What the Buddha Never Taught

One of my favourite books: What the Buddha Never Taught by Tim Ward.

There is a place in the jungles of northeastern Thailand where Westerners can live according to the monastic rules laid down over 2,500 years ago by the Buddha. Author and journalist Tim Ward sought enlightenment and spent a season in this unique Buddhist monastery-one of the strictest in Southeast Asia. His affectionate “behind the robes” book about the rigors and foibles of monastic life at Wat Pah Nanchat has become a modern Buddhist classic.


It’s now available on Kindle and paperback. Highly recommended.

author Tim Ward


Norman Grabs Outright Lead After 54 Holes

It ain’t bragging if you’ve got the goods.

July 15, 2008 (Adrian Dennis / Getty Images)

In one of the most unlikely scenarios anyone could have conceived, The Shark is back in contention at the British Open.

After a three year absence, two-time champion Greg Norman is making his return to The Open Championship this week at Royal Birkdale. It will be Norman’s 26th appearance in the event and first since finishing T60 at St. Andrews in 2005.


One of my best golf moments ever was watching Norman win the British Open in 1986. On Rocco’s Sony Watchman. While hiking in the Rockies.


He and Tiger are my two favourite golfers. Ever.

Greg Norman will take a two-stroke lead into Championship Sunday after continuing his improbable run for a third Open title. The Shark showed the heart of a champion Saturday at Royal Birkdale, grinding out a stellar 2-over par 72 in winds gusting 40 miles per hour. The 53-year old World Golf Hall of Famer is the oldest player to lead a major after 54 holes and will be paired with defending champion Padraig Harrington in the final round.


His recent wedding to former tennis champ Chris Evert must agree with him.


BTDT Been there done that
BTW By the way
CTS Consider the source
DD Dear daughter
DH Dear (or darn) husband
DS Dear son
DSD Dear stepdaughter
DSS Dear stepson
DW Dear (or darn) wife
F/U Follow up
F2F Face-to-face
FWIW For what it’s worth
GF Girlfriend
GMTA Great minds think alike
HTH Hope that helps
IMO In my opinion
IMHO In my humble opinion
ITA I totally agree
J/K Just kidding
LOL Laugh out loud
NP No problem
OMG Oh my gosh
OTOH On the other hand
OW/OM Other woman/other man
ROFL Rolling on the floor laughing
TIA Thanks in advance
TMI Too much information
TPTB The powers that be
TTFN Ta ta for now
TTYL Talk to you later
TY Thank you
WTG Way to go
WYSIWYG What you see is what you get
YW You’re welcome

pine beetle infestation

From my hiking blog …

A mountain pine beetle infestation has already killed off billions of trees in British Columbia, Canada.

The mountain pine beetle epidemic in British Columbia is coming to a close, but only because the pests are running out of food, a forestry representative says.

The latest figures from the B.C. government and the Council of Forest Industries estimate the beetles have infested more than half of B.C.’s marketable pine forest. …


mountain-pine-beetle.jpgThe beetles kill the trees by boring through the bark into the phloem layer on which they feed and in which eggs are laid. Pioneer female beetles initiate attacks, and produce pheromones which attract other beetles and results in mass attack.

The trees respond to attack by increasing their resin output in order to discourage or kill the beetles, but the beetles carry blue stain fungi which, if established, will block the tree resin response. Over time (usually within 2 weeks of attack), the trees are overwhelmed as the phloem layer is damaged enough to cut off the flow of water and nutrients.

In the end, the trees starve to death, and the damage can be easily seen even from the air in the form of reddened needles. Entire groves of trees after an outbreak will appear reddish for this reason. Usually older trees die faster. After particularly long and hot summers mountain pine beetle population can get out of hand and that’s when there starts to be a problem. There are too many beetles and they start killing off big areas of trees.


Prince George, British Columbia – dead and dying trees – flickr – D&J Huber

Is there any hope?

I don’t know. I would think some predator would take an advantage of the infestation.

Cold winters can stifle infestations. But we’ve had record warm winters of late where I live. (A cold snap we had in 2008 might help.)

Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado used selective burning to try to stem the beetles.

Alberta is trying some preemptive prescribed burns.

Others are clear cutting though there’s very little demand for the wood.

Putin actually a stand-up family man


Outgoing Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied rumours he has secretly divorced and plans to remarry.

He told reporters during a visit to Italy there was “not a single word of truth” in the tabloid news reports.

The papers linked him to 24-year-old former Olympic gymnast Alina Kabayeva, who is now a member of parliament. …


List of common misconceptions

Interesting page on Wikipedia:

Christopher Columbus’s efforts to obtain support for his voyages were not hampered by a European belief in a flat Earth. …

napoleon.jpgNapoleon Bonaparte was not especially short. … 5 feet 6.5 inches in Imperial (British) feet, or 1.686 metres, making him slightly taller than an average Frenchman of the 19th century. …

The notion that goldfish have a memory of only three seconds is completely false. …

Lemmings do not engage in suicidal dives off cliffs when migrating. …

Claims that the number and intensity of earthquakes are increasing are unfounded. The number and intensity of earthquakes varies from year to year but there is no increasing trend. …

Albert Einstein did not believe in God …

Thomas Crapper did not invent the flush toilet, Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb, and Henry Ford did not invent the automobile or the internal combustion engine. …

ENIAC was not the first digital computer. …

… the melting of glaciers contributes far more to raising sea level than the melting of sea ice or floating icebergs. The predicted threat of rising sea levels due to global warming is mainly due to the detachment or melting of inland ice, such as that on Greenland and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in Antarctica, the melting of glaciers, and the thermal expansion of seawater. Melting of sea ice in the Arctic makes only a tiny contribution, by lowering the global average salinity (and therefore the density) of seawater.

The melting of Antarctic ice is not predicted to be the largest cause of rising sea levels in the near future. While complete melting of the Antarctic ice sheet would be the largest of all potential contributions to sea level change, the likelihood of total melting is extremely small. Antarctica may even help offset rising sea level by accumulating more snow. At worst, the partial melting of Antarctic ice is predicted to be only the fourth-largest potential contribution to sea level rise by the year 2100 (−170 to +20mm), after thermal expansion of the world’s oceans (+110 to +430mm), melting glaciers (+10 to +230mm), and melting Greenland ice (−20 to +90mm). …

List of common misconceptions