Monday, August 29, 2011

Mississauga Ward 5 Candidates Debate

Wow! I just finished watching the Mississauga Ward 5 All Candidates Debates. This is certainly a very impressive list of candidates. To be exact, 22 candidates participated in the debate.
As a long time watcher of candidates debates, I am used to some very strange candidates in the crowd, but I didn't see that tonight. For example, in my Ward, Ward 8, we had a candidate a while back who kept repeating that he read somewhere that the definition of crazy is someone who keeps doing the same thing (like voting for the Conservatives or Liberals) yet expecting a different result. It didn't matter what the question, that was his answer. Needless to say, while he was sweet, he didn't fair very well in the election.
I saw very little of that tonight. What I did see, (ignoring the candidate, and we all know who she is, who concluded her remarks by saying "despite what many of you think, I don't have horns or a tail", blah blah blah), was a group of concerned citizens for the most part, well spoken, articulate, and ready to serve the people of Ward 5.
Congratulations Ward 5, you've got some excellent candidates to choose from. So, if I may butt in, please don't elect the one with the horns and tail whom we all thought we got rid of after she lost in her last election.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Drought in the Horn of Africa

I've been seeing the news about the horrible drought in Africa for weeks now, and kept meaning to make a donation. I finally did it, just now. I am angry with myself for not doing it sooner, but, it is urgent and we should all do what we can. I normally put all of my donations for this type of thing through Ve'ahavta ( ), a wonderful humanitarian organization that does great work in Africa, but with the news that the Canadian Government is matching donations until Sept. 16, I wanted to make sure that my donation was matched. So, I donated through . Please do what you can.
Here is a copy of the World Vision Home Page:

Drought in the Horn of Africa

UPDATE: The Canadian Government is matching donations up to September 16.

The most severe drought in decades is threatening the lives of more than 10 million people — especially young children — in the Horn of Africa. Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia are the worst affected. World Vision is responding by providing emergency food and health care, and by meeting other urgent needs for children and families in the Horn of Africa.

Insufficient rains have created drought conditions throughout the Horn of Africa — destroying crops and killing livestock. Malnutrition and disease are on the rise as families travel long distances in search of food. Record high food prices, internal conflicts, and insecurity in the region further exacerbate the situation.

World Vision has been fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa for many years, and will continue to respond in the midst of this crisis. Your gift today will help us provide food, clean water, agricultural support, health care, and other vital assistance to children and families in need.

Your help is needed now. Please donate using the form below or call 1-866-595-5550

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wish for happiness, and a bit of luck

Last weekend, we went to see the Soulpepper Theatre production of The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams' first literary success. It was absolutely wonderful. I'm not sure if I'm getting older and seeing the world very differently, or that Soulpepper created a much more sympathetic character in the mother than I ever remember from past performances. To try and determine the answer, I put the play on hold at the library, and I've just been notified that it's in. On Sunday, I tried to get it for my Kobo, but it doesn't seem to be an ePub book yet.

There are so many moments in the play that I've loved and have stuck with me, but I heard another one last weekend. It's a full moon and The Mother drags The Daughter out onto the porch to make a wish on the rising moon. The Daugher asks, "What should I wish for?", and the Mother says "Wish for happiness and a bit of luck".

WOW. Doesn't that nail it !!! So, if you can get down to Soulpepper, hurry, there are only 3 more performances before the engagement ends. Everything about the production is wonderful.

And, to all of us, let me say, I wish you happiness and a bit of luck.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Of Brownian Motion, External Forces, the Stock Market and Grandchildren

Following the giant downturn in the stock markets across the world on Monday, I heard a commentator on the radio say that maybe this was the bottom. I immediately thought of Professor Craig, a brilliant Chemist at the University of Pittsburgh when I was a graduate student. Professor Craig enjoyed using the Brownian Donkey to describe the effect on Brownian Motion when an external force was applied.

The explanation is as follows: imagine a man with a donkey trying to get the donkey to go in a specific direction. The man pulls the donkey in a specific direction for a short period of time, after which, the donkey has had enough and bucks and kicks and complain and pulls the man in random directions all over the terrain until the donkey gets tired. At this point, the man gets back up, and again pulls the donkey in a specific direction for a short period of time. Eventually, the man and the donkey arrive at their destination. In this scenario, the man is the external force which is applied in only one direction, and which eventually leads to the successful movement of the particles, of the stock market, of a baby growing up, of a teenager becoming an adult, and a myriad of other examples.

So, don’t be fooled by an up day after a down day on the market, the economic climate in the world today is the external force slowly but surely pulling the market in a negative direction.

Likewise, the Grandchildren. They too grow via a Brownian model. One day they aren’t walking very well, the next day, wow, great. But, the next day seems to be a step in the wrong direction. Nevertheless, as I tell my children, that’s life. When you’re young, it’s 2 steps forward and 1 step back (the external force of time and nature). Regretfully, when you’re old, it’s 2 steps back and 1 step forward (the external force of time and nature).

Oh my goodness, after being so busy at work for the past few months and not having time to post to my blog, this is my first post. Doesn’t sound very uplifting to me.

In an effort to redeem myself, here is my Brownian Motion joke of the day, compliments of the web:

I got a call the other day from someone urging me to join the Brownian Movement. When I asked him what folks did in the Brownian Movement, he told me they just got together to mill around.