Monday, February 11, 2019

Snowmageddon??

Snowmageddon? Since when?

Snowmageddon is upon us on the BC south coast. Or not.
So... now BC Ferries is cancelling sailings in anticipation of the weatherman being right. Here's the thing: The folks at the weather bureau have been predicting Winter Armageddon for days, now, and it hasn't happened.
Every day for over a week, my phone has had "extreme weather alerts" on it. Since when is a wind chill factor of -20 Celsius (-7 Fahrenheit) something to be scared of? Where has everyone been living? Florida??
Yeah, it's cold, but hey, button up your shirt, maybe put some socks on in your sandals, and for Pete's sake, switch to long pants for a couple of days!
Then the weatherman started sending out extreme weather alerts about heavy snowfall, day after day, anywhere from 0 to 2 cm. Wow! That's almost an inch!! The horror of it!
I carefully scanned the sky, hour after hour, yet nary a snowflake did I see, at least apart from the folks who think Donald Trump is going to end the world... but I digress...
Then they said, no chance of snow, but now we would get extremely high winds. Shingles might come off your roof! I have a hint for you: If you live on the west coast and shingles are blowing off your roof, they either weren't installed properly or they've been on there too long. The wind blows, here, people!
But... it didn't. It blew out on Howe Sound and the Salish Sea (Strait of Georgia), and did some real damage in Horseshoe Bay.
But what it did here... is started snowing. Throughout the day on Sunday, the weather folks tried to keep up. They predicted less than a "skiff." Everything turned white. They predicted 0 to 1 inch. That was passed in the first hour. They predicted no more than 2 inches in some areas. Passed again. They started predicting 10 inches of snow and calamity upon calamity. It might have reached 4 inches. Maybe.
Now, they predict another 10 inches on top of the 10 inches that was really no more than 4 inches, and they're cancelling ferries in advance of this apocalyptic event.
But the weatherman has a better chance of winning the lottery than calling west coast weather accurately!
My weather stump in my front yard is more accurate. Yesterday morning, it was stump-coloured. Early in the afternoon, it was turning white. Stump prediction: SNOW! ACCURATE!
Today, weatherman prediction is a snowpocalypse. Ferries are being cancelled. Guess what... 3 pm. NO SNOW. Snow on stump from yesterday: Maybe 2 inches.
Ferries - get to the lineup early if you want to get on. A lot of people will be doing the same thing. Because they're going to roll the dice and trust the weather bureau - AGAIN!
Here is my advice to BC Ferries: Put a little pressure on those looking after the roads to maybe be prepared to do a little salting and plowing in the event that it snow. Talk to Victoria about making it mandatory to have M+S or Snow rated tires on in ALL regions when winter officially arrives.
Otherwise, I might just have to take my BIG. OLD. RUSTY. 4WD truck for a drive. Hit this, suckers!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Covington Catholic Schoolboys Fiasco

The Covington Catholic Schoolboys fiasco continues...

The Covington Catholic schoolboys, while waiting for a bus to take them home from a March for Life event, have probably had irreparable damage done to their lives. 

The teenage boys, from Covington Catholic Highschool in Kentucky, were gathered at the Lincoln Memorial, a venue well known for the exercise of free speech by people from all walks of life. 

Early reports by USA Today and other media outlets portrayed the young students as surrounding and threatening a Native American veteran with racial chants and threatening body language.  The short video clip that was shared in the report went viral.

Many other media outlets picked up the story and continued to share it.  Then some well known people who should know better took to social media, including Kathy Griffin, who tweeted that the boys needed to be doxxed and harassed to completely ruin their lives and the lives of their families.

Doxxed refers to posting the contact information and physical addresses of people on social media, so that people can easily find them to harass them.  According to Wikipedia, "Doxing or doxxing is the Internet-based practice of researching and broadcasting private or identifiable information about an individual or organization."

Kathy Griffin has since taken down her tweet, but the damage has been done.  The whole, rotten, false report and all the suggestions for "proper" retribution have gone viral.  The boys and their families are receiving threats of physical violence, including death threats.  The Covington Catholic School was shut down for a while out of fear of serious violence.

The fears were quite reasonable, as groups of people have heeded the suggestions and gone to the school to protest.


But here's the thing:  The entire narrative was a lie.  Other video footage has come out, including a much longer video that proves that the video used by USA Today was a clip that was pulled out of context and used to create a false narrative.

It is painfully obvious that the clip circulated was deliberately clipped to falsify the story.  It is simply not possible for anyone but a complete imbecile could have believed the very story circulated after watching the video they pulled the clip from.

A number of media outlets now face lawsuits, and so they should.  This kind of trash cannot even be remotely termed "journalism."  This was 
not a mistake!  This was the calculated and deliberate slandering of children by the media.

Mr. Phillips, the Native American veteran at the center of the story cannot be let off simply because he is a Native American veteran, either.  He has repeatedly lied about what happened, deliberately, it seems, because the video, some of it shot by his own entourage, show that he is lying.

He was not surrounded by any group of "beastly" white racists shouting slurs and threatening violence!  Instead, as his own video coverage shows, he marched right into the crowd of schoolboys, who parted like the Red Sea to let him through, then marched up to the teen who has received so much horribly false, negative coverage, and played his drum right in the boy's face.

I know for a fact that if it was me at that age, I probably would have had a face something like that youngster.  I would have tried to smile and look relaxed, but I really wouldn't have known what to do.  Even now, at this point in life, I would be very intimidated by any stranger, male or female, regardless of skin color, who got in my face like that!

The media, of all stripes and philosophies, needs to first and foremost have a philosophy of always telling the truth, even if they don't like it.  This applies to both journalists and the media outlets they work for.  If any journalist is found to be creating a false narrative, he or she needs to be immediately fired and exposed.  Period.

I hope, in this case, that the lawsuits go ahead and the media named receive heavy, punitive penalties.  That won't repair the damage done to these teenagers, but it will show the news media that they simply cannot create the news, any more.



Monday, August 13, 2018

West Coast Summer

West Coast summer has arrived

It's summer time on the wet west coast, and guess what?  It's not wet!

In fact, summers here on the southwest coast of British Columbia are anything but wet.  While the climate is quite mild all year round (snow is such an oddity that people have no idea how to drive in it!), with very wet winters, summers are often very dry.  It seems like the only time it might rain on B.C.'s Sunshine Coast is either during Sea Cavalcade or just when the tomato plants start producing fruit (or is that a vegetable?).

(There's something in the air, here - a very scary thought if you stop to think about it - that causes hollyhock leaves to "rust" and tomato plants to turn black if it rains after the tomatoes start forming.  What are we breathing, anyway?)

Here we are, living in a rainforest, yet there is actually a contest here for the driest, brownest lawn, due to the fact that we haven't got a big enough reservoir to get us through a summer dry spell without taking extreme measures.  Watering your lawn is a taboo that can get you ostracized by your neighbors.  

That's one of the paradoxes (or is that paradoxi?) of living in a rainforest.  Even Prince Rupert, on B.C.'s northern Pacific Coast, billed as one of the wettest cities in North America, has had to put watering restrictions in place some summers.  We have brown grass here in a rainforest, while our desert-dwelling friends in Kamloops and Kelowna have gorgeous green lawns all summer!

The problem, of course, is quite simple.  Because we live in a place where it rains all the time (which, in fact, it doesn't), we assume we'll never run out of water.  Therefore, we don't create water storage facilities - aka, reservoirs - that will hold enough water to get us through a drought - which we often have for three or more months every summer.

That worked out fine a few years ago, before the Sunshine Coast was discovered by Vancouverites who discovered they could sell their tiny rancher in the lower mainland for a millon-five and build a mansion over here.  Our local governments, ever looking for ways to raise taxes easily, have been only too happy to continuously grant development permits for lots and subdivisions, but without doing anything to increase the water supply, ergo the brown lawns.  But it gets worse.

I mentioned the blight on the tomatoes and rusty hollyhock leaves if it rains.  But at least if it doesn't rain, we can water our plants and veggies, and enjoy the flowers and fruits of our husbandry, right?  Well, actually, no...


If we have an all too typically gorgeous, dry, hot summer like this one, the powers that be will wait until our tomatoes are almost ripe, the corn almost ready to eat, the very productive squash plants producing abundant gourds in preparation for our enjoyment alongside the lettuce and pole beans...  Then they will tell us we can no longer water even our vegetable gardens, even by hand.  

That's right.  Here, in a rainforest, we have to let our vegetable gardens wilt and die, due to a lack of water!

But along with this really annoying fact, there is one more sinister.  A rainforest has an abundance of growth on the forest floor, including some of the deepest most you could ever slosh through on a hike in the woods.  But during a long, dry summer like this one, that moss and everything above it dries out.  One lightning strike, one spark from a chainsaw or truck, or lawmower, one careless camper or smoker, and we have one of the scariest things you can imagine - a forest fire in a dried out rainforest.

This year, we've seen a few started, all by human carelessness, but thankfully, our fire fighters have been quickly dispatched to exercise  their excellent skills and thus saving us from a conflagration.  However, we've already lost one of our own brave warriors not so very long ago, and can't afford to lose more.

Thus, like it or not, until our water storage issue is ameliorated, we must put up with beautiful brown lawns and wilting veggies, or risk not having enough water to fight a deadly fire.

Perhaps that's the price we have to pay for living in a place as near to paradise this Earth offers.  What do you think?