Tag Archives: Saint John NB

From bridge to evolution

A bunch of links, collected from the Internet:

The prime-minister was in Saint John last Friday and gave away a freebie for the people of Saint John: The toll booths on the Saint John Harbour bridge will disappear. I’m not sure how much traffic hits that bridge (and the Harbour bridge authority’s website doesn’t really reveal a lot either), but apparently it has never been self-sustaining. I believe the fare is 50 cents, which when I heard the first time of this toll, I thought was really low.

You’ve probably heard that the TSA (the American organization that is responsible for the safety at airports) has changed safety rules, by enforcing pat-downs and using backspatter X-Ray machines (wikipedia). The use of those X-Ray machines is (still) controversial because of privacy concerns (MSNBC article with a proud ms. Hallowell showing off, well, her gun so to say. The lady’s photo is also used in ACLU’s campaign against this device). Anyway, Metafilter had a posting about the TSA apparently going amuck out of revenge against a traveller who dared to ask for an alternative screening of her breast milk because she’s afraid that X-rays might be harmful. Regardless if it’s harmful or not, what is exactly the point of X-Raying breast milk? And, yeah, what does the president think of this?

With Winter right around the corner and the snow already on the ground, please take a moment to read the drawbacks of our species’ evolution (link to Smithsonian) into standing hominids: backaches, hernias (that is a wikipedia link) and yeah, a 50-50 chance of choking because:

Simultaneously, our upright posture put the trachea and esophagus in a near-vertical orientation. Together these changes leave falling food or water about a 50-50 chance of falling in the “wrong tube.” As a consequence, in those moments in which the epiglottis does not have time to cover the trachea, we choke. We might be said to choke on our success. Monkeys suffer the same fate only rarely, but then again they can’t sing or dance.

So if you were watching Bristol Palin on ‘Dancing with the stars’ and you enjoy watching hominids dance: the combination of dancing and eating can be fairly dangerous.

The faucet, the cat and the universe

Earlier this week, The famous catI had the honour to replace the kitchen faucet: the original one was rusty and apparently, leaking water down under the sink. Finding a replacement is not too hard as long as you remember three things: 8 inch, three holes and teflon tape. Replacing the old faucet isn’t too hard either, that is, if you can monkey your way around underneath the sink: Plumbers have either teeny hands or mini wrenches. Maybe neither.

It has been raining all night and everywhere else the snow seems to have gone, except for around this region. The patches of yellow and green grass look promising though. The ground is still hard, so here’s hoping that the excess of melt water is flowing down hill.

Our youngest cat (previously), who panned out to be the most destructive cat I’ve seen, has one good side: she’s extremely good at finding and returning toys. I foresee a bright future for her out in the wild and I can’t wait for her to return with a deer. Or a bear for that matter.


A few years ago, I visited England and found out that (some) churches provided free lunch concerts. For some kind of reason, I now have the impression that lunch is great time to go to church. Why go on Sundays? That’s so out of style.

All joking aside: I discovered that a church uptown had free (Summer) lunch concerts too and have been attending them as much as I could. Last week, for example, a trio of (classical trained) musicians filled the Church of St. Stephen and St. Andrew with baroque compositions: not my kind of music, but impressive and enjoyable. Today, I returned back to work with slightly mixed feelings: the Kidd family (3 daughters, father and wife) sang and played a mix of modern and semi-classical pieces. To throw it right out, the quintet was capable but needs better (musical) arrangement: At times, it felt like the violin was fighting with the piano for the crowd’s attention. I find that this happens when musicians love the music they play so much that they end up trying to ‘out volume’ the other musicians. There was a (self-composed) musical piece that (how can I say this nicely) more or less ended up sounding like a cacophony. Unintentionally (I’ve heard my share of intentional musical chaos). Sometimes subtlety is key and I missed this at crucial moments: I dare to say that the piano player should have toned down, since the violin player appeared to be the most talented musician of the family.

On the good side, (as I mentioned above) the violin player (Rachel) impressed and played some remarkable counterpoint (particularly on self-composed pieces ‘Barney’s Hill’ and ‘Celtic Hora’). The piano player (Richard) showed an affinity for rag, Scott Joplin-style. The Mrs. (Janet) sounded like she was classically trained (mezzo) and for a moment I was (silently) hoping to hear a German cabaret song being belched out. The other two family members didn’t really get too much time to present themselves and more or less served the two major musical instruments, the violin and piano.

I think the Summer lunch series are sponsored by the Saint John Community Arts Funding Program: Looking at the sizable crowd that attended today’s concert, it looks like there’s a general interest in local music.


Today, three cruise ships stopped by in Saint John: the Carnival Victory, the Grandeur and the Maasdam.

I didn’t have time to try to get all three of them on one photo (I only had the 80mm on me) and my goal was just to make a snapshot of the HAL logo: The reason being family history I guess, (previously on xsamplex), or one might say, for sentimental reasons only. I noticed that there was a tighter security detail than a couple of weeks before: At that time, I was able to get a closer look at the ‘Grandeur of the Seas’ by walking right up to the ship’s bow via the parking lot at Pugsley A. Today, the parking lot was closed off and watched by two security guards, probably from Customs Canada.

The next HAL ship is slated to arrive September 4th (The Eurodam). As you can tell from the Saint John Cruiseship schedule, the Victory is here almost once a week. From what I understand, the most anticipated ship at this moment is coming in on September 20th: the Queen Elizabeth 2 enter Saint John port and will dock at Pugsley A.