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Showing posts from 2023

Published In The Great North Arrow, February 2022: Mechanical Bulls Risky For Children

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- jim Young CTV recently reported that studies show mechanical bull rides at children's parties are risky for the children. Hell, children have been falling down since Adam was knee-high to a serpent and never got hurt. Falling off things was part of growing up. Lots of the playground equipment we used was safe enough to use. The only tricky part was getting off them before everyone else wanted to. We even had our own version of the “mechanical bull” long before the grown ups got into the fad. It wasn’t until the 1980s that John Travolta popularized the adult version of the mechanical bull in the movie “Urban Cowboy”. After that, adults began riding mechanical bulls in bars.  The real reason that riding modern day mechanical bulls is bad for children is that, apparently you have to be drunk to ride one. It doesn’t take a study to know that drinking alcohol is not good for children. Next time you think you need to do a study - save yourself some time and money and “just ask jim”. -

Published In The Great North Arrow, February 2022: Pay It Forward

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- jim Young “Dusting is a good example of the futility of trying to put things right. As soon as you dust, the fact of your next dusting has already been established.” - George Carlin About 20 years ago, a young actor named Haley Joel Osment starred as 12 year old Trevor McKinney in the movie “Pay It Forward”. As part of a school project Trevor comes up with a plan to help make the world a better place. This project, “Pay It Forward” requires the recipient of a favour, to do a favour for three others. It works kind of like the chain letters we used to get in the mail before the days of the internet.  Then, in the 70s, near Christmas, a short lived fad involved a hand delivered variation of this, that involved buying a bottle of booze for someone on the top of a list. Eventually, your name would get to the top of the list and you would receive three bottles of booze as your reward for the one you purchased. It worked well if you got in on it early, but eventually it would die out. It ha

Published In The Great North Arrow, February 2022: Viola Desmond and My OCDness

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  - jim Young “[3 knocks] Penny, [3 knocks] Penny, [3 knocks] Penny.” - Sheldon Cooper I have a mental illness. Now I know many of my family and friends are sniggering away following a cry of “Duh!” or “Just one?” and that’s okay with me.  I also know that Mental Illness is not something to laugh about, but mine kind of is. At least I think it’s funny and that’s pretty much half the battle right there. My mental illness is OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). I like to convince myself that it’s not serious to the point where I must knock three times while repeating one’s name as Sheldon Cooper does on “The Big Bang Theory”, but actually, sometimes it does manifest itself to similar extremes.  However, my OCD becomes most obvious upon opening one of our beer fridges or having a quick peek into our pantry. Cans or bottles are all neatly arranged in rows with the label, English side out. That’s not to say that there is anything inherently wrong with having the French side out. It’s just t

Steve’s Strawberry/Rhubarb Jam

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Hey, that’s not me in the picture. No, it’s an old buddy of mine from another lifetime about a hundred years ago. Since this is Steve’s recipe that I haven’t actually tried making myself, I thought I should give him the credit. In that past lifetime we shared, Steve taught me to add cheese to my baloney sandwiches. That might not seem like much of an achievement to you, but to a 16 year old teen with pot induced “munchies” , it was pure genius. I lost touch with Steve for literally over half a century but through all that time Cheese and Baloney sandwiches remained a favourite of mine and I often wondered what had happened to Steve whenever I enjoyed one. Then, through the magic of Facebook, Steve and I reconnected. Sometimes you meet old friends that you have been separated from for a long period of time and you realize you are nothing more than strangers. Then there are people like Steve, with whom you can just pick up where you left off. It’s that latter part that made his gift of h

The Best Mojitos North Of Havana

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These days I am most often mistaken for a certain jolly fellow we all know that lives a bit further north. To people who ask if I mind this reference in public, I usually reply, "One of my friends from high school looks a bit like Charles Manson and my son, in his younger days, was once told he looked like Paul Bernardo. So taking that into consideration, I don’t mind being confused with a celebrity who is generally loved all around the world.” But before my hair and beard was quite this long, whenever I traveled to Jamaica or Cuba I was most often called “Hemmingway” . That Ernest Hemmingway is one of my favourite writers was a happy coincidence although I was fully aware the reference had everything to do with my appearance and nothing to do with my writing skills. I was also not naive enough to know that the staff of the resorts we stayed at would use tactics such as this in the hopes of procuring generous tips. But when the recognition often also came from fellow travelers and

Anzac Biscuits

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My daughter Ange and her family came to visit from Alberta last April. My son-in-law, Adrian is originally from Australia so I wanted to give him a taste of home while he was here.  First, I set out for some Foster’s Beer and Yellowtail Wine.  Since it was too cold for “shrimp on the barbie” I decided to cook Alice Springs Chicken which is served at Outback Steakhouses. I realize this may not be a traditional Australian dish, but it was the thought. (You can click on the link to get the recipe or you can find it in the January 2023 edition of the Great North Arrow .) For a special treat, I also found a recipe for “Anzac Biscuits” which is of Australian origin. These biscuits were named for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) which was established in World War I. These treats were often sent by families to soldiers abroad because the ingredients don’t spoil quickly. I felt this would be particularly appropriate for Adrian’s April visit since Anzac Day, the Australian a