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Armchair critic strikes again

Lee Hart can find something to natter about on just about every news page

It is almost impossible for me to listen to a news broadcast or skim through any “news” publications without having a million comments. Three of my most frequent observations: “boy that’s stupid” or “some people need to get a life” or “wow, that’s new to me!”

In the Calgary news lately, a group of naturists —folks who like being nude — have been trying to rent a city pool for an after-hours family swim. Apparently they have done this in the past without notice, but their most recent plans caught the attention of some society-savers. There came this mounting protest over how this could bring rot to the foundation of civilization. The family swim will attract pedophiles and voyeurism, and increase rates of sexual abuse, among other claims. The city cancelled the first naturist swim, but now they are applying again.

My response: what a bunch of stupid people who need to get a life. Who cares if the naturists have a family-based swim? It’s not my thing, but it’s just a bunch of harmless naked folks who like to hang out in many definitions of the term. Nothing sexual, no orgy, just a harmless swim in the buff. If is not your thing, don’t go near the pool. There won’t be any creeps taking photos of naked children. Where are they going to hide their camera? Get a life society-savers. Mind your own fully clothed business.

Meat tax?

Now let’s turn to farm news. A headline in our Alberta Farmer magazine “Meat tax unlikely.” Who is even considering a meat tax? The founder of a private equity firm, Farm Animal Investment Risk & Returns Initiative, feels because red meat is high risk and hazardous it is possible that one day t-bones will be taxed like tobacco.

I am not sure how red meat caught such a bad rap. With the flack today, it might make sense for Monsanto to buy the red meat industry, and then protestors would just have one target for their crops and livestock slings and arrows.

You can cut the throats on 40,000 chickens, ship them to KFC and you have a finger lickin’ good moment that topples racial barriers and saves the family unit. You send one steer to the packing plant, and a steak becomes a death warrant, and destroys life on the planet.

I read an article in the daily paper on the best diet to protect your brain — nuts, fruits and vegetables are good. Among the foods to avoid: red meats, “eat as little as possible,” and if you care about your health don’t go near cheese more than once a week. The writer was a University of Toronto professor specializing in brain health and prevention of Alzheimer’s. No wonder consumers can get confused. That little guy on A&W commercials is going to have to develop a brain-saving burger.


Under the “term that is fairly new to me” category we have the word “cluster.” Research clusters, funding clusters, biotech clusters, and innovation clusters to name a few. Lately I get the impression, if you are not involved in a cluster, you’re not serious about agriculture (although probably a coffee cluster would count, too).

A recent article was talking about not just your ordinary cluster, but two superclusters for innovation. The federal government is involved, so it has to be good. The plan for these superclusters that hope to cash in on some of the $950 million the federal government is making available is to result in “bold and ambitious proposals that will supercharge regional innovation ecosystems.” I am not sure what that means, but it sounds electrifying.

I was going to wait six months and phone a few farmers to see if they had come across any “supercharged regional innovation ecosystems” in their community. Stay tuned.

I know I sound old and cynical, probably because every day I am old and occasionally I become cynical, but I can read a lot of fine words about probably some very good ideas that have potential to be very successful. What’s lacking are details of exactly how or when farmers run into a “supercharged regional innovation ecosystem” that will either save or make them money. I’m sure those details are coming.

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.



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