Friday, July 31, 2009

Zoom w a View: The last birdhouses of the season

I promise, I’m not going to make any more bird boxes during this fiscal year (sorry, that’s business speak for 2009; selling birdhouses has gone to my head!), no matter how much scrap or reusable lumber I find here, there and everywhere.

Sure, I’ll still pick up lumber from the curb and say ‘thank you ever so much’ when it’s offered to me, but I’ll sit on it ‘til next spring.

It’s officially time to move on and put together six more Adirondack chairs.

["For more than a glimpse of the Audrey Adirondack chair, see side margin": photos by GAH]

Hmmm, I guess I will be sitting on lumber in more ways than one.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Motorcycle Miles: Postcards From the Side of the Road

On one of my last motorcycle rides I past by a part of Dorchester called Quail Run, a cookie cutter subdivision where presumably quails used to run before houses took over.

Then I headed east past the Putnam Community Centre on my way to Pigram Rd. and, on a dirt road in the middle of a beautiful natural setting, found Turtle and Lily Pad Pond.

I called it that because actual turtles and lily pads can still be found there.

And to developers with no imagination - no, the property isn’t for sale.

["Turtle and Lily Pad Pond - it ain't a suburb": photos by GAH]

So, hands off.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Zoom w a View: How are your tomatoes doing?

I’ve been waiting, waiting, waiting.

Though the squirrels took out all three plantings of beans they left the cherry tomatoes untouched... thankfully. They’re finally starting to ripen.

Correction: The evil squirrels took out all bean plants but one. One lonely plant out of several dozen. Why one? To taunt me, I bet.

With a bit more sun each day I’ll soon be enjoying more than the four wee tomatoes I ate yesterday.

They were delicious... worth the wait.


How are your plants doing?


Letter to the Editor: “Clean up the dog park yourself, Jane”

Yesterday I mentioned that a woman’s (Jane’s) complaint re dangerous weeds, insects and unsanitary conditions at a local dog park (For Small Dogs) said something about the City of London.

(One brilliant thought: Deforest City is poor or citizens aren’t paying enough tax to support the type of lifestyle we desire.)

Daphne had something else to say in another letter to the editor:

“As a frustrated taxpayer, may I suggest, now that dog owners have their dog park... users bring work gloves and pull up weeds themselves.

Organize a community maintenance day if you can’t stand nature. Show some initiative instead of requesting more of our tax dollars.

Stop demanding. It’s just nature fighting back.”
(July 28, The London Free Press)

["How important are dog parks? Depends on who you ask"]

Dare I read between the lines?

Why not... it’s my blog, after all.

I think Daphne’s the type of person that doesn’t like whiners. If there’s a dangerous weed near your dog then do something about it.

Daphne may also fear her taxes will go up if all the things built for citizens, including dog parks (are they frivolous, or what?), have to be maintained at taxpayer expense. I mean, where did that idea come from?

Daphne may also believe that tax cuts are the way to go.

Me? I don’t think enough Londoners are willing to pay the freight to maintain the lifestyle we expect or have already built for ourselves. Dog parks included.


I’ll pay higher taxes if asked, but there are higher needs to consider than dog parks.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Zoom w a View: Home construction and a different angle

While my son showed his neighbours the progress on his home reno I looked for my own view.

Our family will be celebrating Christmas in this room in a few months.

Twin sawhorses inside a future bedroom for upcoming twins.

Okay, back to work.


The colour of the Lego block insulation materials in the first photo has been slightly altered.


Letter to the Editor: What does this tell us about Deforest City?

I like reading letters that provoke a response inside my little round head.

After reading it I thought, so this is the kind of society we’re becoming, eh?

From the July 25 issue of The London Free Press:

“I would like to express concern about the lack of attention and upkeep the Greenway Off-leash Park for small dogs is receiving from the City of London.

["We demand you clean up our park"]

The area is extremely neglected. The grass has not been cut since the spring (including) the dangerous large weed bushes.

The park is unsanitary. There was a dead animal in the high weed bushes (and) there are many insects.

What do the owners of the dogs have to do for city hall to take care of this area?”
Signed, Jane R., London

I think the letter tells us not only about the condition of the park but about Deforest City and modern society as well.

Thoughts from inside my little round head -

1. Note to self - watch out for dangerous large weeds next time you’re out.

2. We’re wealthier than we are clever.

Many citizens can, for now, support a very large and growing pet population and cities can afford to build parks for many animals but together we can’t figure out how to maintain them.

3. This disparity between what we want and what we can maintain may be related to our great desire for all the amenities of life coupled with our lack of desire or ability to pay for them. I.E., Options related to food, clothing shelter, transportation, recreation, communication etc. are growing exponentially it seems (so is obesity and the size of our homes, closets etc.), and almost at the same rate as personal, municipal, provincial and national deficits and overall debt.

4. Perhaps Deforest City is poor or citizens aren’t paying enough tax to support the type of lifestyle we desire.

5. Maybe Jane R. could start by asking if there’s anything she can do to assist.


Is our modern day wish list bigger than our collective wallet?

Should we lower the expectations we place on governments at all levels if we aren’t willing to pay the freight?


Monday, July 27, 2009

The familiar-looking white boxes belonged to my father

As I biked along Quaker St. near my hometown recently I looked for the remains of any of my dad’s old birdhouses.

I felt there still had to be a few scattered about the countryside near Norwich. He’d made hundreds in his lifetime.

Several years ago, while enjoying our weekly Saturday afternoon drive together, he asked me unexpectedly to pull over at the side of the road.

I thought he had to go to the bathroom after drinking a large cup of coffee, but after brushing a tree branch aside near a fence post he uncovered an old birdhouse.

He deftly removed a nail, popped open the front of the box and tossed out an old nest.

["It may need a clean out, I thought.": photos by GAH]

“I have to clean them out in the spring or else the birds will go somewhere else,” he said.

I was 2 miles from that same spot when I spotted a similar model.

It may need a clean out, I thought.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Where to hang a birdhouse when you have an extra?

Like Sonny over at Sonny Drysdale Presents I felt inclined to cut my grass recently.

[My gosh. The guy can literally write an interesting story about anything. Really, he should get paid.]

Although the grass cutting kept me from finishing a stack of J.R. birdhouses (the pattern, circa 1946), I did find time later to count them, and figured that one should travel with me to the countryside during a motorcycle ride.

I had two goals for the short journey last Sunday.

To hide a new birdhouse in a safe location near my parents’ grave stone, and keep my eyes open for some of my father’s old plywood models.

I was delighted to find for the first time several familiar-looking white boxes on my way to the cemetery (Quaker St., Norwich) and a suitable spot to leave one of my own.

["Overlooking a family grave stone": photos by GAH]

Next trip (after the grass is cut), I’ll clean out the old boxes, remove one for repair (two sides and a top were missing) and add one more new one to what seems to be an extensive Quaker Street collection.


Climate change and the decline of the once mighty cheeseburger

It’s July 24, summer still hasn’t arrived in Deforest City or the rest of Ontario, so allow me to be the first to say that climate change - if it is like a 5-speed motorcycle - is now in second gear.

We all know average global temperatures have been on the rise for the last 50 years or so, but now it seems like our typical seasons have been thrown right out the window.

Our eating patterns are next.

For example: Farmers are worried about the three main crops in our region - i.e. corn, soybeans and winter wheat.

And since the first two crops feed our cattle industry to a large extend - perhaps soon to be smaller - and the last becomes flour for bread and buns, I predict we’ll see rising prices in related food costs in the months ahead.

[Cloudy skies over Pigram Rd., east of London, last Sunday: photo GAH]

I wouldn’t be surprised to see an increase in the price of the cheeseburger or Homer Burger at the New Sarum Diner soon, which means I’ll have to trim it out of my diet even more than I have already.

I think our excessive ways at present will lead to many other reductions in the future too.


The clouds overhead remind me of a smoking gun.



Thursday, July 23, 2009

Zoom w a View: Bumper elderberry crop for purple pies ahead

While motorcycling last Sunday I passed through elderberry country, SE of London, and stopped to see how healthy some of my favourite plants appeared.

in my opinion, with a bit more heat (you know, when summer arrives), folks who love purple pies as much as I do will find elderberry plants loaded to the max.

What are elderberries? A: Small, tart, purple berries that can be used in delicious pies and tarts and for unique syrups and wine.

Where can they be found? A: You need a good eye, but most plants are along fence lines in rural areas.

They're in bloom right now and easy to spot. The flowerets remind me of the wild carrot plant.

Where exactly? A: I'm not telling.


The Wee Workshop: Useless scrap (?) becomes cedar condos

After spotting trash cedar on a nearby boulevard that was destined for a landfill site, I quickly stopped, scooped it up, and had a project in mind before the trunk of my car closed on my new-found treasure.

My Scottish nature spoke to me as well: You'll make a fortune, Gorrrdie!

My impulsive side spoke up: Make a one of a kind 12-plex for swallows.

My practical side won out by the time I arrived home.

The project: J.R. Davidson birdhouses, circa 1946

I have the tools and hardware I need for many small projects in my wee shop (i.e., table saw, chop saw, sander, drill, Dremel tool, nails and screws) and the scrap was soon turned into several small blocks of wood that would become the sides of sturdy, modern-looking bird condos.

Twelve pieces (1” x 2” x 5”), a roof (approx. 8” x 8”) and floor (approx. 4” x 4”) are needed per condo, so it doesn’t take much scrap to make shelter for a family of small birds.

I have to be careful where I place the 3” screws that hold the layers together; I wouldn’t want to hit one while drilling the 1” doorway.

I’m careful to hang onto small bits of wood to use as trim.

Even bits of driftwood from the north shore of Lake Erie seem at home as a perch.

Double-boiled linseed oil, with a half-teaspoon of maple stain added, makes a suitable, long-lasting finish.

Think before you throw out the trash.


The original J.R.’s were made of teak blocks, with an aluminum roof. They’d last for 100 years.

Mine will last for 50 and be here on earth long after I’m gone.

“One man’s trash...”


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Letter to the Editor: Are Deforest City drivers the rudest in Canada?

I love letters to the editor that have teeth and ask inflammatory or - at the very least - interesting questions.

Here’s one from the London Free Press (July 21 issue) by Daniel E. L. entitled ‘Cycling in London hazardous’ that might explain why some cyclists ride on the sidewalk, not in the shaky gutters of our fair town.

He asks, not a bit rhetorically, “Is there another city in Canada with more rude, ignorant motorists than the Forest City? I doubt it.”

“A person takes ones’ life in their hands when they venture out, with bicycle, onto the mean streets of London.”

["The fairest vehicle in all the land": photo GAH]

Know what I think? (Hey, stick around. You’ve come this far.)

I don’t know if Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Nut Mountain or Bent Elbow, Saskatchewan etc., have meaner streets than this place I now call home, but I do know the hoods of cars and trucks are tougher than helmets and heads.

The solution: Allow slow speed cyclists on sidewalks until 100 per cent of the city has adequate bike paths. Instead of widening streets and accommodating cars create more bike paths. If the paths are on the street then paint them blue so drivers will learn to see, then look for, cyclists in a particular space. Hurry up and create the next generation of mass transit vehicles (e.g., narrow electric trolleys) to reduce traffic inside the city.

Be careful out there.


I admit, I ride on the sidewalk on occasion, and will continue to do so, safely, at slow speed.

Your thoughts.


Deforest City Blues: Can we fight our way out of a paper or plastic bag?

The Right Honourable City of London is trying to save money and some part of the environment by moving from plastic bags to paper bags at the curbside - so the fight about which is the best to dispose our yard waste is on... and on... and on...

And missing another fine point that I feel inclined to bring to everyone’s attention.

[It’s a habit of mine. When one has an opinion about everything it’s hard to sit still during any public debate. About the only time I remain silent is when my wife asks if her jeans look too tight. Or when I hear a piece of really fine music. Have you heard Susan Boyd sing lately? Oh, she’s good, eh? Sorry, I digress.]

Whether we use paper or plastic (paper has better optics and may be 43% better for the environment) we involve ourselves in a production, distribution, collection and disposal process that is knee-deep in fossil fuels and will never go away unless we include another step in the way we handle our unending supply of waste products here in Deforest City and all other parts of Canada - dare I say the entire world?

["Get the whole family to join the fun"]

And that step is - compost as much as possible.

If we have the strength to rake our leaves and haul them to the curb in a big paper bag then we could certainly put them inside a backyard composter.

Too many leaves? Don’t like the look of them? Buy or build a bigger composter. Mulch the leaves. Spread them around your property.

Our $150,000 - $200,000 savings could easily double if we put more hands on deck and used a bit of elbow grease. North Americans certainly need the exercise and budgets are straining everywhere.

Do we need government bodies to help us clean up leaves and trimmings from a shrub?


Shouldn’t we be allowed to have small, contained fires on occasion too?

Backyard fire pits are becoming all the rage, aren’t they?


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The porch will smell of peace and family pride

My Dad once said of his younger brother, “He can do anything he sets his mind to.”

Though Dad and I disagreed about many things, I didn’t about his assessment of my Uncle Richard, who still lives in Norwich, my hometown.

For example, when Dad told me to get a haircut, or a job, or my own car or fridge or apartment, I think I said something that loosely translated meant ‘in my own sweet time, man.’

But when I saw one of Richard’s oak and dogwood chairs a few years ago I bought one without hesitation.

[He set his mind and collected dogwood, and built his own steamer in which to heat the wood and wooden jigs to bend them appropriately - without a plan or diagram to go by.]

["A slab of mulberry and small pieces of cedar": GAH photos]

The chair now sits comfortably on the wee front porch, between my own chairs, and once I frame a slab of mulberry as wall art, with slices of aromatic cedar as an extra touch, the porch will become an even more enjoyable spot to relax.


Do you have a favourite chair? Any family history attached?


$10,000 E-Car Rebate: Ramblin’ man will be walkin’ or busin’ instead

I don’t know how many words I’ve written re Premier McGuinty’s pricey rebate for electric cars but it’s too many, for sure.

I tend to ramble on, eh?

All I needed to say was, “Put the money into mass transit, electric if possible.”

Canada is third highest in the world for greenhouse gas emissions per capita already.

["I’ll be on my 12-speed or walkin’ to Valu-Mart": photo GAH]

Cars per person - 7th highest rank in the world at 563 cars per 1000 people.

[If that’s 563 per 1000 people, no matter the age, and not 563 per 1000 people who can drive, then the number is astounding. Highly excessive. There’s likely more vehicles than people who can actually drive them. That strikes me funny as we grow fatter by the minute.]

Debt and deficits, nationally and individually, are growing at ever-increasing rates, so our window of opportunity to splash money around is rapidly growing smaller. So, what good are electric cars and supporting infrastructure if we can’t afford to buy them or maintain the roads?

In my humble opinion, government leaders would be farther ahead (so would be the environment) if they paid people not to drive.

A free lifetime pass for mass public transit would generate more benefits to our personal health, environment and future than any electric car.

A plan to convert fossil-fuel powered buses to electric trolleys, and expand the fleet, would reduce the number of vehicles on our highways, which would be one small step for the individual, a giant leap for mankind.

Me? When we can collectively no longer support the vast numbers of cars on the road, or the infrastructure, I’ll be on my 12-speed or walkin’ to Valu-Mart for groceries.


Monday, July 20, 2009

How do subdivisions like Quail Run get their names?

While motorcycling yesterday I passed through the lovely village of Dorchester and between two suburbs with very interesting names.

By interesting I mean, with names that reminded me of beautiful natural settings that no longer exist because large single-family homes have been dumped right on top of them.

Take Quail Run, for example. It’s presumably located on top of a place where lovely little quails used to run.

And why did the quails run?

In order to get away from their natural enemies, like foxes and people with guns and shovels and survey equipment - and later, bulldozers.

["Tomorrow I'll show you a pristine natural setting located at The Turtle Pond and Lily Pad Estates": photo by GAH]

Across the street was River View Estates.

Guess what that ‘burb has to offer?

You got it.

Over-sized homes on land that once promised a view of the river to anyone who took the time to get out of their car, hop a fence and tramp through a field of rye with their loved ones.

As I continued on my way I thought, we’re losing our natural settings too quickly.


Is a large home on fine arable land an unalienable right or a tired cookie-cutter plan used by unimaginative developers?


Ontario’s $10,000 Rebate Misses the Mark

Premier McGuinty’s attempt to foster growth in the automotive sector and appear green and generous by offering a $10,000 rebate on an electric or hybrid car will fail, rather than be a win-win-win situation.

In his attempt to help move the most people in the most efficient manner - by assisting individuals who can afford a $30,000 car (after rebate) to satisfy their personal driving needs - he backed the wrong horse.

On a relative scale the needs of the individual in Ontario have already been met in an excessive manner.

Consider the availability of the basics, like food, clothing, shelter, and the areas of communication, transportation, recreation, entertainment and the pursuit of personal knowledge.

There isn’t a category we haven’t blown over the top.

Obesity is on the rise.

Closets are now the size of bedrooms.

["Ladies and gentlemen. If you look out your bedroom windows you'll see a lane wide enough for trolley and bicycle traffic, with some room left over for those who still can't get with the program and leave their car at home."]

Homes have steadily grown in square footage for decades and furniture spills into our basements and garages.

We have access to multiple forms of communication devices. (Sorry, I’d better take that. Be right back).

The number and variety of vehicles on the road per person has grown in North America to astonishing and unsustainable rates.

We have access to more pleasurable opportunities (in the form of recreation, entertainment, hobbies, computers) than most people on earth.

In my opinion, Premier McGuinty could have initiated a much wiser plan with our limited funds. (Hey, money doesn’t grow on trees you know!)


More to follow.

How can we move the most people in the most efficient and cost-effective manner?


Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Rise of the Individual and the Automobile

I’m not sure when it happened.

It might have been before WW2, during or after even, but at some point in recent history the individual and his (or her) automobile became gods to be served, at least in the minds of many individuals, corporations and governments.

["Some designs from the past cannot be improved, while others can."]

It might have happened right after Henry Ford sold his 1,000th flivver and heard a smiling individual say, “I’m outta here. All I need is a highway.”

Someone overheard and the production of tarmac went into overdrive and the rest is history.

Today, if you want to drive to the end of the four corners of North America you can get there on super highways, if not Super Highways, and eat warm cheeseburgers all the way without even stopping - except for gas and bathroom breaks. [And not even bathroom breaks if you really mean business.]

Corporations and governments have spared no expense in recent history to accommodate the wishes of the individual car driver in almost every hamlet, village, town, small city or large city in most parts of the world.

["As individual needs were served, common or community needs were lost."]

One lane paths have been turned into two-lane marvels of tarmac (Thank God for bitumen and the petroleum industry!!). Two-lanes widened to three, three to four to accommodate more parking, four to six, six to eight and eight to sixteen, to accommodate even more parking and travel in all directions at the same time by vehicles that have grown to the size of small homes.

[For those who believe that more and wider roads will ease congestion - think again. “More roads will only create more cars.” - Jane Jacobs]

In my opinion, we have satisfied our individual transportation requirements in an excessive manner, eve to the highest order of extreme (700HP Corvette, anyone, anyone?).

We now live in a time when individuals believe it is their inalienable right to drive anywhere, anytime, to pick up any item required, by themselves in a car built for six (let’s say I feel like a two-scoop ice cream cone from the Merla-Mae on the other side of town - I’m gone), and at the same time believe there are no negative consequences to that type of thinking or behaviour. It’s all good.

["30 HP might be all you need to get ice cream, for you and a pal."]

Well, it’s not all good, and Premier McGuinty’s $10,000 rebate on an electric or hybrid car doesn’t correct the main ongoing problems related to the individual’s love for the once (and always?) mighty auto, and the continued accommodations made on its behalf.


Yup, there’s more to follow.

Have you seen pictures of electric trolleys that once ran through your city streets?


Zoom w a View: The fabulous home of the mud swallow

While motorcycling last year I stopped to take a few photos of hay fields, rolling landscape and cloudy skies, and while doing so noticed that swallows were darting here, there and everywhere, including under the bridge upon which I was standing.

Then I noticed something else.

Some birds flew directly under the bridge and out the other side, while others seemed to interrupt their flight with a brief stop underneath my feet.

I thought they might be visiting nests, so I scrambled down into a ditch to see what I could see.

Their nests of mud are works to behold. This year I arrived later in the season and the young had flown the coop.

[Above photograph from last year: photos by GAH]

No matter how many birdhouses I build, I won’t be able to improve on Mother Nature’s designs.


Location - Hunter Crossley Sideroad, south then west of Belmont, ONT.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Zoom w a View: Three birdhouses, Long Point, Ontario

The first two photos I took to study later.

A local retail outlet is interested in Purple Martin houses and I’m turning a design over in my mind.

[West of Long Point on Lakeshore Rd.]

They’re complicated because the builder/purchaser must find a way to clean them out while balancing atop a ladder.

[On the beach, west of the Causeway Restaurant]

I took the third photo at the end of 4th St. in Long Point - for old time's sake - and only later did I notice the birdhouse atop an old boathouse on the left side of the channel.

[Gord Bucholtz, my father's friend, stored a boat in the third spot on the left, circa 1960: photos by GAH]

Everywhere I go I spot a few interesting creations, none more interesting than the homes made by mud swallows.

Muddy photos to follow.


$10,000 Rebate for Eco-Car is a Short-sighted Venture

Though the Premier of Ontario, my home province, has taken a giant step - one that appears good for growth in the manufacturing sector, green, and generous - I ask myself, “Is the step one that is forward, sideways or backward?”

The step --- to offer a $10,000 cash rebate on the purchase of an electric car e.g. the GM Volt, or any other make of electric-hybrid vehicle, for those who can afford the rest of the tab, of course.

The above step, which could cost the province (or taxpayers) $3 billion by 2020 (not including the cost of infrastructure to support the vehicles, or the 3.5 billion already sunk into the failing GM company) has its supporters and critics.

["Didn't Toledo, Ohio, and London, Ont., once have electric infrastructure?"]

Robert M., a supporter, sent me the following thoughtful and informed comment:

“The thing is, we're in a chicken or the egg sort of situation. We need the infrastructure to support electric cars before people can switch to them but we need enough people driving electric cars to justify building the infrastructure for them.”

“In order to solve dilemmas such a this we need the government to step in and McGuinty is doing so by providing an initial market and infrastructure for electric vehicles.”

“Once he does this the free market can then take over so there's no need for the initiative to be anything but a short term one.”

["How do we get the biggest bang for the buck?"]

On the other hand, industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers, president of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc., said the following shortly after our Premier revealed his plan:

“Electric vehicle technologies are an incredibly exciting development in the automotive sector and could be a very significant part of the future of this sector,” Mr. DesRosiers wrote in a note to clients Wednesday.

“But if it takes a bribe of $10,000 to get a consumer into these products then the technology will never succeed.” [Other criticism].

My thoughts:

The situation may indeed be a one involving a chicken and an egg, and we certainly need to hatch a good plan for the sake of future generations.

As I said to Robert:

“Without giving too much away, I'll say now we do need infrastructure for a new type of transportation model, and government involvement is key.”

["Can we best afford to move people individually or en masse?"]

"But what type of transportation model, or chicken (or is it the egg?), will be the easiest to sustain 10 - 20 years down the road?"

More to follow.


Would you buy an electric car or wait for something even better?

Is there something even better?


The Audrey Chair - a priceless Adirondack style

I have something priceless in my own backyard.

In early June I wrote a brilliant post (no guff, go see) after receiving a batch of scrap lumber from a neighbour.

(Let’s call my neighbour Jason... because that’s his name).

The exchange was fairly informal.

“Want some scraps?” Jason asked.

“Sure,” I said.

Then I ducked while he threw them over our shared side fence.

The pieces of lumber became The Audrey Chair, so named because I discovered while cutting or sanding that Jason’s 6 year-old daughter had printed her name on what had become an arm rest.

["A million dollar signature?": photos by GAH]

He saw the finished product recently and said, “Because it has Audrey’s name on it I feel like I should buy it back.”

“I’ll come up with a price,” I said, while doing my best fisherman routine, tugging at a fishing line caught in a big sucker’s mouth.

Jason and I shared a good laugh about that. I think he knows I have him right where I want him.


So, how much to charge?

Not a hard question, is it?


Friday, July 17, 2009

$10,000 Rebate for Eco-cars - only good for the short-term

I can understand why Premier McGuinty is promoting the electric car with a 25 per cent rebate (though because of our urban lifestyle the Zenn car might have been a better product to boost).

It would certainly smell like a win-win-win situation to an Ontario political leader, would it not?

First, because our province’s manufacturing sector is taking a nose-dive - especially the automotive industry - promoting a car (“pick a car, any car”) smells like a winning move.

Second, by promoting a car that at first glance sounds like a green machine, Mr. McGuinty may feel he’s on the right side of the save-the-planet debate.

(That debate is still going on isn’t it, even during the recession?)

And thirdly, what politician wouldn’t want to appear generous to a fault in the midst of economic toil and trouble?

["You want mustard on that?"]

I mean, if I was King of All I Survey, I’d want to look generous at all times, and in this day and age, sharing a big bag of Oreos with my serfs... sorry, my loyal followers... in The Village just wouldn’t cut it.

Growth, green, generous. Win-win-win.


In my opinion, and that’s the one that counts around here (Right?), I think the rebate, worth up to $3 billion, is a short-sighted venture.

More to follow.


Your thoughts, so far?

E.G., Would you replace your Civic with a Volt?


Step by step I get closer to declaring the winner

Step 1 - plant 2 rows of green beans in late May

Step 2 - plant 2 more rows in early June after a gray squirrel eats every new sprout

Step 3 - set the humane trap; add a carrot with peanut butter on top

Step 4 - plant 2 more rows in late June after the gray squirrel eats every sprout but one

["Only two left?" (Not any more!: photos GAH]

Step 5 - set trap again after other squirrels are caught (5 so far)

Step 6 - hold off planting beans for the fourth time until the evil gray squirrel is trapped

Step 7 - wait it out


Is there anything better than carrots with PB to tempt the gray squirrel?

Should I invest in a pellet gun?