Saturday, February 28, 2015

Can Dogs Talk?

Of course they can. They don’t talk in our language but they sure can talk. Question is whether YOU can understand their language. In order to be able to, you need to learn the full rich variety of dog language. There is f.ex. the audible part: A small whine, or an urgent whine. There are snarls and deep down growls. There are anxious beeping and a more high-pitched bark. There are various pitches of howls expressing high anxiety or even desperation, there is the loud warning bark telling us that strangers are approaching.
Yes, dogs have a whole specter of audible language. It’s a language we have to learn if we want to understand what our best friend is trying to tell us. But beside of the audible part there is the quiet non-audible language. Call it body language. Much of that part is expressed by their eyes. They can stare us down, they can beg and they can lighten up of pure pleasure and excitement. Usually their eye’s expression is accompanied by f.ex. a raised waving or propelling tail, ears flipping up and down expressing excitement and expectation but also begging. Or our dog sits or lies down or the opposite – jumping up and down.

Molly is not our first dog. With her we got Boomer, a yellow Labrador, and before that we had Shiva, a Riesenschnauzer and Lisa a happy mix-breed. We have had dogs for many years and with that came the opportunity to study and learn dog behaviour.
No, we are not dog whisperers or certified dog trainers. But our love for dogs has made us sensitive to how dogs express themselves.

And it’s been, and still is a lot of fun.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


As we are approaching the end of February, the weather-Yoyo is continuing to amaze us.
Yesterday’s nice and warming walk-about through fresh-fallen snow has caused me to snap off a couple of shots with my Android Samsung phone. Actually I don’t like to use the phone as a camera, but when I keep forgetting to bring the Nikon DSL I kinda have to use the phone or I don’t get any pics at all.
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While yesterday’s mild temps made our walk quite enjoyable we had to bundle up today, in order not to freeze to death. Yup, the day started out with –18C and a frightening cold wind chill of –28C, later “warming” to –8C.  Everything is relative. What we might perceive as warm one day can be cold the next. Well, at least old sol was shining and the sky was blue. I really don’t like grey weather. A sunny blue sky is what I crave. Rain can stay at the west coast, where they enjoy it.
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After such a nice walk I like to nap a little

And a little note about today’s headlines:
Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has launched a Golden Idea. He is auctioning off his most private parts of clothing. Did I read that he got a bid of $6000 for a used tie? The next thing he’s gonna auction off are his PJ-pants. What a treat!  Some crazy collector getting off on Rob’s pants? I beg your pardon. What has this world come to?


Have a great day and THX for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Veto = I Forbid

A veto – Latin for "I forbid" – is the power (used by an officer of the state, for example) to unilaterally stop an official action, especially the enactment of legislation. A veto can be absolute, as for instance in the United Nations Security Council, whose permanent members can block any resolution. Or it can be limited, as in the legislative process of the United States, where a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate may override a Presidential veto of legislation. A veto only gives power to stop changes, not to adopt them (except for the rare "amendatory veto"). Thus a veto allows its holder to protect the status quo.

The concept of a veto body originated with the Roman consuls and tribunes. Either of the two consuls holding office in a given year could block a military or civil decision by the other; any tribune had the power to unilaterally block legislation passed by the Roman Senate.

U.S. President Barack Obama has used his Veto to block a bill passed by both Senate and Congress to allow the Trans-Canada owned Keystone XL Project to proceed. Reason for this veto is the expected negative environmental impact a pipeline of this magnitude might have.


Concerns are mainly circling around what impact a possible breach of the pipeline will have on the huge underground aquifer of the Midwest. This water reservoir is the backbone for farmers who need the exceptionally clean water for irrigation of food-producing fields. Another concern is rooted in the anticipation that the pipeline will lead to further developments in the Alberta tar sands which again will contribute to climate gases and with that to global warming.

9630b5a2fe00436cac27While these concerns are real, there are other considerations involved as well. If oil cannot be transported by pipeline it will be transported by rail.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2011, about 68,000 carloads of fuel oils and crude petroleum were moving along Canadian rail lines. In 2012, that rose to nearly 113,000. Between January and September of 2013, some 118,000 carloads had already been moved. The Association of American Railroads estimates 400,000 crude carloads will move in the U.S. in 2013, up from 234,000 in 2012 and just 9,500 in 2008.

Rail industry associations say their products get to their destination safely more than 99 per cent of the time. But the growing volume of oil shipments also heightens the risk of a spill.

oil-train2-1024x680From 2010-2011 there have been 91 rail accidents with leaks of dangerous fluids or gases in Canada. 53 incidents led to fires and explosions.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2011, about 68,000 carloads of fuel oils and crude petroleum were moving along Canadian rail lines. In 2012, that rose to nearly 113,000. Between January and September of 2013, some 118,000 carloads had already been moved. The Association of American Railroads estimates 400,000 crude carloads will move in the U.S. in 2013, up from 234,000 in 2012 and just 9,500 in 2008.

Rail industry associations say their products get to their destination safely more than 99 per cent of the time. But the growing volume of oil shipments also heightens the risk of a spill.

Rail Disaster at Lac Megantic, Quebec

meganticThe total number of rail accidents from 2010-2011 were staggering 2099. All of these happened in Canada only. So when it comes to public safety concerns railroading oil transports don’t seem to be a great choice either.

In order to safeguard oil transport, new technology should be used. Maybe pipelines could be built with double-walled pipes, like big oil tankers now have double hull storage. And if rail transport is the preferred choice, the entire rail track system throughout North America must be upgraded.

On the other side pipeline accidents, even not so numerous, might have disastrous consequences on human life and environment. Also, pipelines are potential targets for terrorist attacks.

The outcome of this debate lies most certainly in the future.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Warm One Day, Cold The Other

This Alberta winter is by far the craziest in a long time. And looking across Canada it is not any less crazy other places, even though in a different way.
Yesterday Edmonton temps reached 6C (43F) and good was that as I was busy replacing the rear window in my van. Today, however, temps are going down to –7C (20F)

While we needed high boots to splash through the puddles we need skates today to make it along the curbside. And the half-frozen slush is hardly negotiable, even Molly got stuck in it. While Calgary, only 2hrs. south, has no snow at all, it just started snowing again in Edmonton.
And speaking of snow: While the Maritimes got pounded again and people are digging tunnels to their entry doors, people in Vancouver can still admire flowers blooming. Ontario may be the only area being “blessed” with a normal tough cold winter this year.

Since a Canadian winter can be so awful, I have decided to fight it with some nice summer pictures of our favorite spot: CAMPOBELLO ISLAND
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Locked Out, Smashed Window, But We Missed Eastern Snowstorm

Never before had I to smash a window but yesterday I had to.  My van was running, the lights were shining onto the bus which I just had parked, but then I had to go to the bus to plug it in. When I returned to the van all doors were locked. With my phone safely stored inside, a minus 16C and absolutely nobody around in a mile’s circle, I slid out the trailer hitch and shoved it through the rear door window.
The window burst into a million small bits, leaving a gaping whole through which I reached the inside central locking button.  It was the smallest window in the van farthest from the front and I figured the cheapest to replace. I was right on the first two counts but wrong on the third. It is almost the most expensive to replace and a full 150 Bucks more than the windshield.  Go figure!

Right now I have “patched it up” with a garbage bag and some good old duct tape.
When I got back in, Bea showed me a video she’d found. It’s horrible to watch. It is about winter. Winter in New Brunswick. People there are having problems getting out the door. The pile-up of snow is nothing short but extraordinary. You can watch it yourself….and be happy you are not there. That is if you are NOT in New Brunswick.

Oh, understandably, the man in the video uses a few choice words you might not like, so now it’s your choice.

Right now we are very happy about staying in Alberta. And here’s 2 pics of our house in NB. Brrrrr..

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Some White Stuff Fallin’ Out Of The Sky

It started with just a little dusting yesterday evening but ended in 4-6inches of snow towards this morning.  Winter Wonder Land  all over again. How many more times is this gonna happen this winter? 

I shouldn’t complain though. looking at our beloved Campobello Island, people there pretty much have problems getting out of the door. A new winter storm is pounding down on the area as we speak.
And this morning we even had a clear sky with lots of sun, which led us to undertake a little walk with Ms.Molly. And I think we all enjoyed the walk, even though the walking was a bit exhausting treading through the thick snow.
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Cleaning up walkway and parking area for our vehicles provided some extra exercise for us today.

Rest of the day was spent inside with a few goodies from the fridge.  Hmmm….!

Valentine’s day it is too. Last year we were attending the annual V-party at the Hot Springs. What a difference to this year!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Between Dr. Oz And Fox News:

I know, I know…I have been ranting about our crazy-world TV programming before, but I’m not done.

Not yet.

This house has an “advanced” form for TV-watching. A multitude of Channels are coming via an optic fibre cable and for us, who are only used to the few channels an aerial can receive, this is a bit too overwhelming. I am overwhelmed by how much stupidity is actually produced for our so-called “entertainment”.

What this entertainment really does is the re-forming of our thoughts and “knowledge”. Now, I was almost writing de-forming, cause that’s what’s really going on.
When Doctors OZ and PHIL together with “JUDGE JUDY” are advancing their positions to being show masters then I think they have chosen the wrong professions in the first place. Problem with doctors being show masters fluttering across TV screens is that people actually BELIEVE every word they are saying. And by believing their well-honed message people are changing their lives incrementally. They might even chance a self-diagnosis, skipping a necessary visit to their real-world doctor entirely.
We are told how to loose weight by eating a few pills or hanging onto a special diet, which conveniently happens to be available at a discounted price if you call right away.

Problem with all this, and reason why we are having these hapless programs are that these entertainers are making unreasonable amounts of money. Yes, it’s good business. And the money is better than being a real-world doctor.

Now, of course, nobody is being forced to watch these programs. But how often haven’t you been zapping through the jungle of channels just to stop at one of these voyeur-driven programs curiously following the act when Judge Judy is delivering her harsh-worded verdict. Yep, there is entertainment value, I know, but does it ANY good to us, beyond enjoying a few moments of satisfaction?

And then there is Fox (Faux) News, a notoriously reality-twisting lying news channel which has only one purpose, making people believe that 1% of America’s population should be entitled to rule the rest of the country. In fact they are so twisted that they were barred from sending programs in Canada and a few other countries.

But hey, it’s show time, maybe this is all meant to make us laugh.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Rulers Of The World

There have always been people whose lives have been dedicated to reaching an ultimate goal of ruling over huge parts of the world. All of these figures have been despotic dictators of some kind.
Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao, Saddam Hussein, Gadhafi have been playing parts in recent history. Sooner or later their sick brutality-fed dreams collapsed, often in a sea of blood.

War will never cease to exist on our planet as power-hungry leaders will always re-appear on the world stage.

Right now the world is worried about Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin and his bold and unjustified move into a country which rather would be a part of a modern West-Europe.

Germany has often played a role in various conflicts. If we go back far enough we read about the Roman Empire expanding their territory into central Europe.
During the nineties I had the opportunity to see an excavated Roman Mansion. It was discovered under ongoing road construction in the city of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Bea’s birthplace.
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                               Excavated Roman Mansion
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This is a model of the mansion how it must have looked

Why was there a Roman Villa, equipped with a modern water-based floor heating system?

Germania was the Roman and Greek term for the geographical regions inhabited mainly by the Germanic people. It was most often used to refer especially to the areas east of the Rhine and north of the Danube. The areas west of the Rhine were mainly Celtic (specifically Gaulish) and had already become part of the Roman Empire. Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler is located west of the river Rhine.

Map over “Magna Germania”  Early 2.century

“Magna Germania” means Great Germany. Did Hitler perceive his crazy ideas of the Roman Empire? Indeed, the map looks a lot like Hitlers dream of “Gross Deutschland”.

           Above: The Roman Empire spanning around the Mediterranean Sea.
Pre_Migration_Age_GermanicAs we can see the Romans never made it across the Rhine, but they must have had ambitions to proceed further. They even ventured onto the British Isle.

However, what history teaches us is that no world-empire has ever managed to survive for ever. The British Empire collapsed and so did Napoleon Bonaparte’s Empire when his troops got stuck in the everlasting muddy flats of Russia.

Let’s hope that  Mr.Putin will reconsider his imperialistic ideas and that peace will settle again in the Ukraine. He is threatening the peace in entire Europe.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

An Unexpected Winter Storm

Well, I shouldn’t really say “unexpected”, for after all it is just the beginning of February and we KNEW that winter wasn’t over.

No Sir, but it still was a shocker to see what was happening today. It started with a little bit of windy conditions and a few flurries, really. From there on it progressed rapidly into one of the worst blizzards I have seen in a long time. Visibility was cut down to 2 vehicles up front. It got to be a total “wipe-out”. 

My commute, normally taking about 35 minutes, grew to 90 minutes flat, and much of it was a total crawl. Listening to the radio I heard about a multi car accident right ahead in my pathway. So I chose the big Ring Road east called “Anthony Henday”. For the longest time I thought I had made a smart decision!

Big mistake!

All-of-a-sudden traffic tightened up and pretty soon it became a parking lot. Listening to the radio some more I understood that another accident had happened in my newly-chosen home commute route.
20150205_174048I will never be able to understand why Edmonton has so many “people” on the road who seem to have gotten their drivers license on boxing day at Wally World. While I was holding a 35mph speed I was passed several times at 60 and more mph speed. Constant lane changers and trucks roaring through the snow like it was a summer day in August. Most of these guys were driving pickups. Though snow was deep and treacherous I didn’t see one single plow.

At least today’s commute gave me plenty opportunity to study the ugly side of the city as I was driving along the stinking “Petroleum Alley”. Not only is this part of the city extremely ugly, but it boasts an incredible air pollution which made me gag inside my vehicle. Imagine to stand right above an open petroleum pit. That’s about how it felt driving the eastern part of the “Anthony Henday”.
Over monstrous illuminated steel towers were ghostly flares casting their horror-like fiery shine through the snow showers.
Mel Gibson and his post-apocalyptic movie “Mad Max” comes to mind. Edmonton’s petroleum alley is the perfect spot for ANY horror movie location. I just can’t wrap my head around that normal people are actually working there. 

Finally coming home, I had to shovel/push snow off the walkway along the house and the curb. Luckily the snow was like soft powder and didn’t resist my efforts.

Is there more snow coming?

You bet it is. After all we just had February 5.

3 more months to go!  

At least.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Hanging Out

When  Bea and I hooked up with each other some 28 years ago our lives together have never been plagued by boredom. We have lived through lows and highs and have enjoyed most of it to the fullest. I have earlier told the story of my love to Canada which has led me into most of my adventures. I am proud to say that I have always done what I wanted to do. There are not many things I have been prevented from experiencing. Maybe being a trapper in the Yukon was the only thing I had a desire for but never got to do. But who knows what’s coming…..?

In my current job I mainly enjoy the contact with so many people. People who travel. People who are on the move to something. People who are driven by curiosity to meet…..people.

I remember a nice young fellow who was about to have a first trip with his girl friend to Las Vegas. He was totally “in charge” and did not pass up any chance to be the leader of them too. And when I dropped them off at the airport he handed me a generous tip of  USD, making sure his girl friend would be aware of this as well. When I got back behind the wheel I had to smile of the two young folks.

I have now been working without a break since January 20 and today is the first day off. It’s a clear cold day with a deep blue sky. Bea and I went shopping and also been paying a visit to our trailer in the RV-Park. We still needed a few items from the trailer and also paid our power bill there. From now on the trailer will be without power. I hope our batteries will survive the cold weather. By-the-way next week we will get yet another mild spell.
From Thursday to Friday there will be a rise of 27C to 11C. At least that’s what the weather guru says.

Later we did a walk around our neighbourhood where we saw this beautiful house. It was built by the original developer in the early 1900s.
20150203_134552Compare that to today’s faceless new constructions.

And now I am just chilling and relaxing with a coffee in a good chair. Life is so good!

Due to a continuously low oil price, Alberta is now in a state of economic worries. Reports of thousands of lay-offs, especially with contractors, have already caused a 34% downturn in the Calgary housing market. At the same time house inventories have spiked with 37%. There is definitely a doom and gloom mood out there. Alberta government is struggling to make up for massive budget shortfalls. All kind of rumours are spreading for how this shortfall will be compensated for. It has been shocking to learn that 70% of the Provincial budget is used on salaries and wages. Maybe it’s time to cut down on expenses?

I’m just saying.

Want to know what Bea has been doing?
Look at the picture down below. She made it on my laptop.
Winternight                                      Winter Night
Thanks for dropping by again!