Sunday, November 12, 2006

K-os Flypaper Fan-Music video

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dear USA

I hope you voted already. Early & often. I know you know what I am talking about.

Signed with love,

The rest of the free world.

(hint: the hand is pointing in the wrong direction)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Love and miss you, Grandpa

This would have been my Grandfather's 91st birthday, born Nov 5, 1915 in Laval des Rapides, Quebec. He passed away in 2002 after a long struggle with Alzheimer's. I feel his presence and influence in my life yet.

Like others of his time, the Depression and the World Wars had a profound impact on him. He was always very disappointed that he did not serve in World War II. Due to health reasons that existed at the time, he was rejected for service. I remember my innocent question to him in my preteen years when I realized that he would had been a young man in the World War II years. He answered my question about his service as if he had rehearsed it for a long time, and had been waiting for that moment. As a matter of pride he did not want his decendants to think that he had shirked his duty. His father served in WWI when he was a toddler. Our family still has the numerous postcards sent home to his wife and young boys, marked "Somewhere in France", and written mostly in French, a language that none of his close living relatives now speak.

My grandfather had an inborn passion for recordkeeping that I believe was intensified by the fact that it was during the Depression that he would have been at the age where most of us learn our lessons in how to manage money. How many people do you know who keep a meticulous personal automotive log, detailing mileage to the gallon for every single gallon of gas purchased? My grandparents did. I remember being on a road trip with them as a child, and they had made the decision ahead of time that they would need gas at this particular point, but would not stop at any station that was selling gas over 41 cents a litre. This type of discipline seems dreadfully old fashioned now to a lot of us, but in the age of instant gratification and record setting personal debt, maybe we all should be a little more circumspect. I am at present learning frugality skills such as he embodied, using as a framework the system Your Money or Your Life. I like to think that he is helping me achieve these skill of record keeping and a certain amount of discipline and consciousness, as it certainly doesn't come as easily to me as it did for him!

He was a person who was very meticulous and took pride in his work as an estimator. When they finally allowed him to retire, quite a few years after he was planning to retire, it took 3 workers to replace him. That is no exaggeration. Retirement was hard on someone like him who thrives on industry, and his physical and mental decline was rapid after retirement, in the absense of something to focus on which really required his attention. After almost a decade, he finally needed full time care to deal with now-advanced Alzheimers disease.

On my last visit with him during Christmas 2001 when I was visiting Ontario, he was having a good day. By this point, he was normally constrained into attempting to join a conversation with one word responses, some of which would not make a lot of sense. When we noticed that he was attempting to join a conversation, all the rest of us in the room would be quiet, as if waiting for an oracle to speak. At first he would not believe that I was there to visit him, as I did not live in the area anymore (which was heartbreaking to hear). However, he seemed to believe my airplane story :-). Then he floored us all by asking about how his other grandchildren, also in Vancouver, were doing. This was quite a leap of logic for him by this time (not to mention the recent past such as the advent of my schoolage cousins was probably harder for him to remember), and we felt so lucky that he was having a good day on this visit, which ended up being the last time I saw him. Before I left, I saw that the movie "Gone with the Wind" was on TV. I knew he was a fan, so I offered to put in on for him, which he was happy about. In years past, he had given me his 1934 original version of the book, as I had wanted to read it. It is a prized part of my book collection.
Happy Birthday, Grandpa

There's plenty of...oh, wait a moment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency visited my humble blog a couple days ago! Crazy. Hopefully they already knew about the seafood :-)
It occurred to me that along with other, much more sinister effects, dating will never be the same with the crash of the fish "stocks". Remember how good (sometimes) it felt when your friends would tell you that "there is plently of other fish in the sea". "I Will Survive" or something equally kickass would start playing in your head, and whatisface or herface would be almost forgotten. (maybe)
Now try, as a supportive friend in these new times, using that line. I predict that there will be a long silence, then said friend, still trying to be supportive, will weakly continue "weeelll there are other people you could be dating". Name one. It just doesn't have the same ring.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Seafood no more

Just watched a segment on the news that stated given current trends, there will be no seafood species left on this planet by 2048. In other words, likely in the lifetime of you and I there would be no natural fish in the sea anywhere, at least of the popular species which humans currently eat. This is not an inevitable decline yet, but it will become inevitable if current trends don't change.
Given that we can get our protein and omega 3 fatty acids in a more healthy (and tasty) manner from plant sources, I respectfully suggest the time has come for humans to restrain themselves from eating fish. I propose this even given the long maritime heritage of my family, as fishermen off the coast of Canso, Nova Scotia going back 6 or 7 generations. This was a sustainable and perhaps bountiful living in the past. Now it is not. We must adapt to our changing realities, or humans might be next to take steps towards extinction in the short term, given our poor choices. It is not too late to change, but soon it will be.