Thursday, December 28, 2006
Last week we travelled to London on VIA rail for an overnight visit. The cost was about $180 for two persons which at first glance is substantially higher than the cost of gas for the same trip (say $60). However, the $60 does not take into account vehicle maintenance, insurance, etc. for two people, which is comparable to the 50c/km mileage reimbursement I would get for driving the same distance. That is to say, the cost is approximately what a corporate accountant believes is the cost of driving the same distance, when all factors are taken into account.
More importantly, the VIA trip supports a public rail infrastructure which our country badly needs. The service was efficient, though not as good as European rail service. On all the European trains I've taken, you can simply walk on the train without lining up and getting herded like cattle onto the train.
London has a very attractive train station; if only it was used to greater capacity. I hope our governments invest more in rail service and a little less in free highways for car drivers.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
I'm slowly chewing my way through uTOpia volume 2. It includes essays from Christopher Hume, architecture critic for the Toronto Star and Adam Vaughan, formerly of CITY-TV and newly-elected councillor for a downtown ward.
Damian Rogers has an enjoyable article on fashion in Toronto. She starts by describing the vintage shops of Kensington Market, such as Courage My Love. From there In the more upscale Queen West district, shops like Peach Berserk, Comrags, and Fashion Crimes showcase local Toronto talent.
In the online world, local writer Russell Smith has his own website, xxyz.ca, which gives fashion advice to men. If you can sift through the pile of ads, the site has some engaging columns. (Also, just to geek out for a minute, Smith needs to work out the bugs in his content-management software; some of the articles are full of little symbols which indicate unprintable characters.)
I'm surprised Rogers neglects to mention the Fresh Collective, a designer run collective started in 2003 by Laura-Jean "The Knitting Queen." Every two weeks a different designer takes over the front window and you can literally see the jewelry and clothing being made in the back of the shop.
"Pinochet and his generals unleashed a spasm of cruelty and violence
unprecedented in the country's history. As it happened, they also instituted
some sensible economic policies. For that reason, many conservatives hesitate
today to criticize Pinochet personally or the Pinochet regime."
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Here's a sample
birdshot pellet removal
quail hunting "involuntary manslaughter"
hunting accident manslaughter
hunting accident manslaughter pleas
Friday, December 08, 2006
The harvest is plentiful (at the supermarket anyhow). Ontario's apple growing region produces fine russet apples. Russets have been popular since Victorian times, when they were called 'leathercoats'. In the Shakespeare play Henry IV, part 2, Davy says to Bardolph, "there's a dish of leathercoats for you"
We've been drinking Bennet's apple cider (944 Garner Rd E Ancaster, ON) this fall. The Straight Dope has an opinionated article on the difference between cider and juice. There is no difference legally speaking between the two; but marketers have seized on cider as a more marketable term.
There's nothing quite like a rich mug of Ontario cider on a cold winter night.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Stephane Dion surged from fourth place to become leader of the Liberal Party of Canada yesterday in a stunning win. Dion listed environmental sustainability as the most important issue facing Canada. And as former environment minister he is familiar with the climate crisis. Stephane is a highly intelligent leader. Will he make a difference?
Realistically, Jack Layton will not become PM. And anybody has to be better than the current government which is led by nutbar oil patchers who believe climate change is a leftist plot to steal Alberta's oil wealth. Harper's government has blatantly reneged on Canada's Kyoto commitments and slashed funding for Kyoto programs. and now promises to do something about climate change ... by the year 2050.
The rise of climate change as a campaign-defining issue is encouraging. Sites such as climateliberal.ca show that Liberals get the message that Canadians are very concerned about the climate crisis. Unfortunately there is an elephant in the room. A big nasty, CO2 farting elephant. Liberals did not make a significant dent in the problem during their three consecutive majority governments. So it begs the question: Is the new-found enthusiasm for sustainability merely another Liberal ploy for votes, or a sign that they are taking the issue seriously?
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Christopher Lohse, a MSW student at Connecticut State University, published a study showing a direct correlation between psychosis and support for President Bush. Lohse interviewed psychiatric outpatients during the 2004 election. The more psychotic the patient, the higher the support for Bush.