Archive for November 2010

Stan Rogers: a Man with a voice that could resonate through the land and sea   4 comments


Stanley Allison “Stan” Rogers (November 29, 1949 – June 2, 1983) was a Canadian folk musician and songwriter.

Rogers was noted for his rich, baritone voice and his finely-crafted, traditional-sounding songs which were frequently inspired by Canadian history and the daily lives of working people, especially those from the fishing villages of the Maritime provinces and, later, the farms of the Canadian prairies and Great Lakes.

Rogers died alongside 22 other passengers (23 fatalities in all) most likely of smoke inhalation on June 2, 1983, while travelling on Air Canada Flight 797 (a McDonnell Douglas DC-9) after performing at the Kerrville Folk Festival. The airliner was flying from Dallas, Texas to Toronto and Montreal when an in-flight fire forced it to make an emergency landing at the Greater Cincinnati Airport.

Smoke was filling the cabin from an unknown source, and once on the ground, the plane’s doors were opened to allow passengers to escape. Halfway through the evacuation of the plane, the oxygen rushing in from outside caused a flash fire. Rogers was one of the passengers still on the plane at the time of the fire. Eyewitness reports published at the time said that a man of Rogers’ height and build escaped the plane, but then turned and went back inside, apparently to assist in the rescue of others.

His remains were cremated and his ashes scattered in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Nova Scotia.

He sang songs that the average person could relate to.

WHITE COLLAR HOLLER
Well, I rise up every morning at a quarter to eight
Some woman who’s my wife tells me not to be late
I kiss the kids goodbye, I can’t remember their names
And week after week, it’s always the same
And it’s Ho, boys, can’t you code it, and program it right
Nothing ever happens in the life of mine
I’m hauling up the data on the Xerox line
Then it’s code in the data, give the keyboard a punch
Then cross-correlate and break for some lunch
Correlate, tabulate, process and screen
Program, printout, regress to the mean
Then it’s home again, eat again, watch some TV
Make love to my woman at ten-fifty-three
I dream the same dream when I’m sleeping at night
I’m soaring over hills like an eagle in flight

Someday I’m gonna give up all the buttons and things
I’ll punch that time clock till it can’t ring
Burn up my necktie and set myself free
Cause no’one’s gonna fold, bend or mutilate me.

Stan’s version of Farewell to Nova Scotia is the best rendition out there. 

The sun was setting in the west
The birds were singing on every tree
All nature seemed inclined to rest
But still there was no rest for me

Farewell Nova Scotia
The sea-bound coast
Let your mountains dark and dreary be
For when I am far away
On your briny ocean tossed
Will you ever heave a sigh
Or a wish for me

I grieve to leave my native land
I grieve to leave my comrades all
And my parents whom I held so dear
And the bonny, bonny lassie
That I do adore

The drums they do beat
And the wars do alarm
The Captain calls, I must obey
So farewell, farewell
To my Nova Scotia home
For it’s early in the morning
That I’m far, far away

I had three brothers and they are at rest
Their arms are folded on their chests
But a poor, simple sailor just like me
Must be tossed and driven
On the deep, blue sea

Posted November 29, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Indian billionaire builds 568 foot skyscraper as private residence.   1 comment


Why one family would need a residence this big boggles the mind.  But when you have 2 billion dollars in the bank, creative spending is needed.  To build something like this in a city that has hundreds of thousands of homeless people doesn’t seem appropriate.  The building has approximately the same floor space as the Richardson Building in Winnipeg.  Imagine having the Richardson Building as your private residence.

Antilia is the name of a twenty-seven floor personal home in South Mumbai belonging to India’s richest man, businessman Mukesh Ambani, the billionaire Chairman of Reliance Industries.  There will be 600 full-time staff to maintain the residence, which is considered the most expensive home in the world with a price over US$ 1 billion dollars.  Its also been described as the “Taj Mahal of 21st century India”.

The home will house Ambani, wife Nita, their three children and Ambani’s mother.

Location Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Status Completed
Constructed 2007-2010
Use Residential
Height
Roof 173 metres (568 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 27 (equivalent to 60 floors tower)
Cost US$50-70 million est. yearly maintenance
Companies involved
Architect(s) Perkins & Will
   

The structure was designed by U.S. architects using principles of Vaastu, Indian traditional geomancy akin to Chinese feng shui, to maximize “positive energy.” No two floor plans are alike, and the materials used in each level vary widely.

The home will include:

  • 400,000 sq feet of living space.
  • Parking space for 168 cars.
  • A one-floor vehicle maintenance facility.
  • 9 elevators in the lobby.
  • 3 helipads and an air traffic control facility.
  • Health spa, yoga studio, small theatre with a seating capacity for 50 on the eighth floor,  multiple swimming pools, three floors of hanging gardens, and a ballroom.
  • An ice room infused with man-made snow flurries.

 

Some Indians are proud of the “ostentatious house,” while others see it as “shameful in a nation where many children go hungry.”  Dipankar Gupta, a sociologist at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, opined that “such wealth can be inconceivable” not only in Mumbai, “home to some of Asia’s worst slums,” but also in a nation with 42 percent of the world’s underweight children younger than five.

Posted November 29, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

Athletes with strange names   4 comments


Blurbs courtesy of the Winnipeg Sun

Bear Trapp: Not exactly sure what the parents of Sacred Heart Pioneers senior forward Bear Trapp were thinking when they named him. Suppose it was better than calling him Beaver or Rat.  Sacred Heart is a university in Connecticut.

 

 

Dick Trickle: Considered America’s winningest driver with an estimated 1,200 wins, Dick Trickle tops that record with probably one of America’s most awkward names. Is it a name? Or a medical condition?

 

 

World B. Free: Long-time NBAer Lloyd Bernard Free legally changed his name to World B. Free in 1980. As idealistic as the name change sounds, it’s more a result of the nickname, World, he was given on the playgrounds of Brooklyn.

 

 

Wacey Rabbit: Junior hockey fans in western Canada know all about forward Wacey Rabbit, currently playing in the KHL. If you don’t think of Elmer Fudd when you hear Rabbit’s name, there’s something wrong with you.  Born in Lethbridge, Alberta.

 

 

Milton Bradley: Milton Bradley isn’t just the company that gave us Monopoly. He’s also a short-fused outfielder for the Texas Rangers who has plenty of run ins with baseball disciplinarians. Bradley’s name wouldn’t get the same smirks if he went by Milt, would it?

 

 

Peerless Price: Some names you’re meant to live up to and Peerless Price’s first name is one of those. Unfortunately for the NFL wide receiver, he hasn’t. Having played for four teams in eight years, he’s got a ways to get to that point. Especially considering his career is currently in limbo following a neck injury.

 
 
Kaka: Like many South American soccer players, Ricardo Leite, has adopted a one-name moniker. In this case, he’s commonly know as Kaka. Pronounced exactly as you’d expect, it doesn’t mean the same thing to the Brazilians as it does to anglophones, especially those with young children. 

 
 
 
Plaxico Burress: This is one family name that probably should have been converted to a middle name, but Super Bowl XLII hero Plaxico Burress inherited his first name from an uncle.
 
 
 
Stubby Clapp: Stubby Clapp, whose first name is actually Richard, is almost lucky he didn’t get the common nickname ‘Dick’ instead of ‘Stubby’. Granted, both are equally hilarious. Clapp played for a while with the St. Louis Cardinals, and has represented the Canadian baseball team at three international events.
 
 
 
Will Power: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And Australian champ car driver Will Power has that in spades. Or at least his name does.
 
 
 
Coco Crisp: There is, sadly, no proof that Covelli Loyce Crisp change his name to Coco Crisp to conjure up images of childhood cereal when the Boston Red Sox outfielder steps up to plate.
 
 
 
Picabo Street: The first American to win a downhill or Super G skiing event, Picabo (pronounced peek-a-boo) Street is known for one of two things: A horrific crash in 1998 that required two years of rehabilitation and her odd first name. Turns out her name was taken from a Native American word meaning ‘shining waters’ and not a game people play with babies.
 
 
 
 
Ron Tugnutt: That’s his name, not a painful injury. Or fetish. Tugnutt saw action with eight NHL teams during his 16-year hockey career, which meant he likely heard the same locker room jokes about his last name in eight different cities. Though, with that sewn onto his jersey, he was likely getting thousands of snickers a night.
 
 
Anna Smashnova: It may not be the funniest name on the list, but Russian tennis player Anna Smashnova definitely has a name that stands out in her sport. And it’s actually quite fitting.

 



Posted November 28, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Former Winnipeg cowboy sports scribe has transformed into a woman   Leave a comment


There were players and coaches who wanted to string him up from the rafters of the old Winnipeg Arena. Some sports fans were ready to run him out of town.

Once, defenceman Jim Kyte, the toughest player on the Winnipeg Jets, accosted him in the press box, grabbed his cowboy hat and tossed it down to the ice.

If only they’d known they were dealing with a woman.

“He might have gone and picked up my hat for me,” Patti Dawn Swansson said.

Patti Dawn Swansson used to be Pat Doyle, a straight-shooting, hard-as-nails sports columnist with the Winnipeg Sun and, before that, the Winnipeg Tribune.

If the Jets or Blue Bombers deserved skewering, Doyle was only too happy to provide the sharp sticks. With him, no windmill was too pretty to tip over, no cow too sacred to steer into the slaughterhouse.

Simply put, Doyle told it like it was.

But when it came to his own most personal truth — that he was a woman trapped inside a man’s body — he couldn’t.

“It was suffocating,” is how Patti Dawn described it. “Imagine yourself six feet under, in a casket, and knowing that you’re alive, but nobody else knows you’re alive. They think you’re dead.

“I knew there was a real, live, loving, vibrant person buried underneath the surface.”

Longtime readers of the Winnipeg Sun might recognize the guy on the left as the colourful and opinionated former sports columnist and editor Pat Doyle. You might be surprised to learn the woman on the right is also the same person, more than a decade later.

Strange stuff.

Come to think of it, I have never felt comfortable in my body. 

 I always knew there was a 6’3″ 230 lb linebacker trapped inside me.  Where do I get the operation?

Posted November 27, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

Tagged with

The name Newfoundland and Labrador is too damn long.   Leave a comment


For some nutty politically correct reason the political brain trust in St. Johns, Newfoundland, decided to officially change the province’s name in 2001 from just plain Newfoundland, to Newfoundland and Labrador.  In my opinion this double name is way to long to describe the “Rock.”   I think the name should be shortened to Newfounbrador.  Instead of calling the inhabitants of the windswept easternmost province Newfoundlanders (they hate Newfie), the rest of Canada will call them Newfounbradorians. 

Purported Newfounbradorian hot tub.

And Danny Williams was honoured to serve and protect the Newfounbradorians.  He has now resigned as premier of Newfounbrador to go back into the private sector and make some real money.  One of the main reasons I want this shortened name for the province, was hearing Danny Boy strain his tender heart by always blurting out “Newfoundland and Labrador!”  Lets change the name right now! By Tunderin Jesus!

Newfounbradorians do not seem to have an aversion to change.  The fellow below has changed quite a lot in the past few years.  And he is still the most famous son from the Rock.

 

Rex Murphy

Posted November 26, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Sailing Stones: this is very weird.   1 comment


This phenomena must really excite the paranormal buffs.  It must be invisible Aliens, or power beams from UFOs, or ancient Native spirits.  The phenomenon still has scientists puzzled, but there are some theories that bring the mystery back down to earth.

The sailing stones, also known as sliding rocks and moving rocks, are a geological phenomenon where rocks move in long tracks along a smooth valley floor without human or animal intervention. They have been recorded and studied in a number of places around Racetrack Playa, Death Valley California, where the number and length of travel grooves are notable. The force behind their movement is not understood and is the subject of research.

Racetrack stones only move every two or three years and most tracks develop over three or four years. Stones with rough bottoms leave straight striated tracks while those with smooth bottoms wander. Stones sometimes turn over, exposing another edge to the ground and leaving a different track in the stone’s wake.

Sliding rock trails fluctuate in direction and length. Some rocks which start next to each other start out traveling parallel, but one may abruptly change direction to the left, right, or even back the direction it came from. Length also varies because two similarly sized and shaped rocks could travel uniformly, then one could burst ahead or stop dead in its track.

The stones are rarely transported and no one has witnessed their movement, so the speeds at which the rocks travel are unknown.

Most of the so-called gliding stones originate from an 850 foot (260 m) high hillside made of dark dolomite on the south end of the playa, but some are intrusive igneous rock from adjacent slopes (most of those being tan-colored feldspar-rich syenite). Tracks are often tens to hundreds of feet long, a few to 12 inches (8 to 30 cm) wide, and typically much less than an inch (2.54 cm) deep. Some tracks are in a zig-zag form, and have a very straight track left behind.

A balance of specific conditions are thought to be needed for stones to move:

  • a saturated yet non-flooded surface,
  • a thin layer of clay,
  • very strong gusts as initiating force, and
  • strong sustained wind to keep stones going.

Geologists Jim McAllister and Allen Agnew mapped the bedrock of the area in 1948 and made note of the tracks. Naturalists from the National Park Service later wrote more detailed descriptions and Life magazine featured a set of photographs from the Racetrack. Speculation about how the stones move started at this time. Various and sometimes idiosyncratic possible explanations have been put forward over the years that have ranged from the supernatural to the very complex. Most hypotheses favored by interested geologists posit that strong winds when the mud is wet are at least in part responsible. Some stones weigh as much as a human, which some researchers, such as geologist George M. Stanley, who published a paper on the topic in 1955, feel is too heavy for the area’s wind to move. They maintain that ice sheets around the stones either help to catch the wind or move in ice floes.

Professor John Reid led six research students from Hampshire College and the University of Massachusetts in a follow-up study in 1995. They found highly congruent trails from stones that moved in the late 1980s and during the winter of 1992-1993. At least some stones were proved beyond a reasonable doubt to have been moved in ice floes that may be up to half a mile (800 m) wide. Physical evidence included swaths of lineated areas that could only have been created by moving thin sheets of ice. So wind alone as well as in conjunction with ice floes are thought to be motive forces.

Physicists studying the phenomenon in 1995 found that winds blowing on playa surfaces can be compressed and intensified. They also found that boundary layers (the region just above ground where winds are slower due to ground drag) on these surfaces can be as low as 2 inches (5 cm). This means that stones just a few inches high feel the full force of ambient winds and their gusts, which can reach 90 mph (145 km/h) in winter storms. Such gusts are thought to be the initiating force while momentum and sustained winds keep the stones moving, possibly as fast as a moderate run (only half the force required to start a stone sailing is needed to keep it in motion).

Wind and ice both are the favored hypothesis for these mysterious sliding rocks. Noted in Don J. Easterbrook’s “Surface Processes and Landforms”, he mentioned that because of the lack of parallel paths between some rock paths, this could be caused by the breaking up of ice resulting in alternate routes. Even though the ice breaks up into smaller blocks, it is still necessary for the rocks to slide.

Posted November 26, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

Tagged with

North Korea must be flattened immediately   Leave a comment


North Korea has once again brought the world to the brink of a possible major war.  For some unknown and incomprehensible reason the North shelled an island near their disputed sea border, killing at least two South Korean marines, setting dozens of buildings ablaze and sending civilians fleeing for shelter.  An unprovoked attack like this in peace time could only come from the dysfunctional and mentally challenged leadership in Pyongyang.

People watched as smoke rose from South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island after North Korea reportedly fired hundreds of rounds of artillery from its stronghold on the west coast.  November 22, 2010, Huffington Post.

Kim Jung Il (leader of North Korea) is obviously disturbed and mentally challenged.  There are reports that the aging bachelor is a womanizer and heavy drinker.  He should be eliminated immediately.  A preemptive nighttime strike from a B-2 Stealth bomber with a 5,000 pound bunker buster bomb should do the trick.  But that would not completely solve the problem.

The military apparatus around Kim would still be as belligerent and irrational as ever.  These Apparatchiks are so brain washed with anti-American and anti-South hatred that they would still be as dangerous as the Kim led regime.

Therefore I contend that the current great powers — The United States, Russia and China — should reach a final resolution.  The complete annihilation of the communist regime in North Korea.  The constant crisis this group of evil doers puts the world through may one day lead to a major war that could escalate to an all out nuclear conflagration.  So lets nip the problem in the bud.  An all out bombing campaign with everything the U.S. and its Allies can muster.

So let’s do it to Kim and his henchmen before the nefarious rascals do it to us.

 

Posted November 24, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,