Archive for April, 2011

When your peers die, and especially when they predecease their parents, it really sharpens your focus.  My teenage folk dancing partner died a few weeks ago.  Pancreatic cancer.  There it is again, that insidious disease that continues cutting its inexorable swath thru our population.  We lost touch decades ago, well, not really lost touch.  We just moved on with our lives, and her life went one way, I went another.  But looking at the photos posted on her Facebook memorial page (great job by the way, whoever compiled that) makes me realize how important it is to “carpe diem”.  Seize the day!  From the looks of the memories posted, she did exactly that.  Doesn’t strike me that she wasted her life following sitcoms or engaging in other similarly emotionless activities.  We have a finite amount of time on earth, what comes after is so completely unknown that it behoves you to ensure that your conscious hours are spent in activity that makes you tingle.  Stuff that gives you a buzz.  Moments that you can bring forth in bummer times  to replace that depression with light, because lets face it, your life can’t be one non-stop hit parade.  So whatever it is, get out there and make it happen.  Or at least pursue it.  Because one day the reaper will knock on my door too, and when that time comes I want to be able to say, go ahead dude, because I have no regrets.  Rest in peace Virge-Kai.

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So how is it that Helena Guergis can have her name smeared, kicked out of the conservative party, all on the basis of completely unsubstantiated bullshit put forward by one of Stephen Harper’s inner circle?  And our Prime Minister continues to refer to Ms. Guergis as “This Individual”, refusing her the courtesy of naming her.  The RCMP have concluded that none of the claims made about her could be substantiated and closed the file.  The Prime Minister hires somebody with 5 fraud convictions.  Harper wants to spend billions fo dollars beefing up the prison system even though all the stats show violent crime on the decrease.  We’re in the middle of a $400 million election because the ruling party (Conservative) was tossed out of office for contempt of parliament.  Yet they continue to lead in the polls?!?!  Is the general public that stupid to allow “this man” another shot at leading this country?  Surely we have enough sense to make certain the X on our ballots goes ABC on May 2nd?  ANYTHING BUT CONSERVATIVE.

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I read this in today’s paper. Too bizarre to ignore.  Tim Burton screenplay anybody?  Life is indeed stranger than fiction!


Man who died in pasta machine was to marry owner’s daughter

Amy Dempsey Staff Reporter  Toronto Star

The owners of a family-run pasta business are dealing with a gruesome tragedy after their future son-in-law fell into a pasta-making machine at the company factory on Monday and died.

Ontario’s Ministry of Labour has shut down the factory and is investigating why the 26-year-old man was performing maintenance on the machine while it was running.

The incident took place at Pasta Quistini’s 91,000 sq. ft. facility in North York.

The ministry has not released the man’s name, but a person close to the family confirmed he was engaged to Marisa Quistini, daughter of owners Elena and Orlando Quistini.

The Quistini family business is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

A labour ministry spokesman said the factory has been shut down after inspectors called in to investigate the accident found other health and safety violations in the facility, including improper machine guarding mechanisms and unsafe racking.

The ministry has put a stop work order on the entire facility until inspectors can be assured that it is safe, spokesman Matt Blajer said.

A woman who answered the phone at Elena and Orlando Quistini’s home on Tuesday evening said the family is not ready to talk about the incident.

“Right now everything is up in the air,” she said.

She denied the company was shut down due to health and safety violations, saying the factory is closed because of the ongoing investigation.

“That is not correct. They have inspectors in every week and everything is up to standards.”

Pasta Quistini was founded by Elena Quistini and her husband Orlando in 1981. The company produces a variety of sauces, fresh pastas, ready-to-eat spreads and casseroles.

The couple’s two children — son Massimo, in his early 30s, and daughter Marisa, in her mid-20s — grew up with the family business and are expected to take over for their parents.


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The ongoing burka saga

The ongoing burka saga in France makes me wonder about several scenarios.  As my informed readers know, France passed a law banning the wearing of face covers (burkas) in public.  There are very good and reasonable public safety issues for the enactment of this law.  So to all those who oppose the law, arguing that it is an infringement on religious rights or individual liberty I pose the following scenarios for your enlightened consideration.  Ask yourself what would a responsible policeman do if confronted by any of the following, and then ask yourself how these situations are any different from the wearing of face veils in public?

1/ I walk into a bank wearing a balaclava over my head.

2/ I enter a day care center wearing a Richard Nixon mask.

3/ I attend a city council meeting with a white sheet over my head, pointy white hat on top.

4/ I go to an Islamic center in full camo gear with my face painted in green/black grease pencil.

5/ I walk into the local police station wearing a long black trenchcoat, black fedora pulled over my eyes, waist length beard, dark sunglasses.

6/ My wife gets off the plane in Saudi Arabia wearing shorts and tank top.

So kudos to Nicolas Sarkozy for doing the right and responsible thing.  Now when will the rest of the western world catch up to the logic and common sense displayed by France?


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I have a sense that Harper’s strategy of continually attacking the man (Iggy) rather than the policies will backfire on the Conservatives.  It’s the kind of schoolyard bullying tactic that is distasteful and out of fashion.  The Conservative brain trust is directing this campaign using yesterday’s strategy and methinks the voting population has had enough.  I certainly have.  The thrust of Conservative ads is directed to aggressive attack of the other guy, instead of presenting a picture of themselves as better custodians of my trust.  In contrast, Iggy is out there comfortably fielding all questions, looking very much at home with the art and science of political campaigning.  The more I hear him, the more I like the concept of he being at the helm this time around.  The Liberals present a plan that will be implemented now.   The Conservatives in contrast, make their promises contingent on achieving a balanced budget in five years.  Now, what is the likelihood of that?  The Prime Minister continues to appear as if he does not want to be there, as if this election is an inconvenience.  Hey Stephen, this is what makes democracies work so well, the right of each and every one of us to turf you out of power.  And the more I see our Prime Minister perform, the more I think that is the only reason he wants to be in Ottawa.  Power.  Even if we were to have another minority government, what’s wrong with that?  The previous one worked quite well, in fact it became the longest functioning minority parliament in Commonwealth history.  So look out Canada, I predict the Liberals will take over the reins of government.


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