Lifestyle: start of summer, 2017

Tutoring, you observe how people’s lifestyle and attitudes change along with the weather. The tutor reflects on the coming of summer, 2017.

To a Canadian, seasons may not begin according to the designated times on the calendar. In my January 26, 2015 post, I define the first day of spring from a Canadian point of view.

What about summer? Supposedly it starts around June 21 each year. However, from my point of view, the real start of summer is when people start behaving like it’s summer – when they start wearing summer clothes and engaging in summer activities.

By Friday, May 19, spring had clearly been here for around two months. The high that day was 16°C. However, Saturday morning, May 20, the sun was bursting through the windows. By 10am, standing on the deck outside, the feeling was summer, not spring. The high turned out to be 23°C. Sunday reached 23°C as well, Monday, 24°C.

By Monday, people were dressing and behaving in summer fashion. Adapting to summer doesn’t take long; today, the kids are heading to school in T-shirts (no jackets or hoodies) without hesitation.

From Saturday to Monday, people decided summer is here. On that observation, I’m defining the start of summer from a Canadian point of view: the first three consecutive days to top 20°C constitute the beginning of summer.

Enjoy your summer, whenever it arrives:)


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Geography: what does Annapolis mean?

Tutoring Canadian geography, you might mention the Annapolis Valley. The tutor investigates the meaning of the name Annapolis.

As a kid I spent three years in the Annapolis Valley. Typical of the Maritimes, it had beautiful summer and fall but winter was long.

There is also an Annapolis in Maryland; noticing it, I decided to find the meaning of Annapolis.

It turns out that Anna (Hebrew: Hannah) was the name of the Virgin Mary’s mother. In Greek a polis is a small, unified community having unique identity and customs. In an agricultural society, the polis would include the land its inhabitants farm.

Therefore, Annapolis might mean Anna’s Village. The name ties the village to the Virgin Mary’s mother Anna. When I lived in the Annapolis Valley, religion was prominent there:)


Stanford, Quentin H. (editor). Canadian Oxford School Atlas, 6th ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Geography: what is the Dahomey Gap (aka Togo Gap)?

Tutoring geography, you notice features on maps.

Apparently, the Dahomey Gap, possibly aka the Togo Gap, is a strip of dry woodland that runs north from the coast of Benin, Togo, and eastern Ghana.

The Gap divides the equatorial rainforest of west Africa into two distinct regions. While no tall mountains surround it, uplands do, which may explain its local dryness.



O’Shea, Mark. Venomous Snakes of the World. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Geography, Social Studies: ISIS or ISIL?

The tutor explains two names for the Islamic State, commonly called ISIS.

ISIS and ISIL are two names for the same group. Both are acronyms:

ISIS: Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

ISIL: Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

As I explain in my post from February 4, the Levant refers to the countries along the Mediterranean’s eastern shore: Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

ISIS, or ISIL, presently holds territory in Syria and Iraq.

Apparently, ISIS, or ISIL, is sometimes called simply IS, for Islamic State.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Geography: what (or where) is the Levant?

The tutor explains the term Levant.

The Levant refers to the eastern Mediterranean region: specifically, it includes present-day Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan. Some include the area of Turkey on the eastern Mediterranean shore, as well as Cyprus.

In a future post I’ll mention how the Levant has surfaced in my reading.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Geography: CIA World Factbook

The tutor shares findings about world population and life expectancy from the CIA World Factbook.

Now and then I like to drop by the CIA World Factbook. Today I got some surprising intel:

World life expectancy: 69 years (much higher than I expected)

Population growth rate: 1.08% (about half what I expected)

Happily, Canada is one of the ten least densely populated countries:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle and seasons: cross quarter days: August 5

The tutor discusses the meaning surrounding the cross quarter day August 5.

I’ve written a couple of posts about cross quarter days (see here and here): they’re days at mid-season, rather than season boundaries. Often, a celebration is at or near a cross quarter day, the most famous being Halloween.

In the British Isles, Lammas (England) or Lughnasadh (Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Man) are harvest festivals that happen around August 1. They have pre-Christian origins.

Someone might approach a cross quarter day with a festival, or perhaps more subtly. Either way, awareness of the seasons allowed humans to become agriculturalists, so continues to be indispensable.

I’ll be talking more about seasonal holidays:)





Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Canadian language: what does Kabloona mean?

The tutor shares a term he discovered in the dictionary.

Kabloona is an Inuit term referring to a non-Inuit; the term particularly suggests a white person. It has been used to describe white people present to do specific functions: police, missionaries, etc.

Kabloonamuit refers to Inuit people who emulate White ways. They generally participate in the economy as a white person would – having a job instead of being self-employed, and buying clothes and food from stores.

Having learned only recently of the terms Kabloona and Kabloonamuit, I don’t know if they’re meant for conversational use. I’m intrigued I’ve never heard of them.


Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary & Thesaurus. Glasgow:
  HarperCollins Publishers, 2006.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbel River, BC.

Geography: what is an endorheic lake?

The tutor examines the definition of endorheic (aka terminal) lake, with a few famous examples.

An endorheic lake is one that does not have an outflow; rather, it’s at the lowest point of its watershed. Such a lake’s water level is limited by evaporation and ground absorption.

The Aral and Caspian Seas, both of the Kazakhstan region (SE Europe→W Asia), are both endorheic lakes. (By area, the Caspian Sea is the world’s largest lake.) The Great Salt Lake of Utah is also endorheic, as is the Dead Sea of the Holy Lands.

Typically, an endorheic lake will be salty. The reason is that its inflow, as with almost any lake, likely contains salt. However, since an endorheic lake has no outflow, the salt cannot depart. Therefore, as the the water evaporates from the lake, the salt accumulates. Of course, in a hot climate, this trend will be emphasized.

I’ll be looking at some specific endorheic lakes in future posts:)


United Nations Environment Programme

cia world factbook

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Geography: Ocean currents: why Canada’s east and west coasts have such different weather

The phenomenon of the mild winter of Victoria, BC, compared to the much colder one of Halifax, NS, has a reason….

Typically, spring blooms begin in Victoria, BC, in February. I’m a Maritimer, so I can tell you that a spring bloom in late March there would be welcome, but not typical. Why does spring arrive at Halifax so much later, when Halifax is significantly further south – 44°N, versus 48°N in the case of Victoria?

The answer is simple: a warm ocean current flows to Canada’s west (Pacific) coast, while a cold one flows to Canada’s east (Atlantic) coast.

The current flowing to the Pacific side begins around the Philippines as Kiro Siwo. Reaching this side of the ocean, it becomes the North Pacific Current, bringing tropical warmth to Canada’s west coast.

To Canada’s Atlantic coast, the Labrador Current brings cold water from around Greenland and the Arctic islands. Hence, the longer, colder winters there.

I’ll be talking more about ocean currents in future posts:)


Stanford, Quentin H., editor. Canadian Oxford School Atlas, 6th ed. Toronto: Oxford
   University Press.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.