Saturday, October 8, 2011

How do you describe an Ironman to someone who doesn't know?

"Describe an Ironman" could mean "a person who is an Ironman" as my learned colleagues above have done,
it could mean "a test of endurance conducted from point A to point B covering 2.4miles of swimming followed by 112 miles of bicycling, followed immediately by 26.2 miles on foot, done in the fastest possible time usually involving at least 2,000 competitors."

That may sound dull but it is the most economical and accurate definition I can compose.

Libor calls it a "sufferfest."

Metaphorically it might be something like this:

Ironman is a test of courage stressing the body and emotions to their limits by combining swimming, biking and running performed at optimum speed against, and with, about 2,000 like-minded souls. It requires commitment and fortitude, manifests a primitive need to push yourself as close to exhaustion as you dare in an exploration of your own character. It expresses the human need to stand on the edge of the deep and peer into the abyss just far enough that you can then draw back and scream defiance in the face of death, then to return, trembling, to the quotidian with renewed vigour and the confidence that comes from knowing that you can not only survive, but that you can prevail.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Organic vs. Vegetarian? Where's the beef?

At the bottom, we want tasty, satisfying meals. If that means a nice chunk of BBQed mastodon, so be it! The leaf eaters can ruminate in their lotus position until they've extracted all the nutrition from their roots & greens, the world changers are going to toss the bones to the dogs and race off to the next adventure!

The goal shouldn't be to max out the world population with everybody eating beans & rice. Let's raise the bar a little. Life is about change. You live, then you die, no matter what you do. Humans are inventive animals. They created wine, port, whisky, wrote 10,000 cookbooks and have tried every critter under the sun with gravy or soy sauce at one time or another. To paraphrase Socrates, the unexplored diet is not worth living!

Perhaps when all countries provide free birth control, support abortion on demand, educate all their children, not just the boys, provide clean water and basic medical and dental care to their people, then you can go after food producers. The problem is at basis too many people not what they choose to eat.

Should meat producers be banned to curb climate change?

re: "
Why Don’t More People Make the Link Between Animal Agriculture and Climate Change?"

By Kamal Prasad and Marilyn Cornelius

The assumption underlying the article: "that if only we will all live a simpler, less technologically enhanced life, everybody can live happily on this planet" is patently false.

All people are in competition for resources. There are winners & losers. People die and that's a fact.

We make choices. Some choose to live in flood prone areas and will watch their house flood and be washed away next year, if not, the year after. I'm not talking about Bangladesh, I'm talking about the banks of the Mississippi.

We work hard to achieve a better lifestyle for our families. If that means emigrating to America, working six days a week at two jobs so your children can have an education, buy a house of their own (away from the Mississippi) one day in which to raise their family, have the independence of a car with a roof and a heater, and eat meat several times a week, then that's what we worked for, that's what we wanted and that's what we have earned. Life's a struggle. You make sacrifices, work hard, then, no matter what you do, you die.

Now, ask the father of an immigrant family who has sweated blood for forty years hanging steel, if he will take that steak out of his children's mouths, and scrap his car, so that some Bangladeshi can re-build his stick and corrugated steel roof shack on the flood-prone banks of the monsoon zone property that got washed away for the tenth time in the last century. Go ahead. Ask him.

Perhaps when all countries provide free birth control, support abortion on demand, educate all their children, not just the boys, provide clean water and basic medical and dental care to their people, then you can go after food producers. The problem is at basis too many people not what they choose to eat. The goal should be population management not to max out the population with everybody eating beans and rice. Let's raise the bar a little.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Climate Change: these things can be done!

Climate Change surfaced in my consciousness once again this morning. Perhaps it's because the NBA and NHL playoffs are over and the Tour de France and Wimbledon have yet to begin. Heh.

I read an article by Professor Lovejoy of Geo. Mason U. in my e-mail. He suggests geo-engineering solutions in addition to emphasizing that we are approaching tipping-point deadlines.
He points out the danger of delay and that people, and therefore their governments, are not likely to act until calamity occurs and probably only when it happens to them. Island peoples in the Indian Ocean losing their homes to ocean levels rising is not likely to move residents of Winnipeg who have just dealt with their own seasonal flooding from the Red River. Coral reefs dying don't concern folks in Edmonton, and so on.

In an earlier blog, I have pointed out the potential loss of white sand beaches everywhere as a consequence of ignoring climate change because everybody has a dream of vacationing on a tropical beach someday. I hoped that they might act because it hurt them in their dreams, but not so far. Perhaps they are still in denial and listen to false opinions of climate change by naysayers.
But perhaps the apathy is because the threat seems in need of a solution to focus on? Here, Professor Lovejoy has something to offer. He points to such familiar solutions as massive reforestation projects, restoration of grasslands and practicing agriculture that restores carbon to the soil, and then he points to more esoteric methods,

"For example, Vinod Khosla¹s Calera experiment has demonstrated
how to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by mixing it with
seawater to produce cement."


Obstacles to implementing these solutions include:

- Doubt in the minds of ordinary people put there by industry lobbyists attempting to prevent any remedies that would cut into their profits, as well as the costs ofimplementing change. This could be changed by education but governments are listening to industry not educators. Lobbyists have bigger budgets and educators are too dependent on government grants to risk speaking out vehemently.
- Urbanization: the shift of people from rural to city living, a movement that in the last hundred years has changed the per centage of labour working in agricukture from 97 per cent to 3 per cent, means thatAgri-business and therefore our food supply is highly dependent on fossil fuels for energy and fertilizer and isn't going to change back easily or quickly.
- Costs in the form of lost profits. In the case of oil sands, reducing, or closing development there would decimate Canadian economy and have intolerable fallout politically with our biggest customer, the USA. therefore the cessation of oilsands production won't occur.
The political consciousness of the Canadian adult is still focused on the needs of family, home, job and could be moved to action in the form of endorsing action, if that action made obvious sense, that is to say, without to much technical explanation. So what is needed is a selection of projects that are conceivable, believable and achievable.

I propose the following:

- end gas flaring in BC and around the world. As of 2008, enough natural gas is wastefully burned every year, at the wellhead to heat 300,000 homes. That's a BILLION cubic metres of gas annually, which puts 1.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

- end interference in a woman's choice to control her fertility by providing education about fertility, conception, access to medication, including abortion. Provide education to women everywhere, because it has been shown that educated women have fewer children. 7 billion people, no matter what they do, produce more greenhouse gases just by living than, say, 5 billion people do. Either we reduce our population intentionally or nature will do it for us by disasters - flood, famine, disease, starvation, violent weather events, etc.

- reduce dependence on, and desire for gas-powered transport by all means: end NASCAR, and motor racing of all kinds, includng F1, Indycar, monster trucks, motorcycles, skidoos, hydroplanes, ocean racing, aeroplane racing, car shows, and end tax breaks for anything related to automobiles that does not reduce greenhouse gases. In June 2007, the Canadian Federal Conservatives sponsored a CASCAR racecar, the #29 car in the Canadian Tire Racing series. Can any government be taken seriously on environmental policy while they sponsor a gas-powered racecar?

- co-ordinate trucking industry by developing a computer run clearing and dispatch system like taxis use. At the moment trucks run all over North America, back and forth hauling everything from logs to food, and the inefficiencies result in millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases being produced unnecessarily.

- reduce regulation that works to prevent people from eating locally produced food, including meat. fruit, vegetables, grains. For instance, recent regulation required locally grown meat to be trucked away for slaughter and packing, doubling the cost in greenhouse gases, instead of permitting local packing by producers. It was a solution lacking a problem, and which only served to eliminate local producers and put profit in the pockets of corporate meat packing interests. Healthy food, eg. fruit cannot be produced locally at a profit because of useless regulation.

Political values lie at the heart of these issues. The solutions require change but the cost of not changing is greater, economically, morally, and idealogically.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

NaPoWriMo is over!

Okay, new month, National Poetry Writing Month is over at

I wrote 30 poems in 30 days.
My thread can be read here:
Geffo's Venal Muse

I am satisfied about a number of them, even written under pressure. I will add them to my anthology: A Leaf, Dead and Lately Fallen.

Here's a sample:

26. a traversiamo

The tenor rises
from the restaurant on the street below
and the shadow of the wrought iron foot board
haunts my wall - a spider shadow cast by the streetlight;
the red infusion that drenches the canvas
is the hue of my Chianti broadcast
by the flickering candle behind it.

I am alone, but I am not lonely.
At lunch the coloratura was lovely,
more lovely than the spaghetti alla carbonara
which was superb. For now it is dolce far niente
Tomorrow will be Naples - and pizza!
Somewhere my memory of Sophia
lounges in black lace, curvy, warm, seductive
a vision redolent of all that is good about Italy.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Romeo Must Die!

World Population
* 1 billion in 1804 * 2 billion in 1927 (123 years later) * 3 billion in 1960 (33 years later) * 4 billion in 1974 (14 years later) * 5 billion in 1987 (13 years later)

Climate change causes notwithstanding, the human impact on the animal kingdom is indisputable.
But know this, there is no going back.

Concerns for the environment are not (just) about how pretty it is to look at, at the bottom it is about liveability - for humans.
Sure we care about pristine mountain streams being good for fish to spawn in, but in reality the concern is that the fish will still be there for us to eat.

We are pushing 7 billion people now. The environment supported lots of critters a hundred years ago when there were fewer than 2 billion people, but now we have five billion more! That's five BILLION more mouths to feed, butts to poop, and to house, warm, and entertain.
The only way for us to return to a world of plenty is for 5 billion people to die.

That isn't going to happen voluntarily, but it will happen, and it ain't gonna be pretty.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

NASCAR is the canary in the coal mine.

"Two truths are told as prologues to the swelling acts to the Imperial theme:"

- There is no stopping climate change - so get away from the coasts, sell off your shore front cottage.
- Just because they speak English, there is no reason to think our politicians are any less corrupt than those of your average banana republic.

Polluted water, air & soil will have increasing adverse effects on people as time passes because there are no new lands to conquer where unconflicted life is possible.
It's going to be an increasingly more vigorous battle for life & liberty from now on. The salad days are over, mostly because the peoples that "we" European descendants enslaved, colonized and exploited, are now grown up and sitting at the table of the developed nations demanding a piece of the pie.
The G8 has become the G20 and others are clamoring to be let in.
I see world politics becoming more protectionist from now on, and energy-dense fossil fuels will be hoarded by the military to protect borders and resources.
Because the only solution to this competition is massive reduction of the population, there is no political solution, only military ones.

btw, I consider NASCAR to be a bellwether, a canary in the mine - as long as there is NASCAR, no government can be taken seriously about energy conservation and climate change.

Sorry, Bubba.

"Why [should] I yield to that suggestion
Against the use of nature
Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair
And make my seated heart knock against my ribs?"