Category Archives: Society

The Tyrants Attack Ukraine

This is going to be bad. Very bad.

The world stood by, the world didn’t believe Putin was willing to start WWIII to reimpose a Russian Empire.

So now what is the West going to do? Declarations and condemnations mean shit.

The tyrants are slavering, Lukashenko is also letting loose his dogs of war upon Ukraine from Belarus, like a small schoolyard bully who throws a punch after the bigger thugs start beating the innocent.

And keep an eye on China, this Russian “distraction” may be the perfect time to swallow Taiwan.

Meanwhile Ukraine and its citizens will fight as long and as strongly as they can.

Remember that Ukrainian partisans simultaneously fought both Nazi and Communist forces during WWII.

Yes, there were Ukrainians who supported Nazis, and there were Ukrainians who supported Communists. But to reiterate, there were Ukrainians who fought both to try to maintain their language, culture and religions.

Ukraine survived hundreds of years of being carved up by various empires, survived the loss of millions in WWI, more millions in the Soviet Russian-imposed Holodomor artificial famine in the 1930s, more millions in WWII. . .

Historians have called Ukraine “The Bloodlands.” I’m not a praying man, but I hope this latest incursion won’t result in the deaths of hundreds or thousands. . .

Dismayed by Western Leaders’ Meek Response to Putin

I’m finding the overall namby-pamby Western response to Putin’s manipulation toward WWIII dismaying.

Have we not learned anything? He’s a bully, and thrives on bullying. Perhaps we need some kindergarten teachers to step in where our political leaders will not.

This is bully behaviour, and needs to be nipped in the bud.

You name the metaphor, inch/mile, whatever.

He’s clearly stated he misses the days of the USSR when millions were killed, or enslaved, or sent to moulder in prison gulags in Sibera — by their own government.

The past he seeks to restore was horrific.

The past he seeks to restore benefited the Russian 0.5% — take your era, be it Tsars and the aristocracy, be it the Soviet leaders and their dachas, be it today’s toadies and corrupt “elite.”

Soviet/Russian Horrors Against Ukraine Run Deep and Long

The horrors of the Russian-Soviet induced Holodomor/Genocide that  purposely killed millions of Ukrainians  in the 1930s will reberverate to the end of time.

But tonight, it occurs to me in these troubled times that I’ve never been to the villages in Ukraine where my paternal and maternal grandparents were born.

The closest I got was as a pre-teen in 1972.

But when we got near the village, our 24/7 KGB minder got freaked, and wouldn’t let us go the final few miles. Our entire tour group, who all had family ties in the area, was deported across the border into Romania.

Even in those dark days, I fondly recall the Romanian border “guards” greeting us with bread, and cold cuts, and cheese, and wine, after observing our 12-hour interogation/ordeal at the border.

The damn KGB still owe me several rolls of Fujichrome that they confiscated from 12-year-old me, eh?

But as we were driving through the border town the day before we got kicked out by the KGB, my lingering memory is of an aunt spotting a relative on a street near the family origins (gait and facial features umistakable — an image of grandad), and demanding to stop and being  allowed to see if he was really who we thought he was.

He was, and said he’d been told by the KGB to go home because we were not coming.

How cruel.

And to the KGB minder’s dismay he stayed with us for our final night and shared stories of the KGB’s inhumanity, and the Soviet Russian attempts to destroy the Ukrainian language and culture.

He said he didn’t care about what they would do to him, he’d seen so much horror in his life.

He had only a few teeth left, despite vaunted Soviet medical care, and no glasses. . . again despite vaunted Soviet medical care . . . Sigh.

So all of us in our group who had glasses let him try them out and we left a pair.

Through the night he shared stories of horrors upon horrors infilcted upon Ukrainians by Soviet killers, and we all cried.

And he crept away before dawn.

This is so sad, and. . .

Another reason why we must all Stand for Ukraine.

Abused for centuries, but still standing. . .

Ottawa Trucker Convoy Hijacked by Genocidal Racists

Swastikas? Confederate flags?

It appears the fringe truckers and those others inspired to act out are wannabe genocidal racists.

No wonder trucker organizations are trying to distance themselves from this behavior.

Not to mention “freedom convoyers” are now apparently trying to steal from the homeless . . .

Seen on Twitter:

Shepherds of Good Hope

Hi everyone, thanks for bringing this to our attention. Earlier today, our staff and volunteers experienced harassment from convoy protestors seeking meals from our soup kitchen. The individuals were given meals to diffuse the conflict. Management was then informed of the (1/2)
Shepherds of Good Hope
issue and no further meals were given to protesters. Our soup kitchen is committed to providing meals to people experiencing and at risk of homelessness in Ottawa. This weekend’s events have caused significant strain to our operations at an already difficult time. (2/2)

BC Nature Challenge & BC Parks iNaturalist Project

Very cool project!

Hope lots of my photographer/nature lover peeps will pitch in.

Become a citizen scientist today!

This summer, we’re challenging British Columbians to collect one million observations of wildlife and natural species in B.C. Click here to learn more.

When you visit BC’s provincial parks and protected areas, collect photographic observation of plants, animals, other organisms and natural features, and upload them to the iNaturalist website or app. These observations help researchers develop a deeper understanding of what parks are protecting and can inform management decisions to sustain these protected areas for generations to come.

The BC Parks Foundation, BC Parks, University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University are collaborating on this project to ensure all British Columbians and park visitors can have a hand in the research and understanding of BC’s parks.

Thank You Delta Hospital, Fraser Health

A big shout out to staff, nurses, and doctors at Delta Hospital in Delta, BC.

I had an inguinal hernia repair yesterday, and was very thankful to have what had gradually become a near-grapefruit-sized protrusion taken care of.

Everyone was welcoming, friendly, professional, and reassuring.

The care was excellent, and I am very grateful to have had the procedure. I know many surgeries have been postponed due to Covid, and assume they got me in because the day procedure took about half an hour, plus a couple of hours of monitoring/anesthesia recovery time, so I wouldn’t be taking up a bed.

Thank you for the work that you do! Particularly in what has been a very tough couple of years for healthcare professionals.

Fraser Health was excellent in keeping me apprised of earlier openings as cancellations popped up, and with prep/post instructions.

Byrne Creek in Burnaby Running Like Chocolate Milk

Here we go again! This has been happening far too often over the last few months, when it shouldn’t be happening at all.

This is near the end of the Coho and Chum salmon spawning season in Byrne Creek, and the impact of all this silt on the redds, or nests of eggs, laid by spawning salmon over the last two months is likely very detrimental.

byrne creek looking like chocolate milk burnaby bc

This is high up in the watershed, above the ravine, and it’s a steady flow for significant periods of time, so it’s unlikely to be natural erosion. At the time I took this photo there was insignificant rain, barely a drizzle.

I would guess a construction site being pumped out.

Streamkeeper volunteers have been calling these events in to the City of Burnaby, and I’ve heard that other citizens have as well.

City staff are usually very good at tracking down where these flows are entering street drains. I hope they catch the offenders and levy the maximum fine possible.

Glad Media Is Reporting ‘Sponge’ Concept – What Took so Long?

I’m glad mainstream media ran a story like this, but to make it sound like something new is innacurate.

These ideas have been around for decades, and volunteer streamkeepers and wetlandkeepers have been pushing municiaplities for more infiltration for what seems like forever.

The best way to protect local creeks and urban and suburban watersheds is through the sponge concept of getting as much rainwater into the ground as possible instead of piping it away.

Heck, BC municipalities are supposed to have developed Integrated Stormwater Management Plans (ISMPs) that are supposed to have watershed protection components years ago, but many are nowhere near being fully implemented.

Remembering the Soviet-Inflicted Holodomor Famine in Ukraine

In 2008, the Canadian Parliament passed an act so that throughout Canada, in each and every year, the fourth Saturday in November shall be known as “Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (“Holodomor”) Memorial Day”.

In commemoration of the Soviet-inflicted Holodomor, I’m sharing part of the introduction that I wrote to Maria: A Chronicle of a LIfe, a novel of those terrible times written by Ulas Samchuk, translated by my aunt Roma Franko, and edited by me, after the passing of my Mom who edited many volumes of Language Lanterns Publications translations of Ukrainian literature into English.

“To see a world in a grain of sand…” These words by English poet William Blake are interpreted to mean that minute, apparently inconsequential events in a life can represent universal truths.

“Oles Samchuk’s character Maria is such a grain of sand––or perhaps in the context of the novel, she is such a kernel of grain.

“The life of this uneducated peasant woman spans great upheavals in Ukrainian history from approximately the 1861 emancipation of serfs in the Russian Empire under the Tsars, to the unimaginable horror of the communist-induced mass starvation in Soviet Ukraine in the early 1930s that killed millions, and is now internationally recognized as an act of genocide.

“Samchuk dedicates his novel “to the mothers who were starved to death in Ukraine in 1932-33,” yet the story is much more than that, taking the reader through three sections: A Book about the Birth of Maria, A Book of Maria’s Days, and A Book about Grain. Each is important in its own way, as Maria grows, matures, and reacts to the changes going on around her.

“She may be just a bit of flotsam carried by a tsunami of social and political change, but her loves, her trials and her toil through her three score and ten (the author tells us that she lived for 26,258 days, or nearly 72 years) enable us to picture an often harsh existence that prompted hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian peasants to abandon their beloved villages and emigrate in search of land and freedom. . . “