February 29th 2004
Since I have lived in Canada I have noticed that there is one topic of conversation every winter.
Which given that it is cold and full of snow and cold and wet and cold and windy is something that really seems pretty stupid to discuss at the best of times.
However much as the British are portrayed as always talking about the weather so to do the Canadians.
I think they take a perverse pleasure in the knowledge that there are few countries on earth colder than Canada and even those that are, are not as great as this country so they don't qualify anyway.
One of the aspects of the winter cold is that we have become used to the “wind chill factor” which is broadcast nightly on the weather part of the news.
“It will be -10 in Oakville tonight but the wind chill will make it -19”
This is not something that we had back in South Africa.
Although I must admit that coming from Durban I am used to hearing the “Humiture” rating being read out as well so I suppose this is similar but in a negative direction.
I think we tend to become used to hearing people read comments such as wind chill and humiture and ignore them unless they become to outrageous to ignore.
So much as a humiture of over 100% didn't phase us back there the wind chill in Canada doesn't register until it reaches the -30's and -40's.
Which occurred the other day.
The temperature was -28 or so and the wind chill took it -39. At that stage you tend to sit up and think long and hard about venturing outside. If you have to go outside then dressing appropriately becomes paramount.
Unless you are a teenager, when apparently minimum clothing is considered cool. In more ways than one. But who are we old idiots to argue?
So what exactly is the wind chill factor then?
Simply put it is the way weather forecasters warn us as to how cold the wind makes any unprotected skin feel when you venture outside.
Because it is a measure of an effect rather than the static measure of the actual temperature
The actual temperature stays the same when measured but when the wind blows across exposed skin it basically takes away the heat generated there thereby making that area feel much colder.
The scientific way to do it is to measure how much energy the body loses per second. This depends on the speed of the wind and the amount of area exposed. Nudists obviously having the worst time of the lot!
This also means that inanimate objects will not be measured at the lower wind chill factor either. Obviously they maintain the same temperature whether there is a blizzard or a breeze outside.
Although, to be fair, certain inanimate objects such as your cousin Floyd will register a wind chill factor. This is assuming that the couch is placed outside for a minute or two.
To get back to scientific posturing again, the wind chill factor is actually measured in watts per square metre. The values in this measurement are from 1000 to 2000 watts/m². Which is all fine and dandy except that the majority of humanity wouldn't have a clue as to what the heck that means.
“The wind chill factor tonight is 1500 watts/m²”
No! It doesn't have the same feeling to it as MINUS 48 degrees BELOW zero does.
Even Floyd understands that one. It is moerse cold!
So they “translate” the figure into one that roughly corresponds to the temperature needed to cause the same amount of heat loss in a person. Actually this is called the wind chill “equivalent” factor.
This makes more sense. However it also tends to clutter up the nightly broadcasts on TV so we stick to wind chill instead. So much is all the text-messaging nation is able to comprehend.
So when the chappy masquerading as a weather forecaster tells you it is “cold out there with a wind chill that makes it feel like -20” he means dress warmly when you toddle off to the local pub!
Oddly enough this is exactly how the wind chill factor came into effect in the first place.
The U.S. Army needed to find warmer clothing for its troops. Which may, or may not, indicate that Canada was even then on a list of undesirable nations.
So they used the research that was conducted by some scientists earlier in the 1940's. Not that it makes a lot of difference but their names were Paul Siple and Charles Passel.
What these two did was study the rate at which water freezes. They found that water freezes depending on three things: how warm the water was to begin with, the temperature outside and then the speed of the wind.
From this was born the wind speed equivalent factor.
Which is all fine and dandy but I wonder why it is that scientists never study the really interesting phenomena?
I would like to know why your eyeballs don't freeze at the lower temperatures. Especially with the wind chill in effect.
I mean go outside in 0 degrees and the snot in your nose freezes instantly and yet even at -40 when you HAVE to look to see where you are going your eyeballs stay wet. How?
I think this is another scientific study that just cries out to be undertaken.
Where was I?
Ah yes. Many countries, Canada included, later adopted this factor in order to provide its citizens with warnings if they intended to be outside for a long period of time.
Sort of the first “Public Health Warning”. Long before cigarettes become public enemy No1.
I am just surprised that they don't have pictures of frostbite or hypothermia patients flashed on the screen along with the wind chill factor.
“Warning. Prolonged exposure to Wind Chill may cause Frostbite.”
As with the cigarette packets you collect all ten gruesome pictures and trade them with your friends because it is cool.
Can refusing to treat hypothermia patients because they are a drain on the health spend and should have known the results of their outside adventures be far off?
Stop shoveling sidewalks. It can be hazardous to your health!
Actually it can. Leaving aside how many males die of exertion from all that shoveling well over a hundred people die from the cold every year. Mainly hypothermia. There are reported cases of people dying form “chilblains” and frostbite of the fingers. Well complications arising form that really.
Mind you speaking from personal experience I can tell you that the first part of my body that always goes numb are the fingers. “Sies” to those of you who got a bit ahead of yourselves there!
Anyway while many cities in and around Oakville have set new records for low temperatures this year I am happy to report that we merely skated along the edge of the lowest low for this little town.
Mainly because we are always the damned coldest town around for some reason. With more snow than others as well.
Now excuse me while I go and shovel all the snow that the snowplow operator has kindly replaced in the parking spot back to where I originally put it before the idiot came by.
Now there is someone I would like to suggest as a guinea pig for the eyeball experiments.
February 23rd 2004
Well. Well. Well.
Who would have thought it?
Myself actually. And millions of other Canadian voters. And the Auditor General. But NOT the millions of sheep who have voted this corrupt bunch of jackals into power over the last ten or so years.
For those of you who would like the actual phrase, it is “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Which, given that the Auditor General has just released a report on the total corruption surrounding the Liberal Party and it's actions as the Government of Canada, has once again been proven to be correct.
There have been mumblings about corruption in certain departments for some time and a while ago I wrote about a minister who incredibly, actually got caught and was shipped off to Denmark as an Ambassador. We thought that it was as a punishment for being caught rather than for any wrongdoing. Well guess who was at the centre of this little shindig this week?
That is right. Same fellow. More information though and this time he was sacked as the Ambassador and is currently being bought home. Probably as a scapegoat to protect all those Ministers still in Government who should have known what was going on.
Such as Prime Minister Martin.
He denies this vehemently of course. Which means that, as he was the Minister of Finance at the time, he is either lying or a total fool. Which is not all that comforting when you consider that he is leading the nation at the moment.
I will be kind to Martin and point out that most of the theft of funds took place under the Prime Ministership of Jolly Jean Cretin. He of the Teflon fame. As almost all of the “misplaced” money went to Quebec and more specifically to what appears to be carefully selected Quebec based people who, to put it kindly, were “supporters” of Jean, first, and the Liberal Party later, it comes as no surprise that Martin knew little of what was taking place.
If you factor in the rampant, unaccountable and totally arrogant beaurocracy in Ottawa then maybe he has a point.
In a nutshell what happened was that millions of dollars were siphoned through Crown Corporations to various Quebec based agencies ostensibly to promote the illusion that Canada is a single unified country. This began to take place after Chretien very nearly split Canada in two with his ill conceived referendum back in 96 that was defeated by the narrowest of margins in Quebec.
The concept that an advertising campaign promoting the advantages a unified Canada has is good but what actually took place is not. Simple as that.
Almost all of it was siphoned through the Public Works Ministry, which is where the disgraced Minister Gagliano was in charge, and seems to have used Crown Corporation companies such as Canada Post, VIA Rail, The Business Development Corporation and for some reason the RCMP and the Port of Montreal!
The RCMP is particularly galling given that they are the police agency that is charged with investigating this breach of public trust. In fact they are the people charged with investigation the last little bit of theft that was uncovered by the Auditor General last time. A year later, and, once again, thanks to the good work done by Sheila Fraser (The A-G) we have now discovered even more corruption and that the Mounties aren't above some eyebrow raising activities themselves. Including secret bank accounts, disappearing documents and about $3 million that was given to them through one of the designated agencies used expressly for that purpose.
It appears that all of this was part of the almost $300 million silent slush fund used by the Government to supposedly convince Quebecors that the rest of Canada really care about them. By displaying that famous Canada trademark that we see festooned on every conceivable public event.
How it worked could have been lifted straight from the local Mafia book of tactics on money laundering.
Money was thrown at people and events by using three “lieberal friendly” advertisement agencies in Quebec. The money was given to them from Public Works, they took a “fee” and then passed on the balance to the designated recipient.
In the case of the RCMP $1.7 million was funneled through for a fee of $250,000. Which is not bad going when you think about it.
Even better is that over the last four years this netted these agencies over $100 million!!!
In the case of the RCMP about the only stipulation that was expected of them in order to receive nearly $3 million this way was that the RCMP had to display the Canada Logo at their 125th Anniversary celebrations. Which, to add insult to injury, the RCMP is required by regulation to do anyway!
In fact the only tangible evidence that the RCMP actually put the money to good use are six horses and two new horse trailers.
Other areas of concern were the Indian Affairs department that seems to have forgotten how to track $1 BILLION. As this involved land claim settlements there is some worry about the procedure involved here never mind the competency of the individuals involved in administering that amount of what is a considerable sum of taxpayers money.
Even the $101 million on Government jets (Bombardier, which just surprisingly enough happens to be a Quebec based company or in keeping with the spirit of the intention behind the theft….qu'elle surprise..)
Most of the outcry though involves the hundreds of millions involved in “contracts” for dubious activities that were awarded to the “lieberal friendly” advertising agencies and the fact that they were used to siphon funds to crown corporations, and others, illegally.
In fact you know just how excessive a slap in the face this whole affair has become when even the Toronto Star makes a halfhearted attack on the Lieberals for stealing from the public. Although they did go into damage control mode later in the week.
This week though just seemed to carry on with more and more information coming to the fore about the total lack of responsibility on the part of the Government and the people who supposedly represent the citizens of this country.
Aside from the fact that Martin was Minister of Finance, V-P of the treasury board, a senior Cabinet minister from Quebec, a member of the Quebec Lieberal caucus AND an MP from Montreal, at the time and therefore responsible for all the money flowing out of the coffers there was the even more damaging report that the Liberals had actually “under reported” the amount of money that the Government had spent on Martins shipping companies.
Which have been a source of irritation to many due to the conflict of interest this ownership has created. Even when he “sold” his shares to his children!
Still not to be outdone along comes our Govenor General, Adrienne Clarkson, an affirmative action, political patronage appointment by the Liberals again. She of the typical Liberal delusion of grandeur “let them eat cake” mentality when it comes to believing that she is grander, better and more worthy than the scum she has been appointed to represent. Supposedly.
Last year Her Grand Highness and Empress of Canada decided that she, and an entourage of fawning toadies, would represent Canada in the northern part of the world by arriving in various countries and letting those less fortunate fools living in blissful ignorance there, bow down in supplication and kiss her dainty little claw.
It was reported that we, as Canadian taxpayers should be grateful to her for spending $1million of the taxpayer's money to bring enlightenment to the backward Scandinavian and Russian countries.
Only this week it turned out to be $5million and rising. Another event that was “under reported” apparently.
And their local Ontario Lieberal cousins are faring no better by the way. At the weeks end the Ontario Government seemed set on a course that would have the unions thinking about strikes. In addition, of the 250 odd promises that Dulton and his henchmen promised the gullible of Ontario, only one seems to have been kept. That of raising taxes on cigarettes. Way to go Dulton, you sure showed us your tough side there.
So now we wait while Martin makes the decision as to whether he will call an early election next year. At one stage the leadership disarray in the new Conservative Party of Canada meant that it was the right time to do that but it looks like the average citizen has at last woken up to the fact that they have been lied to, stolen from, hoodwinked and generally abused by a system, Government and political party that thinks they are imbeciles and this latest slap in the face is beginning to be painful enough to make them think at last.
We live in interesting times here.
February 12th 2004
The end of Western Civilisation as we know it is upon us!
Millions of people were assaulted, both visually, and oddly enough, physically last Sunday during what is billed as “THE” worldwide sporting event. Of course, that claim alone is enough to let everyone know that it was an American event.
The National Football League's Superbowl in fact.
Number many plenty in a long line of boring events that showcase the Americans inability to play a Mans sport such as Rugby or Ice Hockey without resorting to artificial muscles masquerading as padding ( Hello Naas).
Not to mention the rather suspect actions of these walking steroid advertisements patting each other on the backside at every available opportunity.
Which they refer to as a “Fanny” for some obscure reason. The first time I heard someone refer to patting HIS fanny I did the proverbial double-take. Luckily I didn't point out the physical improbability of this. Well, among real men in the rest of the world anyway.
Lets just say that if I were to “pat a fanny” it wouldn't be the sweaty backside of some 300 lb gorilla.
One Empire divided by a common language. I believe that was the quote.
Anyway having had a small rant there let me proceed to point out to you good souls the reason for the last weeks angst and general “Shock” “ Horror” “We are Doomed” speculations. Which I might add have occupied most of the headlines since the event.
During the halftime show which is broadcast live and which I believe is much favoured by many of the audience we were treated to the spectacle of a quick, five-second glimpse of Janet Jackson's nipple.
Or, for the faint hearted amongst you…..her N****e!
Janet being paired with Justin Timberlake as a duo singing some song, which thanks to her quick flash has totally escaped my, and no doubt millions of others, mind. In fact as Justin's last action was to rip off the covering you could say that there were two boobs involved.
The main point being that this was a carefully choreographed and executed action on the part of the two performers. I, for one refuse to believe all the excuses being trotted out afterwards that there was a wardrobe malfunction or some other such nonsense. It was plainly obvious that it was known by both singers that it would happen. Apparently this event was sponsored by MTV and for those of you who don't watch MTV I would like to point out that half clad sluts and sex is almost obligatory fare on a daily basis. So this was well orchestrated.
As was the apology by both performers afterwards. Who were just a little too contrite. Rather like the child of indulgent parents that knows that an apology is warranted but not expected. The fact that Janet was wearing a “pastie”, or a nipple ring, depending on which source you prefer to believe, is reason enough to suspect prior collusion.
So in the middle of America's biggest sporting event a small, black, and in Jackson's case I use that term loosely, female singer bared her breast for all of five seconds and America went bananas!
Snot and Trane abounded.
Officials of the NFL were “disgusted.” In fact every organization and its auntie had something to say about this act.
People across America phoned everywhere denouncing the decline of civilization “ as we know it”
Although I suspect there were quite a few who phoned in to complain that there were no “kyk weers” on this action!
Canada apparently only had four complaints, which means that we are a lot more accepting up here. Or that the half time attempt to empty the local reservoir by seeing how many people can flush at the same time was in operation.
Now the most interesting part of this whole outcry is that the game was started beforehand with a few Blackhawk Helicopters hovering overhead while the national anthem was massacred by some unforgettable artist.
Remember the Blackhawk helicopter?
A military machine whose sole aim is to help bring death and destruction to the enemy.
So if I am reading the situation correctly then more Americans are upset by the few seconds flash of a perfectly beautiful part of a female's anatomy than by a bringer of terror to innocent civilians.
Right now I am” shocked, outraged and disgusted” by that attitude.
Maybe I should write to whoever is in control of the American Public? Oh yes that is right. Good ole boy Cowboy Bush isn't it? Who apparently fell asleep during the show and never saw the offending scene. Fat lot of good my complaints would do then!
I am still worried by a society that finds a naked female more offensive than weapons of destruction (mass or otherwise!)
Actually I am also disgusted by the fact that there is this brouhaha being advocated by millions of viewers but no one has noted that during the same broadcast we had adverts for beer, with a horse farting in a woman's face, two women kissing each other and if that isn't degrading enough then we are assaulted with adverts for Viagra!
So lets see then. If I can't see a woman's nipple and get excited, what the hell would I want to take Viagra for?
So I can keep my erection while I kill people I guess.
Now if that bout of insanity is not enough then consider the following; by the weeks end two lawsuits had been instituted looking for damages for all manner of injuries including “physical assault”. On the complainant!
How do you claim physical assault by viewing a TV broadcast?
Far too many Americans are drowning in the shallow end of the gene pool I tell you!
I remain a passionate believer in the beauty of the female form and will stay convinced to my dying day that sex IS preferable to killing.
What a stupid (insert swearword of your choice here) up world we live in!
February 2nd 2004
I was told the other day that there are over twenty thousand new drivers in Ontario every year.
This is made up of 16 year olds getting their license for the first time and the many immigrants new to the country who make the GTA, or Greater Toronto Area, their first stop.
Given the graded licensing system in Ontario this isn't such a bad thing until you get to winter and the first snowfalls and you have this realization that all of those twenty thousand haven't driven in snow before. Nor, for that matter, have the vast majority seen snow either. In fact their past ambulatory experiences seem to have involved feet, bicycles and camels mainly. Which is a frightening point of view if you happen to be in the middle of one of those winter storms we seem to have been hit with lately.
A case in point was the storm we had last week in which we expected, were warned about and, wonder of wonders, actually got, a severe dump of snow well over a metre deep. I was driving in that storm. With about fifty percent of the newly licenced drivers out there!
Which is when I had my own personal epiphany with respect to the need to teach people how to drive in snow BEFORE they get their damn license and venture forth onto the highways and byways of our Province.
In some respects watching the slow 360 spin of a car that has lost control has a certain poignant beauty to it. You only get to see the huge eyes every few seconds anyway. On the other hand I would really prefer it if the people who get involved in this sort of action kept it for a different time so that I am not in the near proximity.
In fact if I am at home with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book I would be very happy to let them show off their stupidity until the cows come home. Or the ban on Alberta beef is lifted. Whichever the Americans decide to do first.
There is a pretty basic rule of the road when it begins to snow.
Pretty simple eh?
Yet it appears to be the hardest aspect of driving to grasp. If you can't see the car ahead of you because of a whiteout caused by blowing snow then it makes sense to slow your car down a bit. If the slush on the road means that there is less traction for your tires and you are sliding around then slow down.
This, of course, is a concept that is foreign to a good percentage of the people who are on the roads during a snowstorm. Bloody foreigners!
Seeing as Canada is the pinnacle of politically correct non-free speech I guess I should make a comment to the effect that the above is a joke. OK?
I am not the world's slowest driver, I readily admit, but even I have a well-defined sense of preservation when it comes to living another day. Something that apparently is not thought about by many of the people who go past me at horrendous speeds on the highway in the middle of a snowstorm. It is nothing to see cars still traveling at 120 kmh on the 401. In fact add the 16 wheelers to that list while you are at it.
I was overtaken by one of these juggernauts at that speed the other day. This was while the road was still slushy. The snow plows not having cleared or salted the roads yet. When it is raining and these trucks go past they send up a spray of water that totally obscures your vision. Now imagine that but as slushy mixture of dirty melting snow! It is actually quite frightening to be hit with a wall of brown gunk that totally obscures your vision. This is probably why there appear to be so many inexplicable accidents on the highways around Toronto. People who suddenly panic when this happens and lose control. While the truck driver merely plows on.
By the way I remember once being told that driving in the snow and ice was like driving on a dirt road. Disregard this rather dangerous piece of advice. I have done both and it isn't anything like it at all. While the principle of how you control a skid is the same and the reasons for going into a skid are the same there is a lot of difference between the two.
For one thing, as far as I am concerned, you have more traction on sand. Secondly sand doesn't get hidden under other stuff like black ice gets hidden under snow. And lastly you generally can see sand while black ice, specifically, just appears.
There is nothing quite as heart stopping as finding that the car is going in one direction and all the fancy training you have is ineffective in action.
All of which means that driving slowly is probably a wise course of action. And considering that at least twice now I would have had some serious problems if I were driving faster I am fast becoming an exponent of this course of action.
Which doesn't mean that I agree with the other reason for accidents on our highways during snowstorms. Those imbeciles who DO slow down and drive well under the speed limit. In the FAST lane!
It can be really frustrating to be stuck behind some fool traveling at 30kmh in the left hand lane. Sticking rigidly to the tracks and not moving for anything. You just know that moving over to the next lane involves having to cross slush or ice that will leave your car sliding a bit.
Lastly I have attached a picture or two of a Highway out in Newfoundland that was snowed under recently. They had to use earth-moving equipment to clear a road for traffic. Note how high the snow actually was.
Thankfully we only have snow banks in the few metres range here in Ontario. With everything else driving along in such a confined space behind a slow Tannie with a sixteen wheeler up your rear end would be too much to bear.