Sunday, October 28, 2007

Twice Cursed

Whenever flight crew see me walk into the cabin of a plane up here they roll their eyes. You see, I have a reputation of being a jinx. Whenever my name appears on the passenger manifest, odds are about even that the plane will have to return to base for some reason: sometimes mechanical, but usually an overshoot at my destination due to high winds, poor visibility, equipment on the runway, you name it.

This week was no exception, after landing in cross winds in the four airstrips before my town - Kangirsuk, Quaqtaq, Kangiqsujuaq and Donaldson - the snow squalls in Salluit were so persistant that the plane headed directly back to Kuujjuaq for the night. So after three hours of waiting at the airport for my flight, and five fruitless hours of being buffeted around by high winds, I ended up back where I started.

Saturday morning Salluit conditions had greatly improved, and the runway was being plowed in time for our arrival. I had had a slight twinge of gout before getting on the plane, but during the 1hr 50min flight the pain became excruciating.

I haven't had a gout attack for over 18 months, but when I get the first inklings of an episode I can usually forestall it with some pills. This time it took less than an hour from first noticing it to wishing for amputation of my big toe.

I wonder if this has anything to do with change of atmospheric pressure or some other aviation related phenomenon. I was flying a semi-pressurized turboprop Dash 8 at about 22,000 feet yesterday and I wonder if this, coupled with the five take-offs and landings the previous night had something to do with the rapid onset.

Sometimes while flying I get arthritic pain in areas where I have broken bones previously. Does anyone else have anything weird going on physically when flying?

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Meditations on a Walrus

As I was walking down the strand, as is my wont after lunch before returning to the office, I chanced upon this scene. The more I looked at it, the more I became engrossed by it.

The closed eyes lent a serenity to what was otherwise rather pathetic remnant of a young male walrus who has lost his head, or lost his body depending on your point of view. The address tag was a nice surreal touch, and begged the question for whom the head was intended or whether it was on sale.

My mind began to wonder other things: Who placed it there right on the shore of our wharf? Why did they do it? Was it forgotten? Or did it accidentally fall out of someone's truck and roll there? Might it have been washed ashore by the recent winds?

Is it a portent of misfortune or a sign of good luck? Why haven't the dogs eaten it?* What is the collective noun for a group of walruses?** Was it Paul or John who was the walrus? What excuse can I come up with for being so late back to work after lunch?

Here is a Canadian bilingual pun - did the hunter feel any remorse?***

Walruses have been kind to this blog - a full 18% of all entry pages to The White Bear's Blog is accounted for by one single post I did early in my career, something about walruses' genitalia. I wonder if this entry will garner as much interest.

* In reality, dogs seem turn their snouts up at walrus skin and blubber, and won't eat it generally. Nor will people.

** The actual terms for a group of walruses are the unimaginative "herd" or "pod" as reported by people who collect collective nouns. I'm sure we can up with something more evocative of these huge, brooding, stinking beasts. Any ideas?

*** Did any of you get it?

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Bugger Off!!

Is there is a committee which sanctions special days of the year? I mean, who decided that today is National Grouch Day? Not that I disagree with the intention, but I don't remember being consulted, nor did I ever read about anyone else being consulted on this.

If it is simply a matter of someone coming up with the idea and ipso facto it becomes, say, National Esperanto Day or National Smile Month, why not create our own observances, the more bizarre the better?

Here, due to a 1920s-style prohibition policy or our stultified municipal council, the year 2007 has official become the de facto Year of the Bootlegger. I'd imagine it would have a contest to see who can bid the most ludicrous amount of money for a hip flask (12 fl. oz or 375 ml) of booze. I wonder if they could outdo the outlandish $500 vodka was fetching this summer, and that for a bottle which retails for under $12.

In one of his more grouchy moments, Einstein observed that you can't use the same thinking to solve a problem as caused the problem in the first place. But here, as Marx predicted, history is repeating itself, only as farce.

Anyone notice how easily I've adopted the spirit of the day?

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Friday, October 12, 2007

My Kind of Health Care System

Up here in Canada, there is a perennial discussion about whether to maintain or universal-access health care, or introduce some kind of hybrid public/private system. This is always a hot-button issue, and one of the key debating points in federal and provincial elections.

Personally, as long as it follows this Australian treatment protocol, I could care less.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Saturday Afternoon Rebus

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

My Bonny Lives Over the Ocean

Sad news.

I know some of my readership has experienced the heartache and sorrow of learning that their beloved won't be coming home anymore; and for those of you who haven't I ask you simply to imagine the deep emotional toll it takes. I can barely craft this post through my tears.

Yes, I won't be able to behold my love any more, and she is staying an ocean away. And even though she was only ten years old, I miss her terribly. Yes, she wasn't full grown, but she had an impudence and nose that ones twice her age would have envied. And she wasn't too hard on my change purse either, if you know what I mean. For some reason, the older they are, the more expensive they become to possess.

I hadn't seen her for a while, and I guess I should have put two and two together and realized our relationship was over.

Now what am I supposed to do? Night after night she made my head spin. She was simply intoxicating, and I worshiped her every nuance.

I got a "Dear John" email two days ago, confirming the worst of my fears, to wit:
"I thought I should let you know the latest news. Unfortunately due to supply we have had to withdraw [her] from Canada - we simply do not have enough".
I know I am partly to blame, since I've been singing her praises on this site regularly over the past year and a half, and I have probably introduced her to many who have become similarly smitten.

But now, alas, what am I to do?


Monday, October 01, 2007

The White Bear's Weekly Shitlist

As the days grow shorter and colder your poor humble scribe has taken a decidedly grumpy turn. And he wants you to know what's gotten up his arse the past week.

The only nominee that might need explanation is the Special K "dude" - and I use that word very lightly. Here in Canada Kellogg's has chosen the most mincing, effeminate character to promote their diet-conscious cereal. The guy's so prissy he'd make Elton John want to pimp slap him and tell him to "man up, asshole". Anyways, these spots run almost every second commercial on the specialty channels up here and the whole family is fed up with the guy's face.

BTW, my version of a "bullet" is a hakapik. Not used for seal hunting up here, but seems quite appropriate to quell motorcyclists and ATV users who drive all night and sleep all day.

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