Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sweet Thoughts of Chocolate - A Contest

I know that you are all really caught up in Ground Hog Day festivities and celebrations,
but consider this my friends,

Ground Hog Day will come to an end at midnight on February 2nd
 and you may find yourself totally unprepared
for the other important day in the month!

That is right,
Chocolate Day!

Oh sure, some people call it Valentine's Day,

but I like to call a spade a spade and a chocolate truffle a chocolate truffle.

Luckily I have the solution to this vexing problem.

My favourite place to celebrate Chocolate Day is at the Sweet Thoughts Shop
at 310 Canboro road in Ridgeville.

This is what you see when you walk in the front door.

Wall to wall chocolate and Antonio Banderas
is always there and always happy to serve you.

Okay I made the part up about Antonio Banderas,
but the chocolate is real!


Now this was quite a surprise.

I thought chocolate dropped to earth from heaven like manna and was gathered by the angels.

It turns out chocolate is actually made by people!

Who knew?

Anyway, this is Bobbi - Joan.

She owns and operates Sweet Thoughts.

In the photo she is stirring a pot of chocolate.

Yes, this is what she does for a living.

This is a chocolate bouquet.

Bobby - Joan and her band of merry ladies will make you a chocolate bouquet for any occasion.

They can arrange delivery, too.

You can see pictures of the bouquets at


This is another bouquet.

I know I didn't have to show you two,
but I thought the dragonflies were awesome
and it's my blog.


I know. I know.

A chocolate shop that sells purses.
Life just doesn't get much better than this, does it?


I didn't mention the Valentine jewellery?

To the world you may be one person,
but to one person you may be the world!

If this isn't the perfect gift for someone on your

Chocolate Day

 list, well then I just don't think you are past

celebrating the rodent yet.

This beautiful box of sixteen chocolates from Sweet Thoughts is the prize.

This is The Contest:

1. You are only allowed to enter once, even if you really, really, really want to win.

2. You must enter on or before Thursday, February 10th.

3. To enter write the name of two famous lovers in the comment section of my blog, on my wall in face book or if you are entering from you can email me at

4. They can be historical figures, book characters, movie characters, tv characters, radio personalities, politicians, cartoons, etc.  Just no friends, neighbours or relatives, however old and historical they may look.

5.  Anyone can enter. Canadians, Americans, the Irish, the Saami tribes from northern Scandinavia, even people from Niagara Falls.

6. I  will post the winner's name on my blog, on February 11th.


At least one of the sweethearts has to have some kind of a connection to Canada.

Sweet Thoughts Chocolate Shop,
another reason to visit Pelham!

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hungry for an Education - DSBN Academy

The Standard DSBN InsigniaImage via Wikipedia

The District School Board of Niagara is opening a grade 6 to grade 12 school in September that will accept only students from low income families.

Breakfast and lunch will be available as well as tutoring and mentoring.

The students need to have the academic potential to one day attend and graduate from University or College.

The number of students accepted into the 'DSBN Academy' will be limited.

I have to tell you that I'm not really comfortable with the idea.

For starters after following the years of anguish over the closing of Niagara District High School because of low enrolment, funding etc., the last thing I expected to see when I opened the St. Catharines Standard on Monday was that a new high school was opening.

Second, it isn't a very Canadian idea and that is what will take some getting used to.

In general we Canadians tend to take the 'what's best for the majority' path.

In other words, if the Board's statistics are right and 5,400 students in the district come from an impoverished background, the Canadian way wouldn't have been to pick the brightest, feed them and train them, it would have been to take that money and set up a breakfast or lunch programme across the whole district and feed something nutritious at least once a day to every child, not just the brighter ones.

It's the way of the future, I suppose.

But the whole country seems so much colder today.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Unmilky Way

Isn't this a sight for frozen eyes?

I went to the Rice Road Green House yesterday to buy bulk bird seed and I spotted it as soon as I my eyeballs thawed.

Anyway, I actually wanted to talk about my survey on eating cheese made from human breast milk.

If that doesn't interest you, then you can just enjoy the pictures.

Let's get started.

Seven people voted and ten people commented - most on face book.

Six people said they wouldn't try human cheese.

Three said they would.

One was undecided.

A bunch of people read the blog and didn't say anything.

The silent frozen majority, I guess.

When I first asked the question I didn't know that Health Canada had issued a warning against eating human breast milk because of the danger of HIV and hepatitis.

That's scary.

So forget about human cheese.

Somebody should be selling edible flowers dipped in chocolate.

In Canada. 

In January.


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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Cheese of Human Kindness

ameda lactaline personal breast pump breastfee...Image via Wikipedia

I like cheese.

I mean I don't like it as much as I like chocolate, but it is up there on my list of foods that I enjoy.

In other words I wouldn't kick Antonio Banderas out of bed for putting cheese on his crackers.

Unless Antonio Banderas happened to be chowing down on human cheese.

Human breast milk cheese tastes 'kind of sweet' according to Chef Daniel Angerer, who serves it at his New York City restaurant.

He gets his raw material from his lactating wife.

Now I don't know about you, but the yuck factor is really high for me on this one.

I won't be making reservations at his Klee Brasserie restaurant anytime soon.

I just can't figure out why.

I mean breast milk was the only thing I ate for the first few months of my life.

Anyway, after reading about Chef Daniel in the Globe and Mail, I went off to my volunteer job at the St. Catharines Museum and conducted a totally scientific survey among the Museum workers.

In other words I scrounged up a scrap piece of paper and then pestered everyone I saw for an answer to the following question:

Would You Eat Cheese Made from Human Breast Milk?

Two people, one male, one female, said they would eat it. 

Seven people, one male, six female, said with horrified looks that they-wouldn't-consider-such-a-disgusting-thing-and-what-was-I-thinking-anyway.

One female person was undecided but leaning towards a yes answer.

My totally scientific conclusion: Most people found the idea very disturbing.

But why?

Could it be fear of disease, cannibalism, instinct, or just the average persons fear of trying unusual foods?

Hoping to rule out the last, I then asked if they would consider trying cheese made from the milk of:

a) a dolphin (clean)

b) a deer (gentle vegetarian)

c) a wolf (predatory meat eater)

d) a beaver (rodent)

e) an ape (close to human)

The results?

Well I really can't say.

We got talking about it and I forgot about my totally scientific survey.

It was agreed however that Beaver cheese would certainly be a patriotic best seller.

But nobody volunteered to go and milk a beaver so we could try it.

Anyway, I've decided to take the question to my blog.

The survey is up in the right hand corner.

It is completely anonymous.

However if you would like to explain why you voted the way you did, I would love to read some comments about this.

I'll post the results Sunday morning.

See you at the beaver pond?
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

True Canadian Grit

Postcard of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police of...Image via Wikipedia

I saw True Grit this week.

The main characters in the movie didn't have a lot of patience for other people. In fact most folks who crossed their paths ended up shot deader than doornails for one reason or another.

It wasn't a 'My way or the highway' mentality, it was more like, 'My way or the graveyard'.

Could True Grit have been set in Canada?


We don't have the same history of a wild and lawless west.

Oh we had the same conditions, settlers, outraged Indian tribes, criminal types, rebellions, alcohol, etc., but we also had the North-West Mounted Police, (later renamed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police).

We were still very connected to Britain in the nineteenth century and the Mounties went west and north with a psychological leg up.

The whole British Empire was backing them.

If True Grit had been set in Canada, it would have been a story of one handsome, rugged Mountie, his dog team, a few wolves and a bizzillion miles of snow.

Mattie, (the fourteen year old heroine in the American version) wouldn't have had to hire someone to find her father's killer.

The Mountie would have done it for free, (or at least as part of his job), 'cause that's what Mounties do best.

There wouldn't have been any shooting.

The Mountie would have reasoned with the man who killed Mattie's father and the murderer would have complied with the law.

How exciting is that?

If you think I am exaggerating read the history of the Yukon Gold Rush.

The gold seekers who travelled to the Yukon via the west coast were extremely relieved to leave behind the danger and lawlessness of Alaska and reach the safety of the Canadian border where a few Mounties used "commonsense, tact and fearlessness," (The Last Grand Adventure, William Bronson), rather than brutish behaviour to defend Canada and keep order.

So if you wonder why we are often accused of being nice, peaceful, slightly boring people - blame a cop.

And be thankful.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Contemplating January

"Antisthenes says that in a certain faraway land the cold is so intense that words freeze as soon as they are uttered, and after some time then thaw and become audible, so that words spoken in winter go unheard until the next summer."

- Plutarch, Moralia

Imagine that! 

Frozen words caught in tree branches, or piled up at the side of the road by snow ploughs.

In January a person could literally 'trip' over his or her words.  

"... People hit the sauce in a big way all winter. Amidst blizzards they wrestle unsuccessfully with the dark comedy of their lives, laughter trapped in their frigid gizzards. Meanwhile, the mercury just plummets, like a migrating duck blasted out of the sky by some hunter in a cap with fur earflaps. "

- Amy Gerstler, A Severe Lack of Holiday Spirit

Or they go skiing like this fellow with the fancy dancy pajama bottom  pants, and ignore falling ducks in January. 

"There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow. It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance."

- William Sharp

Not much I can add to that. 

Sunday was a sunny day and although it was a January finger numbing cold, the park was beautiful.

"Spring, summer, and fall fill us with hope; winter alone reminds us of the human condition."

- Mignon McLaughlin,

I found these two girls at the Swayze Falls viewing platform.  They were laughing and taking pictures of each other.  Sometimes the human condition isn't so bad, even in January.

"To shorten winter, borrow some money due in spring."

- W.J. Vogel

If you are not in danger of being kneecapped by the local loan shark in the spring, during the middle of January it may seem like a long, long time before the water at Swayze Falls will run free again and cascade to the rocks below.

"When the bold branches
Bid farewell to rainbow leaves -
Welcome wool sweaters."

- B. Cybrill

Or a fancy new plaid January jacket. 

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Gimmee Gimmee

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 24:  Actress Gemma ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The great malady of the twentieth century ... is 'loss of soul'. When soul is
neglected, it doesn't just go away, it appears symptomatically in obsessions, addictions, violence and loss of meaning."

Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul

I rarely buy lottery tickets.

I do, however, get a free quick pick every time I fill the spy car with gas. And before I retired I was known to take part in the workplace pool.

But I've changed my mind.

I don't want to win anymore.

The recent Lottery win by the 19 Bell employees in Ontario really bothered me.

Each person won 2 million and some odd dollars out of what must have been a total possible win of close to 50 million.

It would have been a gracious gesture for the winners to have pooled the 'some odd dollars' and divvied at least some of it up among the co-workers who had not been in on the pool.

I gather that they didn't think of it or didn't have time because now some of the other workers are claiming part of the prize money.

Suddenly it has become an ugly situation.

I don't mean ugly in the sense of  people getting aggressive.

I mean ugly in the sense of souls becoming sick.

Sick with the 'too much' disease.

Nobody needs the kind of money that is now available in some of the lotteries.

Especially unearned money.

I'm adding a late New Year's resolution.

I'm going to change gas stations.

No more quick picks.


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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Country That Doesn't Forget


I go to the old cemetery in Thorold, Ontario, not just because so many family members are buried there or because it has interesting headstones, I also go to let my dog run.

There aren't many recent burials as a new section was opened a while back so Flynn-the-dog and I rarely see anyone else.

During our last solitary walk I came upon this grave by accident.

I actually knew it was somewhere in the cemetery.

Robert McIntosh was the son of my father's cousin and as things happen in small towns I knew him when I was a kid and he was a skinny nice looking teenager.

But his father got a job in the U.S. and the whole family moved Stateside.

Not much was said about the chance the family took until Robert was killed in Viet Nam.

He died over forty years ago.

His parents returned to Canada with their son's body and are buried on his left.

There are no immediate family members left to tend his grave.

You might think that his resting place would only be noticed by people like me, distantly related who happen to be wandering through the old cemetery reading headstones.

Until you notice the crisp new American flag and the crest that must be the insignia of his military unit.

Americans, it seems, don't forget.

I was deeply touched.