The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

July 5, 2007

Eight Things about Me Tag


I'm supposed to list eight things about of them, actually (this doesn't count!), is that I've been tagged several times before and possibly will be repeating myself.

I apologize in advance if I do. I'll try not to...

1. I've been to more than 20 countries in my life that I can recall at the moment (they're outlined in red in the map below thanks to this cool site I found):

They are:

The U.S., Brazil, Argentina, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Spain and Romania.

2. My uncle, Len Cariou, is a Winnipeg-born actor and singer who won a Tony Award in 1979 for his Broadway role in Sweeney Todd opposite Angela Lansbury, who played the lead role in the TV series Murder She Wrote.

He also earned Tony nominations for roles opposite Lauren Bacall (Applause) and Liz Taylor (A Little Night Music). He also had a relationship with Glenn Close, who got her big start with Robin Williams in The World According to Garp in 1982.

I spent the day with the two of them in New York City just before the release of that movie.

He's had other roles in movies like About Schmidt with Jack Nicholson, The Four Seasons with Alan Alda and A Little Night Music with Liz Taylor. His TV roles include The West Wing, Law & Order, Star Trek and Murder, She Wrote, among others.

3. I covered the game Oct. 15, 1989, in which Wayne Gretzky broke Gordie Howe's all-time National Hockey League scoring record.

I picked him as the first star of the game so my name, I believe, is on the official scoresheet, although I can't get a copy of it.

4. In my younger, dumber years, I passed out twice that I recall from consumption of alcohol or drugs: once in India in a field in Bangalore in the middle of the night and once on the middle of the highway in Leaf Rapids in northern Manitoba. Duh.

5. My thinning hair on my head is still brown, but when I grow a beard, it's grey. I've had the hair on my head my entire life and couldn't grow a beard until I was in my late teens. What sense does that make?

Me in 1992, full head of hair, no beard

Me in 2003 or so, receding brown hairline and grey beard

6. I've learned more about women in the past 6-7 years since my divorce than I did in the entire 18 or whatever years of my marriage and all during my teens and early 20s before that. Go figure.

7. I've visited every Canadian province except Prince Edward Island off our East Coast. My favourite is Newfoundland, where I hauled in cod bare-handed with an oldtimer fisherman named Paddy O'Dea and cooked and ate it on board his dory.

8. The most important role model in my life is and always will be my mom, followed in no particular order by her mom, my dad, a now ex-priest named Max and, in more of a lifelong friend/Jiminy Cricket sort of way, my buddy Homo Escapeons.

North American Road Kill


That means millions of people are hopping into their cars, trucks, monster motor homes or what have you and heading out on the highway.

And THAT means millions of animals are getting mowed over and killed on those same highways.

There's road rage, when people have been known to kill people. This is road kill of a different sort and it happens on a far more frequent basis.

Having just returned from a 2,000-km trip that took me through North Dakota, Montana, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, I've never seen it so bad.

It was mostly deer -- fawns, usually -- left splattered on the road. Or racoons or skunks or rabbits.

There were a few coyotes, from what I could make of the carcasses as I sped past them at 120 kph (75 mph), and countless smaller creatures.

I know for a fact I creamed a garter snake and several of those quizzical little suicidal ground squirrels, the long thin ones.

They're very fast, those squirrels. They could easily make it across but they stop, right in the middle of the road, to see if it's still safe.

It's a fatal mistake, usually. By the time they start running again, they get smacked.

In my case, I saw one do just that. He ran under my car to his apparent death but I looked through my rear view mirror and saw that my tires missed him.

He survived and ran back to the side from which he came.

I had a lot of time and distance to see this carnage and to contemplate different aspects of it, from the obvious to the mundane.

What if the roles were reversed and animals were invading our cities and towns and killing us as we crossed their paths?

We'd call out the authorities and shoot them all.

In fact, that's exactly what happens now with "problem" alligators in Florida, cougars in the Rockies, wolves on sheep farmers' ranches.

But there's no similar protection for animals in their habitats when they try to cross our superhighways through their natural environment.

Usually signs are posted to indicate deer or mountain sheep are nearby, but that's not going to stop the animals from crossing.

So they get smucked. And they end up on the side of the road, sometimes for quite a long time, attracting crows and other scavengers.

Until the road crews come along to shovel them off the pavement.

Another common group of roadkill victims are birds. They're attracted to the pavement and to gravel shoulders, I assume, for reasons of survival.

It's on those flat, open surfaces they can more easily find the insects they feed on or to scavenge other animals killed by vehicles.

But they pay a price -- their own safety. Every time a car whizzes by, they fly away, only to turn right back again for more easy food on the road or shoulder.

Smack! They gets it.

Now to REALLY take this mind-numbing diatribe to its farthest extreme, what about all the insects we kill as we zoom down the expressway to our destination?

I'm guessing that my car alone, in about 22 hours or so, killed thousands of insects.

Multiply that by how many vehicles were travelling the roads in that time across the continent. Your windshield is a weapon, I tell ya.