Monday, April 19, 2010

Man vs. Mother Nature

We humans are a funny lot. We are so ego-centric that we can hardly see past our own sense of self worth and accomplishments. Looking at what we have done over the last few thousand years or so and you can see why this might be the case. Pyramids of various designs. A giant wall. Large buildings and hydro electric dams. Automobiles and airplanes. Wireless communications and the internet. Space travel and the moon landings. Man has done all of these things in a relatively short amount of time. We've only had the ability to fly for 107 years. That's not really very long. How many thousands of years did it take for Mother Nature to carve out the Grand Canyon? So yes, I guess it might be understandable for mankind to become a victim of believing in it's own success. But then every so often Mother Nature gives us a smack upside the head.

Mankind has always had the 'lets conquer nature because we can' kind of attitude. We try to tame rivers for power. We overcome the fact that we can't fly naturally and build machines to help us do that. In case you might not have noticed, there is no life in space because there is no air there. But we humans don't avoid space. No. We build space craft to enable us to leave the one place that has an environment that allows us to live in order to travel somewhere that doesn't. We humans are never content. We believe that the world is our oyster and that the grass is always greener somewhere else. Then something happens that shows us how the deck is really stacked. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, snow storms and flooding all show us that our accomplishments are really just passing fads.

Take the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland. Nothing like some dust spewing from a volcano to make things come to a screeching stop. For the past five days the air space over eastern Europe has been closed to air traffic. People are sleeping in airports and paying outrageous amounts of money for a tiny piece of floor space in hotel rooms because their flights have been cancelled due to what amounts to Mother Nature farting. Because really in the most basic sense that is what a volcanic eruption is—the planet passing gas. If Mother Nature can cause this amount of chaos with a fart, lets hope that she never gets tired of us living here or we're in deep trouble.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Centennial Edition

This post is a thank you. A thank you to you the readers of this blog. This post right here, that you are reading, right this second, marks the 100th post in the online life of Good, Bad & Ugly! One hundred posts! Wow. Who would have thought that when I posted that first piece about the results of the federal election on October 16, 2008 I would still be posting in 2010. Over that period of time there have been approximately 728 (as of this morning) visits to the blog. Not only from Canada and the U.S., but places like Brazil, Pakistan, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Great Britain and Japan. Who would have thought?

Many of you have commented on pieces that I have written and have even signed on as 'followers'. It's nice to know that someone out there is reading my ramblings and feel comfortable in responding to something that I've written – either to agree with what I've said or to provide a different perspective on a given topic.

One of my kids asked me the other day how long I was going to continue writing the blog. My response was 'as long as people continue to read it'. Goodness knows that there is never any shortage of topics – only time.

So again thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Feel free to pass the link along to others who you think might enjoy it. The more the merrier.

Here's to 100 more posts! Cheers.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy Lirpa Sloof Day

Well in the spirit of the day I have decided to pass along some of my favourite April Fool's day pranks that have been perpetrated on the public over the years. An expanded list can be found at
Swiss Spaghetti Harvest – In 1957 BBC reported that thanks to a warmer than normal winter and the elimination of the Spaghetti Weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper crop of spaghetti. The story included photos of happy farmers harvesting spaghetti from trees. The BBC received many calls from people wondering how they could get their own spaghetti tree.
Left-Handed Whopper – In 1998 Burger King Restaurants announced that they would be offering a left handed whopper for their left handed patrons. The burger would have all the regular ingredients but the condiments on the burger would be rotated 180 degrees for better enjoyment of left handed people. Thousands of people requested the new sandwich and many complained that there was no special right handed version.
Metric Time – In 1975 Australia's This Day Tonight news program reported that the country would soon be switching to Metric Time. Under the new Metric Time system there would be '100 seconds to the minute, 100 minutes to the hour, and 20-hour days'. Along with the new time system would come new names – 'seconds would become millidays, minutes become centidays, and hours become decidays'. The report went on to state that new 10 hour Metric Clocks would be introduced.
Wisconsin State Capitol Collapses – In 1933 it was announced by the Madison Capital-Times that the Wisconsin State Capitol building had been rocked by a series of mysterious explosions and had collapsed. The explosions were attributed to the 'large quantities of gasses' expelled by legislators during debates.
MITkey Mouse – In 1998 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology web page broke the news that the famous tech school had been sold to the Disney Corporation. It went on to report that new schools of study would be offered and would include 'the School of Imagineering, the Scrooge McDuck School of Management, and the Donald Duck Department of Linguistics'.