Wood Mountain: Population 21

When I was ten, my family picked up an exchange student from the Regina airport. It was Winter. As the South American boy rode with me on the van bench, across an open prairie between Regina and Moose Jaw, he asked how many people lived in Wood Mountain. I replied proudly, “Forty people live in Wood Mountain.” I knew, because I could count every one by going through each home in my mind, up and down the three streets, and three avenues. “Forty thousand?” he prompted for more details. “No, forty people.”

The school closed about three years later. The second last elevator burned in 1997 due to lightning strikes. The last wooden elevator in the village was demolished in 2014. There’s still a Community Hall, a rural post office and RM/Village office, a fire hall, a church, and Department of Highways buildings, and there are 21 people who live right in the village. More than a few live on the farms and ranches nearby. It’s still a community, and it still matters. Now, it’s Population 21.

It’s not even the second time Wood Mountain has been featured in a National Film Board documentary, but it is the first with my parents.

Shutting out CTF would help Saskatchewan people tackle moral deficit

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation may not seem to consume many resources, but that’s an illusion. They occupy our newspapers. They occupy our newscasts. The amount of public time put into debating their hair brained theories has been significant over the decades.

“Governments routinely increase spending by a percentage point or two. Shouldn’t they be able to trim a little when necessary?”

Government funded media should trim coverage of the CTF, as it has become necessary to talk about positive social changes available to us. Instead the media is focusing on bad ideas that benefit only the oligarchy that operates the CTF.

“If we act now, we can trim the budget with a scalpel rather than a chainsaw. Reducing spending by about 1.8 per cent would eliminate Saskatchewan’s operational deficit.”

So trim the Regina bypass a little, or the football stadium, or the CCS plant in Estevan. Stop paying millions in fines to Big Oil because of a bad contract that was a bad deal for taxpayers.

Here’s an even better idea [I say with as much modesty as the CTF ever uses]. Each media organization promoting the CTF’s whining about the cost of STC should buy a bus ticket and a motel room for a traveling journalist, and send them out into rural Saskatchewan to talk to people on buses, and in small towns. Do that once a week. Make it a regular feature if it’s popular. Imagine a journalist surviving in Saskatchewan without a car, and only their camera, notebook, phone, and wits [and a reasonable expense account, and perhaps a folding bicycle].

Heck, I’d consider breaking my Postmedia boycott even if they used this idea to gather real Saskatchewan news and stories. It makes a hell of a lot of more sense than depending upon media releases and crappy oligarchy op-eds from the seven member CTF, for news content filler.

Solar All Over California

Train station

Pawn shop

On our Amtrak trip through southern and central California, I watched the dry and irrigated fields fly by me at 133km/h. We stopped for the night in Bakersfield (the most conservative city in America, some figures show), and it was 41 degrees even with the sun down. The cement around the pool at night warmed my feet as if the hot sun was beating down on it only a moment earlier.

Large #solar farm north of Wasco CA
This large solar farm appears to be the one mentioned in this story about a Hanford Dairy.

Bridge and plane

"PALM BARF" in L.A.

Oil in L.A.
Los Angeles oil production. You can see how dry it is there.

2015-08-21_07-05-25

Hills covered with wind turbines north of Oakland.
Hills filled with wind turbines in California

Metal tends to rust near the ocean:
Rusty beach cruiser

To Be Left On The Moon

Some of these items found in Armstrong’s closet, were to be abandoned on the surface of the Moon.

More than four decades after the Apollo 11 moon landing, a cloth bag full of souvenirs brought back by astronaut Neil Armstrong has come to light.

Among the trove: a 16 mm movie camera from inside the lunar module that filmed its descent to the moon and Armstrong’s first steps on the lunar surface in 1969.

That camera “took one of the most significant sets of images in the 20th century,” said Allan Needell, a curator in space history at the National Air and Space Museum.