Ah, the wonders of travelling abroad.  Signage, as much as designers would like us to believe it to be true, is hardly universal.  In my own voyages, most recently Iceland, exit signs look like this:

icelandicexit

I have to admit, from an ‘objective’ perspective, the sign makes complete sense.  Person walking toward door = exit.  However, not what my Canadian brain is used to.  My brain was like, WTF is does that mean, green is not the colour of exit, not now and not ever!

Canadianexit

Oh yah, that is what I’m talking about.  Red and with words and stuff!  Brain Happy!  Everything is normal and well!  At least from a Canadian point of view.  Recently, CBC hosted and article about American tourists on their trip to New Brunswick and their experiences with Canadian signage.

“What began as a minor puzzlement for my wife and me bloomed over the course of a few days into a full-on obsession,” he wrote of the various signs they encountered. “What in the name of Rob Ford were the road signs trying to tell us?” 

Burr’s friends and family on Facebook were equally confused by a photo he posted of a green-and-white River Valley Scenic Drive signpost. None of the 2,845 people who weighed in on his post could reportedly identify it.

“The signs of New Brunswick’s highways and byways aren’t exactly done wrong, but they seem to require a cognitive leap of which our American sensibilities, enfeebled by reality TV shows and Katy Perry songs, are incapable,” he explained. “My wife and I found ourselves gazing across a semiotic void, one that necessitated a more elusive process of conversion than miles to kilometres, English to French, or American quarters to Canadian dollars.”

His interpretations are amusing.  Here are some gleaned from the article.

twerking urn farm bedandbreakfast Beaver

I have my own to add to the list.  I saw this on an elevator in Iceland:

icelandelevator

Do Not Go into Boxes otherwise angry birds will attack!

Sign universality – one day it will happen I’m sure. :)

 

 

Cartoon Russia China Dissents   The concluding paragraphs from Michael Klare’s Essay on the Coming Cold War 2.0.

“For those of us residing outside Washington, this choice may appear to have few immediate consequences. The defense budget will rise in either case; troops will, as now, be shuttled desperately around the hot spots of the planet, and so on. Over the long run, however, don’t think for a second that the choice won’t matter.

A stepped-up drive to counter Russia will inevitably produce a grim, unpredictable Cold War-like atmosphere of suspicion, muscle-flexing, and periodic crises. More U.S. troops will be deployed to Europe; American nuclear weapons may return there; and saber rattling, nuclear or otherwise, will increase. (Note that Moscow recently announced a decision to add another 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles to its already impressive nuclear arsenal and recall Senator Cruz’s proposal for deploying U.S. anti-missile batteries in Eastern Europe.) For those of us who can remember the actual Cold War, this is hardly an appealing prospect.

A renewed focus on China would undoubtedly prove no less unnerving. It would involve the deployment of additional U.S. naval and air forces to the Pacific and an attendant risk of armed confrontation over China’s expanded military presence in the East and South China Seas. Cooperation on trade and the climate would be imperiled, along with the health of the global economy, while the flow of ideas and people between East and West would be further constricted. (In a sign of the times, China recently announced new curbs on the operations of foreign nongovernmental organizations.) Although that country possesses far fewer nuclear weapons than Russia, it is modernizing its arsenal and the risk of nuclear confrontation would undoubtedly increase as well.

In short, the options for American global policy, post-2016, might be characterized as either grim and chaotic or even grimmer, if more focused. Most of us will fare equally badly under either of those outcomes, though defense contractors and others in what President Dwight Eisenhower first dubbed the “military-industrial complex” will have a field day. Domestic needs like health, education, infrastructure, and the environment will suffer either way, while prospects for peace and climate stability will recede.

A country without a coherent plan for advancing its national interests is a sorry thing. Worse yet, however, as we may find out in the years to come, would be a country forever on the brink of crisis and conflict with a beleaguered, nuclear-armed rival.”

The geopolitics of the future continue to darken as the interests of the state and corporate elites once again trump the interests of the people of the world.  The elephant in the room, of course, is climate change and no one in power seems to care.  I imagine, when New York is underwater – action might be considered.

A short film that uses repetition to make a very good point.  :)

“This is touted as a compelling reason Christianity is believable, but I find it sorely lacking. People convert, even antagonistic people. It happens all the time. Some people even call them traitors. Such conversions prove nothing. It’s even a Hollywood trope, yet notice how none of the plots of those movies felt the need to invoke the supernatural to explain the protagonist’s change.”

On a more cinematic note I think the above trope is one of the reasons why I found the latest Mad Max movie so refreshing – a complete lack of a dude centric plot.  It was a nice change of pace not having to watch drama unfold through the bog-standard white male perspective.

No one tells me ‘nuthin anymore.  We missed the UN international torture day, it happened on June 26th and of course I hear about it after it happens.  Our media coverage was, underwhelming, as torture must not bring us down from the elation felt in the US for the SCOTUS SSM decision.

I’m not even sure what to wear to celebrate UNITD, orange jumpsuit?  Bruises?  How does one costume lifelong psychological trauma.

I’ll be ready next year though, rest assured.  :/

Opus 70 is a set of two Piano Trios by Ludwig van Beethoven, written for piano, violin, and cello. Both trios were composed during Beethoven’s stay at Countess Marie von Erdödy’s estate, and both are dedicated to her for her hospitality. They were published in 1809.

The first, in D major, known as the Ghost, is one of his best known works in the genre (rivaled only by the Archduke Trio). The D major trio features themes found in the second movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2. The All-Music Guide states that “because of its strangely scored and undeniably eerie-sounding slow movement, it was dubbed the ‘Ghost’ Trio. The name has stuck with the work ever since. The ghostly music may have had its roots in sketches for a Macbeth opera that Beethoven was contemplating at the time.”[1]

These pieces are representative of Beethoven’s “Middle” stylistic period, which went from roughly 1803 to 1812, and which included many of his most famous works. Beethoven wrote the two piano trios while spending the summer of 1808 in Heiligenstadt, Vienna,[2] where he had completed his Symphony No. 5 the previous summer. He wrote the two trios immediately after finishing his Sinfonia pastorale, Symphony No. 6. This was a period of uncertainty in Beethoven’s life, in particular because he had no dependable source of income at the time.

 “Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who have had the fortune of being born on some particular spot, consider themselves better, nobler, grander, more intelligent than the living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all the others.”

-EMMA GOLDMAN, Anarchism and Other Essays

Celebrating Canada’s ‘nationhood’ seems a little trite and ephemeral to me.  Woo, ethnic cleansing, woo cultural genocide and the rest of the checkered past gets layered under the cheers drunken yahoos happy to have another excuse to get pissed out of their minds while waving the Canadian flag.

Meh.

I choose this day to bring attention to something that Rachel Notley and the NDP Alberta Government chose to do, not too long ago.

“Premier Rachel Notley delivered an emotional apology for Alberta’s failure to take action against the residential school system on Monday and joined a growing call for a public inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women.

The announcement came nearly three weeks after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded that almost a century of abuses at residential schools funded by the Canadian government amounted to “cultural genocide.”

    Native Canadians have been marginalized and forgotten in Canadian society.  We are aware of the stereotypes and misconceptions, but too often we choose to feed them and not try to reform ideas like “the lazy drunken Indian”.  News-flash here friends – if people like your own ethnicity had been forcibly removed from their homes, put into schools where abuse and torture were the norm and punished for speaking your native language or performing your cultural practices, your generation – let me assure you – would be pretty fucked up.

  residentialschools Canadians approved of the residential school system and thought *somehow* that the 1960’s Scoop was a good thing.

  It wasn’t.

  Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has finally addressed the issue:

“We were shocked and at times rendered speechless as we learned of the First Nation, Métis and Inuit children forcibly removed from their homes,” Ms. Notley said in the Alberta legislature.

“Although the province of Alberta did not establish this system, members of this chamber did not take a stand against it. For this silence, we apologize.”

  A small, but very important first step.  The last residential school closed in 1996, so 19 years is way overdue for the government and people of Alberta to step up and recognize the trauma inflicted on our First Peoples.

   Hope.  For such a long time I have not associated that word with our governance.  The apology would have been enough, but Rachel Notley continued:

“I want the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women to come out of the shadows and be viewed with compassion and understanding in the clear light of day,” Ms. Notley said. “The silence that once was, has long since passed. We will not fail these women. Not this time. Now is the time for their voices to be heard.”

    I might be persuaded that this government has interests other than the oil/gas industry if this sort of thing keeps up.  Of course, switching levels of governance, one can always find the dark cloud to the silver lining; case in point being Stephen Harper and his merry band of shit-lords that happen to be running the Federal Government:

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper has so far rejected calls for an inquiry, saying that authorities are already taking the proper steps to combat the issue and a further inquiry is not necessary.

In 2008, Mr. Harper issued an apology for residential schools and said at the time that the abuses inflicted by the system helped contribute to lasting social problems in First Nations communities.

According to an RCMP report, 206 of Canada’s 1,017 female aboriginal homicides between 1980 and 2012 were in Alberta. The report also noted that 28 per cent of Alberta’s female homicides between 1980 and 2012 involved indigenous women.”

   Yah, these fine Conservative individuals need to be voted out of office in the upcoming federal election and a government like Alberta’s NDP that cares about people rather than profit, needs to be installed.

   So there ya go.

Happy Canada Day!

ca-native

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