Mighty Miniatures of Quinte

Nikon D300, 50mm F/1.4G, f/5.6, Aperture Priority, 1/30s, -1.0EV, ISO 800, Neutral

Did you know that until World War II, the only land links spanning Canada from coast to coast were railway tracks? It’s true, the war stimulated the Canadian government to build roads between small towns north of Lake Superior (where I was raised) so motor vehicle traffic could eventually cross the country, too. There were good reasons. Three sets of track stretched over this area. If German saboteurs ever blew up three bridges simultaneously, our country’s only method of land transportation would have been severed, at least temporarily. Continue reading Mighty Miniatures of Quinte

Death Bonds

Profile of Steve Carlson

“Psssst, buddy! Want to buy a death bond? They’re the most exciting, new investment on the street today. Get ’em while they’re hot.” Hardly, at least in Canada, but I saw them pop-up in an article in The Globe and Mail last month. Death bonds are the catchy name for life settlement securitizations that are bundled life insurance policies sold, in this case, as bonds. Profits to investors come from the death benefits paid by the life insurance companies. Death can’t come too soon to maximize returns.

The article quoted life insurers’ ethical reactions to death bonds. Frank Zinatelli, Vice-President of legal services at the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association that represents most of the life insurers in Canada said, “From an ethical context, you’re betting that someone will die. It doesn’t have the right smell.” Continue reading Death Bonds

Remembrance Day, 2009

Profile of Steve Carlson

I picked up my poppy this year on November 9 from an attractive, middle-aged lady who was standing outside my local Valu-Mart. It was closer to Remembrance Day than usual but, like I do every year, I had waited to see if I could get my poppy from a war vet. They’ve always been easy to spot with their medals and all and, when they have been willing to talk, I like to ask them about their war experiences. But this year, every place I went the only people offering poppies for Remembrance Day were younger members of Legion who clearly didn’t qualify as vets.

I mentioned this to the lady and she smiled pleasantly at me. Then she said, “My grandfather fought in World War II and my great-grandfather was at Vimy Ridge. Perhaps that is enough to let me qualify for you this year?” Continue reading Remembrance Day, 2009

Kayaker Drowned by Skirt?

Nikon D300, VR18-200mm set at 105mm, f/8, Aperture Priority, 1/1600s, -0.7EV, ISO 200, Vivid

 

I couldn’t believe the candor the first time someone admitted to me that he would never try kayaking because it terrified him. I had just pulled my 18-foot kayak up on beach in a park in Peterborough when this pleasant, middle-aged man stopped by. First he asked a few questions and then he made this startling admission. Continue reading Kayaker Drowned by Skirt?

Healthcare, Not Global Warming

Profile of Steve Carlson

This article originally appeared on inciteHEALTH in February, 2009, coincidentally just weeks before the H1N1 flu began to appear in the news. Bill Carrol on Newstalk 1010 only hours ago described government handling of this pandemic as a “complete and utter travesty”. In light of the upcoming Copenhagen Conference on global warming next month, a fresh posting of this article seems appropriate.

Countries have different opinions about exactly which pending apocalypse they should be forestalling with vast sums of money or other resources. The hands-down favourite world-wide catastrophe for many nations, particularly those in North America and Europe, is Global Warming. Other countries, such as China and certain developing African countries, apparently think their top priority lies elsewhere. The government of the former is afraid of mass uprising, the population of the latter faces mass starvation — both attributes of the apocalypse, Totalitarianism, a much more “now” cataclysm. Continue reading Healthcare, Not Global Warming