Archive for September, 2013


Greek Fest 2013 Vancouver Island

My recent visit to the Greek Fest 2013 Victoria BC, Vancouver Island. This year is the 12th annual Greek Fest in Victoria! There is an estimated 100 Greek families in Greater Victoria who keep the Greek culture and traditions alive. Of which, best of course, are their traditional dances and the wonderful food – authentic succulent roasted lamb (with rice and salad), souvlakis and the great many delicious Greek pastries like Baklava, Koulouria and more. Not to forget the original Greek Coffee brewed to old tradition like Turkish Coffee, using the brass briki (the pot) Greek coffee is a strong brew, served with foam on top and the grounds in the bottom of the cup. Although it can be made in a different pot, the traditional small pot is best because it allows the proper amount of foam , very tasty. The day was hot and special attractions included the many Greek dance groups from near and far (Vancouver), and Athens, Greece. I love the Greek music. Also the same day the Portuguese Community had their procession across the street by the Greek Orthodox Church and Community Centre. Of interest were also all the old and original artifacts still in the possession of the Greek families, exhibited in the adjacent Heritage Centre.

Very enjoyable weekend and lots of sunshine. [I didn’t stay to the end because I was there by bicycle, around 12km ride one way and then back again to Victoria City.] My little video shows dance groups, the Portuguese procession and Juan de Fuca – a Greek, an early explorer of the straits surrounding Vancouver Island [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_de_Fuca ]

[Any commercial ads/video’s following this post originate solely from the Word Press organization. I distance myself from any such advertised products. The Editor.”] 

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Cougars on Vancouver Island

The American cougar (or mountain lion, puma, or mountain cat) is a fairly large cat, weight of a male up to 100kg, a female up to 60kg. This animal’s range is rather large, from North America, Canada West down to Mexico and the most southern ranges of South America. Making it one of the smartest predatory big cats, who are not on the brink of extinction. They can live in cold, snow, and in hot climates. Mostly prefer rocky areas, where they can hide and stalk while the prey is roaming on a lower plain.

Attacks encountered and witnessed when in Alberta, Kananaskis Country West of Calgary. We went riding in the Foothills. And a cougar does what it does best, ambush and jump from the top of a rock or cliff. Jumped on the horse, that of course bolted away in terror, threw the lady rider (lucky she was) and seriously injured that horse. I saw it, its skin was shredded. I did a lot of solo riding (twenty seven years) in the Foothills of Alberta. Always look up in addition to look ahead and down for signs of cougar or grizzly bear. On my 80-acre ranch in the Alberta Rockies I had cougars on my land. Maybe I had been lucky. Went around them, when finding a deer kill site. Retreat and get out of there.

Why many cougars on Vancouver Island ? Because it is an island, because it is rocky (volcanic rock), high rocks. I love these cats. But also realize they can be close anywhere where I cycle on the trails outside the city. Usually the cougar does not attack a person, but can and may when opportunity knocks or because of inexperience (especially young cougars), or when confronted. Vancouver Island cougars are a bit different. Less area, more conflict with people, and they cannot leave this island ? Not quite true – a cougar can swim [ http://o.canada.com/2013/07/24/swimming-cougar-vancouver-island/ ].

More than two thirds of North American fatalities occurred on Vancouver Island. Incidences here include: young cougars wandering into the Victoria Empress Hotel (tourists terrified – animals terrified). One lady told me she went swimming in the surrounding ocean, on her return to the beach, that big yellow cat was there looking at her. There is lots of deer (the cougars’ staple prey), but sometimes they take pets, and they can be dangerous to children.

When walking alone in the wilderness, chances of running into a cougar are real, pointless to run. This will trigger their stalk-and-hunt instinct. Somebody told me, take a long stick with you, makes you look taller. Doubtless I could stand up to an attack. Usually, cougars are shy and keep away from humans, but also are not easily scared away by humans. The latest most recent attack off Northern Vancouver Island, bizarre and unique, because the animal got killed. [ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/woman-critically-injured-after-cougar-attack-in-clayoquot-sound/article14188088/ ]

Yet, statistically speaking cougar attacks are rare compared with human against human attacks. Those lovely big tawny cats are just fighting back for lost territory and loss of prey species.cougars[Any commercial ads/video’s following this post originate solely from the Word Press organization. I distance myself from any such advertised products. The Editor.”] 

Martin Luther King Jr, Civil Rights Leader and Baptist Priest. Born in Atlanta, GA. Why was Birmingham, AL, significant for the entire civil rights movement. From http://www.birmingham.org : The year was 1963, and as the world watched, events in Birmingham sparked an unstoppable surge toward equal rights for people of all races.  As Birmingham enters 2013, the city will mark the 50th anniversary of pivotal events of 1963 in America’s Civil Rights Move

[ http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/birmingham_1963.htm ]

Birmingham, AL, summer 1997. My travel to Birmingham. To visit my son who just completed his MSc.AerospaceEng at University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa., AL. [ http://www.ua.edu/ ] . I then spent a week in Birmingham, with a short visit of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. As a former Jazz aficionado. And visit the wonderful Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Before taking off on a week-long trip to the Gulf Coast – Mississippi, Louisiana, Gulf Coast. Stopping New Orleans, the Bayous, and Biloxi, MS. Then visiting the USS Alabama, Battle Ship (BB-60), commissioned in 1942 and now resting at Battleship Park on Mobile Bay, Mobile AL.

Birmingham is significant for the start of the civil rights movement, also because of Dr. Martin Luther Jr’s time in the Birmingham Jail and his famous letter:

http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html.

Birmingham AL is also known as the city of steel. And its huge statue of the MAN OF STEEL – the Vulcan Statue. [ WIKIPEDIA: …Vulcan statue is the largest cast iron statue in the world, and is the city symbol of Birmingham, Alabama, reflecting its roots in the iron and steel industry. The 56-foot (17 m) tall statue depicts the Roman god Vulcan, god of the fire and forge. It was created as Birmingham’s entry for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904 World’s Fair) in St. Louis, Missouri. It is the seventh-tallest free-standing statue in the United States. ]

But more significant for the Civil Rights Movement was the march to Washington DC and Martin Luther King Jr’s famous speech 28 August 1963.: “I have a dream. That one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal’”. (include women)

NOTE. The FBI – to target King specifically as a major enemy of the United States.[34] Two days after King delivered “I Have a Dream”, Agent William C. Sullivan, the head of COINTELPRO, wrote a memo about King’s