Once I had a compass

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Once I had a compass, in a manner of speaking: it was a figurative one, with a needle that mostly pointed to hope. Not all the time, mind you. Occasionally it pointed in the wrong direction, when I lost my way and ended up trapped in the negative continuum that happens when you make the wrong choice, or otherwise make a life-changing mistake. Takes a long time more often than not to break free and find your way back to a place where you can make a fresh start. Continue reading

Avoid the Trump factor in the fight against climate change

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Winter came a little late this year. Less than two weeks ago there was no snow on the ground here in Hope Ness. But it has arrived, as you can see. This is not at all unusual for mid-December: daily, “lake-effect” snow squalls coming off Lake Huron, the nearest of the Great Lakes. They will continue until the lake water cools down and starts to freeze over. So, it’s daily snow-blowing with my trusty tractor and attached snow-blower to keep the driveway clear. There’s no if, ands, or buts about it. It’s get up in the morning and go to work, stay on top of it, morning after morning, or risk getting snowed-in. Nothing like necessity for motivation in defiance of SADs and the aging process. Continue reading

When in doubt make pizza

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Dark-rye pizza with multinational topping

When in doubt, make pizza. And make it from scratch, otherwise it doesn’t count in the greater scheme of things. I mean, anybody can squeeze pizza sauce out of a plastic bottle, or chop onions, red pepper, mushrooms, green and black olives, and even spinach. There is to be sure a certain, patient skill to grating pizza mozzarella and even crumbling feta cheese on top. Oh, and yes, a sprinkling of Oregano. Continue reading

Ignorance and want: the prophecy of Charles Dickens

I was talking a few evenings ago to my young friends, a well-read, pleasant couple with hope in their hearts, about the state of the world. We settled for a while into a discussion about the troubling, political situation in the U.S. where exploitation of a significant portion of the population by a populist demagogue with dangerous dictatorial tendencies is leading that great country, and the world, down a dangerous path.

Suddenly, as often happens, a recollection of a memory that seemed relevant to the discussion came to my mind. In this case, it was a scene from the 1951, British-made movie A Christmas Carol, based on the short story of that title by the great 19th Century English writer, Charles Dickens. Continue reading

The Jane Miller is found, may she rest in peace

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The Great Lakes are North America’s inland sea. They’re actually five seas of varying sizes. The largest and most northerly is Lake Superior. Then there’s Lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario. Georgian Bay, though strictly speaking, part of Lake Huron, could also be included as one of the Great Lakes, or sea in its own right.

Its cliff-lined deep, blue waters on the western, Bruce Peninsula side have as stormy a reputation and as long and rich a marine heritage as any of the Great Lakes. Continue reading

Paying the nuclear price of plans gone askew

(Author’s note: Among the several province’s in Canada that own and operate nuclear-powered, electricity-generating stations, Ontario has by far the most reactors. They are located on the shores of two of the Great Lakes, on Lake Ontario, east of Toronto, and Lake Huron, near the town of Kincardine. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is the publicly-owned, provincial Crown Corporation proprietor of Ontario’s nuclear plants. They include the Bruce Nuclear plant near Kincardine, which is operated under a long-term agreement, by a private company, Bruce Power. Highly radioactive nuclear waste, including a growing stockpile of used fuel, is stored on-site at Ontario nuclear plants, as it is elsewhere in Canada. But that is not considered a long-term solution. Canada’s federally-appointed Nuclear Waste Management Organization several years ago proposed an Adaptive Phased Management approach to that issue, including development of a Deep Geological Repository. The NWMO is currently conducting a lengthy site-selection process to find a suitable site. Meanwhile, OPG is awaiting final approval of a separate but similar deep-rock facility at the Bruce Nuclear site for low and intermediate-level, radioactive waste that it first proposed at least 13 years ago. Such waste, is now routinely transported to the Bruce site for what’s also regarded as temporary, above-ground storage. As might be imagined, the idea of burying nuclear waste in close proximity to the shore of one of the Great Lakes, which are shared by Canada and the U.S., has proven controversial.)

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Bruce Nuclear site

 

I’m not kidding. Well, maybe a little. But I can’t help but wonder if there’s a special room set aside at Ontario Power Generation (OPG) headquarters in Toronto, or its Western Waste Management Facility at the Bruce Nuclear site, where managers go to pound their heads against a wall. Continue reading

Gratitude journal #2: Meeting my touchstone

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About 15 minutes up a section of the Bruce Trail through the woods near my place there’s a small branch trail leading to a cliff-edge lookout over Hope Bay, and Georgian Bay off in the distance. But on the way there the trail winds through a rugged area with large, moss-covered boulders on either side. Especially on grey, overcast days the moss has a luminous, iridescent glow. I have stopped and taken a closer look at some of them, especially the little gardens that have managed to take root on top, where there must be a thin layer of soil collected over a great many years. It’s a wonder, how nature can endure and survive on so little, through winter’s bitter cold in these parts, under a protective blanket of snow, and come alive in the spring. Continue reading

Speaking of “priorities,” Canada’s quietly looming health-care crisis

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A big-hearted smile from a Canadian “Mountie” was a little refugee’s first experience of Canada after crossing the border from the U.S. last winter.

I know I’m not alone in this: the feeling of being fortunate, relieved, and proud, to be a resident of this good country called Canada, as the sands run out for the otherwise deeply troubling year of 2017. Not that prospects for 2018 hold much promise of being better.

There are other good places to live, countries and communities large and small where people who believe in human decency are doing what they can to keep that light on; people who know in their hearts that unless we can learn to live together and celebrate our diversity, rather than hate it, there is no hope for the future.  Continue reading