.

There's a lot of hindsight and recrimination at this meeting. The United States only tested vaccines at standard doses. Testing a vaccine containing an immune-boosting adjuvant might have allowed it to be diluted eightfold. Even with existing world production capacity, that would have let us produce 7.2 billion shots, enough to treat half the world's population. Now it's too late.
25 January 2006 Escaping from hell

Apologies for the long delay in posting. The past few weeks have been chaos. I was out with WHO teams from dawn to dusk as they tried in vain to stamp out the outbreak with drugs. People fell sick all over Hanoi and 1 in 50 of them died. Many of the worst affected felt fine in the morning, but were dead by lunchtime — blue in the face, gasping for air. At the overcrowded hospital, I saw victims collapsing, suffocating in their own lung fluid, blood streaming from their noses and gums. Others had longer ordeals, tortured by encephalitis as the virus ate into their brains, or overwhelmed by multiple organ failure. Panicky authorities transported corpses out to the fields by truck and burnt them on open pyres.

In a desperate last attempt to quell the outbreak, the WHO took what drugs it had left here and blindly treated whole sections of the city where transmission was most severe. The army was supposed to enforce quarantine, but many of them were sick as well, or had joined the exodus from the city. The fleeing people inevitably spread the disease to the countryside.

In a few days' time, the Vietnamese are supposed to celebrate Tet, the lunar new year festival. It's traditional to eat chicken — but not this year. My plane leaves tonight. I feel like I'm escaping from hell.

2 February 2006 The virus spreads

Today, I was at a press conference at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. A guy from the CDC pointed to a giant screen, a map of the world dotted with red pixels. He said that they'd reckoned the virus might hit in two or more waves up to eight months apart, as in past epidemics. They'd hoped the first pandemic strain of H5N1 might be poorly contagious, and come back again with a vengeance after it had picked up more infectivity. By that time we might have had a vaccine. That was just a hunch, though. And it was wrong.

The mild pandemic in 1968 took almost a year to cross the globe. This one probably started around October. So we're now almost four months in. Look at that map! With the huge increase in passengers travelling by air, it's already lodged in 38 cities around the globe. The outline of Asia is barely visible beneath the swarm of red pixels.

Now the virus is in coastal cities on both sides of South America. It hit Europe two weeks ago, ripping through Paris in just 11 days. In the French capital alone, there were 2.5 million cases and 50,000 dead. That's par for the course — infection rate 25% and mortality 2%, similar to the 1918 pandemic. Extrapolate these numbers, and we're going to have over 30 million dead worldwide. In poor and densely populated countries like India, it could be worse.

Where's next, I asked. Based on passenger data — which had to be prised from the airlines — one epidemiologist was willing to make a guess. "Within two weeks, there." He traced his finger from San Diego to Los Angeles, up to San Francisco. Within another three to four weeks, it'll be the turn of the conurbations along the eastern seaboard.
18 February 2006 This can't be happening

The United States is battened down before the storm. The government has outlawed all gatherings in public places. In past pandemics that never worked. But epidemiologists say that if we do it early on, it might slow the spread. Modelling also suggests that closing schools and universities is especially important as teenagers and young adults are among the worst hit. We just need to stop them from hanging out elsewhere. Stay at home, is the message blaring from every TV screen.

On CNN it's now round-the-clock coverage, with a red 'Pandemic' banner running across the bottom of the screen. "We're in the twenty-first century, and they're telling us about how to wash our hands properly, and practise 'respiratory etiquette'," exclaims Jonathan. "Why aren't there drugs? And I can't believe there's no vaccine. This can't be happening in America."
20 February 2006 America shuts down

The Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service, the nation's uniformed force of health professionals, has just been mobilized. The US Northern Command is in charge of the military response. Soldiers are setting up triage centres, anticipating overflowing emergency rooms and morgues. Images are coming in of tent cities being erected in New York's Central Park. Wards are being installed in schools and churches. Troops are on the streets. "There's going to be civil unrest," a general informed me on the phone this morning.
Unfortunately we are unable to provide accessible alternative text for this. If you require assistance to access this image, or to obtain a text description, please contact

J. S.

The CDC is in charge of national influenza surveillance, but it's a nightmare now. This is the peak season for ordinary flu, sparking false alarms and panic. Scant supplies of Tamiflu are being reserved for medical first responders, and essential services. (Stocking cash machines is an essential service, we learn.)

There's a lot of looting going on in pharmacies, but to no avail. The drugs are being distributed in convoys, with military jeeps in front and behind. Masks costing a dollar are being sold on street corners for $20. E-mailed ads for counterfeit drugs are filling up my inbox.

27 February 2006 Everyone for themselves

I watch the scenes of a society descending into chaos from the relative security of my mother's isolated home. Red tail lights snake to the horizon as people pour out of the cities. Half the doctors haven't turned up for work; many are either ill, or caring for loved ones.

Who should get the few mechanical respirators that can mean the difference between life and death? The youngest, or those with the best chances of pulling through? "Our leadership must be prepared to make calculated decisions that will force raw prioritization of life-saving resources," explains a colonel on CNN.
17 MAY 2006 The dust settles

The pandemic was declared over today. H5N1 will be back next year, or before that, as it replaces the existing seasonal flu strains. But by then, those who have recovered from this bout will have immunity, and we will have a vaccine. Pandemics move faster than governments or international bureaucracies, and the cost is hundreds of billions of dollars more than it would have been had we tackled avian flu in Asia in the first place, and invested in flu research. For millions of families, the cost isn't measured in dollars.

Watching all that military hardware on the streets made me think. We imagined we could encourage pharmaceutical companies to develop innovative vaccines and drugs by offering 'incentives' or modest subsidies. When the military knows it needs a fighter aircraft, it doesn't offer incentives to Lockheed Martin or Boeing. It pays them through procurement to develop the weapon to the specifications it wants.

Were we ready? Ready, my ass!

Sally O'Reilly's blog was written by Declan Butler, Nature's senior reporter in Paris.

Saturday, January 28, 2006



I joined an on line community of mostly women last year at I'm ADHD in the extreme and work from home, so structure is my own to manage. I'm not much of a manager. As I began to take my ADHD more seriously, one of the things I looked at was creating ways of imposing structure to my days from external sources. Flylady has been effective, so I suck up any objections I might have had and continue to shine my sink.

On a mailing today from flylady I saw this go by and thought it was worth taking to heart. Personally I think the evidence of a pandemic coming eventually, is overwhelming. Influenza isn't something science has been able to make any inroads into and that's not about to change any time soon I don't think.

I wish I could find the New Yorker magazine article I read years ago now, about the process that goes into creating the yearly vaccination for the flu. It was a remarkable piece, maybe someday I'll take the time to dig it up.

Nature magazine keeps cropping up in my life now too over one thing or another. Last fall or late last summer, Nature published a very interesting piece on the likely scenario of events as an influenza pandemic developed. A subscription is in order I think.

Hi To All

As most of you know, I am a disaster volunteer for the Red Cross.
Last night I attended a meeting regarding a pandemic and how we, as
disaster volunteers would respond. This is just in the beginning
stages and may Never happen, (we can only pray) but we were told to
tell our friends and family how to be better prepared if and when this
happens. They have said, there will be little the government can do
so it will have to be handled at the community levels as it will be
EVERYWHERE and probably all at the same time. That is why we must
prepare now.

So...... please stock your cupboards with a minimum of 2 weeks worth
of food and water. It may be that you will not be leaving your
home....expect the worst so that you are prepared.

Go down to hardware store and buy N95 masks for yourself and your
family members. They come in packs of 3 and are in different sizes.
Make sure they fit properly.

Once it becomes pandemic, these will not be on the shelves and it will
be to LATE! As far as Tamiflu, they don't even know if it will work,
not alot you can do at this time.

OK-not trying to scare anyone, but it is real and the sooner you take
these precautions the better.

Next week I should be getting an email from the RedCross outlining
what was discussed that I will forward.

Let's do what we can to protect our loved ones.

One more thing...if you have babies or small children, make sure you
always have at least 1 month supply of formula...etc.

quincy update

What a week. I worked in the shop with the keen eye of a veteran of the field. :*/ Some days are definitely better than others.

There has been a burning desire in Manon to sleep in a quincy. Two weeks ago the task of working up a mound big enough to carve out into a sleeping space turned into a place big enough to sleep the family. Manon tends to focus pointedly when she's motivated. I don't know where that comes from. :P

Last night Conner was over and they got some flax straw as bedding to keep themselves off the floor of the quincy. They rounded up their sleeping gear and opened a breathing hole and filled the angled door with more straw. Having made the mistake of creating meticulously uniform but thin walls in previous incarnations of this dance, the walls of this latest venture were at least an arm length.

The whole thing represented levels of hand balling snow with shovels I have been able to appreciate fully.

Manon had her head right around this sleep over. She had all the bases covered and more. Snacks, flashlights and all the sleeping bags a kid could want. Her focus centered around ensuring Conner would remain stuck comfortably and not require a bail out to the house before morning.

They told stories and laughed for an hour or so while settling into bed. Manon left the light on, hoping Conner would fall asleep before her and then she could turn it off, but Conner eventually leaned over and shut it off himself. Manon was so happy. She had worked hard to make this happen with a sustained and concerted effort that spanned the two weeks or more.

The quincy itself was perfectly regular. they had shaped the outside and then shaped the inside by blocking the door so they could see the light shine through the snow walls to indicate the thickness. Many hours were spent honing their skills and the resulting structure was masterful.

As Manon is drifting off to sleep with a warm heart knowing the job had been well done a patch of snow fell from the ceiling and hit her square in the face. Jolted awake, she touched the ceiling to find that it was heavy and slushy.

It turns out that it was too warm to sleep in a quincy and the thing was doing it's job too well in insulating the kids from the Manitoba winter. Or is this winter? It sure doesn't feel like it. I have to remember to take decent winter gear with me when I head out. It snapped down to -15 last weekend and I was cold! It's a bit surreal.

The people at the weather office are predicting we will surpass the long standing record for the warmest January in 1944 or so, by a wide margin. The rodent population is blooming!
Stay dry.

Friday, January 27, 2006

image hound

I'm an image hound. It's just the way it is. I love the visual and couldn't resist taking just one more few bites out of my morning to insert this spectacular message.

Ok, now someone phone and take me out for lunch. What Friday's are for.


I've been aware of the community of Skeptics on the web for a number of years. I ran into it all again this morning. For those that must ask questions, it might be worth keeping in mind. The Skeptic Tank crew seem as good a place to start as any other. I love the logo.

Echinacea ineffective

A new study has found that taking echinacea to treat a cold is ineffective.

I was debunking an email riddle that was sent to me this morning and got side tracked with a blog entry on echinacea. Go figure.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

1/4 scale Ferrari

The sound of music

Boys and their toys. You'll want Real Player to open this.

Continuing on that theme, these from the model engineers at the Cabin Fever Show.


How To Felt with Acrylic Yarn

I thought this was a hoot, but maybe I'm too easily entertained.

platys@lj wrote in the knitting@lj group.

How To Felt with Acrylic Yarn
by Gail

List of Materials Needed:

1. Some acrylic yarn. Make sure it doesn't have any natural fiber content in it whatsoever. That would be bad.
2. An oversized stock pot. The one you attempted to use to Brine your turkey before you accidentally killed all your relatives will serve you well here. Plus, it'll hide the evidence.
3. A blow torch.
4. An oven. Preferrably one that you don't plan on using much in the future.
5. A welding sheild.
6. Some tongs.
7. Some leather gloves. Not the nice ones - the heat shielding kind.

Step 1:

Knit something out of that acrylic. Make it bigger than you want the final results to be.

Step 2:

Drinking some alcohol is probably a good idea here.

Step 3:

Turn on the oven as high as it will go. Throw your knitted acrylic garment into the oversized stock pot, and stick that in the oven. It is a matter of great debate on whether or not you should add water - water will probably slow the felting process, but may keep the yarn from melting to the bottom of the pot. Maybe you should add some canola oil or something.

Step 4:

Open a window. Take the batteries out of the fire alarm.

Step 5:

Check on your garment. If all is going well, it will become soft and melty. With the gloves and tongs, coax it into the shape you want. You may also want to stir it around to make sure that it isn't sticking.

Step 6:

Once your garment has shrunk down and appears to be the correct shape, remove the stockpot from the oven. Throw a bunch of water into it. You might want to put on the welders shield now. Then, with the tongs, remove the item from the pot, and arrange it charmingly. You should no longer be able to see individual stitches. You may find that your garment is a bit inflexible - that is to be expected.

Step 7:

Once your garment has cooled, you can use the blow torch and tongs to make any last minute adjustments, such as creating holes in your slippers for the feet.

Step 8:

Enjoy your fabulous felted acrylic garment! Tune in next week where Gail explains how to use flexible rods to keep your stockinette from curling!

I'm off to see a couple of films tonight. One of which I've been looking forward to for a couple of years, or so it seems.
The Seeds of Change is a good home grown bit of information that's taken a while to rise to public access, but finally I get to see it tonight.

self monitoring

I'm 47/100 censoring. I'm surprised.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Kids spending calories

Full frontal Tom

Bad image of a nice quincy

Inside a nice quincy

Manon and Bonnie have been doggedly shoveling snow into a big pile to make a quincy. School was cancelled today and that was all the encouragement they needed to start digging.

I saw Adriana heading out with them, but thought nothing of it. Usually she's one to last for the first ten minutes or so and then heads off to do her own thing. I'm not quite sure what that is exactly, but whatever it is she does a lot of it.

I went out at noon to see what handy work had been done. I crawled in the doorway and had quite a surprise. There was Adri, busy with a weapon of choice, carving carefully away at the half meter walls. The snow sculptures outside were her handy work too. Excellent!

It was masterfully constructed. They would block up the doorway so it was dark enough to gauge the wall thickness by the amount of light seeping through. Oh the patience paid off wonderfully. Manon went out after lunch and cleaned up the interior base to increase further the sense of uniformity in design. I think everyone is sleeping well now. < g >

Megan is finally finished being in heat I think... hope. Tom's pretty darn interested regardless of acceptance. Neither one of them has long for the baby making option. I'm making the vet call tomorrow.

Monday, January 23, 2006

voting day

We have a Venezuelan student with us for the school year. She's from a privileged position at home. She's wealthy, and the youngest in a family that's apparently willing to do most everything for this girl rather than have her learn to be even a little bit independent.

When I was a kid we had a few foreign students come to stay with us for short periods. The one I remember most was a Spaniard that had spent a lot of time in Argentina. I must have been at my most precocious young teen years when he came. I was fascinated by his extreme views of society and it's hierarchy.

To refer to him as a fascist would not be too far out of line I think. He too came from a privileged background. He was also steeped in military traditions if I remember correctly. He inadvertently became my touch stone for the slippery slope that comes from what we in Canada refer to as a conservative outlook. I gather that in some places the word conservative is used in politics to refer to more what we would call liberal values.

I read an article about the current administration in Venezuela this morning. It reminds me once again that I like to vote.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Ill wind at Senkiw

I'm struggling with my running. Well, not really the running, but my stamina to run. I'm so frustrated. I'm getting myself dug into a hole of depression over several elements of the problem.

One is that the sun never shines! It was out today for the first time in ages, but I spent my time tabulating figures for my income tax and then vegged in front of the tube watching the better parts of two football games. I love football. I'm not much of a technician, but the execution of a fine reception is a deep pleasure. :D

So, I could use much more ultraviolet radiation for sure. I just don't do as well in cloud cover.

Second and not the least damaging, is that I'm stuck with a body that's sensitive to allergies. For a month now I've watched as my lame immune system has been stuck fighting some unknown force. It's left me weak and without stamina to do much of anything, much less run.

I ran once last week for three miles and I was like a lead balloon the next day. Yesterday I got the bird cage out of the house and the furnace cleaned up and inspected. I forgot to take the exhaust pipe down and have a go at it, but maybe tomorrow I can finish that up.

I don't have the regular allergic responses going on, like a running nose and watering eyes, but it's the same style of fatigue I experience every spring and summer. I think I've narrowed some of the trouble down to the black lab that's been finding it's way into the house in the last three weeks. I don't know what the difference between the short hair of our little timid Megan dog, and black Tom is, but it's one other thing to check.

I've had to drop my half marathon race. I will have missed the peak mileage weeks. I could likely do the distance, but I can't see it being fun. It's a long way to go to know you are ill prepared right from the beginning. I'm so sad that so many things have conspired against me in this, but consistency hasn't exactly been my strong suit through my life.

I've been back to sitting zazen over the last while to help focus. I've been attempting to drop 5 kilos before my birthday as well as getting some more sleep, all in order to get my immune system back on track. Tonight I gave up and began to take the systemic antihistamines I take in the spring. Maybe this week I can begin again to build up my mileage.
Sucking wind on all four corners.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


More interesting entries from one of my favourite landscape artists. I say that in jest. I'm not sure what displays his talent most strongly, his landscape gifts with native plants or some of his other talents. I like his images, but I know nothing of landscape work.

Full set

Friday, January 20, 2006


Vere Scott, Green Party of Canada candidate, Winnipeg South-Centre (Cell: 294-2912), will be participating in these forums:

* Tuesday, January 17, 12:20 to 1:30 PM at Kelvin High School (155 Kingsway) sponsored by The Dominion Institute's Democracy Project.
* Wednesday, January 18, 7 to 8:30 AM; candidates field questions about poverty & hunger from Grade 6 students, CBC Radio One hosted by Winnipeg Harvest
* Friday, January 20, 7 to 9 PM, all-candidates forum, Crescentwood Community Centre, 1170 Corydon Avenue, sponsored by the Provincial Council of Women & the Council of Women of Winnipeg.

Message from the Green Party of Canada
Top 10 Reasons to Vote Green on Monday

1. I want to feel good about my vote. I want to vote for someone, not against someone.
2. The Green Party has the best platform. The Green Party platform has earned positive reviews in the media, has done well under analysis by non-partisan organizations.
3. My great grandchildren will be proud of me. I want them to have a sustainable future, a green economy, and better democracy.
4. I want my vote to have an impact on the legislative agenda of the next parliament. MPs will spend the next session trying to look good for the next election, so they will be looking at who they lost votes to. Vote Green and Green priorities will set the agenda.
5. People are saying good things about the Green Party.
6. I am nobody's fool. I refuse to let Martin, Harper, Layton or Duceppe think he can scare me into "strategically" voting for him just for not being the worst among them.
7. Green Parties around the world get elected, govern countries, and make the world a better place.
8. Whoever I vote for will get $ 1.75 in public funding, per vote, per year. I feel good about the Green Party putting it to good use defending my values.
9. I am socially progressive, fiscally responsible, and committed to environmental sustainability - just like the Green Party.
10. One hundred and thirty nine years of Liberal and Conservative governments. Albert Einstein said it best: "The significant problems of our time are not going to be solved by the same level of thinking that got us into them."

Click here for information on how, where, and when to vote in the federal election on Monday, January 23.
Actually there are plenty of other reasons to vote for the Green Party.

Information: / Phone Toll-free: 1-866-868-3447
Join | Donate | Volunteer | Subscribe | Unsubscribe | Send to a friend
Authorized by the Official Agent of the Green Party of Canada

Thursday, January 19, 2006

corn snake

Boo found herself a buddy tonight. How long before she brings it home? I should start a pool.

Bonnie with a neck wrap.

Papa with some colour issues.

Manon enjoying it all.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Like this is a surprise.

Lust:Very High

The Seven Deadly Sins Quiz on


I'm an image whore. I don't even attempt to curtail the drive any more.

This place is so deep with content that I may never find a way out.

Haile Gebrselassie shattered the world half marathon

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Haile Gebrselassie shattered the world half marathon record by 21 seconds Sunday while running the last half of the Rock 'N' Roll Arizona marathon.

He also broke the 20-kilometer world mark en route. It marked the 19th and 20th times the diminutive Ethiopian has broken world records in his career.

"This one is so fantastic because this is my first one in America," he said. "It's a little special to me. It's really, really wonderful."

His half marathon time of 58 minutes, 55 seconds on a clear, crisp morning through the streets of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe broke the mark of 59:16 set by 18-year-old Kenyan Samuel Wanjiru in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, last Sept. 11.

His 20-kilometer time, also officially clocked, was 55:48. That broke the world record held by his longtime rival, Paul Tergat of Kenya, of 56:18 set in the Stramilano, Italy, half marathon on April 4, 1998.

While nearly 34,000 took part in the marathon and related running events on Sunday, only Gebrselassie and four pacesetters took off from the midpoint of the marathon course. Initially, he was slower than Wanjiru's world-record pace, but that changed when the 32-year-old four-time world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist took off on his own some 10 kilometers into his race.

That was by design, he said.

"That was our plan. We didn't expect the first part of the race to be fast," Gebrselassie said. "Our plan was for the second part. My plan was to run under 59 minutes and that is what we did."

With rock bands playing each mile along the way, Gebrselassie showed no signs of laboring, looking as if he was on a simple morning run. He averaged less than 41/2 minutes per mile over the 13.1 miles.

Gebrselassie won the Olympic gold medal at 10,000 meters in 1996 and 2000 but has not run on the track since his fifth-place finish at the 2004 Athens Games. Instead, he switched to the roads, where he hopes to add a gold medal in the marathon at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Controversial Liberal attack ad spawns series of spoofs

OTTAWA (CP) - Is Stephen Harper an evil galactic warlord? Is he a Bible-thumping Bush backer? We don't know. He won't say. And by the way, we are definitely making this up.

Breast Cancer

As an amateur astronomer I'm always glad to hear of another excuse to darken the night sky. As the development begins to creep into even this remote corner of Manitoba, I can see the day where my own access to a dark sky at home will be gone.

For women, artificial light seems particularly insidious. Draw those blinds to sleep, you city folk.

A Link Found Between Light, Breast Cancer

Saturday, January 14, 2006 Posted at 2:13 AM EST
From Saturday's Globe and Mail

The high rate of breast cancer in industrialized countries has long puzzled medical researchers, but a team of U.S. scientists has discovered a possible explanation for why women in developed countries are at high risk of developing the disease.

The answer at first glance may seem unlikely: nighttime exposure to electric lighting...

doggy dog

Tom is the new love interest. He's about as driven to be with people as I've ever seen in a dog.
I was told he was just six months old, but I think he must be older. If I'm mistaken, we are in for a big mother of a dog.

Surprisingly, he's a pretty mellow guy. He's going to be quite the protector I think. He's got a well developed sense of what it is to
be a dog. He barks and generally his dogness, is untainted by any of his early experiences with humans.

I've waited my whole life for a retiever and I have no idea why I always think I need take on animals that have been wounded in one
way or another. OK, I take that back.

He's a peach anyway. He's going to be easy to take after so many years with dogs that have trouble adapting to life with humans.

Spent some time last week in the local pet store trying to learn which of the stock budgies they had out would be a good candidate
to tame and train. I found out they have new arrivals every Thursday night. I went in on Friday and learnt a few things. I brough home a very
young bird. It's taming up very well.

Ever since PU's little budgie that was so friendly, I've wanted a tame bird. Now that the plumbing is fixed, maybe football and playing with my bird will be
on the prime ticket tomorrow.

Tom, the back lab

Tom, the black lab

Boo with Tom

Boo and Tom

Ghostrider Z3 M Coupe Chase -Preview

Kickin' chase video


More testosterone video

I'm always reminded of Bruce when bad confection is mentioned. He's got some issues surrounding marshmallows. Bad Candy looks to head off some grief in that department.

bad confection

Friday, January 13, 2006

hate mail or how to make friends


I dug these up for Manon tonight. She had voiced some frustration. heheheh Oh, it's the old swift social suicide that I specialise in.
Breeding for progress.





I won't get bad luck, lose my friends, lose my mailing
lists, hear any music or see a cool pop up screen if don't

forward this. Bill Gates is NOT going to send me money,
Victoria's Secret doesn't know anything about a gift
certificate they're supposed to send me and Ford will not
give me a 50% percent discount even if I HAVE forwarded my
e-mail to more than 50 people. I will NEVER receive gift
certificates, coupons or freebies from Coca Cola, Cracker
Barrel or Old Navy if I send this to 10 people who don't
know who the hell I am anyway. I will NEVER see a pop up
window if I forward this.... NEVER!!!! My phone will not
MYSTERIOUSLY ring after I forward this.

There is NO SUCH THING as an Email tracker, and I am not
STUPID enough to think that someone will send me $100 for
forwarding this to 10 or more people. There is no kid with
cancer through the Make a Wish program in England collecting
anything. He did when he was 7 yrs old. He is now cancer
free and 35 years old and DOESN'T WANT ANYMORE POSTCARDS,

The government does not have a bill in congress called 901B
(or whatever they named it this week) that if passed will
enable them to charge us 5 cents for every sent e-mail.
There will be NO cool dancing, singing, waving, colorful
flower, character, or program I will receive immediately
after I forward this. People are just trying to talk me
into doing it to make me look like a fool.

There is NO ONE who will give ANY sort of medical treatment
for aluminum can "pull tabs". The American Red Cross will
not donate 50 cents to a certain individual dying of some
never heard of before disease for every email address I
send this to. The American Red Cross RECEIVES donations,
they don't donate!

And finally, I WILL NOT let others guilt me into sending
things on to my friends for fear they will think I am not
their friend...or by telling me I have no conscience or
don't believe in JESUS CHRIST. If God wants to send me
a message, I believe the bushes in my yard will burn
before He picks up a PC to pass it along...
but even if it does come by e-mail, HE will send me one
at which point I'm SURE I will know it will be from HIM.
AND if He does, I'm sure He will care enough to delete
all those annoying forwarded's in it!"

NOW, repeat this 4 times to yourself until you've
memorized it and then send it to at least 5 of your
friends before the next full moon or you will be
constipated for the next 3 months.


Diseases, poor scores on final exams, extreme virginity, fear of being
kidnapped and executed by anal electrocution, and guilt for not
having the money to have it removed before her redneck parents sell her off
to the travelling freak show. Do you honestly believe that Bill Gates is
going to give you and everyone you send this email to $1000? How stupid
are you? Ooooh, lookyhere! If I scroll down this page and make a pj country by midget pilgrims on the Mayflower
and if it makes sense being forwarded about 90 times. I don't
fucking care.

Show a little intelligence and think about what your wish is and make one!!!

Oh please, they'll never go out with

Wish something else!!!

Not that, you pervert!!

Is your finger getting tired yet?


Wasn't that fun? :)
Hope you made a great wish :)
Now, to make you feel guilty, here's
what I'll do. First of all, if you don't
send this to 5096 people in the next 5
seconds, you will be beaten by a mad goat
and thrown off a high building into a
pile of manure. It's true!
Because, THIS letter isn't like all of
those fake ones, THIS one is TRUE!!

Really!!! Here's how it goes:
*Send this to 1 person: One person will be pissed off at you for sending
them a stupid chain letter.

*Send this to 2-5 people: 2-5 people
will be pissed off at you for sending
them a stupid chain letter.

*Send this to 5-10 people: 5-10 people
will be pissed off at you for sending them a
stupid chain letter, and may form a plot on your life.
*Send this to 10-20 people: 10-20 people will be pissed off at you for
sending them a stupid chain letter and will napalm your house.

Thanks!!!! Good Luck!!!

-------�t ---------------------------------------------
Chain Letter Type 2
Hello, and thank you for reading this letter. You see, there is a
starving little boy in Baklaliviatatlaglooshen who has no arms, no legs,
no parents, and no goats. This little boy's life could be saved,
because for every time you pass this on, a dollar will be donated to the
Little Starving Legless Armless Goatless Boy from

Baklaliviatatlaglooshen Fund. Oh, and remember, we have absolutley no
way of counting the emails sent and this is all a complete load of
bullshit. So go on, reach out. Send this to 5 people in the next 47
seconds. Oh, and a reminder - if you accidentally send this to 4 or 6
people, you will die instantly.

Thanks again!!

Chain Letter Type 3
Hi there!! This chain letter has been in existence since 1897. This is
absolutely incredible because there was no email then and probably not
as many sad pricks with nothing better to do. So this is how it works:
Pass this on to 15,067 people in the next 7 minutes or something
horrible will happen to you like:

*Bizarre Horror Story #1
Miranda Pinsley was walking home from school on Saturday. She had
recently recieved this letter and ignored it. She then tripped in a
crack in the sidewalk, fell into the sewer, was gushed down a drainpipe
in a flood of poopie, and went flying out over a waterfall. Not only did
she smell nasty, she died.

This Could happen To You!!!
*Bizarre Horror Story #2
Dexter Bip, a 13 year old boy, got a chain letter in his mail and
ignored it. Later that day, he was hit by a car and so was his boyfriend
(hey, some people swing that way). They both died and went to hell and
were cursed to eat adorable kittens every day for eternity. This Could
Happen To You Too!!!

Remember, you could end up just like Pinsley and Bip. Just send this
letter to all of your loser friends, and everything will be okay.

Chain Letter Type 4:
As if you care, here is a poem that I wrote. Send it to every one of
your friends.
A friend is someone who is always at your side,
A friend is someone who likes you even though you
stink of shit, and your breath smells like you've been
eating catfood,
A friend is someone who likes you even
though you're as ugly as a hat full of arseholes,
A friend is someone who cleans up for you
after you'd soiled yourself,
A friend is someone who stays with you
all night while you cry
about your sad, sad life,
A friend is someone who pretends they
like you when they really think you
should be beaten by mad goats, then thrown to vicious dogs,
A friend is someone who scrubs your toilet, vacuums and then gets the
cheque and leaves and doesn't speak much English...

* no, sorry that's the cleaning lady,
A friend is not someone who sends you chain letters because he wants his
wishing to be rich to come true.
Now pass this on! If you don't, you'll
never have sex ever again.

The point being?
If you get some chain letter that's threatening to leave you shagless or
luckless for the rest of your life, delete it. If it's funny, send it

Don't piss people off by making them feel
guilty about a leper in Botswana with no teeth,
who's been tied to a dead elephant for 27 years,
whose only getting the cents per letter
he'll receive if you forward this mail,
otherwise you'll end up like Miranda.

Now forward this to everyone you know otherwise you'll find all your
knickers missing tomorrow morning.

What this isn't real!

A friend of my sister's cousin's aunt's dog's fart got a cheque in the mail
for sweet piss all and started a class action suit to rid the gene pool of
fuckwits..... Oh, I give up.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006



Fifty things you can do with your ipod.

Buffalo Wings Recipe

White Bean and Ham Soup Recipe

Yeah, a new and better start page!
A google trick I hadn't seen.

Which came first, the chicken or the blonde?

Jean you made me laugh this morning!


One year at Thanksgiving, my mom went to my sister's house
for the traditional feast. Knowing how gullible my sister
is, my mom decided to play a trick. She told my sister that
she needed something from the store.

When my sister left, my mom took the turkey out of the oven, removed the
stuffing, stuffed a Cornish hen and inserted it into the turkey, and
re-stuffed the turkey. She then placed the bird(s) back in the oven.

When it was time for dinner, my sister pulled the turkey out
of the oven and proceeded to remove the stuffing. When her serving spoon hit
something, she reached in and pulled out the little bird.

With a look of total shock on her face, my mother exclaimed, "Patricia,
you've cooked a pregnant bird!" At the reality of this horrifying news, my
sister started to cry.

It took the family two hours to convince her that turkeys
lay eggs

PS My sister is a blonde

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


“Polyamory is grad school relationship. It's for
grownups only. If you can't yet bring yourself to
communicate honestly with your partner about
everything that goes wrong....and don't wait too long
after it goes wrong, and don't lay on guilt when you
bring it up, then don't do it. Stay monogamous.
Polyamory is not the place to work out your neuroses,
any more than running a marathon is the best way to
exercise your recently-broken and healing ankle.”
Raven Kaldera, “The Polyamory Contract”

The results of the Sunday Painters Juried Show

Mum and Rita off in the north of Scotland somewhere. Those smiles appear to be pretty honest. :D

The Old School House Arts Centre

The Sunday Painters Exhibition at The Old School House Arts Centre is a New Year's success with over 75 paintings entered by amateur painters ( who, "paint for the love of it" )in the adult category and 40 in the student category. A team of 10 volunteers on the TOSH "Hanging Committee" divided and installed the work in the three galleries and the classroom. "This year is an outstanding collection of paintings" says Corinne James, TOSH Coordinator, "I think I say that every year, but truly the standards get higher and the painters are honing their skills."
The volunteers with the toughest job however, were the three judges, Ivor Cohen, Jean Bruce and Leigh Buchanan, all three are professional artists who work and teach at TOSH. "They deliberated for over two hours before awarding the prizes" noted Corinne James. "The judges were not only looking for technical skill, but life and emotion in the paintings."
This years winners are: first place, Elizabeth Barclay(watercolour); second place, Mike Groenwold (pencil drawing); third place, Jean Delaney (acrylic). Three Honourable Mentions: John Raw (pastel), Agnes Aberdeen(watercolour) and Irma Melville (oil).
"Many of the entrants are students at TOSH", says Corinne James, "but there are always some closet painters in the community that surprise me. This year's biggest surprise is Catherine Elwood. She used to work in the Old School House when it was the School Board Office and I had no idea she was a painter. Catherine's two paintings are, in my opinion, two of the best in the show!"
The student category winners are all entries from Port Alberni and are exhibited in the classroom. First prize: Nick Chromezkwich (pencil), second prize, Elizabeth Webster(pastel) , third prize Michelle Oelrich (ink). Three Honourable Mentions: Theresa Johannesson (pencil), Mildred Critchlow (watercolour) and Katie Callahan (pencil).
The Reception is Wednesday, January 11at 7:00pm, the "walkabout" with a judge for a friendly critique is Thursday, January 12th at 1:00pm. Everyone is welcome to both events

Well done Mum!

Monday, January 9, 2006

Old Joe

Joe is an amazingly calm and centered man. He's one of few men it's easy to say that I love.

He was raised close to here in a sod hut. He's lived off the land, much like a native of old, all his life. He's 77 years old. He's got all his faculties and knows the Roseau River like nobody I have ever heard of much less known. His skills as a marksman are that of legend. Far and wide people have celebrated stories of Joe's exploits in hunting where others were fools.

He's humble beyond reason. Like a Zen priest, he's given his entire life over to the well being of others. He lives a spartan life with only enough wood to see him through the winter.

The first fall we were living here, Joe took it upon himself to educate me in the ways of firearms. Not by preaching, but by example. Pedagogically correct in the most arduous of tasks, that of training an adult to conform to a world completely foreign to the student, me.

For several years he tended to my education, using me to tune himself up for moose season. I learnt to hurry under his tutelage. He knew the land so well that he could describe events far ahead of my time, so when he said to be somewhere at a certain time, I learnt that his request was not an approximation. I watched several white tails trot off away from me before I caught on.

I was shamed to have put him in such a position as I did yesterday. I remain the student.

Dead Dog Cafe.

Had a dog shot today. That's never fun. Amy was too dominant for her own good and went to the neighbours while all the girls, including PU, were out for a walk. Amy proceeded to try and kill their dogs.

Bonnie courageously dove in with her boots flying, but Amy never even looked up, so bent was she on killing these two others on their own yard. Fortunately Joe is handy with a rifle and quickly brought things to a dead stand still. Amy took three shots. The first to her hind quarters, the second took half her face off and then one through the brain finally dropped her.

I don't envy Joe having to do the dirty work. When I got there Joe and Mike were all wound up defending their actions, but they had mistaken me for someone on the blame. I'd have done the same thing if the tables were reversed. They felt horrible, but it saved the lives of both the other dogs and possibly our brave Bonnie from harm.

Boo knew the consequences of Amy's actions so was hot onto the scene to intervene before the inevitable lead pill was needed, but Amy was too far gone on her mission when Bonnie spoke so strongly with her boot toe to the ribs. What a sad thing it is when dogs can't accept that humans must come first in the pecking order. Sadder still when humans can't read the signs clearly and leave a dangerous situation to play out in unpredictable ways.

I'll take Joe some of his favourite baking powder biscuits tomorrow and check to see that his dogs don't need some veterinary attention. One of them took quite a bite to the shoulder apparently and I'd be surprised if that was the only injury. By tomorrow the pain should be set in too far to hid if bones and serious injury is present.

Adri, Manon, Pierrette were all watching as this unfolded as a massive dog fight to the death. Bonnie watched Amy get killed with a front row seat. Phil, Amy's owner, and I went back after checking it out for ourselves first in the car, with the truck to haul her off to a resting place where she can join the environment she came from. I wish it was not the first time I've delivered dogs there, but sadly it's not an unfamiliar place to me.

To take responsibility for husbandry of any kind is surely to involve blood being spilled. It's most painful when they are babies, but that's another story for another day and I'll be grateful I have a whole lot less killing in my life than I've had in the past. I'm just not cut out for it. I can and I do, but it hurts more every time.

That said, I was unmoved by Amy's violent death in the ways the others were. Because I'm fluent in dog, it was no surprise to me that she had found her way into such a situation. I knew her well and knew she was not fit for our lives. She was visiting with us after several months away and was headed back to Phil's today, but it wasn't meant to be. I am relieved that such a careful watch is not longer necessary. Dogs are not to be taken lightly. I've owned several pit bulls and more than my fair share of dominant and dangerous dogs. I'm glad I no longer feel the need to explore those extremes.

Take care.



I so want to see this film!

I peed my bed for ages... I can realate!

Saturday, January 7, 2006

The Beau, nice and big so we don't forget him when he flies back to the UK

The beau. I don't know what will do without him.

The Beau

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Year in review

550 miles - 885 kilometers run.

First race in the bag.

81.5 miles - 131 kilometers run in December. :D Yeah Baby!

Thank the gods for huge toe boxes! Now if I could just find a pair of skates to match the roomy thang!