Monday, October 31, 2011


I just love walking in the Fall. I am the guy with the Nikon and the camera bag hanging off my shoulder. Today I had a fellow stop and look over my shoulder to see what was so interesting that I was focusing and composing a photograph. He shrugged his shoulders and walked away. He obviously did not see nor did he appreciate that there is beauty all around and it is in the eye of the beholder.  These two photos are not great at all but simply represent our walk last Sunday. Each day that goes by brings more intensity in the colours, but also brings fewer leaves. I already mourn their loss. What follows is drab, colourless gray for the next few months. The red and orange foliage will decay and bring nutrients to next years growth. As in other years, I will continue to post Autumn photos well into winter. It is a little like lingering over a cup of coffee after a wonderful meal with your best friends.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Beginning of the End?

How can you not love Fall?

A commonly held Christian view is that the world will culminate in some catastrophic events. These will be precluded by some events that will occur that are prophesied in the Bible, such a one world government, a world leader, one currency ("the mark of the beast") and a unified religion.
Never in my lifetime have I seen the time so ripe for these events. We now have a world wide problem that is gaining momentum and an awareness coupled with anxiety that is unprecedented via social media. (Occupy Wall Street comes to mind) There seems to be no solution, and indeed, the solutions that are being brought forward are just exacerbating the problem. There is underlying fear as the ordinary person is losing wealth, jobs, savings, and confidence in the future. I could quote figures from the Wall Street Journal only this week but I digress. The great leader, Obama, who was to bring about change and hope, has done the opposite.
Who do we turn to? Someone will come along with a solution, a great idea. Part of his solution will be a world wide economic community with a common currency and an agreed upon set of regulations that will prevent the economic 'bubbles' that are so troublesome. Nations will no longer vie for trade positions, but there will be fairness and equity all around. This man (or woman) will have a charisma that will make us all place our trust in the new one world government and a single currency. Peace and prosperity will be the fulfilled dream, just like in John Lennon's song "Imagine". Nation's debts will be forgiven and we will all get a fresh start. And then it starts getting tricky. Go read your Bible and see if you can figure out the rest for yourself. I only know that I will be OK.    

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Greek Delight

The rains came today, but not before I caught this.

"The world is unfolding as it should". I do not who said this, but the phrase is familiar. It should read 'unravelling'. Do you feel the heaviness and sense of gloom in the world? Or do you bury your head in distractions because you do not want to hear the 'bad news'? The story of the Greek bailout is supposed to be good news, but I believe that ordinary people are finally catching on to what is going on here. There is a great uneasiness in Europe these days as the wealthy nations of France and Germany took a 50% hit on Greek bonds and every other Euro backed nation borrowed more money to prop up the failing Greek economy. What we are all catching on to is that you cannot solve a debt problem with more debt.
Think about it. You are maxed out on your credit, your bills are piling up, and your car is about to get re-possessed. How do you solve the problem? You go out and borrow more money. Well, actually, you would not be able to. But, if you are a nation, you can. Your citizens will pay it back and if they cannot, their children and their children's children will. go bankrupt and start over again. You see, the problem is quite simple. The reason the people in leadership do not 'get it' is because they are, for the most part, very wealthy people who have never had to run a small business or a household budget. Money is never in short supply and if you are in trouble you just call your accountant and then your lawyer. They sell a few assets, juggle the books, make a few phone calls, and the problem goes away.
Only this time it will not go away. Greek default is INEVITABLE. It is only being delayed and when it happens it will take other nations with it, Italy being the first.
Pensioners in Greece took a 20% reduction in their  pension cheques last month. This month another 20%. Do think the riots are around the corner? And that tends to make my Christian world view kick in. More tomorrow.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Paying for the Mouth Through the Nose

I painted those garage doors in the background, but God painted the tree in the foreground. I would say,"No contest!"

I know you are all waiting with bated breath to hear how my tooth repair came down. You're not? OK then, just go back to that game you were playing. For those of you who care and are concerned enough to send donations, I had to get a temporary filling and in about 10 days will go back for a crown. Apparently when I bit down on the piece of broken tooth, I did catastrophic damage to what remained of the broken tooth. By the time all is said and done, that will be $1200.00, thank you very much. I accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Pay Pal, personal cheques, and money orders, however, I am going to turn down all those offers and only accept cash. I would hate to enter retirement only being able to suck the chocolate off the peanuts.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Give Me a Break

North Townline Road at sunrise.

The morning air is telling us something. Today I was hoping it would be a bit warmer because we were working in a new, unheated building. It was 10C in there when we set up our tools, and we could see our breath. The space is so large and ceiling so high that the little space heater we brought did not budge the temperature even after our four hours there was up. My hands were numb because they had to be in water a lot, and when I got home, I held my cup of coffee close, just to warm up.
After lunch I ate a handful of trail mix to fill the tiny gap that was left after the soup and sandwich, and almost broke my tooth on what I thought was a rock. I have had raisins before that had grit in them, and so I thought that is what it was once again. I spit it out into the waste basket beside my desk. A while later, I happened to notice my tongue catch a sharp spot on my back tooth and discovered that it was broken. (Not my tongue, silly) I immediately dug through the garbage can that fortunately, I had just emptied a day ago. I found the 'rock' and after close examination, saw that it was a piece of tooth enamel about the size of a grain of rice, with a bit of filling attached. I phoned my dentist and am scheduled for a repair in the morning. There goes my weeks earnings.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

At The Cellular Level

All this new technology is driving me nuts. I could have said "No" but the offer was too good to turn down. I have had my LG cell phone for three years and I still am not able to text with it nor download photos. I have never been on the Internet with it and have just used it as a business phone. I got  a call from my service provider wanting to sell me data packages etc. etc. etc. Not interested. Then they offered me a free up-grade as well as grandfathering my very old and very economical plan if I signed on for another three years. I have never been dissatisfied with the network and actually find that it works rather well. I have no plans to change providers so a free phone was a no brainer. I am now the proud (?) owner of a Samsung C414 flip phone. I struggled all evening getting the settings right and trying to figure out how to get my SIM card out of the old phone and into the new one.
Like all new 'stuff', there is a learning curve. I just hope I do not miss any important calls because I have the phone on silent mode by mistake, or have the darn thing play Beethoven's 5th in the middle of church because I thought I had it on silent mode. No guarantees though because I have already taken a goofy photo by mistake. Good thing I do not know how to download it to this blog. It is not very flattering.   

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ducks Unlimited

I shot some ducks on Sunday.

They were all in a row.
Now isn't that just ducky?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Big Birthday Bash

Saturday, we had a late celebration of busylizzy's birthday. On the actual day, she was out of town, but what is one week when you have lived as long as she has?  

Our daughter, Rachel, made an awesome Greek dinner, dairy free of course, and Keith BBQ'd the skewered chicken. The Angel Food cake with whipped topping and blackberry sauce was over the top!

And then it was time to open the cards and gifts, something at which Liam is an expert, just having had a birthday himself.

We all chipped in and got her a new laptop computer, and none too soon. Just that day her beloved Sony Vaio gasped its last breath. Fortunately, our techie, Andrew, was able to extract a confession out of the old computer, and it revealed all, to be recorded on the new laptop, which was then promptly put back in its original packaging before the birthday. So she never missed a beat and is already loving the speed and the Windows 8 operating system. In the above photo she is going over a card from her grandsons that offered up 60 things that they liked about their Nana. (She is 60) I was amazed at how well they know her as all 60 items were 'bang on'. She has invested a lot of time in their lives and it shows when they plainly reveal how well they known her. It warmed her heart for sure.  

She is an absolutely wonderful wife, mother, and grandmother to her little family, who all love her very much. If she looks like the cat who swallowed the canary, it is the dark chocolate she stuffed in her mouth and that is her 'innocent' look.

Blood Veins

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Spice of Life

Vineyards and Estate Wineries - new to our valley.

I have had a lot of variety in my work this past week and it reminds me of why I like my business so much. My clients this week were: a retired Japanese teacher who never married because she dedicated most of her life to caring for her aging parents, a dairy farmer who has siblings farming is the same community as my cousins in Saskatchewan, a dentist whose office is empty for a few weeks while he and his wife are golfing in Palm Springs, and a wealthy businessman who lives a half block from the dentist and is also in Palm Springs with his wife, golfing for a few weeks. I even popped in on a Supreme Court judge's wife who got us to do some prep work for an upcoming contract. Next week brings us to a retired banker's home and also to do a small job for one of busylizzy's clients. After that, it will get repetitive as we are starting a rather large project in a home we have completely re-decorated once before. Probably, our only break from there will be to complete the banquet hall wallpaper we started last week. I think that going to the same job in the same place day after day would really mess me up. I need a constant flow of new people and new challenges to keep me from mortal boredom.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Living in the Real World

Have you ever wondered where the wealthiest metropolitan area in the USA is? If you would have guessed 'The Silicone Valley' of San Jose California you would have been right, a few years ago. We read so much about the steady increases in not only the size of government, but also in government salaries as compared to the private sector. A raise in the private world has to come from an increase in business activity and profits, whereas increases in a bureaucrats salary come from an administration out of touch with reality. The Washington DC metro area is now the leader in average salaries in the whole country at $84,523.00, $34,000.00 above the average for the whole country.  Within the area, federal workers averaged $126,369.00 up more than $4,000.00 from just last year alone.  Last year, Washington also had more lawyers per capita at one for every 12 residents. In New York state the figure was one out of every 123 residents while in California, it was one in 243.
This is the kind of thing that OWS (Occupy Wall Street) proponents read and it adds fuel to their fire. The governments of the world are either in debt or on the the brink of bankruptcy, and yet they keep giving themselves raises. There is not even a hint of austerity measures that are so badly needed to get the economy back on track.
PS Did you know that a life guard on the beach in sunny California has a salary of over $100,000.00 before any overtime?


Golden rays filtered by trees and fog.

Perhaps today was the last day to catch this kind of light for while. The clouds, and then showers are coming to town, unwelcome guests, I might add. I am pulled between work and pleasure. Do I forego a lucrative opportunity to work, or do I pursue  one of my passions? We have only a three day window to do a commercial contract without empolyees getting in our way, so I opted for the work. Surely there will be more great photography in the days ahead. I have been wondering what to photograph in the winter months, the dull and monotone days of Nov. to Feb. I think I will cruise around town and catch some of the diverse architecture in my community. You might call it the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am trying to come up with a creative way to photograph without getting my camera wet. I need an assitant to hold the umbrella.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fraser Valley Fog

I dragged myself out of bed a bit early on Sunday morning, knowing the light would be great after a cold night, followed by a sunny morning. We get these wonderful fogs (if you don't have to commute in them) here in the Autumn  that are a photographer's dream. The window of opportunity is very small. Too soon and the fog is too heavy, a few minutes later and the mist is burned away by the warmth of the sun. I knew where I wanted to go, a spot I have gone to before, with little traffic and great views to the east. I was hoping the light would not be cold and on the blue/gray side, and I was rewarded with this warm glow penetrating through the fog banks. I was rushing from one photo op to the next, so oblivious to time that I was almost late for church. I only made it in time because the light was getting too strong for good photos, and I was only a few kilometers away. On my next sunny day without work, I will be out again, camera in hand, only this time, looking for the magic light as well as the colour in the leaves that is just now starting to splash on.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Beating the Odds

This year's Angel Trumpets

I was reading about cancer rates the other day, in particular, prostate cancer. A thought occurred to me, and I am sure it is not original. The article stated that the blood test to check the PSA level in men is going to be eliminated because there were too many false positives. A false positive is an elevated PSA where there is no cancer, and, apparently, men are being treated or are given biopsies as a result, which themselves can spread the cancer. 
So, here is my thought. It is well known that we all get cancer numerous times in our lives without even knowing it. Our immune systems knock it down before it becomes a problem. Then, one day, it gets the better of us when we are stressed, lacking sleep, malnourished, or have some other illness that sends our immune system for a loop. It is also known that a full blown cancer can go into remission on its own. It is also known that early detection is very prevalent these days and is deemed a good thing as it gives a better survival rate.
But, consider this. These early cancers may have gone into remission on their own. Could this be the reason for increased cancer rates these days? We only seem to be getting more cancers because we can detect them, but if left on their own, could many go into remission? Just asking.
And, this leads to a dilemma. When we are diagnosed, do we go for the radiation and the chemo? If we do, and we ever get cancer again, we are toast because we have no immune system to speak of. If we don't and just give ourselves a fighting chance with some healthy living, will it go away on its own? But then life has always been a big gamble, hasn't it? I suppose I know too many people who have beat cancer without the aid of modern medical cancer fighting, which just about kills the patient. I hope I never have to make that decision.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Every year at exactly the same time, I take almost exactly the same photo at exactly the same spot and then say the same thing. Why should I change my routine? We harvested the last of our 'patio tomatoes' the other day. I cannot ever remember enjoying them so much as this year. The Cherry tomatoes were so sweet and flavourful this year, even thought they were a bit late in starting. We had three different varieties and each one had a different flavour, texture, shape, and size. The few things we grow in our garden every year are worth the effort, but a wee bit expensive. I discovered this week that our water bill, which is now separated from our annual tax bill, is on average twice as high as our friends, all of whom do not have a garden. Maybe we will just stop taking showers next summers, set up the sprinklers in the garden, and have our pricey water do double duty.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Choke Warning!

Don't eat these, you may choke on them too.

First off, my apologies for the black font on black background on my last post. For some reason, I discovered it late, and then try as I might, I could not change it.

The 27 nation EU (European Union) has moved closer to Nanny State status today. They have decreed that the age one can blow up a balloon is 14. Anytime before that is an illegal activity. In fact, if you are under 8, you are not even allowed to handle a balloon. This is only one of many news laws and regulations governing toy safety that toy stores and parents will have to keep in mind as they try to educate and entertain the wee ones. Yes, my friends, there is no area of life that is immune to rules and regulations. What with inspections, labelling, enforcement, and re-manufacturing, the cost of entertaining small children just became more stressful and more costly. Perhaps an underground balloon trafficking network will rear its ugly head in a neighbourhood near you, similar to the fireworks situation. (Hey, balloons blow up too!) Birthday parties will never be the same. No doubt, in the future, one will be required to purchase a birthday party permit and have at least one toy nazi on hand to keep all the kiddies alive. And forget those water balloon fights next summer when you and the kids are trying to keep cool. No doubt we would all be dead already if we didn't have the government to take care of our every need. ("Nobody told me one of these things could make you wet!")
You know what happens to children when the parents make every single decision and hover over the kids 'for their own good'. The poor kid never learns to think, and when they finally do make a decision without parental supervision, they make huge blunders. We are almost there as a society.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Good Work, Guys

Amaranth grain, native to South Africa, but somehow growing in our garden.

First, a quick up-date on yesterday's post. Last week the Occupy movement had moved to 640 cities world wide. Today, that number has risen to 1200 and on Saturday 20 Canadian cities will see Occupy rallies. Because we have a relatively healthy economy, I would suggest that the rallies, at least here in Canada, will attract a myriad of groups of activists with a myriad of causes. Protest for protest's sake.

But today we hear about two fellows who have been working for years in the field of economics. They have developed economic models to determine the effectiveness of government fiscal policies. Finance ministers, banks, and universities all over the world have been using their models.
“Central to research the two conducted separately in the 1970s were efforts to model and quantify cause and effect in economies,” explained the wire story, “including the complex interplay of state and central bank policy with the expectations of people and businesses.”
“One of the main tasks of macroeconomic research is to comprehend how both shocks and systematic policy shifts affect macroeconomic variables in the short and long run,” the Nobel Academy waffled on in a typically lofty statement. “Sargent’s and Sims’s awarded research contributions have been indispensable to this work.”

This not a joke. These two have had a hand in the biggest world wide economic disaster of the last century, and their recognition and reward? They have been awarded the Noble Economic Prize!
Reminds me a bit of a few years ago when Yaser Arafat won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


The Morning Glories just do their thing every morning, oblivious to sit-ins, marches and occupiers.

"There's something happening here,
What it is ain't exactly clear" from "For What It's Worth" by Jefferson Airplane. (1969)

The 'Occupy' movement is growing and is moving to Vancouver this weekend. If you are not aware of what this is, I would advise you to get acquainted with it. The economic crash of 2008 laid bare the corruption in our system, and anybody who is feeling hard done by is joining the movement or is very sympathetic toward it. There is a feeling 'out there' that the rich are to blame, but that is painting too many with the same brush. "More equity, tax the rich" is one of the mantras. This has the odour of revolution behind it, if you know anything of history.
There has been no overt violence so far, but there is an attempt to start a dialogue on how to fix the system. Of course, anyone who has an education and plenty of student loans with no job prospect will want to change the system. The three criteria for revolution as taught to us by the history books are: huge discrepancy between rich and poor, a disappearing middle class, and a lot of people with a grudge.
  The US fits each of these criteria. And then some others the spooks hadn’t thought about. The U6 broad measure of unemployment is going up...with 16.5% of the population without work. There are 6.2 million people who have been looking for a job for more than 6 months.

Americans are $7 trillion poorer, according to David Rosenberg, than they were 4 years ago — and property prices are still going down.
More than 45 million are on food stamps. (From "The Daily Reckoning")

If you don't think this protest will have legs, think again. But, sadly, few of them will do the homework to connect the dots that lead back to the source of the problem. Yes, Wall Street got rich, the rest of us got poorer, but can you blame the banks and brokers? They were handed trillions when they should have been left to the ravages of bankruptcy. The blame lies in the ignorant economic policies of the big governments of the world. And all governments are self serving. It is only power that they are after and they will give their voters anything they want, whether it is good for them or not, and they will borrow from future generations to do that. Well, the leading edge of that future generation are out on the streets right now, occupying. It will be fascinating to see where this will lead.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Most Delicious

I should have brought out my camera much sooner, but I did catch the dessert. busylizzy made a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner for us and it just gave us one more thing to be thankful for. I have to hand it to her. She has some serious food intolerance's and yet she prepares our favourites even though she cannot eat everything. This incredible pumpkin cheesecake was made by my son-in-law. If you think it looks good, you should have tasted it. I say that in the past tense because it is no more. As you can see below, Liam and I are on the same page when it comes to cheesecake.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Narrow is the Way

Early morning fishing on Mill Lake

Our usual routine on Sunday is to attend the early morning service at our church, but that did not work out last Sunday so we attended the 'new' service which is a Sunday evening start time. We now have seven services on the weekends to meet the huge demand, and it is very convenient to have options.
Although I have always enjoyed the worship time and take great delight is singing in spite of a croaky old voice, I am going more and more for the meat of the message. Connecting with friends and like minded people is vital in life, but beyond that, we need input and learning in our lives also. What I am getting lately is a confirmation of what I have sensed and known for a long time, and that is the fact that it is becoming more difficult as times goes by, to live and profess the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is very counter-culture. It was not always that way in Canada.
The current message series is the letters to the seven churches from the book of Revelations. There are commendations and reproof for each church, and a common thread is the difficulty of preserving a pure gospel of Jesus in a pagan culture. Of course, the culture at that time was much more severe in its condemnation of Christianity, but in many ways, we are getting close to what it was then. We are being overtly and sometimes subtly influenced by a godless culture and we often inadvertently buy into it. It creeps up on us. Instead of drawing sharp boundaries around our faith, we keep moving the borders outward to include more and more in our faith. Our culture screams at us that tolerance and inclusivity are necessary to keep from offending anyone. Nobody is wrong so do not make them feel bad by telling them they are wrong. So we accept and condone to keep from rocking the boat, and soon we have strayed from the gospel. Jesus said the way would be narrow and difficult, and few would find it, but we are to persevere. We hear the exact opposite today. "Everyone is on a spiritual journey and all roads lead to the same destination. Just be sure you are on a path." When we follow Christ who says that he is the only way, we are asking for trouble for ourselves and the church we represent. So, we have to be narrow and intolerant in order to be true, and that, my friends, is very counter-culture.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Giving Thanks

Not sure how the lowly turkey gets so much attention at Thanksgiving. Something to do with the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock perhaps, but it has become an enduring symbol of family, food, harvest, and giving thanks. Offering up a prayer at a Thanksgiving meal is a bit of a challenge. Dare one begin a list of things to be thankful for? As a Christian, I know the source of all good gifts and I know who I am thanking, but a list means that we just might forget something or someone. Besides, the list, even though complete, would result in cold food, and one very impatient grandson who not only is anxious to chow down, but wants to do the praying himself.
Gratitude is an attitude and you either are or you are not thankful. I have posted before how I lay my head down on the pillow at night and begin to be grateful. It is a great stress reliever, and an attitude adjuster. When in a truly thankful mode, one finds it incredible just how much there is to be thankful for. And it goes way beyond the physical things in life. Actually, those are the least significant of all things to give thanks for, but nevertheless, important.
This weekend I am particularly thankful that we had an opportunity to spend a day with my nephew and his two small children after they took wife and mother to the airport where she flew to Italy for a few days. Why am I thankful for this? It was not that long ago that 'M' was given a death sentence with a deadly strain of cancer that was coursing through his body. Today he is as healthy a specimen as you will ever see, having beaten the cancer in spite of the doctors and the health care system. With a lot of prayer and a change in diet, he beat it, and he just informed us that his dad, whose cancer prognosis also was grave, has recently been given a clean bill of health, again without the aid of doctor's chemo or radiation. As I sat visiting with him, his two beautiful children at his side, I could not help but be grateful for life itself, and for healing. What are you grateful for today?     

Friday, October 7, 2011

I Must Confess

Because I do not anxiously await every new John Grisham novel, I would not say I am a huge fan. Having said that, I have read almost every one of his novels. Although his forte is the legal novel, my favourite of everything he has written is "The Painted House", a very well written novel that has nothing at all to do with lawyers and courtroom scenes.
"The Confession" is a story of justice gone bad, an innocent man sent to the death chamber in Texas for a crime he did not commit. At the last minute, the true killer, about to die of cancer, decides to do the right thing and confess. But how do you stop the wheels of justice after nine long years of appeals and last minute reprieves that have drained the patience of all involved. It is gripping and suspenseful, and when you think the story could not go any further, there are still more than 100 pages left in the novel. It goes further and gets more interesting. I have said many times that you can recognize a Grisham novel from a mile away. He has a terse style that moves the story along quickly. Only the plot changes from book to book.
He usually gets on a hobby horse, and in this book it is the death penalty. He chooses a safe ground from which to argue his logic, an innocent man  being put to death. Of course we would agree that this is an atrocity. The circumstances surrounding this particular miscarriage of justice makes the blood boil and one wonders how close to the truth it comes in real life. After putting the book down tonight, I was kind of glad I do not live in Texas.   

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tooth Decay

I went for my six month dental check-up on Monday and was surprised to hear that my dentist, not the usual hygienist, was going to clean my teeth. Are dentists falling on hard times and doing the grunt work now too?
I have had the hands and the tools of many hygienists in my mouth over the years and I must say that I got the most thorough cleaning I have ever had. Goes to show that when you have talent in an area, you move on to better things. 
Then came the check-up. I have been slated for my last two crowns for the last 2 years but have been postponing them. They are over $1000.00 each and with work slow, and my teeth not bothering me at all, I have put the crowns on the back burner. But what's this? I now have three cavities! With all the work I have had done on my mouth in the last 5 years, and the flossing and brushing I do religiously twice a day, I thought I was done with cavities.
I had no work for Tuesday and booked the work for the following morning. (getting an appointment that soon must mean things are slow at the office for sure) 
Two tiny fillings not even requiring freezing and one larger one that involved a failed silver amalgam got done in 45 minutes and I was out $1000.00 for the two appointments. Somebody is making too much money and maybe that is why things are slow at the office.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Complain, Complain

We often stay for dinner when we go to Bellingham. Billy McHale's restaurant was recommended to us so we thought we would try it, even though it was a busy Saturday night and the place was packed. We got a table right away, and found the service to be very good. What I had a complaint about was the food. I ordered the Coconut Shrimp entree and was looking forward to something I would never get at home, but loved. The menu stated that I would get 5 jumbo coconut shrimp with steamed vegetables, cheese bread, and a twice baked potato. Our food came very quickly but I was immediately disappointed when I saw the "Jumbo Shrimp". Maybe baby shrimp, or son of jumbo shrimp, but jumbo they were not. One small bite each was all there was. I guess 'Jumbo' is a relative term, say compared to popcorn shrimp, or perhaps microscopic shrimp or shrimp embryos.  Not to ponder too long over semantics, I will say that they were tasty, but rather inadequate. The steamed vegetables were on the verge of overcooked, but edible. The cheese bread was dried out, the size of a credit card, and had no taste. The twice baked potato had been baked more than twice by the look of it. It was dried out, pasty, and the penny sized chunk of bacon on the top was only slightly less tough and chewy than a penny.
Due to a lingering hunger as result of not enough shrimp, I went out of character and ordered a restaurant dessert, Rusty's Butterscotch Brownie Sundae. The brownie was vastly under baked and was basically a butterscotch cookie dough with a bit of baked crispiness around the far edge. It turned me off a bit, but I ate it. (Sweet tooth, you know)
The top photo is a depiction of a larger version of my shrimp. The lower photo is more like what I thought I would get, but was hoping for even larger.
Because this place gets pretty good revues on trip advisor, I should not be too hasty and say I will never go back. But, if I do, I will not order anything with Jumbo as a prefix.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Take a Chance?

What was your first reaction when you opened this page and saw the 649 Lotto Logo? Was there a little rush of adrenalin? Was there a tinge of disgust? Did a smidgen of guilt hit you? Or, was there just indifference? The logo is plastered everywhere these days and apparently the advertising is very effective. Do you remember when the only Lotto available in Canada was the Irish Sweepstakes? Those tickets were near impossible to get and only a very rare few ever played that foreign lottery. But, the foot was in the door and fast forward to today where gambling is an ever present fact of life. In fact, it is probably the only hope for release from financial pressures for the majority of people in North America. I voted on an online poll yesterday (more than 20,000 responses) and found that as a non player, I am in the small minority of Canadians (14%) who never buy lotto tickets.
I am only in modest opposition to gambling because I believe we all gamble on different things in our lives all the time. To single out a lottery is not fair. I am opposed to purchasing those tickets simply because of the odds. Do the math, and you too will find better use for those 'volunteer taxation' dollars.
A retailer friend of mine once asked me why I was always in his store but had never bought a lottery ticket. There were various 'scratch and wins' displayed under glass right in front of us, and so I said to him,"This is why" as I selected a ticket at random and gave it to him along with my $2. He scratched it and before he discovered what I had won, I had already turned around to walk out of his store. "It says try again!" he said, as I called out over my shoulder, "That's why."  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fat Tax

Denmark has introduced what is believed to be the world's first tax on foods containing saturated fat.

The Danish government is applying a surcharge to foods with more than 2.3 per cent saturated fats, in a bid to combat obesity and heart disease.
The new tax will be levied on food such as butter, milk, cheese, pizza, oils and meat. It means customers will be paying about $3 more per kilogram of saturated fats in a product.

Prices rose Saturday in many grocery stores as the tax came into force, while some customers cleared out shelves earlier in the week to stock up on fatty favourites.
Food industry managers have complained that the tax will be a bureaucratic nightmare.
in 2004, Denmark declared war on trans fats, making it illegal for any food to have more than two per cent of the artery-clogging oils. Austria has a similar law. In July 2010, Denmark imposed a tax on sugary junk food.
About 10 per cent of Danes are considered obese. Britain is the fattest nation in Europe; one third of children and nearly two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese.

What is your first reaction when you read this news item? Are you dismayed that again, government intrudes into our lives with yet another regulation and another tax? Or are you happy that someone is controlling, or at least trying to control those who have no control and the days of us healthy people subsidizing those who chose unhealthy lifestyles is coming to an end? No doubt, this type of taxation will spread to other socialistic countries such as Canada.

I have always been in favour of consumption taxes as it gives the consumer the choice whether or not he pays the tax. Taxing unheatlthy consumer goods is a way of making risk takers pay for the consequences of their risk. 
What I do not like is government treating us all like children in a manner that says that they know what is good for us and what is bad for us and they will try to control our behaviour. It is one thing to tell us what we can and cannot eat, but what comes next is much more dangerous. Will they tell us what we can and cannot believe? Will they tell us who we can or cannot associtate with? Will they tell us what we can or cannot read or write?  The foot is already in the door on all of these issues.

So, I am bit torn on my initial question. What I would think would be more appropriate is to educate people on healthy lifestyle choices. You might say that has already been tried and yet the rates for obesity are going up. Maybe the answer really lies in the pocket book. I don't know.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Some Fabric and a Movie

After both working on Saturday morning, busylizzy and I took a quick trip to the USA. I have found a hassle free way of avoiding interrogation at the border crossing. I put on a sad puppy dog face and when they ask what the purpose of our trip is, I say in a mournful voice, "Fabric shopping." If the border guard is woman, she will have a gleeful smile on her face and say "For a quilt?" I nod and we are free to proceed. If it is a male border guard, I get a look of sympathy and a "I feel your pain" type of  comment and we go on our merry way.
It was true. We, or I should say busylizzy, shopped for fabric for a quilt while I stayed in the car and read the latest John Grisham novel.

We were only a few feet away from the cinemas in Sunset Square in Bellingham so went to check out was playing, and discovered that "Courageous" was just starting and there were a few seats left.
I had just viewed the trailer a day before so I knew what the premise of the movie was. The four cops, above, are good friends and good cops, but things happen and the real challenge of their lives, fatherhood, takes a front seat. The movie is actually quite well done but does get a bit sanctimonious a time or two. Overall, the acting is quite good and there is good character development. There are many threads running through the story but each is treated well and is interesting. There is comic relief amidst all the serious times, and one scene in particular, in the back of a cop car, is just quite simply hilarious. 
There is not a father out there, with even a tiny heart, who will not re-think his role as a parent and how his influence steers the family and his children, after watching this movie. The story finds much triumph in the face of tragedy and is inspiring on many levels. I recommend it. Warning: You will get your tears jerked.