Happy Canada Day … or Dominion Day … or excuse to party day …

A bit like the Queen’s birthday [Queen Victoria, that is, no getting all modern around here!] which we celebrate on a day that is specifically, by statute, never her actual birthday, May 24th, Canada day is a holiday dedicated to outdoor eating and drinking. Fireworks, yes, but mostly drinking and eating. Like July 4th, but with hesitant polite patriots. And a lovely neighbour, who hails from the U.S., who has managed to fill in enough paperwork again to get us barricades so we can block off our block, almost legally.

Setting the ambience for this public display of eating and drinking, much waving and wearing of the Liberal Party colours will be evident here in Ottawa, the nation’s capital, ostensibly picked by said Queen because that is where her finger landed on the map … not really, just a bad Ottawa joke … there are three rivers that intersect here that were of significant navigational and economic import at the time. And speaking of said Queen, I just have to add, she seems to have enjoyed her eating and drinking, as they can date her underpants by their waistband, having what one might call an expansive photographic record of their owner’s expanding waist: Queen Victoria’s ‘big pants’ to be sold at auction in Wiltshire:

83966911 img 2853 600x338  Happy Canada Day … or Dominion Day … or excuse to party day …

The liberal government of the day cleverly remade our national flag into essentially a Liberal Party sign, removing any trace of blue, the colour associated with conservatism here, and any symbols other than the maple leaf, during one of our spasmodic attempts to reinvent our past and create a national story by destroying all remnants of our colonial history. But I am proud of our slow shedding of our colonial yoke and the use of argument over weapons and will raise a glass of not Canadian wine in thanks for wonder at being born at all, let alone into such a magically lucky setting.

IMG 5040 600x400  Happy Canada Day … or Dominion Day … or excuse to party day …Replacing the flag at the cottage, May 2013

Bonne Fête, Canada, and Santé, which we could all use a little bit of, to go with our dwindling sanity.

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If being current on modern currency isn’t your cup of tea … how about a slice of ancient constitutional history?

It worked for my grand-pa Bertie, and it works for me, on occasion. And this year is one of those occasions.

Nicholas Vincent on the Magna Carta

Did an 800-year old piece of parchment really change the world? Nicholas Vincent of the University of East Anglia talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Magna Carta, the founding document of English law and liberty. The Magna Carta was repudiated just ten weeks after King John issued it. Yet, its impact is still with us today. In this conversation, Vincent explains what led to the Magna Carta and how its influence remains with us today in England and elsewhere.

A delightful exploration of the roots of English law on the occasion of the 800th anniversary of the signing of this vague promise to behave. A promise that needs renewing.

Behave out there!

Posted in LIFE, RANDOM | 106 Comments

He does call them fanatics and someone goes to jail …

Bitcoins, they just won’t go away … unless they were mean’t to be in your wallet ..

I do find bitcoins an intriguing approach to currency, but have a great deal of trouble taking them seriously. I think owning gold might actually be easier, and more secure. Anonymity is always desirable, but with bitcoins anonymity is virtue and vice combined. You cannot prove who stole your bitcoins and it is a little hard to return merchandise. But also any currency designed to enable criminal conduct and evade taxation is bound to attract attention and most governments do loathe competition.

[And it should be fewer people, not less, near the end of the interview. And now a niece mentioned number versus amount as in there was a large amount of people … no! There were a large number of people. There was a large amount of slime. But I digress.]

I should say there is a large amount of curiosity about currency and an even larger amount of greed and shenanigans hovering around it.

Nathaniel Popper on Bitcoin and Digital Gold

Nathaniel Popper of the New York Times and the author of Digital Gold talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Bitcoin. Can Bitcoin make it? What went wrong with Mt. Gox? Why did Ross Ulbricht, the creator of Silk Road, just get sentenced to life in prison? Why are venture capital firms pouring millions of dollars into companies promising easier ways to use Bitcoin? Popper discusses these questions along with the technical side of Bitcoin to help listeners understand why so many investors are excited about the potential of Bitcoin.

May you have a truly tangible day, and avoid the Dreaded Pirate Roberts while listening to the dulcet tones of the Professorial Russ Roberts.

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And she was …

It was a sweet send off and now …

we rest in peace.

Posted in LIFE | 3 Comments

Good Morning

I couldn’t seem to comment even on my own blog! I have banned myself without knowing it. But here was yesterday, and it went surprisingly well.

IMG 6602 600x450  Good MorningIMG 6601 600x450  Good MorningIMG 6600 600x450  Good Morning

And here she is, from the patio of the club house.

IMG 6607 600x450  Good Morning

What a nice change. In many ways.

 

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And at the end of the rainbow, a little lighthouse …

Crossing the bridge at Prescott. I may love Americans but I am nervous in America. You really do seem to have a lot of police everywhere. Or maybe I just don’t worry about Canadian police. We are just so less likely to be incarcerated.

IMG 6515 600x450  And at the end of the rainbow, a little lighthouse …

Finally in Wareham, Massachusetts, and there she be! Just as remembered, or maybe a little cleaner … on the outside. The promised interior cleaning never happened, but I was prepared mentally for same, and it is a mess, but inch by inch it gets better.

IMG 6540 600x450  And at the end of the rainbow, a little lighthouse …

Ugh. Not happy with one axle.

IMG 6524 600x450  And at the end of the rainbow, a little lighthouse …

But hey! What a store! A lot like our Princess Auto, which is honestly like going reverse shopping, with women hanging around outside drinking coffee waiting forever for their men folk while holding their purses.

IMG 6519 600x450  And at the end of the rainbow, a little lighthouse …

And then the tow home. We really tried to do things by the book, but losing the licence plate on the way home wasn’t part of the plan. But having a spare trailer light wasn’t either, but we luckily had only had to replace one rear light set and the kit had two … we just didn’t tighten the bolts enough … shook itself off somewhere in upper New York State. But the border guard turned out not to give a hoot, and it was after 1 am on a rainy Mother”s Day (well, technically Boxing Mother’s Day)

IMG 6581 600x450  And at the end of the rainbow, a little lighthouse …

and we drove uneventfully the rest of the way to the Nepean Sailing Club, where they have a tiny lighthouse.

IMG 6583 600x384  And at the end of the rainbow, a little lighthouse …

So far so good!

 

Posted in LIFE, PHOTOS | 1 Comment

First the sad stuff …

OldPhotos040 600x511  First the sad stuff …150509_YOWCit_D10_APR_Obit

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I don’t know why mum wasn’t wearing her cap with her gown … it is a most splendid cap and suited her to a tee, as you can see:

IMG 5301 600x400  First the sad stuff …

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In the staged photo above, Bertie Wilkinson, her father, is at the far left, and her brother at the far right. Bertie was a mediaevalist, and strangely fascinated by 12th century constitutional law, and a treat. I mention that just to make sense of the donations mentioned in the obit. Her brother was a professor of Library Science. Yes, I don’t really understand either. My dad was getting sworn in as the head of Victoria College at the U of T at the time … I am a happy black sheep of the family, having run screaming from the thought of doing a PhD … had to distinguish myself somehow!

We have received condolences that have mentioned the passing of an era. Does every generation just feel that, or do we live in a small enough pond that the generations were fairly distinct? But now it is my turn to grow old, I hope. And for that I am exceptionally grateful. Thanks mum.

 

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Don’t touch that dial … well, actually do, please, but then come bacq

Hey ho … life is up to its usual shenanigans and my poor mum is not so well and it is occupying my mind and body. And I am information central for a small but loving group and I wish this phase were over. Youth in Asia is not a topic for blanket statements, and I think it is a slippery slope. But when is intervention cruel and how can nature take its course when man always wants to meddle? Mum has a living will. Everyone should have one. Mum also gave personal care power of attorney to her children before she couldn’t … please find someone you trust and give them this power. But maybe don’t pick me … once is enough.

Peace out … and much love …

Exuma9 114 600x398  Don’t touch that dial … well, actually do, please, but then come bacq

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Sorry for the endless test pattern …

I have been having a most interesting time, and seem to have hampered my neurons [but not to the point of not being able to spell neuron, strange spell checker who prefers neurone, ed.] terribly, with the kind assistance of Pfizer. My experience with Lyrica has been a life saving killer over the past oh so many years … hmmnn … but now two weeks have passed and it is a week since I last barfed … the worst seems to be over with the withdrawal but my brain feels like there is a storm inside it and I think my hippocampus is angry with me! I feel like an idiot in many ways, and will write up the whole experience once my brain cools. When you are sick and no one knows why a lot of weird stuff can happen.

But …

The cottage beckons for Easter, we have found a home for the boat here in Ottawa at the Nepean Sailing Club, on the hard as they say, and one way or another the sun is going to shine, at least metaphorically! We still have to go and actually get the boat but it is all beginning to gel …

I hope to be more myself next week as even my camera begins to tempt me … but the thought of leaving the house alone still gives me the willies so something must change first and I am giving myself the benefit of the doubt and not rushing anything.

Oh and rabbits, rabbits, rabbits! Happy April 1st!

Posted in RANDOM | 70 Comments

And you thought the Shipping News was a depressing book, by a depressed nit-wit …

who had barely visited Newfoundland, and had the temerity to completely misrepresent the people, painting them with her own misery. But no. The depressing shipping news brought to you by this not very depressed nit-wit features the very frozen Great Lakes. While apparently last year’s ice is not to be beaten, this year’s is giving it a run for its money, if ice had money, which thankfully it doesn’t.

Here is the recent satellite shot from NOAA. Or not. They seem to be having troubles with their website, which is a good thing, because I am full of misinformation this morning. Apparently there was more ice coverage on the Great Lakes on March 3rd 2015 than on the previous year’s March 3rd. But I am pretty sure it is neck and neck now, or neck and bottle-neck if you are a ship hoping to get to Lake Superior, which thankfully you are not.

So here is how Lakes Huron, Erie and Ontario looked on March 3rd:

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Statistically speaking, apparently there was 88.3% ice coverage compared to 86%, in 2014.

That’s a whole lot of ice, but what that doesn’t show is that the water appears warmer this year … or I am unable to read the maps, which is a distinct possibility, hope springing eternally, leading to eternally hoping for spring!

A weekly Wednesday update … served iced, with a side of warm wishes.

Posted in LIFE | 12 Comments