Archive for June, 2010

At least lutefisk is usually eaten indoors

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

This news story makes that Scandinavian masochism known as lutefisk – which my dad loved so much and which made me gag – seem pretty innocuous:

Sweden battles EU food-safety rules to save a smelly Baltic-herring delicacy

Sweden is fighting European Union food-safety rules in a battle to save one of its traditional delicacies, a smelly dish made from fermented Baltic herrings. Eskil Erlandsson, the Swedish Agriculture Minister, has pleaded with John Dalli, the EU’s consumer and health protection commissioner, to save surstromming, a delicacy from northern Sweden so smelly it has to be eaten outside. Surstromming is produced under a special exemption for Sweden and Finland from EU rules on the sale of fatty fish from the Baltic Sea, which have dioxin pollution levels considered too high for consumer safety. Next year, the loophole will close and the EU will ban production or sale. Commission officials said Mr. Dalli had declined the gift of can of the herring after Swedish colleagues warned him its pungent odour was an acquired taste, even for Swedes. The smell is so intense, it is usually eaten outside.

This forestry film might be worth checking out

Monday, June 21st, 2010

I haven’t seen The Green Chain, but if I notice it on a TV listing I’ll probably make a point of watching it, just to see if I agree whether it presents the different viewpoints on the forest industry in a fair way.

(It currently has an average rating of 4.1 out of 10 at – that may be because it’s really that bad, or it may be because trying to be balanced just succeeds in making everyone mad)

This expresses my sentiments about the vuvuzela

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

(original here)

How does one recycle this junk mail?

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

A lot of the mail that appears in my mailbox goes directly into the blue bin.  However what does one do with those envelopes from Capital One?  I realize that they use bold black envelopes because they stand out, but I’m mildly curious as to how much de-inking would be required to make that into a usable paper product.

Black junk mail envelope - de-inking could be a problem

Soggy Saskatchewan weather

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

CBC News is reporting that some Saskatchewan rural municipalities are declaring themselves “agricultural disaster areas” because it’s too wet for the farmers to complete their seeding.  I think my brother-in-law Gary is still only half finished seeding and might agree that the Birch Hills area could fit in that category.

This map from Agriculture Canada gives the story about the amount of precipitation our area has received this spring.

Percent of Average Precipitation - Prairie Region - April 1 to Jun 9, 2010The dark blue colour represents areas that have received more than twice as much precipitation as normal since April 1.  Click on the image for legend and more graphs from Agriculture Canada (ironically in a section they call Drought Watch).

While on the topic of weather, apparently this spring (March though May according to Environment Canada) was the warmest spring on record across Canada, following after the warmest winter on record.

I find local weather a fascinating subject.  Perhaps equally as fascinating as global climate.

Uncivil discourse

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

In a culture where the sarcastic put-down is so greatly admired, is it possible to regain civility?  The May 2010 issue of The Covenant Companion is introducing a new series on civility.  The article  “Civility and the Road Less Travelled” by Daniel de Roulet is worth a read.

To get to Civility

That issue of the Companion also included a thought-provoking column “Why so hostile?” by John E. Phelan Jr.,  including this paragraph:

… differences of opinion do not distress or alarm me. Quite the contrary. Were our differences quashed, ignored, or minimized, then I would be alarmed. What alarms and distresses me is the hostility surrounding our differences of opinion. Our political and religious discourse has devolved into a wasteland of hostility. Murderous scorn is poured over opponents as if they deserved no respect or consideration for, if nothing else, their common humanity. Persons who temporize or try to see the good in another or their position are considered weak and contemptible. Ideological purity is required. Woe to the person who says something good about President Bush or President Obama, about Pope Benedict or Pat Robertson, about the Methodists or the Pentecostals, about the fundamentalists or the liberals. As poet Thomas John Carlisle put it: “I hate God’s enemies / with perfect hatred. / Why can’t God / do as much?

I’ve been as guilty as most of lacking civility in my discussions about issues about which I feel strongly, but articles like the above are convicting me, and hopefully tempering my speech.

Unlike Robert Service I don’t completely hate cities

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

I’m Scared of it All

I’m scared of it all, God’s truth! so I am;
It’s too big and brutal for me.
My nerve’s on the raw and I don’t give a damn
For all the “hoorah” that I see.
I’m pinned between subway and overhead train,
Where automobillies swoop down:
Oh, I want to go back to the timber again —
I’m scared of the terrible town.

I want to go back to my lean, ashen plains;
My rivers that flash into foam;
My ultimate valleys where solitude reigns;
My trail from Fort Churchill to Nome.
My forests packed full of mysterious gloom,
My ice-fields agrind and aglare:
The city is deadfalled with danger and doom —
I know that I’m safer up there.

I watch the wan faces that flash in the street;
All kinds and all classes I see.
Yet never a one in the million I meet,
Has the smile of a comrade for me.
Just jaded and panting like dogs in a pack;
Just tensed and intent on the goal:
O God! but I’m lonesome — I wish I was back,
Up there in the land of the Pole.

I wish I was back on the Hunger Plateaus,
And seeking the lost caribou;
I wish I was up where the Coppermine flows
To the kick of my little canoe.
I’d like to be far on some weariful shore,
In the Land of the Blizzard and Bear;
Oh, I wish I was snug in the Arctic once more,
For I know I am safer up there!

I prowl in the canyons of dismal unrest;
I cringe — I’m so weak and so small.
I can’t get my bearings, I’m crushed and oppressed
With the haste and the waste of it all.
The slaves and the madman, the lust and the sweat,
The fear in the faces I see;
The getting, the spending, the fever, the fret —
It’s too bleeding cruel for me.

I feel it’s all wrong, but I can’t tell you why —
The palace, the hovel next door;
The insolent towers that sprawl to the sky,
The crush and the rush and the roar.
I’m trapped like a fox and I fear for my pelt;
I cower in the crash and the glare;
Oh, I want to be back in the avalanche belt,
For I know that it’s safer up there!

I’m scared of it all: Oh, afar I can hear
The voice of my solitudes call!
We’re nothing but brute with a little veneer,
And nature is best after all.
There’s tumult and terror abroad in the street;
There’s menace and doom in the air;
I’ve got to get back to my thousand-mile beat;
The trail where the cougar and silver-tip meet;
The snows and the camp-fire, with wolves at my feet;
Good-bye, for it’s safer up there.

To be forming good habits up there;
To be starving on rabbits up there;
In your hunger and woe,
Though it’s sixty below,
Oh, I know that it’s safer up there!

(Robert W. Service – 1912 – Rhymes of a Rolling Stone)