Opening Day

June 15, 2019

Family members and friends find it quaint that I still place great stock in Opening Day of Bass Fishing. I’m not normally sentimental about holidays, but this one sticks with me. Like the time Charlie and I spent the morning rowing all around Don Warren’s Bay on Opinicon Lake in our dinghy and didn’t get a nibble. Then, while I was warming a can of beef stew for lunch in the galley of WYBMADIITY II, Charlie caught a 3 1/2 pound largemouth off the stern, right along the 48 hour dock at Chaffey’s Lock. Before the school moved on, we had caught and released another twenty largemouths, the largest a strapping 5 pounds.

Opening Day of Bass Fishing is the most unpredictable fishing day of the year. Tony Izatt used to host derbies off his dock for about a half-dozen teams. One year young John Steele and a lady friend who had never fished before were able to select their six entries from over thirty fish they had caught while drifting down the middle of Clear Lake. Why the genius strategy? John’s trolling motor wasn’t working and he didn’t want his derby partner to hang a lure up in the trees.

Then there was the time thunderstorms were in the offing, so Les and I spent most of the morning sitting on the deck at Indian Lake Marina, eating ice cream.
When it cleared we drifted down the bay and I caught a single largemouth big enough to win the derby that year. But the trip back to the dock was a challenge on this or perhaps another derby. Memories run together. When we cleared the islands for the final half-mile run to the dock, the rain made visibility the closest to zero I have ever seen on a lake. Les held my parka so that I had a slit of vision, and we made it back in time for weigh-in. Then we stood on the dock in relative shelter while watching the other teams blunder their way up the lake. We could see perfectly well, but they couldn’t. That time, as I recall, Earl and Paul drifted in on plane from the other direction –Pollywog Lake — with a boatful of fish to win the tournament.

This year nothing worked right in the organization, particularly the weather. After determinedly stating that I would not fish before 9:00, I had in fact boated four and was off the lake by 8:00. The promised torrent of rain failed to appear, though it was a wind of biblical proportions which tucked me into my slip at about noon today. The dock was holding well, and by now we know how to tie a boat.

I did manage to catch six plump largemouth bass for Father’s Day Lunch tomorrow. Of course nobody pays much attention to that holiday.


Lexus es300h update

June 11, 2019

As I drive the car repeatedly over routine round trips, I am gradually forming some conclusions about its mileage performance.

1. Mileage is lousy when it is cold. Until it gets three miles from home, it uses from a bit over 9.0 L/100 km to as high as 12.0. A trip to Newboro to bail out the fishing boat, for example, starts at 9.1 and over the 14 mile round trip gradually reduces to an average while coming in the driveway of 5.8 L/100 km. That’s 48.7 Imperial miles per gallon, 41 U.S.

2. Starting while warm, the car maintained that same 5.8 L/100 km average throughout a trip to Kingston for shopping and back today, about 100 miles of heavily travelled two lane and a bit of four-lane highway and assorted city streets and parking lots.

3. From a cold start the trip to Rosebridge Manor in Easton’s Corners, a sixty-eight mile expedition over little-travelled roads and frequent hamlets with speed limits and stop signs, the average steadily decreases from a bit over 9 to a final average as I use battery power through Forfar, up Young’s Hill Road, and in our long driveway, of 5.1 L/100 km. Usually traffic allows me to poke along at 80 km/hr on this stretch, again with frequent coasts through villages on electric. That’s 55 miles per Imperial gallon, 46 U.S.

Driving to Mosport

May 31, 2019

Our son decided that today would be the day to take his parents for rides around the track at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park near Bowmanville. Members of the Porsche Club of Canada annually participate in a Drives for Smiles event where they invite the parents of children suffering from Down’s syndrome to the track for rides in racing cars, complete with pit crews and safety harness, but not helmets. This year PCC considered the seven-year history of the event, but ruled that there would be no passing, so the tours went in parade formation, but the cars still moved quickly around the tight track. Occasional family members and guests of the volunteer drives did find their way into the cars along with the six hundred kids who attended.

I had only worked on Charlie’s BMW at the shop, and had never encountered it at speed. It’s the real deal on a track like Mosport. The engine is strong and the car is very light. It turns in eagerly, slides the tail out in a very controllable manner, and chases down much more powerful cars in tight corners.

Charlie responded to my comment about plotting a line through a corner before you can actually see it. “It’s more a trajectory you plan.”


We had left the dog with a sitter in Westport and hit the road in the 2014 Lexus es300h.  Earlier in the week on a round trip to Westport the car’s computer recorded 4.8 L/100 km.  That’s 58 miles per Imperial gallon, but on a limited sample size.

Today’s run up the 401 for four hours at 120 km was likely to show much higher fuel consumption than the slow wander on County Road 42.  The readout hovered at 6.0, but slowly dropped to 5.9L/100 km for the duration of the trip. 5.9 is 48 miles per imperial gallon of regular gasoline.  I think it’s 39 miles per U.S. gal.  My new VW Beetle gave us excellent gas mileage in 1973.  It got up as high as 32 miles per gallon.

They’re not making cars the way they used to. This Lexus hybrid weighs twice what the Beetle weighed, offers climate control and luxurious seating for five, yet uses substantially less fuel than the ’70s mileage icon.

These dissident Liberals should have paid attention to the historical origins of democracy before blasting their powder half-cocked. The idea of democracy emerged in the 18th century concurrently with the development of science and the invention of the pocket watch.

The opposing-spring principle was the revolutionary idea that an object could be held in place indefinitely by opposing forces such as a pair of springs. It was not a difficult jump to the assumption that an idea could find balance between a number of conflicting points of view.

Jody, Jane, this is what politics in a liberal democracy is. That partisanship which we all dislike is the concrete on which our society is built. It’s not pretty, but without it, structures lose their durability. Why do you think JT put an end to democratic reform? He wanted to end the honeymoon with voters? No. He realized that the way things were going, Canada would end up atomized politically by extreme fragmentation until the only ones able to exercise political will would be the theocrats, anti-abortionists, and animal rights groups, or a dictator emerged.

Government must attract idealists for their ideas and energy, but it is essential that it govern. Trudeau has said that no society would leave billions of dollars worth of oil in the ground, and an issue involving 9000 jobs in a province is a big deal to politicians, regardless of the messy reputation of the corporation.

Jody Wilson-Raybould had a fine run at her portrayal of Antigone, but it’s Justin Trudeau’s Creon who is still obliged to restore order for the good of society following the disruption. Jane Philpott seems to have fallen into the role of Haemon, Creon’s son and Antigone’s fiancee, who insists upon entombing himself with Antigone when Creon is forced by his role to execute her for her repeated threats to his rule.

And now the tragedy has played itself out. Canadians have been morally uplifted and edified. We are better than we were before this spectacle of wasted greatness. But now it’s time that they leave the stage, not end up a burlesque footnote to one of Canada’s most striking political dramas.

Morels are up.

May 27, 2019

The last time I walked the property I came home with three small dog ticks, so my wife suggested pointedly that I cut down on the bringing home of arachnid pets if I wished to continue to eat as well as exercise.

To that end, today I mowed a one-mile path, 5′ wide, on a route which by and large avoided overhanging pine trees. Then I walked same route, only to discover a location where I had run over an entire patch of white morels.

Gray squirrels are the intellectuals of the rodent community. With acute vision and three dimensional mobility, they have developed the memory capacity which allows them to scatter-hoard nuts by burying them for retrieval later.

By comparison the North American red squirrel is so dumb that it stores nuts in hollow trees or in piles under logs, unable to remember where they are unless it runs into the hoard by accident in its daily movements. Red squirrels are prone to lightning-fast, arrow-straight dashes toward a destination. They are also brave to the point of foolishness, apparently believing they can duck a bullet.

I would prefer to talk about the grays, which I quite respect. Grays learn rules of survival and seem to pass them down to subsequent generations. For example, in our woodlot, at the first sign of a human, the squirrels get out of the walnut trees and flee across the forest floor to the other side of the 25 acre plot. This is their response to a pair of determined hunters about ten years ago, and I suppose to the presence of migrating red tailed hawks once the leaves have fallen in fall. But coyotes actively hunt squirrels at this time of year, so there must be some complex calculus of risk/reward going on there somewhere.

Having taken over a large, rambling country house surrounded by walnut trees, I have spent the last ten years establishing the rules for the gray squirrels as they apply to access to the power lines, roof and attic. They seem to learn rules, but are very tenacious once they have established a den in forbidden territory. The only solution at that point is to euthanize every member of that family.

To answer the Quora question, squirrels overthink everything unfamiliar to them. During the Battle of the Attic a few years ago I had live traps baited with black walnuts around the property. One sat on a flat gravel parking area just outside our kitchen. A young male examined the trap and its bait with great care one morning. He kept coming back to it, circling close, but refusing to enter and trip the mechanism. He kept this up so long I shot him.

Yesterday I picked up a 2014 Lexus es300h in Hamilton and drove it 375 km home through holiday-weekend traffic.  Then my wife and I returned to Kingston this morning to collect my Porsche Cayenne from the train terminal.  The shock was in starting Ruby up.  My faithful companion for the last three years had suddenly become a creaky old car.

Driving the hybrid is an entirely different mechanical/gaming experience than I’ve had before. It’s quite interesting on several levels, and promotes a whole new set of bad behaviours. For example this morning I cruised up the hill through Morton at 100 km in a 60 zone so I didn’t have to get out of “eco” and re-accelerate. On the 401 yesterday I tended to hesitate a bit too long when overtaking to avoid getting out of cruise control for the same reason. The car has lots of zip in sport mode, but that lowers your score on the efficiency graph.  120 km/hr remained the optimal pace for travel on the busy road, but slower traffic brought its own rewards in a higher mileage score.