organic food

July 31, 2009

Interesting study about organic food and how we are being duped. I agree that most people are duped by mass-produced, industrial organic food. When big supermarkets started down the organic trend, I became sceptical about organic standards. When something becomes trendy, I tend to become extremely wary and normally extricate myself from the mass hype.

Why do I support organic food that is locally grown as much as possible?

  • Animal treatment is regulated. Animals must have access to the outdoors and there are strict regulations about space per animal
  • Less artificial chemicals (pesticides, antibiotics, herbicides, growth hormones) are introduced into the ecosystem
  • Much of the produce tastes better because it is picked ripe, is bred for taste rather than appearance and typically travels a smaller distance (not considering mass organics)
  • Less energy is used for transportation
  • More people are gainfully employed since more effort is required to deal with pests and weeds
  • Chemical companies don’t benefit as much
  • Species variety is valued
  • I like supporting the small farmer
  • It’s my choice

adios skunkrrel

July 30, 2009

Last night Skunkrrel – that rarest of crosses between a squirrel and a skunk – was found dead, an apparent victim of a traffic accident.

Mostly she was known for her attitude toward ‘normal’ squirrels unless you were that special someone at that special time of year – then she would sit in a cherry tree and bat her eyelids at you. We’ll miss her emptying the bird feeder, wobbling around in the glow of pregnancy, hopping along the fence, wagging her white stubby tail and just acting all crazy.

Thanks for stopping by Skunkrrel – our garden won’t be the same without your scampering and general silliness.

I watched Gran Torino a few nights ago and didn’t understand the hype. The story had potential, but the acting was so terrible and the screen play was so obvious that I kept looking at my watch. However, the last ten minutes had some redeeming value. I don’t know what it is with Hollywood and treating viewers like they are two years old.

However the intent of this post is not to discuss Gran Torino or Slum Dog Millionaire – both of which I felt didn’t meet the hype. What’s interesting to me is the reaction that people have when you don’t like a movie that they like. The reaction ranges from anger (all too common) to mockery to condescension (“maybe you didn’t understand it”).

I guess part of the problem is that people interpret you not liking a movie as an affront to their taste – an attack on their sensibilities that is indefensible because it is a personal choice and subjective at best. Egos are wonderful things.

strike water

July 25, 2009

With Toronto’s municipal workers on strike for over five weeks, everyone’s talking about garbage accumulating through the city. I would like to know if our drinking water is safe with a skeleton crew from management running the water treatment and testing.

More news on why tasers are terrible in their current use. If police respected them as a true (but less deadly) alternative to their gun then we would be on the right path. As a minimum, they should never be used to deter non-violent resistance.

Quebec College of Physicians has officially reopened the debate about euthanasia and assisted suicide with a recommendation of euthanasia for specific cases under very strict guidelines. A distinction needs to be made between euthanasia – a deliberate ending of life to ease suffering, and assisted suicide – ending your life with the help of someone. Although the lines often blur, they should be sharp and distinct.

Doctor Balfour Mount argues that Canadians’ prolonged interest in these topics shows how far Canada is from proper palliative care. Many of our dying suffer great pain in the weeks and months before their death. Dignity is not a word many can use when watching someone slowly and painfully succumb to terminal diseases. Dr. Mount is a cancer patient using the palliative approach so he eats his own dog food so to speak. He argues that euthanasia and assisted suicide is prone to abuse because it is not possible to determine if coercion or guilt was part of the decision-making process. He argues with such passion and respect that you should listen to his interview on CBC Radio.

There are many others who are just as passionate about the right to die – our right to control our own life and bodies. I still believe that we have the right to spend our last days in a dignified manner – whether in palliative care or by ending our suffering. How we control abuse is the question still unanswered.

canadian visas

July 24, 2009

The Government of Canada has no excuse for the latest fiasco – visa requirements for Mexico and Czech Republic citizens. Canada definitely has the right to require visas, but they should have given people fair advance warning.

We in Canada hardly knew anything about it. Imagine living in countries that don’t speak English and having to deal with this. People are lined up at our consulate for blocks overnight. Others are losing flight fees and time with loved ones in Canada. Another bone-head move from DICKtator Stephen Harper.