Monday, October 29, 2012

In light of recent news about hurricane Sandy, I thought this would be a good conversation starter ...but there's not a lot more to say than what's in the graphic above. It's hard to argue with pure logic, isn't it?

Perhaps there are Christian apologists who would suggest a fourth option; that God is standing by, waiting for this clock he wound up 6,000 years ago to come to it's fruition. But the gymnastics required to back that up would fill a book, and would require the use of a book that is full of contradictions. Christianity is supposed to be so simple that a child can understand it, so bzzzzt!  Religion fails yet again.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why is SO much unquestioned respect given to faith?  It's as if anything believed under the umbrella of religion is somehow immune to the scrutiny of common sense.  We actually know the answer: it's because our relatively recent history as a society was enveloped in the dark ages, where religion governed all aspects of life.

My challenge to the reader is to examine your own emotions and judgements (good and bad) next time someone asks your head to be bowed at a family or communal meal, even if the majority present aren't religious. That behaviour is an indicator of our society's undue respect and over-tolerance for unfounded and irrational faith, which came from that time in history when superstition and religion where one in the same. The church held power over government. Priests were gods. That's not the case any more, but you wouldn't know it by the remnants were still carry...

It's high time we throw away that rabbit's foot.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The scary thing is, there are Christians today who would defend this kind of behaviour, not just slavery (...because, well - God says it okay), but the beating as well. In my Christian days, I was exposed to various teachings about submission, and one common interpretation is that submission to any and all authority is non-negotiable. That goes for Peter, above...

You see, a face-value interpretation of the Christian bible should actually make atheists out of any reader. But why doesn't it?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Some of you who know me have heard about my brush with evangelical christianity.  Well... more than a brush actually - more like a life-changing, immersive experience. While in that environment, I was an eager non-stop learner, always asking about this and that. Sometimes the answers made sense, other times not. That always niggled my brain: basic questions of scientific evidence were brushed aside as evidence of a lack of faith.

Wow, I'm glad I moved on. I now see the wisdom in non-stop searching; non-stop questioning; non-stop challenging my OWN beliefs about what reality is. I've concluded, quite firmly, that old-school religion is a crock. A crock based on new evidence revealed by the last 200 years of scientific evidence. Face it, the church elite could get away with telling those old bible stories to the ignorant masses who knew no better. Now we do.  Or do we...?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

(click image to enlarge if you find it hard to read)

Even the most cursory understanding of genetics is enough to blow the whole creation story out of the water.   The above is one simple example; there are others.

I actually had my DNA examined by the National Geographic "Genographic" project, in which over 500,000 people from across the globe participated. They are able to trace back our lineage to tribes that migrated over 60,000 years ago from central Africa by determining the specific haplogroup one belongs to. This is possible due to random, though infrequent, mutational errors in DNA.

So, did you get that?  60,000 years ago. Not 6,000, not 10,000, which creationists place creation at. 60,000.

So, no, Eve did not come from Adam's rib.  I mean, c'mon... If you believe that, then I have a bridge for sale in Florida I think you should invest in... If you still want to argue that God created everything with age, then I suppose I too have the right to believe in the flying spaghetti monster. Which of course YOU can't see, but I happen to believe exists. So there...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The most ill-informed criticism about evolution is the label it's given: theory. Richard Dawkins (above) makes a good point, albeit facetiously, that we live our lives believing and trusting in so-called "theories".  Like gravity. Scientists are still theorizing about what gravity is, yet it doesn't mean gravity is hogwash. Religious people use the word "theory" in a derogatory way to criticize evolution and natural selection, casting doubt on its legitimacy as an explanation for our beginnings. Fact is, evolution is far more than mere theory.

Isn't it odd that it's only people who believe in the literal God of the bible that make this accusation. These people insist that facts and evidence are trumped by a god who can create a universe that is only 6,000 years old, and in that feat, spontaneously create the rings in trees, the light that has taken millions of light years to reach earth from the cosmos, a woman from a rib... And the scary part is that the majority of North America's population believes in such fairy tales! We really, truly must take a head-on approach to instilling common sense and critical thought in our children. Otherwise, progress will be stunted.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sounds logical, right? Only to 43% of Canadians. The rest, well, would rather believe in fairy tales and imaginary friends. YES! It's true!  Take a sampling of - say - 20 people. Statistically, about 11 of them will be religious, claiming they believe the bible over science. Ask them if they would leave behind their religious beliefs if it could be proven that the earth is far older than 6,000 years (try millions...), and that we came from primates, and you'll see them stick their fingers in their ears and go "La - la - la - la..."

I see it all the time. Religious people will simply not accept hard core evidence that disproves the biblical account of creation.  People are offended by my stance, saying "But that's what you believe, you shouldn't push your beliefs onto them."  Sorry dudes and dudesses, the truth is the truth is the truth. Evidence is not a philosophy or a religion or a parlour game. It's what's in your face. It's the clothes on your back, it's the food you eat. Do you say "I believe in food"? No, you eat because it's there. You know it's there. It's evidence that you or your loved one went to the grocery store.  It's proof that farmers exist. It's proof that tractors exist that do the harvesting, and 18-wheelers deliver it to Costco, and store clerks, and... and... well, you get it.

It's no different than the evidence that exists for the age of the earth. Or that we evolved. Either believe that, or stick your finger in your ears and go "La - la - la - la - la - la ...................."

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

While camping...

A diary entry from my camping trip in Algonquin Park:

Tonight at my campsite in Algonquin Park, I started my campfire with no newspaper or match. I wanted to prove to myself I could go all "native" and do it with birch bark and a flint. The first thing I learned, which fascinated me, was how birch bark is multi-layered just like an opnion. The thinnest layers were I'm sure just as fine as human hair. So, I peeled and tore a handful of this fire-starter and made a traditional teepee fire. After 30 seconds of using my flint, there was enough spark to start a fire. If that wasn't interesting enough...

I kept a chunk of this birch bark as a souvenier of my wonderful time here out in the wilderness. Looking for a place to tuck it away, I placed it alongside a stack of DVDs I brought along for night viewing when I'm too tired to hit the sack. The contrast - and irony - hit me. I was just as entertained and educated from a hunk of birch bark as I was from any of those DVDs. About the same size, one represents one of mankind's amazing technological achievements, the other, one of nature's.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Review: The Sixth Man by David Baldacci

In another blog that I used to maintain, I did book and movie reviews. Since I haven't the time to keep up with multiple blog sites, I decided to shut it down and just stick to this one. And in case anyone wondered who George Wolf was, well - it was my alter ego. Yep, 'twas me!

While summer camping, I get a lot of reading done. This year was no exception, particularly due to extremely hot and humid weather, I didn't do as many activities. So I finished 2 books I had on the go, including this David Baldacci spy thriller.

Wow, this dude can spin a yarn. This will be the 4th or 5th book of his I've read, thanks to my mother-in-law's recommendation (thanks Christine!).  All his novels are New York Times best sellers. But THIS one, well, what can I say.  Expertly written, the story flow and plot arc were brilliantly executed. And the plot twists and surprises that he threw in had my jaw dropped a number of times. If you haven't heard of him, I would very highly recommend this one over all the other's I've read.

The plot revolves around a pair of private investigators who try to solve a murder, and the more they dig, the more roadblocks they hit, AND the higher up the food chain they go. That food chain being government agencies (typical alphabet soup ones like FBI, CIA, NSA, etc.)  They try to defend Edgar Roy, a convicted serial killer who has not only a photographic memory, but also possesses uncommon talent as an intelligence analyst. His experience working for the U.S. government sparked jealousies between departments, and the question that begs asking is: is he really a serial killer, or does someone want him out of commission?

The book is a real page turner, so if you're looking for a good yarn in the spy thriller category, pick this one. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

For you internet nerds out there...

Moira's websites got hacked by some Malaysian dweeb, and has been causing no end of misery for hundreds of other innocent people.  It's taken her pretty well a week to recover, and her attitude has been positive all along... "Time for a change anyways" she says.  Great attitude I say... but I still have a major dislike for the little pencil-neck looser who takes pride in destroying other people's hard work.

So, our ISP at the time - "Host Papa" - claimed no responsibility for being vulnerable in the first place... we're not exactly sure what exploit he used to get in, but for sure it wasn't Moira's fault.  So, we both decided to pull anchor and find another ISP who is keeping up with security updates, and has a support department worthy of the hard-earned money we spend on such services.

In comes A2webhosting.

They've been great, and the transition to them would have been easy if not for the inexperienced and incompetent support at Host Papa. Granted, it was a holiday weekend, when the senior help was likely at home eating chocolate bunnies with their kids, but still... they caused more problems than they solved,  deleting the account that *wasn't* hacked, and causing as much work as the original hacker.

Like Moira, I also witnessed mistakes made by them that caused more delays than necessary - all the while, A2 Webhosting bent over backwards to help us.  In the end, we're both back up and running - and yes, it was a cleansing experience we both used to rid our various web sites of those cobwebs that build up over time... it's easy to be a pack-rat, right?

So the long and the short of it is: caveat emptor. Look before you leap when it comes to selecting an ISP for your business. A2webhosting have been stellar so far...


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Steak Sauce Recipe

As promised...  I use Jim Beam Black. For me, it has a bit more character than the regular one called for in this recipe.


        2 cups tomato ketchup
        1 cup brown sugar, packed
        3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
        2 teaspoons dry mustard
        1 cup Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
        4 tablespoons cider vinegar
        4 tablespoons soy sauce
        1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
        dash liquid smoke, to taste, optional


Combine all ingredients in 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; simmer uncovered 20 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Makes about 3 cups.

Cheap Pig Parts

Did a bit of shopping last week, and saw how crazy cheap pork is right now... I bought a tenderloin for around 7 bucks, and I'll be getting about 6 meals out of it. Compare that to a AAA beef sirloin or t-bone steak at around 6 dollars for *one* meal, and it got me thinking that I'll be barbecuing more pork than beef this summer!

Here's how I prep mine for the barby:

First, I cut the long tenderloin into 6 ounce steaks then vacuum sealed them for freezing. I got 6 or 7 out of one chunk, so I was pretty happy about that! I marinade them for about an hour in: 2 tbsp of oil, 1 tsp of Tamari sauce or soy sauce, and a couple dashes of liquid smoke.  Play with the ratios according to your own taste.

Mix with a whisk, and soak the meat in it for at LEAST an hour or more in the fridge, turning every 1/2 hour... the ingredients tend to separate a bit over time. To get the marinade REALLY into the meat, I'll sometimes pierce the meat with a fork a few dozen times before putting it in the fridge.

Like beef, don't over cook it on the grill. Personally, I go for an internal temperature of about 150 to 160 C.  I keep a quick-read meat thermometer close at hand when grilling - best thing I ever bought for cooking meat.

To enhance the flavour, I usually have some steak sauce handy.  Not just any steak sauce - I make my own out of Jim Beam Black, a bourbon that has a dark smokey taste. I'll post the recipe...  It's really yummy! But - don't put it on the meat while cooking it - you'll caramelize the sugars and risk burning the pork. Steak sauces are for the plate, not the grill...


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Movie Review: The Three Muskateers

So, my special Lady is away for the weekend and I decided to view what I thought would be a "guy" flick on Pay-per-View. This latest rendition of the famous threesome looked good, so I'm now $7.00 poorer, and wish I wasn't.

What a waste of money! Don't bother with this one people... I turned it off before the end came. It was cheezy, campy, it was littered with terrible CGI eye candy, and the worst part - no gratuitous nudity! Maybe it was my mood, but I think the target audience for this looser of a flick would perhaps be the 10 to 15 year-old crowd.

I went over the Discovery channel and was far more entertained!

2 outa 5 stars...


Monday, February 27, 2012

Water De-scalers don't work!

"Huh? Has Jim lost his marbles? What's a water de-scaler?" Ya, it's nothing to do with photography, but this will be of interest to anyone who lives on well & septic, like me. For us people that live outside the city, that view out your living room window may stir the soul, but there's always gremlins here and there that will keep the country home owner humble. Plumbing is one of them. Hard water specifically.

Water Water Everywhere
Seems that no matter where you dig a well, you'll find water. The water will be hard, meaning, it will have a lot of dissolved minerals such as calcium and iron, but how hard your water is will vary. And after a dry summer, the dissolved calcium was quite bad for us, to the point that we even bought a new dishwasher thinking the old one was defective.  Nope - it was the water.  The coating of white on all our dishes was amazing... it was so bad, clear glasses were opaque. I started running vinegar with the last rinse cycle, and that helped immensely, though there was still spotting. So, off to Goggle I ran for help.

Back in Calgary, I had heard of these electrical water softeners that didn't use salt, so I did my research. I didn't want to dump salt into my septic tank, or in the ground at all... After days of reading contradictory evidence ("they work great!", "it's all junk science."), I decided to give it a go, and ordered one on-line.  With a 90-day money-back guarantee I figured I was safe.

Junk Science
Well, after almost 3 months, I have to say that the technology is pretty well useless. They're supposed to crystallize the calcium carbonate, effectively changing it from a dissolved state. I saw no difference whatsoever in the water softness.  The unit I bought was supposedly good up to 50 grains of hardness (almost 1,000 ppm). Our water is 14 grains of hardness, well within the range of the unit's capabilities.

So much for trying to save a few bucks, and trying to be easy on the environment.  I was told by that famous water softener company to dig a dry well and dump the salt water there. That doesn't change the fact that more sodium is leaching into the soil...

So, if you come over for a glass of beer, don't be surprised if you see me rinsing one off the glass in the sink and polishing it up... it's the only way to get rid of those hard water stains!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It's fun finding new things to learn - with some software I discovered, the job of updating my image galleries is now a cinch. So, on both my main site ( and my local site ( I now have a really cool flash-based image collection that takes no time at all to update.

Now, to get out there and shoot, that's another story...  ;-)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Well, here I am again... 3 years later.

I forgot all about this blog... and with a slightly more holistic approach to my commercial photography, I'll be posting not only photo-based news (which doesn't happen all that often anyways), but also other things that catch my interest, and yours as well hopefully.  For health reasons I won't get into right now, I'm a little more house-bound than I used to be, though I won't let THAT stop me when something important comes up.  Like driving into Renfrew to get beer.

Anywho, perhaps this blog will encourage me to share a bit more, and have something a bit more permanent than silly Facebook posts...

With that in mind, here's some new pics I've added to my 2 websites:

I even printed off a whack of personal pics for my family photo album, something I do every couple of years. In this digital world, it seems to me that photographs are less than permanent.  Once they're share in social media, or viewed off your smart phone, there's little incentive to keep them around.  I'm kinda old-school I supposed. Goes with being 56 years old...