A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Things that piss me off....!

Computers that go tilt just as you need them (which is just about all the time)
Multiple (unnecessary) trips into town to get it repaired.
New computers only available in local stores with Windows 10.
“We cannot install or step back to Windows 7 for you because it is no longer sold”
Microsoft Corporation.
“No you cannot pay cash at the store and have us ship you one from our online inventory”
The inability to transfer the OS (win 7), all additional software & personal files directly to a new computer. (Yes I have my personal stuff backed up)
Microsoft Corporation.
Computers that go tilt!

I should not get so wound up over the loss of a “tool” but it is not until you loose the use of said tool that you realize how much you depend on it. I see many hours of work ahead loading LINUX UBUNTU on my new computer (after yet another trip into town to buy one with friggin Win 10 on it) and installing all kinds of other software on it, restoring my personal files and learning my way around the new OS. (The wife has a little notebook with Linux on it but I have not used it much and its not the full fledged Ubuntu version)

Who knew that a little problem with video output on my laptop would give me days of tearing my hair out, high blood pressure and such an insight into how much Microsoft has everything tied up so far as computer sales.

This from a win 2000 desktop resurrected from the “we better keep that just in case” pile!

PS Have you noticed that MS no longer includes word processing software etc with their distributions but want you to pay extra for that. Open source software like Ubunto, firefox, thunderbird, foxit etc are much better anyway, may Microsoft Corp stick their OS & software where the sun don’t shine.

There......now I feel better!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Health Card Renewal – are you covered?

Recently my son, upon renewing his drivers license was told that his Ontario Health card had been revoked in that he did not respond to a renewal request sent to the address where we originally lived when the card was issued some thirty plus years ago. It seems that if you do not use your card for a period of 7 years and have moved in the meanwhile that , despite having updated numerous other documents including you Ontario Drivers license, that the heath services which you are entitled to and pay for in your taxes will be automatically revoked. If you have not used any heath services in 5 or more years you had best check and make sure your card is still valid, and if you have moved get the card updated, there are a number of cases documented online where such citizens have had payment demanded before receiving necessary treatment.

The only good thing here is that apparently a recent change to the 'system' brings up a red flag when you renew your drivers license (or at least it did in my sons case) and thus you will eventually be aware of the revocation. The strange thing is if the government is aware of the card being invalid when licence renewal taking place why cannot they send a renewal notice to whatever current address is in their database for your drivers license. I am quite certain that 99% of folks are not aware of the necessity to notify the Ministry of Heath of a change of address since most such cards do not contain that information (I cannot speak for the new photo ID cards since we here all have the old red and white lifetime cards and very rarely use doctor or hospital services. I am further convinced that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Ontario citizens who are in the same position with no heath coverage but are unaware of it.  It now seems to me that those who do not abuse the system are being penalized for NOT adding the the cost of such services.

It must be noted here that you can get a new heath card at Service Ontario whilst renewing you licence however despite having your license to hand and even details of your revoked card still on the 'system' you will need to provide further proof of your identity, citizenship and marital status, this is also true if simply renewing you existing valid photo card!

For more information see http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/publications/ohip/renew.aspx

For renewing an old red & white card see

For a list of documents required see this pdf document 

To add insult to injury it seems that whilst you can replace a damaged, lost or stolen card at any License Office "Heath Card Services" are NOT available at most small rural and small town license offices so it seems you must travel to a major center to replace your "revoked" Heath Card!


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Problems with Math?

Many kids and adults struggle with math to a greater or lesser degree and most of us by the time we are out in the working world find strategy’s to work around such difficulties. Some kids who struggle in junior school seem to suddenly 'get it' once in High School but some continue to not be able to perform even simple math functions, like making change, through to adulthood. In many cases the use of a calculator or computerized till hides this problem until the power goes out or the batteries go flat, others may even struggle even with that 'accommodation'.

I have recently become aware that the inability to understand or perform math functions is not necessarily due to failure to learn the basics, poor memory function, laziness or other general leaning or intelligence ability’s. There is in fact a recognized 'disability' that specifically reduces an individuals ability to understand and perform math functions even though they may otherwise be highly intelligent, fully functioning individuals. As with a similar and related 'disability' dyslexia, it varies in one individual from another and often goes undiagnosed with the individual being classed as unintelligent or unable to learn or worse mentally deficient. Unfortunately here in SW Ontario this now well documented problem is largely unknown and unrecognized, particularly in the school system, to the point where that despite there being formal processes to recognize and test such kids in both the U.S. and the U.K. No such accommodations appear to exist in Ontario. In point of fact a researcher of brain functions at the UWO in London, Ontario, a Professor Ansari says that “I do not know of any place in Ontario where you can get a formal diagnosis of Dyscalculia”, this being the scientific name for this affliction.

Once a parent realizes that this may be the problem there is much information available on line as regards the symptoms and ramifications and even resources for “on line” testing to confirm your suspicions. Some such sites as with all such things online may need be approached with care however the most reliable sources appears to be via various university studies in the U.K, a search of such sites will guide you to such 'tests' one being http://www.dyscalculia.me.uk/testing.html where you will also find links to more information about this 'affliction'.

I will not try and explain the reason for this difficulty except to say that is is a glitch in the right hemisphere of the brain which makes numbers and math seem like a foreign language to those afflicted and there seems to be no 'cure' although there may be some ways to reduce the impact and increase the understanding of this math impediment.

If you or your child has exceptional difficulty in understanding or performing simple math look up the word “Dyscalculia” it may well be an “ahhh” moment, just dont expect any assistance or recognition of the problem by your local school board. (at least in the Avon Maitland board and as far as I can see most other Ontario boards!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Lost my Poppy

Remembrance Day.....

Lost my new poppy..was pinned on fast

Seems them soldiers have the last laugh
Reminding us,  they are still proud
Looking for "My Poppy"...their jokes allowed.

I pinned it firm over my heart
Taped it, bent it, not we to part
Low and behold...Poppies Gone...
Good name, for a Remembrance Song...!!

I feel bad if my Poppy not seen
This special memory, lost boyhood dreams
Gave their lives for us we know
But Poppies are sold...wherever we go.

So I purchase another..smile goes with
No my friend not really a twit
I accept the game,  old soldiers play
Re-pin "this one" proudly..."it's Remembrance Day."

I am sure poppies don't just fall from clothing, I feel they are letting us know
the gesture sure is appreciated by they that gave it their all on the fields of freedom battles.
So if you lose your Poppy...a soldier is saying "Thanks" for remembering them.
Purchase another....their price paid was greater than a few coins dropped in a box.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Rural Youth Engagement Showcase

Today through November 29, 2015, rural communities across Ontario have the opportunity to nominate young leaders for recognition in the Youth Engagement Showcase, the most recent initiative of the Rural Ontario Institute (ROI).
The showcase will profile compelling stories of youth taking charge and tackling important issues, highlight the impact youth can have in their communities and demonstrate how different types of rural communities can successfully involve youth in addressing local challenges.
Up to eight final nominees will be profiled through individual video documentaries, each being filmed in their respective hometown. These documentaries will showcase involvements and accomplishments as well as community programs and organizations that are successfully engaging youth.   
Nomination information is available here. Please support the Youth Engagement Showcase by sharing this information within your networks. 

ROI is probably the best and in some cases the only resource for all thing 'rural' in Ontario, I highly recommend their site as an information source and am pleased that they are including our rural youth in their programs.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

That #^*$%* Time Change!

The time change is archaic and disruptive, especially for people who have sensitive internal clocks, such as seniors and children. There are also studies that have found an increase in workplace and road accidents in the weeks following time changes.'
"It's crazy when you look at the impact this has,' There's so many reasons that we shouldn't do it but I don't think there are many reasons why we should.''
So says some in BC who are petitioning for the whole thing to be dropped the same as in Saskatchewan, which is on central standard time year-round. As one of those seniors who's internal clock refuses to reset to the 'new' time I could not agree more, we have no need to save candle power anymore and almost all workplaces are lit up irregardless of daylight hours so hydro saving are minimal at best, particularly with shift work and extended shopping hours.

Lets settle on one setting or the other and then leave the bloody clocks alone!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Strategic Voting in Bruce-Grey Owen Sound.

For those who wish to rid ourselves of the would be dictator Stephen Harper and his unelected PMO henchmen and if you put any believe in political polls (and I recognize that they are far from reliable) then you should be aware of the recent numbers given by “Vote Together” in a LOCAL poll commissioned with funds raised by local citizens.

A similar poll taken in mid September showed Liberal Kimberly Love at 29% and Larry Miller at 43%. Now the latest poll shows Kimberly at 40% just one point behind Miller. I do not intend to tell anyone how to vote but if you want to see the end of the destruction of our democracy and the disdain for parliamentary process then the choice is obvious. Even in this supposedly 'safe' Conservative riding there is a move afoot for change and I urge my readers to join me in electing someone other that a conservative in order to have any hope of bringing about a return to a more open and democratic government.

I have nothing against Mr Miller except to say this.....
Any Conservative MP who has not spoken out against the efforts of Harper and the PMO to dictate to those whom we have elected to represent us in the House of Commons not only how they must vote but to speak only the party pre scriped lines is no less guilty than their “Leader” and his unelected PMO enforcers.

Democracy Requires Dialogue not secrecy and refusal to debate and answer questions.

Nationality the average of all the polls as shown at Poll Tracker gives a minority Liberal government but with the Conservatives still withing striking distance of same.