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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Canadian Government Backs Genetically Modified "Golden Rice" as Being Safe for Human Consumption

For the first time in the several months that my youngest stepson Poté has been bringing his girlfriend home for libidinous purposes, she evidently became sufficiently bold to be talked into venturing into the kitchen with him to do some cooking while my younger brother Mark and I were watching T.V. last evening.

I have no idea just what they became involved in, but Poté came into the living room around 9:45 p.m. to enquire whether Mark or I cared for some tacos.

I had already eaten and said so, but Mark acceded, even though he allowed that he had already eaten earlier at the home of his girlfriend Bev.

And so Mark got his second introduction to the gal, promptly forgetting her name and later asking me what it was. I correctly told him that I have yet to meet her, for thus far I have entirely avoided any communication with her anytime she has been here ─ which is several times a week, and for hours at a time.

But I did suggest to him that I thought I overheard the name 'Anika' the first time he got an introduction a month or two ago.

He concurred that it sounded about right.

Anyway, just as Poté used to do with former long-time girlfriend Priyanka, he and the new girlfriend loitered around in the kitchen for about two hours.

And that left me dreading that this is now going to become a pattern just as it had been with Priyanka. My total disinclination to consort with the pair when they are together causes me to avoid them and any part of the house in which they happen to be ─ which till last evening had always been the boys' den area where Poté has his bed; but I mightily resent being denied access to the kitchen. 

My wife Jack had put in a long day at her friend Fanta's Thai restaurant over in Langley, and so she came home to spend the night instead of being downtown in Vancouver where she spends most of each week.

I overheard her saying to the couple in the kitchen something about one of her feet bothering her very much. Apparently it has been since she got up Saturday morning.

She later said to me (when I asked her about it) that she had essentially just rose that morning to the problem, and had no understanding of what was behind the trouble. But she thought that it was improving.

Yet this morning I heard her on her phone unsuccessfully trying to arrange an appointment with some doctor of her acquaintance, but there was no chance for anything immediate. Jack told the receptionist that her foot was numb, and she couldn't walk on it.

Well, she does limp, but she can walk on it. Nevertheless, numbness sounds an alarm, I would say.

And it makes me feel guilty that I have to have a working wife because my retirement pension cannot afford her that same luxury, while meeting all of our numerous billing needs.

Mark went on up to his bedroom around 11:15 p.m. last evening, and not much later I realized that Jack had also gone to bed, freeing me up to do the same.

It was just after 11:30 p.m. once I was in bed.

Oh, what trouble I had falling asleep! I don't know how long it really took, but I know that I was still awake an hour later.

And I had a very broken night of sleeping. Yet, despite how deprived I felt, I decided to rise before it was yet 5:20 a.m., doing my best to slip out of bed and the bedroom without disturbing Jack.

Poté's girlfriend had left sometime last night (she has her own car), but he had to get up for work and did so maybe around 6:30 p.m., or soon after.

His older brother Tho never did go to work, although he did get up and take off somewhere around 10:10 a.m. before his mother was yet up ─ she had to work today, too.

I almost wonder if maybe he just snuck off to avoid her, for he was back home during the noon-hour ─ she had probably left for work around 10:50 a.m.

She was very withdrawn and non-communicative. Certainly I expect that her troublesome foot was behind much of that; but I often wonder, too, if she resents me because she still must work. 

She will be working at that same restaurant tomorrow, so I will have her home again this evening.

My younger brother Mark ─ now into his second week of retirement ─ rose this morning no later than 7:45 a.m. I was busy adding content to the post I am creating at Lawless Spirit, one of my six hosted websites.

I stuck with the task until I had supplied about 1½ average mornings' worth of content.

Yet before even Tho had risen for the morning, Mark had returned to his bedroom to nap. He had not have been up for two hours as yet.

I needed more sleep, without question. And so not too long after my wife Jack had left for work, I also returned to bed. I napped nicely, and was down for over 1½ hours, I am quite sure.

When I emerged from my bedroom, I was surprised to see that Mark was still shut up in his own room. Nevertheless, it was not too much longer before he made his appearance.

As I anticipated, he suggested that I tune in something on our Android TV Box, so I brought in an episode of Mr. Mercedes. It was at its very commencement that Tho arrived back home.

The episode was done by nearly 1:30 p.m., and apparently that was sufficient for Mark's needs. He readied himself, and soon had left for the afternoon, and would anon be finding his way to "the bar."

And Tho was not much later in making another departure, drenched in his cologne.

Since I was home alone, I had no excuse not to seek my usual exercise session out in the backyard tool shed. It took some time for me to actually begin the session and tackle the pull-ups ─ I had felt daunted by how smooth the bars felt, not affording a secure hold.

I was reluctant to expend my energies and strength futilely trying for a maximum performance in the first of the four sets I expect of myself. 

Ultimately, I resorted to wetting a couple of old J Cloths, and dampening my hands just enough to get them sticky afforded a grip lasting enough to get through each set.

The pull-up bars I use are the sides of the ladder to a children's slide ─ Mark's daughter Rene (Irene) used to use it when she was a child. (She is 24 years old now.)

The ladder is overlaying some rafters in the shed, so I have to climb up and grip the two sides of the ladder and use those to pull myself up between them. However, they are too thick to allow me to grip them. All I can do is curl my hands over them and cling as tightly as I can with cramped fingers.

It is inevitable that such a precarious grip begins to slide loose.

But I have nothing else to work with. 

The day has been mainly overcast, There have been some sunny breaks, but some of the cloud cover is very threatening.

Now speaking of "threatening," the Canadian government ─ in the guise of Health Canada ─ has apparently just gone and made a stand before the world, declaring that a genetically modified from of rice being called Golden Harvest is safe for human consumption.

As yet, though, this rice has not been approved for sale in our own country.

The Wikipedia article about the rice that I linked to just above does a fair job of indicating why the Canadian government has no damned business doing this ─ see the section in the article titled "Controversy."

The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network are very much against this Canadian government approval, and had this to say today:

March 20, 2018. Ottawa - Health Canada has announced its approval of the genetically modified (GM or genetically engineered) Vitamin A enhanced “Golden Rice” even though it is not intended for sale in Canada and has not yet been approved by regulators in the intended markets.

“Health Canada should not be spending public resources to assess the safety of GM foods that will not be sold in Canada,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN).

Golden Rice is genetically engineered to have Vitamin A and is promoted as part of a solution to Vitamin A deficiency which is a serious public health problem in many developing countries, but not in Canada. Golden Rice is intended for distribution in the Philippines as well as other countries including Bangladesh, India and Indonesia where rice is a major staple food.

Farmers and consumers rights networks in the Philippines have expressed alarm about Canada’s approval. The networks are concerned that a national policy loophole could enable proponents to use Canada’s approval as a ‘safety stamp’ to introduce Golden Rice in the Philippines and start feeding trials including with children and pregnant women.

“We also question why the International Rice Research Institute is seeking safety approval from countries like Canada, Australia, and the US while farmers and consumers in Asia who plant and eat rice as a staple are left in the dark. Promoting readily available, diverse and safe Vitamin A food sources from sustainable and ecological farming is the long term solution to combat malnutrition, ensure food security and health, not genetically modified crops like Golden Rice,” said Cris Panerio of MASIPAG, a farmers network in the Philippines which is part of a pan-Asian network of more than 30 groups called the Stop Golden Rice! Network.(1)

Health Canada posted its approval decision on Friday March 16, 2018 and follows a December 20, 2017 approval from the agency Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

“The Canadian government has just waded into a huge global controversy that should be left to Asian farmers and consumers to decide, not Canadian regulators,” said Eric Chaurette of the international development group Inter Pares.

In a February letter responding to a request from CBAN for a rationale for the departmental review of Golden Rice, Health Canada said, “developers often choose to seek authorization in Canada as a first step in their regulatory plan even if they do not plan to sell the product in Canada.”(2)

“This precedent could set Canada up as a global regulatory haven for companies that want a seal of approval for their GM product,” said Thibault Rehn of the Quebec network Vigilance OGM. “The government should consult with the farmers and consumers to decide which GM foods it should evaluate.”

While Health Canada says that the GM rice is not intended for sale in Canada, they state their safety assessment was conducted, “in order to determine whether this rice variety could be sold in Canada as food.”(3)

“We need to first give the people and government of the Philippines time to assess and debate Golden Rice, before we weigh in,” said Chaurette.


(2) Correspondence between the Canadian government and the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network is posted at www.cban.ca/GoldenRice-government-letters

Every time seed conglomerates start monopolizing crops worldwide, vital genetic diversity is lost.

According to The Rice Association:
There are more than 40,000 varieties of cultivated rice (the grass species Oryza sativa) said to exist. But the exact figure is uncertain. Over 90,000 samples of cultivated rice and wild species are stored at the International Rice Gene Bank and these are used by researchers all over the world.
The bloody last thing we need is some mutated single crop dominating worldwide production, for in time the smaller varieties will become extinct if no one farms them.

Of course, we have no idea what the genetic manipulation is going to do to us ─ nor the microbes so essential to our existence that reside within and upon us (our microbiota).

No one with any sense can doubt that the Canadian government has taken this stand as a prelude to eventually allowing Golden Rice to be made available here in Canada.

Sometimes this world and its governments make me just sick with disappointment and despair.

But on to a lovelier topic now ─ the partial family reunion my two stepsons enjoyed when their mother flew five other family members from Thailand to Bali for that purpose.

Bali was the setting because Tho cannot go to Thailand out of concern of being impressed into the military, or else imprisoned and / or fined for not presenting himself for potential enlistment at the age of 21 as all Thai male citizens are constitutionally required to do.

Tho has not been in Thailand since he was 15, and he and his brother came here to Canada to live the year before that. And I believe that it was in 2013 that the two boys ─ along with their mother ─ became Canadian citizens.

However, all three are also still Thai citizens, and thus the boys are not exempt from military conscription.

The following five photos were taken in Bali on January 27 (2018), and depict Jack with her two sons ─ Poté is wearing the striped top, whereas Tho is considerably brawnier:

The following month, a niece of Jack's was married in Thailand ─ the girl is the daughter of Lumpoon, one of Jack's two sisters.

Jack attended the marriage, which was evidently on February 25 (2018).

I am only going to post two photos which display one of the monks who were probably involved in bestowing blessings.

The gals in the photos are likely the equivalent of bridesmaids; and in the first photo, the lass at the far right is actually the wife of the bride's brother, Mark.

Mark was the photographer that day:

The bride's father is the blurry figure in the left background in that last photo.

My guess is that the location for the two photos was likely the large village of Nong Soong, which is perhaps a 15-minute drive from the city of Udon Thani. Nong Soong is Jack's home village where her mother still lives.

My evening is upon me, so I am going to close now with this old journal entry of mine from 41 years ago when I was 27 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster.

I was renting in a private home located on Ninth Street [Google map], and just two houses up from Third Avenue.

For the past several months back then, I had been spending as much ─ if not more ─ time at the duplex unit being rented by my younger brother Mark than I was doing in my own room.

He was living out in Surrey ─ his duplex suite was a reasonably short distance along Semiahmoo Road [Google map] from where it departs from Old Yale Road.

Since I did not drive, I was usually just hiking back and forth.
SATURDAY, March 20, 1977

I arose a bit after 6:35 a.m.

The first day of Spring (or is it tomorrow?). 

It's overcast out, and possibly there is even some light rain as I prepare to leave for Mark's; I should be gone by 11:45 a.m.

I keep wondering what would have befallen if I'd met Melody [my ex-girlfriend, 20-year-old Melody St. Jean] early Saturday a.m.; petting & sex? After all, I was some drunk.

What if she offers advances one time when I'm sober?

I feel for Chris [Melody's new live-in boyfriend], but I am at this time fairly weak.


It didn't rain hard enough to wet more than my hair and jacket; same coming home just after 9:00 p.m.

I never did see Mark.

Bill [my old friend William Alan Gill] phoned for a short gab; I guess he was curious as to how Bruce & Donna's party went [my maternal cousin Bruce Halverson and his new wife Donna had a housewarming bash on Saturday following their move], for he didn't go.

Dad phoned; if Mark & I wish to follow him to the Richmond Funeral Home for the 3:30 p.m. service, we're to be at his place in time for McCurdy's arrival at 2:00 p.m. to drive him.

[My father's oldest and last brother Alfred had died on the 18th; the funeral was set for the coming Wednesday.]  

Melody phoned too, just wondering if Gary Porteous' girlfriend Cathy was a doctor's receptionist [Garry was Mark's best friend for so many years, and Cathy or Kathy was Garry's girlfriend].

Mel & Chris went late to the housewarming party, she said, in time for the last 3 beers.

I had a rough time staying awake at Mark's.

Bed at 10:30 p.m.
I had gotten drunk Friday night with my relatives the Halversons, and decided on Saturday to skip out on the official housewarming bash that was set for later that day. Mark went, though.

It was after getting back to Mark's suite Friday night / Saturday morning that I got the call from Melody ─ she and her boyfriend Chris were living well under a mile from Mark.

She wanted me to come out to a shopping plaza that was very near the house or apartment that they were renting ─ Chris had temporarily fallen asleep or passed out, but she wasn't ready to call it a night.

However, he roused before she could get off the phone, so the tryst never took place.

Concerning my Uncle Al, the ride my father Hector was supposed to be given to the funeral home was from one or more of the McCurdy family. I am a little foggy now on their relationship to Al, but the mother ─ Edna McCurdy ─ may have been a sister to Al's wife.

Why does it take so darned long for me to create a post in this blog every darned day?!
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