Thursday, June 18, 2009

Susie B and Amelia both hail a cab...

Thursday, June 18, 2009 - One turns to the other and says... "You first", but Sally got the ride. Hey... Lame maybe, but today is an interesting day in History. On June 17, 1873, Susan B. Anthony is fined for attempting to vote in the 1872 presidential election. On June 17, 1928, Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly in an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean, and in 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space.

Having grown up in a world where I really haven't had to experience any discrimination barriers, I can't imagine what a challenge these accomplishments might have been for these women. I have a friend who smashed through a few of those barriers herself in her working life - paving the way for many others to carve successful careers in banking. Without minimizing these accomplishments, I wonder what is so special about Amelia or Susie B doing what seems so straight forward - having an opinion, casting a vote, boarding a plane. What matter is it whether they were male or female? Imagine life for the generations to come... where not only does one's gender not matter, but neither does their orientation, ethnicity, religion...

In some ways, that sounds like a pretty good world. So what will be the firsts that humanity will look back on in 40-50 years that seems uncommonly common to have had a 'first'? Will there be the first human to park a Volkswagen on the moon? VW - FarFrumErde.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Juggling traffic jams with bridges.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 - Vancouver is a funny city - full of mountains, beautiful views, oceanic waters, and bridges. Many many bridges. Which also then translates in to a city full of traffic jams and 24 hour Traffic channels. But alas, to alleviate some of the problems, Vancouver has a solution that will help to ease congestion... a new bridge.

Vancouver has had it's share of International attention for their bridges. There was the ill-fated construction of the Second Narrows Bridge. During it's construction, it collapsed and fell in to the Burrard Inlet killing 19 Ironworkers and injuring many more. June 17th marks the anniversary of that collapse in 1958 and today, the Second Narrows Bridge is better known as the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge.

The Lion's Gate Bridge is an historical landmark. Like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco, the Lion's Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge completed in 1938, one year after the Golden Gate. Both bridges were partially built at the old Dominion Bridge company in Burnaby. The Lion's Gate Bridge made the news again a few years ago, when the entire bridge deck was replaced in a true feat of engineering. It is still only a 3 lane bridge, but the lanes are wider and the view from the bike lanes, now cantilevered on the outside of the suspension wires, is fabulous.

So today, the new Golden Ears Bridge opens officially - though commuters used to bridge today to shave off anywhere from 20-60 minutes off their morning drive. Like the Lion's Gate Bridge, this will be a toll bridge. Hopefully, the toll will only last as long as it takes to pay for the bridge. Of course that assumes the Provincial Government is as honest as the Guinness Family. Seems beer keeps you honest. Once the Lion's Gate was paid for, the toll disappeared. As for this new bridge? I'm guessing that will happen when Pigs learn to juggle.

I'm sure that there are other ways to deal with the massive traffic problems of a City like Vancouver - bound by mountains and water, and a vastly spreading population. How about better transit? Better incentives to carpool? Heftier tolls? Safer bike lanes? Better transit? I'm glad it isn't my issue to fix. There is so very much to juggle... and although it is World Juggler's Day, I doubt it is a day put aside for City Planners. After all, most Planners may have very good ideas, but are lacking the 1000 pound gorilla to get them implemented.

But... if you know a City Planner, how about giving them a set of balls... to juggle. Where did you think I was going with that?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

No Blooming way....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 - Overheard at an Outback Steakhouse "Mary Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With blue bells, cockle shells, and one big 'blooming' onion." Ok, maybe not, but it could work. As a kid, I had a handful of modified nursery rhymes including Mary Mary here. Jack and Jill were up to no good on that hill, Humpty Dumpty made an excellent breakfast (served with toast), and Little Miss Muffett was a real bitch.

I think about Mary Mary wonder what exactly she was growing in that garden. I'm guessing that if it's vegetables... the onion might come in handy. Of course, dip that same onion in batter and fry it and you have a whole different story. Today there is a new movement underway to eat withing so many miles of home... the 100 Mile Diet says you should only eat that which is close, in season and can be gathered on your own. I am sure this leaves a much smaller carbon footprint on the planet, but if you live in North Western Ontario in January, would your diet consist of Cariboo and SnoCones?

Living in Vancouver, this diet could actually work for most of the year. We live within 100 miles of some of the best strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and corn around. Recent City By-Law changes mean that your neighbour a mere 100 feet away might have chickens (and therefore eggs and legs) in their back yard. As for vegetables... there is no limit to the varieties available at the Farmer's Markets. So now that it is the Veggie Season, Farmer's Markets have become a weekly stop and I have a fool-proof way to be celebrate Fresh Veggies Day.

Each Sunday, I hit a local market and stock up on the in-season veggies from within a 100 mile radius. I conscientiously wash them and store them ready for the week. On Monday, I put together a fabulous salad that becomes that days lunch. On Monday night, I have veggies with dinner. On Tuesday morning I forget to make lunch at all and will order in if I find time to eat. Tuesday night I stay late at work, and grab something on the way home. Wednesday - Friday look remarkably like Tuesday, and on Saturday, I clean the fridge of all the veggies I can no longer eat in order to make room for Sunday's haul from the Farmer's Market. It may not be perfect... but it's a system. Wonder if today will be the Tuesday I eat the fresh veggies? Do potatoes done in hot oil count? Can you really count a potato as a vegetable at all?

The Irish are quite fond of the potato... it works for any meal. Jimmy Joyce's Leopold Bloom probably found the potato to be the perfect I bet you'd be hard pressed to find a pub in Dublin today that isn't serving the potato, mashed, fried, chipped or in stew. Oh heck, it's Bloomsday, skip the blue bells and cockle shells, and go straight for a pint and a blue cheese and sandwich. If you really need a veggie, I recommend the Bloom'in Onion.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Don't let life get in the way...

Monday, June 15, 2009 - How does it happen that we make claim to a balanced life and yet the scales are heavily weighted to one side? While we're piling things on to the trays of that scale, how do we miss the fact that we've put a pea on one side, and bricks on the other? At what point do you recognize the unbalance in your life and book a tee time?

These may seem like esoteric questions to fuel a conversation but it is more a full out cry for help. At some point in your life you need someone to grab you by the back of the collar and pull you away from the day to day and force you to jump to the other side of the scale.

In the grand scheme of things, I think as humans we all crave the same thing... love, acceptance, belonging... and time to experience all those things away from the office. A balance of work and play, family and friends, asleep and awake - often allude us. Not because we don't seek them, but because we don't have time to seek them out. There is a cosmic irony to our desires and our realities. We may want the same things, but then we also want responsibility and success... which we define as having achieved that balance, but in reality means we work too much to have time to succeed.

Yesterday in Vancouver, several main streets (including Main Street) were closed to traffic to celebrate Car Free Day. Funnily enough, these events were so big, that people drove to these events to celebrate. The side streets and alleys were full of cars parked to enjoy the festivities. They'd have taken public transport but alas, the buses were re-routed because they couldn't get down these main streets either. I get that sometimes to re-balance the scales you have to swing the pendulum to the other extreme... but I sure enjoyed the irony.

And if that isn't enough, today is No More TV Day... as I saw advertised on TV this morning. Now I'm sure there were better ways to advertise this, but honestly, I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the day the same. So today I spent the day looking for the ironies in life. I found the time to write about them, but ironically enough, I was too busy to notice any. Now isn't that just as clear as mud?

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