26 February 2008

Oliver Twist, The Golden Compass among Challenged Books

In advance of Freedom to Read Week, February 24 to March 1, 2008, the Canadian Library Association has released the results of its 2nd annual Survey of Challenged Materials in Canadian Libraries.
"Oliver Twist, The Golden Compass and Rolling Stone magazine were among the library materials challenged by Canadian library users in 2007, according to a new survey released today."

"The Canadian Library Association’s 2nd annual Survey of Challenged Materials in Canadian Libraries identified 42 items challenged by patrons. Children’s books, mainstream films, graphic novels and popular magazines were all challenged, and a policy on Internet access was also disputed (...)"

"Many of the books and DVDs were challenged by parents and grandparents who found the materials to be age-inappropriate, sexually explicit, violent, racist, or questioned family values. Included in the 2007 challenges were Masterpiece Theatre’s DVD of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, citing a 'childbirth depiction', and The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman for religious viewpoints."

Mickie's Note: Too much, really ...

Ultimate thinking ahead

Biodiversity 'doomsday vault' comes to life in Arctic

AFP, 24 February 2008 - Aimed at providing mankind with a Noah's Ark of food in the event of a global catastrophe, an Arctic "doomsday vault" filled with samples of the world's most important seeds will be inaugurated here Tuesday.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Nobel Peace Prize winning environmentalist Wangari Matai will be among the personalities present at the inauguration of the vault, which has been carved into the permafrost of a remote Arctic mountain, just some 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) from the North Pole.

The vault, made up of three spacious cold chambers each measuring 27 x 10 metres (89 x 33 feet), create a long trident-shaped tunnel bored into the sandstone and limestone.

It has the capacity to hold up to 4.5 million batches of seeds from all known varieties of the planet's main food crops, making it possible to re-establish plants if they disappear from their natural environment or are obliterated by major disasters.


Protected by high walls of fortified concrete, an armoured door, a sensor alarm and the native polar bears that roam the region, the "doomsday vault" has been built 130 metres (425 feet) above current sea level -- high enough that it would not flood if the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets melt entirely due to global warming.

The concrete cocoon has also been built to withstand nuclear missile attacks or a plunging plane, something that could come in handy in light of the 6.4-scale tremor -- the biggest earthquake in Norway's history -- registered near the archipelago on Thursday. Read the entire article

22 February 2008

Heart full of Holes - Mark Knopfler

You can tell me your troubles
I'll listen for free
My regulars trust me, it seems
You can come and see Uncle
To get through the week
Leave your pledges with me to redeem
Some folk sell their bodies
For ten bob a go
Politicians go pawning their souls
Which doesn't make me
Look too bad, don't you know
Me, with my heart full of holes

All my yesterdays broken
A watch with no face
All battered and old
Bits of the movement
All over the place
And a heart full of holes
A heart full of holes
A heart full of holes

Brass knuckles and banjos
Are out on the town
At the knees-up
In Teddy Boys' Row
The gold block and tackle
Tells the time upside down
Rock n' roll - well, I don't know
Dead people's wedding gifts
Walk out the door
A clarinet squeals to be free
Accordions hop
From the shelves to the floor -
Start playing their polkas to me

There's a ringing of bells
A dunderhead's curse
Fingers are pointing at you
And you take work in hell
And be glad it's not worse
And you get to the back of the queue
Handcuffs and hunting knives
Clang on the bars
Air pistols shoot out the lights
I've a whole Wailing Wall
Of electric guitars
Could shatter the windows
Down Brick Lane tonight

If one of us dies, love
I think I'll retire
See my boys and my beautiful girls
A Garden of Eden
No gates or barbed wire
Who knows, maybe gates made of pearls
Well, if we go to heaven
And some say we don't
But if there's a reckoning day
Please God, I'll see you
And maybe I won't
I've a bag packed to go either way

Redeeming your pledge, dear
I'll keep it for you
It's not going to go anywhere
But your soul, your soul
That is not what I do
There's not a lot I can do there
I remember the officer's watch
In my hand:
'Repair it or die' I was told
It's a wonder to me -
I still don't understand
Why I ever survived to be old
With a heart full of holes
A heart full of holes
A heart full of holes

21 February 2008


I may give up secrets
bit by molasses bit
let go of some of the mystery
when he knows how to ask for it

But there will always be pieces
That no-one gets to see
That stitched, bound, hammered & pasted together
make up the whole of me

Howl at the moon last night?

What a great shot
and from Ottawa too!

20 February 2008

This calls for Perogies!!!

The United Nations General Assembly has named 2008 the International Year of the Potato to draw attention to the role potatoes can play in
improving diets and reducing poverty.

FLORENCEVILLE, NB< Feb. 20 /CNW/ - Few vegetables contain more
potassium than potatoes. In fact, potatoes have more potassium than bananas, spinach or broccoli.

Potassium is a mineral that is part of every body cell and is vital to
the body's growth and maintenance. It helps keep a normal water balance
between the cells and body fluids, which help maintain normal blood pressure.
Potassium is also important for transmitting nerve impulses or signals, and in
helping muscles contract.

Your heart, digestive and muscular functions all depend on potassium. In
addition, increasing the amount of potassium-containing foods in your diet may help keep your bones strong and healthy.

According to Health Canada, men and women over the age of 14 should
consume 4700 mg of potassium a day. A 150 g raw potato with skin on contains
630 mg of potassium.

Potassium can be lost in cooking some foods so to retain it, cook foods
in a minimal amount of water and cook for the shortest possible time.
The potato is a versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed in a variety of
ways. Whether you bake, roast, fry, boil or mash them, keep in mind proper

For more information on the International Year of the Potato or to
learn about the importance of the potato as a staple in diets around the world,
visit: www.potato2008.org


My #1 Favourite Personal Potato Passion : Perogies!!!

Homemade, filled with cheese, onions and potatoes, mmm ...

Will post my recipe soonest !

19 February 2008

20's at heart

You should have grown up during the twenties

You are cool, sophisticated and hip – even by today’s standards. You like things before they are considered cool, and you like them long afterwards.

Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

It also probably means I should take a look at overhauling my wardrobe ...

14 February 2008

Homes of the future : Green

What makes a home green?

GLOBE-Net, 11 February 2008 - Green homes are quickly emerging as the homes of the future according to a McGraw-Hill report. The green home market in the United States is expected to grow from $2 billion in 2005 to $20 billion in 2010. But what makes a home green? It is more than just installing solar panels for water heating and involves site location, building material choices, the nature of appliances chosen and community impacts.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is recognized as the premier certification system for sustainable building designs. Until recently the system has not been applied to homes; but in response to growing demand from home buyers and developers, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) launched a pilot project to certify homes throughout the US and Canada.

When the USGBC completes its LEED for Homes pilot project it won't be too long before housing developers begin pursuing LEED certification to gain an advantage in the sale of new houses. To date the pilot project included two Canadian homes developed by Vermont Energy Investment Corp. which each received a platinum rating.

To receive the LEED home certification, a home must score high in the following eight categories:

  • Design Process,
  • Site Selection,
  • Water Efficiency,
  • Energy Efficiency,
  • Indoor Environmental Quality,
  • Using Environmentally Preferred Materials,
  • Minimizing Construction Waste and
  • Landscaping.

Built Green TM Canada , another home rating system available to Canadians, adds value to new home construction by promoting and recognizing the use of practices and products that represents resource-efficient and environmentally friendly construction. Membership is open to all members of participating home builder's associations.

The primary purpose of Built Green is to encourage homebuilders to use technologies, products and practices that will:

  • Provide greater energy efficiency and reduce pollution
  • Provide healthier indoor air
  • Reduce water usage
  • Preserve natural resources
  • Improve durability and reduce maintenance

The preferred outcome of a certified green home is a building with lower energy bills and a low or zero-carbon footprint, ultimately resulting in a ‘net-zero' home.

These zero energy homes (ZEH) utilize energy efficient design, renewable energy systems for electricity and space and water heating. The design goal of a ZEH is to produce as much energy as it needs independent of grid electricity. Some homes may even be able to produce extra energy which can be sold back into the grid.

ZEH can give deliver homeowners savings while offering them an opportunity to help mitigate climate change. Even for homes costing more up front, the reduction in utility bills can often outweigh the higher monthly mortgage payment, resulting in net positive cash flow from day one.

The concept of a zero energy home is usually reserved for new construction but through a well-planned, logical process of upgrades and improvements, almost any home can be modified to reduce its energy consumption significantly.

Beyond the obvious environmental benefits and savings to home owners, high-performance homes typically have higher resale values and are more desirable in a tight market.

A green home requires more than just environmentally friendly design. Homeowners must also make a concerted effort to furnish the home with environmentally friendly products and energy efficient appliances and exercise energy conservation and waste reduction practices.

Light House Sustainable Building Centre, located in British Columbia, has an online ‘green building product library' which can direct users to green products ranging from dishwashers to windows. The site is helpful for furnishing or renovating a house to be green.

Lastly, when it comes to green housing, neighbours matter and a home is only as green as its community. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), a Crown Corporation and Canada's national housing agency, encourages neighbourhood design and land use planning approaches that reduce costs and environmental impacts while maintaining community livability.

Via: GLOBE-Net, a division of Globe Foundation of Canada

Wicked Photoshopped Images : Vertus Fluid Mask Top 40

These pictures are absolutely incredible. I've clipped and posted my current favourites, but check out the whole list at : Our Top 40 Photoshopped Images from the VertusFluid Mask Discussion blog. (And no, I have no idea what Vertus Fluid Mask is or means :P Pics are cool though aren't they?)

Rock ON Grandma!!!

5 February 2008

Mmmm Garlic ...

Roasted Garlic and Bean Dip

For 1 serving: (per 15 mL/1 tbsp)
Energy 23 kcal
Protein 1 g
Fat 1 g
Carbohydrates 3 g
Total Dietary Fibre 0.8 g

(39% Calories from Fat)

1 head of garlic 1
2 tbsp & 1/2 tsp olive oil 25 mL & 2 mL
1 medium cooking onion, diced 1
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage 15 mL
2 cups cooked white kidney beans (or chickpeas?)
500 mL
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar 2 mL
1 tsp salt 5 mL
1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper 2 mL

To roast garlic, remove papery outer layer of skin and trim a small portion off the top of the head to expose cloves. Place on a square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1/2 tsp. (2mL) of olive oil. Seal package and place in a 400°F (200°C) oven for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

While garlic is roasting, heat the remaining olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion and sage together until the onions are soft. Set aside. In a food processor combine the onion mixture, beans, vinegar, salt and pepper. Squeeze roasted garlic from each clove and add to the mixture. Process until smooth. (If necessary, add water to create a smooth mixture). Serve warm or room temperature with grilled bread and vegetables.

Makes 2 1/4 cups

Especially **roasted** garlic, yum mm