Category Archives: poll

Leave it to Beaver?

The Canadian Mosaic - Why Can't We Just Live Together!

I love Canadians.  They seem to have so few problems that the biggest issue that seems to be occupying the country in the last two weeks is the debate – beaver or polar bear?   The beaver was made the national symbol of Canada by the Canadian Parliament in 1975 but the debate was recently ignited after Conservative Senator Nicole Eaton suggested that the beaver be replaced by the polar bear.

Senator Nicole Eaton called the beaver a “19th century has-been,” a “dentally defective rat” and a “toothy tyrant,” among other things, as she argued in October that the polar bear should replace the beaver as Canada’s national emblem.

Of course, many have come to the defence of the beaver.  Ottawa business have even come together to erect a monument to the beaver.  But at least one on-line poll shows support for the polar bear is ahead of that for the beaver.  So which is a better representative for all things Canadian?

The National Post reports;

Among those who preferred the beaver, 26% described it as a “noble animal,” while 18% called it “industrious.” Within the anti-beaver camp, 31% called it “destructive,” while 17% said the beaver was an “outdated symbol” and another 11% felt it was “anti-social.”

Nearly three-quarters of polar bear supporters felt it was a “majestic mammal,” while 4% described the bear as “alarmingly handsome.” Among the anti-bear set, 26% noted its tendency to kill humans, while 21% highlighted the fact that it was endangered. Another 11% noted that unlike the beaver, the polar bear does “not build anything.””

Let’s help them out.  Vote for Canada’s next national symbol in this totally free and democratic process.  Don’t mind me chanting in the background, “greysquirrel…ommmm….greysquirrelgreysquirrel…ommmm….greysqui….”.

Choosing Seven Natural Wonders

Almost two years ago, I posted on the effort to declare the New Seven (Man-Made) Wonders of the World through an unprecedented global internet voting process which led to the results announced here in 2007. At that time, four of my choices made it into the final seven; they were Machu Picchu (Peru), Taj Mahal (India), Petra (Jordan) and Great Wall (China).

I recently discovered that there is now an attempt to identify the New Seven Wonders of Nature through the same global internet voting process. In this preliminary stage, you are allowed to nominate up to seven candidate sites or vote for seven candidate sites already nominated or any combination in between. The top 77 sites from this voting process will then be shortlisted and then the final round of voting will allow voters to select the top seven from that list. Those with the most votes at the end of that round will be declared the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

Currently as of 5th July 2008, the top 10 on the list are;

  1. Cox’s Bazar Beach (Bangladesh)
  2. Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)
  3. Ganges River (Bangladesh/India)
  4. Tubbataha Reef (Philippines)
  5. Chocolate Hills (Philippines)
  6. Mount Everest (Nepal)
  7. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (Philippines)
  8. Mayon Volcano (Philippines)
  9. Amazon River/Forest (South America)
  10. Mount Fuji (Japan)

It is early days yet but the top runners are surprisingly almost all from Asia with the Philippines having a high number or percentage of nominees. If you disagree, do please join in and vote.

Below are my seven choices;

1. Banff National Park (Canada)

My personal vision of paradise is closely represented by Banff with its forests rich in wildlife, stunning turquoise lakes, glaciers and mountains. I have visited Banff and it was beyond my expectation. I could live there quite happily. It’s a pity about the seasonal hordes of tourists but there is still sufficient wilderness to get lost in.

2. Auyantepui Mountain (Venezuela)

The Devil’s Mountain, in the native tongue of the Pemon peoples, it rises like other tepuis, almost vertically from the jungle floor and has a flat plateau like top. Tepuis are often referred to as islands in the clouds. Auyantepui rises to a height of almost 3,000 m and the world’s highest waterfall, Angel Falls, cascades off its plateau. It is rich in rare and unusual plant life. A wet and wold place.

3. Hardangerfjiord (Norway)

I have always been fascinated by the scenery of fjords and the geological power of the glaciers that it often represents. I visited here more than 25 years ago but was blown away by the grandeur even then. I would love to revisit this place of haunting and reflective beauty.

4. Milford Sound (New Zealand)

This is the Antipodean reply to the Norwegian fjords and beautiful and lush with its own wealth of flora and fauna. I have been on the cruise and have seen the unusual darkwater corals but would one day like to hike the spectacularly wet Milford Track.

5. Plitvice Lakes (Croatia)

Another place that I have visited that has captured my imagination ever since. This rates very high on my personal list because of its fairly unique nature and because I just love the landscape of waterfalls and crystal clear lakes linked by cascades and streams. It was just beautiful water everywhere and i just love water. The limestone outcrops and caves are added attractions.

6. Mulu Caves (Malaysia)

I know that this is in my own backyard but I have not visited it (relatively costly for me). However, I could not leave out from this list the world’s largest cave system and largest single cave chamber. Other special caves are also found in this system with individual characteristics. The large bat population is an attraction too as is the rich forest life surrounding the caves.

7. Pamukkale Springs (Turkey)

I have never been here but the thought of its rather special and delicate attractions gives me goosebumps. I would love to soak in its hot-springs.

Don’t miss out on casting a vote for your picks for the new Seven Wonders of Nature.

Romance Icons

The 14th of February 2008, Valentine’s Day and many people’s thoughts turn to love and romance. I thought it would be interesting to ask you readers, “Which famous couple best portrays for you the romance that Valentine’s Day represents to you.”

Do you imagine being swept off your feet? Is there someone out there that the fates have appointed for you? Are you impressed by power? Good-looks? Passion?

I have chosen a few famous couples here. Please take the poll on the side bar and select 5 choices.

Romeo and Juliet – Star-crossed lovers
We start with this famous couple whose families tried to keep apart but are united in death.

Catherine and Heathcliffe (Wuthering Heights) – haunted lovers
A love that starts in childhood but seems to go beyond the grave. Heathcliffe’s love and obsession is so powerful that it consumes him even after Catherine’s death. A powerful, dark brooding passion.

Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler – Swept off Your Feet
Perhaps your idea of romance is to have a handsome devil sweep you off your Southern Belle feet. Flirtatious and tempestuous.

Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere – Forbidden Love
The excitement of forbidden love? To fall for that which you are sworn to protect even at the cost of betraying the trust of your king and friend? Passion before duty.

Odysseus and Penelope – Patient, enduring love
Separated soon after they were married, Odysseus will endure a long 20 year journey to return to his love. Penelope remains faithful and spurns the advances of hundreds of men even though she had no news of her husband and little hope that he was still alive. Odysseus too must resit much danger and temptation before they can be reunited.

Anthony and Cleopatra – Tragic love
The world’s most beautiful woman and one of the most powerful generals in the world. For their love’s sake tried to stand against the might of Rome itself.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono – inspired, free spirits.
Both artists who seem to complement each other and to inspire each other to new creative heights …….even if it meant the end of the Beatles.

Marie and Pierre Curie – meeting of minds
A couple who shared a common passion for science and a love for each other; successfully combining the pursuit of minds and hearts.

Helen of Troy and Paris – Obsessive, consuming love
The face that launched a thousand ships and a love that had a war fought over it.

Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson – love worth losing your crown for.
The British law would not allow Prince Edward to marry the American divorcee. No problem. Edward chose to give up his kingdom for love’s sake.

Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal – A monumental love.
Out of this love, we have one of the world’s great wonders, the Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan built it to commemorate his love for his wife.

Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie – A match made in Hollywood.
Perhaps, the modern day poster couple for love as found in tinseltown and promoted in the media. The love of two of the world’s beautiful people.

That’s it, folks. Please cast your votes. What are you waiting for? Stop looking. I did not include Kermit and Ms. Piggy. You can also tell me who I have been guilty of leaving off the list in the comments section. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Comments, Numskulls and Punk Squirrels

Many moons ago, when I did a post on comics, gledwood asked if I read any British comics. Sure enough I did grow up with a steady intellectual diet of British comics and one particular strip was called the Numbskulls. The Numbskulls are the tiny men inside us that work in the brain department, the ear department, the stomach department etc. The top guy, “Brain” tries to get every Numbskull in every department to work together and get their human to actually achieve things.

Well, I have had a rare weekend of actually resting and no work whatsoever. The result was I slept through to noon on both Saturday and Sunday. Maybe, I was more tired than I thought. Anyway, all this sleeping has only made me even more lazy and dopey (that’s right! even more dopey than normal!). So, I find myself now, looking at the Blog screen and find that my creative Numbskull is still dozing off somewhere and not answering the call to duty. In fact the only persona active in my brain at the moment is my Neanderthal Numbskull. With no other choice, I consulted him and he said,”Nguh! UHH! Oo-gah! Nguh! Nya! Oog!”

Neanderthal Numbskull notes that some of you had comments about the music in my life.
Leslie thinks I need more Rock and Roll ala Jerry Lee Lewis. Ivan thinks I need to have more grit and become more hip and has directed me to John Prine and his soulful Country style. Eastcoastdweller feels I am neglecting my patriotic duty and should be writing and promoting songs about squirrels. Neanderthal Numbskull hates so many comments with differing views. It gives him a headache. So please take the poll on the sidebar so that Neaderthal Numbskull can cope with just one answer.

So with the cupboard totally bare, being completely uninspired and taking advice from Neanderthal Numbskull, I have decided to answer eastcoastdweller’s request for more songs for the squirrel tribe. The big advantage is that I am just copying what someone who is more creative has already done. Neanderthal Numbskull says it is called “Pla-guh Ri Sin.” That might have meant something to my Scientific numbskull but he fell asleep ages ago contemplating simple harmonic motion. Neanderthal Numbskull says squirrel music not so different from the good ol’ prehistoric caveman days. Enjoy.

For the latest Squirrel Music Video, press here.

Hero Career Guidance

As of midnight (GST – Grey Squirrel Time), the polls were closed with only 24 votes cast. The first obvious question was why the poor voter turn out. Where have all the Heroes and hero-wannabes gone! Are we turning into a society that are missing its heroes? Ah, this may be too deep to be getting into in the wee hours of the morning.

The clear winning category was for “Humanitarian Heroes”. Clearly 33% of the readers of this blog are bleeding heart Liberals. meggie, geewits, evalinn, cheryl and becky, I am so proud of you guys. You believe in sacrificing for the greater good. It’s because of people like you that I still have hope for the world. I was tempted to join your ranks but I made a list of my modest possessions and found that I was barely willing to sacrifice one-tenth of my possessions for the good of other people. So as you set off on your humanitarian missions, you’ll find me waving banners, cheering and giving you moral support and don’t worry, I’ll feed your cats while you are away. I am right behind you,…..way behind….. back home.

From one end to the other, nobody wanted to be a military or sports hero. How strange. Then who’s been watching the war programs on the History and Discovery Channels? And who’s been glued to the TV for the NBA finals, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, F1 racing, Wimbeldon etc.? I am not ashamed. I admit I considered these categories when I was very young. I wanted to taste the blood and glory and it looked so safe. Only the bad guys died and the good guys only got flesh wounds and medals. At least that was what I learned from war movies until I watched M*A*S*H, which then showed me that the line between good and bad is not always clear, the soldiers who died had families and that war killed civilians too. Don’t get me wrong. I know we need soldiers as there are bad people and bad things out there but it just wasn’t for me.

Once I realized how bad violence was, I gave up my dream to be a military hero and would have settled for breaking teeth and bones as the best Rollerball player in the world. Unfortunately, I went instantly from scrawny weakling to pudgy couch potato with no time clocked in the “jock” zone. I was therefore frustrated but could not pursue this goal.

Scientific Heroes and Cultural Heroes are tied with 17% of the vote. It seems as if the results represent the eternal war of reason and emotion; of mind and of heart. So proxima, kat, janice and mago feel the need to save the world through science, logic and intellect but as top cat, several anonymous voters and all good artists know, cold science needs to be tempered with heart and soul, society has always needed to see their reflection and seek there direction from the artists, our cultural heroes. Scientists invent the atomic bomb, politicions invent detente but the flower children led by the likes of Joan Baez and Bob Dillon stopped the war.

I clearly was a Vulcan who was abducted and raised on Earth. This explains my large ears and my predeliction towards Science and having Spock as my pin-up model in my extreme youth. Then I discovered the movie Dr. Strangelove and the wonderful music of the 60’s and have been in conflict since. I did study science and saw how hard it is to make a name for yourself in science today. All the easy discoveries and inventions have already been done. Also in my field, the best one can hope for was to have a disease named after you.

Josie and michael want to be leaders. They will have to try harder as they got only 8% of the vote. They believe they can change the world for the better. I applaud them for trying to make a difference within the system. I don’t know much about how josie wants to change the world but I know michael’s platform and all I can say is that cubicle dwellers rejoice and office managers run in fear! Politics is not for me. I need to blame someone for the mess the world is in and politicians come handy. There are politicians that I do respect but I can count them without using all my fingers and toes.

That leaves the Business Heroes and the Explorers/Discoverers tied with 13% of the vote each. Heiresschild and an anonymous voter want to be business heroes and return part of their success to the community. This is perfectly in line with the new business concept of Corporate Social Responsibility. Well done. I’d make a poor businessman with the operative word being “poor”. I don’t want to be in the rat race cause the winner is still a rat. I generalise, of course, some corporations are showing the way with better practices and benefits to local communities.

Squirrel and I are the only two who chose to be Explorer/Discoverers. Only Mrs. Wolfe almost swayed to our side but at the last moment decided to be more human. What can I say? It’s a squirrel thing. “To go where no nut has gone before!” I admit that there is not a lot left undiscovered but it’s enough. I just love to discover new places, things, animals, plants and cultures. The work never goes stale at all cause something new is always just around the corner. It’s nice to have hero work that you also enjoy. That makes it my number one choice.

Thanks for playing the heroes game. Before I go, a quick mention to a few who refused to vote. These are the anti-heroes. They have important roles to play in modern literature and movie making. Their models include reluctant hero Jackie Chan, Batman and maybe Forrest Gump. They make the world a better place whether they want to or not. Perhaps all of us should just try, even to be anti-heroes.

Your Hero Fantasy

I believe we all have fantasies at some time of our lives that we might rise to some form of greatness. Perhaps some of us acheived our aspirations while for the rest it remains in the realm of our fantasies. My great ambition of winning a Nobel Prize was only just recently accomplished when Stock City Girl awarded me the Nobel Prize for “partying”. I would have prefered medicine but beggars can’t be chosers. Um, Stock City Girl, I am still awaiting my certificate and the promised beer.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to have a poll here on what type of hero you would like to be or that you look up to. Apart from voting, please leave a comment to explain why you made that choice. I promise to post on my own choice and the reasons for that choice.