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Monday, November 23, 2015

Is this the start of something great?

Maybe I am becoming a food activist. I am not sure. I know that I don’t eat Nestlé products anymore, for political reasons. The Nestlé corporation has some very unsavoury views about acquiring fresh water for profit. I disagree, so I have stopped buying Nestlé water and all their food products… including those wonderful ice cream treats. Oh well. Today I am trying something new. Like most people I know I would only buy Heinz Ketchup. But since that company closed its Canadian plant at Leamington, Ontario it appears that our favourite Heinz is no longer made in Canada. I have been told, but have not been able to confirm, that it is made in Mexico. Well now, Mexico I am told is nice place. But I prefer to buy local. Tonight I was picking up some groceries when I noticed that French’s now makes a ketchup product. So yes indeed, I purchased a bottle. I am not sure yet that it is made in Canada, but the label said ten cents from every bottle sold goes to Ontario Food Banks. Oh please, I hope it tastes good. Or I will feel like a bloody fool.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

I will sure miss Conrad Carriere

I was saddened greatly Friday to learn of the death of Conrad Carriere. His funeral mass is tomorrow. I will go. I won't go the funeral home, because I find that part of the funeral process a bit too overwhelming. I am not going to sing sweetly about him being a great man. Conrad was an ordinary guy who worked hard, loved his family, loved his community and was just a pleasure to know. He was one of the first people I met when I came to Timmins in the mid-1970s. We eventually became co-workers at CFCL, I liked him because he was a straight shooter. One of his favourite words was horseshit. If he thought some was wrong, he would say it was horseshit. I remember joking once that he must have seen enough horseshit in his boyhood when he was growing up in Gogama. When he retired I was always pleased to meet Conrad for a quick chat in the mall or coffee shop. He always had a smile and a twinkle in his eye and he would be so pleased to clue me in on the latest horseshit going on in Timmins. We miss him in Timmins, but I know the folks in Heaven are smiling now that they've met Conrad.

It's not bad!

So I am not usually a Crown Royal drinker. I have always found it a bit too sweet. But good marketing has made CR one of the best selling Canadian whiskies out there. There was some more good news last week that piqued my interest. Crown Royal produced a new product, a Northern Harvest Rye and on Friday a well known whiskey authority declared it the World Whiskey of the Year. Well, isn't that special? So on the way home from work Friday afternoon I dropped in at the LCBO to grab a bottle. Had a nice little sip Friday night, and yes, it is quite nice, very smooth. And it is a RYE whiskey. Many Canadians don't know it, but most whiskies in Canada are made from corn. The notion of rye whiskey goes back to the 1800s when some Canadian distillers added rye in their whiskey making process. Some experts have declared that rye produces a smoother flavour. I don't know. They use corn now mainly because it produces alcohol more quickly and more cheaply. But this new version of CR is made with 90 per cent rye. So yes, I bought a bottle and I am pleased. Christmas is coming. Woohoo.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Yes, I am so guilty.

I am guilty. Yes, I have been doing it again. I would feel better I think if it was alcohol or chocolate. But no. I have been on a TV binge. I am so guilty. For the past few nights after work, I whip up a quick supper, pour a glass of wine and park myself down to watch Netflix and the newest mega-documentary by Ken Burns, which about The Roosevelts.  It is 14 hours long, divided into seven episodes. This is television at its finest. I think every student of broadcasting should be exposed to this sort of work. Of course Ken Burns is the accomplished master of the TV documentary.  I think CBC producers should also be exposed to this to see how to produce a doc without inserting a political aspect into it. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Talking is good

Some days I am not sure how to react when I see news stories about how others react to free speech. Two incidents come to mind. One is the protest at the University of Missouri where students are upset with racial slurs seemingly being tolerated. That sounds like a worthy protest. But when a student journalist tried to cover a part of that protest, he was shouted down and pushed away,.. by the protesters.  I know have that feels.
The other incident happened at Yale University when some administrators spoke against a printed warning about offensive Halloween costumes. The admins took the position that Yale students should be mature enough to select costumes without getting mandates or orders from above. Well, that just set off a firestorm of angry debate, suggesting that the admins were not being culturally tolerant enough.

I really have to wonder if some of these people will be ready for the real world. Some people get so offended when other people disagree with them.  I think universities should be places of academic freedom and discussion. There is no room at all for racism or intolerance of others. But people have to learn to calm down, and not get offended at what they perceive or think the other guy is saying.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

The funniest thing happened ...

I was at the city hall parking lot earlier this evening as I was leaving a meeting. I ran into a well-known city councillor, who is a former mayor and broadcaster. As usual we took a minute to say hello, get caught up on news and gossip. Now this fellow is almost 80 and he knows so many people, and attends a lot of funerals. He is a sharp fellow and I enjoy chatting with him.  So it seems he was more than impressed with a speaker in church earlier in the day. A young woman had delivered a eulogy for her late uncle during the funeral service. “She was just the best speaker I have heard in a long time”, he told me. Apparently this woman gave the best send-off a person could possibly imagine. She was marvelous, he said. When my friend stopped talking, I looked at him and said, “Jeez, at our age, maybe we should get to know her…”. There was a pause of silence and then we both broke out into gales of laughter. I mean, we really laughed, and howled and laughed some more. It was just the best thing, two old fellows standing in the city hall parking lot roaring with laughter.