You know when you type a topic into the Google search bar and it offers you questions, presumably from a list of common questions asked by others?

What part of the hosta is poisonous?

Oh, that’s not a good start. But it ends worse.

The entire plant, including the Hosta flowers, leaves, stems, and bulbs will make your dog sick and can be fatal in rare cases.

All right, then. What part? All parts.

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Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Laughing Frequently, Photos of Flora | Tagged , | 12 Comments

The Unexpected Gift

We overcome the imprecision of previous age estimates
by making use of the cosmic-ray-induced upsurge
in atmospheric radiocarbon concentrations in AD 993.

Or, as NPR says in slightly more colloquial language:

It’s long been known that the Vikings were the first Europeans to make the long journey to the Americas, arriving in what is now Canada sometime around the end of the first millennium.

But a new article in the journal Nature is the first to pinpoint a precise date: 1021, exactly 1,000 years ago — beating the arrival of Christopher Columbus by nearly 500 years.

The research comes from the only confirmed Norse archeological site in the Americas outside of Greenland, a settlement on the northernmost tip of Newfoundland called L’Anse aux Meadows.

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Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Feeling Clearly, You are Here | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Box and Duct Tape Face

It’s usually the eyes that trigger a false facial recognition for me, but a Picasso-like profile can do it, too. And with that puck as the mouth, this is truly a quintessentially Canadian face.

I checked the other side, and with a different placement of the black packing tape there was no hint of a face.

Posted in Laughing Frequently, Photos of Faces | Tagged | 6 Comments

In-Depth Coverage, Oh Hurray

The article looked interesting, so I clicked.

News Avoidance during the COVID-19 Crisis:
Understanding Information Overload

But look at the landing page, of which this is a small snippet . . .

Track every case of COVID-19 in Canada!

Compare and contrast provincial data against American states!

Track coronavirus vaccinations!

Monitor border restrictions!

Review transplant protocols with respect to vaccination!

And as if that weren’t enough . . .

Sign-up here to get the COVID-19 Brief sent to your inbox!

Stop. Just STOP. Does it seem at all odd that they put an article about the mental-health benefits of avoiding COVID-19 information overload on a page devoted to delivering excruciatingly detailed COVID-19 information?


1) a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result

2) a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character’s words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character

Although irony is almost never used anymore in that second, literary sense, I think the Ancient Greeks would have recognized this one. Surely readers’ mental well-being played no part in this layout decision.

Posted in Language and Communication, Laughing Frequently | Tagged | 2 Comments

This is Why

Why do I leave more time than necessary to get to downtown appointments? This is why.

Well, considered specifically, it’s just one of the reasons. Considered more generally, the original statement stands. The reason is not this particular photo, it’s the chance at photos like this. Ottawa’s downtown — almost any downtown — offers cool reflections in office towers.

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Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Photos of Built Stuff | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Let’s Start a Band! A Cooking Band!

I admit that I started it. I was looking online at reviews of electric griddles, the better to make low-carb pancakes with, my dear. Sigh. (That sigh is for the low-carb aspect. In the unlikely event that you want the recipe, “DM me,”as we say on social media these days.)

Anyway, there I was, minding my business pretty successfully I thought, when a search algorithm started helping. I guess that’s the website minding *its* business. I assume this ploy is usually pretty successful or they wouldn’t do it, but it missed the mark this time.

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Posted in Laughing Frequently, Wired | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Transitory Transcendence

There was no dawn this morning, just a gradual fade from black to gray. Gray sky. Gray rain. Gray puddles. Gray car, even. This will give you the idea.

OK, I took a few liberties but none that aren’t true to the lived/felt experience: The camera never quite does justice to the drab pervasiveness of gray. To its . . . grayness. And here’s the thing: It isn’t even an award-winning gray day. A day to live in weather infamy. A day with which to regale the (eventual) great-grandchildren, the grandchildren already being well past being impressed by our stories.

You think *this* is gray? Ha!
Let me tell you about a gray day in ’21!

No, it’s just an average, sodden, wet-foot, boring, rainy gray day. A gray gray day, we might say.

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Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Feeling Clearly, Photos of Flora, Photos of Landscapes | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Roy G Biv

Herewith, my (Canadian) Thanksgiving post. YouTube still has no category for my content, which is a nature-photography/feel-good mash-up, 100% non-denominational, non-partisan, and non-fattening. I can’t imagine why.

One thing I learned making this video is that the mnemonic for the spectrum – Roy G. Biv – has been misleading us for a while. In my case, since sometime in junior high, I think. Apparently Isaac Newton decided there were going to be seven colours before he, you know, looked at the spectrum. Most of us can’t distinguish that seventh colour — indigo — that he shoehorned between blue and violet.

Not busy cooking turkey? Feel free to revisit my previous non-video posts for pretty much more of the same: here, and here.

Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Nature Videos, Through the Calendar | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Who Dat?

Idly watching the traffic around the feeder, I saw a bird I did not know. A bird, I was pretty sure, I had not seen before.

The bird’s flittiness made it tough to get a bead on it; the shade and shadows in which it was flitting made it impossible to see colours or to get a good shot even when it did pause for more than a nanosecond. I wasn’t trying to get a photo for the ages: just enough for Merlin (my bird-identifying wizard/app) to work with. And boy, he doesn’t need much.

The sun finally rose high enough and the bird finally came out from the shrubbery long enough for me to get a dark-ish but clear-ish shot.

Cooperation. Finally. Sort of.

And Merlin said . . . the envelope, please . . .


OK, OK, not exactly. It said “Swainson’s thrush or hermit thrush.”

If that thrush ever comes back, I hope it turns its (tell-all, tell-tale) tail my way.

Posted in Appreciating Deeply, Laughing Frequently, Photos of Fauna | Tagged | 6 Comments