Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ass-Kicking Coffee!

Recently, while commenting about looking for wine to buy, I said that I wandered around the store examining the different kinds of mine as though I knew what I was doing.

That might sound like I was kidding, but I really wasn't. I know the various types and what-not, but I couldn't really tell them apart. In fact, I doubt I could tell a $1000 bottle from a $10 bottle. I just know what I like.

I'm the same with coffee. I've heard that Tim Horton's coffee is SO great. Meh. It's coffee. It's all the same to me, and I'll be damned if I can tell Columbian from Australian or wherever the hell else they grow coffee.

Ah, but not no more!

Mrs THIT recently returned from a trip to Calgary and she brought me back a bag of Kicking Horse coffee. It's seems that my mum-in-law actually paid for it, and so...thank you mum-in-law.

I finally got around to trying it this morning.

Damn. That's good coffee! And even beyond all that, it's certified organic as well as fairly-traded. Triple crown, baby!

But wait! There's more!

As best I can, I try to buy local. Failing that, I at least buy Canadian when the opportunity arises. Kicking Horse is a Canadian company, so I accomplish that goal as well.

And lastly, they partner with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, one of my personal favourite charities.

Since 2001, we have enjoyed a relationship with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in the Canadian Rocky Mountains of Western Canada. Over the last five years we have contributed financially to the development of the Canadian Rocky Mountains Eco-regional Assessment, and to the conservation of three on-the-ground projects in both the Elk Valley and Upper Columbia River areas. Our contributions have helped leverage new sources of funding and ensured the sustainability of NCC's work in the region.

In 2006, we further committed a percentage of our pre-tax profits to NCC for their work in the Canadian Rocky Mountains of British Columbia. The three-year agreement will help build capacity and further advance the mission of NCC in this critical area.

So I'm a believer. It's like someone sat down and designed this just for me.

As far as how they came up with the name "Kicking Horse"?

In the summer of 1858, James Hector set out to discover the Kicking Horse Valley. His expedition took him through some of the most beautiful and rugged country in the West. During a river crossing, one of the pack horses kicked Hector so hard that others in the expedition mistook him for dead. As they began to bury poor old James, they noticed his eye twitch. The legend says it was a stiff cup of Kick Ass™ Coffee that brought him back to life!

Oscar sometimes kicks me in his sleep. I know being kicked by daschund doesn't make for quite as good a "tough guy" story as being kicked by a horse, but it's still very annoying.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Santo vs The Enemies of The Sea

I'm going for Santo.

Professional wrestler Hijo del Santo announced he has broadened his battle arena from Mexico's Lucha Libre to encompass the Pacific Ocean's eastern coastline, where overfishing, turtle egg hunting, and pollution are threatening marine resources.

In addition to performing acrobatic duels in the ring with opponents dressed as evil characters, the silver-masked Hijo del Santo _ which means ``Son of the Saint'' _ pledged on Thursday to devote the greater part of this year to raising consciousness about how human actions are threatening the ocean.

The wrestler, son of Mexico's most famous fighter, El Santo, will aid the U.S.-based nongovernmental organization WildCoast with its campaign to stop sea turtle consumption in Mexico, defend protected areas on California's coast and promote saving the gray whales in Baja California.


His latest venture reflects a long tradition in Mexico, where legions of the leotard-wearing wrestlers have participated in everything from presidential campaigns to battles for affordable housing.

Full Story

Friday, March 23, 2007

Project Bottled Water

The Environmental Working Group is doing a little reasearch...

EWG is about to embark on a new study about bottled water--where it comes from, how it's "purified," and if it's even worth the expense. A big part of this project is just compiling the data, so we need your help to gather information from the labels of whatever bottled water you have at hand.

To thank you for your time, we'll send you a free Pesticides in Produce wallet guide and fridge magnet if you're one of the first 1,000 people to enter your label. What do pesticide-free veggies have to do with bottled water? They're both EWG research projects that effect your family's health and might just save you a few dollars at the grocery store.

In order to help, we'd like for you to tell us:

  • What brand?
  • Where did you purchase it?
  • How much did you pay?
  • What type of container?

There are a few additional questions, and the whole process will only take a few minutes. If you're willing to go to your local store and record the information for several additional brands, even better!

I've signed up to get the results. When I entered my information (the only bottled water I drink now is Earth Water), most of it had already been recorded based on the UPC code, so this took no time at all.

Ever since the whole "Evian is 'naive' spelled backwards" revelation, I've wondered about the quality of bottled water. I'm more prone to believing that this stuff is no better than tap water, so it'll be interesting to see what they come up with.

I was probably not among the first 1000 though, because I didn't get a chance to claim my fridge magnet. Drag...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

French Court Annuls Gay Marriage.

Not an environmental issue as such, but one I found interesting anyway. I would have thought that France would be more open-minded to this kind of thing. And no, that's not a thinly-veiled shot at the masculinity of French men.


France's highest appeals court, the Court of Cassation, on Tuesday definitively annulled the country's first-ever homosexual marriage by rejecting an appeal filed by the two partners.

In its judgment the court declared that "according to French law, marriage is the union between a man and a woman."

The decision confirms the annulment of the marriage between Stephane Capin, now 36, and Bertrand Charpentier, 34, rendered by the Bordeaux Court of Appeals in April 2005 following a similar decision one year earlier by a court of law in the same city.

Chapin and Charpentier were married on June 5, 2004, in a civil ceremony carried out by the mayor of the Bordeaux suburb of Begels, Noel Mamere.

A former presidential candidate for the Green Party, Mamere was later suspended from office for having presided over the marriage.

I recall coming across an old article which used many of the standard arguments about how this sort of thing would lead civilization further down the path of moral decay, etc, etc. Except it was about inter-racial marriages.

I don't believe inter-racial marriage has caused society to crumble, and I strongly doubt homosexual marriages would either.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

My Pledge Has Been Confirmed!

This is in reference to my "autographed car" post from below. They've e-mailed me to tell me where my name would "appear".

It seems to be a bit off though...I don't know if this will work, but you can may be able to see it too.

I hope they get name right, rather than use Jean-Francois Fournier Fournier. That's all wrong. And I don't want to be confused with Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

Nothing against the man, you know, but I'd prefer to receive my little bit of credit where it'd due...

Anyway, now watch them wreck the car in the first race. In the first lap too. That would be just my luck lately.

G.E.T. Thinking Green

The other day, I saw an ad on a bus for the Home Show here in Ottawa and asked myself "Hey, I wonder if Christine would be interested in going to that?"

That's when I realized I'd been watching too much HGTV with her over dinner. A couple of years ago, the mere thought of going would have caused me to fall into a depression-induced coma. And gladly!

This deal might be a little different. Having bought the new "crib" is one thing, but part of my enjoyment has been greening it (picking out the decor too, but I wouldn't admit to that even under torture).

This show might provide a couple of interesting ideas, and it looks to be all of $10 for the day. also, I'll probably learn a thing or two. I think the Mrs might dig it, and if we're living with the senior THIT's due to the delays in our house being ready, they might appreciate the break from our invasion. :-)

Menu Foods Recall.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, 60 million containers of wet pet food are being recalled due to a discovery that it caused kydney failure and death in household pets. The food can be purchased at Safeway, Wal-Mart and PetSmart, among others, in North America and Mexico. Testing had yet to reveal what causes the illnesses.

Menu Foods will post the full list of brand names to avoid on its website later on today.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Field of Rainbows

Field of rainbows : The photographers shadow is cast on a field as a huge rainbow is seen over the countryside near Lehrte, northern Germany. (AFP/DDP/Berthold Statler)

Chin Rest.

Three Nigerian dwarf milk goats, from the left, Chloe, Dewdrop and Puzzle put their heads together on Pholia Farm near Rogue River, Ore., Thursday, March 7, 2007. The Rogue River area farm makes goat cheese with the help of a herd of small goats. (AP Photo/Mail Tribune, Bob Pennell)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A THIT-Autographed Race Car!

LONDON - The Honda Formula One team said Monday it will replace advertising and sponsor logos on their car this season with a giant picture of the Earth to raise awareness of environmental issues.


"The global reach, the number of people we can talk to, is immense, so we can change minds," he said. "We are going in a more environmentally friendly direction with the systems we put on the car and Formula One is really a laboratory for road car technology."


The team said anyone donating to an environmental charity and pledging to make one change in their lifestyle to improve the environment can have their name placed on the car via a new Web site,

"Under the concept of 'our car is your car', each name will form a tiny individual pixel which will help build the image of planet Earth on the car," the team said in a statement. "Each name will be visible on the Web site when you make the pledge or under the microscope on the car."

Fry said there would be space for at least two million names and that existing sponsors, who could use the image of the car in advertising campaigns, were staying with the team.


Formula One's governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), and the major carmakers who dominate the sport are eager to scrap gas-guzzling stereotypes and present a new environmentally aware image.

That is no easy achievement, given the fuel consumption and the fact that F1 engines are reduced to little more than scrap metal after about 900 miles of use.

Speaking in a museum with a fine collection of dinosaur remains, Fry said the sport had to evolve if it was to survive.

"Formula One has to change. That's been acknowledged not only by the teams, and us, but also the FIA," said Fry. "Otherwise we will wither on the vine. The technology we spend an enormous amount on in Formula One has to be relevant to road cars ... road cars are going to be more environmentally friendly for obvious reasons and these things (F1 cars) have to lead the way."

Click on the picture above for the full article from Reuters, as posted on MSNBC.

All right, so it's me and 1,999,999 close friends.

Of course I got sucked in to taking yet another pledge. I could have been a prick about it and selected to stop doing something I already stopped doing (like flying) or to stop something I never do anyway (like ironing), but no. I had to play it straight. Stupid conscience...seriously, what's it EVER done for me??

I took the one about changing to a renewable source of energy. When we eventually get into the new house, and we have our budget worked out, we'll likely go Bullfrog. We even toyed with the idea of getting our own windmill!

But that's a post for another day...

If You're Going to Fly, Fly Right.

Which generally means, don't fly with Air Canada. From experience.

It can also mean that if you're flying with Westjet, you should book through

Basically put, from my potentially-flawed understanding, whenever you book a flight with Westjet as a result of clicking their link on the Offsetters site, Westjet will donate an amount to Offsetters to...huh...offset your "contribution" to the environment.

That sucked. Let them explain it...

Offsetters has become a WestJet Affiliate to help you offset the climate impacts of your travel. Book through the link below, your ticket will cost the same. Offsetters will invest income from our WestJet Affiliate relationship into making your travel climate neutral.

Now typically when I mention something like to people who don't have much of an interest in the environment, I get the standard "how do you know?" routine.

Well, I don't. But being that it's not costing me more, I also don't care. And if Westjet is sneaking in an extra cost, I can always look to their competition, particularly if I want to book a flight to Sydney, Nova Scotia and have my luggage end up in Australia. They'll (Westjet) offer a price and I'll decide whether I'm paying it.

Besides, you're already getting hosed when booking flights as it is. We all know this, right?

Airport improvement fees?? At what point will they be pleased with the improvements to the point where they can stop charging me? Obviously the day after never!

I recently looked into flight to Washington DC. I found a good price on one, but that was before having a busload of additional charges thrown on. check it out:

Canada Airport Improvement Fee 15.00
U.S.A Transportation Tax 35.80
U.S Agriculture Fee 5.93
Canada Security Charge 7.94
U.S Passenger Facility Charge 5.33
Canada Goods and Services Tax (GST/HST #10009-2287) 29.04
September 11 Security Fee 2.96
U.S.A Immigration User Fee 8.30

U.S. Agriculture fee?? What do you think I'm going to do, take a dump in a field?? What's that all about??

I seem to have gone off on a rant somewhat...Here's a bit more detail, from Offsetters' FAQ section:

From the customer’s perspective, a “climate friendly” booking is identical to a regular one in terms of cost, availability and high quality service. The only difference is that when the customer books their flight, the contribution from WestJet to Offsetters makes their flight “climate friendly”.

The travellers do not get an individual acknowledgement of their climate friendly offset. There are two reasons for this:

  • WestJet protects the privacy of flyers and avoids any breaches of confidentially from passing their travel identity and itinerary back to us.
  • The offset payments are made by WestJet and it is their donation which is acknowledged by Offsetters.

And here are some of the projects they help fund in order to set off emissions.

I avoid flying now like I would avoid getting hemorrhoids. And it's not even really a "green" thing for me, I just find that the experience is too unpleasant.

But for times when it's necessary, I'll go this route. I have a wedding to go to next year that I'm already looking forward to (and you won't catch me saying THAT very often...) and I plan on using this method to book my flight, if it's still available.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Like Healthy Candy

Sometime ago, I raved about my new-found love for Booster Juice. It still very much applies and I've found a new reason to feel that way.

Since discovering them (or rather, finally getting around to trying it, since I knew they existed. I may be going treehugger but I don't live in a cave) I've tried a number of their smoothies. If I'm planning on going to the gym that evening, I'll do the Veggie Combo from the Chinese place in the World Exchange Plaza food court (chow mein, mixed vegetables and, imagine that, rice) and have a Booster Juice smoothy to go with it. When I'm done, I'm fuller tham Jennifer Lopez' jeans.

For a few weeks, I'd been drinking one called the Marathon. Sounded appropriate for a subsequent gym visit, and ever-so-slightly more masculine than ordering a "Raspberry Rapture".

Not no more though! My new favourite is the Brazilian Thunder (which, again, is easier for me to order than a "Blue Banana". And while I'm digressing, the Blue Banana is pinkish and tastes like orange. What's the friggin' joke??).

And why is the Brazilian Thunder my new favourite, you ask, assuming you've been able to keep track through my rambling? Because of the delightful little sumbitches above, the acai berry.

The acai berry grows on palm trees in the heart of the rainforest, is dark purple, and looks similar to a grape. Inside, it grows a large seed with a light covering of flesh, which can be pulped in water to produce a thick paste.

The result is a concentrate with an exquisite flavour, often described as something like a mixture of blueberry and chocolate.

More importantly, the acai berry paste provides a remarkable range of nutrients. A complex mix of advanced antioxidants, amino acids, omega fatty acids (healthy fats) and a number of other essential vitamins and minerals, qualifies acai as a genuine superfood. Described as one of the ‘Forty One Best Things On Earth’ by Sports Illustrated for Women (September 2003), this amazing little berry is set to revolutionise the health industry.

Benefits include...

Improved skin tone, with younger and healthier-looking skin.

Better circulation, especially to the fingers and toes.

Relief from inflammation and the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Healthier eyes, with better night vision.

Increased vitality and energy.

Stronger ability to fight off colds, flu and other illnesses.

Helps to lower cholesterol naturally.

But don't take it from me. I'm still in training. Take it from this righteous chick:

If it's good enough for Oprah, brother, it's good enough for you.

Now I hear wheatgrass is great for you too, and Booster Juice does offer it in their drinks, but...huh...that'll be an experiment for another day.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

"They Just Want to Play"

From Yahoo Canada News:

Dema, a Sumatran tiger licks Nia a baby orangutan in a nursery room at the Taman Safari zoo Wednesday, in Bogor, Indonesia. The tiger and orangutan baby, which would never be together in the wild, have become inseparable playmates after they were abandoned by their mothers.(AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)