Sunday, June 30, 2024

New On The Crawl.


New on the 'BlogCrawl' that is...

It's creaky, especially given that you now have to delve into the guts of the old blogspot code to add new stuff, but readers often mention that the BlogCrawl over there on the left side bar is one of the main reasons they stop by here regularly (if you're on your phone, scroll down to the bottom and hit 'View Web Version' to see it).

Anyway, here are three new additions:

Tim Bray, software guy, who now lives in Lotusland. I've added his blog for no particular reason other than he has lots of interesting things to say about all kinds of, well, things, including a recent trip to Seattle so that he could take his teenage daughter and a friend to a rock show at the Woodland Zoo that led to his visiting a Jazz Club to see a group called GoGo Penguin in the interim. Go figure.

A tour diary by Ben Sinclair of 'The Beths', my current favourite band from New Zealand. And here I thought Mike Watt was the most obsessive, ever, with this kind of stuff. The thing about Ben's diary that is so fun is that it is both comprehensive and good, with great little embedded movies together with some really insightful stuff about what it's like to be an indie band kinda/sorta making it on the road. The most recent post is about a trip from Palm Springs to Las Vegas at the end of their most recent tour a couple of months ago (they'll be back out on the road again soon, starting in mid-August). 

Katelyn Jetelina's Epidemiology blog is a good one. I've been following her stuff for awhile now for reasons that are pretty obvious. Her most recent post nails down why gun violence really and truly is a public health issue in the U.S. This includes the almost impossible to fathom fact that firearms-related injury is now the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in that fine country.

Like Mr. Bray, I recently took a trip with one of my daughters, in this case littler e., to see a show in Seattle. Only in our case we went to the same event, together, to see the fantastic Adrianne Lenker at the Paramount theatre downtown...e. bought the tickets because it was my Father's Day present...Imagine that!...That's us at the top of the post.
And, for Bigger E....I've dug out the story of a long ago road trip to Las Vegas with, not a band, but instead my former editor...More to come on that one sometime soon, I hope, once this latest round of damnable grants is done....
Earworm in the header for this fine Canada Day weekend?...Of course...This!


Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The Next Carol Merrill.


There's a new model in the 'Let's Make A (Climate Change) Deal!' game.

And this one does not answer to either Monty Hall or Stefan Hatos.

Instead, it is a model developed by two geoscientists, one from Oxford and one from Cambridge, that they think helps to explain why marine ice sheets are highly sensitive to something called 'submarine melting' as the ocean warms.

Why does this matter for what is behind Doors Number 1 and 2 AND Door Number 3 as temperatures continue to increase?

Well, here's the kicker from geo-geeks' abstract published by Nature a few weeks ago:

"Our results point towards a stronger sensitivity of ice-sheet melting, and thus higher sea-level-rise contribution in a warming climate, than has been previously understood."


Given that we of the fossil fuel burning epoch broke more than 1,400 high temperature records in the last week, I'm not so sure that the effects of climate change are going to affect us quite so incrementally as is so often assumed by those who promulgate the advantages of a slow, sparkle pony-assisted decades long transition to carbon neutrality.

If you get my drift.

And who knew that 'Let's Make a Deal' spent a disastrous two year stint in Vancouver at the end of its first run in 1980/81 that was plagued by a goofy set with disco doors, cheap prizes and, ultimately, bounced cheques?...And imagine it being memorialized on a pre-historic 'Angelfire' webpage that has not yet succumbed to link rot!
Earworm in the subheader?...What else but...This!


Saturday, June 22, 2024

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today...



Update at the Bottom of the Post - Upshot? Always put more trust in your kids' power of recollection, and the Archives, than in your own rickety memory.

It was twenty years ago today that I ambled down the rickety stairs to the unfinished basement with the converted octopus furnace and headed over to the little nook in the corner surrounded by bookshelves I still have now and fired up the modem.

And then I wrote one my first blog posts.

Surprisingly, like all the rest of the early posts, it wasn't about BC Rail.

Instead, it was about how the Campbell government's assembled propaganda team was attempting to move public opinion just enough to force the feds to drop the offshore oil drilling moratorium.

Ultimately, that scheme was a sparkle pony that just wouldn't fly.

But many more such schemes and ponies would follow.


Why did I do it?

The posting, I mean.

And why do I keep doing it?


The only thing I know for sure is that it's better than just yelling at the TeeVee.

Plus, I guess, it forces you to learn stuff about stuff.

Or some such thing.

The early post in question
was based on the reporting of Sean Holman's long gone, and much missed, Public Eye Online.
Message in the subheader?....This!
Update: Bigger E. sent pixel patterns via the fancy palm pilot thingy in which she noted that, in days of yore at least, I was much more likely to yell at the Cluffmaster Flash playing on the VW (not-so)Microbus sound system than at the television...And you know what?...The Archives, circa 2012, confirm her side of the story...Imagine that!


Sunday, June 16, 2024

For My Dad.


Those of you who have been stopping by here for awhile now may be asking....

Why this post again? 

Because... It's a tradition - that's why!

As for the photo at the top of the post...Our Dad, with one of his favourite dogs at, possibly his favourite campsite in his favourite public campground, ever...Just one downhill jog and a quick snorkel to....Moon Snails!

Happy Day of the Fathers, et cetera, everyone!


My old man was a Union man.

And the folks in the Union fought like bastards...and they fought constantly, usually for the tiniest of things in each successive contract...things like an extra quarter percent on a COLA clause, or one little add-on like an extra free filling per year on the dental plan.

And when I was a kid, especially during that time when I was a barely no-longer-a-teenager-aged kid, I thought the folks from the Union were just a little bit off their nut....all that energy going into what, exactly?

After all, it was the 80's, and Dave Barrett and the Socialist Hordes were long gone, and the Wild Kelowna boys were rolling along, and Unions were bad, and Expo was coming, and Trudeau was going, and John Turner was hiccupping, and Mulroney was lurking, somewhere off in the distance....

....And if you were a half-bright, apolitical science-geek kind of kid like me, breezing your way through college and thinking about graduate school, you laughed when you saw the boy wonder from Burnaby, Michael J. Fox, shirk his Family Ties and ape the young Republicans while making fun of his willfully neutered Leftie of a Dad on the TV screen...

....And if you were that kid, you thought that you were living in a golden age that was tied, not to the social democratic reforms of the past, but to the coming of Free Trade and the promises of the Reaganites from the South...

...And from that perspective you sure as heck didn't always get the irony of Bruce Springsteen singing about the plight of the working class in 'Born in the USA'.

But now that I have spent a good chunk of time in USA where I started a family of my own before coming home, I do get it.

I understand that my Dad spent his entire adult life hauling logs up and down the West Coast, working his guts out to help keep the robber baron families rich because he had to make a living to support his own family....

....And I get the fact that, because of the Unions, my family's standard of living gradually improved, bit by bit, over the years so that by the time I had grown up to be that callow young man described above my parents had saved enough to help me go to University....

....And I get the fact that I was the first one in my family who got to go to University....Ever.....And it wasn't because I was so damned smart....

....And I get the fact that, while my parents' limited financial help and support was important, it would never have been enough to get me into the same good schools if I had arrived on the scene a single generation earlier or, perhaps, later....

....And I get the fact that those Wild Kelowna Boys, and all the other neo-cons that have come since, have been doing their damndest to destroy the dream of a University education for all, and instead have instituted an elitist education for some and one-trick-pony Technical training for everybody else.....

....And I get the fact that, if it wasn't for folks like my Dad and the other lefties of his time, my current world, one in which I make a living with my eyes and my mind wide open, would not be what it is today.....

....And most of all, I now get the fact that my Dad was, and is, my hero.


Wednesday, June 12, 2024

We're A Garage Band.


When I was in my last year of high school, which was the year that punk broke, my friends and I formed a garage band that actually played in a real garage, with cardboard egg cartons stuck to the walls and everything...I remember some of what happened...The rest I figure I can just make up...

Part I - Do You Feel Like We Do?

The 97 straight weeks that 'Frampton Comes Alive' charted pretty much traced the entire evolution of the thing.

We were playing flip disk down in the basement at the home of the Big W when that damnable double album first arrived in our midst in the spring of 1976.

S. brought it.

The rest of us figured he found about it from Miles, the guy who ran the sound down at the Rec Center. If we had known that it actually came S's girlfriend it probably never would have made it to the turntable.

But, as the rampant '70's musical chauvanism that steered us clear of acts like KC and the Sunshine Band had been momentarily locked up thanks to our teenage-headed ignorance of what was really going on, the talk box started squawking and the game resumed.


Flip disk was essentially carpet hockey without sticks. We'd been playing it since junior highschool and in the beginning it had all been finesse, fun, and sweeping arms sending the little plastic disk/puck over the baseball glove covered hand of the outstretched goalie.

The thing is, more often than not that spring, the game had turned Broad Street Bully tough. As a result, it was not uncommon for the games to end with a hyperextended finger and/or a bashed head.

On the day of the Framptoning, however, it was a wild swipe of mine that sent the disk crashing through the basement window which brought things to an abrupt halt just as the former Humble Pie (almost) frontman started shouting out to some guy named 'Pumpman' on the keyboards.

Of course, given my penchant for mondegreen moments, even way back then, I had no idea that this particular fine fellow was actually a fantastic musician named Bob Mayo.

The image at the top of the post is from a post-album release concert in Oakland's then (truly) dual purpose football/baseball stadium that was put together by Bill Graham - it's quite a story for the time....It looks to me like the stage is jutting out in front of the center field bleachers which means that the crowd, when it looked over the castle-themed stage, would have had a glorious view of the East Bay Hills that is now obliterated by that goldarned 'Mount Davis'.


Friday, June 07, 2024

The 'Common Sense' Vaccine Nihilism Of The British Columbia Conservative Party


Last week we noted the following post-millennial quote from Paul Parkman, co-inventor of the Rubella vaccine way back in the ancient times (i.e. the late 1960's):

...“As I look back on my career, I have come to think that perhaps I was involved in the easy part (i.e. developing a safe, effective vaccine)"...


...“It will be for others to take on the difficult task of maintaining the protections that we struggled to achieve. We must prevent the spread of this vaccine nihilism, for if it were to prevail, our successes could be lost.”...


One of the keys to the modern medical miracles of debilitating disease and death prevention is population-wide childhood vaccination.

To wit, the population-wide uptake of the rubella vaccines that wiped out the birth defects that are caused by the virus and its by-products:

...Maternal rubella during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, fetal death or congenital rubella syndrome...


...Before the rubella vaccine was licensed in the United States in 1969, rubella was a common disease that occurred primarily among young children. However, rubella was eliminated from the United States in 2004. Since elimination, fewer than 10 cases have been reported annually in the United States, and most cases were imported from outside the country...


What are the population-based (measles, mumps and) rubella early childhood vaccination rates in the U.S. that have achieved this medical miracle?

Percent of children vaccinated by age 24 months against measles, mumps, rubella (1 dose or more): 90.8% (birth year 2016)

And in Canada it was 91.5% in 2021.

However, there are now concerns about falling rates for childhood vaccination, post-pandemic.

Of course, a considerable portion of that drop was caused by the interruption of normal vaccination schedules that occurred because of the pandemic itself. However, there is some evidence that COVID-19 vaccine nihilists are also drivers of long lasting parental increases in jab hesitancy against childhood diseases.

Personally, here in Lotusland, I am of the opinion that a sub-group of these drivers of long-tailed jab hesitancy against childhood diseases is made up of those who continue to rail against the provincial supreme court-approved COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health care workers. And that includes the braintrust behind the (close-to) front-running Conservative Party of British Columbia.

The following is from said party's 'Common Sense Plan' that is available for voter scrutiny on its website under the sub-heading of 'Culture and Freedom':

...While medically-approved inoculation should be encouraged, and vaccines offered to all British Columbians, individuals should not be mandated or coerced into receiving any medical treatment against their will, and fired government employees (including nurses) should be hired back immediately...

Note the 'any medical treatment' widener in the railing and the bleating, above.

And, further note that the leader of the political party concerned went even farther and wider afield in an interview with the Globe and Mail recently:

...(Conservative Party of BC leader) Mr. (John) Rustad said a group of medical professionals recently told him the closest analogue to B.C.’s healthcare system is that of a totalitarian dictatorship across the Pacific.

“I’m told that there’s only one jurisdiction that even comes close to following what we do and that’s North Korea – and it’s not exactly a stellar model, from my perspective, of success in health care,” said Mr. Rustad, who added that his government would immediately fire Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry over her support for COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Mr. Rustad refused to identify the group of medical professionals that provided this analysis...

Say, what?

The good Mr. Rustad is refusing to show his work, and/or identify those who did the work for him?

Imagine that!

Image at the top of the post
is from a paper by Macey et al., published  in the Journal of Infectious Diseases in 2011.
Tip O' The Toque to reader GarFish for the heads-up re: the BC Con Party platform nihilism...
Regarding that group of 'medical professionals' that is 'telling' the good Mr. Rustad that our provincial healthcare system is closest to that of North Korea?...We've got a line on that thanks to a tip from another reader...Stay tuned.
And while we don't have mandates for childhood vaccinations in British Columbia, they are in place in Ontario which means, I guess, that, according to Mr. Rustad, Parry Sound is the new Pyongyang.


Saturday, June 01, 2024

Interstellar Resurrection Shuffle.


Voyager I, which was launched the year punk broke, passed by Neptune on its way out to deep space in 1989 (see above). 

It is now 15 billion years from home.

And last fall it was, essentially, dead.

But now it's back...

...Voyager 1’s plasma wave subsystem and magnetometer instrument are sending usable data. The team is still working on fixing the cosmic ray subsystem and low-energy charged particle instrument. This process could take weeks. “Kinda like when your power goes out and you have to go around your whole house resetting all your electronics,” the Voyager 1 team tweeted on X. “That's basically what my team and I are doing now.”...

If there's one thing that an interstellar spacecraft needs to get working it's its 'cosmic ray subsystem' mojo.


And we're talking
about the first time punk broke here, 1977...It was also the year of the Woz' non-HAL9000 Apple II release and the year that your humble blogger graduated from high school.
Earworm in the header?....This!
And, just to be clear,  from a two-bit, tin-plated wordsmith POV, I will always jump at the chance to use the alliterative headscratcher "it's its" in a grammatically correct(ish) way that Mrs. Griffiths would be proud of...