Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
I am petrified  because  of this  Ebola  madness , I live in Texas  for God's  sake .
As it is , I don't  like flying  . Now  I hardly  want  to go out  my house . I'm supposed  to fly to  Washington D.C.  to visit  my family  for  Christmas  and it's time to buy  my ticket .  How  can I know  if  I will be on a flight  that's safe ? What should I do ?
Scared  Flightless
Dear Scared  Flightless,
You should  be  concerned  about  what your  next  steps should be, especially  during  the  holidays . Pay special attention  to the 'Center for  Disease Control  and Prevention'  website  that will be giving  updates  on travel  recommendations  and Ebola  in general . The  going wisdom  on prevention  of  contracting  this  deadly  disease  is to keep yourself, particularly your hands, antiseptically clean and stay away  from infected  people  . For  details  , visit  .

Dear Maxy ,
I live  in a  large  condo building . Most  of the occupants  are lovely, but one woman  is extremely bossy  and always involved in projects . For  some reason  she expects  me to do all her  legwork  and  of  course, takes full credit .
I work from home . She  doesn't  like  taking  no  for an answer, so she was constantly  texts, calls  and  hounds  me until I give in . How  can I politely tell her  I'm too busy  and would  prefer  that she  leave me along ?
Sick of  being  bossed
Dear Sick ,
You need to acquire a little back bone and stand up for yourself. She will never  give  up  if she knows  you will eventually  give in . She thinks you are a pushover.
Prove her  wrong . Be polite but keep saying  no . Don't answer  her texts  or  calls . Write "Sorry , I can't help you," on a piece of paper  and read it to her  as many times as  necessary . Persevere and eventually it will penetrate a  hide even as tough as hers.

Dear Maxy ,
I appreciate  the information  on ovarian cancer  and that September  was ovarian cancer  month . I am writing to  find out  whether you are aware of any support  walks , bike rides , etc., to advance people's awareness of ovarian cancer ? My aunt  was recently diagnosed  and I have been disappointed  in the lack of information . I recently  moved to Sarasota  and found  out that the only chapter  in Florida  for ovarian cancer  is in Tallahassee . If  you have any thoughts , please  let me  know .
---- S.
Dear S. ,
There  are  various  walks  and rides  for  ovarian cancer  scheduled throughout  the  year, although I cannot promise  that there are any are in Sarasota . For  information, support  and scheduling, please  look into  the  Ovarian Cancer  Research Fund( ),  the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance ( ), the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition ( ), and the American Cancer Society ( ).

Forgotten Corvette collection emerges from the dust after 25 years

2009 Callaway GT1 Championship Edition featured in Corvette Magazine

Peter Max

Peter Max's abandoned, old collection of Corvettes is being brought back to life.

Only that never happened. Instead, Max left his collection in a New York City storage lot, which is where they've lived for a quarter of a century, gathering inches of dust, moved only when switching from one storage location to another. However, that is all about to change, as the cars are now under new ownership – one that will lovingly restore the 'Vettes and get them back on the road.
The story of how Max acquired the cars began in 1989, when music network VH1 held a contest to award a lucky viewer with a Corvette from every year of the model's existence, from 1953 to 1989. Hemmings reports that VH1 purchased the cars for $610,000, and made its money back by creating a 900 number and charging contestants $2.00 per phone call to enter.

Placing just one call, Dennis Amodeo, a carpenter from Long Island, won the prize. Shortly after receiving his army of Corvettes, Amodeo received a call from Max who had seen the collection at an auto show in 1990. Max stated that he wished to purchase the cars, and at a meet in New York City, the two hashed out a deal that reportedly included $250,000 in cash, $250,000 worth of Max's artwork and an agreement that if Max ever sold the cars, Amodeo would receive a portion of the proceeds, up to $1 million.

While the exterior of the 1963 Vette is coated in grime, the interior has been fairly well preserved by neglect.
While the exterior of the 1963 Vette is coated in grime, the interior has been fairly well preserved

Why Max never executed his plan for the Corvette collection remains a bit of a mystery; in 2010, he talked about adding 14 more years of vehicles to bring the tally up to an even 50. Once again, that never happened. Perhaps it was the sheer amount of work that was required after the artist had let the cars sit for so long; some of the cars, like the 1974 and 1984, would cost more to restore than the vehicle's worth, and time was reportedly unkind to most of the 'Vettes in the group – two-thirds of which sport the less-sought-after automatic transmission with 14 of the cars convertibles; none feature the prized big-block V-8.

Still, after Max approached a guy named Peter Heller to locate a new storage garage for his collection, according to the New York Times, Heller decided instead to offer the artist a deal to purchase the 36 Corvettes. Max agreed for an untold sum (it's unknown whether Amodeo will receive a portion of the proceeds, as stated in Max's original deal). Some of the cars, Heller discovered, could be show-ready with relatively basic restoration, and he plans to have even most decrepit vehicles brought back to life.

When complete, the collection will return to the market, hoping to deliver a tidy return on Heller's investment and keep the wheels turning on the once forgotten Corvettes of Peter Max.
David Borroughs of Bloomington Gold was asked by the NY Times about the value of the collection.   And without an on-site inspection, he suggested that the 36 car collection had an estimated value of  close to a million dollars with the 10 oldest Corvettes alone accounting for half.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hawaiian village Pahoa evacuates as Kilauea lava threatens

This Oct. 25, 2014 photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows a small shed being consumed by lava in a pasture between the Pahoa cemetery and Apa?a Street near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii. Dozens of residents in this rural area of Hawaii were placed on alert as flowing lava continued to advance.

Residents of a Hawaiian village threatened by lava have begun evacuating as the flow threatens the first house in its path. Two roads to Pahoa have been closed and a cemetery has already been overtaken by the flow from the Kilauea volcano.
"We are still praying," said Imelda Raras as the lava approaches her house. "I hope our home will be spared."
Kilauea on the Big Island has been erupting since 1983, but lava has recently burst forth from a new vent. The town's residents will be allowed to watch the destruction of their homes "as a means of closure", officials said. And they will be allowed to take photos and video for insurance purposes.
"You can only imagine the frustration as well as... despair they're going through," said Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira.
Mrs Raras said she and her husband are ready to go to a friend's home if they are ordered to leave.

The lava flow from the Kilauea Volcano is seen crossing Apa'a Street/Cemetery Road in this U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) image taken near the village of Pahoa, Hawaii 25 October 2014
The lava flow from the Kilauea volcano cuts off a street in Pahoa
On Tuesday morning, officials said the lava had crossed into the property of the threatened home on the edge of Pahoa. Many residents of the town of 800 have already left or made plans to do so, Mr Oliveira said. The couple living in the house closest to the flow have evacuated but have been returning to gather belongings, he said.

Can you stop lava?

At temperatures of about 1,000C (1,832F), lava destroys whatever it touches. Its path is notoriously hard to predict. The ability to impede or redirect lava largely depends on location, resources and luck.
Decades ago in Hawaii, the US attempted to bomb a lava flow, only to see the bomb craters refill. In Iceland, crews made use of billions of gallons of cold water around a nearby harbour to cool the lava in place. And barriers along Mount Etna in Italy redirected a flow away from a tourist area. But these attempts have been helped by a natural slowing or halting of lava eruptions.
"You have to be in a wealthy country with a lot at stake to even consider" lava diversion, Dr Shannon Nawotniak told the BBC, particularly given the volume of volcanic eruptions and the potential costs.
"You might buy yourself some time until the volcano stops itself."

Residents have already begun evacuating
  The flow came to a standstill in September before flowing faster towards Pahoa

The lava flow from the Kilauea Volcano is seen in a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) image taken near the village of Pahoa, Hawaii, at 10:00HST (20:00GMT) October 26, 2014.
Kilauea volcano has continuously erupted since 1983, but a new lava vent has recently threatened communities on Hawaii's Big Island
"They are out of the property and awaiting the events to unfold."
The flow, now 55yds wide, advanced about 275yds between Sunday morning and Monday morning.
It has been moving at an average of five to 10yds an hour, but has done so fitfully, sometimes slowing down to two yards or speeding up to 20, depending on topography, said Janet Babb, a spokeswoman for the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
Decomposed vegetation in the lava's path has also produced methane explosions at the front of the flow, Ms Babb said.
"It's not a massive explosion," she said. "But it can dislodge rocks."
After the new vent opened in July, lava threatened a separate community before coming to a standstill in September.

This Oct. 25, 2014 photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows a Hawaii Volcano Observatory geologist standing on a partly cooled section of lava flow near the town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Decomposing vegetation has created methane explosions at the front of the flow

The lava flow from the Kilauea Volcano is seen nearing residential areas in a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) image taken near the village of Pahoa, Hawaii 27 October 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Ford Era is Over...John Tory is Mayor of Toronto

 John Tory has been elected mayor of Toronto. The Ford era is over. Tory beat Doug Ford, the brother of current mayor Rob Ford, in a tight race Monday night, severing the city from the past four years of scandal, embarrassment and complete mismanagement.  Tory promised “sensible, competent, accountable” leadership after  the upheaval under Rob Ford. His win over Doug Ford and Olivia Chow was, as The Canadian Press reports — much narrower than predicted by recent opinion polls —and is a repudiation of the siblings whose behaviour outraged the city. It heralds a return to normalcy in local government.

Tory, who launched his campaign in a distant third place, took the lead for good three months ago. But the steady polling trend line belies the mayhem of a campaign in which the celebrity incumbent left the city for two months to receive treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, was diagnosed with a rare cancer, and was replaced on the ballot by his brother a mere 45 days before the vote.
Tory rose on the strength of his centrist good-government message, pleasantly staid personality and a single signature policy proposal, the “SmartTrack” surface rail line he claimed would “solve” the city’s traffic congestion problem “quickly.” With the help of endorsement upon endorsement from members of the provincial Liberal caucus, the former Progressive Conservative leader beat Chow, a former New Democrat MP, in the critical battle for middle-of-the-road voters.

Tory said his top priority is addressing the city’s traffic and transportation woes. He will soon embark on complicated discussions with the provincial and federal governments over SmartTrack, which he pitched as a 53-kilometre, 22-stop, $8-billion project built in no more than seven years.
The mayor has just one vote on the 45-member council. Tory will have to deal with a very vocal and very famous antagonist: Rob Ford was elected to his former Etobicoke North council seat despite his inability to campaign.
 ( I wonder why Torontonians would put Rob in a position of trust again....not to mention he is a sick man ). Ford, though, will again become a largely powerless outsider, that is, if his health permits him to work at all. Doug Ford’s defeat effectively concludes the chaotic and oft-surreal period in which Toronto became a fixture on late-night comedy shows — and Rob became the world’s most famous municipal politician.

Doug Ford, a conservative councillor and a businessman, ran a heavily negative and frequently dishonest campaign focused on Tory, whom he called an establishment “elite” figure uninterested in “the common folk.” Adopting much of his brother’s successful populist rhetoric, Ford presented himself as a champion of low taxes, subways, and suburbanites neglected by city hall. Before the end of voting on Monday, campaign spokesman Amin Massoudi said he is proud of what Ford’s skeletal team managed to accomplish.
“We’ve done everything we can with the time that we had,” he said. “We think we’ve run a successful campaign against some pretty serious odds.”
Chow began the campaign as the clear favourite. After months of attempting to establish her bona fides as a budget-minded centrist, she altered her message after Labour Day — newly identifying herself as a “progressive,” proposing a tax hike on the rich to pay for an expansion of student meal programs, and touting social policies intended to help marginalized people and neighbourhoods.
She, too, attacked Tory relentlessly, joining with Ford in an uncoordinated late-campaign assault on the untested technical and financial components of the SmartTrack plan. Tory brushed off his two main opponents as needlessly negative “members of the can’t-do-it committee,” and their criticism never appeared to resonate.

The campaign formally ran for 10 months, informally even longer. Tory and Chow participated in more than 50 debates each, on topics as varied as accessibility, the arts and Latino political participation. But transit was the overwhelming focus throughout. Chow was first to issue a major proposal, promising to immediately improve rush-hour bus service by 10 per cent. She was forced to make her proposal less specific when TTC officials said a quick fix wasn’t possible during peak periods.  Chow claimed throughout the spring that she was “the one person” who could beat Rob Ford. Her argument fizzled in late July, when Tory overtook her in the polls for the first time. He never trailed again.

Rob Ford took his name off the ballot because of illness. He had run a largely positive campaign focused on his policy achievements, taking personal credit for the “booming” city while asking voters to overlook his crack cocaine scandal and other “personal” failings. Doug Ford’s abbreviated campaign, launched long after Tory established himself as the man to beat, took on a sharply different tone.

Tory accompanied his wife, Barbara Hackett, to cast her ballot just steps from their downtown condo on Bloor St. W. He pronounced himself “actually very serene.” He could not sit still, though, as Ford and Chow continued canvassing in the afternoon, and he added a 20-minute glad-handing stop at Sherbourne subway station to his previously empty afternoon itinerary.
He insisted he was still calm.
“It’s an occasion to celebrate democracy, and celebrate the great city we’re in, and I hope we’re celebrating a victory, too — but I take nothing for granted,” he said.

Paper test can detect Ebola strains...New development

Paper test 

A soup of biological ingredients can be freeze-dried and preserved on ordinary paper

DNA-programmed blotting paper could soon be giving doctors a simple disease test that will reveal an infection in 30 minutes for just a few pence. Researchers have proved the technique works by developing a prototype Ebola test in just 12 hours, and using just $20 of materials.
The smart diagnostics use a soup of biological ingredients including the genetic material RNA. The researchers say this can be freeze-dried and preserved on ordinary paper. Team leader Jim Collins, who has joint appointments at Boston and Harvard Universities, says the biological powder can be reactivated by simply adding water, like living powdered soup.
"We were surprised at how well these materials worked after being freeze dried," he said.
"Once they're rehydrated, these biological circuits function in these small paper disks as if they were inside a living cell."
Genetic hacking
Jim Collins is a leading pioneer in the field of synthetic biology, whose 2000 paper showing genetic circuits could be created in the same way as electronic circuits can be programmed. He researched and helped launch the discipline. Since then, synthetic biology has become a powerful tool in fundamental biology, with researchers hacking the genetic programs of microbes to study their life processes, or give them the power to compute using logic like a digital processor.

Collins' group has previously reprogrammed bacteria to become cellular spies, recording events as they pass through an animal's bowels. But the discipline has required specialist skills, so that few laboratories can take advantage of the techniques. The researchers' avowed intention in the new work, is to make synthetic biology widely available.
They've definitely succeeded, says Professor Lingchong You, an expert in cellular reprogramming at Duke University.
"This paper-based approach is incredibly attractive. It feels like you could use it in your garage! It'll give scientists a synthetic-biology playground for a very low cost."
The materials in the powdered biochemical soup include simple enzymes that bacteria need, molecules to power the chemical reactions, amino acids which are the bricks of cell biology, and importantly ribosomes, giant molecular machines that read genetic material and use it to assemble the bricks into functioning proteins.
In liquid form, these cell extracts are routinely used in biology labs. Linchong You gives credit to Collins for having the imagination to freeze dry them with synthetic genes.
"With hindsight, it's obvious it should work. But most of us don't think in this direction - there was a real leap of faith. But the fact you can leave these freeze-dried systems for a year, and they'll still work - that's quite remarkable."

Ebola from cell
The prototype test was able to distinguish between different strains of Ebola virus - seen here in blue, budding from a cell

Alongside the paper-based biochemistry, Jim Collins' team - in collaboration with Peng Yin, also at Harvard University's Wyss Institute - has also introduced a new way of programming RNA, the molecular cousin of DNA which ribosome machines read. Their method makes the gene-circuits far more flexible than previous approaches.
The new type of RNA can be programmed to react and respond to any biochemical input, and then switch on the rest of the genetic machinery.
"This gives us a programmable sensor that can be readily and rapidly designed," Collins explains.
The Ebola test they experimented with is a proof of principle showing how flexible the programming step is.
"In a period of just 12 hours, two of my team managed to develop 24 sensors that would detect different regions of the Ebola genome, and discriminate between the Sudan and the Zaire strains."
In contrast, conventional antibody tests take months and cost thousands of dollars to devise.

The genetic test kit gives a simple colour output, turning the paper from yellow to purple, with the change visible within half an hour. By changing the input trigger, variants of the test could be used to reveal antibiotic resistance genes in bacterial infections or biomarkers of other disease conditions.
Their Ebola test is not suitable for use in the epidemic areas at the moment, Collins emphasizes, but it would be simple to devise one that is. The arrays of programmed paper dots would be easy to mass produce. Lingchong You envisions an "entire fabrication process carried out by computer-aided circuit design, robotics-mediated assembly of circuits, and printing onto paper."
And price is not the only consideration. Collins points out the freeze-dried circuits are stable at room temperature. In large parts of the world where electricity is unreliable, or there are no refrigerators, this would be a particular advantage.
"We are very excited about this," he added.

South Korea ferry trial: Prosecutors call for death penalty

South Korean prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the captain of the Sewol ferry, which sank in April killing more than 300 people.
The prosecutors said Lee Joon-seok, who is charged with homicide, failed to execute his duty. When questioned, he did concede that he should have done more to get passengers to safety. He also admitted that he knew the crew member steering the ship at the time of the accident was relatively new to the job and did not have the skills and experience required.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Justice in South Africa

PRETORIA (Reuters) - As Oscar Pistorius spent his first day behind bars this week, a suspected child rapist and murderer went on trial at the same Pretoria court in a case that has also provoked fierce debate about crime and punishment in post-apartheid South Africa.
Although the two defendants, one wealthy and white, the other poor and black, are from opposite ends of a still-divided society, both cases have revealed an alarming lack of faith in the justice system of the "Rainbow Nation".
In her jailing on Tuesday of Olympic and Paralympic star Pistorius, convicted of the culpable homicide of his model girlfriend, Judge Thokozile Masipa stressed the need for rehabilitation and an "element of mercy".
South Africa, she said, had moved on from the dark ages of an eye-for-an-eye to a "modern era", a reflection of the moral idealism that took root 20 years ago when Nelson Mandela became the country's first black president, ending decades of brutal and oppressive white-minority rule.
The reaction to Pistorius' five-year sentence - likely to mean just 10 months in jail - was swift and overwhelmingly critical, suggesting most people in a society plagued by violent crime do not share Masipa's views.
After her controversial decision to rule out a murder verdict, 72 percent of respondents in a TV poll dismissed the sentence as too lenient. Many black South Africans said it was another example of wealthy whites securing preferential justice.
"It's because he has money. If it was a black man he would have got 15 or 20 years," said Vusi Khoza, a 42-year-old minibus taxi driver waiting at a Johannesburg bus-station.
While the anger in the Twittersphere is unlikely to translate into violence against Pistorius, the same cannot be said for Ntokozo Hadebe, the 28-year-old accused who followed directly in the athlete's footsteps in the dock of the Pretoria High Court on Wednesday.
When he was arrested a year ago in Diepsloot, a vast shanty town north of Johannesburg, a mob was baying for blood, burning tires outside the police station where he was being held and demanding he be handed over for instant justice.
"Touch my child and you die next," one placard read.
Hadebe's charge sheet reveals why Judge Masipa's notions of balanced and merciful justice belong to a different world for the many South Africans living in tin-shack townships that have changed little since the end of apartheid.
Hadebe, who pleaded "not guilty" on all counts, is accused of the rape, and then murder, of three girls aged 5, 3 and 2, in Diepsloot in September and October 2013. The body of the oldest victim, Anelisa Mkhonto, was dumped beside a rubbish bin. She had been beaten about the head and suffocated with a blue plastic bag. The other two victims, cousins Thokozani and Yonelisa Mali, were found partially clothed and strangled in a communal toilet.
In giving evidence on the first day of Hadebe's trial, Anelisa's grandmother, Bongiwe Mcubuse, broke down as she recounted the moment refuse collectors told her the mutilated body of the child had been found.
"I'm not sure whether the court will give me justice or relief," she later told reporters outside the court. "The justice that I want is for the person who did this to disappear from society forever - three life sentences. But you never know with the courts. You can't really trust them."
Anyone convicted of the kind of charges Hadebe faces would undoubtedly be punished severely in a South African court, regardless of their race or wealth. But Mcubuse's sentiments, alluded to by Masipa when she spoke of the "reputation of the administration of justice", run deep in South Africa's townships and are a major factor in the vigilantism that stalks their dusty streets.
"It does reflect a sense of desperation about crime in many of these areas and a sense that all too frequently the courts don't deliver justice," said Rachel Jewkes, a gender violence expert at the Medical Research Council in Pretoria.
Police do not keep specific data on lynchings, saying they are categorized only as assault, attempted murder or murder, but a one-off analysis of murders by investigators in 2008-09 reveals street justice as a major problem.The figures from that year defined 4.8 percent of the total 18,148 murders as "vigilantism", a ratio that extrapolates to 4,000 people in Africa's most advanced economy dying as a result of mob justice in the last five years.
Nor is it a confined to the economic heartland of Johannesburg and Pretoria.
In the Cape Town township of Khayelitsha, a complete breakdown in trust between public and police was blamed for what Western Cape Premier Helen Zille termed a "plague of vigilante killings".
In March 2012, eight suspected criminals were killed by mobs, according to an inquiry into the broken policing in Khayelitsha, home to an estimated 1 million people.
The inquiry, which wrapped up in August, also detailed shocking failings by the police and courts.
In one incident, a woman in her 70s, Adelaide Ngongwana, was shot in the leg by officers pursuing a stolen car. Despite her injuries, Ngongwana was told she would have to walk to hospital for treatment.
In another, the trial of four men accused of stoning to death lesbian Zoliswa Nkonyana because she refused to use the men's toilet in a shanty-town bar was postponed 45 times, delaying justice by four years.
It is with such failings in mind that the state allowed the Pistorius trial to be broadcast live, a South African first, demystifying the courts for ordinary people who tuned in to see a black female judge surrounded by computers and flat-screen televisions presiding over white male lawyers.
However, in the case of Pistorius, the live broadcast strategy may have backfired given that many have seen what they believe to be justice not being done.
"You tell people that the state was arguing that Oscar was guilty of murder but they didn't prove it," said Fhumulani Khumela, a court reporter for the Sowetan, a tabloid named after the massive Johannesburg township. "But they don't care - they think Oscar got off a murder charge because he's white, he's got money and he's got the big lawyers."
For many, the storm of social media criticism aimed at Pistorius as he was carted off to the hospital wing of Pretoria's main prison also contrasted starkly with the treatment dished out to other suspected or convicted killers.
"If you're wealthy, you get lynched online," said Gareth Newham, a crime and justice researcher at the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies. "If you're poor, you get lynched in the street."

Frozen in time: inside the WWI soldier's room left untouched for 100 years

French soldier Hubert Rochereau's room has been left exactly as it was when he went to fight - and die - for his country in the First World War 96-years-ago.

The current owner of the house Daniel Fabre showed the Telegraph around the room which has been eerily frozen in time, with his blue officer's jacket sitting on a stand and his books and photos collecting dust on the mantelpiece.

Second Lieutenant Rochereau died on 26 April 1918 in Belgium after being wounded in fighting near the village of Loker. He was awarded a posthumous Legion of Honour for bravery and his name is on the war memorial in his home village.

The parents of the dragoons officer maintained his room exactly as it was the day he left for the front. When they sold the house in 1935, they made the new owners sign a clause stating that the bedroom where their son was born in 1896 could not be changed for 500 years.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Paying silent tribute to our fallen soldier... Corporal Nathan Cirillo

Cirllo Memorial 20141023
Vancouver veteran stands guard in honour of slain soldier

Retired Cpl. David Ward, an Aboriginal Canadian Army veteran, stands guard at the cenotaph in Vancouver’s Victory Square Thursday.

VANCOUVER -- David Ward finished his night shift at a Vancouver security firm, donned his old khaki green Canadian Army combat jacket and braved the pouring rain all day Thursday to guard the cenotaph in Vancouver's Victory Square.
The retired corporal felt it was the least he could do to honour slain Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, the 24-year-old Canadian soldier shot to death Wednesday in Ottawa while guarding the National War Memorial.
"I'm soaked through but I'm here to honour the young corporal who was murdered yesterday and to support all my brothers and sisters serving in Canada and overseas," Ward said in the straightforward, no-nonsense style of a former military man.
His impromptu vigil was repeated by military veterans at cenotaphs all across Canada. They stood at attention for hours at war memorials in almost every town as the country came to grips with a new terrorist attack on Canadian soil. Many of the veterans were WWII, decorated heroes.
"We're not going to hide and we're not going to back down," said Ward. "Some people say you shouldn't wear your medals or make yourself known, but if they want me, they know where to find me."
"We're proud to be Canadians and proud to serve in the Canadian military," said Ward.
"This (attack in Ottawa) shouldn't have happened but now that it has, Canada has joined the real world."

         Right across the country, on the opposite coast of Canada,  Sgt. Roland Lawless stood vigil at the cenotaph 
                                       in Grande Parade Hailifax. He too braved the rain for many hours.

Ottawa Shooting Memorial 20141022
Ottawa Shooting Soldier 20141023
Ottawa On Alert After Shootings At Nation's Capitol
Cirillo Memorial 20141023
Tributes and flowers were also left  at Nathan Cirillo's home in Hamilton Ontario where his dogs peek sadly from
 under the gate.  Cirillo, 24, was a reservist with Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, based in Hamilton,

View image on Twitter

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wandering soul

Remembered sunshine trickles down among my thoughts,
Summer fragrance, lazy, golden warmth.
The memory hovers within my grasp, a glimpse of shadows and then gone.
The past is tiny colored fragments with no form to make an image from.
Did once, I live, feel the dark, rich earth between my hands?
Did I leave footprints in the sand? The image fades; it is forgot.
I glide away upon the moon's slipstream and cast no shadow on the land.
For I am nothing, I am no one, the lightest breath caressing your cheek,
A whisper of breeze that lifts your hair, murmuring softly, but cannot speak.
Nor can I hear a distant echo of a voice, once mine.
Had I a name? I don't recall.
These things are lost among the mists of time.
I am nothing, I am no one, but I am free...
Free to dance across the water's sheen, sail across the sky,
Admire a frosted, crystal moon, as it paints the earth with platinum light.
Feel the sunset melt the brilliant blue, 
Spill down into a molten sea and sink from view.
Such splendor, the wonders I could share,
But I drift along a solitary plane. 
Of my presence, you are unaware.
A mote of dust upon a sunbeam, 
The shimmer on a web, fine spun, 
A reflection through a raindrop,
I am nothing, I am no one.

The Genie

Spike in Islamic State-related Online Chatter...Following Ottawa Attack

On the left, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau and on the
right, the man he killed, Cpl Nathan Cirillo.
The shooting took place before Zehaf-Bibeau
entered the parliament buildings

A counterterrorism source tells Fox News that there was a spike in Islamic State-related online chatter focusing on Canada in the days leading up to the shooting Wednesday in the capital of Ottawa.
A gunman, later identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, stormed the Canadian Parliament complex on Wednesday, shooting a soldier at the War Memorial and spraying as many as 30 shots inside the government building.

The counterterrorism source said the increase in chatter leading up to the attack, focused on Canada's decision to join the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS -- including threats that the "day of reckoning" is coming.
ISIS followers also have taken to Twitter to comment on the Canada shooting. One translated tweet provided to Fox News said: "soldiers of #Islamic_state who are everywhere around the globe declared war on the coalition countries"

Zehaf-Bibeau had a “very developed” criminality, but did not set off any alarm bells when it came to national security, the RCMP said Thursday. RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said Michael Zehaf-Bibeau had a history of “violence, drugs and mental instability” before he killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and stormed inside Parliament’s Centre Block Wednesday.
 He was a devoted Muslim and kept in touch with a group of Canadian Jihadists. Although police are now investigating Zehaf-Bibeau’s “radicalization process,” the 32-year-old was not on the list of so-called “high-risk travellers” being tracked by the government, Paulson said Thursday.

Zehaf-Bibeau had applied for a passport to travel to Syria but his application was under investigation and police were doing background checks, Paulson said.
“The RCMP did not possess information at that time that would reveal any national security related criminality,” Paulson said. Although it’s not exactly clear what motivated Wednesday’s attacks in Ottawa, Paulson said the “passport issue was central to what was driving” Zehaf-Bibeau.

When Zehaf-Bibeau initially applied for a passport, it seemed that he had wanted to travel to Libya, Paulson said. But his mother told investigators Wednesday that her son wanted to go to Syria.
Zehaf-Bibeau’s father is Libyan and his mother is Canadian. He may have had dual Canadian-Libyan citizenship, Paulson said. The RCMP are also investigating how Zehaf-Bibeau obtained the rifle used in Wednesday’s shootings. He was legally prohibited from possessing firearms

The beige car Zehaf-Bibeau used on Wednesday was purchased the day before, Paulson said.
Paulson said the suspect had “intentions” for the car. “What those were, we aren’t sharing at the moment.”

His mother, Susan Bibeau has not appeared publicly since the attacks, but spoke briefly with The Associated Press by telephone Thursday. She said she did not know what to say to those hurt in the attack.
"Can you ever explain something like this?" she said tearfully. "We are so sorry."
In an email to AP, Bibeau said she spoke with her son over lunch last week, but had not seen him for more than five years before that.
"So I have very little insight to offer,” she wrote.

In his 20s, Zehaf-Bibeau acquired a lengthy criminal record, with 12 convictions in Quebec between 2001 and 2011 for crimes including drug possession, impaired driving, weapons offences, assault causing bodily harm, theft, and possession of break-in tools.
The Canadian Press reports that, in Quebec criminal records, he appears under three names: Michael Bibeau, Michael Zehaf Bibeau and Michael Bibeau Zehaf. 
Well now have our own home-grown terrorists, including the ISIS sympathizer who ran down two soldiers in Montreal a week or so ago.  And lest we forget, ISIS did issue a threat of reprisal against Canada. It seems our own people are doing the job for them.

Ottawa Gunman Caught on Camera

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
In the past year, my mom has lost many of  her childhood  friends .
One lady died  of  cancer  and then her husband  died  a few  months  later . He had  been sick for  years . A woman  from my mom's  church had a heart attack . Then one of her  high school friends had a  car accident . The list goes on . I know  we should  expect  to hear of  deaths, given their  ages  ... my mom is  86, for heaven's sake  ... but it  doesn't make it  any easier  to know that they  are old . How  can I cheer  up  my mom ? She is healthy  and I'm worried  she  will get depressed .
Mom Booster
Dear Booster Mom ,
One tremendous  difficulty in growing  old  is seeing  your  loved ones  pass . Though  inevitable, it is  still hard  to experience . To help your  mother, keep her  active . If  you have children, make sure  she spends  lots of time  with them . Get her involved  in a senior  center  that includes  exercise  and activity . Help her  design  her days so that  she is  busy with  fun experiences. And make sure you spend more time with her to fill the lonely hours. You only get one mom and you won't have her forever.

Dear Maxy ,
I've  been in an abusive  marriage  for nearly 15 years  and I can't take another  day  My husband  has  never  hit me . It's all mental  and emotional abuse . He  calls  me  horrible  names in front  of  our  children . He  has constant  tantrums  where  he screams, throws  things  and threatens me , saying if  I leave, he'll kill me, destroy my life and take our  children  away . I have no access to money  and he has driven all my  friends away .
I have nowhere to go . There are no shelters  in my rural area  and I'm scared of what he  may do  when I leave . However, I'm determined . I've written  him a long  letter  explaining  why and promising  that I don't  want any money  from him  so he doesn't have to worry  about that . And I plan to give this letter to him  . I don't want to be sneaky  and leave the letter  and walk out the door . But I am  afraid .  I don't  have anyone to discuss these things with . My mother said  she doesn't want to hear it  and it is my problem .  Please  help .
Too Scared to Leave
Dear  Too Scared ,
Please  do not do anything  rash . Before you leave, you need to have  your  next step planned  and ready,  whether  it is  finding  a shelter, staying  with friends  or  relatives, or  leaving town . It would be unwise  to hand  your  abusive husband  a letter  and walk out the  door . I know  you want  to do the  honorable thing, but  your safety and that of your children is more important  right now .
I urge you  to call the National  Domestc Violence  Hotline  ( )  at 1-800-799-SAFE . Someone there  will  guide  you through the  process. Please take care,

Dear Maxy ,
My husband and I are retired  and live in upstate  New York  with our  son  and his  family . Our  son broke  his back and neck in an accident . He has  recovered , but now is addicted  to pain medication .
He has  no insurance . Is there any way  to get him  the help he  needs  to be a functioning adult  again ? He would give anything  to be better, but  can't afford treatment .
Desperately Concerned  Mom
Dear Mom ,
This must be a terribly difficult situation  for everyone, but the fact  that your your  son wants  to get better is encouraging . Please  look into state-funded  drug  and alcohol rehab centers  through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services  Administration at ( ) or  call their  treatment  referral line  at 1-800-662-HELP . I'll be thinking of  you .

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Canada Under Attack....That just doesn't happen

A soldier has been shot at the Cenotaph in Ottawa on October 22, 2014.

Soldier shot at Ottawa War Memorial
Paramedics and police pull a shootign victim away from the Canadian War Memorial in Ottawa.

   OTTAWA — A Canadian soldier was killed and two Parliament Hill security guards wounded Wednesday morning in a chaotic attack on the nation’s capital that police believe involved more than one assailant. One assailant was killed, the other is now being pursued by the RCMP and army special forces squads. These events follow a recent threat of reprisal against Canada from ISIS and are being treated as a terrorist attack.

The shootings occurred at the National War Memorial and in the Hall of Honor in the Parliament buildings on Parliament Hill. Witnesses described seeing the soldier, who was serving as a ceremonial guard at the foot of the cenotaph, shot at point-blank range before the gunman ran off in the direction of Parliament Hill. Sirens blared and buildings in the area went under lockdown as police and soldiers continued the manhunt into Wednesday afternoon. The Ottawa Hospital said it has received three patients, two of whom are listed in stable condition.

As police cars and emergency vehicles clustered at the foot of the Peace Tower and the Centre Block was evacuated. RCMP warned that anyone in downtown Ottawa should stay away from windows and roofs. Police set up an ever-expanding cordon around Parliament Hill, shutting down streets and pushing pedestrians and journalists further back as additional police vehicles and officers flooded into the scene. A police command post was set up on Metcalfe St. across from Parliament Hill. Tens of thousands of public servants in buildings around Ottawa and across the river in Gatineau, Que., were told to stay where they are.
Witness Alain Merizier said one suspect was carrying a hunting rifle. The suspect had dark hair, was wearing civilian clothes and driving a black car, Merizier said.
Reporters and parliamentary staff reported dozens of shots in the hallways. It was caucus day for the federal parties, so members of Parliament and senators were locked down in the hallways near the Commons.

Spokespeople for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said all were safe and in secure locations.
A witness reported, “We didn't know where (the shooter) was or how many there were there, but it sounded like he was just down the hall.”
Toronto Liberal MP John McKay had arrived for morning caucus in Centre Block when he heard shots. Security staff evacuated the group to the rear of the building where they took shelter behind a monument. There he met an employee from the Library of Parliament who related how she saw a gunman outside the library in Centre Block. She said he was wearing a hoodie and was carrying a gun. He was in the corridor containing the meeting rooms where Prime Minister Harper was meeting with his caucus on one side and the NDP meeting on the other.

New Democrat MP Charlie Angus said he and his colleagues heard several rounds of heavy gunfire he said sounded as if it was coming from right outside the door. Angus said MPs and staffers tried to barricade the door with tables and lay down on the floor as they heard what he said was at least two rounds of gunshots followed by another few shots.
“People put up furniture. We put tables against the door. We lay down. If you’ve never been through this before, you don’t know what the routine is other than what you have seen in the movies, so we didn’t know if someone was going to try and get in,” Angus said.
“We were on the floor and then security came and they were very, very, serious,” Angus said by telephone from his office on Sparks St., after having evacuated the building. “They told us to run, to stay down and to stay along the walls.”
Angus said three NDP MPs — Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe, Anne Minh-Thu Quach and Rosanne DorĂ© Lefebvre — were worried about their children, who were in the building, and did not want to leave without them. All children were evacuated safely.

Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott says his staff was told by Commons security there were as many as three gunmen. Security staff quickly hustled the group out of the building through a tunnel to East Block. He said several of the group remain under lockdown in East Block.
A shaken Marc-Andre Viau, spokesperson for the NDP, saw the suspect run into the main doors of Centre Block, chased by a Mountie. Soon after he heard a volley of shots from inside the building.
“As soon as the police officer walked in, there were a lot of shots, multiple shots fired. There was a pause then I heard another round of shots,” Viau said.

At the time of this post, Mounties are still swarming the building for fear there are more gunmen in hiding. The incident comes just two days after two Canadian soldiers were run over — and one of them killed — in Quebec by a man with jihadist sympathies.

The United States is very concerned. This, presumable, terrorist attack is pretty close to home, not far from our mutual border.
“Canada is one of the closest friends and ,allies of the United States and from issues ranging from the strength of our NATO alliance to the Ebola response to dealing with ISIL there is a strong partnership and friendship and alliance between the United States and Canada,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday in a news conference .
“The United States strongly values that relationship and that relationship makes the citizens of this country safe."
Very nicely said Mr Earnest but I feel the underlying message is ," tighten up security at the border Canada". Consider it done Josh. We have been far too complacent. We're the nice guys, nobody hates us. Time to change up our attitude.

UPDATE: The gunman who was shot down was a Canadian citizen  from Quebec. We have a home grown terrorist on our hands and a partner ( according to witnesses) who has yet to be found.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Four infant bodies found in Canada storage locker

A storage facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on 21 October 2014

The bodies of up to four infants have been found in a storage locker in Winnipeg, Canada, authorities say. Police responded to a call from an employee at the storage facility on Monday and discovered the decomposed remains inside.
Tests on the unidentified bodies have yet to take place. Investigators are speaking with "a number of individuals", they say, but the remains do not appear linked to any infants previously reported missing. Police spokesman Eric Hofley told Canadian media the finding was "tragic beyond belief"

People stand outside a storage facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on 21 October 2014

An employee stands outside a storage facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on 21 October 2014

The bodies are said to be newborns or "of a very young age", he added. "[They're] certainly not children."
The remains were discovered at a Winnipeg U-Haul storage facility by an employee who contacted authorities. It is not clear how long the remains were in the storage locker before they were found.
Storing or concealing human remains is in itself illegal, said Mr Hofley.
"Until such time as the autopsies have determined what is the cause of this, we won't know what the full extent of the charges may or may not be."