Tuesday, 30 September 2014

We've Come A Long Way from the Stage Coach

This is what dusk at 37,000 feet over Northern Ontario looks like. How cool is that? Air travel never ceases to amaze me.

Roughly 2884 kilometres (or for my American friends, 1792 miles) in only four hours? Imagine what our grandparents would say about that?

I remember visiting Fort Edmonton Park and seeing a historic stage coach with a sign beside it that said, if I remember correctly, that it used to leave Edmonton on a Monday and arrive in Calgary on the following Friday. The distance? About 299 kilometres (186 miles).

My, how times have changed! Five days to travel 299km versus four hours to travel 2884km. Almost mind boggling, isn't it?

Cruising on Solid Ground?

No, this is not photoshopped; nor did this ship wash up on shore in some recent tropical storm.

Every once in a while, one sees something online that makes you take a second look. For me, this picture was one of those moments. Apparently someone thought there's a market for taking a cruise and never leave the shore. Now you and I can have all the luxuries of the cruise without risking the potential sea sickness or some other off-shore misadventure. Now that's different!

If you want to see some more great photo's of this "ship," check out this site. Wow! So if you don't have your sea-legs, and yet dream of a cruise, maybe this vacation in South Korea is for you.

Happy sailing.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Real Men Do Eat Quiche

Yes, Virginia, real men do eat quiche. They especially eat quiche that is the soon-to-be famous, "Quiche a la Will."

(No pride here)

My secret? OK, if you insist.

It all starts with half a pound of bacon, pre-chopped, fried, and drained. Next chop about a quarter onion, a handful of mushrooms, and a bunch of broccoli. Next I sprinkled them into two Tenderflake deep dish pie shells. To this concoction, I added about fourteen eggs that were scrambled with a dash of milk. Next came a light sprinkling of cayenne pepper (MUST have a little bit of a spice-kick).

All this went into a 350 degree Fahrenheit pre-heated oven for, I don't know, until the creation was no longer liquid and there was a nice brown on the shell. Next I sprinkled a little grated Armstrong Old Cheddar onto the quiche, and returned it to the oven until melted.

For those who are calorie conscious, as near as I can tell, each pie is about 1700 calories, or about 425 calories per quarter pie serving.

What do you serve it with? A second slice, of course. Who says, "Real men don't eat quiche?" This one does.

Fast-food? You've got nothing on me!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Elephant Artist or Imprisoned Circus Performer?

"I go to movies, go out with friends, go to car shows. I have a zoo." ~Axl Rose

"I believe sustainable use is the greatest propaganda in wildlife conservation at the moment." ~Steve Irwin

What is your take on the training and use of wildlife? Are you OK with it? Or do you have some concerns?

A friend shared the following video on Facebook recently. It was quite possibly one of the more amazing things I have ever seen from the animal kingdom; I was clearly blown away by it. Wow! I certainly did not realize that elephants were that intelligent! If I didn't see it with my own eyes, I never would have believed it.

While amazing, I also have some reservations, but we'll get to those later. First, the video.

Incredible? It certainly is. But now to my issue.

While at the West Edmonton Mall recently, we happened to see part of an afternoon show involving sea lions. It was cute, and all, and they certainly did not seem to be harmed in any way. It was even mildly entertaining. However, what really bothered me was what I saw and heard between the two sea lion acts we observed. As the one sea lion jumped up onto dry ground and was led back into it's "cage," (Yes, from where I stood I actually saw the jail-cell like cage, complete with bar doors), the clanging sound of the cell door rang through that part of the mall. That unnerved me. Oh, I know the sea lions could not remain unattended and wander the mall, and I also know that given the stupidity of many people, that enclosure was possibly even for their own protection. Still, to see and hear the closing of a steel-barred door that looked like it may have come from Alcatraz Prison, well, it just left a bad taste in my mouth.

The subliminal message to the animals I heard was, "Go entertain these fine people, and then get back in your cage." Then there they sit until the next "show."

I have a problem with circus acts that involve the training of animals to be something other than what they naturally were created to be. Other than some of the newer bar-free enclosures, I also have a problem with zoos. To capture and/or train wildlife simply for the entertainment of humans is, in my books, wrong. I am not suggesting that the animals suffer any harm during their training process, but I'm equally not totally convinced that they don't experience some measure of discomfort either.

I couldn't help but think of that old 1968 movie, The Planet of the Apes, in which an astronaut travels to another planet where he discovers a primitive human race being dominated by intelligent apes. Obviously the whole story was sci-fi and highly entertaining (more so than the sea lions at WEM or even the video above). Still, to see humans in zoo-like cages for the sole purpose of entertaining the apes, well it's almost like karma (not that I personally believe in karma).

Then again, I can probably think of a person or two that I would get a twisted form of entertainment value from if I saw them behind bars, but that's another story.

Anyways, that's the way I see it.

Photo Credit: Rana Xavier; Flickr Creative Commons

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Room Temperature: Whose, Yours or Mine?

I just heard the furnace kick on. Hmm, what’s with that? I know it’s a little cool outside, but it is also only the 9th of September, far too early in the season yet for furnace heat, wouldn’t you say? A quick check of my thermostat showed it sitting at its lowest possible setting, 14 Celsius (58 Fahrenheit). Clearly then, for the furnace to come on, the actual temperature of our humble home must have dropped below that mark. OK, maybe it’s a tad cool in the house. Perhaps that explains why folks often leave their jackets on when they come for a visit. LOL.

This got me thinking about the term, “Room Temperature.” What is room temperature?

Room temperature is basically the temperature in which most people are most comfortable. It is a temperature which is neither too hot nor too cold and which, according to Wikipedia, is an average of 23 degrees Celsius (73 degrees Fahrenheit). That means that the room temperature in our home is 9 degrees Celsius (15 degrees Fahrenheit) below what we’re told the average is. That’s pretty significant.

Obviously we all have different internal thermostats, and as such the very term “room temperature” really is quite subjective. It was only a few weeks ago that I checked into a hotel room and almost passed out! Why? The room’s thermostat was set at the average room temperature of 23 degrees. While for most it may have been comfortable; for me it seemed to be sucking the life right out of me. Fortunately, by resetting the thermostat and opening the windows, I could correct that excessive temperature flaw in a short time, make it a little more bearable, and bring my hotel room a little closer to my idea of "room temperature."

As much as I enjoy summer, and live for those lazy summer days outdoors, the advantage for me of this time of year is that it is easier to get comfortable. One can always add another layer of clothing if needed, but there are only so many layers that one can take off and not get arrested for indecent exposure. Room temperature: whose, yours or mine?

Hmm, I guess it is a little cool in here. Excuse me as I go get a sweater and my slippers.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons