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Bon voyage

on Aug 24, 2017 in Travels

NASA recently announced that the Voyager 1 spacecraft has moved into interstellar space. This journey has taken forty years and that is merely a drop in the bucket when it comes to the time it would take to actually get somewhere tangible beyond our solar system. People that know these things say in about 300 years it will reach the Oort cloud (which is apparently an icy shelf just beyond the reach of our solar system, but of course since no one has actually been there, there is no proof of icy-ness or shelfage-ness that I can accurately report) and then spend a leisurely 40,000 years to only get within 1.6 light years of star Gliese 445, which is at present in the constellation Camelopardalis but has a nasty habit of moving around so may not even be in the neighbourhood once Voyager 1 finally gets within hailing distance.

But although its itinerary is interesting, Voyager’s travelogue is not our topic for today. Our subject of interest is the gold record it carries with messages for the Camelopardians. This record is state of the art for 1977, which was unfortunately before CDs, DVDs and USB drives existed.

Unfortunate because whoever intercepts it will think we are still stuck in the analog era (although at least it carries a message from President Carter not President Trump, who probably would not have provided a message because the Donald doesn’t believe in the universe or thinks he is the universe), and also unfortunate because of the storage limitations of the record which meant substantial triage was required to determine what to put on it. So they ended up with some photos and sounds of our environment (likely a bit of false advertising at this point), some greetings in 55 different languages (likely very confusing to any alien since according to Star Trek they all speak only one language per planet), and some music including Mozart and Chuck Berry (likely also very perplexing, especially the Chuck Berry part since there were all kinds of other options available in 1977 including a little band called the Beatles).

Anyhow, it would be an interesting exercise to decide what would go on the record substitute if Voyager was starting out today. Here is my vote:

1. Episodes from the Walking Dead. That would prevent any aliens with bad intentions from messing with us, because either way, the zombies or the zombie apocalypse would make them wait until we had annihilated ourselves completely before swooping in to take over the little blue planet.

2. On second thought, a message from Donald Trump would be a good idea if we wanted to keep random outer space creatures away.

3. And if we are being more positive, I think we should load that sucker up with Van Morrison, Coldplay, Blue Rodeo, Ella Fitzgerald, K.D. Lang, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Paul Simon and Elvis Costello. Just sayin’

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Yellow Bird

on Aug 21, 2017 in Middle Age

I was walking home the other day and saw a yellow bird. But of course there is much more to this story. I was walking home on Oriole Parkway, a Toronto street in an otherwise leafy and urban area with a volume of traffic and illicit speed that makes it more like a major roadway, [...]


I hear music

on Aug 13, 2017 in Middle Age

You know you are getting old when you start hearing some of the music of your youth that was considered edgy at the time wafting gently out of the speakers while you are at the grocery store. I swear I heard ‘White Rabbit’, ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’, and ‘Dead Babies’ all in the course [...]


American pie

on Jul 30, 2017 in Middle Age

You may have missed the latest eruption of severe first world problems. If that is the case, I am happy to be of service to fill you in. It all started in Iceland, of all places. Usually Iceland is pretty well behaved (except for Bjork of course) and doesn’t get on the radar much unless [...]


Go for a soda

on Jul 13, 2017 in Houses

I feel guilty about my fridge and it’s highly likely that you should feel guilty about yours too. That’s because I have a box of baking soda sitting in the nether regions protecting the good name of my housekeeping skills by silently absorbing the sins of sour milk, sauerkraut and stinky cheese. In case you [...]


Mon pays

on Jun 25, 2017 in Middle Age

Courtesy of my friends at CBC radio today, I was reminded (if I ever knew in the first place) that our national anthem is a French song that didn’t have English words until 1907 and the version we learned in the 1960s is quite different than the version millennials sing today and furthermore, didn’t even [...]


Garden Party

on Jun 20, 2017 in Houses

Unfortunately, I have recently come to the conclusion that I like the idea of gardening more than actual gardening. I don’t know why this is only a recent revelation because the blatant indications that I am not as enthusiastic a gardener as I imagine myself to be have been evident for some time. Like, for [...]


Food, glorious food

on Jun 17, 2017 in Middle Age

I clearly have too much time on my hands because I’m pretty sure normal people’s first thought when going grocery shopping is how the store should be reorganized to make it more logical. I’m not talking about the ‘merchandizing strategies’ that place random promotions at the end of the aisle or filter you through the [...]


I love a rainy night

on Jun 15, 2017 in Houses

I don’t really love a rainy night except that if it is going to rain (and so far this summer promises to be a rainy one) it might as well rain at night rather than during the day. I don’t mind the straight down downpours that are kind of like a tropical rainy season drenching [...]


Counting crows

on May 29, 2017 in Houses

I feel like I am about to become the Tippi Hedron character in The Birds – and we all know how that ends. This being spring (for a few weeks more), the birds are still returning. Although they don’t need to spend money on a condo south of the border, neither do they need to [...]

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