It’s a Small, Small World!

March 10, 2008

earth_moon.jpg

Photo of Earth and its Moon from deep space. NASA Johnson Space Center Image ID. S92-52043.

When you look at this picture taken by the Galileo spacecraft on its way to Jupiter, remember that this is also a photo of you, your family and friends, and all that you know in this life. This photo was taken at a distance of 62 million kilometres from Earth. Earth’s moon is in the foreground of the photo.

Galileo was launched by NASA from the Space Shuttle on October 18, 1989 to explore Jupiter and its moons. It arrived at Jupiter December 7, 1995 just less than six years later. After its mission was complete in 2003, it was intentionally crashed into Jupiter making sure it didn’t contaminate any of the moons. Jupiter’s hostile environment destroyed the probe completely.

The Earth is truly a lifeboat in space. Our blue planet is insignificant against the backdrop of our galaxy and our universe. It contains the only life that we know as of this date. An educated guess based on the number of stars in the universe tells us the mathematical odds of other life are high, but to date we earthlings have no hard-evidence to support this.

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My Name is Steve and I am a Boomer

March 6, 2008

wwii.jpgI am a baby boomer. There I’m out of the closet now. Not only that but I’m proud that I am a “boomer”. Many of you reading this will say, “What is a baby boomer?”

Well here is the simple and basic explanation. When the Second World War ended in late 1945 the soldiers, airmen, and sailors started coming home. These were people who had not seen loved ones in some cases for years. They wanted to get back to normal, start working, make love, and make babies. Hell there is no other way to put this – they were horny!

Above: famous photo of celebration at end of WW II, “The Kiss”.

The result was that starting in 1946 there was a baby boom in both Canada and the United States. It was a virtual manufacturing industry. Babies and more babies, babies everywhere. The boom continued into the early 1960s, when along came the birth control pill. This technology coincided nicely with the fact that by then most of the returnees had produced families and had jobs. Life was good, except they had to find a way to stop having more babies, or at least slow down, so that the number of mouths to feed was limited.

Today in Canada and the United States the largest segment of the population are the baby boomers. Like me most of them are now over 50 and getting ready to retire in the near future. The result will be a shortage of experience, skilled workers in the workforce. On the plus side this will provide many opportunities for younger workers, on the negative side employers will be scrambling to replace the knowledge lost.

Statistics Canada data shows that just over 15% of Canadian workers are 55 or older and close to retirement. It also shows that for the first time there are just as many workers over age 40 as under.

The other area of society impacted will be the health care system. As the boomer generation ages, their large numbers will create a major stress on health care providers.

Boomers are often criticized for wanting to retire and enjoy our golden years. Younger society is dreading the costs of health care and other services that boomers will be accessing. The cost to society will be great.

To critics I say this, the majority of boomers have worked productively for over 40 years, paid taxes, contributed to pension plans, and given in time and money to society. In my case I have been employed full-time for almost 40 years and have never collected unemployment or welfare in all those years. We boomers have earned our retirement and the health care that we will surely need.


Adventures in Twin-Land

March 4, 2008

claire_fpower4.jpgLast week my twin daughters, Claire and Olivia, turned 4 years of age. So far I have not only survived, but become a better person. They were born and grew into amazing little people right before my eyes. Each has developed a distinct personality. Claire (Left) is the rough and tumble one, and is a total Barney freak. Olivia on the other hand, loves Dora and anything to do with princesses.

Courtesy of my sister-in-law, who was babysitting them at the time, here’s a funny story about the twins. I had been reading them the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf for several nights before this occurred.

Olivia was outside the front screen door trying to get back inside. Claire was holding the door shut. Olivia was shouting, “Claire Claire let me in”. Claire replied, “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin”. Talk about taking a story to heart.

olivia4.jpgOlivia (Right) is mom’s girl, except when she isn’t around. Claire on the other hand had been dad’s girl from the start. It just worked out that way.

When they arrive home in the evening off the bus from preschool, the first thing Claire has to do is change into a T-shirt and pajama bottoms, preferably ones with a Barney theme. Olivia strips off all her clothes, except for her panties and then she is comfortable. Finally, they demand to be served chocolate milk. They then hit the couch for some TV. Relaxation techiniques – they have that down pat.

damian.jpgBig brother, Damian, who is now 6 years old, is the boss of the house for now, but momentum is swinging. He’s been able to control things so far, but now the sisters are almost as tall as he, and are starting to push back. Damian will be in for a shock in another year. Two against one won’t be something he’ll enjoy. I chuckle thinking about it, because, really, he has no concept of what awaits him.

Photos: Cindy Davis (Mom)


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