Archive for March, 2009

The Ratatouille effect

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

I have heard references at various times to the so-called “Bambi Effect”, the supposed effect of the classic Disney animated film, where Bambi’s mother is killed by hunters, as a contributing factor to the decline in hunter numbers across North America in recent decades.

There is no denying that deer are attractive animimals, and people understandably don’t enjoy the thought of them being killed, even if it is for food.

So I’ve been waiting to see if folks are going to start cuddling up to rodents, considering the popular success of the wonderful Pixar animated feature Ratatouille.

Some radical environmentalists are on record as stating that the earth’s population should be reduced by several billion people, perhaps by re-introducing diseases such as the bubonic plague.  Even Prince Philip is quoted as stating, “In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation.“  If they play their cards right, they might be able to use the Ratatouille Effect to ban rodenticides, and they would be well on their way to their goal.

Personally, although I thoroughly enjoyed watching Ratatouille, I still detest rats, and will kill them at any opportunity.

But then, I also hunt deer.

The great bitumen sands debate

Monday, March 9th, 2009

The Great Tar Sands Debate
Tuesday, March 17,

Andrew Nikiforuk, author of Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent, and Dr. Carolyn Preston, Executive Director of the Petroleum Technology Research Centre, will present both sides of the Tar Sands development debate. This is your opportunity to learn the facts and form your own opinion.

Andrew Nikiforuk’s book will be for sale. Refreshments will be served and everyone is welcome.

The Great Tar Sands Debate is cosponsored with the Council of Canadians—Prince Albert Chapter.

(source: John M. Cuelenaere Public Library)

With the interest generated by a recent article about Canada’s oil sands in National Geographic magazine, this debate should attract a good crowd.  Barring something really important preventing me, I know where I plan to be on the evening of Saint Patrick’s Day.

UPDATE:  For information about the debate and the debaters, click on these links:  Andrew Nikiforuk’s blog; Dr. Carolyn Preston’s profile at PTRC.

These go to 11

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

Following on the Spinal Tap theme, here is my favourite scene from that movie – Nigel showing off his guitars and amp.

Toilet paper guilt

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

When I was a kid back on our bush farm I knew what it was like to wipe my backside with pages from the Eatons catalogue, and compared to that experience I think most toilet paper is  pretty luxurious.  In other words I don’t require quilted TP that’s been soaked in skin lotion.  Recycled content is fine, and I don’t mind if it hasn’t been bleached to a brilliant white.

However when I read about the latest Greenpeace campaign against soft toilet paper I thought it went overboard in demonizing the Canadian forest industry.

I think that this response by Patrick Moore (former Greenpeace director) provides a good rebuttal.  A couple of  excerpts:

…Paper is made from the sawdust and chips left over from sawmilling, and from logs that are not suitable for making lumber. In environmental terms this is the beneficial use of what would otherwise be a waste product. Indeed, the parts of the log that are not suitable for paper, such as the bark and fine sawdust, are burned to make energy to run the sawmill and to dry the lumber.

In the end, 100 per cent of the tree is used. What is wrong with that?

Greenpeace and the NRDC claim that cutting trees to make paper is causing deforestation and huge emissions of greenhouse gas. This is simply false. Nearly all deforestation is caused by clearing forests for agriculture or for human settlement. Forestry causes reforestation, the opposite of deforestation. To verify this all one need do is read State of the World’s Forests by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.

The International Panel on Climate Change and the Kyoto Climate Treaty specifically recognize that forest management plays a positive role in absorbing CO2 and preventing its release in the first place. It is stunning that Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist for the NRDC, seems to be unaware of this.

Full article here.

Unwigged, unplugged, unspandexed …

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

… generally untapped.

If I lived in Vancouver I might make an effort to go see the Unwigged & Unplugged concert by the touring Spinal Tap.  Besides performing songs from the Spinal Tap mockumentary, and from their album Break Like The Wind, they will be doing songs from The Mighty Wind. (I did  enjoy the music of The Folksmen).

Spinal Tap - The Folksmen

More IE annoyance

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

A few days ago I upgraded my blog software, WordPress, to version 2.7.1.

It took me a couple of days to realize that my header image wasn’t displaying.  I was able to fix that fairly quickly.

A more serious annoyance is that, although Firefox seems to display my blog properly, Internet Explorer doesn’t.  For example my blog post of February 14 only displays up to the end of the lyrics, but doesn’t display the picture of Kip Dynamite singing to La Fawnduh, or any of my older posts.  IE also doesn’t want to display any of the stuff along the right-hand side of the page, such as the blogroll and archives.

And I really don’t feel motivated to tinker with this.  I realize that not everyone uses Firefox, but in a perfect world they would …. IMHO of course.

Thanks Greg

Monday, March 2nd, 2009


I wanted to let you know that I appreciated getting to know you in the year we worked together.  I think we hit it off well, having similar personalities and interests.

I ended up moving to Edmonton to get my degree, while you took a job somewhere somewhere in northern Saskatchewan – I think it was La Ronge – and we didn’t stay in touch.

I did eventually return your Van Morrison LPs to you.

I didn’t hear that you’d taken your own life until Mark moved to Edmonton and updated me on some of the old crew members.

I don’t know if I could have made any difference, but I wish you’d have called me up to talk about your demons.  I guess we never got to know each other well enough to have that level of trust.

Van Morrison’s “A Period Of Transition” is still one of my all-time favourite albums.  It still sounds as fresh as it did in 1979.  Thanks for your influence.

Your friend,


Forest Inventory Crew at Little Bear Lake, winter 1979-80

Forest Inventory Crew at Little Bear Lake, winter 1979-80 (click to enlarge)