Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Archive for February 2010


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It seems the people of our town are doing too good a job when it comes to reducing their garbage output. Even with $1.50 Bag Tag we conscientious citizens are embracing the need to reduce, we’re putting out less garbage and in so doing, we are creating another financial problem for Town Council.  Our honourable efforts have left the Saugeen Shores Waste Management budget with a $17,000. shortfall. That’s the price of success, I guess.  But our Council has found a way to put a negative spin on the positive results of a program they instituted.

Their solution is to increase the cost of a single Bag Tag by 50 cents. That is the common citizen’s reward for being efficient, for “better behaviour” as one councillor put it. Really. I was just hoping for a gold star not another price increase.

This councillor goes on to say that, “the increase in fee, making them pay for it, is making their behaviour better. If we increase the fees more, the behaviour will get better and better over time.” The essence of this syllogism escapes me.

Then another feels that, “if people are putting out less garbage perhaps there’s opportunities at certain times of the year, to deal with the collection in a different way.”

Yes, replies another, “especially in the off-time of year…I can see skipping a week for garbage pick-up and doing it bi-weekly for December, January and February.”

So, 50 cents more per bag and less pick-up. I can’t do the math, but I guess that will erase the shortfall.

The behaviour-altering power of Bag Tags could be turned against everyday tax-payers because of their good behaviour. For some reason I don’t get the logic. I don’t understand how Councillors think.

Usually when someone thanks me for doing a good job I get a good feeling inside.

Not this time.

(All quotes taken from article in Shoreline Beacon)

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

February 27, 2010 at 10:19 PM

Baking Biscotti & The Path to Enlightenment

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I never imagined that I would one day become a baker of biscotti. But, here I am, well into my leisure years, contemplating recipes, the merits of flour (whole wheat, preshifted, unbleached or enriched), whole or slivered almonds and the wisdom of adding brandy when it isn’t called for, among other things. As I was to learn through trial and error – all of it is important to one degree or another.

It is a process that soothes your mind. As is the Zen of prep, the organization of ingredients, the creative measurement of amounts, whether the butter and sugar blend properly and the dough is worked (not overworked) just so. One, over time, develops a personal touch for all of this. The process becomes part of you. One learns not to ignore past mistakes. The mistakes become markers along the way. And the way leads to enlightenment.

Sound a little much? Perhaps so. Still, if you consider baking biscotti an exercise in relaxation, a short continuum in which the cares of the world and your everyday life are sublimated to a simple purpose, then perhaps not. After all, ingredients never come together exactly the same every time. There is always a minute variance. So consider the concentration required, the attention needed to make sure your biscotti don’t burn because you can’t trust your oven. In the second baking, you are forced to focus on timing because you want just the right amount of toasting on either side.

There is karma in the baking of biscotti. You alone are responsible for their success or failure. It is the sum of your feelings brought to bear in the baking of a simple biscuit. A time when you taste again all that is simple in life.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

February 20, 2010 at 8:40 PM