Second biggest country in the world running out of original names

Canada is so large a country that it does not have enough names to contain all of its wonderfulness. That’s why it has two Maritime cities with almost the same names, St. John’s Newfoundand and St. John New Brunswick. It also used to have two professional football teams named the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Ottawa Rough Riders, who have since gone defunct. A new team in Ottawa is called the Redblacks.

Not as “hot” as Bulgaria, but still in the top ten

Dating website asked 40,000 single American male users to select the nationality they found most attractive as well as the characteristics about that nationality that made it attractive. Resoundingly the deciding factors were body type and accent.

Canadian ladies ranked at number nine, three places below number six: Bulgaria.

Number one? Brazil

Those more interested in the Y chromosome, Canadian men also ranked in at number nine. I’d tell you who the other nine were but as a raging heterosexual I don’t give a flying @$@( and couldn’t be bothered looking.

Nice review for Jishuku


Short story By: Dosho
Literary fiction

Tags: Japan, Earthquake, Emperor-hirohito, Restraint, Ethnic

A story of how members of a Japanese office try to add some levity to their lives during an earthquake drill that takes place during the terminal illness of Emperor Hirohito.

Submitted:Aug 3, 2012 Reads: 10 Comments: 1 Likes: 0


NOTE: For several months in late 1988 and early 1989 the Japanese Emperor Hirohito lapsed into a coma as a result of severe illness. Although Japanese medical practice held that nothing should be publicly said as the nature of the disease, it was commonly understood to be cancer. Given his advanced age, eighty-seven, chances for his recovery were slim. In keeping with this somber mood, the entire nation went into a prolonged period of jishuku, or self-restraint. No one wished to appear too happy, too celebratory, in this saddest of times. Even those who had little or no feeling for the Emperor, or Imperial tradition, bowed to intense public pressure and cancelled weddings, festivals, office parties, New Year’s celebrations and all other outward displays of public enjoyment. In consequence, the Japanese, a people of outward form and appearances, turned to the most mundane of daily events to replace these occurrences.

“Jishin, jishin,” the office buzzed as I arrived for work. I hadn’t seen the place so animated since September, when Respect for the Aged Day and Autumnal Equinox Day had given us back-to-back long weekends and my co-workers happily planned trips to visit family, or decided to just play and loaf about. Since that time,the Emperor had fallen ill, and they were disappointed as the succession of Athletics Day, Culture Day, Labour Day, and the extended New Year’s period of O-Shogatsu’s usual celebrations were replaced with jishuku, or self-restraint. Even the famous fall festivals in Nara, Kyoto, and Takayama were severely scaled down or cancelled outright. And pity the poor families who had weddings planned, new additions to the family, or other joyous events. They all had to be downplayed. The Emperor was ill.

But now the office was buzzing. “Jishin, jishin,” it went. What was this? Had I missed something? I turned to Sugiyama, our office manager. At 9:30, he told me, we would have an earthquake. A big one. Many people would die. The city would be levelled. There would be much hardship. We’d be consumed by fire.

I was amazed. Could disasters be forecast with such accuracy, then? I knew the Japanese were an orderly and obedient people, but did even their natural disasters occur according to plan? Was it our duty to die for some obscure reason? The Emperor’s illness perhaps? Why weren’t we fleeing for the train stations, the airports? Where was the panic? Was this an example of the shinjinrui, the “new kinds of people” I had heard so much about in Japan? If so, I liked the old.

“No, no,” Sugiyama reassured me. Not a real earthquake. Today was hosai kunren, or emergency drill. Today’s emergency? Jishin, or earthquake. It must have been the season.

“What am I to do?” I asked.

“Nothing. Just sit there and follow directions when the earthquake comes twenty minutes from now.”

I busied myself at my desk. Fifteen minutes later, Matsuoka got up and began to strip. Was this part of the drill? Were we to flee the building with no more than nature gave us? He was down to his shorts when our kacho, our cautious section chief, came in brandishing a neatly pressed, grey uniform for him to change into. Matsuoka was our office representative, part of the building’s shock troops who would survey the damage, shut off the gas, fight fires and ensure that everyone made it out safely. Each section had one. His pants didn’t fit quite right, however, and Matsuoka was left sitting in his shorts, black rubber boots and bare legs visible to us all as our kacho ran out to get a larger pair.

Miawaki, sitting next to Matsuoka, giggled. “You look ridiculous,” he said.

“I feel ridiculous,” Matsuoka answered. Around him, the office was all smiles, obviously enjoying the absurdity of the situation. I almost thought Ohori was going to break out the sake.

With seconds to spare, kacho found the pants and Matsuoka struggled into them, not bothering to take the rubber boots from his feet before forcing his legs through. Just in time. A few more seconds and we’d have had to cancel the earthquake. Only in Japan did you have to dress for disaster.

The alarm went off and Matsuoka ran out the door. A calm voice came over the intercom and informed us to get under our desks until we were told it was safe to do otherwise. I spent about five minutes with my large foreign body hunched over, looking at my shoes. Cut off from sight of each other by the desks, Ohori did his best Bob Hope imitation and fired off a whole string of jokes designed to boost the troop’s morale. We were almost sorry when the intercom said we could come out from under our desks. The earthquake was over, we were told, but cautioned NOT TO DO ANYTHING UNLESS INSTRUCTED TO DO SO. I wondered how we could wait for instructions in a real earthquake when the intercom would surely be broken.

Miawaki answered my question. From out of nowhere he acquired one of those little coloured flags that are so common with Japanese tour groups. With handkerchiefs over our mouths to protect us from imaginary dust and gas, we marched down the three flights of stairs behind him and out of the building. Here, we lined up behind our flag. We might have been at a medieval jousting match or knights being called to arms. I expected the fair Guinevere to come riding by at any moment.

Ours was not the only flag. Each section of each office dutifully lined up behind their standardbearer’s flag. We waited like that no more than three or four minutes before Matsuoka and his shock troops came rushing around the corner. They checked to see that we were all present and accounted for and reassured us that all was fine in the building. As he turned to leave,his hard-won pants fell down around his ankles and he fell flat on his face. Another fine mess you’ve gotten us into, Ollie. Without missing a beat, he pulled them up and rushed of to see what the sirens were about.

The firetrucks and ambulances came roaring in. They clattered to a stop, firemen jumping off, unravelling hoses as they ran into the building, which was now somehow engulfed in smoke. We could see now what Matsuoka and his men had been up to. Smoke bombs! What a show! The special effects were great! Of course, we broke ranks to get closer to the action. Before we arrived, a scream echoed through the air. On top of the building was someone furiously waving her arms, pleading for help, clouds of staged smoke billowing behind her. Obviously, Matsuoka and his rubber boot gang hadn’t accounted for all of us.

The firetruck swung into action, its extension ladder only just stretching to the top of the building. Fist raised in triumph, Perilous Pauline, or whatever her name was, was lowered to the ground, put on a dolly, wheeled to an ambulance and, lights and sirens ablaze, rushed with great fanfare to the hospital. Never mind that the building behind us was also a hospital. That would have subtracted from the drama of the situation. And drama it was. Everyone had a role. Matsuoka and his men once again mysteriously out of sight, onlookers took it upon themselves to blockade the streets, pull over cars, and play traffic cop.

Within seconds, a great WHOOSH rent the silence and flames licked high into the air. Festive colours of orange, red, and yellow lit up the sky. When the initial smoke cleared, we saw that Matsuoka had set off a series of carefully controlled fires in the parking lot. Crowd control barriers, ropes, and firemen ensured the crowd’s safety as we were urged to gather around. The fire chief played his loudspeaker like a carnival barker, urging us to step closer and see the next attraction. How could we refuse? P.T. Barnum was right. There’s one born every minute.

Flames leaped into the air and the crowd rippled with anticipation as the firemen demonstrated the use of the various fire extinguishers. By now, there was close to a thousand of us. Passersby joined in, abandoning their cars on the roadside. An old man leaned from his second story window across the street as if trying to join in on the fun. Others rushed down. Only a solitary woman on a third floor balcony was oblivious to the excitement, calmly going about hanging her laundry.

“Step right up,” urged the fireman-barker, trolling the crowd for volunteers willing to take a try on the fire extinguishers. As a practical demonstration and running commentary on their use had just been given, we were all familiar with the proper procedure. A little urging snagged four brave souls willing to try their luck. A round of applause and shouts of encouragement swept the crowd. An official photographer emerged out of nowhere and began snapping away. As the barker shouted out instructions, the brave souls advanced on the fires, extinguishers held before them like lances. At the barker’s command they stopped, just feet from the raging infernos.

The crowd went silent. The barker hushed. Slowly and carefully, the four followed his precise instructions. They turned the extinguishers on end, unscrewed the valves, held the hoses out at precisely forty-five degree angles, gave them a sharp tug, and pressed their plungers. Great clouds of chemical smoke engulfed the flames and smothered them. All that was left were the pans of liquid kerosene. The crowd regained its voice, clapping and cheering and offering to stand rounds of drinks for the brave fighters.

Then the winds changed and the chemicals blew back into our faces, chasing us back in to the relative safety of the building. But the smoke still hadn’t cleared and tears were soon streaming down our faces. Slowly, the chatter died down and we settled back behind our desks for a sober day’s work. It was a sad time in Japan. The Emperor was ill and we were all exercising self-restraint. This was no time for a celebration.

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craig turner

Liked this. Well written little vignette. Craig

Posted: Aug 4, 2012

Author Comment:

Thank you. I’m glad that you liked it.


Vancouver Riot Kissing Couple Still Together

Vancouver riot kissing couple still together 4 years later
Rich Lam’s iconic photo of Canadian Alex Thomas and Australian boyfriend Scott Jones went viral
CBC News Posted: Jun 25, 2015 9:56 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 26, 2015 9:16 AM ET


Vancouver riot’s ‘kissing couple’ tell their story
The couple seen in a viral photograph kissing on the ground during the Vancouver riot are still together — four years later.

As Vancouver marks the anniversary of the infamous 2011 Stanley Cup riot this month, the couple are still an item and are now living in Australia.

Canadian Alex Thomas and her Australian boyfriend Scott Jones now live in Melbourne. (CBC)

Canadian Alex Thomas and her Australian boyfriend Scott Jones now share a place in Melbourne, where Jones is a bar manager and Thomas works in sewage planning and wastewater treatment, according to The WorldPost, Huffington Post’s world news site. Thomas has also applied for Australian citizenship.

The couple were trying to get out of the downtown area, following the Vancouver Canucks’ Game 7 Stanley Cup loss to the Boston Bruins, when they were caught in the massive riot.

Thomas fell during the mayhem and Jones embraced her on the ground to comfort her, they told CBC News in an interview two days after the riot.

“She was a bit hysterical afterwards, obviously, and I was trying to calm her down,” Jones said.

The intimate moment was captured by photographer Rich Lam in an image that instantly went viral. The shot, which went on to win the 2011 National Newspaper Award for news photography, also inspired hundreds of memes and speculations about the couple.

“It’s just a moment that happened to be on camera. It’s not embarrassing at all,” Thomas told CBC News in the interview. “It’s actually a really beautiful shot. It’s amazing that moment got captured.”

In Honour of the Playoff Hockey Beard

It is a well-known hockey tradition by now, probably started by the legendary New York Islanders hockey teams of the late 70s and early 80s. The playoffs start and player immediately stop shaving, not taking blade to skin until they finally win it all or drop out on the marathon of attrition their.

But where did it start? Not the tradition, but the whole of idea of humans altering their appearance by shaving to begin with?


History of Shaving
For thousands of years man has been fighting a battle with his facial hair – over 25,000 hairs as hard as copper wire of the same thickness.

The hairs grow between 125mm and 150mm per year and man will spend an average of more than 3,000 hours of his life shaving them.

Egyptians shaved their beards and heads which was a custom adopted by the Greeks and Romans about 330BC during the reign of Alexander the Great.

This was encouraged for soldiers as a defensive measure to stop enemies from grabbing their hair in hand-to-hand combat.

As shaving spread through the world, men of unshaven societies became known as “barbarians” meaning the “unbarbered”. The practice of women shaving legs and underarms developed much later.

Men scraped their hair away in early times man with crude items such as stone, flint, clam shells and other sharpened materials. He later experimented with bronze, copper and iron razors.

In more recent centuries he used the steel straight razor (aptly called the “cut-throat” for obvious reasons).

For hundreds of years razors maintained a knife-like design and needed to be sharpened by the owner or a barber with the aid of a honing stone or leather strop.

These “weapons” required considerable skill by the user to avoid cutting himself badly.

Why, when and how people started shaving
Shaving predates history but it was the early Egyptian men and women who really established shaving and hair removal as a regular part of daily grooming.

And the custom continues today for people all over the world.

The Egyptians had an almost unhealthy personal obsession with body hygiene – and curious customs to accompany it.

The Greek historian Herodotus (485-425BC) commented that the Egyptians bathed several times a day and “set cleanliness above seemliness”.

Being so clean all the time was associated with fanatical behaviour by outsiders. The ancient Romans thought that a lack of major body hair was some kind of terrible deformity.

But not in Egypt where priests believed that body hair was shameful and unclean.

Wild animals and barbarians had hair, not the sophisticated and advanced Egyptian civilisation. Being hairless was achieved by shaving, using depilatory creams and rubbing one’s hair off with a pumice stone.

Men, women, and even the children of ancient Egypt all shaved their heads bald and wore elaborate specially-made wigs, which were preferred over a natural head of hair for ultimate protection from the sun’s harmful solar rays.

These wigs were made of natural or artificial hair, and were strategically designed to keep the head cool.

It was rare to find a man or woman out in public totally bald-headed, not just for sun protection, but for making a fashion statement as well.

Another reason for removing all body hair, including that on the scalp was that being hairless gave people an excellent way to prevent various body infections and diseases.

Living in the Nile Valley wasn’t at all easy because it was so very hot and body hair and the heat could become an irritating combination.

Soap was not easily available to the masses and the Egyptians certainly didn’t have the hair care products available to us today.

Keeping shoulder length hair clean was very difficult and washing didn’t always clear up the lice problem that most people had. A bald head could be easily washed and dried.

A bald head didn’t feel itchy under a wig, or create a place for the lice to live. Everyone started shaving everything eventually, yes – everywhere. Being hairless kept people cooler, as well as bug and odour free.

The less hair one had the easier life was.

Celebrity barbers and bogus beards
Items of Egyptian royalties personal care items found during archeological tomb excavations have thrown up such items as razors, manicure tools and other cosmetic implements made of jewel encrusted gold.

Excavations have uncovered works of Egyptian art that show in detail that only peasants, slaves, mercenaries, criminals, plunderers and barbarians were hairy faced.

Ever wonder why we started shaving our faces and heads?

Egyptian men thought that wearing facial hair was a sign of personal neglect. Egyptians who could afford to normally kept a barber on their household staff.

In Mesopotamia barbers were held in the highest regard by society like a doctor or dignitary.

Each town had a street or an area where a number of barber shops could be found. These barbers took great care of the general public by shaving their clients daily with razors and pumice stones then massaging perfumed oils and lotions into their skin.

The evidence we see on ancient wall murals proves that some Egyptians did have hair on their faces. Even with their obsession for personal cleanliness they also thought though that a beard was the sign of a real man, of masculinity and dignity since the beginning of time and that it could give a man status.

On certain occasions therefore the heads of Egypt wore artificial beards which they strapped on with string that fastened beneath their chins.

The Original Hairless Elite
Prehistoric Times – shaving history takes us way back to the Stone Age, around 100,000BC, when Neanderthal Man started first pulling hair from his body.

Filing down his teeth was also a popular pastime.

Cave paintings show that early man discovered ways to remove hair from his face that are still being used today. In the beginning he simply plucked the hair out using seashells like tweezers.

Throughout history tweezers have remained the most popular ever grooming tool invented, used by both “civilised” men and women to painfully remove body and facial hair.

The earliest shaving razors discovered were flint blades from as far back as 30,000BC.

Flint can provide an extremely sharp edge, perfect at the time for shaving. These implements were the first disposable razors as flint dulls rather quickly.

Not only did your early man cut or shave off his body hair with flint he also enjoyed cutting unusual designs his skin. He added dyes and colours to the cuts and ended up tattooed.

Other shaving tools made of stone found were made during the Neolithic Period.

4000-3000BC Women are removing body hair with depilatory creams made from such combinations as arsenic, quicklime and starch.

3000BC marked the first permanent development of razors due to metalworking being invented. In both India and Egypt razors made from copper are found available.

1500-1200BC Some of the most elaborate razors in ancient times in Scandinavia were produced. Razors were found in leather carrying cases with scenes embossed in the bronze blades in excavations carried out in the Danish Mound Graves with the handles carved into horse head shapes.

500BC It became popular for men to crop their hair very short and shave the face in Greece. Alexander the Great is responsible for this as he is obsessed with shaving.

He shaves even during war and will not be seen going to battle with a five o clock shadow. Like the Middle East culture Greeks back then considered it an aesthetic approach to personal hygiene.

Around this time, Roman women remove their hair with razors and pumice stones. They even make their own depilatory creams from medicinal drugs such as Bryonia.

They also pluck their eyebrows using tweezers.

Roman men have a skilled live-in servant to shave them; otherwise they start their day with a trip to the tonsor, or barber, who will shave a face with an iron novacila, or Roman razor.

This type of shaver corrodes quickly and becomes blunt; so most customers usually, or eventually, get cut. But don’t worry – the tonsor can fix this by applying to the face a soothing plaster made from special perfumed ointment and spider webs soaked in oil and vinegar.

Despite the dangers of going to the barber shop, Roman men continue to flock in daily because they are also great centres for news and gossip.

400BC The typical man of India is found sporting a neatly trimmed, well-groomed beard, yet he shaves off all hair on his chest and pubic area.

The average woman is removing hair from her legs with razors and tweezers.

Greek women are removing hair from their legs by singeing it with a lamp. Most Greek men are shaving their faces on a regular basis.

300BC and one day Publicus Ticinius Maenas, a rich Greek businessman brings professional barbers from Sicily to Rome which introduces a new craze for shaving.

The barbers use thin bladed iron razors which are sharpened with water and a whetstone. They don’t always use soap or oil making it a long process of shaving a face.

300 BC During this time in Rome young men of about the age of 21 are required to have their first shave. They kick this off by celebrating their official entry into manhood with an elaborate party.

Other friends are invited to watch and give the novice a bunch of gifts. Only soldiers and those training to become philosophers are excused from participating in this cultural ordeal.

50BC In Rome men are following the example of Julius Caesar, who has his facial hairs plucked out individually by tweezing every day.

Depilatories are used as an alternative to the bloody mess that results from shaving with a blade. The latest available creams include some pretty wild ingredients such as resin, pitch, white vine or ivy gum extract, asses fat, she goats gall, bats blood and powdered viper.

100AD In Rome shaving the male face starts to become old hat thanks to Emperor Hadrian, 76-138AD, who is now reviving the growth of beards.

The truth though is that Hadrian grows a beard to hide the lousy complexion he has on his face.

Middle Ages to The Crusades
476-1270AD European women carry out the bizarre beauty secret of removing all the hair from their eyebrows, eyelashes, temples, and necks.

The look to die for becoming trés chic. This is carried out masochistically by plucking and shaving every day, but a real lady who wants to represent herself in the ideal image of modern female beauty knows this is a necessity.

840AD In Spain, a famous musician and singer from Baghdad, Blackbird, opens the world’s first beauty institute.

Here, students learnt the secrets of hair removal as well as how to apply cosmetics, manufacture deodorants, use toothpowder and the basics of hairdressing.

1066AD Shaving and haircuts help William of Normandy invade England to overcome Harold the Saxon of Hastings. Harold’s spies ventured out before the attack and came back reporting a large group of priests seen nearby but no enemy.

The priests were William’s army who they mistook for Holy Men owing to their clean shaven appearance. They also carried exaggerated pageboy haircuts.

They shaved the hair on the back of their heads but kept a short back and sides which made them look like monks.

1770 French barber Jean-Jacques Perret writes The Art of Learning to Shave Oneself – La Pogonotomie – which gives advice for the use of different shaving products and equipment. The book is the first to propose the idea of a safety razor.

French women shave their heads completely so they can wear the huge powdered wigs of the latest hairstyles.

The Perret Razor is manufactured as an L-shaped wooden guard that holds a razor blade in place. It prevents the user cutting themselves too deeply.

It still does not have any real safety and is not considered to be the first true safety razor but this is the beginning of the safety razor.

1800s and shaving and grooming for men is now a self indulgent pastime thanks to George Bryan (Beau) Brummell who is a dandy known for his impeccable manners and style of dress.

Brummell is said to have shaved his face several times a day and pluck out any remaining hairs with tweezers. After inheriting a sizeable fortune Brummell dedicated himself to be known as a gentleman of fashion.

European women are still knocking up their own depilatory creams in their kitchens. The ingredients now contain such items as oak and French white wine to be taken in a hot bath for 24 hours.

In Sheffield production begins of straight steel razors and they are in constant demand until the middle of the 1800s. These razors dull very quickly however so they have to be honed and stropped frequently in order to use over and over again.

1840 After fleeing England in 1814 to escape from paying off tremendous gambling debts possessed shaver Beau Brummell died in a French lunatic asylum.

1847 William Henson created the first hoe razor which placed the blade perpendicular to its handle, just like a garden tool. This changes forever the way that man will grip his shaver and provides more control.

It is an overnight success.

By the late 1800s Victorian man is now extremely particular over his personal grooming and is starting to use shaving soaps and after shaving lotions which are usually home made in the kitchen using cherry laurel water.

In the United States the Kampfe Brothers file a patent for the first Safety Razor featuring a wire skin guard along one side of the blade’s edge. Only one side of the blade is used which has to be removed often for sharpening.

This is the best available shaving method on the market that won’t cut a user unlike straight steel razors. Blades are manufactured by forging which requires frequent sharpening.

1895 – In the United States King Camp Gillette, a salesman for the Baltimore Seal Company comes up with the idea for a new type of disposable razor blade.

Over the next six years he promotes and sells his idea to backers and toolmakers in order to make his dream shaver a reality.

The Beaver Will Save the World!!!

A growing number of scientists, conservationists and grass-roots environmentalists see the beaver as a much overlooked tool when it comes to reversing the disastrous effects of global warming and world-wide water shortages. The Beaver Whisperers will revisit the industrious rodent and see it through the eyes of people like the University of Alberta’s, Dr. Glynnis Hood, whose astonishing scientific research findings are presented in her new book, “The Beaver Manifesto, ” and former trapper, Michel Leclair, who today “employs” an army of beavers to help him control flooding in Quebec’s Gatineau Park.

The documentary accompanies these and other “beaver whisperers” as they reveal the ways in which the presence of beaver transform and revive landscapes. The Beaver Whisperers reveals what it is that makes our national icon such a brilliant hydro-engineer and explores how beavers are being recruited to accomplish everything from finding water in a bone-dry desert to recharging water tables and coaxing life back into damaged lands.