Posted in In The News on December 30th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: The tsumani disaster in Southeast Asia continues to dominate the news, and rightfully so. It is difficult to appreciate the magnitude of this event for many of us in Canada. Latest reports have the death toll topping 123,000 people. Unicef is suggesting that children will account for one third of the dead:

NEW YORK, 28 December 2004 – Children are likely to account for more than a third of those killed when massive waves smashed into coastal communities across Asia, UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said today.

“Virtually no country has a population with less than a third of its population aged eighteen years or below and in some of the countries up to 50 per cent of the population is young,” she told reporters at the United Nations.

According to UNICEF, children account for a large proportion of casualties because they represent 39 per cent of the overall population in the eight hardest-hit countries. Eyewitness accounts indicate that many children died because they weren’t strong enough to hold on to fixtures or trees when huge tidal waves swept them off their feet.

The saddest aspect for me is that each of these people was an individual with goals, dreams, and aspirations. Their deaths, so sudden and unexpected, will in turn impact millions of others who knew and loved them. For hundreds of thousands, there can be no closure, as their loved ones will be buried in mass graves or cremated, given that there are no other options at the moment. Many will be buried anonymously, or never found, adding to the prolonged grief of their friends and relatives. In the wake of the tsunamis, millions are homeless. Tonight, I will sleep comfortably in my own bed, and not worry about sub-zero temperatures outside, because I have shelter with food, clothing, water, electricity, plumbing, heat, transportation, and communication, and live in a city with an infrastructure supporting my daily needs. Feeling guilty because one is fortunate to experience a high standard of living is a wasted emotion. The tsunami disaster in SE Asia serves to remind us of that good fortune, and to not take it for granted.

If you wish to donate, agencies in Canada accepting online donations include the Canadian Red Cross, Unicef Canada, and Unicef, World Vision Canada.

According to geophysicists, the displacement of material by the earthquake was so enormous that the rotation of the earth has been permanently altered, with the Earth now spinning at 1/10,000th of a second shorter (3 microseconds). Scientists have estimated that during the earthquake, material approximately 600 miles long and 100 miles wide, inside the Earth, fell 30 feet closer to the planet’s axis of rotation. Further details are emerging regarding how the quake has literally redrawn the map in the region, displacing some islands by several metres.

The Earth is changing. Permafrost is thawing and melting throughout the planet’s cold regions, and grass has become established in Antarctica. Global warming, anyone?

The Midway Point

Posted in Mixed Bag Special on December 26th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: I am stuffed after a series of delicious dinners and breakfasts which began on Christmas Eve, and ended this morning with dim sum. No more food for a while! I am grateful and very fortunate to have food in my belly nonetheless; many on this planet never know what it is like to be full after a meal. Anyway, how was your Christmas?

:: Chris sent a link to the Scared of Santa Gallery. Some of the photos are decades old, and many are hilarious. I suspect more than one photo has been used to embarrass the subject at a later date in his or her life (like, say, a wedding reception.)

:: Consider that this decade is half-over in six days. What has defined the – er – what is this decade called? The Aughts? The Zeros? The Tens? Regardless, in North America, decades tend to be defines based on events and developments in western, or more specifically, American culture, during the ten year periods. Is this the decade of terrorism, fear, and meaningless wars? The Decline of Pop Culture Decade, as represented by “reality tv” and bad lip-synching? The Decade of Aging Baby Boomers? The Emergence of the Millenials? (Remember the “Baby on Board” stickers from the early 80s? The Millenials are those babies.) (Boomers: 1946-1964; Gen X: 1965-1979; Millenials/Gen Y: 1979-2001; ???: 2001-whenever. All dates subject to endless discussion and argument.)

:: Darcy mentioned this site, and it is much fun! Make your own snowflake. Click the scissors when the red dot turns green. There is amazing creativity in the world.

:: Robert sent this pic of how The Rand Corporation, in 1954, envisioned what the home computer might look like in 50 years, i.e., like, right now. Check it out. I wonder what the steering wheel was meant to do?

Merry Christmas!

Posted in Random Thoughts on December 25th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: It’s Christmas morning. Last night was spent at the Wests’ home, sharing a delicious dinner with good friends, drinking wine and singing a few Christmas carols, and exchanging gifts. Today’s events include breakfast at my friends’ home, and then later in the afternoon, going with them to their friends’ home for Christmas dinner. Calories be damned!

I wish you a very Merry Christmas, and hope you have a wonderful day as well.

Dim Dum Sum

Posted in Film, Food and Dining, Friends on December 19th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: This morning, while at dim sum at New Tan Tan, the lights went out. A power failure happened somewhere in the downtown area, perhaps due to the high winds. The staff passed out candles, and also had to deal with the tropical fish tank, which began leaking for some reason, after the power failure.

:: This weekend, I saw Ocean’s Twelve, and Kinsey. Both enjoyable for different reasons, although in discussion with Taras this afternoon, I had to agree that Ocean’s Twelve falls apart in the last 20 minutes. Kinsey contains a set of remarkable performances from a cadre of actors, and also has perhaps the funniest scene in any film I’ve watched this year, including Team America: World Police, which had me howling throughout the picture. I saw Kinsey with my friend Marissa, at the same theatre we saw The Machinist a week earlier. It was déjà vu all over again.

:: For me, the Christmas season brings mixed blessings. I cannot go into details here, but I take great comfort knowing that I have the support and friendship of family and friends who care. In the end, what more can anyone ask at Christmas?

I had planned to be off work from December 18-January 3, but will head in tomorrow to try to clean out my inbox, and finish some paperwork.


Posted in Hurtin' Unit on December 15th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: Last evening my right eye was hurting, feeling like a small foreign object of some sort was under the lid and wouldn’t leave. This morning at the U Health Centre, the doctor confirmed that the cornea has a small scratch right under the pupil. It is quite annoying, so I’m home to rest for the afternoon. I’ve got eye drops, and will pick up some ointment later in the day. Hopefully this will heal quickly.

Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson on Why Canada Sucks

Posted in Political Hooey on December 14th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: (Warning: use your popup blocker before looking at this clip) – Listen and learn that: the worst Americans move to Canada; we are lucky the US allows my country to share the same continent with it; only Western Canada matters (right wingers, cowboys, and ski areas here); we don’t need an army; without the US, Canada is essentially Honduras, but colder and more boring; Norway would invade my country if it wasn’t for our American neighbours – oops – neighbors; that the US doesn’t need Canada (we’re only the States’ largest trading partner on the planet); and finally, Canadians with ambition move to the United States. Gosh, the things I didn’t know. Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson need to sit down and shut the f*ck up.

I’ll leave the last word to Steely Dan: “That right-wing hooey sure stunk up the joint.”

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