Wednesday, May 27, 2009


"We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when,
But I know we'll meet again, some sunny day."
-- Very Lynn (1939)

For the second time this year, I spent a large part of last evening in the Emergency Department of one of our local hospitals. The problem: serious chest pain. And again, it was not my heart. (So now you have the bad news and the good news.)

The rest of the news it that:
1. I will be seeing my own family doctor as soon as possible,
2. I probably won't be in the blogsphere, at least for a while, because I'll need to rest more, and,
3. I have to seriously re-consider how much I can do with my blogs, especially with the change in the seasons, and the responsibilities for keeping up the house and garden, and playing with the grandkids..

When life serves me lemons, I've got at least four choices: make lemonade, ask for tequila and salt, put it on fish and chips, or put in in my rum and coke (rum's too sweet without some lemon or lime). The first consideration -- what do I want today (or at least this morning). Sigh; too many choices for this old bear. I'll have to sleep on it.

Friday, May 22, 2009


The following came from a mate of mine in Brisvegas (i.e., Brisbane), Australia. He claims they came from someone else. He's a good bloke, but sometimes I wonder about him. Anyhow, here's the information, thought I can't promise it's the truth.

How did the pig go on holiday?
The swine flu.

Swine flu isn't a problem for pigs, because they're all going to be cured anyway.

The first sign of pig flu is that you come out in nasty rashers.

Swine flu is getting serious, it has been reported to be a hamdemic, which may lead to an aporkolypse. But we'll get through. Where there's a swill there's a way.

This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed at home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none,
And this little piggy had influenza A virus subtype hemagglutinin protein 1 neuraminidase protein 1.

The only known cure for Swine Flu has been found to be the liberal application of oinkment.

I was so concerned, I rang the information help line, but all I got was crackling,

I have to say, I'm finding all these jokes about swine flu pretty boaring.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


We're not hearing nearly as much about the H1N1 'flu these days as we were a few weeks ago.

Well, it's still out there, and it's still a problem. But it isn't an international disaster, yet. Over 11,000 cases confirmed, in 41 countries, with 85 deaths.

I've done an update on my "Bears Noting" Blog, which is where I'll continue my updates on A/H1N1. If you're interested in the details, you can get them over there.

Monday, May 18, 2009


As I travel through the blogsphere, I notice various groups of "Mommy Bloggers." They talk about kids, and accomplishments, and breast feeding, and pets (sometimes), and diapers/nappies, and all kinds of things, including menopause (or "metal pause."). Which is all very good.

There is another group, however, that is equally deserving of respect, honour, and general recognition. I'm talking about the "Animal Bloggers."

For example:
1. There's me, Rob-bear -- a bear trapped in a human body; I oversee a bird "maternity ward."
2. There's Charlie, who appears from time to time of "Reasons to be Cheerful, 1,2,3."
3, There's Lucky, who used to be a regular contributor to "Life is Good."
4. There's the "Asbo-lutely" amazing Exmoor pooch, who can make decisions on issues too difficult for humans.
5. There's Poppy and Misty, who receive a great deal of French Fancy.
6. There's Sparky, and Charlie, who live in a haunted Northumbrian farm.
7. There's the Blog Fodder, who looks like a total jack-ass, but who is a lot brighter than he appears (and who shares his home with those delightful characters Bobil and Volk, as well as the evil Chuhma).
8. There's Montel, who's a regular star on "Buggering Crap Monkeys."
9. There's Vicki, often featured on "A Mandolyn and Ky."
10. There's Henry the Dog, who has his own blog.
And I'm sure there are many others.

Think of it. We could decide on our own special name.

Some among the more talented of us could develop a special badge we could put in our sidebars.

We would finally receive the respect and honour that we are due. (Even if we talk about our animals only from time to time.)

The time has come for action. Animal bloggers of the world, unite!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I now fully understand global warming.

Some of us have been hogging all the heat; some of us are freezing in "almost summer."

Here's an example. There's a certain island-country-continent in the South Pacific which has been hogging the heat for several years. The result: nasty droughts and horrific brush fires. (But I'm too polite to name the nation.)

Up here on Canada's prairies, we've got the opposite. It snowed again yesterday; we've got even more snow today. Yesterday, the sun came out and melted the snow. Today, I may have to shovel the sidewalks. (I had to shovel the steps already, in order to get the trash out of our den.) We Bears have a word for this situation: #@&%^* I understand humans have a similar word.

Here's a plan. We'll load up a whole bunch of containers with snow, fill a container ship, and send it to Melbourne. In return, people in the unnamed island-country-continent can fill up the containers with hot air and send the hot air back to us. (Best place to find hot air: The National Capital Region of said southern country.)

Do we have a deal?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


As I mentiond earlier, I was going to "paw" in the garden for a while this morning -- a normal spring time thing to do.

One of the first things I discovered outside was a dead Robin, close to our 24 hour self-serve food and water bird restaurant. I checked it out -- I was pretty sure it was Mrs. Robin. There were no signs that it had hit our building; there were no signs that it had been attacked by a cat or something like that. I set her beside the little St. Francis statue in our yard, only a foot or so from where I found her. I went and checked the nest. There was nobody on it -- but inside there were three beautiful little eggs -- all "Robin's egg blue." I estimate they are about a week from hatching, given the past activities of the mother.

I talked to several people people at our University's Veterinary College (where they do quite bit of work with birds). We decided that I should bring Mrs. Robin in for an autopsy, to make sure that it wasn't some bird disease that had killed her. We don't want any more strange infections floating around. I'll eventually get a report on her death. As for the eggs, there was nothing they could do.

We had some other things to do, but came back in the late afternoon. We checked in the back yard, and there was another Robin - sitting on the fence, looking up at the nest. It finally flew up to the nest. It didn't get on the nest -- it just stood there --looking at the eggs and looking around, and around, and then back at the eggs. I was pretty sure it was Mr. Robin. I had to do something on the other side of the yard, and when I got to the far end, he rose up as if to challenge me, thought he never said a thing, and I don't go over. Eventually he left.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the garden, the Nuthatches are carrying on, as usual, apparently unaware of the tragedy at the other end of the Maternity Ward.

P.S.: I just got a brief phone report from the pathology lab. There are signs of an infection in her, but it not the kind of thing which should have killed her. There were a few extra questions for me about the circumstances under which I found her. I'll get a fuller report when the pathologists are finished doing their work.

While I was on the phone, Mr. Robin came back and checked everything again very thoroughly, before leaving again.


I wonder how birds mourn and grieve.


If a meme is a set of questions, that arrives when you're not expecting it, and you're not sure what to do with it (other than answer the questions which have been asked and send them along), is that a meme? If it is, I've been memed.

We Bears are not entirely certain about this human internut stuff (except that it sometimes drives us crazy). Some of you internut specialist can help with this, I'm sure. You are, after all, very kindly and supportive creatures of God. (Well, most of you.) Have I been memed?

In the meantime, while I'm trying to sort out the existential ramifications of this conundrum, I need to go dig (I mean "paw") up some of the garden. Bears' claws are great for doing that kind of work. Bears' backs, on the other "hand". . . .

Sunday, May 10, 2009


While we've been watching the birds in our yard, we've noticed a pair of Robins hanging around a tree at the far end of our yard. Today, I wandered next door into the neighbour's yard, and guess what. All it took was a couple of glances to see Mrs. Robin sitting on a nest.

So, I guess our back yard has turned into a maternity ward!

The good news is that Robins and Nuthatches like different food -- so there's been no fighting.

For the picture of the American Robin, look in the sidebar, just below the "thousand word" picture.

P.S.: It snowed again yesterday. Fortunately, the snow was followed by rain, so all the white stuff is gone. And we're supposed to get more snow. "Snow yesterday, snow tomorrow, no snow today." (Or is that supposed to be "jam" instead of "snow"?) We bears can be so forgetful.

Friday, May 8, 2009


I just finished putting a new post on my "Bears Noting" blog -- comparing traffic deaths to flu deaths. Happy reading.

Or, to quote the famous Sergeant Phil Esterhaus of Hill Street Blues: "Hey, let's be careful out there."

But let's not worry about being too careful.


Today is May 8th. In just over six weeks, summer will arrive (officially) in the Northern Hemisphere.

And today it is SNOWING right outside the Bear's cave!

Well, so much for the garden.

I knew I came out of hibernation waaaay to soon this year. @%$#*^

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I've just posted some more thoughts about the H1N1 influenza on my "Bears Noting" Blog.

The piece has to do with the safety of health care workers in a pandemic. And yes, I've raised some challenges. And, no, I don't have any more numbers -- I've been a bit busy in meetings, and reading and writing, particularly related to H1N1 influenza.

Ciao for niao.

Friday, May 1, 2009


I'm moving all this work on A/H1N1 Influenza to my "Bears Noting" blog. That, after all, is my blog for "current news" and ethical developments.

I will be updating items on "Bears Noting" as I get information.

I have already received a bit of news from others. If you know about something that is happening in your region or country, and want to add it, please feel free to do so. That way we'll be able to keep each other informed of our experiences.

See you on "Bears Noting."


Yes, it's true!.

No, it's not the Bear and G3 -- we're a bit ancient for that. Not our kids, either.

It's a pair of Red-breasted Nuthatches. They have hollowed out a nesting cavity in our apple tree, which is about a yard (or a metre) from the back corner of our house. (That's were the bird baths and feeders are located.)

About Red-breasted Nuthatches.

First, there's a picture in the sidebar. Normally about 4.5 inches long -- not a big bird, but feisty!

The nest is about 5 feet above the ground, and the outside is being lined with pitch, to keep predators away. If there are eggs in the nest (usually 4 - 7), they should hatch in about 12 to 14 days from now (which is when we'll see the parents carrying food to the nest). They like seeds from coniferous trees (we have several big spruces in our area, with cones all over the ground), but they also love sunflower seeds (which is what we stock in our feeder).

We'll keep you "abreast" of developments.