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One of the problems with new recipes is deciding whether to risk splashing out on required ingredient only to find that the meal is a disappointment and that almost full jar of something is never used again. Several years ago a lot of voluntary groups used to raise money by putting out cook books with recipes contributed by the members. Some were very good. Others were rubbish. One of the worst I encountered was put out by a listener funded radio channel called CKUA. This shouldn't have been a surprise. Years before one of its star presenters was in a serious road accident and as a reporter I had to phone some of his colleagues. Without exception they were rude and unpleasant to me. Pretentious people, pretentious recipes. 

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Here in Alberta welfare benefits are paid by the provincial government. Old age pensions and the dole are federal responsibilities. Anyway, an awful lot of criminal scumbags aren't turning up for their court appearances. Someone suggested the no- shows should be encouraged to show by cutting off their benefits if they didn't. Oh, no, said the bleeding hearts. No benefits means they'll have to commit more crimes to address their budgetary shortfall. That's not how the scumbags' minds work. They get their benefits and they then still make everyone else's life a misery. But the bleeding hearts are saying that we should be bribing the bail-jumping scumbags not to commit crimes. I say to the crooks,  play by the rules and show up if you want my tax money.

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I was reading a history of New Zealand recently. One of the most interesting aspects was how the European and Australian settlers, and their successors, treated the descendants of the people who were there when they first arrived, the Maoris. And more interesting were the contrasts, and similarities, with how the Canadians dealt with , and continue to deal with, the Indians. Canadians should know more about the histories of the other parts of the old British Empire. I don't just mean New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Looking at India, the Far East and the former African colonies could also yield valuable lessons. 

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Many many years ago some folk who'd recently moved into a house across the back alley held a really really noisy barbecue in their back garden. I was tempted to ask them to turn it down a bit. But then I noticed a number of them were wearing Hells Angels leather waistcoats. The Hells Angels don't like non members wearing their logo, so these were real Hells Angels. I didn't ask them to turn down their music. But if I had, I think they would have done. It became apparent that the last thing that my new neighbours wanted was for police to have an excuse to come into the area. The scary thing was that that included no more petty crime. For years, folk didn't have to worry if they forgot to lock their front door. It was scary that  the Hells Angels had that kind of control of all local crime. Undercover police surveillance of the house was so cack-handed that I could believe that for some reason it was supposed to be obvious to the gangsters. So, I doubt if it was the police presence that was creating a crime free zone. Once the Hells Angel moved out, crime levels went back to normal. Though I think the house was still owned by them because when I told the arsehole  who moved in afterwards that I was going to speak to his landlord about his antisocial behavior he got really really scared.  

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Why do many English people pronounce Loch as Lock? And yet they say the composer Bach's name correctly. I don't think there is something genetic that has malformed English vocal chords and prevents them making the "ch" sound in Loch. To pronounce Bach as Back would reveal ignorance. But then again the Welsh word Bach is often pronounced Back by English people. These are not bad people. But they are buying into an arrogance which says We Don't Care how You Say It, This How We Say It and That's What Matters. The same goes for North Americans who call Edinburgh Edinburg. I recently heard either Americans or Canadians interviewed on the Royal Mile say Edinburg. I'm pretty sure that by that point they'd heard it correctly pronounced Edinburra several times during their visit to the city. 

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