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Wednesday, May 25, 2022
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Edmonton Pizza

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Old Harold would like to know where the best Pizza Parlour is in Edmonton. If you dare, please leave a comment below. When Old Harold lived in Edmonton decades ago I figure the best take-outs around the university were Campus Pizza and Miami Pizza. I believe Campus Pizza is still going, but not sure about Miami. Both were not skimpy on the toppings and cheese, had flavourful sauces, and Miami used a freshly baked dough ball in the centre to prop up the lid instead of a plastic gizmo.

Old Harold has had one or two hundred thousand pizzas in his time, and my consumption rate was greatest while attending the U of A. Pizza was always a go-to meal after sporting activities like soccer and softball, combined with a pitcher or two of beer and a serpentine walk home. I was spoiled by having such great pizza around. Every now and then we opted for Pharo’s beside the Garneau Theatre, making sure to get a side of anchovies. There was also Avenue Pizza closer to the U, but Google maps shows that both Avenue and Pharos are gone. Venturing a little further there was BP on Whyte, but we tended to stay away from there as my supervisor did a hog and jog there one night after discovering he had insufficient funds…but returned the next day to pay.

The closest pizza joint, however, was across from the residences. It changed hands fairly frequently, but after a few beers at student bars, it was a convent stop. Campus food at the time was more institutional, designed for high volumes and low input costs, except for a couple holes in the was in HUB where you could get things like Hoho Special Soup, or orders of ‘chicken and chip’ chirped to the cook by a diminutive Chinese lady permanently anchored to the till.

I must confess, we were frequently not in good condition when we got to the pizza place across from the residences. I don’t think the pizza was ever very special as new owners and managers always seemed to be on a learning curve. On one memorable occasion, however, things took a real turn for the worse. The pizza came out with half cooked crust and tomato soup sauce running everywhere. Given our condition, we made due as best we could, finished up and went to settle the bill. The cashier greeted us with the obligatory “how was everything” and my buddy paying said it was some of the worst pizza he’d ever had, and the cashier said “well I’m not surprised, the cook quit and the dishwasher made your pizza”. After not much argument, our bill was cut in half. Alas, however, Google maps shows the place is now a bank, which probably still has the faint odour of Campbell’s soup.
Pizza out. Harold

The Diodes, the Diodes!!

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I remember when news sources were word of mouth, radio, TV, magazines and daily newspapers and you had to tune in on time or buy a paper to get the latest. These days, if you let it happen, our grey matter can be fried by growing numbers of apps wirelessly chirping 24/7 from most corners of earth.

In years gone by, we felt the news was the news, and the fourth estate was indeed credible when in Canada Lloyd Robertson or Nolton Nash led with national news headlines. Today, however, we frequently question who to believe amidst a growing erosion of trust. The more we question, the more we compile our own ‘facts’ to draw conclusions, often prejudiced by our own beliefs. Just as statistics can be manipulated to support differing conclusions, the internet abounds with opposing ‘facts’ depending on search terms used.

Some people’s information is judged misinformation and other’s conclusions can be twisted to provide rivals with ammunition. Has the desire to serve the greater good of honesty without bias been left to the fringe minority? There seem to be few, if any, accepted forums for debate to develop consensus. I’m right, you’re wrong and the division with no middle ground can be exploited by those in power to do what is ‘right’, or most beneficial to their cause.

Over the years, we’ve been treated to the spectacle of foreign democracy gone wrong when well-dressed elected officials participate in donnybrooks while in session, with furniture and bodies flying like Saturday afternoon professional wrestling cage matches. How barbaric! How uncivilized! Why can’t they learn to conduct themselves like us, the poster children for western democracy and niceness?

Will we ever need someone like Ed Whalen, long time commentator of Stampede Wrestling, to commentate physical debates at the House of Commons? In parallel with professional wrestling, virtually all Canadian political outcomes are pre-decided with no short-term checks and balances, and ruling leader gets to determine which and to whom rules apply. Politics is no longer a gentleperson’s pursuit, particularly if someone has aspirations for leadership. It’s up against the cage for verbal dirty boxing, smear campaigns to shed the dirtiest light on your opposition, and once elected, more broken promises then fulfilled, and clear division of how constituencies are treated based on party lines. And now, the fractious few have awoken to erase history, dictate with absolutes and cast light on the ‘only’ paths forward.

Ever wish for a simpler time? A land line, post box and two fuzzy channels on the TV? A time when we elected government officials, and we trusted them to do the right thing? It’s certainly a choice we can make. Alternatively, maybe we could remove the burden of decision-making from elected officials, and everyone can tune into CSPAN daily to cast smart TV ballots to decide how constituencies will vote. How about we pilot this grassroots democratic system when the next pandemic rolls out and we’re locked down needing some distraction. After all, we’ve clearly demonstrated that bricks and mortar and defined work days aren’t as important as once thought, and no one has to go hungry when the bill will be paid by future generations.

Peace out. Harold

Beef Coloring Book for Adults

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A while ago, I saw a picture of off-colored ground beef in a supermarket posted on Facebook. There were plenty of comments complaining about how awful it was, but no one seemed to know much about meat color, why it changes or what it means, so I figured I’d post a summary.
Meat color is not actually a good indicator of spoilage. It’s more accurately assessed by smell. Meat color is dependent on the oxidation status of the pigment in meat called myoglobin. Oxygen is transported in the blood by hemoglobin and transferred to myoglobin in the muscle. When myoglobin is bound to oxygen it forms oxymyoglobin, which is right cherry red in color. Myoglobin without oxygen (i.e. deoxymyoglobin) has more of a purple color, and when the iron in deoxymyoglobin is oxidize it forms metmyoglobin, which is brown.
When meat is freshly cut, it has very little oxygen penetration and has the colour of deoxymyoglobin (purple). If the meat has undergone normal muscle to meat conversion, the pH is reduced and the enzymes that use oxygen don’t function well. As a consequence, oxygen from the atmosphere builds up and binds to deoxymyoglobin to from cherry red oxymyoglobin. When meat is graded, it is cut and allowed to “bloom” from 20-30 minutes before grading to allow the color to develop. In beef, if animals are stressed before slaughter and muscle sugar (glycogen) is used up, there is no sugar present to be converted to lactic acid, and the pH doesn’t drop. As a result, enzymes using oxygen continue to use it, no oxymyoglobin is formed, and the meat doesn’t turn bright red.
When meat colour changes to brown, it means the iron in the myoglobin has been oxidized and the process is dependent on the oxidation/reduction status of the meat. It is well known that feeding cattle vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant) can extend the shelf life of beef, particularly hamburger. Something else that will turn the myoglobin a bright cherry red is carbon monoxide, and the color formed is very stable. For this reason, it’s not allowed to be used to develop/maintain beef color, as the beef might be bright red in color but spoiled rotten.
Smell is a better indicator of spoilage. Things that you can smell indicating spoilage are aldehydes and ketones from fatty acid peroxidation, and products of bacterial amino acid metabolism (i.e. ammonia and some really gross biogenic amines as indicated by their names…putrescine and cadaverine).
Typically, in a store if hamburger is brown, it gets thrown out as consumers are not keen to buy it. At home, if you’ve had some burger in the fridge that’s been kept cold and it’s started to turn brown, but doesn’t have an off odour, it’s likely still OK to eat but should be used as soon as possible. And with the price of beef these days, it’s nice to know where to draw the line.

The Chicken or the Egg

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By now everyone has either heard of or consumed omega 3 eggs. Chicken farmers can feed relatively inexpensive sources of linolenic acid (the simplest omega 3) like flaxseed and produce eggs enriched with omega 3’s including DHA. The egg is unique in that it is a single tissue composed of the white and yolk. Unlike meat, however, which has only about 1% phospholipids, egg yolk is rich in phospholipids, and as previously indicated, DHA is preferentially deposited in phospholipids. The liver actually converts linolenic acid to DHA, and DHA produced is efficiently deposited in egg yolks. Trying to produce pork and beef enriched with omega 3’s, however, is problematic. When you feed linolenic acid to pigs and cattle there is limited conversion and deposition of more potent longer chain omega 3 fatty acids in meat, although the amount of omega 3’s can can at times be enough in some countries to claim your meat is omega 3 enriched (ex. in Canada, you need 300 mg of total omega 3’s per serving to claim an enrichment). If you only measure the omega 3’s in lean meat, however, the levels will typically not be enough to make a claim, but when you add omega 3’s in trim fat, which most people don’t eat, you can more than enough to make a claim. In many cases, therefore, it might be a better strategy to produce products with added fat like sausages than omega 3 enriched whole cuts.

So why don’t you see any omega 3 enriched beef or pork on the market? Grass fed beef is richer in omega 3’s than grain fed beef, but typically the amounts are not enough to make a label claim. Interestingly, however, the amount of long chain omega 3’s in grass fed beef and lamb can contribute substantially to their intake in populations that don’t eat fish. In Canada there has been some commercial omega 3 pork produced, but companies selling flax fed pork (i.e. a rich source of linoleic acid) have mostly faded and only a couple where producers are feeding preformed EPA and DHA remain. There have, however, been larger efforts in the USA and Europe to produce flax fed pork for Asian markets, where the need for omega 3’s in the human diet have been more emphasized and value-added markets more developed. Producing omega 3 beef on the other hand, remains very tricky, as rumen microbes can saturate (also known as hydrogenate) polyunsaturated fatty acids and reduce amounts deposited in tissues. Although this biohydrogenation process is problematic, it can produce fatty acids like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has a number of purported health benefits…so stay tuned to this award winning series of articles.

Which Unsaturated Fatty Acids Should be Increased in animal fats?

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The basic premise behind trying to improve the nutritional profile of meat fatty acids is to substitute unsaturated for saturated fatty acids. An omega-9 fatty acid (oleic acid) is one of the main fatty acids in the Mediterranean diet, noted for its many healthful properties. Feeding oleic acid to animals, however, does not mean it will be efficiently deposited in tissues. Remember animals and people can make omega 9 fatty acids and their concentrations are regulated to maintain fluidity and melting points (i.e. if you don’t add any oleic acid to the diet, the body can make its own, and if you add oleic acid to the diet, it cuts back on the amount it makes). This mostly leaves the omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. Interestingly, these fatty acids have essential but opposing effects. For example, arachidonic acid (omega 6) can be used to make prostaglandins and leukotrienes that promote inflammation needed to signal the need to fight infection and repair injuries. On the other hand, EPA (omega 3) can be used to make similar signaling molecules that either are less potent or counteract the effects of signaling molecules produced from arachidonic acid. Thus, the omega 3’s can be used to balance the effects of omega 6’s, which have important implications for any disease where inflammation is involved including cardiovascular disease, asthma, arthritis, type 2 diabetes etc. And to boot, omega 3’s like DHA are needed for brain development, mental health, vision etc.

So should we be increasing omega 3’s and reducing omega 6’s? The short answer is yes. Many meats from animals finished on grain-based diets, for example corn, have omega 6 to omega 3 ratios far in excess of what is recommended. For example, omega 6 to omega 3 ratios in these types of meats can exceed 15:1 and recommendations are for ratios around 4 to 5 to 1. There are problems, however, in using ratios, as not all omega 6’s have the same effects, just as not all omega 3’s have the same effects. The longer chain and more unsaturated types of omega 6’s and 3’s typically have more potent effects than shorter chains, and although humans and animals have the capacity to convert simple omega 3 and 6 fatty acids into longer chain more potent varieties, the efficiency of conversion is not that high, particularly for omega 3’s like DHA. In addition, to further complicate things, fatty acids are selectively deposited in different tissues. Specifically, long chain omega 3’s tend to be preferentially deposited in phospholipids, and it’s more difficult to get them to accumulate in fatty tissues.

Omega 3s, 6s and 9s, What’s the Buzz?

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Everyone with TV, radio or internet or reading ads or food labels has hear of omega fatty acids, which include the omega 3’s, 6’s and 9’s but what are they? Fatty acids are chains of carbon with an acid group at one end and methyl group at the other (i.e. a dead end carbon attached to the end of the chain that is bound to three instead of two hydrogens). To locate double bonds along the carbon chain, you can either number carbons from the acid end (called the delta end) or the methyl end (known as the omega end). When someone says omega 3, 6 or 9, that means the first double bond from the omega end of the fatty acid occurs at that carbon. In addition, when the fatty acids have more than one double bond, it’s understood the double bonds are three carbons further along the chain. For examples: oleic acid is an 18 carbon monounsaturated omega 9 fatty acid, with a double bond at the omega 9 carbon. Linoleic acid is an 18 carbon omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acid, and has its first fatty acid at the omega 6 carbon and its second double bond three carbons over at the omega 9 carbon. Linolenic acid is again an 18 carbon omega 3 fatty acid, and has its first double bond at the omega 3 carbon, second double bond at the omega 6 carbon and third double bond at the omega 9 carbon.

What’s so special about omega 6’s and 3’s? The reason the omega 6’s and 3’s are special is that although plants have enzymes to add double bonds along the carbon chain, animals can only add them from carbon 9 towards the acid group, and require fatty acids with double bonds further out toward the omega end. Specifically, animals and people require linoleic acid (the simplest omega 6) and linolenic acid (the simplest omega 3) and we can add carbon to their chains (i.e. elongate) and add double bonds (i.e. desaturate) to make longer and more unsaturated fatty acids. For example, people can use linoleic acid to make arachidonic acid, a 20 carbon omega 6 fatty acid with 4 double bonds. People can also use linolenic acid to make fatty acids known as the fish oil fatty acids including EPA (20 carbon omega 3 fatty acid with 5 double bonds) and DHA (a 22 carbon omega 3 fatty acid with 6 double bonds).

Which unsaturated fatty acids should be increased in animal fats?

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The basic premise behind trying to improve the nutritional profile of meat fatty acids is to substitute unsaturated for saturated fatty acids.

An omega-9 fatty acid (oleic acid) is one of the main fatty acids in the Mediterranean diet, noted for its many healthful properties. Feeding oleic acid to animals, however, does not mean it will be efficiently deposited in tissues. Remember animals and people can make omega 9 fatty acids and their concentrations are regulated to maintain fluidity and melting points (i.e. if you don’t add any oleic acid to the diet, the body can make its own, and if you add oleic acid to the diet, it cuts back on the amount it makes). This mostly leaves the omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. Interestingly, these fatty acids have essential but opposing effects. For example, arachidonic acid (omega 6) can be used to make prostaglandins and leukotrienes that promote inflammation needed to signal the need to fight infection and repair injuries. On the other hand, EPA (omega 3) can be used to make similar signaling molecules that either are less potent or counteract the effects of signaling molecules produced from arachidonic acid. Thus, the omega 3’s can be used to balance the effects of omega 6’s, which have important implications for any disease where inflammation is involved including cardiovascular disease, asthma, arthritis, type 2 diabetes etc. And to boot, omega 3’s like DHA are needed for brain development, mental health, vision etc.

So should we be increasing omega 3’s and reducing omega 6’s? The short answer is yes. Many meats from animals finished on grain-based diets, for example corn, have omega 6 to omega 3 ratios far in excess of what is recommended. For example, omega 6 to omega 3 ratios in these types of meats can exceed 15:1 and recommendations are for ratios around 4 to 5 to 1. There are problems, however, in using ratios, as not all omega 6’s have the same effects, just as not all omega 3’s have the same effects. The longer chain and more unsaturated types of omega 6’s and 3’s typically have more potent effects than shorter chains, and although humans and animals have the capacity to convert simple omega 3 and 6 fatty acids into longer chain more potent varieties, the efficiency of conversion is not that high, particularly for omega 3’s like DHA. In addition, to further complicate things, fatty acids are selectively deposited in different tissues. Specifically, long chain omega 3’s tend to be preferentially deposited in phospholipids, and it’s more difficult to get them to accumulate in fatty tissues.

Are the Oilers cursed?

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I guess it’s suitable that the latest coaching change occurred around ground hog day. There’s certainly a sense of déjà vu about this. Underperformance leads to new players signings, player shuffling, and when that nets no improvement, we get a coaching change. If things hold true to form, the next step will be casting off the architect – the GM.

It would be interesting to know what’s been going on behind closed doors the past few months. Maybe it’s like when the New York Knights brought in a psychologist in ‘The Natural’ to drum into players heads that “Losing is a disease, as contagious as syphilis”.

It really is too bad we can’t blame this one on Kevin Lowe, as there was a certain sense of satisfaction calling for his head. About the only thing for sure is that the keys to consistently winning over the last decade remain uncut.

At the beginning of the season, the team were world beaters, rattling of win after win with Connor and Leon catapulting to top the scoring stats. There was a jump and cohesiveness to the team, where systems appeared to be functioning, and scoring prowess maybe made up for D-zone deficiencies.

There are a myriad of identifiable problems that may have contributed to the skids the Oilers have hit. Maybe it’s their combination or that they’ve just become more visible when things go south. An old goalie, defensemen that are positionally challenged or have difficulty forwarding the puck, offensive puck cycling that looks like recycling, taking low percentage shots or not passing to get the best shot, no strong presence in front of the net at either end, lack of tough players to make up for the ones that aren’t, loss of confidence, lack of battle, sloppy play etc. etc.

Maybe it’s a curse? Maybe it’s Kevin Lowes’ fault after all? It seems to me things started going south about the time his number was retired celebrating his journeyman career. With liberalization and wokeism running rampant these days, maybe we should be happy to watch the Oilers win or lose. After all, aren’t the current generation pros the ones rewarded in their youth for participating irrespective of outcome? Maybe NHL players should be paid/rewarded like UFC fighters, where payment is based on performance, and instant post game rewards available (goal of the night, hit of the night, fight of the night, defensive play of the night, goalie performance). Should the players get paid the same amount win or lose?

Sometimes the easiest/simplest change is all that’s needed. Maybe there’s no need to fix what finger pointers say is broken. Maybe the GM won’t have to get tossed with his bathwater. Without ceremony, I’d suggest the Oilers take down Lowe’s number from the rafters and see what happens. I’m betting Kevin would be happier bringing a cup back to Edmonton then gazing up at his number as the crowd boos and toss their jerseys on the ice.
And that’s all folks

Uranus

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This is a PSA about your anus. If you’ve never had any troubles with your anorectal area, move along, and maybe return if you do.

Old Harold has spent most of his working life saddled to an office chair with little regard for what he was sitting on…his ass. This along with a poor diet resulted in about a 15 year war to regain the simple pleasure of taking a dump. November 14, 2007 after Harold had eaten some pickled cheese that did not digest well, it came out after a day or two like a cinder block. An anal fissure resulted and a battle for optimal fecal consistency, dimension and volume ensued.

For those afflicted, subsequent pain can cause the sphincter to spasm at the worst possible time, and pain/irritation can also trigger an all-out flush of the system. Upon closer inspection, the fissure was accompanied by a crop of hemorrhoids…veins naturally present in the area but enlarged by sitting and baring down to initiate a movement.

What can you do about a fissure, hemorrhoids and diverticula (out pocketing of the colon that can get irritated/infected resulting in diverticulitis)? There are several remedies. Do what you can to soften your stool, and wait it out as you heal. As Old Harold found, however, attempts to soften can also be accompanied by negative effects of increased bulk and volume. Increasing fruits and vegetation can work for some, adding fibre sources like bran-based cereal, psyllium or hydrolyzed guar gum (supposed to be good for IBS) can add to the cause, and then there’s softeners like lactulose, sodium docusate, magnesium salts and Restoralax (actually when Restoralax came on the market it was a game changer, as many things either didn’t really work well or were inconsistent). There are also options like calcium channel blocker cream to relax the sphincter, botox injections to do the same, massage and dilatation and surgical intervention (cutting or weakening of the inner sphincter).

The anal sphincter is composed of an inner and outer sphincter with the outer under voluntary and inner under involuntary control. Root causes of problems are typically sitting or standing all day, lack of exercise, highly refined diet, drugs that constipate, and for some, it’s poor procedure and/or posture while defecating. Straining is a no-no and the western toilet takes us away from thousands of years of squatting to a few hundred years of sitting to do the deed. Anatomically, sitting maintains a kink in the colon so you don’t have a straight shot, which can also extend the time needed to finish the job.

So what to do? First you need to know that you’ll eventually find an option that works for you. If it’s a simple fix, great, if not keep trying until you get it right. Work with your doctor, and as most people do now, consult Dr. Google. If you need to change your diet, or end up taking a supplement or softener, pay attention to how much you change or take as over- or under-doing it can cause further issues. Sitz bath’s, i.e., soaking/rinsing with warm water/Epsom salts can provide relief, but you need to limit the time (Old Harold recalls seeing they should be kept to less than 20 min). Old Harold could never figure out how to use the sitz bath that fits into your toilet, so he just half fills the tub, lies on his side and splashes the area with water, and just generally tries to relax. Be careful wiping — actually don’t wipe so much as dab, or better yet jump in the shower for a quick rinse or get a bidet wand you can hook to your toilet water line and give yourself a spritz, and blow dry to keep things dry. When Old Harold has problems, he sometimes also goes commando to keep things from steaming up, which can encourage microbial growth causing further irritation. If you try ‘special’ pills, creams, salves, foams or suppositories ‘guaranteed’ to cure you, don’t be surprised if they don’t work well if at all, and if they don’t work and you find lubricant helps, you could try something like Anusol gel that has minimal ingredients.

So what about posture? You could buy a stool like a squatty potty, or make one yourself. Old Harold first tried just a 2×4 with heels 1.5 inches off the ground and settling for 3.5 inches (in case you didn’t know, a 2×4 is actually 1.5×3.5 inches). Apparently, keys are to have your knees above your hipbones, don’t slouch and rest your hands or elbows on your thighs/knees. Again, find what’s comfortable…Old Harold first tried a squatty potty and it didn’t work well…so some things might need a bit of time to get used to.

So what about procedure? Your biggest problem might be your ass has been working well for years without your intervention, and your focus now might not be helping. Go to the bathroom when you need to go, not before, and not to long after the call. When you sit, your colon works in waves of contraction. If you miss the wave, don’t try to grunt one out, just wait for the next wave…and if one doesn’t come along after say 5 min, don’t just sit there, get up and go for a walk (pull your pants up first!). When the process starts, relax, let it happen gradually, and when you breath out, focus on relaxing the area, again letting things happen naturally. If you get part way through and need some help, you could try slow rhythmic breathing to gently start a wave. An old-time doc also once said, a brief clinch before starting can sometimes help, presumably compressing any hemorrhoidal tissue before starting so it doesn’t get trapped or drag.

The last three things a person needs to know are first, you are unique and what works for others might not work well for you so it might take some trial and error. Second, what works for you might not always work, and you may need to make adjustments to keep things moving along, and third, pay attention to your fluid levels because if things get dried out, some stuff you might be taking to keep things moving along (ex. wheat bran) could turn a smooth surface into sandpaper and make things worse.

And lastly, if you’ve got problems down there, don’t hesitate to bring it to your doctors attention to make sure there isn’t anything more sinister lurking down there. After all, they’re the experts in asstrology.

These days Old Harold lives without many problems, but occasionally an extra piece of pizza creates a square peg that has to go out a round hole, and I have to re-remember the things I need to do to return to peace to my sanctum sanctorum, the throne room, the john, the biffy.

Peace out and happy movements
Harold

Digging into Snow Shoveling

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Old Harold thinks a lot can be told about a person by how they shovel snow. As a kid one year I noticed an elderly couple moved into a house about halfway to school. After the first snow fall, while all the other sidewalks were still covered, the old gent had already been out and shoveled. I figured the guy had been used to working, maybe a farmer retired to town. Subsequently, after every snowfall, he was out and shoveled before any kids’ footprints on their way to school. The snow was perfectly banked, and no trace was left unshoveled. I guessed the guy was used to hard work, getting things done on time and keeping things in order.

After about three feet of snow was on the ground, things started to go sideways. Going back and forth to school I noticed more than just the walk was being shoveled, he was shovelling snow off the grass, it went from one side of the yard and then back. I’m guessing now he retired without a plan and was killing time with what his body done for decades, hard work. He was like a big cat at the zoo pacing back and forth in his enclosure. By the next year, the old couple were gone. Maybe back to the country, buying a small farm to keep him happy and hopefully not the Big Farm.

Every year when the snow flies, Old Harold remembers the farmer and thinks how shoveling might uncover deeper understandings of people pushing the snow. Slow, methodical, precise-equal banks, no flakes left behind or unwasted movement. Random shoveling as though looking for buried treasure, shoveling snow one way and then the other, frantic pace, steam from the collar, frozen hands, scraps and lines of snow left behind for compaction. The guy with a snowblower who finishes his drive and sidewalk in two passes who may or may not do the neighbors or the entire street. The 60+ lady with a broom. The neighbour’s kid that fleeces your $25 whenever the snow flies, and then again after the storm. The neighbours that shovel their sidewalk enough to keep ahead of bylaw enforcement, while packing driveways with glaciers to recede in the spring. Social workers freezing in cars, watching handicapped clients get work experience. All kinds of techniques and all kinds of equipment being guided by people at the other end with varying degrees of awareness of what they’re doing or how it’s being done. Is the way you do it the right way, the only way, or do you care? How long does it take to turn it into a mindless activity?
Old Harold’s read a book a couple times “Mindfulness: an eight-week course to bring peace to a frantic world” by gurus of the mindfulness movement where you learn to enliven your senses tasting chocolate and raisons while turning off your autopilot switch. I’m guessing snow shovelling could be turned into a mindfulness exercise listening to the blade on the cement, feeling your muscles work in unison, sensations of cold air going in/steam blowing out and pushing the envelope of how long you can shovel without gloves. Maybe my old timer friend had been mindfully shoveling snow across his yard as a pioneer in the mindfulness movement, but I’m guessing not. But that’s not to say we can’t give it a go. Happy shoveling…then grass cutting and gardening. Be the master of your fate, be the captain of your soul. Do your chores as though no one is watching. Peace out. Harold.

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