Monthly Archives: August 2016

Women, men and the burkini.

This week the burkini caught my eye for all the wrong reasons. For those who have no clue what this is, the burkini is a swimming suit made for Muslim women so that they can go to the beach and enjoy swimming without showing too much skin. The whole body is covered. It seemed that in France at least, it was subversive for a woman to wear this and some officials interpreted it as a call to civil unrest, no less.

What is incredible is that several mayors in France passed laws against women wearing these swimsuits. Someone finally decided to take the city to court and it was struck down. For now at least in France, in one town, the burkini is legal. It is probable that the other towns will not enforce their laws against this swimsuit.

Of course this ban went too far. It seems that as long as you justify it by talking about keeping public order anything goes. Only in a town in Corsica would the ban be probably upheld as supporters of the burkini and opponents went to blows on the beach.

Of course a woman has the right to wear as little or as much as she wants at the beach. I wonder why some men are not forced to wear something more than a Speedo. Some of them look like beached whales, a rather unsavory thing to look at. Perhaps a law should be passed forbidding middle-aged men from wearing skimpy swimsuits.

What is most disheartening is that nearly all the presidential candidates at the French election for President propose to enact laws that would ban the burkini. Inevitably it will go the the European courts to settle the matter once and for all.


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The threat of Lyme disease.

I recently read an article about Lyme disease and how man has probably exacerbated the problem. Just last year in the U.S at least 30,000 people and probably more have been affected by it. Symptoms of the disease include fatigue, joint pain and memory problems.

Scientists are now accepting the fact that we humans may be to blame for the rapid increase of the disease. By killing off big predators that kill deer we may be letting the deer who carry the ticks thrive and prosper and encourage the transmission of the disease.

The solution is simply; let big game come back to take carry of the deer or at least keep its numbers down. In the past, wolves and cougars did much of the job. Predators seem to control and regulate infectious diseases and when they are absent we risk catching more diseases that may not be fatal, but that can be debilitating and costly to the health system.

We may not have to do much to encourage big predators to return to their roots. Already wild wolves have been making a comeback as well as cougars. The real question is will we let them come back? People are scared of wolves and cougars but if there were less deer that would mean less collisions with cars and in the end it would cost less to the taxpayer. It seems that it is not the big things that can kill us, more the little things that are hard to see.

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A rainy morning.

Sunday is the day that I prefer best, the day when I always try to take pictures at the botanical garden. Unfortunately, cloudy and drizzling days are never my best days. Taking pictures in the rain sucks. In this case, after two days of rain, I had decided to take pictures today despite the weather. But first, I had to take the bus. Once again, because it is Sunday, buses are running on the weekend schedule, meaning do not be in a hurry. Taking my bike was out of the question as the skies were very cloudy. Riding in the rain is an experience that I hate.

I was waiting therefore for my bus, the 197 on Rosemont street. I was alone as on a Sunday morning at 07:30 there are not many people. Most people have the good sense of sleeping in on Sunday mornings. Facing me on the other side of the street was another bus stop, for the bus going in the opposite direction.

As I was looking in a distracted way at the other bus stop a woman appeared, walking slowly and shuffling her feet. From across the street she appeared to be well dressed. I continued walking slowly on my sidewalk waiting for my bus. I then saw the woman slowly walk over to my sidewalk and walk directly towards me. She asked in a small voice,” Do you have change so I can eat?” I replied in a matter-of-fact no, I did not. This was a lie, but my policy is never to give to people who ask for money. In her case, I was more right than I am usually.

She must have been in her 60’s as her face was quite wrinkled. I quickly looked at her clothing and her shoes and found them to be very nice. The shoes were not cheap I was sure. She did not look malnourished to me. What she seemed to me was someone who was afflicted by drinking too much alcohol. She looked unstable physically.

I suppose that she was probably waiting for people to appear so that she could ask them for money. It was not for food, I was sure of that. Her walk indicated to me that she may have indulged just before asking me for money. The strange thing was that just after this I could not see her on the street. She seemed to have vanished in a few minutes. She probably did not live far and probably had the habit of waiting for buses to appear so she could ask people. As the bus was not coming she decided to ask me.

My morning at the garden was short as by 08:15 it was drizzling and by 09:45 I was out of there. Intermittent rain is probably the worse as you never know when it stops and continues. With only two good subjects today, a heron and a hawk, I could say that I should probably have done like most people today, remain in bed.

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Let the games begin!

Yes indeed, the games of Rio 2016 have begun. I tried to watch the ceremony yesterday but my TV broadcaster insisted on me seeing 10 or 12 minutes of publicity for two minutes of show. I declined, finding that my time was more valuable than that. Yes, let the games begin, but without me for the most part.

I am sure that I will see some of the action, if my broadcaster decides that it is important enough. And there lies the problem; what I want to see and what my broadcaster decides to show me might not coincide. I frankly do not care too much about rowing. Same for rugby. Hopefully soccer and basketball will get some prime time billing.

If I were a Brazilian I would object to spending tons of money while my own citizens walllow in poverty on a grand scale. Money is spent to entertain V.I.P from the I.O.C that could have been spent on making life better for its citizens. No wonder that the country is in turmoil.

I certainly will watch the games, hoping that commercials will be less intrusive, and hoping that Canada performs well. But knowing that among the athletes who will win medals some are doped will leave me wondering who is clean and who is not. And if past games is any indication, a number of medalists will have to return their medals won at these games eventually, but only in 4 or 5 years probably. They are still finding cheaters among the medalists of the Chinese games and the London games after all. I still remember the East German women swimmers and their massive shoulders during the Montreal Olympics of 1976. I was very impressed, but I was 14 as well…..

I know, it is easy to be cynical about these games but it is warranted, especially when you know that money dominates everything. Everyone wants to win a gold medal because in a lot of cases it is a fast track to being rich and famous. No wonder that the Russians at Sotchi were doping on a massive scale. They knew that apart of doping for mother Russia they would be well treated by those in government who were holding the purse. This will never stop until we go back to what the games should be; a low key affair with only the laurels of victory as a reward. But for that to happpen these present Olympics, the way that they are held, will have to implode.



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