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Into The Heartland

Rumors of my death are exaggerated. The reason my wife Mary and I dropped off the face of the earth is because we have not had internet for almost a week, which as y’all know feels like an eternity. We drove up from Florida to close on our new home in a tiny West Virginia town, population 500. Why?
To move close to our parents and family.

The drive up from Florida was quite interesting. The number of Trump signs on display in yards, rooftops and billboards tells me Trump has connected with every day Americans like no other president before him.

By Lloyd Marcus - Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - Full Story

TULIPS BRIGHTEN IAN FLEMING’S OTTAWA

It will be another year at least before Canadians can grow their own marijuana. Following Royal Assent, the Liberal government intends to bring the proposed Act into place no later than July 2018, announced Health Canada. At that time, adults would legally be able to possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis in public, and grow up to four plants per household at a maximum height of one metre from a legal seed or seedling. But, warns Health Canada, Until the new law comes into force, cannabis will remain illegal everywhere in Canada, except for medical purposes. But if you’re renting your home, you may have to think again. The national landlord group Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations says the federal government should change its proposed marijuana legislation bill to ban people from growing plants in rented homes of multi-unit buildings.

By Wes Porter - Saturday, May 6, 2017 - Full Story

Oh by the way, Led Zeppelin might reunite this year

First we heard it from this guy last weekend:

I have some well placed sources in the industry telling me that Robert Plant has agreed to reunite Led Zeppelin for Desert Trip 2017.  Rumor has it they turned down a reported $14 million dollar pay day to play at last years festival and that this year there are “millions & millions” of more reasons why they should do it.

By Dan Calabrese - Friday, May 5, 2017 - Full Story

Israel’s surprising way of teaching skills for innovation

On the global scale, Israeli youth are falling behind in academic achievements.

According to recent research conducted by PISA (Program for International Student Assessment), Israel is in the bottom 40 percent in mathematics and science. Israel consistently trails behind countries such as China, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland and Austria.

Yet it has the highest density of startups per capita in the world and is ranked No. 2 in innovation, according to the World Economic Forum’s competitiveness report.

How is a country so successful in technological entrepreneurship, which demands extensive knowledge in mathematics, science, finance and business, so far behind in math and science education?—More…

By ISRAEL21c - Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - Full Story

Heartwarming: When singer’s mic fails, 18,000 Canadian hockey fans fill in on U.S. National Anthem

I’ve been to a lot of NHL games. When you’re born in Detroit, they slap your butt to get your lungs working, then they pretty much issue you a set of Red Wings tickets and a little jersey.  That’s just how it works in Hockeytown. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, hockey fans are a different breed. There’s not a happier, nicer, more congenial crowd in professional sports.

By Robert Laurie - Monday, May 1, 2017 - Full Story

Roger Goodell actually does something good . . . lays the smack to marijuana advocates

Just because the culture is moving in a certain direction does not mean that direction is wise. It usually just means that the people behind that direction are more determined than the people who might be inclined to resist it, or that they’ve managed to strike fear in the hearts of all who might oppose them.

Or that the resistance figures it’s no use because they’re going to lose anyway.

By Dan Calabrese - Monday, May 1, 2017 - Full Story

Anyone who thinks ESPN’s decline isn’t because of its liberal bias is either in denial,

Last week all-sports cable TV channel ESPN sent out pink slips to 100 employees, many of them on-air personalities. Profits have been declining since last year in large part because of the 12 million viewers who, since 2011, have dropped their subscriptions.

Yet even at this late date, there are those who insist this has nothing to do with the network’s pervasive left-wing bias, preferring to blame it on customers switching over to mobile viewing.

Among the usual suspects promoting this view is Kevin Draper of Deadspin.

By BombThrowers - Monday, May 1, 2017 - Full Story

Virgilene’s Mean

Uncle Virgil wanted a son to name Virgil, Jr., but ended up with a bunch of girls. When the last one came along, Aunt Lillian refused to let the child be named after her father, reasoning that a girl named Virgil would be worse than a boy named Sue. Grudgingly, Auntie agreed to let Virgilene be the child’s middle name. Everybody but me called her Alice, her first name.

Virgilene was as uncomely as they come, and because her buckteeth poked out like a piranha’s, she was so ugly that she’d make a freight train take a dirt road. I not only made fun of her middle name, but also of her frightful fangs.

Questions We’re Often Asked: Coriander

Herb of the Year for 2017 is Coriander (Coriandrum sativum). Herb Day falls on Sunday, 30th April—great times then to celebrate this zesty herb. Until recently best known in the West at least for its seeds as an essential for curries and chilli sauces along with some soups and stews, the foliage, known as cilantro or Chinese parsley, is gathering fresh disciples by the day as an essential addition to many an exotic dish.

By Wes Porter - Sunday, April 30, 2017 - Full Story

Priapos, Garden Protector

According to Greek legend, Priapos (praɪˈeɪpəs/; Greek, Latin Priapus) was exposed at his birth on a bleak mountainside, so ugly was he. Discovered by shepherds and raised by them, he remained foreshortened in all but one attribute: his mighty male member.

Back then, two millennia and more ago, crops might be devastated by pests and pathogens. Rabbits and rats, birds and other beasts were obvious. Others like locusts arrived seemingly from nowhere. Starvation could and did result.

By Wes Porter - Saturday, April 29, 2017 - Full Story

Slugging It Out

Conchologists—scientists who study slugs and snails—extol their subjects. Gardeners are prone to use more earthy language in their descriptions. There are few places where humans reside not also occupied by terrestrial gastropods. The deserts, no—also not in the High Arctic and Antarctica. Oh yes, and the International Space Station. Elsewhere on the planet, much to the delight of the mollusks, gardens have been established.

So how, particularly in these times of environmental concerns, can we control these slimy subjects without resorting to chemicals? Alas, many of the ways commonly suggested have proven to be not particularly effective.

By Wes Porter - Saturday, April 22, 2017 - Full Story

A Real Fool

“Only fools think money can solve any problem,” my lifelong best friend and mentor, Jaybird, once told me.

As a boy I didn’t always pay attention to the old black man’s wisdom, but one day, while lolling with my pals on Uptown Avenue in our Mississippi Delta hometown, I learned the hard way to abide by his wise words about money. I didn’t have a cent, and was certain money could solve a problem I had: coming up with twenty-five cents to buy an All-Day Sucker at Peach-Eye’s Grocery.

By Jimmy Reed - Thursday, April 20, 2017 - Full Story

The Fern That Walks

When Canada’s first long-distance walking trail was formed in the middle years of the last century the organizers chose as their symbol the Walking Fern, Asplenium microphyllum. Ontario’s Bruce Trail follows the Niagara Escarpment from Niagara Fall for 800 kilometres north to the tip of the Bruce Peninsular. As elsewhere in eastern North America, this rugged limestone country offers an especially suitable habit for this unusual fern, unlike almost any other.

If your idea of a fern is an upright plant with lacy and, well, fern-like foliage, the Walking Fern going to surprise you. That is if you can find it. W. Sherwood Fox wrote in The Bruce Beckons (1962) of the east coast precipitous cliffs overlooking the spectacular Georgian Bay:

By Wes Porter - Saturday, April 15, 2017 - Full Story

This is quite possibly the greatest TV commercial ever created

Maybe it’s that queasy, inescapable, instinct that tells us millennials are awful. Perhaps it’s just a desire to see the adults back in charge after a decade of ...weirdness.  It could be that people are yearning for a time when men were men instead of strange adult man-children.

Whatever it is, we’re all feeling it, and this new Carl’s Jr. ad is tapping into it - in spades.

After ten years of bikini-clad supermodels eating giant burgers and rolling around in soapy car washes, the fast food chain has decided to rejigger its image.

The result is, quite possibly, the greatest TV commercial ever made.

By Robert Laurie - Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - Full Story

Easter Hands

One fine spring day, on Dad’s Mississippi Delta farm, my boyhood best friend and mentor Jaybird told a story to a group of us children, a story he called “Easter Hands.”

As the old black man slipped into the hypnosis of his bullfrog bass voice, we little ones clustered at his feet, leaning toward him like eager flowers toward the rising sun. He told us the story of Easter.

We had heard Jesus Christ called different names — Savior, Messiah, the Nazarene, Son of Man — and our young minds were confused. Jaybird told Jesus’ story in a way we could understand.

By Jimmy Reed - Monday, April 10, 2017 - Full Story

Beauty and the Beast Rose

Released February 2017, Beauty and the Beast an American musical romantic, dark fantasy film starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in the title roles, an adaptation of the beloved 1991 Disney animated fairy tale.

A red rose kept beneath a jar in the Beast’s castle slowly sheds its petals. When the last petal drops, he will die. Needless to say, heroine Belle saves him from this fate in the nick of time.

By Wes Porter - Saturday, April 8, 2017 - Full Story

LILY DEATHS, LAWN DAMAGE, MORE

April showers: When acclaimed director John Ford was filming The Quiet Man on location in Ireland, it was explained to him that, “If he could see the mountains in the morning it was sure to rain; if he couldn’t see the mountains it was raining.”

Easter comes late this year—not until the middle of the month—but already white lilies abound. And that spells a possible fatal attraction for frolicking felines. Despite some controversy there now seems little doubt that lilies of any kind can kill cats. So, sorry, but it’s one or the other. There are, of course, many other flowers that are safe to have around our furry owners.

By Wes Porter - Saturday, April 1, 2017 - Full Story

One Helluva Bad Day

It was a torrid July day in the summer of 1961. On my father’s Mississippi Delta farm, a huge field was covered with 80-pound hay bales that had to be loaded by hand onto trailers and hauled to the barn. 

At five o’clock, Dad opened the bedroom door. “Hay time, boys, git up. Jaybird is waiting outside for y’all.”

By Jimmy Reed - Friday, March 31, 2017 - Full Story

Questions We’re Often Asked: Flowering Indoor Plants

There are hundreds of candidates to provide colourful blooms, some even scented, for house and apartment. Unlike those grown principally for their foliage, most require a little more care to persuade them to flower. But the results and almost guaranteed admiration from visitors is worth it. ‘Bright light’ means several hours direct sun a day, while filtered light means at the back of such exposed room or perhaps near a window in an east or north room. Always use room-temperature water—cold water is almost certain to cause flower and bud drop.

By Wes Porter - Thursday, March 30, 2017 - Full Story

Going to Pot: The Stoned Age

When—not if—Canada’s government legalizes recreational use of marijuana, gardeners will enter a new era.

Decades ago potted plants, usually sold for home d√©cor, became termed ‘pot plants.’ These have also been referred to as ‘houseplants,’ but with the advent of their becoming popular for offices and other commercial spaces, ‘indoor plants’ perhaps fits the bill better.

By Wes Porter - Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - Full Story