Sunday, November 30, 2008

Life on Earth got you down? Look up... way up

Unbeknownst to me, my sister joined a space program and is now sending me photographs taken by the Hubble space telescope.

And she was always such a home body.

Here are two more:

The Ant Nebula, a cloud of dust and gas whose technical name is Mz3, resembles an ant when observed using ground-based telescopes...  The nebula lies within our galaxy between 3,000 and 6,000 light years from Earth.

This is Nebula NGC 2392, called 'Eskimo' because it looks like a face surrounded by a furry hood.  The hood is, in fact, a ring of comet-shaped objects flying away from a dying star.  Eskimo is 5,000 light years from Earth.

We have Eskimo or Inuit people in Canada but I don't see a resemblance. Of course, the star is a long way off.

Link to her first image here.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sat., Nov. 29 is Buy Nothing Day - hey, that’s today

If you didn’t already know today is a day to sleep in, watch cartoons with the kids, eat Fruit Loops right out of the box and stay in peejays until noon.

‘Til two in the afternoon is fine with me.

It’s also Buy Nothing Day, celebrated shortly after the US Thanksgiving so people who can’t stand up without a head rush (turkey gravy does it to me every time) have a chance to recover.

[Old poster, same goal]

Wikipedia informs me it was founded by Vancouver artist Ted Dave “as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.”

Adbusters magazine states that it “isn’t just about changing your habits for one day but about starting a lasting lifestyle commitment to consuming less and producing less waste.”

That’s not a bad goal to think about one day per year.

And sorry about the head rush thingy.


Only 26 shopping days ‘til Christmas - but why worry

I love the Christmas season, except for the under-whelming hype about shopping.

Reflecting, caroling, sharing family time, egg-nogging... that’s Plan A.

And I don’t have a Plan B.

My resolve to provide homemade gifts remains steady and if you’re a greeter at any of the local malls you won’t have to shake my hand this year or say, “Whazzat? Women’s lingerie? Aisle 4.”

Each year people suffer from burn-out, frustration, debt and guilt related to gift-giving.

This year, add the pressure to save the local, national and world economy, that’s if I hear some economists, business leaders and governments correctly.

Though corporate greed, government policy (or lack thereof) and excessive consumption have caused the worst recession ( or ‘correction’) in decades, if not human history, families are being asked to dig deep and buy as many essential and - now hear this - non-essential items as possible if we hope to crawl out of our collective misery.

[Waste from only one consumable (of thousands): courtesy photo link]

In my opinion, we’re backing the wrong horse again.

So, for the next 26 days, please relax, smile, be happy and spend less than you’ve ever spent in the past.

Forget the economists and back room boys.

Look up a good recipe for egg-nog.

Or ask for mine.

My egg-nog can kick negative thoughts about the ‘correction’ out the door.


Friday, November 28, 2008

It Strikes Me Funny Part 2: Will my ‘no clothes’ challenge affect the economy?

John L. wrote to me on Wednesday shortly after my column hit the street or landed on his porch.

He wondered if my ‘buy nothing’ approach would negatively affect the economy.

I put pen to paper.

Hi John,

I appreciate your thoughtful email. My 'buy nothing' [for awhile] action is certainly connected to complex issues.

In the article 'Being Frugal a Means of Survival' [Monday's Free Press] I read, "That kind of scrimping may be good for stressed family budgets, but it's bad for the overall economy in the United States".

Less spending may seem to be bad but worse, of course, for the US economy and now our own, was the proven action of money lenders, who negatively affected millions of home owners and sent US Treasury farther into debt with the subsequent bailout.

"The best thing is for Canadians to keep spending, sensibly of course, to stimulate the economy," wrote Glen Hall [St. Thomas] in Letters to the Editor, Nov. 15, same day I participated in my own No Clothing Day.

He's right, to some degree, but makes me wonder - when have Canadians ever spent sensibly?

Per capita debt has never been higher (leaving more people vulnerable to a slowdown that ever before), square footage of homes has radically increased in the last 40 years (requiring more stuff to fill rooms), more food fills our plates than necessary (there are higher percentages of over-weight, obese and morbidly obese people each year), and similar trends relate to our choice and production of vehicles and communication tools.

Ramifications of less spending by consumers may affect social agencies but so did deliberate government policy in Ontario in the 1990s, when more people found it necessary to visit the local food bank after support and services were cut.

In my opinion, corporate greed, government policy and rampant consumerism affect the economy in many negative ways. 

And though less consumerism may not seem like it's fully a positive step at this time I think that for our long-term benefit it is one of the courses we should diligently pursue.

I'll present a parliamentarian's point of view re the recession in next week's column. Hope you'll give it a read.

Thanks again for your comment , John. 

The UNMs (unmentionables) are all in order.


Gord Harrison


I think I'm on the right track. Do you?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Dear Anne Landerz: Is my wife trying to kill me?

Dear Anne,

My wife of 38 years cooks supper most evenings, which I truly appreciate - most evenings - but always leaves the leftover food on top of the stove to cool off while we’re eating.

This bugs me because, later, while I’m doing dishes, I think to myself: “How long has that meat pie been cooling out in the open? Won’t deadly bacteria start to grow if it’s not put in the fridge right after serving supper? Is Pat trying to kill me to collect the life insurance?”

Signed, Feeling a Bit Whoozy

Dear Whoozy,

You’ve been married for 38 years? She does this most evenings? And you’re not dead yet?

Get a life. When she starts leaving the milk out write back.

Anne Landerz


Weigh in, folks.


It Strikes Me Funny Part 1: Will my ‘no clothes’ challenge affect the economy?

To tell you the naked truth, I hope my recent column does affect the North American economy. I’d sleep easier at night if it did, even if my RRSPs stay in the toilet.

John L. emailed the following yesterday morning:

Hi Gord,

I have been reading your musings about the no clothes challenge and somewhat agree and somewhat disagree with the concept.  

I wonder about the ramifications for other people if we all decided not to buy anything new (barring undies, sockies) for a couple of years.  There always are spinoffs when one makes a decision. 

If an automotive plant closes down, then many other spin off industries close down and that affects jobs. 

I haven't really looked into the ramifications re: homeless, Goodwill Industries, Salvation Army Men's Mission, Diabetes Foundation,  Womens’ shelter, retail business in London, and so on.  

Have you thoughts on this? 

(When I buy something new, I give something away and usually to one of the charitable outlets mentioned above).
Have a good day and keep the undies clean.


I’m not kidding. John is concerned re my affect on the the economy.

And my underwear. What gives?

Stay tuned. I’ll compose a reply.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Motorcycle Miles: My running joke from Mapleton

While driving or motorcycling through Mapleton, a small hamlet south-east of London, I always glance at the intriguing sign below.

Will it still be there? I wonder.

What does the owner of the shop love to do more? Stuff a racoon? Stir cheddar curds?

What course did he take at the local college to prepare himself for both professions?

Does he ever get mixed up with an order?

"You did a great job on my old pet dog, Herm."

"Yup. Sparkie was a winner."

"But what's that smell?"

"You said Sparkie liked gouda, right?"


Anything else come to mind?

This face on TV? Journalism class takes a chance

“How did No Clothing Day begin?” Michelle H. asked while Dan pointed a $25,000 camera at my face.

My mouth filled with cotton. Where did that come from?

I said a few words, felt it was enough and smiled.

Sure hope the smile looks OK, I thought.

As questions came and answers went I realized that becoming a TV star is pretty tough work - and hot. Why did I eat cotton for lunch and wear a sweater?

However, if I reminded people that we spend too much time and money taking care of basic needs (food, clothing, shelter, transportation etc.) and often neglect more important things (family, friends, more interesting pursuits) then it was worth the sweat running down the middle of my back.

But why did I open my dresser drawers to strangers? I actually showed them I own 24 sturdy pairs of cotton underwear.

What was I thinking?


Hula hoop... gone! Frugality, however, will become more than a fad

Remember the hula hoop?

Around and round she goes, when she stops nobody knows.

I bet some people still have one buried in the garage under a box of polyester bell bottoms because those items were just passing fads.

But not the habit of frugality many are now developing.

[Geez. At long last, I say.]

‘Being frugal a means of survival’ wrote the local paper on Monday [link to The London Free Press article], along with examples of how people plan to make do.

What they didn’t say is that struggling for survival will last a long, long time now that the North American economy is in the toilet and there are new dogs on the block sinking their teeth into the world’s diminishing resources.

China and India, with populations that far greater than N. America’s, want our turf and will not be denied.

Don’t be too quick to throw out that box of polyester pants.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Them folks in the In crowd should wake up

In response to my most recent post about No Clothing Day bobbie sent me the following:

My youngest was always a rebel.

Fortunately, she usually rebelled against "Them" rather than against me.

When she was in high school, she hated the "In" crowd who all wore designer labels only.

She marched herself to a thrift shop, and bought her clothes there.

Always looked like a fashion plate, too.

She still shops in such places, and she's 39.

Still looks great, too.

I bet she does, bobbie.

Fleeting fashion will always take a back seat to creativity and confidence.


Can you be frugal and fashionable?

I'll find out this afternoon.

Two university students, on class assignment (a TV project) are popping by to see my wardrobe.

Should I wear my $4 Chaps denim shirt or my $3 Geoffrey Beene?

Decisions, decisions!


Hubble Space telescope

My sister sent me ten photographs from space, taken by the Hubble telescope.

I didn't even know she was out of the country.

Of the ten she sent me, the following was selected as the best by space scientists.

This note was attached to my sister's email:

The Sombrero Galaxy - 28 million light years from Earth - was voted best picture taken by the Hubble telescope. The dimensions of the galaxy, officially called M104, are as spectacular as its appearance. It has 800 billion suns and is 50,000 light years across.

I think I'll pop off a thank-you note.

[Sis. If you can read this beam me your address].


No Clothing Day: If you’re Renee’s dad - don’t read this

I didn’t plan on a Part 4 for this short series (now longer) related to my decision to buy no new clothes until 2010.

Then Renee sent me a second email:

“Luckily my parents raised our family with similar views you have on living
small. We were raised to be environmentally conscious and to not live in

[How could I not post that comment?]  

“I guess when I flew the coop I lost some of that, but I’m back on
board!!  I consider myself very lucky to be raised by parents who idolize
David Suzuki as opposed to Land Rovers.”

[If someone emailed you that last line, wouldn’t you blog it?]

“As well, I have a 16 year old sister who wants to eventually be a fashion designer. Instead of shopping at the mall, she and her friends go to Value Village. They always look great and like individuals (which is very important at that age). I was surprised to hear this, as I remember being 16, and shopping at Value Village would have meant being an outcast in high school. I'm happy to see that their generation is overcoming this stigma and see the benefits of not being brainwashed my fashion magazines and advertising. Signed, Renee.”

[She then gave me the perfect ending].

“PS I really hope my father never sees the "50% of my pay cheque" part.”

Dear Renee,

Even if he did, he’d still be a proud father.

Cheers, GAH


Are you reducing your clothing budget? Why or why not?


Monday, November 24, 2008

Zoom w a View: Future change to Motorcycle Monday

The 650cc Suzuki Savage mentioned in the post below was perfect for a nine-day ride to Fenelon Falls, Renfrew County, Bonnechere P.P. and beyond.

A year later it was replaced by my current bike, a work of art from some angles, a 1984 Yamaha Virago, which took me even farther afield.

Future posts [on Motorcycle Mondays] will reveal where the rubber meets the road.

Please tune in for a short ride when you can.


Ride a bike? What kind?

Motorcycle Monday: Discovering Canada in One Pair of Pants Page 1

Four hours after the trip began I pulled into a graveyard east of Beaverton because I saw an empty picnic table.

I needed to stretch my legs, let the blood flow through my butt cheeks, sip a bit of coffee and make a phone call.

“Hi, Shelley. It’s Gord,” I said.

“Are you all right?” she asked.

“I’m fine, thanks. Thought I’d call and let you know my arrival time. I should be at your house in about an hour.”

“We’ll have the barbeque ready,” she said.

“Great. See you soon.”

The thought of a fat burger made me hungry. After leaving London in the late morning I'd only stopped one other time, near Orangeville, for a short lunch break.

So I didn’t sit at the picnic table for long.

I wrote a few notes about the day’s journey, took a few pictures and got back onto the Suzuki.

Sixty minutes later I was resting on a dock in Fenelon Falls with a cold beer in my hand.

While burgers cooked on a nearby grill I watched Shelley as she watched several swimmers just a few feet from where she was sitting.


“Newmarket not bad traffic-wise”

“drove through tiny Baldwin again - elderberry capital of the universe”

“bike runs so well, 650cc enough for this type of trip”


Do you have photographs from a recent vacation? I'd like to see them.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

No Clothing Day Part 3

A recent email from a reader struck a chord.

Renee L. said after reading in a fashion magazine that a woman wasn’t going to buy new clothing for a full year (I expressed a similar plan in the Nov. 19 issue of The Londoner) she decided to change her own spending habits.

(She confessed to me she was spending about 50% of some pay cheques on clothing. And more. Crikee!)

She also said the following: “I decided that Labour Day 2008 would be my day for reinvention. I thought the adjustment would be hard, but I learned that I can restyle things I've worn a million times with simple change. I am allowing myself to buy vintage items; e.g., mostly scarves and jewelry to give new life to clothing I've had for a while, but it doesn't come with the guilt of buying something made in a sweatshop with a 300% markup.”

“I've begun to repair things instead of replacing them.”

“It’s freeing. I have more time to relax and just enjoy the important things in life.”

Well done, Renee.

As of last count, there are 3,897 things more important than spending hours shopping in the mall in a vain effort to keep up with the ever-changing face of fashion.

And the list keeps growing.


If you have a word or two for or about Renee or a similar experience drop it off here. I’ll give her the link to the posts about her email to me.

I’ve also used her email as an important part of next week’s Pulitzer Prize winning column.

(If I do win the Pulitzer will I have to share it? Crikee!)


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Response to No Clothing Day Part 2

My short story about buying no new clothing for 13 and a half months (‘til Jan. 1 2010) appeared last week.

One reader later said he’d buy no new clothing for much longer than that. He blew me out of the water!

[Read next Wednesday’s column for full details. Link here to this week’s column for context.]

Renee L. also wrote and confessed to two things I honestly found startling:

First she said: “I was spending about 50% of my pay cheques on clothing.”

Second: “I was spending at least 10 hours in the mall per week, I was always wearing new things to work...”

However, she had a change of heart after reading about a woman's plan to buy no new clothing for one year.

Renee said: “I started wondering what my motivation was for these purchases. Did I really need nine pink sweaters and 12 variations of black pointy-toed stilettos?  I started feeling more like a chump than a stylish chick.  I like to consider myself intelligent and environmentally conscious.  However, my shopping 'habit' was not indicative of this.”

I was encouraged to read about Renee's change.

Stay tuned.


Have you read anything lately that made you change direction? A book, article, post, etc.?

I’d like to read it too.


Ollie and Me: Thomas the Engine will ride high

Ollie will be two on December 1, so I am on track to complete his new train table in time for his birthday.

Construction was completed on Thursday and the first coat of primer was applied yesterday before my hockey game. Second coat this afternoon, once my column is finished and the shed is warmed up to 10 degrees.

Maybe a shelf will be added under the eighteen inch high table top for storage.

Ollie has many interests so he’ll need space for engines, books, cars, trucks, toys of all shapes and sizes and now... at least one electric keyboard.

I didn’t tell you Ollie can play the organ?

Oh, the kid has talent.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Cartoons in Progress: Everything is Broken Part 2

We’re asked to share photographs of all things BROKEN at Thematic Photographic 25, found at Written Inc.

I shared a few photos yesterday (found under the shots below of my favourite route to hot coffee) and had a different idea today.

How about a few cartoons related to the same theme?

Barry Commoner quotes were worth finding.

Is everything broken? Is forward progress visible?

Am I a pessimist, realist, pessimistic-realist or realistic-pessimist?



How to find hot coffee on a snowy day

After locking the front door I walk north half a block past St. Martin of Tours church.

At the next corner I walk one block east to the old normal school and turn left at Wortley Rd.

I head north, stopping only long enough to admire the row of walnuts at the next corner.

Almost there. Another 100 steps for a mug of dark roast.




Thursday, November 20, 2008

Everything is Broken

Bob Dylan said it best.

“Broken lines broken strings
Broken threads broken springs
Broken idols broken heads
People sleeping in broken beds
Ain't no use jiving
Ain't no use joking
Everything is broken.”

This old light (from a barn, house, church, garage, New Orleans?) isn’t working, but I give my word, once I expand my woodworking deck outside my shop this light will be the first thing I repair.

You can help by telling me where you think it came from and sharing your own photos of all things BROKEN at WrittenInk, a unique site hosted by Carmi.

“Broken light broken wires
Everything is broken.”


Recession is not a bad word - it’s the wrong word

Recession rhymes with depression and that’s what people feel when the economy hits the bricks and robs them of a wage, pension, lifestyle and more.

I don’t get depressed.

My mind flicks to the idea that recession is a correction - an event with many positive features.

Raise your hand if you don’t know that the North American lifestyle is obscenely excessive and harmful - beyond toxic - to our basic life support system in 101 ways.

Raise your other hand if you never thought that greed (cheap mortgages for over-sized homes), stupidity (generations of gas guzzlers, for one example) and driving the environment to ruin would come with a pay back - or correction.

Hands in the air?

Give me your wallet.


Other words for recession?


Response to No Clothing Day article overwhelming

My story about buying no new clothing for 13 and a half months (‘til Jan. 1 2010) appeared yesterday morning.

After lunch I received the following email from Renee L.:

"It was a great read.

In August I had read an article in a fashion magazine (of all places!) about a lady who decided to forego buying clothing for a year.

As a young (perhaps fashionable) Gen 'Y' consumer, this article really hit a nerve. I was spending about 50% of my pay cheques on clothing. Some items I would only wear once, some would fall apart within a few washes, some would never get worn."

I’ll stop there for now because I need to ask, “50 per cent of a pay cheque on clothing? What?”

Stay tuned.


Fifty per cent? I can’t fathom it. Can you?


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

36 Days: Are you addicted to shopping?

Feel the urge to hop into the car and drive to the mall?

Any mall? For anything - as long as it’s something and it looks and smells new?

I guess addiction is not too strong a word then.

From A Sacred Balance by David Suzuki (see Read This in right margin):

“As Paul Wachtel put it: Having more and newer things each year has become not just something we want but something we need. The idea of more, of ever increasing wealth, has become the center of our identity and our security, and we are caught up by it as the addict by his drugs.”

The idea of more is an empty promise.

Live small.


No new socks and underwear (or other clothes) ‘til 2010

It’s official.

After participating in No Clothing Day last Saturday I’ve decided to wear my present fashion collection until New Years 2010.

No new items ‘til then.

Typically, socks and underwear wear out the fastest.

I own more than two dozen pairs of each but that might not be enough.

I can wear socks with holes and like most guys will keep underwear until the cotton fall off the elastic and land at my feet.

But new stuff always feels so great, doesn’t it?

Maybe that’s why I’m addicted to shopping for many things.


Is addicted too strong a word?


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No Clothing Day: What are you doing on Jan. 1, 2010?

I can’t blame you if you don’t plan that far ahead.

Usually I don’t even know what I’ll be doing the next day let alone a year in advance.

Last Saturday, however, was No Clothing Day at my house and I made a hard and fast decision, after counting and listing almost every item of clothing I own (and it became a longer list than I imagined), that I would buy no new clothing until New Years Day, 2010.

So I know two things I’ll be doing on that day.

[The weakest links in an abundant supply: Photo GAH]

First, I’ll give the livingroom carpet a quick vac (I’ll likely have my sister and brother over for New Years and we like our snacks).

Then I’ll drive to the closest clothing store for new socks and underwear.

(Wouldn't you agree that they're the weakest links in an abundant clothing supply?)


Read more about the No Clothing Day adventure in The Londoner on Wednesday.

Online version


Read This: So, how is the new morality working out so far?

It’s bad enough - if you don’t talk about or breathe the economy or have it at the top of your agenda you already feel like you’re from some other planet.

(Granted, men are from Mars and women are from Venus or some planet even farther away than that. However, that’s another issue entirely).

But now, with Christmas approaching, there will be many loud voices that proclaim citizens must keep spending in order to stimulate the economy, maybe even save the world. (Get ready for the Holiday Gift Guilt Complex).

Where does this thinking come from?

If you’d asked me yesterday morning I would have said it was the result of the economic stimulus brought on by two world wars. More trained workers, more factories, more goods, more money, yada yada yada.

But no. Yesterday evening I learned it goes back farther than that.

This from The Sacred Balance (see Read This, right hand margin):

The rise in our collective and individual demand for consumer goods began in earnest in the twentieth century.

As early as 1907, economist Simon Nelson Patten espoused an idea that was to consume the modern world: The new morality does not consist in saving but in expanding consumption.

[Stop and Think: Courtesy photo link]

For just over a century the new morality has consumed our thinking.

And how is it working out for us so far?


Monday, November 17, 2008

Zoom w a View: Under a turbine, over the moon

Slowly the number of turbines in Ontario is growing.

Because necessity is the mother of invention I'm certain we'll find ways to determine the appropriate distance they must be from occupied dwellings, how many to erect to collect the right percentage of renewable energy and where the best wind corridors are.

This one is about 2 km. west of Port Burwell on the lakeshore road, and 200 metres away is an information centre.

If you're thinking 'field trip' don't miss the Big Scoop ice cream store in Burwell.

The black cherry double scoop is worth the drive.


Recommended Reading: Are we out of balance with nature?

Years ago, when David Suzuki asked former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney what was the most critical environmental problem Canada faced, he immediately answered, “Global warming.”

“How serious is it?” Suzuki asked.

The PM said, “It threatens the survival of our species,” and he called for serious efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The above exchange introduced me to the revised edition of The Sacred Balance by Mr. Suzuki, and though I’m only up to page 40 I recommend you sign it out of your local library when you have time.

[Don't be in a fog about shopping: Courtesy photo link]

A section entitled Consumption to Satisfy Our Needs helps put into perspective why we see such madness in the malls these days, what with only 38 shopping days left ‘til Christmas and the monster Boxing Day Blowout sales.

Last night I read the following:

“Now, we gather together and watch TV ads. Every ad is a cosmological sermon - the universe is a collection of objects to be fashioned into items for our consumption, and the role of humans is to work and buy objects.”

Interesting. And just in time for Christmas.

See ‘Read This’ in right margin for more information.


What can objects be replaced with this year? Does eggnog count as an object?


Sunday, November 16, 2008

One week’s worth of small pleasures Part 7

Besides the six small pleasures already listed in previous posts [see below] I’m certain I could stretch the list to 101 without much trouble.

Tea breaks on a boulder beach.

(Next summer - same tea, different beach in Killarney Provincial Park).

Small bits of frozen dark chocolate.

(My wife and are still working on a Cadbury’s bar. Tomorrow night - Swiss).

Cutting my own hair.

(Though it’s hair today and gone tomorrow I won’t need another trim for 4 - 5 weeks).

Listening to music at the push of a button.

(Now playing: Two Hearts [live] by Bruce Springsteen).

Reading and responding to the daily paper.

(The London Free Press and The Londoner).

Playing hockey with other kids my age.

(Friday’s game was pretty quick but I handled the pace. One player said I skate like the Energizer Bunny. He is now on my Christmas card list).

I’d mention family, friends, the gift of life, writing, motorcycling and retirement but those are all large pleasures and deserve a book rather than a few lines.

However, since retirement I’ve spent much spare time in my workshop and have turned scraps of wood into a few useful items and enjoyed most every minute in the process.

And since I’m planning to expand my work space (outdoors onto a larger roofed deck) in the next few weeks, whether it snows or not, I guess it’s fair to say I’m hooked.

One project always seems to lead to another, then another.

Small pleasures never seem to end.


Gord H.


Start your own list and count the blessings. Tell me how many.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Zoom w a View: What a difference a week makes

Had the sun been shining last Wednesday I would have said, “Today could be your last chance for a bike ride, Gordie. Go.”

But it wasn’t and I stayed home, finished this or that indoors and shot the photo below from my study.

Today the rains came. Had the rain been snow London would be buried in it.

Snow did come later in the day, knocked the last of the leaves from my neighbour’s tree and covered the tarp on my motorcycle.

Next year, Gordie. Go.


Left anything too late this year? Regrets?


One week’s worth of small pleasures Part 6

“Harrison has the puck, he’s flying down the right side, he dekes around the defenseman, stares down the goalie, and winds up, he shoots... he misses way wide. Way way wide.”

What was I thinking?

The top left hand corner of the net was wide open.

Oh well. There’s always next week.

For example: Next Wednesday I’ll strap on my skates with a bunch of guys my age and older, block a shot or two, fire nice passes to my wingers, find open spots and shoot the puck wide eight times out of ten - as usual.

Then on Friday I’ll play another game with younger men and try hard not to look like one of the two oldest players on the ice.

[Still in the game: photo by GAH]

I’d rather participate than watch from the sidelines and I think that feeling is related to cutting my own hair (see Part 3), making large batches of porridge and brewing my own beer. [link to M magazine]

So, until I can’t lift my hockey bag and throw it into the car I’ll continue to enjoy my favourite sport with other kids from the neighbourhood.


Still in the game? Which one?


Friday, November 14, 2008

I’ll save the powerful turbines at Port Burwell ‘til next year

(Maybe there will even be more of them).

After coffee at the New Sarum Diner yesterday I turned to my friend Reg and asked, “Do you have time for one last look at the beach before winter?”

“Maybe another time,” he said.

A recent operation has knocked him back a step or two so I didn’t press it.

It’s an easy drive to Burwell and back from our homes in Old South (London) and next spring I’ll get him to the beach and drive past the 30 or more majestic wind turbines along the shore road.

I’d like to see more of them as well.

[I'm one of many not bothered by turbines: photo GAH]

If the province could one day supply up to 20 per cent of our hydro with turbines and sell some of the excess power to other provinces or the US it would help us reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and pay for a bit of much needed infrastructure at the same time.

Playing with fossil fuels is a fool’s game and I’m not all that keen on nuclear power due to the unmanageable waste it produces.

And if we could build our own turbines our sagging and auto-dependent economy might get a much needed boost as well.


One week’s worth of small pleasures Part 5

What small things have I mentioned so far that bring me pleasure?

A 30-minute tea break on a boulder beach (near Wiarton) that seemed to fill two hours, small bits of frozen dark chocolate, cutting my own hair and listening to music at the push of a button.

And now for the news:

Pro sports feeling pinch of downturn.

Did you know that? No?

It’s true. I read it in the newspaper a few nights ago and saved the clipping after reading the paper from front to back. (I may write a future column about the topic).

[From clippings to columns, I like a newspaper]

Anyone else out there read an entire daily paper from cover to cover, not just out of habit, not just to get your money’s worth (though in my family that aspect of life has always been very important and as a result I wear the same shirt several days in a row and not throw out old underwear until the elastic is completely dead or the pair has been used to clean paint brushes), but because it’s an integral and important part of one’s routine?

I know newspapers aren’t filled with much good news these days but they serve many important purposes in my opinion.


Is your nose stuck in the paper for an hour or more each day? Do tell.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Zoom w a View: Rows in a cornfield aren’t hard to find

My younger brother was king of the corn rows when he was ten years old because he held claim to a king’s scepter - the plunger from our bathroom.

He can have it, I thought.

Two years older, I was much too sophisticated to rule corn with a plunger.

Instead, I held sway over a kingdom of pines in our backyard with the help of a powerful pistol made from a branch of old maple.

Sorry - I digress.

View and share personal photos related to ROWS by visiting Carmi’s website and following a few simple guidelines.

Photos below: ROWS of corn reach for the sky near Pigram Rd. east of London.

Reach for the sky? Where did that come from?


One week’s worth of small pleasures

Part 4

Within minutes of sitting down in front of my computer I push the ‘play’ button to hear the next song in my large-enough on-board music collection.

[Now playing: Cherokee Louise by Joni Mitchell]

I only handle CDs in the car - now that my iMac is loaded with all I’ve purchased new and used over the years (Thank you, Dr. Disc and Village Idiot!) - but I’m still surrounded by them in my study and seldom does a day go by that I don’t kick up the volume and howl along with Bruce or Bob or Tom Waits or Ron Sexsmith or Colin James or Blue Rodeo or one of scores of other musicians I’ve grown to really, really like.

[Ollie is in charge of organizing my CDs]

[Now playing: Jungleland (Live): Bruce Springsteen]

Also, just about every day, I’ll pick up my three-quarter size Norman acoustic guitar and fumble through one of my own (soon to be) hit songs.

I’m pretty sure, because listening to music is such a pleasure, if I didn’t push play I’d turn on a radio or slap an LP on a turntable.

[Surrounded, mainly by the 1960s and '70s]

And occasionally, alone or not, crank up the volume on a good dance tune and boogie around the room. (Oh yeh, it can happen).


What tunes do you like to hear most?