Friday, 31 October 2008

Organic food: the definition

Though known colloquially as food that is grown to be more healthy (and is more expensive), in order for organic food to be certified as such, it must be produced under specific, legally-regulated standards and be subject to testing in order to retain certification.

In agriculture, this means that crops were grown without the use of conventional pesticides, artificial fertilizers or sewage sludge, and that they were processed without food additives (like chemical preservatives). When it comes to animals, they must be reared without the routine use of antibiotics and growth hormones and fed a diet of organic foods. In most countries, organic produce must not be genetically modified.

from Treehugger - Green Basics

read the full article at: Green Basics

Thursday, 30 October 2008


You are in the middle of some kind of project around the house. Mowing the lawn, putting a new fence in, painting the living room, or whatever.
You are hot and sweaty. Covered in dirt or paint. You have your old work clothes on. You know the outfit, shorts with the hole in crotch, old t-shirt with a stain from who knows what, and an old pair of tennis shoes.
Right in the middle of this great home improvement project you realize you need to run to Wal-Mart to get something to help complete the job.
Depending on your age you might do the following.

In your 20's:
Stop what you are doing. Shave, take a shower, blow dry your hair, brush your teeth, floss, and put on clean clothes. Check yourself in the mirror and flex. Add a dab of your favorite cologne because you never know, you just might meet some hot chick while standing in the checkout lane.
You went to school with the pretty girl running the register.

In your 30's:
Stop what you are doing, put on clean shorts and shirt. Change shoes.
You married the hot chick so no need for much else. Wash your hands and comb your hair. Check yourself in the mirror. Still got it. Add a shot of your favorite cologne to cover the smell.
The cute girl running the register is the kid sister to someone you went to school with.

In your 40's:
Stop what you are doing. Put a sweatshirt that is long enough to cover the hole in the crotch of your shorts. Put on different shoes and a hat.
Wash your hands. Your bottle of Brute Cologne is almost empty so you don't want to waste any of it on a trip to Wal-Mart. Check yourself in the mirror and do more sucking in than flexing.
The spicy young thing running the register is your daughter's age and you feel weird thinking she is spicy.

In your 50's:
Stop what you are doing. Put a hat on, wipe the dirt off your hands onto your shirt. Change shoes because you don't want to get dirt in your new sports car. Check yourself in the mirror and you swear not to wear that shirt anymore because it makes you look fat.
The cutie running the register smiles when she sees you coming and you think you still have it. Then you remember the hat you have on is from your buddy's bait shop and it says, 'I Got Worms'.

In your 60's:
Stop what you are doing. No need for a hat anymore. Hose the dog crap off your shoes. The mirror was shattered when you were in your 50's. You hope you have underwear on so nothing can be seen through the hole in your pants.
The girl running the register may be cute but you don't have your glasses on so you are not sure.

In your 70's:
Stop what you are doing. Wait to go to Wal-Mart until they have your prescriptions ready too. Don't' even notice the dog crap on your shoes.
The young thing at the register smiles at you because you remind her of her grandfather.

In your 80's:
Stop what you are doing. Start again. Then stop again. Now you remember that you needed to go to Wal-Mart. Go to Wal-Mart and wander around trying to think what it is you are looking for. Pass gas out loud and you think someone called out your name.
The old lady that greeted you at the front door went to school with you.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Quiz: How Green Are You?

Are you an Eco-Hero, a Tree-Hugger-Hater or a Green-in-Between? Take the quiz to find out.

Q1. Which of these vacations are you most likely to take?
1. A visit to an exclusive golf resort in a far-away desert area
2. A volunteer trip to help clean up your own town or city
3. A trip to Disneyland
4. A jaunt to a tropical, eco-friendly hotel

Q2. Which of these best describes the contents of your closet?
1. Clothes from mainstream stores, but I try to buy from local producers when I can
2. Clothes made from a variety of fabrics, but they're mostly secondhand or something I made myself
3. Clothes made from organic, unbleached cotton, hemp, and other natural fabrics
4. Leather, fur, silk, wool... I like everything!

Q3. Are you ecologically mindful about your food choices?
1. No. I eat what appeals to me.
2. Somewhat. I buy organics whenever possible and try to eat locally.
3. Yes. I grow my own food and refuse to go to any restaurant that doesn’t meet my ethical food standards.
4. Not really. I just try and eat as healthily as time allows

Q4. On a scale of one (not very) to ten (extremely), how green is your home?
1. One. I can't be bothered to recycle or anything.
2. Four. I recycle.
3. Seven. I only use green cleaning products and have energy-saving light bulbs. That said, I could always be better.
4. Ten. I rely on solar or wind energy, own only eco-furniture, compost, and own a hybrid car.

Q5. Do you encourage your friends and family to become more eco-savvy?
1. No. I have more important things to worry about.
2. Absolutely, all the time. Protecting the environment is the most important thing that we can do.
3. Actually, they're the ones encouraging me
4. Somewhat. I have done things like show people how my eco light bulbs save money on the electric bill.

Q6. How would you describe your spiritual connection to the earth?
1. I feel inspired and awed by the amazing planet.
2. I like looking at beautiful parts of nature.
3. I can't say that I have one.
4. I realize that what we and the earth are one.

Q7. Do you have a garden?
1. Sort of, some greenery for aesthetic purposes.
2. Yes, I grow some of my own food and use organic compost to nurture it.
3. No, plants and dirt bother me.
4. Yes, I grow my favorite flowers as well as some herbs and spices I can use for cooking.

Q8. Do you decide whether to patronize businesses based on their environmental policies?
1. Yes. I will boycott any company that doesn’t meet high standards for its eco practices.
2. Rarely or never, I don't really think about it much.
3. No. The bottom line is who can get me the product the cheapest.
4. Yes. If I have the choice between two stores, I make a point to choose the one that is locally owned or uses organic products.

Q9. When you need apples, you:
1. Collect the fallen fruit from your sustainable orchard.
2. Go to Costco and buy in bulk.
3. Go to the farmer's market to buy local and organic.
4. Go to whatever store is closest, could be Whole Foods.

Q10. When you vote, how important is the candidate's stance the environment?
1. I want him or her to value jobs more than trees.
2. It’s the number-one factor in deciding whom I vote for.
3. Very important, since the decisions we make about the environment now will affect our children.
4. Somewhat important, but I look for the candidate with the best overall platform.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Canada Year Book Historical Collection

Learning about Canada's past just became a bit easier with the Canada Year
Book Historical Collection website. The site provides access to one hundred
years worth of the annual "Canada Year Book".

These books cover the years 1867 to 1967, and visitors will get the opportunity to learn about social and economic history from across the provinces.

Visitors can browse by year or topic, and looking over the topics, which include "Occupations" and Economic Gains" is a good way to start. Additionally, visitors can also browse tables, charts, and maps as they see fit.

Educators will want to look through the "Tools and Reference" area, as it contains lesson plans and a set of links to related sites

Monday, 27 October 2008

18 Green Things a Homeowner Should Do

So I was reading The Simple Dollar, a personal finance blog, and stumbled on an article about 18 Things a New Homeowner Should Do Immediately to Save Money. It just so happens that the very same tips that can help someone save money are also very green. In fact, out of the 18 tips, 16 are directly green, and the last 2 could be considered green indirectly. Maybe there are some you haven't done yet.

Here is the complete list. For the details, you'll have to go check out the article at The Simple Dollar.

1. Check the insulation in your attic - and install more if needed.
2. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Celsius).
3. Toss a water heater blanket over that hot water heater as well.
4. Install ceiling fans in most rooms.
5. Wrap exposed water pipes with insulation.
6. Install a programmable thermostat - and learn how to use it.
7. Hang a clothes rack in your laundry room (or, better yet, an outdoor clothesline).
8. Check all toilets and under-sink plumbing for leaks or constant running - and check faucets, too.
9. Replace your air handling filter.
10. Make sure the vents in all rooms are clear of dust and obstructions.
11. Mark any cracks in the basement with dated masking tape.
12. Install CFL and LED light bulbs in some locations.
13. Choose energy efficient appliances, even if you have to pay more up front.
14. Set up your home electronics with a SmartStrip or two.
15. Air-seal your home.
16. Plant shade trees near your house.
17. Take advantage of tax benefits for any improvements you make.
18. Develop a home maintenance checklist - and run through it for the first time.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Politically Correct Ways to Describe Men

With all the effort to use inclusive language to include women, it’s time we developed some politically correct ways to describe men.

A few samples.

...He does not have a beer belly; He has developed a Liquid Grain Storage Facility.
...He is not quiet; He is a Conversational Minimalist.
...He is not stupid; He suffers from Minimal Cranial Development.
...He does not get lost all the time; He discovers Alternative Destinations.
...He is not balding; He is in Follicle Regression.

...You do not kiss him. You become Facially Conjoined.
...He does not get falling-down drunk; He becomes Accidentally Horizontal.
...He does not act like a total ass; He develops a case of Rectal-Cranial Inversion.
...He is not short; He is Anatomically Compact.
...He does not have a rich daddy; He is a recipient of Parental Asset Infusion.
...He does not constantly talk about cars; He has a Vehicular Addiction.
...He does not have a hot body; He is Physically Combustible.
...He is not unsophisticated; He is Socially Malformed.
...He does not eat like a pig; He suffers from Reverse Bulimia.
...He is not a bad dancer; He is Overly Caucasian.
...He does not hog the blankets; He is Thermally Unappreciative.
...He is not a male chauvinist pig; He has Swine Empathy.

'nuff said

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Do all the good you can

It's not always about being nice.

It's about doing the right thing. And it was never put better by anyone than by eighteenth century church reformer John Wesley:

"Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the
ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you
can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can."

Wednesday, 22 October 2008


The other day, someone I know read that a methamphetamine lab had been found in an old farmhouse in the adjoining county and he asked me a rhetorical question, ''Why didn't we have a drug problem when you and I were growing up?''

I replied:

I had a drug problem when I was young:
I was drug to church on Sunday morning. I was drug to church for weddings and funerals.
I was drug to family reunions and community socials no matter the weather.
I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults.
I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the preacher, or if I didn't put forth my best
effort in everything that was asked of me.
I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I uttered a profane four-letter word.
I was drug out to pull weeds in mom's garden and flower beds and cockleburs out of dad's fields.
I was drug to the homes of family, friends, and neighbors to help out some poor soul who had no one to mow the yard, repair the clothesline, or chop some firewood; and, if my mother had ever known that I took a single dime as a tip for this kindness, she would have drug me back to the woodshed.

Those drugs are still in my veins; and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say, and think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin; and, if today's children had this kind of drug problem, Canada would be a better place.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

How To Find Your Real Self Again

On the surface it seems an odd idea that you could actually be
anything other than who you really are. But from the time we can
talk, we're being programmed to "fit in". We find ourselves
conforming in order to please the people we love, and who love

Read full article here

Monday, 20 October 2008

Best Retirement Jobs

Reader for Library Deciding on Books

"I got a part time job at my local library in the Reader's Advisory Department. This is like being a personal shopper at Nordstrom, only for books. There is no stress. I meet a lot of my neighbors, and since I'm a reader, it's like working in the candy store. So far, I can't think of any drawbacks. And, oh yes, I get paid for this."

Submitted by: Bchrastka


"My husband and I have been married for 41 years and we both retired...We had too much energy to sit still and we missed being with people. Solution. I went to work three days a week, five hours a day for Target and he became a greeter for Wal-Mart. Needless to say the pay isn't all that great, but we both get a 10% discount, have great evening conversations and a lot of laughs...You need to stay in touch with life in order to stay alive."

Submitted by: DooWaDitty1

Bagging Groceries

"I am a military retiree, bank retiree, and at the age of 66 I decided to bag groceries for around 6 months. Well here it is nearly 10 years since and I am finally starting to feel old and really am slowing down but feel if I suddenly quit I would probably die. It is such fun flirting with all the women and playing with their kids that I will probably stay a few more years and will have a serious look at retiring when I reach 79 or maybe 80. My wife is not the jealous type so who knows when."

Submitted by: Rnjnogle

Ranger at a Golf Course

"I Retired [and] moved a mile from a golf course, volunteered to work as a ranger, and it evolved into a part-time position. The best part is that I can play golf at several courses for free, paying only for the golf cart if I want to ride that day. I'm hoping to be able to do the same at the ski resort nearby also!"

Submitted by: Darby1044