Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Why not cover the whole story?

Recently I watched an episode of CTV’s W5 which followed the history of a firearm with a highly questionable entry into public ownership and a disgustingly deadly end to its history. It demonstrated some great research and editing, had a good story line and was presented in a logical, linear manner.
My problem with the show is what was the point? I think I know the point they were trying to make, but if my guess is right, their point was not very well defined. I also don’t think they were heading toward the proper, educational point they should have been trying to achieve.
Let me first re-cap the story.
A young man in Georgia is selling illegal drugs and decides he should have a hand gun for his protection. He goes to an infamous dealer (in Atlanta, I believe) and purchases a well engineered, and well built semi-automatic pistol chambered for .45 ACP. This particular weapon is designed for concealed carry and the calibre for serious stopping power.
(.45 Automatic Colt Pistol – this is only the cartridge designation; the weapon was not made by Colt)
A friend of this young man convinces him that he should NOT carry the gun; not because he doesn’t know what he’s doing but because of the legal implications of being caught with illegal drugs and a firearm for which he doesn’t have permit to carry.
The young man’s drug centre is hit by another drug distributor and he is shot and killed. His firearm, which was at his home at the time of his death, is sold by his mother for a few hundred dollars. It is transported to the North East and sold by another gun dealer (with a questionable background). It eventually winds up in Montreal where it winds up in the night stand of a man who has a 4 year old son. The son and his playmate remove the weapon from the night stand; the playmate pulls the trigger and shoots the boy.
With this particular calibre cartridge it would not have mattered where a small boy is hit, the result would have been the same. In this case the boy was hit in the face.
So what was the point of this documentary? Too many firearms which are too easily accessible? Gun dealers without a sense of responsibility?
If one or all of these was their intention they didn’t bring any of these points home. Yes, firearms are easily accessible even under the most draconian firearms control legislation. This should be obvious since there are many jurisdictions with such laws (Canada for example) under which there are often more illegally owned firearms than legally owned.
Yes there are a few gun dealers who fail their responsibilities to society. As it happens the two dealers in this documentary were conforming (just) to the laws within their particular states. Any state where anyone can walk in to a store and walk out with a firearm while still knowing nothing about how to handle it needs to upgrade their legislation. Any state where a drug dealer can buy a ‘legal’ weapon in any length of time needs to upgrade its legislation.
As it happens, both dealers are no longer in business under their original business names.
The pertinent points that W5 missed?
1. Anyone who owns a firearm should not be able to take possession until they have been properly trained. (Twenty hours at a police academy does not, by itself, constitute proper training.)
2. Those that have been convicted of a capital offence or have no known source of income should not be allowed access to firearms except under extraordinary circumstances.
3. Firearms are stored in a secure location which does not include a bed-side table.
4. Firearms that are loaded are for use, not storage.
5. Firearms that are stored are not only double-checked to be empty but are left with the safety engaged. In the instance listed above, the firearm should also have had a trigger lock installed.

And, in addition, the forgoing (including the list) does not constitute any part of a firearms training program.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Great Books Great Entertainment

This time I’m talking about Passchendaell, Divine Justice, The Good Old Boys.

The Good Old Boys by Elmer Kelton
I originally read this at some time around its release which was in 1978 although I had forgotten almost everything about it. Of course, anything written by Mr. Kelton is usually worth at least two reads even if you haven’t forgotten the story. The Good Old Boys is no exception. A great look at trying to make a go of farming in the US South West or anywhere else, for that matter. The problems are exacerbated by the timing, the first years of the 20th century and the financial depression of the era. It’s also a good look at the stuffed shirts (or in this case a pompous fool and a miser) who think they run the world but are actually just getting in the way of those who do.
The protagonist here is Hewey Calloway. Apparently there are other Calloway books and I’m looking forward to finding them.
It’s a very sad thing that Elmer Kelton will never add to his great body of works. I will miss him greatly. But he leaves a great legacy in some great stories.

Divine Justice by David Baldacci
This is another in the great ‘Camel Club’ series. I’ve read most of them and enjoyed all. Actually, I hope I missed at least one since they are so entertaining and Divine Justice is the last. No matter, they are so entertaining and my memory is so short I can read them all again in a few years.
The Camel Club is lead by an older gentleman who calls himself Oliver Stone. In an earlier life (and an earlier series by Mr. Baldacci) he was John Carr, ex Special Forces and member of an elite killing squad. The only way he could retire was by ‘dieing’ and re-emerging as Oliver Stone.
The other Camel Club members are a diverse group with a variety of backgrounds and very diverse characters.
Great suspense, great conspiracy and a great read.

Passchendaell by Paul Gross (originally)
This is the best story I’ve read in a very long time. The only problem I have with it is that it is “Based on the screenplay by Paul Gross.” Does that mean that Paul Gross also wrote the novel? Does it mean that Mr. Gross was too busy to write the novel (which I can certainly believe and understand given the body of work he has done in the past few years) and had someone else write it? If the latter is the case, who did the writing?
This is not really important but a small thing that bothers me.
This is a great story about WWI and the people … the farmers, cowboys, loggers, fishermen, home makers, sons and daughters … from all over Canada who fought it.
A great movie and a great read.

Mr. Gross has received several awards for his acting and writing. He deserves several more for Passchendaell.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Great Books, Great Entertainment

The biggest problem with being too busy hauling fuel is that it doesn’t leave enough time to work on my next novel. However I can still squeeze in the reading of a chapter or so of someone else’s writing while I’m unloading in some spots.
I’ve enjoyed some great reading over the past few months. Passchendaell, Divine Justice, The Good Old Boys, Night of Flames, Echo Burning and Telegraph Days.

Telegraph Days by Larry McMurtry
One of McMurtry’s more entertaining efforts, much like his ‘Buffalo Gals’. I’ve found that some of his stories, even though they often contain humour can be very dark. The ‘Lonesome Dove’ series, for example can supply some serious depression. Yes, Telegraph Days has some depressing moments since it’s trying to depict life, after all, but overall it is a very funny, entertaining read. It follows the life of a young woman in the west from 1876 through the turn of the century and includes several historical references. Great read.

Echo Burning by Lee Child
This is the second time I’ve read this member of the ‘Jack Reacher’ series and I enjoyed it as much this time as the first. For those who are not familiar with Reacher he was an ‘Army brat’ who grew up in US military bases all over the world, graduated from West Point and spent 15 years as an army cop. He retired as a major when the end of the cold war changed ‘his’ army in ways he didn’t like. He now travels with a tooth brush and clothes on his back exploring the country he saw little of in his professional life. Echo Burning has him in South Texas experiencing some violent weather, violent bigotry, intrigue, murder and learning a little about horses and children. Great read.

Night of Flames by Douglas W. Jacobson
I can’t remember how I discovered this author or book but I’m sure happy I did. I’ve read countless stories of WWII but very few from the perspective of the Polish. This is an excellent tale of a young couple with a son who are all split up when the Nazis attack their homeland. They each go through their own version of hell then find new paths that go back through that same hell in their attempts to find each other.
If you want be entertained, like historical fiction, enjoy learning something new and want to meet some new (you’ll see them as real) people be sure to get a copy of Night of Flames.
You can visit Mr. Jacobson at http://www.douglaswjacobson.blogspot.com/
Great read.

More about the other three novels in the next post.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Homesteader: what does it mean?

I’ve had people stopping by apparently looking for information on Homesteading and leaving disappointed. Apparently they have been lead astray by my novel title ‘Homesteader’. I tried to avoid this by adding the sub-title ‘Looking for Sharon’ but obviously I wasn’t completely successful.
Homesteading today might include a box full of dirt on a fifth floor balcony in New York or a small acreage on the Blue Mountain 80 miles north of Toronto.
My novel, however, is about the acquisition of a comparatively large tract of land in the North West Territories in 1886. This ‘homesteading’ story could have been set in any part of the Western US or Canada since the laws and costs for acquiring land were similar in both jurisdictions. The timing could have been changed to a number of decades. There was still government land available as late as the 1980s in British Columbia although the laws had changed several times over the years. I chose the Calgary area since I had hiked or driven over some of the area depicted and it fit in nicely with the characters I had created in ‘The Great Liquor War’.
Not that I don’t have some familiarity with today’s form of ‘homesteading’. I’ve planted and weeded more than one garden. I’ve raised and sold (or helped butcher) several litters of pigs and milked more than one cow. In addition to some experience with range cattle I’ve also raised a few on my own small acreage.
Yes, you pick up a few hints over the years that might help. For instance, if you find yourself in possession of an old garden plot that is covered in a thick blanket of weeds plant Jerusalem artichokes. Plant them very thick. While you’re waiting for them to grow, surround them with a fence that is pig – proof and install a water system for those pigs. When the artichokes are well on their way, turn a litter of pigs in to the lot. The artichokes will smother out the weeds; the pigs will eat the artichokes (and weeds) as well as doing the initial tilling of your garden now ready for next season.
One of the things I’ve tried was a hay rake of my own creation which worked. With some variation I describe it in my novel ‘Homesteader’. The characters in the novel use it attached to the back of a horse drawn wagon rather than to a tractor.
By the way, Jerusalem artichokes are not artichokes and they are not from Jerusalem. They are members of the sunflower family.
Yes, there is enough material in homesteading now and homesteading then to make a book on either subject. But I prefer what I’m doing.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What is historical fiction?
Recently I read a post at one of the many blogs I visit asking that question. What is historical fiction?
I thought that should be a fairly easy question to answer. Is it primarily fiction?
If it is described by the author as fiction, then we have to accept that it is indeed fiction. Even if someone completely familiar with the event in question can say from their own knowledge or experience that ALL the facts presented are true that knowledge is completely irrelevant to the classification of the material. If the author claims it as fiction it is fiction.
Does it depict a historical event or describe with some accuracy a historical society? Is some aspect or part of it undeniably historical? If it contains any of these then it is historical fiction. No question.
However, that could be all out the window with changing just a few things.
For instance, let’s change the timing.
Let’s take a story about the arrival of Samuel de Champlain on the St. Lawrence River in 1608 and the building of his ‘Habitation’ at the site of present day Quebec City. We check it against all available diaries and journals – most notably Champlain’s – and find it is historically accurate in every detail. Does that ensure it is history?
Now we look at the front-piece of the work and find the author says it is fiction.
That makes it fiction, not history, despite the accuracy of events depicted.
Then we see it was written by Jacques Cartier in 1554.
That makes it science fiction.
This concept can be further strengthened by simply looking at the work of some of the popular authors of the past few years.
For example, Tony Hillerman has written several novels depicting obviously fictitious events in the ‘Four Corners’ area of the South West US. I can’t think of a single one that doesn’t contain some historical information about the Anasazi, Navaho or Hopi peoples or perhaps the history of the four states. However, Mr. Hillerman never put the title of ‘historical fiction’ on any of these works. They are all fiction.
Elmer Leonard’s work is another example. In many of his novels, most notably the ‘Carl Webster’ series, there is a great deal of historical data. In the novel ‘Up in Honey’s Room’ he talks about the (verified and documented) infiltration of Nazi spies into Washington DC, FDR’s touring around in a Ford convertible and the timing of FDR’s death. Despite all that it’s still fiction and Mr. Leonard makes very little effort to explain how much of the story includes verifiable historical information.
Its fiction, because Mr. Leonard says so.

By the way I'm still waiting for my YouTube video on 'Homesteader' but they (SBP) has done a good job on on the 'Partners' vid at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6LEqjRHCDQ
It's much better than the first one ... it's so good that Doug (my son the Engineer) sent me an Email asking if that was me on the horse. No, it isn't.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Finally, my new release

Well, the publisher has been busy and there have been a few hold-ups here and there, but my new historical fiction novel is available. It could have been a lot worse; ‘Homesteader’ only took about 3 weeks longer than it took for ‘Partners’. Considering that Strategic is now up to 700 titles and has some new people, that timing is actually pretty good.
As with everything I’ve done (including news paper articles) I always manage to find mistakes that I and the editor have missed despite numerous attempts to avoid them. In the case of ‘Homesteader’ I found six mistakes but nothing that should require production to come to a halt.
As the title suggests it’s about trying to start your own agricultural enterprise on the cheap with the help of the government. In this case it’s the Canadian Federal Government, the time is 1866 and the area is Fort Calgary, (already being called Calgary in 1866) North West Territories (now Alberta).
Along with the choosing and registration of a homestead it also includes some information about the attitudes of the day, some crime and the end of the open range.
Here is an excerpt from the first few pages where Hank and Harry meets a man who will prove to be a problem for them …

The way the three of them charged right up to us and stopped so close didn’t add to my feeling of comfort. They were crowding us and had an arrogant manner about them. I didn’t like the look in their eyes, and I was glad I had taken the pack horse lead shank.
Even though he was a few years older than me, Harry Gilmore always followed my lead. Part of the reason was that, up until the fall before, I had been his boss for about a year. Mostly, though, it was because he was part Sioux - although few ever knew that - and several years of folks tramping on him and his people meant that he generally followed and kept his mouth shut. What that meant for me at the time was that I knew I would be handling the conversation with the fat man, and I could depend on Henry to back me up, whatever happened.
“Where do you think you’re going?” the fat man asked.
Maybe my confidence in Harry's loyalty and ability made me a little too mouthy in my response to the big man's arrogant manner. And, as I said, I was paying too much attention to the gun man and not enough to the fat man. "East," I replied.
He tried to stare me down. I smiled and he shifted his gaze to Harry, rolling his chew around in his mouth.
He forced his big horse forward a few steps so that its head was on Blackie's off side, its nose about a foot from my right knee. "Where did you come from?" he asked, bringing his gaze back to me.
"West," I replied.
He spit tobacco juice at Blackie's cheek.
Blackie was a good horse but he wouldn't put up with very much foolishness, even from me. He was also one of the fastest animals I ever rode. It seemed that stream of tobacco juice was still in the air when he turned and bit the fat man's horse on the shoulder.
Sixteen hundred pounds of horse squealed and jumped to the left, blood flowing down its leg from a three inch gash. The horse ridden by the young gunfighter, at least six hundred pounds lighter than the fat man's horse, was too close and no match for the bigger animal. Rider and horse hit the ground hard.
The mustang grunted, squealed, and jumped to its feet. The rider's left foot was caught in the stirrup as the horse lunged away from another collision.
The fat man put his hand on his pistol and turned his gaze from the donnybrook back to me. His hand froze when he found my Colt was already in my hand. I didn't point it at him, just let it hang there, muzzle down, my forearm resting on the horn. Very slowly he put his right hand back on top of his left which rested on his own saddle horn.
At the same time, the third rider shook out a loop and turned his mount toward the bucking mustang and dragging rider. Within a hundred feet he had the animal roped. It stood on the end of the lariat with legs spread wide and vibrated. The bundle attached to the stirrup didn't move.
"I'm Portis Martin," the fat man said.
I was doing my best to maintain a calm, this-is-an-everyday-thing appearance, but was in fact having a tough time with that. Not only had I been approached poorly in a generally friendly land, but one of my best friends had just been spit on.
"Henry James," I responded. "Some folks call me Hank, but you can call me Mr. James." Without taking my eyes from him, I inclined my head to indicate my saddle partner. "This here is Mr. Gilmore."

You can take a look at the cover by going to www.StrategicBookPublishing.com/Homesteader
or simply click on the link to the right.

Friday, June 5, 2009

It's about time!

It has been a very long time since I posted something. Busy, busy, busy.
I just received a very nice review of ‘Partners’ at http://www.selfpublishingreview.com and I thank Carol for her attention. Some of her comments I agree with and, naturally, some I don’t but I thank her for the study.
Along with the every day making-a-living-so-I-can-afford-to-write I’ve also been working on the upcoming release of my latest work which should be available in a couple of weeks. It will be at
www.strategicbookpublishing.com/Homesteader-FindingSharon.html and I’ll be posting a quick link on this site.
My father passed away on Dec. 18 of ’08 and a good friend of more than 50 years wrote a poem in remembrance of Andy McGowan. I’ve dedicated ‘Homesteader’ to Dad and have included Bill Baker’s poem.
I guess I shouldn’t call ‘Homesteader’ my latest work since I have done short stories since I actually finished it and have been working on a sequel to ‘Partners.’
This sequel isn’t progressing at much of a pace however. I’m at about Chapter 7 of what should be about 50. I’m fairly happy with how the story is developing, although it will probably have to be re-written a few more times. I’m not progressing for the same reason I haven’t been posting here; it’s summer and there’s a great deal to do out there in the sunshine.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Statistics or Fiction?

Another look at statistics. Or perhaps another look at fiction.
People keep going on about how gun control will make the public safer. I would like to know how.
In Canada the instance of gun violence with a legally owned firearm are almost non-existent. Even in the US the percentage of crimes committed with legally owned firearms are a very small percentage of total gun violence. This in a country where it is not too difficult, in some states at least, for anyone to purchase a firearm.
What I’m saying is that almost all crimes are committed with stolen or smuggled weapons. So how will gun control make it any safer?
It doesn’t make any sense at all.
“Firearms deaths are the third leading cause of death among young people aged 15-24.”
This is a direct quote from some of the sites that talk about the impact of firearms on society. However, a few pertinent facts have been left out.
Perhaps one or two of these deaths were the result of a lack of training for our youth. However almost all (if not all) of these deaths were the result of gang members shooting each other in some urban areas with weapons they stole or manufactured.
Another story I constantly hear is that handguns are only for shooting people.
Not so!
Handguns were invented to protect travellers from road agents. They were used for this purpose for several years before they were taken on by military officers as side arms. Following that they were used in duals.
It might be said that the .357 magnum cartridge was invented to shoot people since it was designed by a law officer for use by law officers.
The .44 magnum, on the other hand was designed for hunting Elk (Wapiti) and deer.
Another bit of fiction I continually hear (mostly because of a so called ‘historical’ TV add) is that men didn’t carry firearms during the building of Canada.
Completely untrue!
Prior to 1924 when new firearms legislation was passed most people traveling in the wilds carried a firearm. True, not many carried a handgun since they couldn’t afford it, but they did carry weapons. And those that could afford it did carry a handgun.
Travelling alone in the wilds without a firearm is foolish. Working with wild animals – including wild cattle or horses – is also foolish.
Its interesting to note that the disgusting death and injury of unemployed men in Vancouver, Regina and Winnipeg took place in the 1930s … after the passage of the 1924 legislation.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Survey results

Does anyone still believe in unbiased survey results? Was there ever such a thing as unbiased results? Will there ever be?
I don’t know how it could be possible to believe that there are no forces bending the results one way or the other. The world runs on commerce and if that commerce is interrupted everyone suffers. Those directly involved with whatever the survey subject happens to be are affected more than anyone else.
Regardless of who does the survey, someone has to pay for it. The company actually doing the study may have every intention of being fair and unbiased. However, they are aware, even through supposition that someone is paying for that study. If the survey group wants future work they will be strongly motivated to make sure their customer is happy.
If the study concerns the effects of second-hand smoke, for example it’s logical to assume the study has been funded by a cancer group. If you want to do a study in the future for that same customer the results of your study will be positive for the detrimental effects of second-hand smoke.
Where did the study subjects live? Did they live down-wind (or up-wind) of a major chemical facility? Is there a large coal-fired generator in the area?
If there is a study done of the effects of exhaust from an industrial facility what are the parameters built in to the study? Do we test air both down-wind and up-wind? What type of equipment is used to collect samples?
Once we’ve taken air samples, for what will they be tested? Are we testing for compounds that are used by the industrial facility in question? During the manufacturing process – due to heat or other factors – perhaps there is another compound created that should be tested for? Perhaps something has been created that the study group has no way of knowing is present. Perhaps it’s an entirely new creation that no one is aware is dangerous.
In addition to air tests, perhaps indigenous wildlife should be tested?
Do any test subjects, wildlife or human, have a genetic dispensation to be affected by the chemicals in question? Do any subjects have a tendency to shake off the results of invasions by chemicals?
Several times studies have been done on the effects of wolves on the populations of both area livestock and wild prey. If the studies are paid for by ranchers one could come to believe that wolves will destroy the cattle industry. If the study is paid for by the World Wildlife Fund one might come to believe the foolishness that wolves eat only mice.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Turn On Your Headlights

Why is it that people can’t turn on their headlights? Did someone tell them they will burn out faster if they actually use them?
Do they think that without headlights they can hide and no one will hit them?
Immediately after starting your vehicle, turn your lights on. Not the parking lights, your headlights.
In many jurisdictions it is illegal to drive with only parking lights on, although it isn’t generally enforced.
You might say, “Why? I can see fine.”
Perhaps you can, but you aren’t the only one on the road. And if that’s your attitude – thinking only about your own problems – you probably shouldn’t be allowed on the road.
Perhaps you say, “I have daytime running lights, so I don’t need to turn on my headlights.”
Depending on the make and model of vehicle you drive your tail lights may not come on with your running lights. Therefore, if you are travelling in dust, fog or snow or during dawn or dusk you run the risk of being tail-ended.
Yes, according to the law the person who runs into your back end is responsible. However, their being ‘at fault’ won’t make your neck hurt less nor will it make a fatality any less dead.
Perhaps you might say, “The first thing I must do after starting my vehicle is fasten my seat belt.”
The fact that you do or don’t wear your seat belt is an argument to have with your immediate family and your insurance company. If you want to be there for your family, wear your seat belt. If you don’t wear your seat belt your insurance premiums should be higher than if you did.
Not having your headlights on effects everyone on the road. Without headlights some vehicles blend in with the road surface, primarily because of color. Not being able to see an oncoming vehicle someone may pull out to pass when there isn’t enough room. Or perhaps (particularly if the oncoming vehicle is traveling with parking lights) the passing vehicle thinks the oncoming vehicle is parked and pulls out to pass. In heavy multi-lane traffic a driver might not notice someone coming up behind (particularly if that oncoming vehicle is swapping lanes every few feet) and thus changes lanes ONTO the overtaking vehicle. In addition, it is usually much easier to judge distance when looking at a vehicle with lights on.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Back to Engineers

Why is it that we insist on listening to accountants? Not only do we listen to everything they say we go out of our way to get them to say something. We’ve done this since the late 1950s and it’s obviously cost us a great deal of money. Not only is it costing us financially but it’s creating inefficiency in our public programs.
I’m sure some of this is the result of an unfounded fear of engineers. “What’s the connection between engineers and accountants?”
I thought you’d never ask. Now that you have I can relate a little history.
During World War II the engineering fraternity more than any other single profession stepped forward to perform some absolute miracles. For instance they took several ideas that had been around for years and made them work even when they had been proven unworkable. They formed new ideas from whole cloth and made them work when many said they were impossible. Many of those ideas helped the Allies to win the war and most have been further developed and are still in use today.
As an example, for several years there was an idea that the way bats navigated could be used by humans. Several time this idea proved to be unworkable. However when the pressure was on, it became workable and known as radar and sonar.
That is only one example and there are literally hundreds of others.
The result of all this is that by the end of the war engineers were heroes and received some of the best jobs available. This faith in their ability was returned by the engineers in the form of increased productivity and reduced expenses.
Sounds great, right?
Well, it wasn’t.
By the end of the 1950s North America and most of Europe were close to bankruptcy. Why? Because production had far outdistanced consumption. We had lots of everything and were producing more but there was no one to buy it.
The problem might have been worse (and faster) if it hadn’t been for the consumption offered by Mid-East difficulties, the Korean War and war and medical emergencies in other parts of the worlds.
So, to recap, society asked a group to do a job and they did it. Not only did they do the job but performed far better than anyone anticipated.
When the trouble came, did society step forward to help? No. As we have done with our heroes through-out time we dumped them.
We called in the accountants.
The accountants didn’t make the same mistake. True to their training they concentrate on one particular item and ignore all others despite the fact that there may be many related parts to an item.
Put your focus in one place and promise to reduce costs by 10%, or 20 or 30 percent if you think your actual results will be greater than what you promised. Make a lot of noise when you do exceed the promised numbers so that no one notices that five or eight or ten related areas have increased by a far greater percentage than what you promised to decrease.
There is a long list of examples.
We have many busy highways that are far too narrow. The ministry (or whoever) that designs and builds the highway has an accountant. This accountant shows that by reducing the width of the shoulder area they can reduce construction cost by X dollars (pick a number). This is obviously true to anyone.
The accountant is a hero.
When people go off the highway and roll in the ditch, the ministry doesn’t pay for that. Some insurance company and ultimately the customer pay for that.
When transport takes longer and must be done with smaller vehicles, the ministry doesn’t pay for that. The shipper and receiver and ultimately the customer pay for that.
When a vehicle, large or small, breaks down (They do that; they’re man-made, you know) and sits on the narrow shoulder thus partially blocking the road everyone pays.
Medical services systems that require more lab-techs, nurses and doctors? Sorry, can’t hire them. The accounting department has explained we can’t afford them. Actually, the money we do have will be used to hire two more accountants so we can find out where the money is going.
There is an instance in Canada where much of the food being consumed by medical patients is produced in the centre of the country and shipped to all the hospitals and long term care facilities. This saves the medical services plans in several provinces a great deal of money.
No, it costs money.
The products used to make that food last for several days interferes with the medication those consuming it are often on. This will result in extra medical attention which would probably not otherwise be necessary.
What about the cooks and servers who would be otherwise employed and contributing to the economy? They deserve as much consideration (and probably more) than the new accountant that was hired with the money saved with the new food supply program.
Why was he hired? To figure out why the medical system as a whole is now costing more than before they saved so much money with the new food supplier.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Low or no meat diet?

Human beings are omnivorous and should have discretion.
Why do I say humans are omnivorous? Because all anthropological, archaeological and medical data supports the statement.
Omnivorous: 1. feeding on many kinds of food, especially on both plants and flesh. 2. making use of everything available.
Anecdotal data also supports this contention. Those in activities that require extreme effort such as hockey players are a perfect example. A player who relies entirely on plant protein can not work as long a shift as a player with a similar physic who eats both fish and vegetables. Those whose diet includes at least 30% red meat (again with similar physics) can play or work far long than those who eat only marine animals and vegetables. Those sports participants who were omnivorous and became vegetarians can do roughly two thirds of what they could accomplish after changing their diet.
Humans need meat!
As to the output of CO2 we are spraying into our atmosphere, can we stop using emotions and try using some common sense? The production and husbanding of animals is an insignificant producer of harmful emissions. In addition, most herdsmen are also husbanding trees which are scrubbing far more CO2 than their herds produce.
If you truly want to help the environment … if you TRULY think this has to be done … then support the construction of Nuclear Power Plants. Ban the destruction of efficient agriculture production by drowning the best soil behind Hydro Electric Dams. Support electrical power production by wind and tide. Ban coal and fuel powered generation facilities.
True, there is considerable opposition to nuclear power. However, this opposition has no support in logic. It is not as clean, theoretically speaking at least, as wind and tide generation, but is nevertheless comparatively friendly to the environment.
The most common argument against nuclear power is the resultant waste production and the need to store that production. However, all the waste produced by Ontario Hydro’s many nuclear plants since their inception in the late 1950s is stored in an unused bay at the Bruce generation station. This ‘large pile of waste’ can barely be distinguished from the door of the bay.
I believe the true reason for opposition to nuclear power is from the heart and not the mind. The first use of this technology was to construct military weapons of destruction. The resultant death of tens of thousands of people was devastating to the continuation of that technological development and its acceptance by the general public.
Is our fear for our environment and our world well founded? Is it greater than an illogical fear of nuclear waste?
Perhaps one should take a second look at the definitions for ‘omnivorous’ and make use of what we have available.
What’s that about discretion?
It’s your decision to turn off the lights you’re not using. Now get up and go do it.
You can choose to have nuclear power or coal dust and smog.
You can choose to be the star of the hockey team or you can sit on the bench.
You can help clean up the atmosphere or you can rail on about things that will make virtually no difference.
Go to http://www.managefootprint.blogspot.com and learn something.
It’s all at your discretion.