Category Archives: World Events

9/11: 17 years later and clearer than ever.

I remeber the morning well. I knew the world had changed that day and we would, Canada and the United States would be going to war. Which the British commonwealth did beside Americans.
Something that sadly gets overlooked these strange days.

I remember as the sky’s shut down, towns in the far east of Canada, little more than fishing villages and refueling stops for Trans-Atlantic flights welcomed hundreds of planes, thousands of people and gave them comfort regardless of country, race, religious beliefs or gender.

I remember very sadly as I saw on the noon news when my friends and I left work to watch the news as the second tower collapsed.
Thinking my Good Lord, someone used one of the planes I build with pride and turned it into a fucking bomb.

I remember sitting in Madison Square Garden a few years later talking with people who had actually witnessed their friends jumping to their deaths rather than burn alive. How these tough sons of britches, working men and women., strong people. Cried at the thought of it all years later.

I remember the calls for vengeance that I knew would come against a regime and people who were not our enemies. I remember seeing Canadian bodies coming home from a war that had to happen perhaps but in wholesale different manner and in a completely different country and way.

My High School World Politics teacher used to say that the only coin worth holding was trust. Trust was the coin of the realm, the only thing worth anything. We as a people, both political and basic were robbed that day and days since in ways both gross and sublime.
Slights of hand have happened to basic simple freedoms, taken for granted, unworked for in our generation.

The world as a whole as I look back has changed as I predicted, we went to war, crushed a region and unleashed exactly what the planners of 9 11 had hoped for all the long. Democratic common sense and reason at war with it’s self.

Polar Vortex: A how to survive primer.

So what I do when I’m caught in a polar vortex of arctic cold?  Would I call the Police Department, Fire Department or a Canadian?  Given a choice I would call the Canadian. But let’s hope it never get’s to that.

Note the location of Winnipeg in this graphic. Source: BBC.com

Note the location of Winnipeg in this graphic.
Source: BBC.com

Hi Glad to meet you my name is Bob, I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba one of the coldest city’s on planet earth.  For example this week Winnipeg was colder than the planet Mars.  If I can do it you can do it. Don’t freak out I’ll show you how.

Source: AccuWeather.com

Source: AccuWeather.com

Question: My Car won’t start in the cold. 

Answer: Plug it in.

Have you ever been driving in the Canada and noticed that almost every car has an electric plug sticking out the grill or from under the hood? It’s not that we have electric cars, we have just developed a simple remedy to keep our cars running in the coldest of temperatures

The easy fix for most of you will be to buy and install a block heater

. It very simply is a heating element that fits into the engine block of your car.  It can be installed by any licensed mechanic and will plug into a household extension cord that has a ground.

Question: How do I go outside if I don’t have winter gear.

Answer: Layers.
We Canadians have learned many tricks from the Inuit (Eskimo) and one of them is dressing in layers.  Even if you don’t have thick clothing, dressing in many layers of loose breathable fabrics will help.  Try to avoid wet layers or layers that absorb moisture.  One fact in winter is that moisture freezes, if you can stay insulated while letting moisture escape you’ll be well along your way.

A simple graphic describing winter layering techniques. Source: clothing to wear.com

A simple graphic describing winter layering techniques.
Source: clothing to wear.com

Fact: Dryness Kills.

The opposing force to staying dry in the extreme cold is staying hydrated.  Every breath you take wicks moisture from your body.  In normal conditions is a good and natural thing. But in Desert and Arctic conditions where the humidity is very low body hydration is crucial.  Just because you are cold does not mean that your body is not working.  So drink lots of liquid water.  Do NOT eat snow. Only eat snow as an ABSOLUTE LAST RESORT.  Yes snow is water but it takes the human body energy to melt and convert that snow to liquid water.   Use fire or other sources of heat to melt the snow to liquid form.

Question: I’m stuck in the snow on the highway and it’s not very cold but I can see lights in the distance should I walk for help?

Answer: No

For a couple of good reasons, your vehicle is shelter, if you go outside of it in the snow you leave that protection.  One fact many people fail to realize is that cold is only one factor.  Canadians have built into our temperature scale a reading of WIND CHILL.  The temperature may read one degree but the way our bodies perceive it is completely different.

The wind can wick away heat from anything warm.  Our bodies, a tent, a building.  The stronger the wind the lower the perceived temperature can go.  DO NOT MESS WITH WINDCHILL!

windchill

Question: My house is freezing what can I do?

Answer: Insulate

Like the above post on how to go outside, your house IS outside.  If you don’t keep the walls warm how do you expect to keep warm?  Now this does not to have to be expensive in the short-term.  First thing I would to is to cut drafts.  If you can put towels under drafty doorways, to keep the wind out.

Silicone or other caulking methods could work around windows frames that may have leaks in them to the outside.  In extreme situations early settlers used “Wattle and Daub” or mud and Straw to plug leaks.  In harsh extreme conditions, paper or cardboard could be mashed with water to fill cracks where combustion is not an issue.

Even covering up leaking windows with a blanket will help keep cold out. But remember on sunny days to keep southern exposures clear to let the sunlight in and warm the surfaces of the room.  Also do not block all sources of fresh air.  DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES use gas appliances to heat your home.  Every year people die trying to use propane heaters and even BBQ Grills to heat their homes.  Gasses trapped inside the home will kill you faster than the cold. So bundle up and tough it out.

Question: Help I’m trapped in the snow. No Help is coming.

Stay with your vehicle, run it for limited periods to keep from freezing. NOT just to stay warm.  Go outside only for limited amounts of time, to eliminate waste (Pee, Poop). Collect water in the form of snow if you do not have water.  Clear exhaust pipe so the engine can run, and to keep vehicle visible to rescue crews.

Question: Help I’m Trapped outside in a field, and no help is coming.

Answer: You’re still not dead, keep your wits about you and you can live.  Read everything above, if there is snow and you have a means to build a shelter there are a couple of options.

A: I’ve got trees around me.

Start taking branches and making a shelter. If you have big branches make a lean-to. Taking the sticks and propping them against the tree to make a space for yourself.  Line the ground with branches to stay off of the cold ground.  Make it as small as possible for you to fit into but thick so it will keep out the cold if you do not have fire.

B. I’m in a bald field of snow.

Don’t panic.  You can survive. If you have the time and energy try to build Qunizhee, a mound of snow. Do it slowly and don’t get to exhausted in the process.  Let the mound sit and settle, then slowly dig into the mound of snow to create a cavity.  Snow an insulator, it’s really fluffy and has lots of air to trap heat.  So the center of your little mound may keep you nice and warm.  If you have a candle  you have a heat source that can keep you alive for the night.  But make sure you leave an escape for any gasses that are created.  Like a small vent made by a stick in the top of your hut.

The most important thing to remember in the cold is to stay warm, and stay calm.  Panic will kill you faster than cold.  Stay calm and access your situation and act logically.  Do not run for help if you can not see it, if you have shelter use it.  If you can make fire or stay warm do so.  Help will come to you.  Stay warm and make water from snow if you do not have water.  Eat to keep your strength up.

Stay sane and stay safe

Christmas Giving: The Gift That Gives Back.

Hey folks, I know it’s been a while since I’ve been around.  But I decided to poke my head out of my hiding hole for a little while and get on my hickory stump for a bit of an old country lesson.

The theme of this message is… It never hurts to help.

Now people I am not saying that you have to give up the family farm or put yourself in hardship.  But given the things people all around the world are going through it hardly seems wrong to chip in a little in any way to help those that have less than yourself.

It could be a dollar into a Charity Hamper, or a nickel into the that Salvation army kettle with the singing Santa. It could be donating some time to a worthy cause, like serving soup for those less fortunate.  All I am saying is that in this economic climate everything helps.

You may ask Bob…What did you do to help those in need.  Well my friends I deliver hampers to the less fortunate in Winnipeg.
I take a few nights out of my year and grab some like-minded friends and go spread the Christmas cheer.

I throw on a Santa hat and knock on doors for a cause, I don’t do it to help me but in some way I do.  I give my time and my effort for free, and all I get in return is the smiling faces of children who would otherwise have no Christmas.  I get the respect and hearty handshakes of immigrant fathers who have fled war-torn countries in search of a better life.  Not understanding the generous ways of Winnipeg or even the tradition of Christmas.

In giving back to those who have less, we see more than just poverty.  We see the kindness of faith and the redemption of the spirit of charity.

I think that in giving back we can all grow, It does not have to be Christmas, but all faiths can give and become greater.

In the words of my faith Merry Christmas One and All

Bob

William Stephenson, Roald Dahl, and Ian Flemming: The Birth of James Bond 007

With the upcoming release of the twenty-third movie in the James Bond 007 series I thought it was time to finish the true life story of Winnipeg’s own William Stephenson the inspiration for the character of James Bond.

For the back story on Stephenson before World War 2 please read the my earlier posts – William Stephenson the quiet man that would inspire 007 and James Bond, Winston Churchill and Adolph Hitler – The Canadian Connection.

The morning of May 18, 1940 as recorded by Randolph Churchill: “I went up to my father’s bedroom. He was standing in front of his basin and was shaving with his old fashioned Valet razor. He had a tough beard, and was as usual hacking away.

‘Sit down, dear boy, and read the papers while I finish shaving .’ I did as told.  After two or three minutes of hacking away, he half-turned and said: ‘I think I see my way through.’ He resumed shaving.

I was astounded , and said: ‘Do you mean we can avoid defeat (which seemed credible), or beat the bastards (which seemed incredible)?’

He flung his razor into the basin, swung around, and said: ‘Of course I mean we can beat them.’

Me: ‘Well I’m all for that, but I don’t see how you can do it.’

By this time he had dried and sponged his face and turning around to me, said with great intensity: ‘I shall drag the United States in.’

The TRUE Intrepid. By Bill Macdonald. Page 69

Continue reading

Redemption!

As many of you who follow my little musings will know I am a staunch Canadian.  A promoter if you will of our way of life and our culture.

One thing that is deep in our marrow is the fact that we will not quit.  From being shock troopers in the first and second world wars.  To besting the world with sometimes antiquated equipment (the schooner Bluenose) to winning bronze at in Olympic soccer today at the London 2012 games.

After a hard fought match filled with controversy and lactic acid our fine ladies Canadian national team brought home our first medal in soccer EVER!  Yes it was a bronze, but just think about this for a second.  Hmmmmmm.  When you think of Canada what do you think of.  For me personally soccer doesn’t exactly leap off the page.  I think hockey, snow, beer, incredibly sexy ladies and a warm and relaxed people.

Diana Matheson battles France’s Gaetane Thiney for the ball in the 2012 bronze medal soccer match. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

These talented and incredibly resilient women brought home not just the bronze medal but also a huge amount of pride to our humble nation.  The talk everywhere at work today was, have they started yet, what’s the score, who are we playing, did we win?

Diana Matheson puts the ball in seconds away from overtime! (AP Photo/Jon Super)

No one had to ask what the conversation was about we were all on the same mental wavelength.

This game was all about the defenders, France by all accounts out shot us by a huge margin but failed to find the back of the net.  Goal keeper Erin McLeod and Winnipeg’s own Desiree Scott had brilliant games keeping the score nil to nil until the dying minutes of regular time.

This picture says it all! Canada wins! (Jean Levac/Postmedia Olympic Team)

Diana Matheson potted home the lone goal of the game with ten seconds remaining before a grueling overtime would be required.

It’s not gold and it’s not silver but yet these fine ladies managed to do what so many other teams could not.  They found the podium and they found it with pride.

Good on you girls, you did yourselves and your nation proud.
You may have only won bronze but you’re as good as gold to all of us back home!

Yayy Canada!! Gold!

I know I have been away for a little bit, but I have just come off a vacation week in the camping in the country and now a half week spent on some home renovations and relaxation.

Rosie MacLennan wins Canada’s first gold medal of the 2012 Olympic games in London.

But Yayyyy Canada! First gold medal!!  Rosie MacLennan won a great victory over the Chinese who took Silver and Bronze in ladies trampoline skills. We were all on the edges of our seats this morning as she bounced her way to victory.

Ryan Cochrane wins silver in the grueling mens 1500 Meter freestyle.

Also Silver in the pool with Ryan Cochrane who dug deep with a split second silver win over Oussama Mellouli.
Way to win Canada.  Let’s get some more!!

Was Harry Houdini America’s first international super spy?

There is a great deal of recent speculation on the life and times of one of magic’s greatest legends, Harry Houdini.  It seems that new information has come to light on things that governments don’t like to talk about.  Espionage.

Continue reading