Food Safety Fairytales: We’re putting the band back together but we’re not on a mission from God

I finally spoke to Blaine.

I can now go ahead with the book.

Katija always was the reasonable one, kept me and Chapman on track, especially during our 6 a.m. golf rounds, and was always there to make up for our silliness.

I implored her to do a PhD, but she resisted, and was comfortable with what she did.

Over the past 10 years, when I needed help to get a paper out the door, I would turn to Katija.

She’s seen life’s ups and downs, but has come out confident and better than ever.

Katija and Chapman have been with me for almost 20 years, each. Carol, who worked with me for a bit is also on for editing.

The book I’ve been working on has a tentative title of Food Safety Fairytales.

I was gonna write the whole thing myself, but then I realized my brain and body weren’t up to it, so I called in favors from my friends – sorta like The Band in the Last Waltz (not bad for a couple of Brantford-area boys).

And rather than keep it to ourselves, which is not my style, it will be public all the way (also a good way to hold certain people accountable, including myself).

The titles are all fairytales and will be destroyed by evidence.

But unlike what I told students, 60% content, 40% style, I want this to be 60% style 40 % content; I want it to be a best seller in airports.

Because every time I’m on a plane and someone asks what do I do, and I say food safety, they say, there was this one time, I barfed, and it was horrible. That led to in 2005, now it’s time to do something else.

Chapters, in no particular order:

Food safety is simple                                               Powell

Just cook it                                                                 Powell

BSE                                                                             Bert

Cyclospora                                                                Ron

Food safety programs ensure food safety                        Chapman

Training ensures safe food                                     Mancini

Five-second rule                                                       Schaffner

Sprouts are a health food                                       Powell

Cold-cuts should be served in aged care             Powell

Cantaloupe is a health food                                   Powell/Chapman

Labels are a meaningful way of communicating             Celia/Powell

Pasteurized products are safe                                Powell

I have a lot more, but would rather get one out and then think about the next one

Thank, you, Katija. On we go.

Grandson #3; proud grandpa

As my brain fades away, I really just want to walk on the beach with my kids, grandkids, and little dog.

Canadian daughter 2-of-four has delivered grandson number 3.

I can only throw off girls, and the girls can only throw off boys.

Jasper is big and smiley for a 4-week-old, but even though he came in at 9.5 pounds, I remind mother Jaucelynn she was a 10-pounder.

And slept all night.

It’s a wonderful thing to see kids and students develop.

And Jauce is a writer, like her dad, so that’s sorta cool.

The year in death, and rebirth

Chuck Berry, Harry Dean Stanton (my first marriage was doomed when we watched Paris, Texas, the night we got engaged), the original Batman, Adam West, and so many others.

Yet for all these cultural touchstones, the new year focuses on each of us and what we can do to contribute. We’re told to collaborate, yet the people many remember are ridiculously individualistic. What I’ve learned, or trying to learn, is gratitude and compassion (to others and myself, and go forward and be myself).

I spent my 55th birthday in my usual Friday therapy group as we learn to live with and use the demons we all carry.

It was also my mom’s birthday, our wedding anniversary, and other things.

That’s far too much so close to Christmas.

Under the radar was the death of Johnny Bower, the Toronto Maple Leafs goalie who was one of my heroes.

He was 93-years-old.

Everyone knew Johhny was the Santa at the Leafs annual Christmas skate, because he wore goalie skates (which are still more comfortable to me than the other skates, despite the lack of edges).

As we say in group, we’re still here, have plenty to contribute, and there’s a whole bunch of others who should be in therapy but aren’t.

I’m going to delve further into doing my own thing in the New Year, because I made enough money for a bit, and see what happens.


Birthday wishes — a grandson skating

Many thanks to all the kind – and the all-too-sarcastic – birthday wishes I received today in Brisbane, Australia.

Now that I’m 55, where are those early meal specials at 3 p.m.? It’s OK, I get up at 4 a.m. through a combination of birds, cats and a dog.

Sometimes I don’t.

Marriage is like that.

Best parts of the day: 22-year-old daughter giving me a hug this morning and saying, happy birthday, dad.

30-year-old daughter sending me a video of 5-year-old son Gabe, first time on the ice, in a park, in Waterloo, Ontario (that’s in Canada).

Many thanks to everyone.



Mental health

When I was a kid, we used to spend about every other weekend at my grandfather’s place in Cookstown, Ont., where my father grew up after being in Wales for 15 years.

I usually barfed on the way there, and the way back.

I was about 12-years-old, my sister was 10, and the grandparents decided to take us to Seaworld or whatever it was called in Niagara Falls.

That was when I first detected the Alheimers.

I didn’t know what it was then, just knew he was confused because instead of taking the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) exit in Toronto, he  took the Queensway Blvd. exit to some suburban area.

I said this is wrong, but he was set.

Eventually he found his way back to the proper highway and we went off to Niagara.

Seven years later, I was visiting him in a care facility and he had no idea who he was.

My grandma did the same thing, and eventually ended her life voluntarily.

I carried her into the emergency ward.

Mental health issues are common to many of us.

I only hope that sharing will provide optimism to others.


Farm machinery eating peoples’ arms and legs: Machinery still biggest cause of UK farm deaths

My grandfather, the one who ran the Massey-Ferguson dealership in Cookstown, Ontario, Canada, lost two-or-three of his fingers from the knuckle up due to farm machinery (that’s me and sis).

But when I was about 10, he would send me inside a combine to put pliers on a nut while the others loosened a bolt – from the outside.

I only remember how damn hot it was.

In the UK – gramps was from Newport, Wales — machinery and transport continue to be the main causes of life-changing and life-ending injuries on farm.

Four in 10 of all farmworkers who have lost their lives over the past decade were related to workplace machinery or transport, said NFU vice-president Guy Smith.

Mr Smith, who is also chair of England’s Farm Safety Partnership, said that while the most recent figures from the Health and Safety Executive showed a reduction in the number of deaths through machinery and transport, one death was one too many.

Helen Banham, a dairy farmer from Skegness, Lincolnshire, lost two fingers on her right hand in a life-changing accident with a bottling machine four years ago.

She was going about her daily routine when a bottle dropped through the machine. Instinctively, and without thinking of turning off the bottling line, she reached into the machine to grab it.

Her hand became trapped in the machine and her thumb was severed, while a spike penetrated the palm of her hand.

While pulling her hand free she ripped it open, severely and irrevocably damaging the tendons in her third finger.

Mrs Banham said: “It was our wake-up call. The milk business was taking so much of our time and we were really up against it. We couldn’t afford to take on any more staff, costs were rising and the prices we could charge just weren’t covering our costs.”

Australian citizenship

It’s a trifecta of citizenships for me and Sorenne – Canadian, American and now Australian — and a deux-fecta for Amy as we attended our citizenship ceremony on Saturday morning.

citizenship-sep-16We didn’t even know it was Australian Citizenship Day (a U.S. thing too, which is ironical because the three of us are also Americans), but there were 492 of us in a community centre — with another 500 of supporting friends and family, although we decided to keep ours a personal affair — who were welcomed to the Australian family.

Special thanks to Amy and Sorenne, and many others, who have stuck with me while I adjust to the next phase of our life.

We’ll be celebrating tomorrow, in sub-tropical Brisbane, by spending the day at the arena, playing and coaching ice hockey.

And many thanks for all the kind messages we received in response to our citizenships.

We are quite fortunate, and grateful.


(before and after pics; are we different? that’s a softball question lobbed up there for your amusement)


It’s not a virus or bacterium, it’s a parasite: 7 positive, 16 sick with crypto after visit to Welsh petting farm

A Monmouthshire farm has cancelled a series of open day visits for primary school children following the outbreak of a diarrhea-causing virus.

powell.namePublic Health Wales along with Torfaen and Monmouthshire councils are continuing to investigate an outbreak of cryptosporidium associated with Coleg Gwent’s farm in Usk.

Seven people have tested positive for cryptosporidium and 16 others are suspected of having the bug after regular attendance at the farm or contact with those who have.

Heather Lewis, consultant in health protection for Public Health Wales, said: “We are continuing to work with Coleg Gwent, who have written to all students who may have been on the farm in March.

“As a precaution, Coleg Gwent have also cancelled a series of open days which were due to take place with invited primary schools from Tuesday, April 12 to Friday, April 15.”

A spokesman from Public Health Wales said: “Good hand washing after coming into contact with farm animals, their bedding or dirty equipment including clothing is of the utmost importance in preventing infection with cryptosporidium.

“There is no reason for anyone to avoid visiting petting farms as long as they ensure that anyone who has touched animals, thoroughly washes their hands with hot water and soap immediately afterwards and before eating, as hand sanitisers or alcoholic gels should not be solely relied upon.”

Handwashing is never enough.