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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A "Food Not Bombs" Dinner Invite

Well, I had read about it for years on the net and was always just a wee bit curious as to what it was all about. Feeding humans for free can't really be all that controversial can it?
Apparently so...... I read that "Food Not Bombs" was at one point, considered to be a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. Perhaps that was many years ago, when even John Lennon was considered a "suspicious" person by the U.S. Government. Perhaps passivism was not quite in line with those who had a penchant for "war".

But anyway, my family and I were invited the other day to a "Food Not Bombs" community dinner to be held in a local politician's head quarters who would get some good free publicity from the event.

So, remembering the event at the last minute, I convinced the family to join me in an adventure at our very first invite to a "Food Not Bombs" community dinner. As we arrived, I noticed that several of the dinner guests had arrived on foot or by bicycles parked near the tidy white building. As we entered the politician's domain, the dinner guests had sprawled around a few haphazardly placed rough wooden tables and chairs. Most were chatting quietly and scoping out the looks of the other unfamiliar attendees. The dinner guests, a colorful array of local humanity,.....no two alike, each with a different world view, a different kind a life, home and way of being. No talk of economics or stock market fluctuations could be heard. Just forks scraping plates and jesting between those who happened to know one another. Fertive glances towards those, like my family, who didn't know our way around. Glad to see that the courageous gal who had invited us, was there too, happily hosting and welcoming the motley crew.

No paper plates, just real Correlle and a hodege podge of unmatched over-sized ceramic plates to claim as we made our way to the buffet array of vegan dishes. Some were hot..... some were cold... but all were very clearly prepared with love and concern and a certain spartan determinism.

You see, all of the food that was used to prepare the dishes served at the "Food Not Bombs" dinner was donated by local businesses, and generous individuals. I was informed in advance that the meal would be vegan, but I must admit that I was unprepared for the delicious and broad array of brilliant dishes to choose from.

The only thing I really missed was having "traditional" mayo or salad dressing to add to the great veggie salad. But the silky homemade hummus more than made up for it's absence.

A radio turned to a local pop rock station floated and bounced tunes round the room. The guests outnumbered the wooden chairs, so we sat down on the edge of a landlocked dock out back.... taking in the cool breeze and bright evening sunlight dancing on the wild grasses just behind the landing.

Munching on my vegan feast, I mused quietly.Can it be possible that we can really "just feed" other humans, without having some kind of ulterior motive? Can it really be this simple, just to invite other humans for a meal, prepare the meal and be ready to dine in style with perfect strangers? It's so amazing, I hadn't heard anyone talk about  money for the entire meal. No collection plate is passed and no tickets were sold for the event. Just free food, for free humans. Amen sister. Amen brother.

The vegan feast included a hearty veggie salad complete with dark leafy greens, tomatoes, sesame seeds, and chopped fresh mushrooms. A dollop of homespun hummus smoothes it all out.
Then there was a potatoe and kale hash dish, warmed and comforting. A wholesome dish, that I don't really know the name of,  contained veggies and ripe red kidney beans. All and all, the meal was fresh and complete.

 There were several other dishes and a pot of soup that I didn't get a chance to sample, as I was simply just too full from the monster size salad and bean dish.
For desert there were fresh local pears, shiny vegan chocolate cake, of which my son helped himself to two slices, and a crunchy apple crumble in abundance.

How can all this be vegan, so tasty and satisfying and still be "free"???

Well, as nerve wracking as it can be to force oneself and one's family to venture into completely new social settings, it was an adventure that I am glad we undertook. To be met and greeted by the lady who prepared the meal and gave us the invite created a good friendly community vibe. Photo ops and thanks were made to the politician who let "Food Not Bombs" use her campaign head quarters at no charge.

I must say that it is ultimately VERY refreshing to meet a group of people who simply believe in feeding other human beings, without any other strings attached.

Not to get too philosophical.....but let me close by saying the obvious: Some folks talk a lot and others folks like me.......sure do write a lot....and then there are those blazing trails with their practical example.

Thank you for the bountiful meal. God bless.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

In my opinion...There is NO Energy Shortage

Let's have a  rambling energy discussion shall we?

All the rage over the past ten years there have been too many pundits crying about some "looming"   ENERGY CRISIS.

But, when I look around me,  or dig through any manner of intelligent magazines or newspapers, there is massive evidence to the contrary. There are so many forms of energy already being utilized and there are therefore unlimited ways in which to tap it .

There's the "E=MCsquared" formula which Einstein coined.
So basically "anything" .....any item and object in and around our earth has potential energy contained within it simply because it exists. The question is simply how to coerce energy out of these objects in the most viable manner. What is possible is not always financially practical....and may be simply too awkward to pursue.

The bottom line seems to be that there are enormous financial obstacles as well as the huge invisible hand of the business and political community. Let's start by admitting that the world isn't running out of energy!!

 There is something also called "The Law of the Conservation of Matter" which according to my limited  scientific understanding would also support the idea that there really is no lack of energy in our world.....things simply change form....they actually NEVER lose their "mass" a.k.a their "weight".

Therefore, if an item has a weight to it....then it exists and can be plugged into the "E=MCsquared"
formula. Every "thing" has potential energy contained within it, just because it exists or has weight.
Ok, 'nuff about that.... Now let me spout about the related issue of financial support and political will.
With all the current and more "well known" energy technologies such as
geo-thermal energy, solar energy, wind energy, wave energy, hydro electric energy, and
bio-mass energy.....it seems to me that what is lacking is simply the political and "business" will to support and mass market these newer technologies. When governments pull up their sleeves and start REALLY supporting these alternative energy forms......it may actually create a society in which regular consumers can choose which energies to utilize for their regular and business activities instead of being forced to simply plug into their regular province or statewide electrical grid. But that would mean FRAGMENTING the energy marketplace instead of CONSOLIDATING it. Both fragmenting and consolidating the energy marketplace have very different financial consequences. Consolidation brings in space for HUGE monopolized conglomerates.

Fragmenting the energy marketplace would gives us humble consumers MANY choices and options. However, governments and business people may not be too excited to pursue a fragmented energy marketplace because it dilutes the potential clout of A HUGE energy CONGLOMERATE.

Permit me to be a little long winded today...(.If you want short blurbs...visit Twitter ok?)
For a real life example......In my area of Ontario, Canada, where I reside, there are numerous road construction projects underway.
What caught my eye are the orange colored traffic control lights and flashing signs that are solar powered, with easily visible little black solar panels keeping them humming along.

Now, I would like to know....why is it that the construction industry has figured out the cost efficiency of using solar powered gadgets on road projects, but the average regular "consumer" is still stuck plugging everything into the usual grid???

If there really was loud and vocal support for solar power in my neck of the woods, I would assume that at least HALF of the appliances and gadgets in my home could operate independently from the solar/wind energy that I could collect, generate and process on my own home turf.

Why is it that the government has only supported solar projects that feed back into the status quo
regular energy grid??? If I am going to produce/collect my own solar energy, I MIGHT NOT WANT TO SELL IT BACK into the electrical grid. I might just wanna be selfish and use it all up for me and my family and my neighbors. THAT would be REAL energy independence. THAT would also protect me and my family from any province wide blackouts ...that happen when you utilize a public electrical grid.
I find it really strange that "energy independence" is all the rage to help "develop" rural African communities and regular folks are being empowered "literally" to buy and install solar power cells onto the roofs of their humble tin roofs, thus creating a very low cost, sustainable and INDEPENDENT power source for
isolated rural individuals and families and small businesses in Africa.

What I don't understand is that there seems to be so little political will to doing the same for regular Canadians.  For the record...I am just really tired of paying electricity bills. It seems like
that cow is just being milked so staunchly that no one really wants to undermine that money making machine that is our utility grid. Don't even get me started on that proverbial "sliding scale" that gives lower energy prices for corporations instead of regular consumers.

Ok,  rant complete..... Peace,


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Check out M&M's Gluten Free Items!

Twas a great relief to discover this summer that all of my favourite beef burgers selling at 
M&M Meat shops were ALL GLUTEN FREE!

It seems that they have extended themselves to cater to those who want to observe a gluten free lifestyle and I couldn't be more delighted!

Check out their website : M&M

Peace and Bon Appetito,


Thx for buying my new book Life in the Gluten Free Zone on Amazon today!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Zero Commissions to Buy and Sell Stocks??? Can it Be TRUE?

Well, lots of folks said it just couldn't happen, but it took two young ivy league computer
geeks to prove them wrong.

Stanford grads Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt 

have built a mobile stock trading app called "ROBINHOOD"  that appears to be currently functional in the U.S.A as we speak.

Current plans are under way to get approval to function in Australia next.

Will Canada be next??? I certainly hope so.

Whenever someone talks about ZERO commission fees for stock trades, the question arises as to just HOW the company"Robinhood"will glean their earnings. Will they tack a couple cents on the spread between the bid and the ask? Or will there be hidden fees to produce some menial ikky things like "end of year " tax forms??? Investors want to know....

Well there's still time for me to do more research. As a canuck, ROBINHOOD is still beyond my reach as you need to be an American resident to use their app as of now. 

You can guess that the other discount brokerages are gonna watch these developments like a hawk and do their best to discredit what "Robinhood" has to offer.....perhaps even going so low as to question the "safety and security" of trading via a "free" app.

But once all the flurry settles down and ROBINHOOD becomes functional all across North America, perhaps it will really just heat up the competition and thus drive down commission fees for all discount brokerages worldwide. ALL discount brokerages are going to have to prove themselves all over again, as to why we should be willing to pay good money for the "privilege" of giving perfect strangers our money to trade stocks with.

I am delighted with the ROBINHOOD invention and I wish them all the best. I pray that they will maintain their "free" trades policy long enough for many of us to make some great big bucks. 

Peaceful productivity,