Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Up North

I recently used this expression with some San Francisco co-workers. I don't think they got it or thought it was funny (odd funny).

But for many Canadians (especially those born in Ontario), the meaning is clear - Escaping congested Southern Ontario and going north even for a weekend. But, there is North and then there is North.

My brother-in-law loves the outdoors and has recently written about his latest adventure with family at their cottage, which is pretty far north. (And as usual, it is an incredibly well-written post with great visuals).

I have been up to their cottage numerous times but couldn't do it this summer. But I will never forget the first year I was there - outside propane-fueled shower - it was fun! Really!

A number of years ago I picked up my nephew to take him up to the cottage. I looked at a map beforehand and realized we would be very close to the southern tip of James Bay .... So I planned a slight detour to a lodge near Moose Factory . The only way into Moose Factory is by rail or air so I parked my car in Cochrane, Ontario and we took the Polar Bear Express north. We stayed at Cree Village Ecolodge and had an awesome time. We lucked out and met with some travel writers who invited us for a customized day trip to James Bay and then back for a traditional Cree meal. It was incredible. And it was fun introducing my nephew to some new foods like venison ....after dinner photo:

The few nights we spent there were quiet (I took advantage of that to introduce my nephew to a new game called poker). And one night we were woken up by something outside our window - the northern lights.

I love that my nieces and nephews are experiencing these Northern realities. Very, very cool!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Economists make the strangest bed fellows...

Yeah I know that the quote should read that politics make "the strangest bed fellows" but given our current economic reality, I really do think that economists make the strangest of all bed fellows.

I recently came across a post from a blogger that easily and succintly summarizes why the Canadian economy is doing better than the U.S. economy and why economic conditions in Canada will support that effort:

Eh Canada.

I had to think hard about linking to him. Why? After all of my years in the States I still believe in a few fundamentals - namely public education and a social safety net. And consumer protection against the excesses of banks or lending institutions. And this blogger and I may share some views on the economic reality but we are very far apart on political issues.

This blogger is not only conservative but I think he is a Libertarian and dare I say it - a tea partier.

However, he has just made the case for me - governments can be pro-business AND provide social services.

I lived in the States for eight years. You do get used to the hockey jokes but it always drove me nuts when people would focus on the socialist nature of the Canadian government without looking at the numbers.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The US Gov has lost all credibility on the BP oil spill

I have posted before on the BP oil spill and the U.S. government's apparent complicity in a cover up, which seemed to have much more to do with getting the story out of the news than with any meaningful attempt to deal with the crisis. Recently, the White House claimed that 75% of the oil had been removed from the Gulf either through natural processes or clean up efforts. A number of independent scientists disagreed - see here for example. And now, it turns out that a government researcher admits that he lied about the amount of oil left in Gulf.

One wonders what else they have lied about....

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Easy for a Camel ?

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God - yeah right!

From a very young age, I suspected the above quote. I also was suspicious regarding "but the humble will inherit the earth."

Why - seemed like a great way of discouraging change and/or innovation in a closed system.

I have lately seen a plethora of online articles purporting to sing the values of family togetherness, enjoying the recession and making do with less (the recession has helped family time). I agree that family is good but the latest articles strike me a bit as propaganda.

It appears that the powers that be are shifting responsibility from the corporations and government onto the individual - who is going to shafted for a disproportionate piece of the pie. And that is not right.

Not reported in the MSM is real poverty- means making decisions regarding what you are going to eat that day (and in the US what medications you will use) - not whether you can afford camping versus a cottage. And I'm wondering why all these stories are coming out now.

Sorry but lets look at the stats. Less income means lower health care outcomes, lower education and more crime. The humble do not inherit the earth.

The fact that certain main stream media outlets are promoting this meme (story) in the new economic reality bothers me a lot.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Doodling on the phone


This is something I've always done while on the phone and I have absolutely no understanding as to why. But apparently I'm not alone. Do a search for "doodling" and "phone" on Google. Some psychologists suggest that it helps improve concentration. But I think there is more to it. Maybe our brains haven't caught up with technology yet and while on the phone we try to compensate for the lack of seeing each other face to face?

I had a long talk yesterday with a dear friend who is going through some hard times and this was my doodle while talking to him.

Are there any other doodlers out there?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Are the American People Obsolete?

Interesting article from Salon - Are the American People Obsolete?. In it the author discusses whether the ruling elites still need the American working and middle classes and speculates on possible outcomes.

I believe that the world economies are going through major structural shifts that will have consequences for social and political institutions, but am not sure what those consequences will be. While I don't think we will end up in a Mad Max scenario, I think the future could look a lot different than any of us may imagine.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Brother-in-law's Latest Fishing Adventure

Today I'm linking to my brother-in-law's fabulous post about his latest back country fishing adventure - a great narrative and some super pictures. Even if you are not into fishing, it is worth a read. And I absolutely agree with a comment early in the post - we are fortunate to live where we do.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ant with Cheddar Cheese Popcorn

I have been on vacation lately and yes off the grid. But am gearing up once again.

I took this amazing photo of an ant pulling a huge piece of cheddar flavored popcorn and invited the three kids who were around to take a look. Their ages: 3, 5 and 6.

The outcome for the ant was not good.

The 6 year old (a girl) wanted to watch what happened with the ant. But the 3 and 5 year old boys had other ideas. The two boys went postal on the ants with their soft swords yelling "kill, kill, kill". It was mayhem for the ants!

Disclosure: Ants were hurt in the research for this blog post.

Update: Re-reading the post it occurred to me that some readers might believe I was suggesting that little boys are natural born ant killers and little girls are not. Though I do believe gender differences are apparent at an early age (I once gave my niece a truck as a gift - I won't do that again!) I think the difference in ages was most at play with this incident.