Thursday, November 30, 2006


The Yellow Dragon

The creeping yellow sand of central and north China associated with desertification is known as the Yellow Dragon. No-one can slay it, not St George or St Andrew, even on his day (note the post date everyone). It used to be that the Yellow River which rises to the west in Tibet and Qinghai provinces was the symbol of China's mighty civilization. To follow it from its source through the dry lands was to see the future of China unfold before your eyes. No longer. The evolutionary chain from nomad to farmer to rural factory to city landscape is under threat. Two thirds of China's cities are faced with drying aquifers. The glaciers that are the source of the Yellow River are shrinking at a rate of 7% per year. The dams and water projects which rely on it have transformed it into one large plumbing project. Sandstorms abound in the north which has 43% of the population but only 14% of tha water. Grand schemes are afoot to move water from south to north, from the eternally flooded areas to the perpetually dry. A second Grand Canal so to speak. It may become the world's largest mega project.
Source: Jim Yardley, New York Times, Sunday Nov 19th 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

Samaranch and the kid, Beidaihe Posted by Picasa

Throwing Bricks

The Government of Canada's diplomatic relationship with its Chinese counterpart has been the headline story in this country for the better part of a week now. An on again off again meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper (no he doesn't play goal for Newcastle United) with President Hu Jintao at the APEC summit in Hanoi had pundits describing the total uncertainty of what was going on as a major slap in the face to the waffling Canadians. It has been a communications disaster. Apparently our insistence at bringing up human rights issues in a public manner is abrasive. Even the Chinese Ambassador threw a hiffy fit recently at our Foreign Affairs Committee meeting when Falun Gong came up. So we don't know how to manage the US relationship or that with China. But I hear it on good authority that our relations with Vanuatu are on the up and up.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Good Ole Hockey Game

Hello out there we're on the air it's hockey night tonite
Tension grows the whistle blows-& the puck goes down the ice
The goalie jumps and the players bump and the fans all go insane
Someone roars "Bobby scores!" at the good ole hockey game
Oh the good ole hockey game is the best game you can name
And the best game you can name is the good ole hockey game
Lyrics Stompin Tom Connors - signature song for the National Hockey League

There is something quintessential to small town Canada about a local ice hockey team. It embodies all that is good and bad or indifferent about a place (or is reputed to). Friday night is home game night for the Junior A South Muskoka Shield. I ventured to see them Friday for the first time fully aware of their record. They currently are doormats in the newly formed rebel hockey league of Greater Metro (Toronto). Players are being showcased for Colleges in the States and potentially the NHL. Two nights ago the Shield ran afoul of the Nipissing Alouettes, smooth skaters representing players from much bigger communities such as North Bay and Sudbury. 9-0. 4-0 by the middle of the first period. Yet the Shield goalie was good and made some excellent stops. At this point though the goalie was pulled to be banished to the end of the bench and sit in physical and mental isolation. The next goalie let in the fifth only two miniutes later but then did reasonably well. Alto-gether the Shield played with heart and some, but lesser skill. To be desparately trying to score late in the third shows that winning is not the only game in town. Go team go.

"Where players dash with skates aflash the home team trails behind" - for most of the season me thinks Tom.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Stern Warning!

The Green Party of Canada made front page of the Globe and Mail recently. It has risen to 11% in voter preference in Ontario, 9% nationally. With news this week that climate change will have a $7 trillion disastrous impact on the global economy -- according to the Stern Report written by former Chief Economist for the World Bank -- Canadians are waking up to the peril that our Liberal and Conservative governments are putting the future of our children and grandchildren in. This report was not from some environmentalist -- but a hard core economist. Mr. Harper wants to rip up the Kyoto Protocol while under 12 years of Liberal rule CO2 emissions rose by 25%. So our choice between the Conservatives and Liberals is horrific or terrible. We need a new way. We need to elect Elizabeth May, new leader of the Greens. Electing Elizabeth – will make ripples around the world and will really put London on the political map. Who best can represent the interests of Londoners, a leader of a political party -- or the alternatives that will end up as backbenchers?
A Liberal MP won't change the composition of the Commons. And London North Centre has never elected an NDPer. A Conservative MP won't change the balance of power in Ottawa. All the other parties won't make history -- and of course will be subject to "party discipline."
For instance, I note that climate change is not one of Mr. Harper's top five priorities. Neither is the fact that one in every two Canadians will now get cancer in their lifetimes. Neither is the decimation of fish stocks in our global oceans.
Source: lifted from Therese Hutchison, Green Party of Canada website, October 2006.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Champlain defenceless. He since has his swashbuckler's sword restored. Posted by Picasa

Snow Squalls

I have just tried to phone Bo and her family in China over the internet (VOIP) but nobody responds. Probably has to do with the hour change with the gap at thirteeen hours now after we in North America changed the clocks last week. So I will try again in forty five minutes when our traditional time rings in. This post is just filler. Musings on the weather seem appropriate. Fall in this part of Canada was wet and windy. Snow has come early although since I am a recent arrival to the area I must admit I am only learning the patterns. A trip to Midland on Friday took me in and out of some vicious snow squalls. Yet the forecast suggests we will reach plus 10 again by Tuesday. Meanwhile tourism to the Caribbean is picking up again after the hurricane disasters of a year ago. Perhaps the ducks in my picture window, literally a stones throw from the house, will stop feeding a minute and let me negotiate a flight south with them. Always wanted to be a snowbird.