‘Goalie/poet’ Gord Downie dies

It was Sept. 1989, when this 26-year-old first heard the opening chords of Blow at High Dough on a kitchen radio at 5 a.m. in Galt (Cambridge, Ontario), featuring the vocals of 24-year-old Gord Downie.

I was hooked.

The 1980s were a wash-out for rock-and-roll inventiveness, and when the five friends from Kingston Ontario, The Tragically Hip, splashed onto the national scene with their first full album, Up to Here, it felt like something special.

Up to Here became my running companion for the next six years.

I saw the Hip many times over the years, but the best was in a small bar in Waterloo, Ontario, about April 1990, with my ex who was about 7 months pregnant with Canadian daughter 2-of-4.

I remember every moment of that concert.

Gord died yesterday of complications from glioblastoma, a terminal brain cancer.

We humans know so little about the brain.

PTSD, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), cancer, addiction, bad wiring, and yet we continue to bash our heads around, in sports as little kids, in cycling and falls around home construction sites. The three concussions I’ve had in the past three months, along with a lifetime of pucks to the head, have made me slow down, be more careful, and try to take care of my brain a bit better.

The best we can do, as Gord said, is try to lift up those around us.

Two of my favorite videos are below.

The first is from a song about North America, although the video was shot near Melbourne in Australia while the band was on tour.

May Ry Cooder sing your eulogy.

A gift from down under.

The second, here’s hoping for peace on Fiddler’s Green.

Serial barfer busted near Toronto

Brad Hunter of the Toronto Sun writes a man with a penchant for serial puking on vehicles behind a Markham restaurant has been busted, York regional Police say.

Cops say that the vomit villain struck more than 30 times during the last four years. Customers and staff at all-you-can-eat Italian eatery, Frankie Tomatto’s on Woodbine Ave. have emerged midday to discover their cars doused with an oily liquid.

Quick-thinking management were determined to bust the bad news barfer and installed surveillance cameras in the lot at the rear of the building.

Cameras captured the man hurling all over the vehicles — always between noon and 2 p.m. Unfortunately, they could not get a clear picture of the man — or his plate.

Newer cameras were able to make out the licence plate and they passed the information and video onto cops.

Disgruntled contractor allegedly sprays poop on produce in S. Carolina

WYFF 4 reports a disgruntled contractor sprayed what investigators told employees was apparently feces on produce at a West Ashley Harris Teeter, officials with the supermarket said.

Charleston police said 41-year-old Pau S. Hang has been arrested and charged with damage to personal property. Police say Hang has been on trespass notice for the store.

“The suspect is accused of spraying a brown liquid from a spray bottle onto some of the produce in the store,” CPD officials said. “Police don’t know the type of liquid that was used.”

According to Harris Teeter officials, the suspect attempted to contaminate food in the produce department and the fresh foods department inside the store in the St. Andrews Shopping Center in Charleston.

Everyone’s got a camera (or a story): UK KFC edition involving a rat

KFC outlet was forced to close after a rat ran though a chip service area, prompting a staff member to scream and customers to yell “there’s a rat,” a mother claims.

Chris Knight of the UK Mirror reports the rat, allegedly darted through the chips and quickly disappeared from sight under the fryer.

The Wallsend branch on High Street West was quickly closed temporarily as the fast-food giant scrambled on the “rat issue” the council have confirmed.

Sam, 21, from Wallsend, said: “The rat literally ran across where they put the chips in a bag.

“The woman behind the counter started screaming, and everyone started shouting ‘there’s a rat’.

“Everyone behind the counter was just shocked as we all were.

“They were just stood there scared.

“The floor was absolutely filthy – there would not be a rat if it was clear area, it was absolutely disgusting.

“I’m just happy I didn’t get given my food before, I would have ended up being sick.”

Refunds were issued to customers before all guests including Sam, partner James Butcher and newborn son Tommy, were ushered out as the restaurant closed its doors at about 6pm on October 4, Chronicle Live reports.

Mum-of-one Sam said: “I heard six hours later it was re-opened, which I think is really bad.

“You hear about rats carrying diseases, so why would you re-open that day?

“Even if it came from outside, you should not have a rat in a food restaurant.

“Now this has happened, I will never go back.”

A North Tyneside Council spokesman confirmed KFC contacted Environmental Health and called in pest control before re-opening that evening.

The spokesman said: “KFC proactively informed Environmental Health on October 4 of the appropriate and timely actions they had taken to resolve the rat issue.

“The company closed the premise immediately, disposed of all food on display and called in a pest control contractor.

“A food safety officer visited the premise to confirm that there was no rat activity and that appropriate preventative measures had been taken.”

KFC is yet to comment despite requests.

 

Chili cook-off outbreak; we’ve been doing this for x years and no one has been ill

No one thinks their food is going to make anyone sick. After 15 years in food safety that’s what I’ve learned.

I’ve heard it from restaurants, processors, extension folks, event organizers. Whoever.

Turns out, that’s just wishful thinking.

If there’s an event, like say, a chili cook-off, and folks don’t know how pathogens get in food and grow, someone is probably gonna get sick.

Sorta like what happened last week in Chincoteague, Virginia.

According to Delaware.gov, Virginia regulators are looking into illnesses after a bunch of people got sick following a chili competition.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) began investigating a gastrointestinal disease outbreak shortly after a number of people who attended the event developed nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Illness in a Delaware resident who reportedly attended the event, may be linked.

VDH, reached out to neighboring states’ health departments, including the Delaware Division of Public Health, and asked for assistance in getting their residents to complete the survey, whether they became ill or not. The survey can be found at https://redcap.vdh.virginia.gov/redcap/surveys/?s=RPPDH7DWDF. VDH estimates 2,500 attendees from multiple states were present at the cook-off. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional questions should call the Accomack County, Virginia Health Department at 757-302-4268.

German police arrest suspect in baby-food poisoning threats

Associated Press reports that German authorities said Saturday they are confident that a 53-year-old man arrested a day earlier is behind a blackmail attempt that saw jars of poisoned baby food placed on store shelves in southern Germany.

Prosecutors said investigators found the same poison — ethylene glycol, a compound used in antifreeze — when they arrested the man Friday near the southwestern city of Tuebingen.

Chief prosecutor Alexander Boger told a news conference in Konstanz, on Germany’s southern border, that the man hadn’t confessed but the evidence against him was substantial.

DNA found on the baby food jars and pictures taken with a supermarket surveillance camera also pointed to the suspect, who wasn’t identified due to German privacy rules, prosecutors said.

Authorities and companies received an email this month threatening to poison unspecified food at German retailers inside the country and beyond unless more than 10 million euros ($11.8 million) was paid by Saturday.

The blackmailer alerted authorities that five jars of baby food at shops in Friedrichshafen, near Konstanz, had been tampered with. Officials located the jars and found they contained ethylene glycol but said there’s no evidence that anyone was poisoned.

The big banana

We’re staying at an Airbnb and Amy is worried about poop.

Dog poop.

We’ve been in Sawtell, NSW, Australia, since Sunday, near the ocean, with Sorenne in a 4-day, full-day hockey camp, leading up to the annual Coffs Harbour Big Banana 3-on-3 Ice Skirmish.

The poop isn’t that serious, it’s just with Ted the wonder dog running around the yard, the excitement of hanging out with the kids at the arena and other dog-type burdens, Amy worries we won’t find all the poop, leading to a bad guest rating.

It’s not nearly as severe as the Mad Pooper runner, who has repeatedly defecated on the sidewalk in front of a family’s Colorado Springs house.

Cathy Budde and her kids first saw her taking a bathroom break on their property about seven weeks ago.

“They came in screaming, ‘You’re not going to believe this!’ ” Budde tells KKTV. “They’re like, ‘There’s a lady taking a poop!’ So I come outside and I was like, ‘Are you serious? Are you really taking a poop in front of my kids?’ and she’s like, ‘Yeah. Sorry.’ ”

Other people in town have since reached out to Budde, and said that they’ve seen the runner defecating outside of a Walgreens and in their backyards.

Budde has also posted a sign outside her house asking the woman to stop, but it hasn’t made a difference.

“I put a sign on the wall that’s like ‘please, I’m begging you, please stop.’ … She ran by it like 15 times yesterday, and she still pooped,” Budde says.

No one’s poop issue came up during a couple of local news segments leading into the tournament this weekend.

The Big Banana tourney started as a two-club match between Newcastle North Stars and Southern Stars from Brisbane with Coffs Harbour as the halfway meeting point for the 3-on-3 ice hockey weekend.

The tournament, now in its seventh year, includes seven clubs represented by 23 teams from NSW, QLD and ACT. Players ranging in age from 5-to 15-years-old in four different age divisions will play from the evening of Friday 29 September until Monday 2 October in the afternoon, totalling around 75 games (they’re 20-minute games). Some 150 players and their families are expected.

Amy had the bright idea to start a facebook page for the tournament

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1620931114644346/

And I helped with some media. The two local TV stations ran bits this evening (one below, both on the facebook page), and I did a radio interview which will be on ABC tomorrow a.m.

Go Stars.

Why stinky hockey equipment may bother women more than men

Watching the kids go through their paces at the end of day-1 training, I was talking with a mom who said, I’ve got to get her gear and air it out.

I shrugged.

Now that Amy is a hockey player, she also is rigorous about airing the gear and washing the undergarments.

I shrug.

Science may have an explanation.

Leonard Sax of the N.Y. Times wrote last month that the sense of smell differs between women and men. It’s entirely plausible that a woman could perceive an odor which is – for the woman – overpoweringly awful, while a man doesn’t smell anything.

In research published in 2002 in the journal Nature Neuroscience, Pamela Dalton of the Monell Chemical Senses Center and her colleagues exposed men and women to smells in the laboratory. Not just once, but over and over again. Dr. Dalton and her team found that with repeated exposure, the women’s ability to detect the odors improved 100,000-fold: the women were able to detect the odor at a concentration 1/100,000th of the concentration they needed at the beginning of the study.

But the male subjects, on average, showed no improvement at all in their ability to detect the odor.

Smell receptors in the nose send their signals via the olfactory nerve to the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb is the first stop in the brain for information about smell.

There are two basic kinds of brain cells: Neurons are considered the most important, because they seem to play the biggest role in sending information via electrical signals. But glial cells are essential too, because they provide structure and may also modulate information processing in the brain.

On all counts, women beat men. Women have more cells in the olfactory bulb: 16.2 million cells total in the average woman, compared with 9.2 million total cells in the average man. In 2014 research published in PLOS One, researchers at the University of São Paulo compared the noses of 18 subjects from age 55 to 94 shortly after their deaths. They found that the women had 6.9 million neurons, double the 3.5 million in the men. When they counted glial cells, women again had more: 9.3 million compared with 5.7 million in the men.

The differences in their perceptions could make each feel that the other must be crazy. Was she imagining the smell? Was he lying and pretending he didn’t smell it?

Knowing that the differences in male and female noses can be so extreme, the best approach may be for each family member to agree to respect and trust the other’s report of sensory experiences.