What Next…No Butter Knives?

I am not exactly a candidate for NRA membership but this bit of news about shutting down a Toronto university shooting range with a perfect track record smacks heavily of something very smelly:

While news of the closing came to light recently, the university made the decision months ago, during a regular five-year review of Hart House activities, says Rob Steiner, U of T assistant vice-president. When it came to allotting the institution’s scarce resources, the committee couldn’t reconcile firing weapons on the university’s grounds with the U of T’s core values of “discovery and education,” safety and maximizing the opportunity for dissent, he said. “Shooting a gun on campus. Sit with that for a second. It leaves me cold,” Steiner said. “This campus is a gun-free area, full stop. You can learn about safety on campus and shoot somewhere else.”

The civilized and safe doing of anything outside the criminal is a pursuit of excellence. Interesting to note that U of T has a professor with a Phd in Experimental Nuclear Physics who worked for NATO who likely pursues his vocation excellently and safely. There is a fencing team. There maybe a a boxing team and there is a wushu club, training in Communist Chinese martial arts programs. Likely all pursue their craft safely and excellently. The Canucks Amuck, a wargaming club, even meets monthly at Hart House.

But a gun club…that’s different.

Ratty R.I.P.

As discussed in the spring, we have a neighbourhood garden rat feeding off the bounty of various well maintained compost piles. Don’t believe the “no meat, no pests” stuff – they are branching out into vegetarianism. Or rather we did have such a beast. Yesterday, the snap of the trap took him from us. It is a bit of a thing picking out one animal from the fairly robust mammalian world of a 43 year old suburb between two or three wild zones. I would have felt bad if a chipmunk were to be taken out as collateral damage. And I am not particularly anti-rat as they are only squirrels with bad PR. But it was in the shed too much. My shed.

Anyway, a thin coat of peanut butter all over the snappy trap was the thing. The lump did not work. You have to keep shifting the tactics. In the past rats have met their maker via a sticky trap and bucket laced with baking soda into which vinegar was then poured or, once, a hockey stick. A Mario Lemieux model as I recall. This one’s life’s path was far more humane in its conclusion. He joins a host of mousies as well as one night-jumping deer and a rather fat groundhog that almost broke an axle all waiting for me at the pearly gates where they will no doubt get me.

We Am Doooooomed!!!

Who knew?

The humble office printer can damage lungs in much the same way as smoke particles from cigarettes, according to a team of Australian scientists. An investigation of a range of models showed that almost a third emit potentially dangerous levels of toner into the air.

Quick – who wants to start a think tank and fund raising group dedicated to stamping out computer printers. While there are many in, say, the global warming anti-Suzuki set who will say this is nonsense, I am convinced that this is both a real threat and quite funny.

Dreamy Yuffs

Some days it’s hard to find a story that will please and inform Hans. For all I know, he’s on vacation or in a white painted ward somewhere for people with internet addiction but my role here is clear: make sure Hans gets a story a day. But the dog days of summer can be tough in terms of fodder if you are not going to go on and on about something or other. So seeing as the well is pretty much dry, let’s looks at yuff today. Here is one example – some guy working at a job a week:

With many more jobs to go, he said he’s trying to help his generation deal with how to reconcile their views on personal success with their dreams of making a difference. “We’re more aware of how we impact others. It’s looking for a career situation that in which we can be happy and be passionate about, but also how we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves,” he said. “It’s totally cheesy. But I think cliches become cliches for a reason.”

“We’re more aware…” That statement is made every year by some guy doing something vaguely familiarly nutty, some difference-maker-in-training who will end up owning a business, hiring, firing and chalking it all up to “passion.” Dandy. Fabulous even. The world and developers of houses on slightly larger than normal up-scaleish suburbs need them. I was more aware once. Then I got older and blogging started. [You know who was aware as a youth? Harry Patch. Having a little too much awareness is not an impossibility.]

So, I was in the grocery store the other day and had a weird yuff related deja vu of sorts. Some Hall and Oates song was playing as I looked for some goat cheese or another bag of coffee beans. I am still unsure why the 2 am dance bar pick up music from when I was 19 is now the 11 am dairy aisle music of my forties. Anyway, I was thinking about what I was going to put together for supper and thought “I wonder what Bruce is drinking tonight” – whammo – in a total time shifted second I was in 1982 undergrad moment – not a reflection but a real mental blip – planning for a BBQ at 44 transformed in an instant to planning a party at 19. Very creepy. And then I thought it was creepy. There was something immersive in the moment that brought me back to the smell of a dorm, drifty anxiety, the perfect generation assuming it’s on the cusp of something we-are-more-aware-ish. Who needs that? I shook my head and the moment was gone. Whatever Bruce was drinking back then it was crap and there was far too much of it.

Which is all to say good luck to you, job a week kid, as some guy now dead or retired wished me good luck a quarter century ago. You will make something of yourself as most do. And, even better, good times and fine goat cheese and decent lawn chairs are just a couple of decades ahead, too.

Which Of The Orange Games To Hit?

If last year’s trip to the Carrier Dome taught me anything, it is not the best opponent that makes the best game but the best match in an opponent. Which means the one you beat in overtime. So which is the most likely home game to give the best experience?

Fri, Aug 31 – Washington

Sat, Sep 15 – Illinois
Sat, Oct 6 – West Virginia
Sat, Oct 13 – Rutgers
Sat, Oct 20 – Buffalo
Sat, Nov 10 – South Florida
Sat, Nov 24 – Cincinnati

By the way, I can’t see sustaining another season following one player as closely as I followed Brendan Carney last year. I need to pick a higher level approach to being a fan. Following total defensive stats or some such thing.

August Road Trip

So we finally settled on a five day zip around Lake Ontario. I had been thinking Lake Erie but I think the land of the weck and Wegmans needs further examination. I have to do some heavy negotiations to qualify for the garbage plate. Plenty of consideration of ales and lagers, however, with Finger Lake Beverages, Beers of the World and Premier Gourmet en route. But also a tacky-fest in Niagara Falls as well as a hike in Letchworth State Park, the most highly recommended destination from the western New Yorkers consulted.

Any other places I should visit in western New York?