Monday, April 22, 2013

Art, anecdotes and a few explosions

In the Academy B & B Gallery - Encaustic art by Dennis Dyck and

Watercolour still life by Brian Hicks

·        1. Write a bucket list
·        2. Travel to . . .
*I pondered why a baseball appears larger as it approaches, and then it hit me. – Some comedian on CBC (overheard while driving).
*One of the best ways to give the brain a thorough workout is to try to unravel the complexities of the politics of countries such as Israel, Iran and Italy. – Joe Schlesinger (He might have added Canada, I think.)
It’s been a week of explosions, particularly in the USA. Who’d have thought that the Boston Marathon would occur to terrorists as a target for mayhem? That a fertilizer plant should be the site of an accidental explosion should come as no surprise. It makes me wonder how safe we are her in Rosthern; tanks of anhydrous ammonia (like the one that blew up in West, Texas) are stored within a mile of my house, along with granular nitrates and who knows what other toxic agricultural chemicals meant to kill bugs, weeds, etc. Of course, the odds of an accident like the one in West are small, but then, even a blind dog is bound to find a bone sooner or later.
               In 1866, Alfred Nobel discovered that mixing nitroglycerine with silica would turn the liquid into a paste which could be shaped into rods of a size and form suitable for insertion into drilling holes. In 1867 he patented this material under the name of dynamite. To be able to detonate the dynamite rods he also invented a detonator (blasting cap) which could be ignited by lighting a fuse. (
               Alfred Nobel’s discovery facilitated a giant leap forward for the mining industry which could now load blast holes with dry sticks rather than handling the volatile liquid nitroglycerine. Since then, explosives of different kinds have been the strategy of choice for all kinds of problems, especially when we consider that gunpowder belongs in that class.
               Seems to me that a man has an intrinsic need to make a mark on the world. Failing to do that through normal social intercourse, the mind turns to alternatives, and what more spectacular alternative can there be than the explosion. Whether or not Dzohkhar Tsarnaev survives his injuries or not, the mark he and his brother made is exceedingly more spectacular than most of us could ever hope for; there’s been little else in the news for the past week.
              A nineteen-year-old recruit to the Canadian military was asked about his thoughts before embarking for Afghanistan. "I can't wait to get over there and blow stuff up," he replied. 
             This essay needs a clincher, but I can't think of one, except to share in my thoughts the weeping of all those who have sacrificed so that some misguided soul could "make his mark." 


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