My Heaven Includes Bacon

IMG_5294I have been struggling to come up with a simple way to explain my change in diet. Basically I am a vegetarian for most of the week, and an omnivore on weekends. Why?

It’s not about religion, I am too afraid of picking the wrong denomination to ever choose just one. I can already imagine how ripped off I would feel if I lived my whole life by some strict code, to get turned away at the pearly gates (or equivalent) by a technicality! “You’re kicking me out for eating bacon?? Hey, my heaven includes bacon!”

While it is a great reason to reduce meat intake, the environment isn’t my reason. I am reducing intake of all animal proteins (including fish), not just the ones that chew up hectares of land and resources to produce.

It isn’t an ethical concern, since I can’t see where to draw the line on animals, insects or plants. Does the tasty cow deserve to live more than the yummy escargot? And we’ve all seen Avatar; how about plants??

So that leaves health, and yes that is the reason. I’ve read a fair bit of research that points to animal protein –not the common villain, fat– as the root cause of heart disease and many cancers. Completely eliminating meat is supposed to be the idea solution, but many health benefits can be gained by significantly reducing the intake to levels much lower than the typical North American diet.

Advertisements

A ‘Plathoon’ of Canadian Flags

Visiting the several towns involved in the failed Dieppe Raid, you see more Canadian flags than any place in Canada (with the exception of on Canada Day). It is quite strange to see the maple leaf so prominent on foreign soil!

You can’t help but feel pride in our country when you see how much the locals still remember Canada’s contributions (even in disaster). I hope some day the people of Afghanistan will appreciate the sacrifice of the Canadian casualties as do the French, but somehow I doubt it.
IMG_5133
This picture is taken in Pourville-sur-Mer, the location of the most ‘successful’ part of the Dieppe raid, and where Charles Merritt won his Victoria Cross (and survived!). This was actually quite controversial at the time, because strict rules that govern the awarding of the Victoria Cross state that it cannot be given to a soldier that is taken prisoner. It was assumed that when Merritt was left wounded on the beach –holding off the Germans and enabling his men’s escape– that he was killed and not captured, hence his posthumous award which then became non-posthumous (one of the few VC recipients that didn’t die getting it).

The World’s Most Awe-inspiring Tribute

Vimy Ridge Monument

We visited the monument in memory of the UK’s unknown solders –Thiepval– the prior day, and it was HUGE. While smaller, Canada’s Vimy Ridge WWI memorial makes a stronger impression! The foggy morning probably contributed to the atmosphere created as you walk towards this beautiful limestone monument, it certainly gave me goosebumps!

Pictures can’t do it justice, but I tried my best. The picture above links to more pictures. You really have to witness it first hand to appreciate this tribute to our WWI dead. It sits on an undulating treeless field created by the shelling of WWI mortars, field guns and heavy artillery, which certainly adds to the atmosphere.

Juno Beach Professional Development Tour Album


IMG_4796

Originally uploaded by Adrian F1

I’m going to add detailed blog posts soon, but wanted to get a link to my photo album up while I have WiFi, or as the French say “weefee”, which is so cute (at least when the girls say it).

Mutiny of the Mounty

This is originally a post on Psychē, but since it is a little more ‘op-ed‘ than my usual pieces there, I thought I would cross-post. Also note, this is a longer version of the letter to the editor I submitted to the Ottawa Citizen.

RCMP Saluting Obama - Inauguration

RCMP by Connect2Canada

I have been watching with interest the tenure of William Elliott, the first Commissioner of our Royal Canadian Mounted Police who was not a RCMP officer. I am not surprised at this recent mutiny (that is what it is) but not because of anything to do with Mr. Elliott’s management style.

The Allegations

First, some perspective on the allegations against him: One of the biggest complaints is that Mr. Elliott is a petulant –some say passionate– boss, prone to outbursts and paper-throwing (unsubstantiated). It seems to me that the typical beat cop is subjected to more petulance from the public, or even risk of physical harm on a daily basis, than anyone sitting in a board room. You’d hope that the veteran officers reporting to Mr. Elliott were made of sterner stuff, and able to deal with petulance!  This is why I think this is an excuse, not the real reason they want Mr. Elliott out.

The second allegation suggests –more subtly– that Mr. Elliott isn’t capable to lead the force. Much has been made of him being a career bureaucrat, not a police officer. If we extend this logic, we would argue that iTunes dominance of the music business now means Steve Jobs shouldn’t lead Apple because he doesn’t have the requisite experience in the music business. Closer to home, do we suggest a veteran officer can’t lead the RCMP if they haven’t had experience in special weapons and tactics (SWAT), counter-fraud and forgery, musical ride, or any other one of the specialized functions in the RCMP? Top executives need to have the skill to learn what is important, and fast! A career RCMP officer may be good for morale, but the person that leads the RCMP needs to be a skilled bureaucrat first and foremost. Supporting this observation is the fact that the RCMP hasn’t fallen apart with Mr. Elliott in the top seat, and seems to be doing a better job keeping out of trouble (if you really are stuck on credentials, it is also worth pointing out that the RCMP enforces the laws of the country, and Mr. Elliott IS a lawyer).

Is the real reason  for the mutiny that someone is tired of waiting for their shot at the top job? This seems to me the most plausible explanation.

Mutinies Don’t End Well

Leadership change via mutiny doesn’t lead to desired results for anyone involved. Mr. Elliott’s job either becomes more challenging if he stays, or he loses it entirely. However this plays out, the RCMP further establishes its reputation as an organization that is stuck in its ways.

And then there is what happens to the new person if they succeed in their coup d’état: you still have all the same problems, but now you have nowhere to hide. After a 2-3 month grace period, employees will start wondering why nothing has improved with the change in command. While Mr. Elliott provided a convenient scapegoat for all the new requirements placed upon the force, the new Commissioner will see that the pressures that motivated Mr. Elliott are still present and now the buck stops with them. They will also have helped foster a new culture where mutiny is a valid means to affect change at the top, and even more organizational energy will be spent on politicking that before.

What To Do?

It is no surprise that Mr. Elliott has faces opposition from the start. He came in as a ‘fixer’ in 2007 when past commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli left the force rocked by scandal and in crisis, and nobody likes to be ‘fixed’. The RCMP has a strong identity, much of it deservedly positive, but this also gives it a strong immune system when it comes to change. I’ve seen a new ‘outside’ CEO come in to a large organization in crisis (Nortel), and the strong reaction that it will illicit from those that want to protect the status quo.

Mutineers have to recognize this, and decide where their true motives lie. Are they really trying to make the RCMP a more effective organization, or are they trying to promote themselves? Those that can see the latter motivating their behaviour should remember the oath they took, and realize that their job is to help protect citizens, not promote their careers (maybe consider a job in the private sector).

Those that truly believe that changes Mr. Elliott is directing are going to harm the RCMP’s ability to protect citizens and enforce the laws of the land, need to make this very clear. The timing is perfect for them to give Mr. Elliott their support and explain where they see lines being crossed. By doing so, they can avoid a mutiny that will hurt the RCMP, and help create a more effective organization.

Parting Shots from Ottawa Bluesfest 2010

Luckily I got most of the shots I wanted before Bluesfest started enforcing a ban on ‘people with nice cameras‘. At one event I was asked to put away my camera, while the guy behind me continued to videotape the entire show… wha? I will assume that they didn’t discriminate against me because my lens was white.  🙂

That one negative experience aside, I really enjoyed the music at this year’s Bluesfest, and taking pictures of some of my favourite performers!

Here is my last selection of shots, from Matthew Good and Crowded House.

IMG_7977 IMG_7798
IMG_7815 Clap for me... like I care...
IMG_7948 IMG_7996
IMG_8087 IMG_7807
IMG_7981 IMG_7786

THIS is ‘Drummer Face’

Security didn’t like me, but I managed to get a bunch of shots of Matthew Good last night at Ottawa Bluesfest. Apparently their camera policy has changed for the second week, probably based on the realization that camera technology has advanced so far that people were taking 1080p HD bootleg video that was of similar quality to the pro’s.

They seemed to be picking on people with big cameras, particularly ones like my trusty ‘Light Bazooka’. Meanwhile, the guy behind me with a tiny camera took video of the entire show.

Anyway, back to the point of this post. Some people don’t know what it is when I say ‘drummer face’; I saw such a good example of this last night that I had to do this post! This is the drummer from Matthew Good’s backing band (name please?).

IMG_7795 Classic Drummer Face!
IMG_7794 IMG_7797
%d bloggers like this: