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Monday, January 30, 2012


So it was just over a month ago, Neil and I were leaving a restaurant in Timmins. We had a beer and a sandwich. It was a cold, cold night and we were leaving early to go home. As we approached the parking lot, I took a mis-step on the ice and whoopsie, took a flip. It was a rather spectacular fall, as falls go, as my head hit a truck bumper on the way down and then I banged my head on the ice. I'm no Sid Crosby... I have a thick skull. No damage there. But I did bang my teeth together and that resulted in a nasty bite on my tongue. Neil was alarmed and said I might want to see a doctor. No problem said I, waving him off. I should have seen a dentist though. I went in for a cleaning and check up today and Dr. Kurys tapped on one of my front teeth. Yow, that hurt! X-Ray! Yup, there's a problem. Abscessed root, damaged nerve. So I will be going back in Thursday... root canal time. Darn.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


I remember my favourite professor from journalism school saying "everyone has a story". He wanted us to understand the fact that if we give people the chance to talk, everyone has something truly amazing about them that is worth telling. I was thinking about that today when I spent some time on the telephone with a former Timmins fellow who is now in his late 70s. He used to be a millionaire. He used to rub elbows with Hollywood celebrities. Now he's on parole after spending years in prison. He shot his business partner to death in a fit of rage. I went through all the court documents and I am still trying to get the real story of how it all happened so many years ago. These two guys, both from Timmins, both millionaires, were as close as brothers ... but then they had a falling out. What the hell happened that one murdered the other? Years have passed, but there is still a story to be told. It's going to take some time, but I am working on it...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yes, I am glad I went...

Sometimes it pays to answer those e-mails … you know the kind, the ones that you don’t think are that important at first, but then you figure, oh what the heck, just do it. That was the case this week when I got a note from Porter Airlines asking me to drop by their wine and cheese event Thursday night to celebrate the fact that Porter is now running scheduled flights three times a day between Timmins and Toronto. People in Timmins sure seem to appreciate the new airline, which is offering cheaper fares and connecting Timmins with New York, Chicago and Boston. I don’t normally do the wine and cheese events, but I figured it was a good chance to see Robert Deluce again and a few other folks and have a nice chat. I wrote about knowing Mr. Deluce and his connection to Timmins several weeks ago. So, when I got the wine and cheese event, I realized I had to take a few notes and a few photos, so I never got the chance to enjoy some good wine and the fabulous food. Too busy. But there was a lot of nice people to chat with, folks who I haven’t seen in awhile, so I stayed… right to the end. Well almost to the end, because CEO “Bob” Deluce was making a thank you speech to the “hometown” crowd in Timmins, saying he realized that the best advertising for Porter Airlines was word-of-mouth from happy customers. That said, Deluce told the crowd he’d like them all to become goodwill ambassadors for Porter … and then he announced that every person in the room, about 500 people, would get a free round-trip airline ticket to anywhere Porter flies. Nice eh?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Staying in touch ... NOT

I have not been doing well lately in terms of staying in touch with people. I realized this about 20 minutes ago when I arrived home and found my phone sitting on the little shelf by the front door. Sure enough there were two text messages on it, from fellow reporters who were kind enough to send me info on a court trial. I confess, I didn't know I left the phone at home. On Monday I realized I didn’t have my phone with me. I searched high and low for it and finally found it in the back of my vehicle. I was on a photo shoot Sunday night at the airport and when I took off a safety vest, I placed it in the back of the truck. My phone was there. Last night, just before I was going to bed at 11 p.m., I noticed there was a text message on my phone. It was sent out at four in the afternoon. I didn't notice. I should mention that my cell phone is my only phone. I cancelled the house phone more than a year ago. The only time I do any serious telephone time is at work when I call people for news stories. Other than that, I am not a serious talker. Most months when I check my cell phone bill, I usually have 40 to 50 minutes of talking and about a half dozen text messages. I have a good phone plan with hundreds of minutes, free long distance anywhere in Canada, unlimited texting and lots of other perks for less than $30 a month. I can’t understand how people can send more than a hundred messages a month and speak on the phone for three or four hundred minutes. Even when I chat with Jennifer or Neil, a long call is about 15 minutes. The one exception is Debra. I don’t think I have ever had a phone call with her that was less than an hour. But that’s okay because it’s usually a good chat. I am sure I will hear about that. Oh, I don’t have Internet on my phone either. There is nothing that is so important that I have to know about it NOW. Now as far as being in touch, I just got a newspaper poll question in my e-mail wondering if I thought Ricky Gervais did a good job hosting the Golden Globes. Who the hell is Ricky Gervais?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Two watches and hearing loss?

I have two watches. They’re exactly the same. One is in daylight saving time and the other is standard time. It’s easier to have two watches than to worry about changing the time forward or back a couple of times a year. There’s just too many dang buttons to figure out. When Neil was here a couple of weeks back he was able to find my summer watch because he could hear the alarm going off. Alarm? I didn’t hear any alarm. Neil assured me there was a distinct high-pitched alarm on the watch, which goes to prove that older fellows such as myself do indeed lose part of their hearing as they age. Neil was able to hear the high frequency alarm that I could not hear. So there is truth to the statement that one loses the ability to hear higher frequencies. If you’re wondering, you can take an online hearing test at: I didn’t hear anything at 8000 Hz… but maybe it’s a trick! So if you're having a birthday anytime soon and you're feeling a teensy bit older, take the test.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Don't put THAT on your blog ...

So here we are, entering our seventh year of blogging! Hmm….I wouldn’t have guessed. But then again, the Internet changes so many things. Who can imagine what sort of Internet we will have seven years from now? It will probably be all video. I don’t know if that is good. I have entertained the idea of Vlogging (Video logging). Well it’s not going to happen anytime soon. I think if I do video logging, I will have to be showing something far more interesting than my old face! Something like a good snowstorm. Hmmm… I do like e-mail. I think it has more people communicating with each other. I can even send silly jokes to my grandsons. Whatever the case, I will try to keep this blog as interesting as possible. Sometimes, I have to hold back because I realize that some of the things I write about are family things … and not everyone wants to have their information, ideas or issues put out here for all to see. I actually had one person tell me something recently … and then they said “don’t put that on your blog!” So I will be sensitive to that. There are even people I know who DON’T cheer for the Toronto Maple Leafs, if you believe that! My Google stats tell me that people read the blog more if there are photos, so I will work on that too.
It has been an interesting week in Timmins. We are now in 2012, our official centennial year. It was kicked off Sunday with a spectacular ice skating show that featured a fellow named Elvis Stojko. I was pleased to meet him and have a brief chat (one of the perks of the news business). He’s a very pleasant fellow. The best part was seeing him skate. I have never seen a professional figure skater perform before, in a live situation. It blew me away. Television cannot match the speed and energy these people have. So that was good.In another story our local police will be patrolling the ice road on the James Bay coast, the one that eventually leads to the De Beers diamond mine. I might go up and check it out. It will be a few weeks yet before the weather is cold enough to completey freeze the road. Interestingly, you don’t need a driver’s licence or insurance on that road.
Speaking of weather, we have plenty of snow here in Timmins and this week it has been a very mild minus-ten to minus-twenty. I was out hiking twice yesterday and it was perfect.