Monday, December 25, 2006

This is Green I Don't Need.

Even though green is a Christmas colour, and I don't recall ever stating that I'm a big fan of winter, I'd rather be knee-deep in snow right now than seeing grass everywhere.

I probably come off as a bigger believer in global warning than I really am. In all things that can not be proven "beyond the shadow of a doubt", I prefer to allow for the possibility that I'm wrong.

However, I also prefer to err on the side of caution. If I make my token effort to prevent it, and have a little fun with it in the process, and find out that global warming is actually a bunch of nonsense, what's the worst damage I can do? Help reduce pollution? That doesn't sound so bad...

But a green Christmas goes a little further in making me a true believer. I don't recall my last green Christmas. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever seen one before. But if my recollection is sound, all but one of the last four of five have been close. And this year, here it is.

Ah well. I'll go on considering the possibility that it's a fluke, but act as if it isn't. In fact, Mrs THIT and I are enjoying preparing the new house to be as green as possible, both in terms of being environmentally conscious and from a financial perspective. We've begun the search for our appliances and will not purchase anything that isn't Energy Star certified. If the house itself is, it doesn't make sense to add appliances that are not.

Merry Christmas to all friends and family who read this on occasion and to all the people who happen to be wandering by. And if you're among those wanderers and are offended that I'd specify Christmas instead of "holidays" or what-not, well...your skin's too thin. ;-)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Future Road Trip?

Nature Canada shares its December '06 Picture of the Month and ask the question "Do you ever wonder if animals behave any differently when they think that no one is watching?". :-)

This is probably what I'll look like next weekend while the College Football Bowl games are on. Except I won't be licking myself.

Looking as though all he needs is a remote control and a bag of chips, this lounging polar bear is conserving valuable energy resources. Polar bears from the Churchill population lose their seal-hunting platform when the ice disappears in the spring and so must fast throughout the summer and into fall until the ice forms once again. The bears gather near Cape Churchill where a combination of factors allows freeze up to occur earlier than elsewhere in the area. As many as 10,000 tourists from around the world also gather near the Cape at this time to get a close look at one of the world’s most remarkable animals.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I May Not Get To Hug This Guy Next Year!

Smart panda. Hugged me BEFORE I'd climbed the CN Tower...

While looking up old posts, I came across the stuff from last year's CN Tower climb. I checked the link to see if it was still active and not only is it active, but they're gearing up for next year's.

I'm hoping to participate again, but it's dicey. We take possession of our new place right around the same time. I don't know that I'll want to shell out coin for a trip to Toronto around then what with the expenses involved in moving from one house to another.

I'll keep an eye on it in the meantime, and I've signed up for their registration notification. If I can't, then I'll support someone who is. In fact, I'll go into the members-only portions of the Green Party sites and challenge them to do it! Perhaps they (we) can make a "meet and greet" event of it the night before or afterwards. Seems like a good idea.

Speaking of El Casa Del Treehugger, it appears to be coming along nicely. Here, Oscar inspects to make sure it's to his liking and wags his tail in approval. And if it's good enough for Oscar, it's good enough for me.

I'm Not Sure I'd Hug a Tree Frog.

A new species of tree frog named polypedates chlorophthalmus is seen in this undated handout picture released by WWF. Dozens of new species of animals and plants including catfish with protruding teeth and a tree frog with with striking bright green eyes have been found in the past year in the forest of Borneo, a WWF report said on December 19, 2006. REUTERS/Dr. Indraneil Das/WWF/Handout

I believe this follows up an article I posted earlier in the year.

JAKARTA (Reuters)(By Ed Davies) - Dozens of new species of animals and plants including a catfish with protruding teeth and a tree frog with striking bright green eyes have been found in the past year in the forests of Borneo, a WWF report said on Tuesday.

The discoveries include 30 unique fish species, two tree frog species, 16 ginger species, three tree species and one large-leafed plant species, the conservation group said.

"These discoveries reaffirm Borneo's position as one of the most important centers of biodiversity in the world," said Stuart Chapman, WWF International Coordinator of the Heart of Borneo Program.

"The more we look the more we find," he added.

Scientists had found a miniature fish - the world's second smallest vertebrate, measuring less than 1 centimeter (0.4 inches) in length and living in the acidic blackwater peat swamps of the island, the report said.

Discoveries also included six Siamese fighting fish, including one with an iridescent blue-green marking, and a catfish with protruding teeth and an adhesive belly which allows it to stick to rocks.

In terms of plants, WWF said the ginger discoveries more than doubled the entire number of the Etlingera species, while three new tree species of the genus Beilschmiedia were found.

A number of the species were found in the "Heart of Borneo," a 220,000 sq. km (85,000 sq. mile) highland area covered with equatorial rainforest in the center of the island, it said.

The report said this habitat was being threatened by the clearing of forests for rubber, palm oil and paper pulp production.

Since 1996, deforestation across Indonesia had increased to an average of 2 million hectares (5 million acres) per year and today only half of Borneo's original forest cover remained, WWF said.

"The remote and inaccessible forests in the Heart of Borneo are one of the world's final frontiers for science and many new species continue to be discovered here," added Chapman.

He said the highland forests were also key because they were the source of most of the island's major rivers, as well as acting as a natural barrier against forest fires.

The forest fires that hit parts of Borneo and Indonesia's Sumatra island during this year's dry season were the worst in a decade.

The conservation group said that it hoped that Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia, which jointly administer Borneo, would follow through on a commitment to conserve the upland area.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Dave Suzuki's Comedy Club!

Well well! No one can say that the fine folks at the David Suzuki Foundation don't have a sense of humour!

As someone who enjoys messing around with Photoshop, and trying to have a little fun with this whole treehugging thing, I very much appreciate the giggle here. I get tired of the organization that can't appear to communicate in a way other than to warn of the apocalypse every other day.

Sometimes, a light-hearted approach makes for an encouraging contrast, no? If you constantly dwell on the negative, come a point you take the wind out of people's sails. I know that's the case for me, anyway.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Paper Wait.

This could leave me with MANY more trees to hug. Full story linked below:

TORONTO and PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov. 27, 2006 -- Xerox Corporation (NYSE:XRX) scientists have invented a way to make prints whose images last only a day, so that the paper can be used again and again. The technology, which is still in a preliminary state, blurs the line between paper documents and digital displays and could ultimately lead to a significant reduction in paper use.

The experimental printing technology, a collaboration between the Xerox Research Centre of Canada and PARC (Palo Alto Research Center Inc.), could someday replace printed pages that are used for just a brief time before being discarded. Xerox estimates that as many as two out of every five pages printed in the office are for what it calls "daily" use, like e-mails, Web pages and reference materials that have been printed for a single viewing.

"Despite our reliance on computers to share and process information, there is still a strong dependence on the printed page for reading and absorbing content. Of course, we'd all like to use less paper, but we know from talking with customers that many people still prefer to work with information on paper. Self-erasing documents for short-term use offers the best of both worlds," said Paul Smith, manager of XRCC's new materials design and synthesis lab.

Xerox has filed for patents on the technology, which it calls "erasable paper." It is currently part of a laboratory project that focuses on the concept of future dynamic documents.

To develop erasable paper, researchers needed to identify ways to create temporary images. The "a-ha" moment came from developing compounds that change color when they absorb a certain wavelength of light but then will gradually disappear. In its present version, the paper self-erases in about 16-24 hours and can be used multiple times.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's in You to Give.

There's something I've never done. And the opportunity just presented itself; I found out they're having a Blood Donor Clinic next Wednesday and Thursday near my work.

For some reason, I'm nervous to do it. I don't know why. Mrs THIT has donated a bunch a times in the past. And I'm no stranger to needles. I've had allergy tests done as a kid, and received shots regularly for quite some time. I don't know what those test are like now but back then they stuck all kinds of needles in you. I think one test was something like 700 shots.

Or what is 17?

Well, it was a lot. So it's not that, but I'm still nervous.

I guess I have this irrational mental picture of them starting to draw blood then being unable to stop. Next thing I know, I look like Iggy Pop.

Hmmm...Iggy looks like he's beefed up in recent months, actually...Dude's like a fine wine!

I believe I've digressed again...I'll probably go ahead with it after running it by Mrs THIT for feedback. Hopefully whoever gets my blood gets a sudden urge to turn vegetarian. Could that happen?

Speaking of that, I looked up what blood type on their website. Or at least, I looked up A+. I've always thought I was an A+. Mum, if you're out there, correct me if I'm wrong. Mind you, I've had so little to do with the A+ designation during my scholastic years (which I enjoyed so much, I extended by about a year and a half) that I'll be damned if I'll give up my only chance at an A+ without a fight even if you tell me otherwise.

Anyway, they said:

So, you’re an A. You already know that having type A blood suggests that you are reliable, a team player and may benefit from a vegetarian diet.

Did you also know that anthropologists believe that type A blood originated in Asia or the middle east between 25,000 and 15,000 BC?

Well no, of course I didn't know that! Who the hell would??

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Booster Believer!

Great Googly Moogly! Ever have this stuff?!

I'm fairly lucky in that in the area where I work, I can find a number of vegetarian food options. Still, there are days that you just don't know what you feel like having.

I forget what prompted it, but a co-worker showed me a flier he had at his desk for Booster Juice. I had a flip through and got a better feel for their product. I thought they were basically glorified milkshakes, but no way Irene!

What's with the name!! BOOSTER JUICE!!? In every smoothie you get a free booster. This free booster is a nutritional supplement. Feeling a bit run down? Choose the Cold Warrior Booster it's full of Echinacea and Goldenseal which are two of the best herbs for building your immune system. Needing a bit of extra energy? Go with our Energy Booster which is a blend of Korean ginseng and bee pollen. The boosters give the customer the enjoyment of customizing their drink. These are just two of our ten boosters which are researched and developed for us with private labeling.

Indeed? But my problem is that I usually only have a small breakfast before leaving for work, so I need something filling. No problem, Chester!

Sonic Soy Low fat soymilk, blended with blueberry, strawberry, sorbet, Wilderness Booster and Protein Booster. Get added protein and enjoy a delicious non-dairy smoothie designed for the health conscious crowd.

That's me all over, motherfu...well, whatever. If I recall correctly (always a shaky proposition) protein is one of the nutrients that they tell you to watch out for if you turn to a vegetarian diet. You may not get enough. The occasional Booster ought to help.

In any event, highly recommended. Check out their menu, learn about this "power berry" they make reference to (I worked in the produce section of a grocery store in my late teens and never heard of it), and next time you happen to walk by one of their locations in some mall, treat yourself.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Speaking of Catalogues...

Made my World Vision purchase the other night. Out of the available items for purchase, I selected the Harvest Packs:
What could be more perfect for the gardener on your list than crops to feed hungry families? Thanks to generous Canadian corporations, your gift today will provide 4 Harvest Packs for the price of one. A single Harvest Pack includes hearty seeds and sturdy tools for planting. And with each Harvest Pack, a World Vision staff person will provide training to help bring bountiful harvests of vitamin-rich vegetables, legumes, and grains for years to come. Now's your chance to help four families for the price of one.

I liked that it seemed to be a long-term solution, and cost-efficient. I know that I'm putting a lot of faith in people when I donate to a charity, and I'm willing to take that chance, but I want good bang for my buck. Anyway, ultimately, if my coin just went to pad someone's salary, at the very least I'll end up with a tax credit from the whole thing.

I found a few parts of the FAQ encouraging:

Q: How are prices determined for items in the Gift Catalogue?

A: World Vision Canada's prices for animals include training in husbandry and pen construction, pen material, vaccinations, and occasionally food for the family so the animal can survive long enough to reproduce. In addition, families are given nutrition training so they can get the most benefit from these animals.

Nutrition training and education are included in the cost of livestock, trees, seeds, and tools because World Vision seeks to bring about sustainable change. With training, families can use the animals and plants they are given to improve their children's health for years to come.

Q: Where does my money go when I purchase a gift?

A: While the majority of the purchase price goes toward buying and delivering the actual gift item, fundraising and administration costs are also built into the price of each gift in the catalogue. World Vision is an organization you can trust. 84.3% of gifts to World Vision go directly into programs that help children. 10.6% goes to fundraising services, 5.0% is allocated to administration and 0.1% is retained for future use.

Q: How are Gift Catalogue items selected?

A: Gift items are selected to help families meet pressing needs and earn household income. For example, sheep can provide milk and meat for family nutrition, manure to be used to fertilize crops, and wool which can be sold or used to make clothes. Additionally, ewes often have twins or triplets that can be sold for family income.

Q: Who receives the gifts I purchase?

A: World Vision works with community leaders to develop a fair system for distributing gifts. Families are chosen on the basis of need. Your gift will usually be part of a larger program where a number of families receive similar gifts.

Q: How are the gifts I purchase delivered?

A: Items that you choose are purchased locally. This ensures the products (for example, fruit trees) are well-suited to the local environment. Buying locally also supports the local economy and keeps transportation costs to a minimum.

Q: What if World Vision raises more funds than expected for a particular item?

A: Should the total amount of gifts exceed funding needs for a particular item, your gift will either provide similar assistance to people in different communities or it will be used to meet additional needs in that project.

Now, it would be nice to see the results of having made the purchase, but I understand that's unrealistic.

Victoria's Secret is a Little Less Naughty.

As something of a follow-up to an earlier post in which Forest Ethics claimed censorship in regards to a magazine (I believe Rolling Stone) refusing to run one of their ads, those very same Forest Ethics folks have now proudly sent out an e-mail celebrating a significant victory.

The message they wanted to run was about how much (and the kind of) paper Victoria's Secret catalogs used. Well, they've finally reached a compromise, it appears:

Today, Victoria's Secret's parent company, Limited Brands, announced it will stop using paper from Endangered Forests like critical caribou habitat in the Albertan Foothills for its catalog. After two years of campaigning, Victoria's Secret started to and will continue to work to phase out the use of any Endangered Forests products. The company has ensured that at least 10 percent post-consumer waste paper will be used in it's main catalog.
When we began this campaign, two years ago, Victoria's Secret was printing 395 million catalogs every year on paper that contained NO recycled content. We made it clear that we were not going to stand by and watch one of our planet's most vital resources be destroyed to sell panties.
The impact of Victoria's Secret's decision will be seen in the protection of North America's Great Boreal Forest, which contains 25% of the world's remaining intact forest. Stretching from Alaska to Canada's Atlantic coast, the Boreal is a key regulator of global climate, providing one of our first lines of defense against global warming. It is also a vital source of clean air and water, and provides critical habitat for many species from endangered mountain caribou and to half of North America's songbirds.

A vast majority of catalogs and junk mail that flood U.S. households come directly from the Boreal Forest. Currently, the Boreal is being logged at a rate of two acres per minute, 24 hours a day. And nearly 50% of that logging is going to produce paper. Victoria's Secret's new policy prohibits immediately paper coming from the Albertan Foothills and is working to end sourcing paper fiber from other Endangered Forests. The policy sets a new standard for the catalog industry.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Wal-Mart's Bright Idea.

I'd heard a few times that Wal-Mart was making a strong effort to go green. This would be quite the achievement if they could pull it off.

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Nov. 30, 2006 - Wal-Mart has announced an ambitious campaign to sell 100 million compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) at its Wal-Mart and Sam's Club locations by the end of 2007.

If achieved, this goal has the potential to save customers as much as $3 billion in electrical costs over the life of the CFLs. In addition to saving money for consumers, these innovative products conserve up to 75 percent more energy than traditional light bulbs and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

"We have a fundamental belief that all families should have access to affordable, sustainable goods, and compact fluorescent light bulbs are a great way for our customers to save money," Wal-Mart Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Sustainability Andy Ruben said. "The working families and small businesses that are our customers will not only save money when shopping with us, but also on their electric bills, all the while benefiting the environment."

The roll-out plan includes interactive displays at 100 select Wal-Mart stores beginning in January to help customers choose which CFLs best fit their needs (an online savings calculator is currently available online); educational displays to allow customers to compare qualities and styles; increased shelf space with prominent displays in the lighting aisles; marketing promotions; and employee education as well as a competition to encourage them associates to generate CFL sales.

With nearly 20 percent of all home electric costs stemming from lighting alone, CFLs can have tremendous benefits. Converting one conventional 60W bulb to a 13W CFL can save: $30 in electric costs over its lifetime; 10 conventional bulbs from being produced, transported and discarded in a landfill; 220 lbs. of coal from being burned; and 450 lbs. of greenhouse gases from reaching the air. The average home has more than 30 compatible sockets, which means even more potential savings.

"We realize this is a lofty aspiration, but if we reach our goal of selling 100 million CFLs by the end of 2007, the results will be staggering," Ruben added. "Over the life of those bulbs, $3 billion can be saved in electrical costs and 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gases can be prevented from entering our atmosphere. This change is comparable to taking 700,000 cars off the road, or powering 450,000 single-family homes. Compact fluorescent light bulbs will change the way consumers look at energy efficient products because not only can they benefit directly, but also feel good about it."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Be Annoying For A Good Cause.

That I can do.

Just about every animal rights charity has sent out e-mails asking recipients to purchase some of their merchandise as a Christmas gift, to sign up a friend/relative/acquaintance/co-worker/homeless person to a membership as a gift, or send one of their e-cards. I don't have the coin to do the first two for everyone I would like to, and while many of the e-cards are quite attractive, I'd be concerned about the people I send them to suddenly starting to receive unwanted e-mails.

Environmental Defence takes a slightly different path. They suggest sending a Christmas card to Canada's top 10 greenhouse gas polluters.

Done and done. Ho ho ho!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bottom Line: They're All Bad.

The Newfoundland Marten is an endangered species. Photo: Vidcraft Productions

Some specifics on terminology from Environment Canada's "You Asked Us" section. I hadn't asked, but it's good to know:

Is there a difference between a species being threatened, at risk or endangered, or can these terms be used interchangeably?

In everyday language, the term 'endangered species' is often used to refer to species that are at some level of risk of becoming extinct (no longer existing anywhere). However, in Canada there is a committee of experts that assesses and designates which wild species are in some danger of disappearing from Canada – the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). COSEWIC has adopted a system of categorization used to determine the level of risk a certain species falls under.

Under COSEWIC, a species at risk is defined as a species that is extirpated, endangered, threatened or of special concern. Therefore, when someone refers to a species as threatened or endangered, these are both considered species at risk.

The terms threatened and endangered, however, each have a different meaning under COSEWIC, and should not be used interchangeably.

According to COSEWIC wildlife species definition and status categories, a species with the status of endangered is a wildlife species facing imminent extirpation (no longer existing in the wild in Canada, but occurring elsewhere) or extinction. An endangered species is considered to be at a greater risk of extinction or extirpation than a species designated as threatened, which is defined as a wildlife species likely to become endangered if limiting factors are not reversed.

Under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), there are currently 386 species that are at risk in Canada, of which 167 are endangered and 112 are threatened.

In North America, there may be some confusion because there are some differences in terminology between Canada and the United States. Similar to Canada's SARA, the United States' Endangered Species Act (ESA) designates a different meaning between the terms endangered and threatened. Like COSEWIC definitions, the ESA considers an endangered species (in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range) at more of a risk than a threatened species (likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range). However, unlike its Canadian counterpart, the ESA considers 'species at risk' a general term for listed species as well as unlisted ones that are declining in population.

Even The Person Who Has Everything Doesn't Have These.

Granted, they might not WANT them, either, quite frankly. I just found them interesting and practical-sounding. They, among others, were included in an Ottawa Citizen article in yesterdays' edition entitled "Go Greener with Gadgets".

And no, I'm trying to pass along gift ideas for myself. ;-)

Sidewinder Charger: The SideWinder charger is the world's smallest, lightest, and most powerful portable cell phone charger available. Weighs only 2 1/2 ounces and puts out power greater than a plug-in charger. Ideal for any situation away from a traditional power source and you need to complete a call. 2 minutes of charging equals over 6 minutes of talk time, even more standby time. The SideWinder also contains a powerful LED light that runs over 5 minutes with NO BATTERIES and only 30 seconds of charging!

Solar Ovens: Easy to use, easy to carry (the oven weighs only 10 pounds), wind and weather resistant, the Sport is the perfect addition to camping trips, beach parties, fishing trips, back yard barbecues and everyday cooking. You no longer have to pack heavy and messy charcoal or flammable fluids. Using the Sport keeps the heat out of the kitchen and takes advantage of free sun power.

Designed by solar engineers to be used in sun rich but fuel poor areas in the world to improve the quality of life and nutrition of some of the 2.4 billion people who lack adequate cooking fuel, the Sport is also captivating U.S. consumers. Constructed of post-consumer recycled plastic pop bottles, aluminum and state of the art insulation, it is efficient, environmentally friendly, cost effective and fun to use.

The Centameter: The Centameter acts as an 'electricity speedometer' in the home, building awareness of electricity cost on a real-time basis. Confirm at a glance that nothing has been left on when on your way out of the house. Identify the high power consuming devices, and minimize their operation accordingly.

If the Centameter indicates that electricity costs are too high, take control. Check the home to find out what is costing you money, and decide what is worth keeping on.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Would You Take Health Advice From This Man?

One would think not. Clowns are creepy bastards anyway. The New Brunswick Department of Education agrees. With the first part anyway. Story on

OTTAWA - In a Canadian first, the New Brunswick government has banned McDonald's corporate mascot Ronald McDonald from its elementary schools, but says the fast-food giant's controversial healthy living show can stay.

The province's Department of Education made the announcement Monday after discovering the corporate clown had visited some schools this fall to promote McDonald's Go Active Canada program. The interactive show stars Ronald McDonald, who introduces video clips from Canadian Olympians delivering personal messages about leading a healthy lifestyle.

"You wouldn't use Joe Camel cigarettes to talk about your cessation program. It just doesn't fit,'' Jason Humphrey, spokesman for the Department of Education, said Monday in the wake of the ban.

Education Minister Kelly Lamrock elaborated in a letter to school boards, saying the brand-driven marketing "creates a contradictory and confusing message... Specifically, the use of brands reasonably known to be identified with unhealthy lifestyles is unacceptable.''

But critics say the province is going only halfway, pointing out the government has failed to take the next logical move by banning the McDonald's video pitching healthy living from its elementary schools.

New Brunswick schools can also continue sign up with McDonald's GO Active Fitness Challenge that can earn them up to $500 in sports equipment. Last year, 330 schools across Canada participated in the fitness challenge.

Ronald McDonald is still making the rounds in schools in other provinces, most notably in British Columbia, where the mascot turned up recently to deliver his healthy-living message on behalf of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics; McDonald's is a top sponsor of the Games.

Erika Shaker, an education research fellow at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, says the issue that has boiled over in New Brunswick is part of a larger trend.

She described it as a perfect storm of cash-strapped schools looking for ways to raise money converging with companies like McDonald's keen to rebrand themselves.

"This is part of a wider movement of companies associated with foods that are not considered healthy and repositioning themselves as being interested in health. But it's not just a question of healthy foods, it's trying to refocus the discussion on active living,'' said Shaker. "And of course the backdrop to all this is the consistent underfunding of public schools.''


McDonald's has had a tough time rebranding itself since the 2004 release of the Academy Award-nominated documentary Super Size Me.

Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock ate three McDonald's meals a day for one month. At the end of the experiment, he had gained 25 pounds and suffered severe liver disfunction, a condition his supervising physicians attributed to his high-fat, high-carb diet.

McDonald's isn't the first company to feel pressure from the education sector.

The soft-drink industry has withdrawn voluntarily its carbonated drinks from elementary schools in Canada. And a few years ago, Kraft Foods announced it would stop all in-school marketing of some of its products, including Oreos and Kool-Aid.

Now Licking Batteries Will Seem Like a GOOD Idea.

From the blog:
...a new battery created by Japanese inventor Susumu Suzuki gets its power from an even cooler source: water. The size of a AA battery, the little energy source gets juiced up with just a tiny amount of water — even licking it will do the trick. The thirsty batteries can last far longer without degrading than normal batteries and could cost a mere 1/10th the price of their alkaline cousins if they were to be mass produced. And the best part? The mostly carbon-based batteries are much less damaging to the environment when they get tossed in the trash. Sounds good to us, but time will tell if these guys will replace the copper top.

A Bike You Can Fit in the Palm of Your Hand!

All right, perhaps not literally, as one of the pictures on their site would have you believe...

The point was to make it easy to carry. Once you have the folding instructions down, the whole thing weighs about 12 pounds and is about two feet long. Unfortunately, it'll also run you about $400.

Those dimensions would be hard to beat though. I recall that city buses here used to have racks in the front for people who wanted to bike to a certain stop, clamp their bicycle to the front of the bus, then ride the rest of the way to their destination. They've done away with most of those now though, but folks wishing to resume that sort of traveling, rather than drive to a Park 'n' Ride, could now carry their vehicle onto the bus.

And a guy my size would finally get the opportunity to look like one of these two:

Thursday, November 23, 2006

That's An Awful Lot Of Hugs...

From a Mail and Guardian article dated November 8th, 2006:

Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai on Wednesday launched a massive drive aimed at curbing global warming and related environmental damage by planting a billion new trees by the end of next year.

On the sidelines of a key United Nations climate-change conference in Nairobi, Maathai announced the start in January of the Billion Tree Campaign to combat rampant deforestation, reverse desertification and reduce soil erosion.

Maathai won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the Greenbelt Movement, which she founded to promote human rights and sustainable development by planting trees first in her native Kenya, then throughout Africa and the world.

"In the year 2007 we shall target over a billion trees," said Maathai, the first African woman honoured by the Nobel committee, noting that trees provide natural protection against the effects of climate change.

"We want to commit ourselves to action and we want to call the whole world to participate in this action," she said, calling on the people around the world to get their hands dirty while diplomats haggle over treaties.

"We know the signs and we know the data ... but what is really important even long after this conference is what we do," Maathai said. "That is why this campaign is so important."

Trees are key to reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere generated by the use of fossil fuels and every year an average tree converts 12kg of the gas into enough oxygen for a family of four per year, according to the UN.

But, replacing trees lost by deforestation over the past decade will require planting an area the size of Peru, a task equivalent to planting 14-billion trees every year for a decade, the UN says.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Bullfrog's Green Index

A list of the organizations that make the greatest use of Bullfrog's renewable power.

Good to see the WWF logo on there. Always encouraging to see an organization practice what they preach.

Would love to see my employer's logo on there. I believe I'm going to scan the employee directory in order to find a contact person to whom I'll pass along the suggestion. They'll likely come to consider me a pain in the ass, but at least they'll have plenty of company.

I Ain't Buying No Goat.

When I climbed the CN Tower earlier this year for the WWF, I thought of bringing my IFAW ball cap for the simple reason that it's my headwear of choice when I'm saving the world. I wasn't sure if that would be frowned upon though, because I didn't know whether charities tend to be competitive between one another. So I decided against it after all so as to not inadvertently plunge the entire proceedings into chaos.

Well, some charities must have some level of communication because last week I received a World Vision Canada catalogue. I've never had a single solitary thing to do with that charity, so someone somewhere ratted out my personal info, it seems.

Well, better this than the offers for diplomas, mortgages and pecker pills that I routinely get in my e-mail inbox. So I decide to have a flip, and you can too right here.

Of course, when Christine handed it to me, I thought it was a standard catalogue, like one of the holiday ones you'd get from Sears. Imagine my surprise at the headline "A Holiday Heifer Brings Milk And More". No doubt, but I don't recall Christine ever lamenting the fact that we don't own our own cow. There's another that states "Pigs Make Plump And Perfect Presents". Ha! Finally an answer to the question about what to buy the person who has everything! I'd make a bet that (s)he doesn't have that!

Once my spell of bewilderment wore off and I clued in to what I was actually reading, I liked the idea. They're certainly not messing around! While you have several modestly priced options, you could also shell out a cool $15,000 to drill a well!

That's somewhat out of my reach. So here's the plan: With my pay of December 22nd, I'm going to select something a little more...affordable...and give my Christmas gift that way. Then starting December 26th, I'm going to start hoarding nickels. And whatever total I come to by Christmas 2007, I shall donate.

I have no idea what total I'll reach. I just know that from week to week, I won't miss a couple of nickels out of my wallet. Besides, that thing's American-made so the change pouch on it is rather small. They don't need room to store loonies and toonies, right? So for me, space is sometimes an issue.

And it gets heavy too! Sometimes I have so much change back there that my wallet weighs a quarter ton. My pants end up hanging halfway down my arse, like those kids that loiter in shopping malls wear them. Lousy punks!

But I digress...

While I'm all for this concept, I know I won't be able to bring myself to buy animals. I understand the potential benefits, but no can do. I probably don't have to explain why.

World Vision have enough options involving health and education that I doubt I'll struggle to find something to get behind. I particularly like the category "gifts that multiply" in reference to gifts is matched multiple times by sponsors and such. Example:

Mom kept you warm and safe. Show her how much you care by clothing 25 children in her name. Thanks to donations from Canadian companies, your gift will multiply 6 times in impact to give brand new clothes and sturdy shoes to impoverished children in poor countries like Georgia, Romania, Armenia, and others. You'll help protect these little ones from sickness, embarrassment, and poor school attendance. And for many, these could be their first new articles of clothing ever!

Sounds good and fits right into my "gain without pain" strategies. So when the day comes, I'm going to try to maximize my bang for my bucks. In the meantime, anyone interested can read the FAQs.

Monday, November 20, 2006

And Now Back to my Regularly-Scheduled Masculinity

Mrs THIT and I had our appointment this past Saturday with the Tamarack Homes design center. Previously, we'd been walked through the cost of upgrading this and upgrading that, but now came the time to actually make decisions and stuff.

Oh was not pretty to see. I got all into it and stuff! It took two and half hours, and Christine admitted later to getting fed up.

Not me! I was just getting warmed up! I used words like "contrast" and "depth" and I believe I even used them properly! I made reference to texture and how the light hitting certain tiles would make them appear different...oh, it was simply heavenly!

When asked by the designer later about what the rest of my day would consist of, I first thought of dabbling in flower arrangements while sampling fine wines. Or perhaps I would work on my cross-stitching.

Then it hit me. I was actually going to a college football game, then to a local pro wrestling show. What the hell was happening to me? I was becoming like those guys on the HGTV shows (not that there's anything wrong with that. Or them. But they're annoying).

So I took the rest of the afternoon to restore my manhood (such as it is). This dude helped:

He was in the main event of the wrestling show I went to. His name is "Original Sinn", though I believe that may be a pseudonym. He's pretty bad-ass, even if his manager is an evil rubber duck.

Now that my mind has been restored to its partial cromagnon state, I do have one request to women everywhere who plan to speak to men about decorative matters anytime in the future.

Use real colours.

Here are some colours that you claim exist: Pearl. Eggshell. Cream.

They don't. There's only one way to describe those pseudo-colours: White. If you're so concerned that that it's "not really white", then say "off-white". Or even "dark white". We'll get it.

The exception to this rule: Football. The Michigan Wolverines do not wear yellow. It's maize. Louisville wears cardinal red specifically and...uhm...well, I think it's cream. But it sounds less girly when it makes reference to football.

Otherwise, for most guys going through that process is hell (and if it isn't, we kind of have to pretend that it is) so please, at least communicate clearly.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Being that friends and family have been supportive of my little missions over the past few months, I jumped at the opportunity to return the favour when a buddy of mine in the States mentioned doing a little charity walking of his own for the above bunch.

The mission of the Fannie Mae Foundation Help the Homeless Program is to raise awareness of and funds for Washington metropolitan area organizations that are working to prevent and end homelessness, with an emphasis on programs that help homeless people return to independent living. The Help the Homeless Program also fosters volunteerism in service to the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless.

The logo above links to my friend's donation page, but anyone wanting more information on the walk and/or organization can obtain it from there as well.


Another nutty coincidence...

CANBERRA, Australia - The drought gripping Australia could be the worst in 1,000 years, government officials said, as Australia started to draw up emergency plans to secure long-term water supplies to towns and cities.

The drought affecting more than half of Australia’s farmlands, already lasting more than five years, had previously been regarded as the worst in a century.

But officials from the Murray-Darling river basin commission told a water summit of national and state political leaders on Tuesday that analyses of the current prolonged drought now pointed to the driest period in 1,000 years.


A spokeswoman for the Murray-Darling Basin Commission said the current consecutive years of drought had not been observed in the 114 years since records were first kept.

She said mathematical and probability analyses of the current dry spell found Australia was moving into what was possibly a one-in-1,000-year drought.

“We don’t have the records to substantiate a one-in-100-year drought any more -- it’s beyond that,” she told Reuters.

Lack of winter rain has meant record-low inflows into the Murray-Darling river system, which drains an area the size of France and Spain combined and provides water to Australia’s major agricultural areas.

The average inflow of water into the Murray River, which flows through three states, is 11,000 gigaliters a year. In the past five months it has received less than 600 gigaliters. One gigaliter is one billion liters.

Green groups have warned that towns and cities along the river system could run out of water if the drought goes into another year.

Prime Minister John Howard used the water summit to announce moves to investigate how to secure log-term water supplies for towns and cities along the Murray River.

The summit also approved a new weir across the Murray to provide emergency water, if needed, for the South Australian capital of Adelaide, a city of about one million people, which draws 40 percent of its drinking water from the Murray River.

But Howard, who remains skeptical about the impact of global warming, declined to publicly declare the drought the worst in 1,000 years. “All I know it is a very bad drought. It is the worst in living memory,” Howard told reporters.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Canada's Last Great War Veteran

Another fine idea. The Dominion Institute has started a petition to have a state funeral for last survivor of World War I when he passes away as a symbol of gratitude towards the many who made the ultimate sacrifice. Unfortunately, they were aiming for 100,000 signatures by now, and mine was 66,000-something, but they are not submitting it for another month or so, so there's still a little time.

"We the undersigned feel enormous gratitude for the sacrifice made by all the Canadian Armed Forces through the ages in defence of this country and its values; acknowledge the very special nature of the sacrifice made by those who fought in the First World War in appalling conditions and with terrible loss of life; note that only three First World War veterans remain, and urge the Prime Minister that their sacrifice, and all of those they served with under arms from 1914-1918, be celebrated by offering a state funeral to the family of the last veteran of the First World War resident in Canada."

The Dominion Institute will send the petition on behalf of its signatories to the Prime Minister of Canada on December 11, 2006.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


What a terrific idea.

GoodSearch is an Internet search engine with a simple concept and unique social mission. GoodSearch enables you to help fund any of hundreds of thousands of charities or schools through the simple act of searching the Internet.

The company was founded by a brother and sister team who lost their mom to cancer and wanted to find an easy way for people to support their favorite causes.

It's simple. You use like any other search engine (we've partnered with Yahoo! to ensure great results), but each time you do, money is generated for your favorite cause.

Last year search engines generated close to $6 billion in revenue from advertisers. Think about what your favorite cause could do with even a fraction of that money!

The company's goal is to direct as much money to the organizations as possible, so we're not spending a lot on advertising. That's why we need your help in spreading the word!

I'm going to make it a point to use this from now on. I attempted to add this to my browser so that I could go to it automatically, but so far have failed. but typing "" is not much different for me than typing "google", is it? again, helping without hardly trying.

The other downside is that this is American based. There were a couple of charities here I'd have preferred to help, but for the time being, I'll settle for a few of the big boys, like th eWWF or IFAW. Click the logo for more details.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

You're Going to Save Energy if it Kills me!

Here's something I saw advertised on the side of a bus the other day.

Six of Ontario’s largest local electricity distribution companies (LDCs) along with the Ontario Ministry of Energy are working cooperatively under the name powerWISE® to deliver this multi-year, initiative designed to promote energy conservation to consumers and reduce the demand for electricity in their respective service areas.

Why does this stuff have to be promoted? Never mind the whole environmental bit for a second. Even if you don't believe a word of that "global warming/climate change" stuff, you're looking at saving money by doing something as trivial as changing a light bulb. Who wouldn't be interested in that?

I've mentioned before that I'm a big believer in compact fluorescent lights. I also recently explained that I'd suggested to the fine folks building our next home (Tamarack Homes, childishly referred to by some as "Tabernak Homes") that they partner with Project Porchlight to include CFL's in their welcome package.

While Project Porchlight was willing to play ball, Tamarack was not. For one thing, they apparently already include CFL's in their new homes, so adding one more wouldn't provide huge benefits (you can be damn sure I'm going to inspect this claim very closely). But the gentleman who replied to me also said that people will occasionally replace them with the regular kind. Reasons for this were unstated, but I assume that it's because some CFL's will sometimes take a few seconds to achieve their full brightness.

Insane. Probably the same kind of people who drive an extra half mile to find a gas station that sells gas at 0.20 cents cheaper.

Well the next owner of this dump...huh...delightful abode likely won't do that! When I bumped into a Project Porchlight display on Earth Day this year, they gave me my freebie CFL. I replaced the burnt out Christine impulse buy that we had in the backyard (a purple light, for crying out loud. We couldn't see a damn thing back there...) with that one. You can't really see in there to tell that it's a CFL though.

Now, those very same Project Porchlight folks unexpectedly dropped off another one recently. I weathered driving rain and snow early on Sunday and replaced the light above the garage.

So now the buyer got himself a decent price AND he's going to save a few bucks because of me. You're welcome, stranger.

Friday, November 03, 2006

WWF Photo Contest Results

Is there a more majestic and dignified-looking animal in the world than the proud ostrich?

Okay, there are probably several hundred...but they don't all win the WWF's Photo Contest!

Check out more of the outstanding photography here and don't miss the "honourable mentions" at bottom right.

Next year, Oscar is SO slam-dunking this thing...

Stand Up Count

Remember the Stand Up event? Well above is the final tally if people who participated.

Huh...Don't count them. Read the number they're writing out. here are some specifics:

Official Guinness Verification:
The world record for the most people to 'Stand Up Against Poverty' in 24 hours was set on 15 - 16 October 2006 for the United Nation's Millennium Campaign and involved a massive total of 23,542,614 participants in 11,646 events around the globe.

Africa - 3,624,381
Arab Region - 516,949
Asia - 18,195,126
Europe - 894,854
Latin America & the Caribbean - 54,901
North America - 163,066
Oceania - 93,337
Of course, even in a crowd of 23,000,000+ they have to find a way to highlight your THIT! The camera not only loves me, it seeks me out!

All right so check out the following picture. You may need to click on it to enlarge it.

See that brick building in the back? Of course you do.

Towards the right of the picture, there's a black stand for posters and such. Got it? Good.

In front of that, there a tall dude with brown hair. Look around his right shoulder.

Yep. That's MY hair and part of my forehead.

Damn paparazzi...


I found these folks interesting, and falling right in line with my philospophy of helping without hardly trying.

Whenever a company or individual chooses to host their Internet website with us we will make a donation worth 20% of their fees to their favourite charitable organization. This fundraising opportunity is free, has no obligations and can result in a substantial source of recurring funds.

It just so happens that I have an ass-ugly site (Geocities) about football in the Ottawa region. It's renewal is up November 15th, so I'll investigate what these guys have to offer. Why not?

And also of importance to me is their can-con; they're based out of Montreal.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Cuddles the Hippo

In this photo provided by the San Francisco Zoo shows Cuddles, a 43-year-old hippopotamus, eats a pumpkin at the San Francisco Zoo, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2006, in San Francisco, during a sneak preview for Saturday's 'Boo at the Zoo.' 'Boo at the Zoo' is an annual Halloween event, featuring a haunted nature trail and animal pumpkin feeding. (Photo/ho, George Nikitin, San Francisco Zoo)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rhythms Del Mundo

November 13th, shake your green moneymaker for natural disaster relief and climate change awareness.

I can't imagine Franz Ferdinand done Latin-style, but there it is. Click on the pic, mis amigos verdes.

Holy Granola! Leo DiCaprio Might Do The Impossible!

Make me watch reality TV!

The Departed" star Leonardo DiCaprio is taking his environmental activism to TV, signing on to produce a reality skein about a town that goes green.

DiCaprio's Appian Way shingle has pacted with Madison Road Entertainment and "Survivor" alum Craig Piligian's Pilgrim Films to create "E-topia." Project, being pitched to broadcast webs this week, will take a down-and-out town and rebuild it into an eco-friendly community.

The producers haven't yet selected the town to be made over, but Piligian calls the plan "incredibly ambitious."

"Take an American town that has been destroyed and bring it back to its former glory and then some," Piligian said. "This time it'll be stronger, better, cleaner. This town will be reborn as the prototype for the future."

Proposed series will follow the construction workers, architects, planners and environmentalists as they spend several months building the burg.

DiCaprio will serve as co-creator and exec producer of "E-topia"; Piligian and Madison Road's Tom Mazza also will exec produce.

Madison Road specializes in product integration.

"E-topia" is already pitching sponsors on the project.

"This show is obviously very expensive, and there are a number of major advertisers who have expressed strong interest in 'E-topia' for both integrated and promotional partnerships," Mazza said.

DiCaprio, who launched his acting career as a TV thesp, hosted the ABC special "Planet Earth 2000" and took part in the TBS special "Earth to America."

Cruelty to Animals

Over the past few months, as I've tried to become more informed on what little part I can play in making the world a better place for weiner dogs, I've subscribed to a number of newsletters, action alerts, and what not. Some will deal with animal rights specifically.

Those can be a little hard to digest. No one likes to hear tales of animal abuse, but they're out there. I like to think that they're isolated cases, or that some are exagerated for shock value, but I'm not naive to the point of thinking that they don't exist.

I received today, at my place of my employment no less, a series of rather graphic images of animal abuse. This time of year seems to be the worse for this particular method of abuse, sadly. I felt they needed to be shared so that this sort of behaviour does not go unnoticed. ;-)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Better Her Back Tire Than Her Right Leg.


Christine struggled to get a good shot of her back tire because of lousy lighting and an inability to get an angle that would do it justice. The above was about the best she could do, but you get the idea.

Her front tire looks better, but it took some damage too. From the looks of things, she took a shot on the back tire only, which sent her and the bike flying, and the landing on the front tire was what caused it to warp slightly. In any event, again, she's mostly okay; Still a little tight in the right shoulder but improving.

In lighter news, we went and visited our Energy Star hole in the ground earlier today. Christine had been antsy about a lack of progress to this point. I specifically recall being told that they wouldn't start digging until October, yet somehow she missed that. Rather uncanny when you consider that her attention to detail in regards to such things is normally far superior to mine. Can't believe she missed that one and I retained it.

Click on the picture for a larger version, not that there's a great deal more to see.

We're stoked that we finally have a street sign (we'd struggled like crazy to even determine which hole was ours) and a light post!

Oscar seems to dig it too.

Friday, October 20, 2006

So Christine gets hit by a car this morning...

No seriously. I was getting ready to go to work and the phone rang. Call display showed her workplace, so I picked up. She says "I told everyone here, so I thought I'd let you know too. I got hit by a car on my way to work."


Yeah, I'd prefer to know these things as soon as possible. Hey, I won't even get mad if you wake me up to tell me! Once, years ago, I got annoyed because she woke me up to tell me about a radio spot concerning the garbage crisis. I asked her to not do that anymore. The crisis is not immediate. I can be told when I wake up on myown. Getting hit be a car though? Yeah, go ahead and wake me up, I guess.

Anyway, she's okay. Road rash on her right arms and scrapes on her knees. She also can't seem to get her right arm up very high, but thinks that's temporary. Her hand isn't dangling down to her knee so we don't believe the arm's dislocated.

Christine says it's her fault, but I'm not convinced. She misjudged the incoming car's speed as she turned to cross a road, she says, but I wonder if that car wasn't going faster than it was supposed to be. The driver was apparently very apologetic and very much willing to help, but Christine just asked to be dropped off at work. Now she's chillin', watching Nascar. Damn Nascar...that stuff never ends, I tell you...

We'll get a picture of her mangled back tire up a little later.

Monday, October 16, 2006

You Deserve A (Tax) Break

Damn straight.

During the last federal election, the Conservative Party of Canada promised Canadians they would seriously consider extending a plan to provide tax deductibility for gym memberships.

In September 2006, Fitness Industry Canada (launched) You Deserve A Tax Break, a national postcard writing campaign encouraging fitness club members to send a postcard - via mail or email - to their Minister of Finance and their local Member of Parliament.

You Deserve A Tax Break is your chance to tell the Government of Canada you and your club members deserve a tax break for contributing to lowering national health care costs while maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle.

Makes sense to me. Clicking on the logo will take you to the page from which you can send your e-postcard. The FIC's front page also includes an informative article from the Edmonton Sun.

Now I need to see if I'm charged GST when I buy organic. If so, removing that would help offset the sometimes greater cost of eating healthier.

I think it's probably fair to say that most people don't change their eating habits until they're given a reason to, usually illness or weight gain. Any incentive towards a healthy lifestyle should be encouraged. Throwing more money at the health care system isn't the only way to "support" it; taking some of the pressure off it would help a great deal as well.

And I include myself in the above group incidentally; it wasn't until I got a wicked kidney stone that I began to question my decision to eat two medium pizzas, a large bag of chips, a large bag and M&M's and washing it all down with a 2L bottle of coke every other football Sunday or so. Next thing I know, I'm laid out on the floor in my parents' living room with an ice pack on my gonads waiting to be taken to the hospital. At 22 years of age, that ain't right.

Anyone who's ever had a kidney stone will tell you that it's not an experience they seek to repeat. I was never able to keep mine, but it looked something like this:

That is, if I had a guy running through my urethra.

In any event, it's unfortunate that I wasn't able to keep it because it would have made a great necklace and a constant reminder that cheese is not intended to be a main course. Or alternatively, a delightful conversation piece as a paperweight.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I Came, I Saw...I Stood.

All right, so first things first; I went to get my white armband at 10,000 Villages yesterday. I was determined to do that.

Great little place. The staff is friendly, helpful and enthusiastic. I'd e-mailed a day or two before to make sure that they had the armbands available and was told that there would be one waiting at the cash for me. Sure enough, they'd followed through.

Nowadays, whenever I see an option to buy something that's certified fairly traded, I take it. To that end, when I wanted to give organic chocolate a try, the first one that I came across was the Cocoa Camino line. Some of their products may be an aquired taste. I did not at all like the mint one, for example, but absolutely love the dark chocolate/almond bar. 10,000 Villages has several more options than I'd found before, including espresso and orange. Wanting to find a little treat for Mrs THIT, I bought her white chocolate, as well as peach and ginger jam.

Huh...not to have together, of course...I expect that she'll eat them separately.

That mission being accomplished, I wrapped up my day and began to prepare for today's quest. I made my way to the Byward Market, arriving about 20 minutes before the start of the event. It was right around that time that I realized I'd left my armband at home. Aw, crap!!

There were far more people there than I'd anticipated already, including a strong contingent of the Engineers Without Borders group. And again, much like when I participated in the CN Tower Climb, I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of young people there.

I was less pleasantly surprised at the police presence. I saw at least six cops there. Come on...expecting a rowdy bunch to stand up against poverty, were we? I guess you can't take chances, but it seemed silly though it certainly took nothing away from the proceedings.

Really my only (mild) complaint was that there was no official "moment" as such. While speeches were being made, one of the participants went around counting heads. That was the extent of the crowd participation. They counted 227 people. Oh, okay.

Besides that, the people responsible for organizing the event can be proud of their accomplishment. They'd estimated 100 to participate, and had far more. Media coverage looked fairly extensive, including A-Channel and I believe CTV. So good on them and congratulations on a job well done.

Meatless Rock Star

Regardless of the fact that Canada is 2-0 on the show, I'm not personally a big fan of the Rock Star TV series on which people compete to be the lead singer for some band. I have nothing against it, mind you, and in fact I appreciate that they at least tend to be much more respectful of the contestants, unlike that tool on American Idol.

Mrs THIT, however, really gets a kick out of it, even taping the show when we'd go to the gym. So with her in mind, I've entered the following contest that was included in a PETA newsletter:

JD Fortune 'Love "Em, Don't Eat 'Em" Ad
Photo: Supriya Ruparelia/Klint Collier
Ever since Canadian J.D. Fortune won 2005's hit CBS series Rock Star: INXS—the reality show about rockers vying for the chance to become the next lead singer of the Australian hit-making band INXS, he's become the hottest “New Sensation” in the music world. Anyone who watched the show knows how passionate J.D. is about music and INXS, but luckily for animals, J.D. is just as passionate about protecting them! In his new public service announcement (PSA) for PETA, longtime vegetarian J.D. sings the praises of animals, encouraging people to "Love 'Em, Don't Eat 'Em."

"Ever since I became a member of INXS, my life has really kicked into high gear," says J.D. in the exclusive PSA. "Being part of a band takes a lot of energy. That's one reason I became a vegetarian. I feel better physically, I've got a lot more energy, and I feel better emotionally, knowing that I'm not contributing to the suffering of animals worldwide."

One can win a shirt and a signed copy of the INXS CD that Fortune sang on. Anyone interested in entering can do so at this link.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go stand up against poverty...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hit Them For Real For a Change, Hulk!

MIAMI BEACH (September 21, 2006) -- Wrestler Hulk Hogan has a new opponent: those who organize animal fights. The Miami Beach resident sent a video message Thursday to all 435 members of the House of Representatives. In it, he says laws against dog fighting and cockfighting aren't tough enough.

The Hulk slips into wrestling terminology in his message, saying offenders should be hit with a "felonious legdrop."

The star of VH1's "Hogan Knows Best" issued the message in cooperation with the Humane Society. The House is considering stricter animal fighting laws.

It's All About The accessories, Baby.

If I'm going to Stand Up Against Poverty, I figured I needed to be properly attired. I found out about the whole thing, if I recall correctly, from a newsletter. Seems only right then that I'd wear the colours. Plus, being that I accesorize well anyway, no doubt this spiffy armband would only increase my "foxy bastard" score. 's all good. Works on many levels.

But those things don't grow on trees. I actually thought that they were carried in several stores, but that doesn't appear to be the case. In fact, it seems one store in particular carries them:

Ten Thousand Villages gives a portion of the sale price of each white band to the campaign for education and advocacy purposes.

Righteous. So who are these guys? Well...

Ten Thousand Villages operates over 40 stores across Canada. Each is a unique global experience with home decorating ideas, household essentials and unique seasonal favourites. But there is much more to each store. Listen to the stories behind the art – the traditions and culture of the artisans.

We are also active in communities from coast to coast. Through festival sales and special events, we bring the inspiring global marketplace of fair trade into numerous communities, celebrating culture while supporting world artisans.

I can dig it.

Here in Ottawa, there's a location on Richmond road. Other locations can be found by province here. I'm going to scoot over there on Saturday, pick up one of these bad boys. Coincidentally (I swear), it happens to be their 60th anniversary!

Saturday, October 14


  • Tasty treats and samples
  • Music & activities for kids
  • Giveaways
  • Visiting artisan from Laos, Kommaly Chanthavong, will present on silk weaving
  • Draw for a special gift basket
  • For more details, visit

Sunday morning I'll head out to the Byward Market and do my standing duty. Maybe I'll suggest to the Mrs that we go for breakfast out there too, and see if we can't help out a local farmer or two while we're at it. Not sure if we'll get that opportunity. Whatever. We'll hug by ear.

Friday, October 06, 2006

50 Cent Shells Out Some Coin.

Man alive do I hate rap. I hate everything about it; the amount of sampling used, the repetitive nature of it (both musically and in terms of themes...every song is about only a handful of possible topics), and the image that 99% of these guys put out there. Despite all that, I also hate their nasty little habit of killing one another over seemingly endless feuds.

Check out the sweetheart above. He's one I particularly despise. Not only has his painfully insipid music caused me to ask myself whether I'd fit in our oven, but like the majority of rappers he has to bend over backwards to show you how much money he has now (Nice cross. Goes great with that gun) and what a tough-ass he is. I avoid rap music like hemorrhoids (though given the choice, I'd rather have the latter) and yet I've still heard his claim of being shot nine times on several occasions.

Here's where it rubs me raw...Catching up on my e-mail, I come across this link about the G-Unity Foundation in a newsletter from Grist Magazine. Their mission:

The G-Unity Foundation is a public foundation that will provide grants to nonprofit organizations that focus on improving the quality of life for low-income and underserved communities.

Very nice. Board of Directors:

Curtis J. Jackson, III "50 Cent"
Christopher C. Lloyde, Jr. p/k/a "Lloyd Banks"
Marvin Bernard p/k/a "Tony Yayo"
David Darnell Brown p/k/a "Young Buck"
Chris Lighty
Theodor K. Sedlmayr, Esq.
Bruce Seckendorf, CPA

There you go. Now why don't we hear this stuff more? Are record companies reluctant to promote these actions because they find them non-marketable? Are the media ignoring it while waiting for 50 Cent's 10th gunshot wound?

No idea, but I do wish they were more widely known, no matter what they might do to 50 Cent's "street cred". He apparently calls himself 50 Cent because he's about change (Get it? 50 Cent? Change? Good grief...). Glad to see that he's taking advantage of his opportunity to do just that, but it'd be a nicer change to see him be a positive role model rather than go on in pointless feuds with the likes of Fat Joe.

No doubt anybody called upon to be the trigger man in one of these rap "feuds" would like to get the Fat Joe assignment.