This note’s for you

I’m fortunate to have a partner for 11 years now who has repeatedly told me she loves me – just the way I am.

And she’s smart, and main breadwinner in our Brisbane household.

She also swears a lot more than she used too: blames it on being married to a Canadian hockey player, and taken up hockey herself.

Check your e-mail settings, I often go to your trash because I swears a lot.

Thirty years ago I had this feeling.

My hands felt just like two balloons.

By the summer of 1987, I was bored out of my mind studying Verticillium wilt in resistant and susceptible tomato lines – so much so that I would listen, not even watch, but listen, to Toronto Blue Jays games on the radio at night while I infected tomato plants in the lab and then extracted DNA.

It was a non-pharmaceutical sedative.

I decided to immerse myself in finding a bigger audience — newspapers, at the time.

When I was a gradual student back about 1986, I had started writing about science for the University of Guelph student newspaper.

Canadian daughter one was born and the next month I went to a scientific meeting to present some results about my Verticillium findings.

I spent most of my time in an outdoor patio at Carleton University, reading all I could about media and newspapers, and came up with a plan to start an alternative newspaper when I returned to Guelph.

Then I got hired as a section editor at the existing paper.

Then I became editor-in-chief.

And then I quit, and put my alternative paper plan into action.

Thirty years later, I’m going to revisit history and do sorta the same thing.

Not for ego, not for repetition, but for the same reason people wanted me to lead that other paper 30 years ago: a whole bunch of people asked me to do it.

For 25 years I have published and FSnet.

I openly shared this with everyone because that’s what I thought profs at public universities did.

But they had no trouble getting rid of full-professor me.

Lesson learned.

Amy and I had a visit a few months ago from a former student of mine from Ireland, who now lives in Sydney.

She told me later that I wasn’t in the right space to hear what she had to say those few months ago.

She was right.

But she recently told me, what you do is unique, people use your stuff all over the world, can you really just turn your back on all that?

Probably not.

People love food safety as long as it is free.

Universities have been good to me.

But what worked in the time of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle (the first empiricist) may not work today.

Just like we don’t want medical treatments from 2,000 years ago, providing information and the notion of the commons should also fit today.

If you see any adverts on, please let us know. We don’t accept advertising. We’re idealistic that way (until we go broke).

Someone will eventually pay, but until then, I’m happy to embrace the Grateful Dead model of entrepreneurship: Build it and they will come.

Oh, and I am fully aware of the hypocrisy of Neil Young singing this note’s for you, after making millions.

I try to be more grounded.

  • J’Marinde Shephard

    HI Doug;
    It sounds as if you are swirling in conflict and commiserating with us as you do so. It is palpable and I so wish to support you as you work your way through it all. ‘Much as I hate it, life is about change and the elusive ‘stability’ we hear so much about. For myself I am lately feeling as if I was tricked into some crazy and destructive life that is likely not good for anyone – – all at the behest of business and government both. I was a Communications/Sociology major and this all dovetailed and sort of melded together as I aged and observed the world amid my daily struggles and ‘nonsense’ traumas – – all one big manipulation brought about by teams of Dystopian BureauCraps as conspiring and enforcing elements. In a nutshell – – What a MESS… and yet another reason for free and honest education for all, but I digress. What kind of idiotic authority does not want the best society possible and available by access to all the basics of life, and oversight of those most amoral in pursuit of the ‘grand fortunes’ of unrestrained Capitalism – – I digress again, sorry. To me, your coverage fills a huge void in the now-terrifying system I reside in. Your painful commiserations thrust me back into my most palpably heavy and bruising daily musings. I wish you well as you work through this. Please keep us updated on your progress. Be well and be good to yourself.


    • Not so much commiserating, just trying to figure things out. I get fabulous suggestions from this community.