22 December 2009

Grandma Aura's Tourtiere ♥

Tourtiere Pie
Makes one pie

11/2 pounds lean pork finely grind
1/2 pound veal

l large onion chopped finely
3/4 tsp salt & 1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp mace (optional)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup chicken stock OR 1/2 cup stock and 1/4 cup white wine. (Do not use a chicken cube...too salty)
1/2 cup instant potato flakes...or 1 large potato grated or cooked and mashed finely with a fork.

Sauté onions
Add pork and veal and cook on med heat, breaking up the meat until it is in fine pieces.
While cooking and mixing add your spices...really measure
the spices carefully...scrape any spices off the top of the tsp with a knife. It has to be even.
Add stock or stock & wine
Add potato
Simmer for a few min...taste a little mixture and if you feel it need more salt add just a little at a time and keep tasting.

If there is a lot of juice add more potato ...again a small amount at a time until you see the mixture thicken up but not to much.

Cool to room temp...or if the mixture gets to cold...bring it to room temp for easy handling.

Place in prepared pastry shell and freeze...bake at 375 if frozen or 350 if not freezing. for about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours if from the freezer.

9 December 2009

To the new grandmother I met in Toronto airport Dec 7

Enjoy your new granddaughter !

The girl's name Aura \a(u)ra\ is pronounced AWR-ah. It is of Latin origin, and its meaning is "wind". Greek mythology: Aura was the goddess of breezes. The word is used to describe the atmosphere surrounding an individual.

Aura has 6 variant forms: Aure, Aurea, Auria, Auriana, Ora and Oria.

from: http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/0/Aura

Meaning: The Latin name Aura means - golden
Variants: Ora

Star-gazing onlookers will relate this name to the word describing a person's presence, but you can quickly explain that the word also has different meanings. Free-spirited yet serious, it's a great, short choice.

Aura is a English girl name. The meaning of the name is `Soft Air, Breeze` Where is it used? The name Aura is mainly used In English. From Old English. Aura doesn`t appear In 2007`s top-1000 name list.The last time Aura appeared In the top-1000 was 118 years ago, In 1890. It ranked #946 In that year. . 1890 was a `top year` for the name Aura.

16 November 2009

Leonid meteor showers tonight

from: http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20091116/sc_space/strongleonidmeteorshowerpeaksearlytuesdaymorning

One of the best annual meteor showers will peak in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday, and for some skywatchers the show could be quite impressive.

The best seats are in Asia, but North American observers should be treated to an above average performance of the Leonid meteor shower, weather permitting. The trick for all observers is to head outside in the wee hours of the morning – between 1 a.m. and dawn – regardless where you live.

The Leonids put on a solid show every year, if skies are clear and moonlight does not interfere. This year the moon is near its new phase, and not a factor. For anyone in the Northern Hemisphere with dark skies, away from urban and suburban lighting, the show should be worth getting up early to see.

"We're predicting 20 to 30 meteors per hour over the Americas, and as many as 200 to 300 per hour over Asia," said Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. Other astronomers who work in the nascent field of meteor shower prediction have put out similar forecasts.

Urban dwellers and suburbanites will see far fewer, as the fainter meteors will be drowned out by local lights.

6 November 2009

Easy Tomato-Basil Pizza


  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 fresh jalapeno peppers, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 2 (12 inch) pre-baked pizza crusts (or make your own pizza crust easily enough)
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Directions

    Mix the tomatoes and salt in a mesh strainer. Let mixture sit and drain for 15 minutes.
    Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) & combine the drained tomatoes, 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese, onion, basil, pepper, olive oil, jalapenos, olives, and mushrooms in a bowl. Spread the pizza sauce evenly onto the pizza crusts. Distribute tomato mixture over the two pizza crusts evenly. Sprinkle 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese over both pizzas.

    This soup would be great with this on a cold night too ...

    1 November 2009

    Hey World (Don't Give Up) - Michael Frenti & Spearhead

    Hey World (Don't Give Up)

    tell me why the grass was greener
    year ago
    I swear it used to grow here
    but no more here

    tell me why
    on this hill
    all the birds they used to come to fly here
    come to die here

    and tell my why i need to know
    sometimes i wish i didn't have to know
    all you show me

    hey world
    what you say
    should i stick around for another day or two
    don't give up on me
    i won't give up on you
    just believe in me like i believe in

    tell me why on the corner
    all the kids that used to come to run here
    load the guns here
    and tell me why
    it's okay
    to kill in the name of the gods we pray

    tell me who said it's okay
    to die in the name of the lies we say
    tell me why there's child soldiers
    tell me why they closed the borders
    tell me how to fight disease
    and tell me now won't you please

    the only thing i want to do
    is to be in the arms of someone who believes in me
    like i believe in you
    i try try try try
    i try try try try for you
    don't give up on me
    and i cry cry cry cry
    i cry cry cry cry for you
    just believe in me
    like i believe in you

    18 October 2009

    'Cranadian Pancakes' got my vote Ms Morris ;)

    Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Cinnamon Sugar
    by mimo1 on Oct 13, 08:20 PM

    Dubbed 'Cranadian Pancakes' by my friends in Scotland, this recipe has become a holiday favorite.

    2 eggs, beaten
    2 1/4 cups milk
    1/3 butter, melted
    1 cup white flour
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    4 tsp baking powder
    1 tbsp sugar
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
    1 cup white chocolate chips or pieces

    In large bowl combine eggs, milk and butter. In separate bowl sift together dry ingredients and add to wet mixture. Blend until batter is well mixed but slightly lumpy (leaving small lumps will result in fluffier pancakes). Stir in cranberries and white chocolate pieces.

    With 1/2 cup ladle, pour batter onto heated non-stick griddle. The pancakes are ready to flip when the surface bubbles begin to burst. Serve warm with Cinnamon Sugar Topping (see below).Makes 12 medium sized pancakes.

    Cinnamon Sugar Topping
    1/2 cup brown sugar 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/4 cup butter, melted
    In small bowl combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Brush pancakes with melted butter and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar mixture.

    Michelle Morris Ottawa, ON

    5 October 2009

    RIP Great Uncle Johnny

    John William Tynski

    John William Tynski, Sydney

    Born at Sydney , Nova Scotia , Canada

    John William Tynski, 93, passed away peacefully at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital on Oct. 2, 2009.
    Born in Sydney, he was the son of the late Peter and Ludwika (Gorniak) Tynski.
    He was a devout member of St. Mary’s Polish parish, and a long-serving member of St. Michael’s Polish Benefit Society.

    A long and varied career saw him first employed at the Steel Plant before enlisting in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War where he served as an air gunner in Bomber Command (see below why he rarely ever flew in an airplane after the war) Before returning to Sydney at war’s end, he attended the Ontario College of Art in Toronto where he developed and refined his abundant artistic talent and then established his own business, John Tynski Signs and Designs on Charlotte Street. He later took a position at the former Adult Vocational Training Centre teaching art and sign writing until his retirement in 1980. As a testament to his distinctive brush stroke and unparalleled calligraphy, he became busier than ever in ‘retirement’. His work was seen throughout Sydney and beyond for many decades

    He also volunteered his talent and time for school and hospital projects, especially to St. Mary’s Polish Church. He often conceived and created more personal works for special occasions such as weddings and anniversaries, most notably family trees done in ornate calligraphy. His hand-painted Easter eggs and most famously, his portraits of Santa Claus done entirely in wax crayon (I have mine!), were given as cherished gifts for many years. He was also a tremendous softball pitcher whose fastball and changeup baffled many a batter.

    John is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Nellie; children, John Jr., Julia (Leo) Bennett, Greg (Elana), Stephen (Carol), Joe (Tara), Paul, Elaine (Chris) Shipley; sister, Anne Redmond; grandchildren, Jennifer (Eddie) Campbell, Michelle, John, Krysta, Kate, Eric, Julie, Jacob, Laurenne, Nicole and Ryan; great-grandchildren, Keagan and Kelsey

    He was predeceased by sisters, Katherine Peltz, Frances Durkacz, Mary Wojick (my maternal grandmother) and brothers, Stanley, Tony, Peter, Joseph and Frank


    (MUG stands for Mid Upper Gunner)

    Saturday, 15th/Sunday, 16th April 1944 - N1687 Two Handley Page Halifax bombers crashed while attempting to land at Dishforth Aerodrome.

    The following reports were kindly supplied by Mr Leslie Green of Weston-super-Mare and Keith E Whitfield of Thunderbridge, Huddersfield.)
    Operational Record Book, RCAF Dishforth ...Flying weather for the past week has been only fair with the result training has been held back considerably. To add to this, six of our aircraft returning from a short cross country arrived here during rain and thunderstorms. Two aircraft managed to land here and two more at Linton, but the other two crashed, killing twelve of the two crews, as well as two civilians.

    Halifax EB203 crashed into a haystack near Ripon at approx. 23.25 hours and burned. The crew as listed were all killed..." They were Top/Sgt. Wendell N Watkins USAAF age 21; F/O H. A. Wallace J/23362 RCAF age 32; Sgt. H.L. Muisiner R/160427 RCAF age 23 (American from Pennsylvania); W/O Class 1 J Huddleston R/106580 RCAF age 20 (American from Oregon); Sgt. K.D.Holden 2209731 RAF age 20; Sgt. L.J.Cull R/200097 RCAF age 18; Sgt. C.E. Lovett R/208139 RCAF age 18 The five RCAF crew are buried at Harrogate (Stonefall) and the RAF Flight Engineer at Tyldesley Cemetery in Lancashire.
    The American pilot's body was taken back to the USA in 1948

    Halifax EB205 Sent out on a routine training flight, April 15th 1944, Halifax EB 205 encountered bad weather. At one point, the crew were ordered to stand down but later ordered to fly above the storm that was due to hit the area later that day. The flight went well and they could see the storm gathering below. On returning to base at approx 2300 hrs they hit the full force of the storm. As they were preparing to land at Dishforth, both port engines had cut. The pilot radioed ahead, and he was given priority to land. Cloud cover was down to 500ft over Dishforth, on breaking cloud cover they realised they had overshot.

    The pilot decided to put down at the nearby Topcliffe aerodrome and was approaching there with a 10mph tailwind. As a precaution the crew were ordered to take up crash positions. The MUG John Tynski came down from his position and laid down on the floor with his parachute over his head . The aircraft careered off the end of the runway and into the railway cottages close to the road. Five crew and three civilians were also killed, one of those a James MacNulty was killed, as he was cycling by at the time. The occupants of the house Mr and Mrs Stone were also killed. John Tynski having been knocked unconscious, came to trapped by all the building rubble. On fire, and fearing for his life, his first thoughts were to gather the ammunition that had spilled from the containers and move it away from the fire.

    At risk of being burned alive he then made up a makeshift wall from the brick rubble that lay all around to shield him from the heat. At this point he could hear help arriving from local farmers Rooke and Starr, who eventually dragged him to safety.

    It was later discovered by an accident investigation team, that the Flight Engineer had inadvertantly turned the fuel off on the port engines thus contributing to the accident. [Four of] the crew are buried at the Stonefall Cemetery Harrogate [and one at Wandsworth (Streatham) Cemetery]. Harry Pearce, navigator, also survived but was later killed over Belgium Dec 18th 1944.

    21 September 2009

    Nice leadup

    Weekly Horoscope: Sunday, September 20, 2009

    All Signs:

    Of course, we're in the throes of Mercury retrograde, which happens three times every year; and let's face it -- even though it's frustrating, it's not really a big deal. Having said that, (she announced, clearing her voice ominously) this particular retrograde Mercury will slide backward until it is opposite wild, wacky Uranus. Eeek! In fact, this occurs this week! This is definitely an accident-prone situation. Quite likely, it will be the kind of accident that is related to unfinished situations. Something you left out that you meant to put away. Loose ends that come back to bite you. Or falling off the wagon. "Ma'am, put the ice cream down. Keep your hands in the air. Step away from the fridge." Busted!

    Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

    It's all about you now, dear Libra. The Sun is back in your sign for the next four weeks, boosting your energy, and attracting powerful people and opportunities to you. Make the most of this time. Demand the advantage! (Because you certainly have it.) Why? Because you can project your energy out to others more than usual. Mind you, others will notice you have a more subjective viewpoint. So what? This is not allowed? Not even once a year? This is the beginning of your new personal year (i.e. your year, which is from birthday to birthday.) And -- this is the most powerful birthday you've had in 30 years! So there.

    8 September 2009

    The River - Rankin Family

    When you cross that river
    The trees they will bow down
    The sky will open up to you
    And the lark will sing your song

    When you cross that river
    The path will follow you
    And the winds they will caress your lips
    And the fires they'll burn strong

    Until then... yeah yeah
    The pastures seem greener on the other side
    Alexander don't bide your time uneasily

    When you cross that river
    The rains will be your wine
    The brambles your mandolins
    The earth to dance upon

    When you cross that river
    The moon will give you rest
    The night will be your blanket
    And the sun your morning guest

    When you cross that river
    Boudicca you will wed
    Fuareg you will feast upon
    Mirth your wedding bed

    When you cross that river
    Your fields will plenty reap
    Your children like every spring
    Will autumn keep

    31 August 2009


    1.. My husband and I divorced over religious differences.. He thought he was God and I didn't..
    2.. I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it.
    3.. Some people are alive only because it's illegal to kill them.
    4... I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.
    5.. Don't take life too seriously; No one gets out alive.

    6. You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me
    7... Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.
    8.. Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.
    9.. I'm not a complete idiot -- Some parts are just missing.
    10.. Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.

    11. NyQuil, the stuffy, sneezy, why-the-heck-is-the-room-spinning medicine.
    12.. God must love stupid people; He made so many.
    13.. The gene pool could use a little chlorine.
    14.. Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.
    15.. Ever stop to think, and forget to start again?

    16.. Being 'over the hill' is much better than being under it!
    17.. Wrinkled Was Not One of the Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew up.
    18 . Procrastinate Now! [ my favourite ]

    19.. I Have a Degree in Liberal Arts; Do You Want Fries With That?
    20.. A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
    21.. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance..

    22. Stupidity is not a handicap. Park elsewhere!
    23..They call it PMS because Mad Cow Disease was already taken.
    24.. He who dies with the most toys is nonetheless DEAD.

    25.. A picture is worth a thousand words, but it uses up three thousand times the memory.

    26.. Ham and eggs...A day's work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig.
    27.. The trouble with life is there's no background music.

    28.. The original point and click interface was a Smith & Wesson.
    29.. I smile because I don't know what the hell is going on.

    Appreciate every single thing you have, especially your friends!
    Life is too short and friends are too few!

    14 August 2009

    Ari Hest @ ReverbNation


    13 August 2009

    Bytowne Theatre showing of Food Inc


    Friday August 14, 6:55pm

    Saturday August 15, 2:45pm, 8:55pm

    Sunday August 16, 4:40pm

    Monday August 17, 4:45pm

    Tuesday August 18, 6:55pm

    Wednesday August 19, 4:45pm, 9:00pm

    Thursday August 20, 9:00pm

    You are what you eat. It is a simple expression that bears
    scary implications as you watch Food, Inc.. Director Robert
    Kenner draws upon the searing reportage of authors Eric
    Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s
    Dilemma) to explore how modern developments in food production
    pose grave risks to our health and environment.

    These writers aren’t radicals or even vegetarians (Schlosser admits that his
    favourite meal is a hamburger and fries), but they are
    crusaders when it comes to exposing problems and naming
    offenders. Food, Inc. makes their critiques vivid by taking us
    into the lives of people who are fighting back. The documentary
    never resorts to stunts to make its point – just solid
    journalism, including hidden cameras that reveal unseemly

    Food, Inc. cogently explains how unfettered
    corporations exploited laws and subsidies to create shocking
    monopolies. In one example, we learn how the food conglomerate
    Monsanto expanded its control over soybeans from two per cent
    of the American market to ninety per cent in the last dozen
    years. Monsanto has the legal backing of a Supreme Court
    decision, enabling them to litigate aggressively against small
    farmers. The decision was written by Justice Clarence Thomas,
    who happens to be a former Monsanto lawyer.

    Should be an excellent documentary

    7 August 2009

    The State of Canada’s Parks

    July 2009

    This review, produced by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, explores the good, the bad and the ugly pertaining to Canada’s wilderness and natural parks. According to the report, the pace of park creation slowed in 2009, but there is still good news: several major parks were created this year by various governments in Canada, and others further protected from development. Read

    27 July 2009


    Time curves into the ripples of the lake
    swirled into the depths by canoe paddles ;
    dips into the touch of your fingertips on mine ;
    & in the dance of sparks,
    time waltzes with rustles of birches ;
    into the warm breeze between gray skies and sunshine ;
    and time is frozen forever in a quiet corner of my mind
    where I save contentment, ectasy, peace
    and the simple joy of sharing time ... with you

    July 20, 2009

    25 July 2009

    Rhubarb Bread

    This recipe is great with peanut butter or just plain

    From a long ago Canadian Living magazine with the caption :

    "I am an 89-year-old great-grandmother who still loves to bake. I've been making this quick bread for family, friends and bake sales for 35 years. - Alice Collins, Ajax, ON"

    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    1 1/2 tsp each baking powder and baking soda
    1 tsp salt
    2 tbsp grated orange rind
    3/4 cup orange juice
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    2 tbsp vegetable oil
    1 1/2 cups finely chopped rhubarb (I whizz it up in the food processor)
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

    * Line 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, set aside
    * In bowl, whisk together whole wheat and all-purpose flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt
    * In separate bowl, whisk together orange rind and juice, egg and oil; add to flour mixture. Sprinkle with rhubarb, and walnuts (if using); stir until moist but still lumpy. Scrape into prepared pan.
    * Bake in centre of 350 F oven until tester inserted in centre comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan; let cool on rack. Serve within 24 hours or freeze for up to a month.

    Makes 10 to 12 servings

    20 July 2009

    And while I'm writing my bucket list too :)

    Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

    What a busy, popular month ahead! Everyone wants to see your face; meanwhile, you also have plans to see friends and join classes or groups. Warning: you might spread yourself too thin keeping everybody happy, and still doing what you want to do, plus honour obligations, duties and work. Sheesh! You're also putting out energy in publishing, media, higher education, medicine and the law. Some of you are also excited about travel plans. But the thing you must do in the next few weeks is this: define (at least to yourself) your long-term goals. (Just do it.) Once you know what you really want tomorrow (at home, or in your career, or in your family) then you know what to do today.

    22 June 2009

    NCC : 10 Gifts to Canadians

    Nature Conservancy of Canada Celebrates Canada Day All Week Long

    TORONTO, June 22 /CNW/ -


    The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is celebrating Canada Day all week
    long with 10 gifts for the nation. NCC's eighth annual Gifts to Canadians will
    ensure the conservation of vital habitat in every province across our home and
    native land.
    Together the 10 Gifts to Canadians total just over 556 square kilometres
    - that's an area slightly bigger than the Island of Montreal. Events will be
    held from coast to coast to celebrate this lasting natural legacy for all
    The acquisition and long-term care of all 10 properties is made possible
    thanks to the support of NCC's many partners, including the Government of
    Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program. This unique public-private
    partnership helps non-profit non-government organizations secure ecologically
    sensitive lands to ensure the protection of our country's diverse ecosystems,
    wildlife and habitat.
    It has been two years since the government entrusted NCC with an
    investment of $225 million in the program. To date, using these funds, NCC has
    secured 83 properties and 182,337 acres under the program.
    By working with its many partners, NCC has leveraged funds in the program
    to conserve an additional 236 properties (72,695 acres), for a total of 319
    properties (255,032 acres), protecting habitat for more than 74 species at


    "Hard-working Canadians from every walk of life helped us to protect
    these lands. This is our chance to give something back. Through our Gifts to
    Canadians, NCC recognizes the great conservation work being done. It's our way
    of saying thank you. What better gift for Canadians than to ensure a lasting
    natural legacy?" John Lounds, President and CEO of the Nature Conservancy of
    "I am proud to mark the second anniversary of the Natural Areas
    Conservation Program, a great partnership between the Government of Canada and
    non-government conservation organizations, such as the Nature Conservancy of
    Canada, that has yielded concrete results with the conservation of important
    lands across our country," said Canada's Environment Minister Jim Prentice.
    "This is a great example of what public-private partnerships can achieve when
    sharing the same objectives of conserving and protecting Canada's


    - This year's biggest Gift to Canadians, Darkwoods, marks the largest
    single private conservation project in Canadian history. At 136,000
    acres (55,000 hectares), it spans an area nearly 140 times the size
    of Stanley Park.
    - The securement of this year's Gifts will help protect the habitat of
    numerous species at risk, including Grizzly Bear, Mountain Caribou
    and Loggerhead Shrike.
    - Natural lands, clean air and water are vital to Canada's ecological
    integrity and our national identity. Conserving these areas
    contributes to the health and well-being of all Canadians.
    - Many of the protected properties provide vital links to larger
    landscapes, creating networks of protected areas that give species
    the room to survive and thrive, especially in the face of climate
    - The Government of Canada's Natural Areas Conservation Program is an
    important on-the-ground initiative that is expected to result in the
    long-term protection of more than 2,000 square kilometres of
    ecologically sensitive lands across Canada.

    Learn More

    The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada's leading land
    conservation organization. Since 1962, NCC has helped to protect more than 2
    million acres (800,000 hectares) of ecologically significant land nationwide.

    Gifts to Canadians details and media event schedule, click here

    19 June 2009

    Top 10 reasons to retire your dryer

    From Green Living Ottawa's Eloise Collison :

    Top 10 reasons to hang your laundry on the line:

    1 You can meditate about life as you pin up the clothes.
    2 Folding the clothes as they come off the line prevents that “we decorate with mountains of socks” look in your living room.
    3 Hanging laundry gets you outside on a sunny day.
    4 Laundry flapping on the line is beautiful. (I agree :)
    5 In the few minutes it takes, you can keep an eye on your garden, your children and what’s happening in your neighbourhood.
    6 No static cling, and no need for fabric softener.
    7 It’s a chemical free way to bleach out stains.
    8 Bacteria in your clothing is killed when exposed to the sun.
    9 Your laundry will smell fantastic when it’s dry.
    10 Air drying your laundry saves money and Energy!!

    Message for the Class of 2009

    Why on Earth---Are You So Glum, Class of 2009?by Bradley Doucet

    June 12, 2009--Let me begin by congratulating you, the Class of 2009, on this, the day of your graduation. There were struggles along the way, but you persevered and overcame them. You made it! Today is your day to celebrate.

    Looking ahead, though, you might be forgiven for thinking that the future looks rather grim. The worst global recession in decades drags on month after month. Wars rage in the Middle East with no stable peace in sight. Nuclear weapons seem destined to fall into hands that should by all rights never possess them. And the planet itself, you are told repeatedly, has just about had it with the human race and its hubris. Today may be a day for celebration, but looking ahead, do you, the class of 2009, have any reasons to feel hopeful?

    It is true that formidable challenges lie ahead. But I have three messages of hope for you today. First, I want to remind you of some of the things previous generations have accomplished. You have their examples to inspire you, and the fruits of their labors to help you in your coming trials. Second, I want to point out to you that you are living through a truly revolutionary time: the age of the Internet. A veritable wealth of human knowledge is quite literally at your fingertips. May you use it wisely. Finally, I want to encourage you to rise to the ultimate challenge: to think critically—not only about controversial practical issues, but also about the big philosophical questions. If you prove yourselves equal to this ultimate challenge, then the other challenges you will face, be they economic, political, or environmental, will bend to your wills.

    Those Who Came Before

    It is easy to take for granted all that we have today: planes, trains, and automobiles; films and television; cellular phones, digital music, personal computers; air conditioning and central heating; vaccines, antibiotics, magnetic resonance imaging. None of these boons of modern life fell like manna from heaven. None of these technologies was available to the wealthiest of kings in centuries past. Every one of them had to be invented or discovered by creative human beings committed to improving their lot and that of their fellows.

    More fundamentally, the scientific method itself had to be discovered and promulgated, at great personal cost to some of its early pioneers, who were persecuted by religious authorities afraid of change. The freedom to choose your religion, or to choose no religion, also had to be fought for. So did the freedom to speak your mind and the freedom to assemble peacefully. So, too, did the freedom to choose your occupation and to dispose of the fruits of your labor as you see fit. Bruce Cockburn put it best: “Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.” The fights ahead will not be easy, but they will be easier thanks to the courageous examples of those who came before and the bounty they have left us.

    Information Overload?

    The Internet may be the most revolutionary technology since the printing press. The printing press democratized knowledge in a way that transformed the world, underwriting the Enlightenment itself and the Industrial Revolution that followed, and therefore all of the wonderful technologies and freedoms mentioned above. The Internet democratizes knowledge even further, drawing on the disparate experiences of billions. While the printing press broke the stranglehold the Church had on learning, the Internet places that learning truly within the reach of all.

    Gone are the gatekeepers of information, the media empires. Here are citizen journalists and instant access to media outlets from around the world. Gone are the establishment-dominated points of view. Here are a dozen alternative viewpoints to fight it out in a truly open marketplace of ideas. Gone are the successful government manipulations of information. Here are the unstoppable whistleblowers of the virtual world.

    The Internet is chaotic, true. Obviously, not everything you find there is of equal value. Much of it, in fact, is pure rubbish. How can you sift through the garbage to find the diamonds in the dirt? Since there is a demand for this kind of service, there are those who will supply that demand, websites that will earn your trust over time, the way publishers and writers always have. But still, knowing who and what to believe requires some effort on your part. It is, in fact, the most important task you face.

    Teaching Yourselves How to Think

    In order to decide what and who to believe, you need to know how to think straight. If you are fortunate, your school has helped you lay some of the groundwork here, but the obstacles to rigorous thinking are many and varied. Teach yourself about the kinds of logical fallacies that derail clear thought. Learn to spot these fallacies in your own thinking as well as in the thinking of others.

    Confirmation bias—that tendency we have to seek out confirming information and avoid or ignore disconfirming evidence—is particularly problematic. Cultivate a proper respect for its pernicious effect. To claim any kind of certainty in your beliefs, you must try to challenge your deeply-held views as much as possible. Clear, objective thinking does not require that you remain undecided indefinitely, but it does require that you consider alternate viewpoints and give them a fair hearing. Sometimes you will change your mind, sometimes you will not. Either way, you will have reason to feel more secure in your knowledge.

    So read widely and deeply from diverse sources. No one has the time to study every issue, but if you’re interested in economics, find out what different economists think are the causes of our current financial woes. Renewed growth and prosperity are well within our reach as long as we navigate this crisis with care. If international relations is your top concern, what do people across the political spectrum have to say about the causes of war and the requirements of peace? Did you know that humanity is in many ways becoming less violent? Why is that, and how can we accelerate that trend? If you’re most worried about the state of the natural world, which environmental problems are most pressing and which are overblown? Are you aware that human health and wellbeing have continued improving throughout the world despite some real problems? What are the causes of those problems and what are some innovative ways to address them?

    More deeply, what kind of society best promotes innovation? What is the proper role of government? What is the purpose of art? How should you live your life? How can you be certain of anything? These kinds of big, philosophical questions require your critical attention, too, for they underpin the kinds of decisions people make about more practical matters.
    The decline of religion, tradition, and authority in the developed world has left people with a lot more freedom, which is a good thing, but it has also left them with a lot less structure and guidance, which is not such a good thing. The guidance that most people in previous generations took for granted is fading, and has yet to be replaced by much of anything. You may not need supernatural fairy tales, but you do need philosophical signposts if you are to meet the challenges that lie in wait—and if you are to live happy, successful lives.

    It’s easy to get discouraged and put on a cynical face, but cynicism won’t get you what you want. It won’t help you make the world a better place, and it won’t make you happy. Instead, keep in mind all that your ancestors accomplished. Keep in mind the tools they left you. They would be amazed to see the modern world with all of its amenities and opportunities. Make the most of their example and their gifts by turning on the light of consciousness and letting it shine as brightly as possible.

    Thank you.

    Why on Earth...? is a series of cultural commentaries by Bradley Doucet.

    This editorial comment has been produced and distributed by The Atlas Society. If you would like to reproduce or publish this piece, you may do so provided you include the biographical information found on this page.

    Copyright, The Atlas Society. For more information, please visit www.atlassociety.org.

    9 June 2009

    StatCan : Human Activity & the Environment - Food in Canada


    Spending on food and non-alcoholic beverages in 2003 resulted in almost 46,000 kilotonnes of greenhouse gases, according to the first comprehensive national estimate of food-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada. This was equivalent to 6.4% of total national GHG emissions that year.

    This national estimate was the result of integrating the most recent detailed data on the structure of the economy with data on energy use and GHG emissions.

    Almost one-quarter (23%) of these food-related GHG emissions was attributable to the production of fresh and frozen meat, while fish products contributed 2%. Beef alone accounted for 15% of all GHG emissions resulting from household spending on food in 2003.

    Greenhouse gas emissions associated with total household spending on food in 2003

    Looking at the amount of energy required to produce food shows another dimension of the environmental impact of the food system. More energy was used in the production of prepared foods than any of the other food groups, reflecting the energy inputs required for processing these foods. Prepared foods accounted for 19% of food-related energy use, while dairy and eggs accounted for 18%, and fresh and frozen meat accounted for 14%.

    Read the whole article

    25 May 2009

    Red Cabbage Salad recipe

    This is a clone recipe of the very popular sweet and sour cabbage slaw served at the popular North Woods Inn California restaurant chain. Plan ahead. This salad needs a long marination time. It's good after 48 hours, but even better after 4 or 5 days. This is the perfect make-ahead salad.
    Prep Time: 12 hours, 15 minutes

    * 1/2 head red cabbage
    * 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    * 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
    * 3 Tbsp sugar
    * 2 tsp salt
    * 1 tsp Lawry's Seasoned Salt
    * 1/4 tsp black pepper
    * 3/4 tsp onion powder

    Shred half of the cabbage finely and the other half coarsely. Place in a large bowl.

    Whisk together vegetable oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt, seasoned salt, black pepper, and onion powder.

    Toss the dressing with the cabbage. Scrape the salad with the dressing into a zip-top bag or covered container and refrigerate at least 48 hours or until cabbage turns deep red, softens a bit, and flavors meld. It's even better after 4 or 5 days.

    This red cabbage salad and a green salad with a creamy blue cheese buttermilk dressing are served together as a duo along with garlic cheese bread.

    Yield: 6 to 8 servings

    24 May 2009

    Going North - Missy Higgins

    (Song starts at 1:43)

    "Going North"

    I wanna dance the tango with chance
    I wanna ride on the wire
    Cos nothing gets done with dust in your gun
    And nobody respects a liar
    So goodbye for a while I'm off to explore
    Every boundary and every door
    Yeah I'm going north

    I wanna know where children would go
    If they never learnt to be cool
    Cos nothing's achieved when pushed up a sleeve
    Till nobody thinks you're a fool
    So goodbye for a while I'm out to learn more
    About who I really was before
    Yeah I'm going north

    Up where the hunted hide with ease
    Under the arms of eye-less trees
    Up where the answers fall like leaves
    Oh and your love is all I need
    Yeah I'm going north

    23 May 2009

    Google alerts picked this one up today ... oddest thing

    24 November 2005

    Sioux Lookout

    Blue-gray waterways
    dreamlike through the deep green trees
    meteor craters

    The boy points to it
    and I see the moose at last
    flicker in the trees

    Back of moose country
    a sign says Bob’s Hunting Lodge
    shack barely standing

    The three little boys
    with dad and first-nation mom
    fly home from the train

    22 May 2009

    I don't believe in fate
    if it's all the same to you
    I'm done looking around corners
    cause nothing there is true

    I thought that my journey was done
    but it quickly became undone
    Now I read the mail without the Alt-3
    And nothing is simple or the way it used to be

    My horoscope truly freaks me out sometimes

    Beautiful professional prospects; you'll find a job that suits you perfectly. Beware of nervous fatigue, which might worsen seriously. Your sentimental life will be very complicated; disappointments, frustrations, tensions and worries will be yours. Be yourself, don't imitate anybody.

    21 May 2009

    Piss. Off.

    My ex sent me a text message today "by mistake" that was intended for his girlfriend. Geezus freakin Murphy, does if it makes him feel like a big man to kick me when I'm already down ?

    17 May 2009

    May 17, 2009

    Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

    You need to get outta Dodge. You want a change of scenery. You want new places, new faces and adventure! You also want to learn something new and exciting. You need to raise the bar and seek a fuller, more enriched life. I suggest you go someplace you've never been to before. Explore new territory. Meanwhile, be extra patient with partners and close friends because Mars is opposite you. Fortunately, fair Venus is there to soften the blow, make amends and repair bruised feelings. Since this year is your chance to party and enjoy yourself -- grab the baton and run with it! Remember: the day after tomorrow, is the second day of the rest of your life.

    15 May 2009

    May 15, 2009

    Alone tonight in my empty house,
    Remembering that which now is gone.
    I try to imagine tomorrow's gifts,
    But all I see is cold, grey dawn.
    My Prometheus, you brought me fire,
    Rekindled passion in my heart.
    To share with you my wounded soul,
    Once more to love, I dared to start.
    Such promise seemed within our reach,
    Such resonance I felt within!
    So many joys we found we shared,
    Now reduced to might-have-been.
    The camping trips we thought we'd take,
    The nights of love, when all felt right.
    So many memories not yet made,
    The poem I promised you I'd write.

    12 May 2009

    Dead End Driving - Ari Hest

    Dead end driving in the dark
    We don't know what we're headed for
    Like lighters flicking off sparks
    We've been counting on a little more

    Dead end working every day
    Wondering how we're gonna get through
    And the time will come when we don't want to play
    Along just to make do

    Well, I don't know what you want
    I don't know what you want
    But we've been dead end driving in the dark
    That ain't no way to make a mark

    My philosophy
    New ways I have found
    To see things I have not seen
    Bright enough to turn me around
    Sure, it's a wasted thing
    Someone is going to carry is down (or out)

    Dead end talking about a dream
    That we really ought to set free
    Cause it likely isn't what it seems
    And it no longer appeals to me

    And, I don't know what you want
    No, I don't know what you want
    But we've been dead end driving in the dark
    That ain't no way to make a mark

    My philosophy
    New ways I have found
    To see things I have not seen
    Bright enough to turn me around
    Sure it's a wasted thing
    Someone is going to carry us down
    Carry us down, no

    Dead end driving in the dark, we don't know where we're headed for
    Dead end driving
    Dead end driving in the dark, we can count on a little more
    Dead end driving
    Dead end driving in the dark, we don't know where we're headed for
    Ohh, Whoah, Dead end driving
    Dead end driving in the dark, we can count on a little more

    18 March 2009

    Best 'green' seafood choices

    Best 'green' seafood choices

    Ecologically minded consumers need to ask questions when they step up to the fish counter to make sure they get the "greenest" seafood possible. Wallet-size guides listing the choices, distributed via the California-based Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch at aquariums and zoos across the country, are a valuable shopping tool. They list "best choices," "good alternatives" and seafood to "avoid."

    Printable versions of guides are available online at seafoodwatch.org. You also can sign up to receive Seafood Watch recommendations on your iPhone or other Web-enabled mobile device.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has its own seafood facts site called Fish Watch at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishwatch.

    When shopping for seafood, Seafood Watch advises asking these questions:

    •Where is the seafood from?

    •Is it farmed or wild-caught?

    •How was it caught?

    Here are Seafood Watch's "best choices" for farmed seafood:


    Arctic char

    Barramundi (U.S.)

    Bay scallops

    Catfish (U.S.)

    Clams, mussels, oysters

    Crayfish (U.S.)

    Rainbow trout

    Striped bass

    Sturgeon caviar (U.S.)

    Tilapia (U.S.)

    17 February 2009

    "If we do not rise to the challenge of our unique capacity
    to shape our lives,
    to seek the kinds of growth
    that we find individually fulfilling,

    then we can have no security: we will live in a world of sham,
    in which our selves are determined by the will of others,
    in which we will be constantly buffeted and increasingly isolated by the changes round us"

    Nena O'Neil

    Wish I could check this out - if you do, let me know what his work is like

    Starbucks Features Alastair C MacKay

    February 16th, 2009 - Thunder Bay, ON

    Starbucks Chapters location in Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada features six new works by photographer Alastair C MacKay until February 28, 2009.

    This is Alastair's second show at Starbucks. (January 2008).

    Three black and white works and three colour.

    Subjects unclude Alastair's 2 Cows (B&W), light industrial (B&W), a solitary closed for the winter chip-shack in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, as well as colour images of back lane garages and magenta concrete walls and an alternative image of a picture showing in another show, Heavy Metal, at the Thunder Bay Museum.

    29 January 2009

    I'm gonna find a job after eating ::that:: ? LOL

    Today's Outlook
    (January 29, 2009)

    You'll see your moves or projects crowned with success. However, control your impulsiveness more than ever and think of consequences before taking risks. You'll need calcium and phosphorus: eat liver, processed cheese, goat cheese, and raw butter. Good chance to find a job. You'll have nothing to lose in this undertaking; go ahead without hesitation.

    23 January 2009

    "Everybody Knows" - Dixie Chicks


    Tell me now if you came sneaking up behind
    Would you know me and see behind the smile
    I can change like colors on a wall
    Hoping no one else will find what lies beneath it all
    I think I hide it all so well

    Stepping out, everyone can see my face
    All the things I can't erase from my life
    Everybody knows
    Standing out so you won't forget my name
    That's the way we play this game of life
    Everybody knows

    Looking through the crowd
    I search for something else
    But every time I turn around
    I run into myself
    Here I stand
    Consumed with my surroundings
    Just another day
    Of everybody looking
    I swore they'd never see me cry
    You'll never see me cry

    Stepping out, everyone can see my face
    All the things I can't erase from my life
    Everybody knows
    Standing out so you won't forget my name
    That's the way we play this game of life
    Everybody knows

    You say I'll pay the price
    That's the chance that I'll take
    Though you may think I'm telling lies
    But I just call it getting by

    Stepping out, everyone can see my face
    All the things I can't erase from my life
    Everybody knows

    Standing out so you won't forget my name
    That's the way we play this game of life
    Everybody knows I am just barely getting by

    20 January 2009

    Sign of the times here in Ottawa

    People are understandably getting a little fed up with the bus strike :

    13 January 2009

    Yay For Sioux Lookout !! And ABOUT TIME !

    By Mike Aiken

    Miner and News

    Industry Minister Tony Clement brought with him a cheque for $250,000 as he visited Lake of the Woods over the weekend.


    Clement also brought along cheques for more than $848,000 to help downtown revitalization in Sioux Lookout, as well as an industrial and commercial business park near the community's airport. Half a million dollars of the funding will assist with architectural costs for the renovation of the community’s train station and the redevelopment of Centennial Park.

    6 January 2009

    Economics according to Calvin

    Kids favourite recipe

    And one I haven't made in ages, really should do that soon ...

    Honey Curried Chicken

    3 lb chicken breasts 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
    1/3 cup butter, melted 4 tsp curry powder
    1/3 cup liquid honey Pinch of cayenne powder

    In greased shallow 13x9 baking dish, arrange chicken in single layer, skin side down. In bowl combine butter, honey, mustard, curry powder and cayenne, stirring until smooth and blended. Pour over chicken. Bake chicken, uncovered, in 375F oven for 20 minutes, basting once. Turn chicken over, baste again and bake for 20 minutes longer, basting once, until is tender. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

    ("Chicken" or seitan works good in this recipe, tofu too as long as you brown it first)