Sunday, May 31, 2009

Reflections on Canada – part eight

Then I headed back to Hamilton for a few days, and went out to eat, to an English Country Dance, and to the Y and the library.

On the next to last day, I went to the Royal Botanical Gardens. That was just lovely, with lots of flowers blooming and trees budding out.

I went into Toronto for a last lunch with a friend and a last contra dance. That was fun. I also checked out the library in TorontoPickerings was still better. The Ajax library looked good too, but I never went inside.

I am still conflicted about moving back to Canada. They have lovely summers, with long days and cool weather. But the winters have short days and lots of cold weather. That is the main drawback - that and finding a job I would like as much as my current job.

I really do like how they have the ability to think of others, and the fact that they take the time and make the effort to be informed. They have a great country up there, and it is safe, peaceful and secure. They also care about the environment and try to take care of it. I guess I will return there to live, at least part time, one day. But for now, I will stay here. And keep pictures of Ontario on my computer!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Reflections on Canada – part seven

Here are some more beautiful sunset photos from Tobermory. These were taken very close to my hotel.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Reflections on Canada – part seven

The next day, I walked around Tobermory, checked out their library (terrible) and hiked on the Bruce Trail.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Reflections on Canada – part six

I decided to go up to Tobermory for a couple of days by myself. I was going to camp, but it was getting pretty cold at night up there, so I went for a hotel. I would have been the only person in the campground, and it turns out I was the only person at the small hotel where I stayed. They fixed the continental breakfast just for me. They were busy getting ready for the upcoming tourist season.

Here are some lovely photos of the sun setting on Tobermory.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Reflections on Canada – part five

One thing I noted about my friends in Ontario, and their families, and the friends of my friends…. They are really into reading the newspapers.

And, unlike down here in the USA, the newspapers are worth reading. One paper is the Globe and Mail, which is considered a conservative paper, and is published in Toronto. On one day, they had a nearly full page story on Sri Lanka, plus an op-ed by Naomi Wolff, plus a film review of a documentary about Rachel Corrie. They covered the entire story of her life.

People who ride the subways and trains also read the paper. Then they recycle them, and there are big piles of old newspapers in every stop.

And for the people of Ontario, recycling is big. They recycle just about everything, but the interesting thing was the composting. Everyone has a tiny green bucket for their kitchen to put scraps in, and anything organic. Then they have a bigger green garbage can for outside. People have discussions about how to best recyle, how to keep the raccoons out (put a heavy cement block on top), how to keep it non-smelly. The Ontario government also sells big paper bags for yard waste. They won’t pick up the yard waste unless it is in the bags. All plastics, foil, paper, and newspapers, go into the blue recycling box. In the end, there is very little garbage.

But the real difference up there is that everybody does what is asked of them. They realize that they need to reduce what they are putting into the landfill, so they just do the work without complaining. In Ontario, they have plenty of water, but not a lot of available landfill spaces. In short, they have the ability to think of the general community’s good ahead of what might be convenient for them.

And another major difference that may not be obvious to a casual visitor is that there is not a sense of panic underlying everything. Their banks are solid. People have health care no matter what happens to their jobs. No one is in danger of losing their homes because no one up there makes dicey loans, and there is no incentive to keep running a mortgage on their homes since the interest is not deductable. They are worried about losing jobs, but overall they are in far, far better shape than the typical American is, and they therefore have no sense of panic.

My friend took me to Port Perry, a lovely little town on a lake. And we also did some hiking at a park on the shore of Lake Ontario. There is a walking/jogging/biking path that goes along the shoreline from Pickering to Hamilton and beyond. And there are some more sunset pictures from Ajax (near Pickering). We saw a fox and a beaver that night, along with a heron and geese.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Reflections on Canada – part four

In Pickering, right next to the nuclear power plant, there is a wind mill. This was the closest I have ever been to a windmill like this. It makes a ‘whoosing’ sound as it turns. They say that these can power 500 homes. Seems like we should be building these all over the place. I know we have lots of wind in Asheville.

There is lots of wind coming off of Lake Ontario too. That is where this is located.

The moon is right besides the blade in one of the photos.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Reflections on Canada – part three

One evening in Pickering, we went down to the waterfront. They have some new-ish condos and boat slips built there, which clearly take a lot of money to buy.

But it is nice to be on Lake Ontario – except for the wind! Even though the temperature was pretty mild, the constant wind made me very cold. But I thought this sunset was lovely, and all of these are from the waterfront in Pickering.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Reflections on Canada – part two

After spending a few days in Hamilton, checking out the WiFi in the library, going to the Y, and visiting friends, I headed off to visit another friend in Pickering. That meant I drove on the 401 all the way through Toronto.

Driving on such busy highways just about unnerves me. Toronto is huge and intimidating.

I went to work with my friend one day, and in the morning we got to see a presentation on communicating with people who have lower cognitive functioning. That was really boring. I was going to head into Toronto with her on Friday, but her daughter was not feeling well, so I stayed home with her. We both slept all morning. My friend takes the GO train into work and then gets on the subway. It is the only way to go in Toronto, because driving there is just nuts.

I went that afternoon to Pickering Library. That was one of the best libraries that I have ever seen. It has a ton of stuff and great WiFi.

It seems I went to a lot of bookstores during my visit to Ontario too. I seem to have friends who like to read!

My friend has a house that backs into Duffins Creek, and the pictures are of that creek. They live in a flood plain, so they have a sump pump going in the basement.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Reflections on Canada – part one

I arrived in Hamilton on Friday evening after being gone from home for 29 hours. The actually driving part was only about 14 hours, however. I stopped to sleep and stopped to eat and stopped to get on the internet. I had no trouble crossing the border, although I thought it was weird that they wanted to know what day I was due back at my job…. And the address of the person I was staying with.

Shortly after arriving at my friend’s house, we took a walk down Ottawa street, and made a stop at Tim Horton’s on the way back. This was the original Tim Horton’s, and this was to be the first stop of many over my visit to Ontario. Then we rented the movie “Marley and Me”. I am not much of a dog person, but it was sad to see the old dog die.

On Saturday, we went out to dinner and got soaked between the car and the restaurant when the heavens really dumped. Then we went to Hamilton’s dance and I got to see some old friends from long ago.

A lot of Hamilton looked the same, and had the same smell on occasion. The roads seemed to be very rough and torn up in Hamilton. This was not true of the rest of the province, with one exception. There was a small town who’s roads were also torn up.

These are photos of the sunset in Hamilton from the top of the escarpment. As you can see, Hamilton is a pretty big city. We tried to take a walk besides the waterfront one night, but it was too cold. An old friend took me to eat at a restaurant besides the waterfront for lunch one day, and that was nice!

Rep. Grayson tries to reign in the Fed

"Rep. Alan Grayson asks the Federal Reserve Inspector General about the trillions of dollars lent or spent by the Federal Reserve and where it went, and the trillions of off balance sheet obligations. Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman responds that the IG does not know and is not tracking where this money is." -- from You Tube website.

If you want to see this situation changed, then sign on to this petition to ask your congress critter to co-spondor Rep. Grayson's bill.

I personally think it is too late to "reign in the Fed" and bring back some financial stability to our country, but it is always worthwhile to speak out against criminal actions by the Fed.

Friday, May 15, 2009

More War

Yesterday, the US House of Representatives voted to continue the high number of US troops in Iraq and to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan. They voted to continue to the drone bombings in Pakistan. They voted to continue killing innocent people, and they did not vote for a workable solution to the problems these countries are facing. They voted for destruction.

They voted for an appalling waste of money.

From a Code Pink email:

Cong. Lynn Woolsey agreed. "This bill has no exit strategy," she told us, "and it allocates over 90% of the money for the military and less than 10% for development. This even contradicts General Petraeus' own counter-insurgency doctrine of 80% non-military and 20% military."

But some of our elected officials voted against this hideous waste of money that will kill many innocents. Their names are below. They are my heroes / heroines.

Nay Votes on H R 2346, Supplemental Appropriations, 5/14/09

Edwards (MD)
Lee (CA)
Lewis (GA)
Lofgren, Zoe
Markey (MA)
Pingree (ME)
Polis (CO)
Thompson (CA)
Frank (MA)
Miller, George
Neal (MA)

From Information Clearing House email:

WASHINGTON - May 14 - Speaking on a Supplemental Appropriations bill that would continue to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the following statement:

"America went to war against Iraq based on a lie. We were told back in 2002 that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The previous administration even pursued torture to try to extract false confessions in order to justify the war. It is time to tell the truth. The truth is we should not have prosecuted a war against the Iraqi people. The truth is the Democratic Senate could have stopped the Iraq war in 2002. The truth is we Democrats were given control of Congress in 2006 to end the war. The truth is this bill continues a disastrous war, which has cost the lives of thousands of our soldiers. The truth is the occupation has fueled the insurgency. The truth is the Iraq war will cost the American and the Iraqi people trillions of dollars and as many as a million innocent Iraqis have lost their lives as a result of this war.

"Don't tell the American people that you are ending the war by continuing to fund the war. Don't tell the American people that the war will end when their plans leave 50, 000 troops in Iraq. Don't tell the American people that the way out of Afghanistan is to escalate our presence.

"Get out of Iraq. Get out Afghanistan. Come home America."

AND….. we are going to spend $2.3 billion on Pakistan for “economic and security assistance”!! HA!! It is likely we are going to help them buy weapons, or build weapons, that will be used against their neighbors or maybe even US. I guess that makes it all more sporting – supplies weapons and training to our future, or current enemies. That is certainly what the US did when it armed and trained bin Laden’s group, and they did it again in Iraq.

Our tax dollars are going for bullets and bombs both used by the US military and used ON the US military. Insane.

Well, the thing to do next week is to call Senator Burr and Senator Hagen and tell them that I do not want more funding for wars, or more funding for Pakistan to make more war themselves. I doubt they will listen.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Who is watching the Fed?

Rep. Alan Grayson asks the Federal Reserve Inspector General about the trillions of dollars lent or spent by the Federal Reserve and where it went, and the trillions of off balance sheet obligations. Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman responds that the IG does not know and is not tracking where this money is. May 06, 2009

[This would all be quite funny if it weren't for the fact that they are going to totally destroy our economy. This came from Information Clearing House.]

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

THEWIZ takes a wiz

There is a guy who posts comments on blogs under the name 'thewiz'. He is very pro-war and totally incapable of learning anything. He made this comment on the blog Iraq the Model on November 6, 2008. In six months, I will revisit this post and see if any of his prediction have come true. All the spelling errors are his own. And please note - what he calls "partisan attacks" after the 2000 election was really a widespread anger that the votes in Florida were not counted, and the Supreme Court upended democracy.


The next six months will be amoung the most interesting and challenging times of the last decades.

1. Israel will attack Iran before Bush leaves office. The US may do it but I seriously doubt it. Not Bush's style.


2 Iran will counter with missiles and Hamas and Hez terror attacks. The ME will be quite messy.


3 The Pakistani population will react violently to the Israeli attack. The Paki gov will respond. . . .who's to say who will prevail.


4 Routin tootin Putin will test Barack in some way. One of the few intelligent and truthful things that Biden has ever said, "The world will test the mettle of this guy"


5 al-Queda will try to take advantage of this choas in some way.

NOPE!! -- at least NOT in the USA.

6 The economy will continue to teater on the edge until Barrack's economic policy has been established by Congressional action. Until then, the uncertainty will way heavily on the econ. And if he swings towards socialism, higher taxes, carbon taxes, and more, we will enter a world wide depression.

NOPE!! The economy stopped "teetering" on the edge before the inauguration. We already entered a world wide depression. Obama has promised higher taxes for the rich - in a couple of years. He is not going towards socialism, which is unfortunate.

7 N korean's lil Kim may be approaching room temperature. Don't know what kinda succession plan is in place but N Korea will probably fall rapidly into chaos.


8 China is having internal problems as it econ follows the world south. Noit sure how bad that one is gonna get.

NOPE!! China is having some economic problems, but not as severe as other countries.

9 I hear that Europe has huge econ problems that will surface soon, much worse than the US's.

NOPE!! The US problems are still worse, but Europe is having severe economic problems (some of which is attributable to the US).

10 Oil is the great unkown. The slowing econ will drive prices lower but an Israeli attack on Iran and the ensuing chaos could make them skyrocket higher than they were last summer.

NOPE!! I get tired of hearing the hysteria about Israel attacking Iran. No one is going to attack Iran.

With all of these possibilties and more, the US must stand strong and united. We need to wok together to find the best solutions. To repeat the sick partisan attacks that occured after the 2000 elections would doom us all.

Let's see, after the 2000 elections, many people were upset that the Florida votes were not counted and instead the US Supreme Court handed the election to bush. No such problems with the 2008 elections, since Obama won by a large margin. However, we have several prominent Republicans calling for Obama to fail, and a right wing nutcase planning a 'dirty bomb' attack on Obama. This is far, far, far worse than anything seen in 2000.

The protests in 2000 were NOT "sick partisan attacks" but what is happening in 2009 most definitely IS sick partisan attacks.

And we are still waiting for the Republican in Minn to concede the election he lost for US Senate. Or for the seemingly unending court procedures to come to an end. In spite of the sick partisan attacks that occurred after the 2008 - NOT THE 2000 ELECTION - I don't think we are doomed. If we can survive this much stupidity in the general population, such as thewiz shows, we can likely survive anything.