Sunday, October 31, 2010

In the spirit...

Everybody's dressed up for Halloween, even our friendly outdoor leopard, Spot.

Happy trick or treats!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's wrong with this picture?

Yes, it's full of distortions that come from taking a photo of a television screen. Try it -- those jumping pixels don't stay still for long.

Despite the eye-trick -- think of all the rearranging work our eyes must constantly do when we watch for long periods of time -- there are a couple of other elements that went along with this image of Premier Gordon Campbell that weren't quite right either.

He started his speech last night by asking a double-headed question: Why his government had initiated the HST and why they "...didn't talk about it before the last election."

As for the first part of the question, he trotted out mostly the same explanations he's always offered, only with the addition of charts. Although these were credited to the province's Ministry of Finance, I was surprised to see them using one of the oldest propaganda tricks around. Although they appeared to be bar graphs, there were no numeric indicators running up the side, nothing even to indicate a base line. In other words, the ratios shown could have represented any amount and were in essence, completely meaningless.

Conveniently, none of these charts illustrated the fact that B.C. continues (despite our high costs of living) to have the lowest legislated minimum wage in all of Canada.

He tossed around a lot of numbers -- how a family of four currently making $25,000 (good luck, sez I) will now receive up to $920 in HST tax credits, money they'll be able to 'decide' how they'll spend. Hmmm, that's a whole whopping $2.50 a day -- that sounds like a real life-changer.

When it came to his answering the second part of the question (the part about how the tax had been brought in even though HST rumours were denied during the last campaign) Campbell pretty much managed to skip addressing that part. Only that's the part that seems to have stuck in the craw of so many British Columbians.

In his rationalizations about the HST, he even used the phrase "...after the announcement was made...". Not 'after the province-wide referendum', not even 'after it was debated in the legislature' -- but "after the announcement was made".

Governance by announcement rather than democratic process. And that's the real problem with these pictures.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A day for Purple

Today is a day for wearing purple. It's a day for thinking about people who've killed themselves because someone found out they were gay. The most recent of these tragedies was apparently triggered by an unwanted posting on Facebook.

In one of those perfect flukey messages sent by the universe, the following quote showed up in a message someone sent to me today. Attributed to Mark Twain, its sentiment seemed suited to the day. “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Silver Rain in White Rock

And no, it wasn't raining here. It was another beautiful autumn day. I not only managed to get out and into it, but also made it to the launch of a brand-new book.

Local writer Lois Peterson has put early retirement to excellent use, writing -- and even better, getting published.

Today's event celebrated the launch of her third book, Silver Rain, a story set in Vancouver during the years of the Great Depression. Since marathon dancing is part of the plot, Lois arranged for the reading to take place at White Rock's Arthur Murray Dance Studio (who'd have even known there still were such things?), where we were treated to a demonstration of several dances. Better by a mile than watching Dancing with the Stars.

Her previous book, The Ballad of Knuckles McGraw, was also on sale, though her earlier book, Meeting Miss 405, wasn't available, as I suspect that it has sold out. It won a whole fistful of prizes, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if today's entry doesn't do the same.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Today, 10/10/10 was scheduled to be a day for thinking about the climate. It wasn't raining, the day wasn't hot or cold, and it seemed like the perfect day to get in the car and head for the forest.

In other words, instead of participating in a protest, I celebrated -- I honoured the changing weather by getting outside and into it. Bad of me? I don't think so.

This is Thanksgiving weekend, and as always, I have much to be thankful for, including the bounty of wild mushrooms we found today. The photo shows a few of the chanterelles we found, still holding needles and bits of debris as they lie on the bed of the forest.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Lungs of the Earth

This morning saw me making an early morning trip to the airport, dropping off my sister who'd been visiting. On the way home, with those mixed-up feelings of sadness and regret that so often are part of a family visit, it felt comforting to drive past fields where a blanket of autumn mist was rising. Naturally, this was one of those times when my camera wasn't by my side.

But when I got home to our little yard so full of trees, I decided to take a picture of one of the pieces of found art we display outdoors. It seems to so clearly show the role that trees play as the lungs of the earth.

And speaking of trees, this little blog is one of many that's had some of its posts selected for a 'blog carnival'. If you'd like to see some of the many blog posts about trees, click here to see the current carnival, Festival of the Trees.

And if you'd like more info about getting one of your posts linked into next month's carnival, click here.

But in the meantime, while the weather lasts, think about getting outside and working your own lungs in the company of some of the 'lungs of the earth' in your neighbourhood.