Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rays of Sunshine

Cammas, Shooting stars and Pacific buttercups in Uplands Park
It was a beautiful morning in Victoria today: clear blue sky, low humidity, temperature just under 20 C. Too nice to spend time indoors blogging. I cleaned the gutters instead -- inside and out. Among the dead leaves, mold, moss and other gunge to be scooped out, I found three small trees sprouting happily.

Actually, spending the morning in semi-darkness in the basement composing a very long blog post would have been more fun. Aluminum gutters with a baked-on painted finish are rubbish. The painted surface provides the perfect substrate for algae and lichens while moss grows in the joints.

An architect I worked with in Britain, decades ago, maintained that cast iron was the only type of gutter one should use, because there is nothing else that has tested and found satisfactory for over a hundred years.

He was probably right. Before installing aluminum gutters we had wooden gutters, carved out of Douglas-fir four by fours. They lasted quite well, about fifty years, but by then they were just about rotted right through in a dozen places.

We've had an unusually cool and wet spring this year, which has delayed the appearance of the meadow flowers in Uplands park. Uplands is perhaps the world's only natural, temperate savanna parkland within a major urban center: an area of open grassland interspersed with shrubs and trees, mainly Garry oaks (Quercus garryana).

For nine months of the year, the park is used primarily as a place for dogs to poop, hunt wild-life, chase sticks or, excited to the highest pitch by the sounds and smells of the wild, to terrorize small children and other harmless humans seeking to enjoy a place of rare beauty and potential tranquility.

But then we Canadians clearly love dogs more than children as is reflected in the birthrate, so the rule of dogs in Uplands Park is only to be expected. Happily, during the spring, the Municipality of Oak Bay prohibits unleashed dogs in the park for the benefit of the nesting quail, which provides a window of opportunity for humans to enjoy this magical remnant of the wilderness.

I was accosted in the park the other day by an elderly lady of frowning demeanor demanding to know if I was responsible for the monster home being constructed on the park's Northern border. Once I had satisfied her of my innocence of this crime against environmental aesthetics, she told me that the land dedicated by the municipality as a park in fact belonged to the Songhees Indians. This I can well believe and I'd be happy if Oak Bay would give it back. However, in that case, it would be nice if the Songhees would keep it as a public park and let us locals, but not unleashed dogs, use it with appropriate reverence.

Uplands Park extends to about 40 hectares with about half a mile of rocky ocean frontage from which can be seen the snow-clad volcanic cones of Mount Baker, and on a very clear day, Mount Ranier, plus a panoramic view of the snow-capped Olympic Mountain range. At a rough estimate, the property must be worth about a quarter to a third of a billion dollars as residential development land. Perhaps, therefore, the Province of British Columbia will negotiate a land swap with the Songhees Indians: Oak Bay to retain the Park, the Songhees to receive a couple of thousand square kilometers of decent land at some distance from the Provincial capital.

The title of this piece was inspired by two posts entitled Little Rays of Sunstein (and here) by Stefz. I think the "z" in Stefz is pronounced in the English fashion, in which case Stefz would be pronounced "Stef said" more or less. However, it maybe that the "z" is merely the initial of Stef's last name, which happens to be Zucconi. In any case, Stef makes some interesting observations about the credibility of the alternative media.

Speaking with reference to the July 7, London Tube train bombings, Stef points out that the high profile commentators are for the most part characters of questionable credibility. This appears to be true of the alternative media as a whole. Most of the big names seem to be exponents of bizarrely crazy ideas for which their adherents may easily be discredited.
Sarah Palin: Illuminati?

Jeff Rense, for instance, is big on UFO's, David Icke believes the World is run by shape-shifting extra-terrestrials, our very own Canadian Henry Makow never seems to write anything without blaming it on the Illuminati banksters, who reveal themselves, apparently, by the use of a devil's horns salute. The Queen, according to Henry, is probably the head of the entire racket, with Prince William in the thick of it -- LOL.

There there's the crackpot duo Alex Jones and Webster Tarpley of whom I wrote the other day, who also would have you believe that the World is very largely run by the octogenarian great grandmother, Elizabeth Windsor, who Tarpley describes as a degenerate, psychopathic, genocidal Nazi maniac.

What does this tell us? I think it may simply be that the majority of the population are easily deluded. For the mass mainstream media, or MMSM, tits and bums provide the bait with which the lies and propaganda are dispersed. In the alternative media, its wacko conspiracy theories, and the folks who retail them get most of the traffic.

But that is probably just how it is, always has been and always will be. The mass of people never will make the mental effort to assess the evidence of what may be going on, preferring to be entertained than informed. And if you are one of the minority and wish to follow events, you may find scraps of information here and there among the blogs. And if nothing else, you can sometimes get an inkling of what is going on by seeing what nonsense is being most energetically promoted.

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