What the actual?!

25 06 2022

I get it: I’m a guy. I don’t live in the US. It doesn’t impact me directly.

But it does impact me. It impacts everyone when “the land of the free” reduces the rights of its people.

Hopefully sense will prevail eventually… though as I was once taught on a training course “hope is the worst form of plan”. So far, it’s not working well to reduce gun violence in schools.

To quote Peter Gabriel in a song about another regime with draconian laws designed to repress its own citizens: “The eyes of the world are watching now.”

I urge you to be informed then form your own opinion.

Source: Washington Post – funny if it weren’t so tragic.

Tough Mudder?!

31 08 2015

Nah, this is Bog Snorkelling.

An annual race. Snorkelling. Through a bog. Yup – for real.

No proper swim strokes though… only doggy paddle allowed.

It was in Wales. ‘Nuff said.

Humans are a terrible species

29 08 2015

Back in 1969 a man set foot on the moon. 1969. I was 5 years old. It was almost 50 years ago!

In 1990 – a full 25 years ago – South Africa, racially fractured almost since its founding by European powers began its own path to reconciliation and healing.

In 1950 India – the world’s largest democracy, let’s not forget- made inter-caste discrimination illegal. 65 years ago. Progress.

Today I was made aware of two international stories that made me shake my head and realise that these successes of humanity are but a veneer on what we really are deep at heart – tribal, ignorant animals scared of anything and more importantly anyONE that is “other”. We’ve become sophisticated over the millennia, but that just makes us so much more subtle (or not, in the first tale I’ll recount) in the way we express our prejudice.

The first story I’ll tell nearly made me choke on my morning tea. In Baghpat – just north of New Delhi in northern India, a man from the Dalit (untouchables) class fell in love with a woman from the higher Jat community. We’re led to believe it was fully reciprocated. She was subsequently married off to a more suitable upper class husband, but a month later in a scene I imagine similar to The Graduate, her “unsuitable” but romantic lover ran off with her anyway.

This is 2015 remember. In a democratic country that 65 years ago made it illegal to discriminate based on caste. You might imagine some indignation. Her parents can’t be too happy for sure. But the actual reaction?… his family were tortured OFFICIALLY by the police and his two sisters sentenced to rape for his “crime”. Yes, you read that right… they weren’t subjected to rape by vindictive relations (the Jat community did in fact ransack their home), no this was a judicial sentence. One sister is 15 FFS! Sentenced by an unelected council to be raped and then paraded naked through the streets!

Thankfully the girls managed to get India’s Supreme Court involved and Amnesty International is now on the ball. But it’s not a slam dunk they’ll escape being subjected to this throw-back to earlier times, punished barbarically for their brother’s “cross-caste” love affair, deemed a crime they must pay for.

Read more about it at Mashable.

Source: Indian sisters sentenced to rape because of their brother’s affair

The second story that came to my attention today is much closer to home. Not geographically – it’s actually in Switzerland. It is however an attitude I come across commonly in and around Vancouver. The BBC reports that the Swiss Blick news agency has reported that the Rigi resort has put on special trains to cater for the vast number of Chinese visitors. The reason? They’re apparently noisy and disturb “other visitors” (i.e. more like “us”). Blick reports “They crowd the corridors while taking pictures from the train, there has been rudeness in packed carriages, and some even report seeing tourists spit on the floor“. There’s also reports of “Rigi seems to be firmly in Chinese hands!” and “Toilets are now cleaned more often, and signs have been put up showing how to use them correctly“. It’s all couched in terms of helping the Chinese visitors, but I can’t help but feel there’s more than a little resentment of “other”. I myself often see elderly members of our local Chinese community spitting in the street and I’ve heard tell that following an elderly Chinese lady into a public toilet can be “an experience”. At root though this is no more than a culture clash, and if we are wanting to welcome the income from foreign visitors we need also to understand that they will bring different perspectives and expectations. Segregation comes in many guises and “adding extra trains for the Chinese to avoid conflict with other visitors” is very different to simply adding more capacity.

A mountain resort in Switzerland is launching special train services for Chinese tourists.


Source: Switzerland: Special trains for Chinese tourists – BBC News


Cubs are cool

25 08 2015

Harper was doing a blah blah tour up in Campbell River on the island. Somehow a group of scouts/cubs were dragged in for the photo op. This despite the fact that scouts are not supposed to attend political rallies in uniform – they’re apolitical!

In the end this “I don’t give a shit – where’s the ice-cream?” cub scout got the most attention from the media. Harper was talking about BC salmon and protecting the environment. Rumour has it the posters to go with the campaign used ATLANTIC salmon. From the UK no less!

Cubs are cool

‘Middle Kid’ steals the show at Harper photo-op – Trending – CBC News.

Children With Prosthetics Could Soon Be Creating Their Own Lego Attachments

25 07 2015

Losing (or never having) a limb can place one at a huge disadvantage. As a child – adaptable though the little imps invariably are – one can be at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to one of the most influential learning processes we humans use… play!

This Lego-compatible prosthetic system from IKO literally allows kids to “hack” their own prosthetic and become part of their toy.

Beyond cool…

More at The Guardian.


IIO called in after deadly police-involved shooting in South Surrey – NEWS 1130

18 07 2015

What should have been an uneventful amble with the dog to the library to return some books this morning turned out to be quite shocking.

The entire library/RCMP detatchment building was closed off, including a block of the busy 152nd St.

It turns out there had been a police shooting at about 2:30am, which would probably explain the helicopters that have been patrolling the skies of normally sleepy White Rock/South Surrey all morning too.

IIO called in after deadly police-involved shooting in South Surrey – NEWS 1130.

The lady flagger positioned by the library was happily shuttling residents’ library books to the return silo. Details of the shooting are still sketchy, but no doubt will develop as the day goes on.

News 1130: Police incident in White Rock/South Surrey

News 1130: Police incident in White Rock/South Surrey

Undercover police operation in Downtown Eastside uncovers kindness

17 07 2015

In need of a positive vibe for a Friday?

Undercover police operation in Downtown Eastside uncovers kindness (The Province newspaper).

Police trying to identify who is attacking vulnerable people in Vancouver’s downtown eastside (DTES) set up a sting. A policeman posed as a wheelchair-bound quadriplegic with a very obvious iPad, camera, visible cash sticking out of a bag, and the like. In other words a very soft target for those that might have criminal urges. Even individuals known to the police, people with criminal backgrounds actually offered to help “the bait”. He was asked if he had somewhere safe to sleep, given money and food. The sting actually came away with an extra $24, and the police found nothing but positive observations after 300 interactions. The “target” was warned about leaving his valuables so visible and the money was actually put away for him rather than stolen as one might expect.

Undercover police operation in Downtown Eastside uncovers kindness

 The hunt still continues for the person attacking some of Vancouver’s most vulnerable, but the message is clear – this community , one of the most challenged in Vancouver, is looking out for its own just as much as the police are!

Be Prepared…

13 07 2015

It took them a while, but BSA finally caught up with most of the world’s other scouting organisations… and even its own national laws.

A couple of years ago they decided at long last to stop excluding gay youth – sorry: BOYS.

Now they’ve finally decided to allow gay leaders, assuming the vote passes on July 27th. So, if only they could see the paradox of still not letting girls join, they’d be really up to date!

Full story on Mashable.com


Mashable: Pride Parade in Seattle, with cubs and scouts leading the way.


Loblaws and dodgy paperwork

27 06 2015

A week or so ago, a Canadian supermarket chain – Loblaws – was in the news and being demonised by the media machine.

The gist of the story was that one of their Surrey supermarkets was being re-branded to one of their other lower-end shops. As a result the existing staff were offered a one-time deal to compensate them for the on-going lower package the cheaper brand would pay. The news story was around the fact that Loblaws had over-paid ~20 workers and was now asking them to repay the additional money.

Many of the affected people had already spent/invested the additional money… several thousand dollars on average.

Now, I regularly get my news from the CBC because, like their UK model the BBC, they tend to be more objective and use less hyperbole. That said, and despite the story running for a few days, it was never actually made plain whether the original offer was more than it should have been (in which case those affected would obviously make their decision as to whether to accept or not based on an inflated number) or whether the offer was correct but Loblaws had actually overpaid the stated amount (in which case one has to ask whether the recipients were actually immoral in spending/investing it without checking whether it was an error). Now the dust has settled, it seems the latter is the case, and these people, having agreed to some payment actually received more, spent it, and are now complaining that the company is asking for it back.

Am I missing something? Sure the company might have been a tad heavy-handed in asking for immediate repayment. But, I’m sorry, these employees knowingly cashed cheques for more money than they were expecting… and neglected to question whether, perhaps, possibly, some mistake had been made, and potentially this additional dosh wasn’t actually theirs to have. We’re not talking a rounding error here. I too might not blink if I received a dollar or two more than I’d been led to expect, but we’re talking THOUSANDS of dollars here! This feels more like wilful neglect bordering on knowing theft. Loblaws took the higher ground and backed right off. Hurray for media-led justice. Not.

OK, so enough in defence of Loblaws. One of their local brands is Canadian Superstore. We recently bought a packet of bread-buns. They are magical. They have an infinite best-before date! Miracle food indeed. It could solve world hunger.

Best before... WTF?!

Best before… WTF?!

If – as is more than likely – you’re not as anal and detail-oriented as QE, you may need a hint. Go look at the June page of your calendar. See any date missing? Aha, there you go.

Of course, it might be good until 15th June 2031 which, though not infinitely far away is still pretty good! (Canadian date formats are inconsistent at best due to British DDMMYY history, but US MMDDYY proximity. Japanese YYMMDD is not uncommon, as here, to try and avoid the issue altogether).

So – what have we learnt?

I reckon we’ve learnt that Loblaws are paying rock-bottom wages and as such employ people with only a tenuous grasp on the way time works and what morals are.



The Day Tour de Yorkshire came to Silsden

9 05 2015

Hot on the heels of the Yorkshire leg of the Tour de France, there is now The Tour de Yorkshire. I shit you not!

Here’s a write up from the 3rd of May, when it passed through my home village of Silsden: The Day Tour de Yorkshire came to Silsden | news.silsden.netnews.silsden.net.

news.silsden.net: Tour de Yorkshire

I confess I sat patiently through the entire scroll of 68 photos just to be amazed alternatively at (i) how much the village has changed since I left for university back in 1982, never to return and (ii) how much it was just the same as I left it.

The old millstone grit houses and sagging stone (not slate – sandstone) rooves made me briefly homesick. The sight of Ilkley moor in the background of the photos pointing up Bolton Rd. was a particularly fond memory. With or b’aht ‘at.