Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Autumn On The Canadian Tundra 2010, Part 3. - Bonus Movie Review: Sicko

The Aspen Poplar (Populus tremuloides) in Fish Creek Park in late October...

Movie Review: Sicko.

I've had Sicko recorded on the PVR since January of this year and finally watched it yesterday.

In Sicko, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore (Fahrenheit 9/11, Bowling for Columbine) looks at the state of health care in the USA.

Moore makes a convincing, driving case for reform of the US health care system by highlighting a plethora of individuals who have been denied health care because of cost of insurance or by unscrupulous HMO's/insurance companies (and their political lackeys) looking out for their bottom lines.

I thought Sicko, like Moore's other works, was pretty entertaining.

In order to entertain, he occasionally goes overboard in pressing his case.

For example, as part of his argument for socialized medicine in America, he does a comparative study of social medicine in countries like Great Britain, France and Canada (ugh). He questions "naive" consumers of medical care in each of countries on how they pay for services rendered by their respective health systems. Each patient answers, "it's free". I cringed each time I heard the word "free". Well, I want to warn my American friends that it isn't free. Nothin's free. We pay for it through taxes. Lots of taxes.

I could launch into an exhaustive lecture regarding the merits/demerits of socialized medicine (a system I hold dear to my Canadian heart) but that would be beyond the scope of this post.

I definitely recommend that you watch Sicko though (whether you like or dislike Michael Moore).

It might make you think.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Autumn On The Canadian Tundra 2010, Part 2. - Now go and vote!

Nice to see some non-yellow leaves once in a while...

It's the big Calgary Civic Election today.

How many times have I used the word "big" to describe a mayoral election in Calgary?

From what I've seen on the news, it looks like a close race amongst three candidates for mayor and a huge turn out of voters.

There's a few more hours until the poll stations close.

If you haven't already done so, please vote.

I don't really care who you vote for, it's just important to vote.

Just vote.

Click here for all the info you need.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Autumn On The Canadian Tundra 2010, Part 1

Looks like we're well into a lazy, hazy, and surprisingly warm autumn out on the tundra.

It's a small miracle actually, considering the abysmal summer we had in cowtown.

Everyone should get outside and bask in the warmth of the sunshine before the first blast of winter blows our way.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Bounty of the Harvest 2010, Part 2 - The Carrot.

It was good to be a root in the garden this year. Most of the "above-the-ground" vegetation was blown to smithereens by a devastating hail storm in August.

I think I managed to dig 15 to 20 kg of the orange (and a couple of yellow) taproots out of the dirt this year.

Now for your...

Little Known Facts About Carrots:

Mel Blanc, beloved voice of Bugs Bunny, didn't like carrots.

The world record for longest carrot is 5.839 m or 19 feet 1 7/8 inches.

The heaviest carrot ever recorded:
8.61kg or 18.96 pounds.

Beta-carotene is the pigment in carrots that gives them the orange colour. In the presence of bile salts in the stomach, beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A.

Eaten raw, only 3 percent of a carrot's beta-carotene is released during digestion. 39 percent is released if you cooked them before eating...

Daucus carota, or the wild carrot is thought to be indigenous to Afghanistan.

China produces a third of the world's carrot supply. No other country comes close. Good job my bruthas...

The first Western variety of carrots first appeared in the Netherlands in the 17th C. Dutch nobleman William I, Prince of Orange (aka William the Silent or Willem van Oranje) organized the Dutch revolt against Spanish imperialists back in the day. Dutch people love orange carrots... Are you still with me people? Did you follow that logic?

Sources: The Carrot Museum, Wikipedia.