Tuesday 24 October 2017

“It’s just a jump to the left…”

There’s a local radio station here that plays a pretty eclectic mix of music, all wrapped around rural favourites such as radio bingo,  how many people attended Mabel’s 90th birthday celebrations and from how far afield (“Mabel’s third cousin once removed on her mother’s side, Ernestine, travelled all the way from Pembroke (about 50 miles) to partake of the festivities…” ), the current price of hogs, and Elspeth’s recipe of the day (Grandma’s amazing meatloaf made from kitchen scraps).

There’s a lot of country, and Sunday is full of gospel music. (Which is why I don’t usually tune in on a Sunday.) Canadian icon Stompin’ Tom figures prominently and there’s even a patriotic song of the day which is typically some sappy tune invoking images of rocks and trees and rocks and whatever....

But what I like about the station is you never know what they are going to play next. It could be the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine or a yodel tune by Cindi Lauper.

Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to hear this blast from the past.

Took me back a ways to the mid-70s when, I think it was probably our second or third date, I took the (now) missus to a house party hosted by one of my fellow motorcycle safety program trainers. A typical party of the time, there was lots of beer being consumed and the hippie lettuce was being passed around generously. The Rocky Horror Picture Show had just come out and when someone put this song on the stereo and all these strangers immediately leapt up and started doing the Time Warp, singing along at full throat, I think she began having some serious doubts about this particular group of people, me included. But we persevered and soon won her over to the dark side.

Anyway, with that memory firmly in mind I was happily singing along, poorly, but with gusto, as I was driving into town. It was only later in the day I realised how lucky I was to not have been in Montreal where this guy just got a $149 ticket for singing in his car; Time Warp would be worth at least twice that.

Saturday 14 October 2017

Perseverance pays off

A while back I posted (here) about a hazardous road situation I was trying to get corrected. Well, it took some escalation, a few conversations, and several more emails but finally the county took corrective action, albeit in a sort of using-a-sledgehammer-to-kill-a-fly way.

All I wanted was to have some signage erected to warn that the pavement ends and the road becomes gravel after the intersection. The intent was that would slow riders enough so that when they hit the gravel they would be able to do so under control.

The county’s first effort was a dismal failure, but their second attempt will have the desired effect, even if it is, in my opinion, overkill.


Hopefully pulling errant motorcyclists out of the ditch at this intersection will now be a thing of the past. And all I have to do is contend with all my rural neighbours who are now pissed at me because there’s yet another stop sign to deal with on their drive home. But they’re not likely to stop anyway, so I’m not too worried.

Tuesday 3 October 2017

A short’ish ride and a mystery

After a summer that never really got established we’ve had a late season run of spectacular weather. But we also know it won’t continue indefinitely. So when the tasks I needed to do today (winter prep the tractor) were done I took a long way ‘round ride into Arnprior for a few maintenance items and a Timmy’s coffee. As you can see from the map it wasn’t the most direct route, but 140 km of country road on a sunny warm day is never a bad thing.

Dunrobin loop

While I was out and about I came across this apparently abandoned house. I couldn’t get close as it was off the road a ways but it’s unfinished appearance got me thinking about shattered dreams. Why was it unfinished? Did someone die? Did a marriage break up? A bankruptcy? The possibilities are many and the speculation lends an aura of mystery to the building.

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But when I got home I looked more closely at the photo. There are some signs of activity around the place with a truck out back and curtains in some windows. The weeds growing on the roof look like they might be intentional, as in a sod roof. The edge of the roof looks like it consists of weathered boards to hold back soil and the heavy log rafters are there to support the weight.  On closer inspection the walls seem to be plaster or perhaps concrete spread between vertical risers of some sort. Plus, the real giveaway, a truly abandoned building in these parts wouldn’t have a single window intact and graffiti would be scrawled on every flat surface.

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So what do we have here, a derelict building or a back-to-the-earth type, environmentally conscious, nouveau construction technique, residence? (If the latter I’d love to know how they got a building permit.)

And another clue – Google’s satellite image (undated) of the area shows no building in that location.  But if it has a grass roof would it look any different from the surrounding fields?


Monday 2 October 2017

Sad of heart

I am saddened beyond words at the senseless violence that occurred in Las Vegas yesterday. The dead will feel pain no longer but their families and loved ones will have to bear the burden of this terrible crime for the rest of their lives. Likewise the wounded, their friends and families, the first responders, the medical staffs at dozens of hospitals, and other concert goers just out for a fun night of entertainment will all be dealing with the demons of Sunday night for years to come.

And for this to happen in Las Vegas, “America’s playground”, where thousands of visitors were peacefully enjoying an outdoors concert, makes it even more troubling. People go there to have fun, not to be indiscriminately slaughtered by some madman with a grudge and a few thousand rounds of ammo.

We may never know what set Stephen Paddock off on his murderous rampage, but one sad fact is that while he was possibly the most successful mass murderer in modern US history he has plenty of company. 9 out of every 10 days, somewhere in the US, there’s a mass shooting (defined as having 4 or more victims). That’s more than 1500 events in the past 5 years.

That such a great country, populated by intelligent, caring people, can foster an environment where so many think the answer to everything is to pick up a gun and start shooting, frankly baffles the rest of the civilized world. And for politicians, even in the blood-soaked shadow of such a horror, to seriously consider a further loosening of already weak gun laws, is unfathomable to any person of sound mind. And yet it happens again… and again…. and again…

There’s a saying that a doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient, but in this case, for this particular sickness, only America can and must treat itself. And for all my friends and family members in the US I can only hope they finally recognize the cancer within and take the political actions necessary to start the recovery.