Sunday 20 May 2012

The Eleven O’Clock News

I was watching the news today and they were talking about a partial eclipse of the sun that will be happening between …say...4:00 and 8:00 PM today. They went on to describe it in all of the detail they could, and showed diagrams of just where in the country you could see it. They had different covered bands that passed over North America which indicated the percentage of the sun that would be eclipsed. Here in Alberta, I think it was about sixty percent. Pretty exciting stuff.
Well, it would be if you could actually watch it. After they pointed out how cool and rare this eclipse is, they began to tell us how we can view it.  Most people know that looking at the sun is bad for your eyes, well the people with decent vision do. You would need welders glass (where did I put my little square of welders glass?), special order glasses (way too late to order them now) or a pinhole camera. I know only one guy with a pinhole camera, in fact this guy has five or six pinhole cameras, but he is one of those rare and unique people you seldom meet outside of NASA or a mental institution.
So they go on and on about how cool this will be, but then tell you that it isn’t the kind of thing you should try to do at home. I am pretty sure that the report was sponsored by the Canadian Optometrist Society. I think that I will opt to watch it on the Eleven o’clock news.

The Canadian Association of Optometrist

Well, I would like to wish you all a Happy May long weekend!

In Canada it is an indication that summer has arrived or is soon to arrive. Here in Alberta it is an indication that if we plant our gardens there is a good chance we won’t have a killing frost. No guarantees though. It is also known and perhaps more people know it as Victoria Day, named after Queen Victoria to honour her birthday every year. I just found out that it is also the day that Canadians celebrate any reigning monarch’s birthday. That kind of sucks, the head of the British Empire doesn’t even get to celebrate his or her own actual birthday.
I used to always like the fireworks that would go off to celebrate Victoria Day. They were never as good as the fireworks displays on July 1st, but any port in a storm is better than nothing. You couldn’t buy fireworks, but the next best thing was to go where ever they were to be set off and watch them there. It was and is always beautiful. The show was too short of course, but absolutely worth spending an hour or two before the show finding just the right place to stand or sit and watch the sky. Basically, any unobstructed view of the sky made for good seats. I always liked to be near people with dogs and or small children. When the fireworks started, the kids began to cry and the dogs took off through the crowd like Satan himself was after them. Fireworks and what predated performance art made for a perfect evening.
In Ontario, the weather was most often warm, but in Alberta the chances were 50 – 50 as to whether I would watch them in person or on the news. The displays have become pale reflections of what they once were. We are after all, no longer a colony of Britain and I would be surprised if the cost of whiz-bangs and rockets hadn’t sky rocketed over the years.

Oh well, I have my memories and the Eleven o’clock news.

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