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Sunday, June 29, 2014

... To be on your own, with no direction home ...

It was interesting to read that the lyrics for the famous Bob Dylan song Like A Rolling Stone sold for auction this past week for more than $2-million. I've always like Dylan. Loved his music. It reminded me that it was this week, wayyyy back in 1971, that I hitchhiked out west. Part of the trip was through Minnesota and we stopped for a few hours in Hibbing, Minnesota. That's where young Robert Zimmerman (AKA Bob Dylan) grew up. We never found his house, but we did see his high school. It was a great time to be alive. I think the world was more interesting then. People didn't walk around with cell phones in their hands. They talked face to face.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


I have a greater appreciation for teachers. This past week I was able to drop in on several high school graduations, and one Grade 8 grad. It was indeed satisfying to see the faces of the young people, so full of hope and confidence, as they move to higher education. It is one of the things that makes Canada a great place. I was equally impressed at these events to see the teachers, obviously happy with the achievements of their young students. There has to be immense satisfaction on their part to know they have given so much to these young people. That's a good thing. That being said, I was also so proud that Tyler has graduated Grade 8. I so wished I could have been there. I think he knows how everyone in his family is so pleased for him, especially his Mom and Dad.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


I have been known to say that there is a reason that Twitter is not called SMARTer. I am not a twitter person. Several of my colleagues are, and say it is important. I fail to see why. I think some people feel the need to be "in the loop" and if they can comment on a developing situation, then they feel they are a part of the bigger world. Some of my newsie chums believe they can stay on the edge of really important news by monitoring what other people are tweeting. I don't buy it. If it's that important, we will know... I grew up in a military family, in the Sixties. If something was that important, we'd all see the mushroom cloud on the eastern horizon. Also, so much Twit information is just not reliable. Some people tend to Twit some pretty stupid things ... and those things come back to bite them in the a$$. There is also that new situation known as FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) as described in new urban dictionaries. A lot of people have FOMO. They also buy into the internet situation called ICYMI, which means In Case You Missed It. This just gives people reason to go twittering other people, usually with the most inane trivial bits of information. Thank goodness they can't see anyone rolling their eyes. Maybe we should create RMEAWYJT (Rolling My Eyes At What You Just Texted).

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Passing on secrets ...

It's what families should do. Although this is not a big secret, I was kind of pleased to tell Jenn about it last week. It began as I was discussing how food can quickly "go bad" no matter how much care you take. I was telling her that I bought a pint of strawberries and they rarely last three or four days before they go all soft and mushy. But I also mentioned that I use a bit of vinegar when I wash the strawberries and it sure helps. When you get home from the store, wash the strawberries with one part vinegar to ten parts water. Rinse them all over really well, drain them, rinse them a bit more with fresh water and put them in the fridge. The word is that the vinegar kills the mould spores and keeps the berries fresh, longer. But I still say you should eat them within a week ... and they're still fresh and sweet.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Throwing out my socks

I read somewhere a few years back that actor Sylvester Stallone doesn't wash his socks. He throws them out and buys new socks all the time. I do something like that. Today was my sock-throwaway day. Just for my white gym socks. Every summer I buy several new pairs of white gym socks. I wear them with my sneakers, usually just during the summer. Here's the thing. White socks get dirty and yucky and no matter how much you wash them, they just get old, real fast. And you can never match up the pairs right. Some get stretched out. Others do not. So I throw them away and buy new socks. This year I picked up several new pairs of Fruit Of The Loom gym socks. they're less than a dollar pair. That's cheaper than a cup of coffee. I know it seems like a waste. My mom would be so upset. It's not like you can donate socks to the Salvation Army. So now I have all news sock again, that will last for the summer. Lucky me eh!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Meals to remember

It was nice to chat with Jennifer earlier today and we talked about one of those Internet sites that are all about healthy food … only this website put out a list of the nine foods you should not eat. Things like margarine, canned tomatoes, processed meats …on and on. Okay, I go along with some of that stuff, but after awhile I just think, Hey I am gonna die one of these days and when I look back on my life I just know I am NOT going to be thinking about how much soybean curd or quinoa I should have eaten. Truth be told I don’t eat that stuff. That being said tonight was a steak night. In deference to Jenn’s beliefs I have cut way back on red meat. I have stopped eating pork. I have stopped eating canned tuna. Other people have assured me this is a good thing. So every five or six weeks I treat myself with a nice cut of beef. In this case, it was a very thick slab of top sirloin that marinated for about 30 hours (Black pepper, Pepsi, olive oil). I sizzled it in the big cast iron pan for 11 minutes, then I let it settle in the oven for another 10 minutes. I added half a baked potato and some grilled veggies. It was perfection. Instead of wine I quaffed a freezing cold pint of Danish ale. But the steak was too big. So tomorrow morning, I will have an egg and steak McMuffin for breakfast. These are the kinds of meals I like to remember.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Disappointed ... well just a bit

Ontario has a new government. Voters gave Premier Kathleen Wynne a majority government Thursday. I like her. I've met her twice and she seems a person who is positive and sincere. Problem is, she's a Liberal. I could not vote for her party Thursday because of the many well-documented scandals of the previous Liberal government. Former Premier Dalton McGuinty makes Richard Nixon look like an altar boy. Funny how the Toronto media made a big deal of Mike Duffy over-spending about $90,000 on his expenses. They seemed to make less of a deal over McGuinty misspending more than $1.1 Billion on the gas-plant scandal. Anyway, it is a new time and I am hoping the new government moves forward. Interesting that Northeastern Ontario pretty well thumbed its nose at Queen's Park and continued to vote NDP.
On another note, I switched allegiance on camera brands. Since 1974 I had been shooting Nikons. In the past year or so, I tried Canon. The company bought me a new Canon 60D, a nice $2,500 mid-range pro camera DSLR. I liked it. Now that I am integrated into a new newsroom, the company said I have to share the camera. So I handed the 60D over to the boss and went out last week and purchased my own new Canon. Except I bought the one that is more expensive and more state-of-the-art; the 70D DSLR. (Seven frames a second up to 1/8000th of a second!) It also shoots HD video. So expect to see more photos here in the coming weeks and months as I continue to learn.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Gillies Lake in Timmins

A summer morning in Timmins ... ( A shot with my new camera. Click for large size)

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Small world or what

The new job brought an interesting fact to light this week. One of my new co-workers, a fellow named Ron, mentioned growing up in Toronto and riding the Roncesvalles bus. That twigged a memory. I told him I used to sell newspapers nearby at The Junction, when I was a kid. I was a street corner newsboy near Jane and Dundas. I said it was the by LCBO store and the old army surplus store. That's when Ron revealed he remembered going to that store as a teen. He lived near The Junction. I said I used to hang out there every Saturday and then I would go to my uncle's house on Jillson Avenue. Ron's eyed went wide. "Who did you know on Jillson?, he asked. Now Jillson Avenue is one of the shortest streets in Toronto, all of two blocks long. I said it was my uncle Mike Maclean, his wife Marg and their children Tina, Laura and Jamie. Ron laughed. It turns out he and Jamie were school buddies. I said Jamie was really big on playing hockey. Ron said yeah, he and Jamie were on the same team. How cool is that? You never know who you know.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Back where I started eh ...

One of my colleagues said it best this week, telling me I had come full circle. I came to Timmins 40 years ago, to take a job as junior reporter at The Daily Press. Over the years I worked in private radio, network radio, magazines, freelance, TV news and then the weekly newspaper. Well go figure. I was handed a letter Tuesday, on Sunmedia letterhead, directing me to shut down my office at The Timmins Times and to move over to the daily. Today is my first day on the job. I am still going to put out the Times every week, but the company is saving huge dollars by merging our operations now. In time, I will join the general assignment pool at the daily, but I have to make sure to keep putting out the Times since it still has a huge circulation. I am told the only thing changing is the location. So we will see how it goes. The Times building has been shut down and will soon be for sale. I will miss my nice quiet office with a window. I am now in a big, big newsroom... but there are only a handful of us newsies left. We've been told that at some point, they will also put this building up for sale, and that we will also move into a storefront. Interesting times ahead... (no pun intended!)

Sunday, June 01, 2014


Journalists are not supposed to endorse anything! But I am gonna step out of line right now and endorse Muskol spray. I spent several hours in the bush last night and early this morning and the Northern Ontario blackflies are swarming by the billions out there. Muskol is amazing. It works. The blackflies stayed away from me. If you are going out into the boreal forest anytime soon, grab a can of Muskol!