Saturday, September 26, 2009

blackflies again

I complain a lot about blackflies, but I'm in good company when it comes to being bugged by bugs. First it was Barak Obama. Then the Pope. Someone will likely point out that spiders aren't bugs, but I say if it bugs you it's a bug, six legs, eight legs, it doesn't matter. After reading the Farmer's Almanac in August I was getting ready to complain about snow in the last week of September. Instead, I'm complaining about blackflies. We humans are never satisfied.

Did you know that if you took all the blackflies in Northwestern Ontario and lined them up nose to tail at the equator, they would wrap around the world 3.24 times? I made that up, but at least they would all be at the equator and not in Northwestern Ontario.

If you want facts about blackflies, click here.

Forty years ago I was in second grade studying environmental issues for the first time. It's funny, most folks didn't even know there was an environment in 1969. I remember a little flyer called "We Face the Seventies," which tried to educate us on how our actions now would impact the future. There was an article about what the world would look like in "The Year 2000." They gave us two options. On the one hand, they had people flying around in their own personal spaceships in a Utopian world of gadgets and gizmos. On the other, we had trashed the planet to the point that people could hardly live without wearing a gas mask. Both were about as accurate as an August Farmers Almanac prediction for the end of September.

A lot has changed since 1969, computer technology possibly being the most life-altering. I could have never imagined sitting on my couch with a laptop computer, talking to an audience that spanned every continent wirelessly, and instantly. Maybe my kids will talk to the world mind to mind, without computers. Farfetched? Definitely. Impossible? Maybe not. Click here.

Firefighting has changed as well. Houses contain more fuel (plastics, synthetics) and firefighters' gear has improved, which enables us to get deeper into trouble. Here is a US report about firefighter fatalities in 2008. Perhaps the most significant change is our awareness of the long-term heath risks connected with the crap contained in modern-day smoke. Firefighter training has steadily encouraged us to do more over the years. Possibly the message of the 21st century will be, "Just because you can go there doesn't mean you should go there."

Here's a recipe:

Spur-of-the-moment-Potato Soup

  1. Take out the leftover mashed potatoes from the fridge (a cup or two?)
  2. pour some milk (maybe 3 cups?) into a pot and turn the heat on low
  3. stir the potatoes into the milk
  4. sprinkle on some chopped chives and grind some fresh pepper into the soup
  5. add salt and garlic to taste
  6. put in a touch of ground red pepper
  7. cook for a little while, stirring frequently
  8. worry that it isn't enough soup for your hungry brood, and add another potato, peeled and chopped very fine
  9. worry that the potato you added won't finish cooking in time
  10. wish you had chopped the potato finer (note: steps 8-10 are optional)
  11. cook on low for a while, stirring often unless you like burned potato soup
  12. fret that the soup won't have enough flavour and add a couple slices of creamed cheese
  13. cook slowly and make sure the cheese all melts
  14. wish you had some ham to chop and add
  15. turn off the heat, add a half a cup of grated marble or cheddar cheese, stir in and let it sit for a minute or two
  16. sprinkle a little paprika on top, just because
  17. eat it with Tim's Parmesan Garlic Basil Oregano Pepper Bread Sticks.

You can have the recipe for the bread sticks next post.

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