Category Archives: Comment

Canada Should Get it Right for Its Own Good

When Canadian politicians encounter budgetary shortfalls and overruns, they often propose privatizing public services (such as public transportation). In other words, they sell their publicly owned transportation facilities and energy producing facilities to private for-profit corporations. For example, in 1998, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario passed the Energy Competition Act, which privatized and broke up the taxpayer-owned crown corporation Ontario Hydro.

The problem in Canada is that compared to the United States, there is NO competition, and that lack of competition in Canada invariably means that prices rise when public taxpayer-owned corporations are sold off. (A few people get rich while the average taxpayer becomes poorer.)

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Julbo Availability in Canada

I wish Julbo would somehow get its products reviewed in the Canadian media so that Julbo sunglasses would become readily available here in Canada. I live near Toronto, Ontario, but when I searched the Internet last year, I found only two places selling Julbo sunglasses in Canada, and both of them were in Montreal, Quebec.

Hikers recognize my Julbo Race sunglasses when I’m on the trails in Arizona, but here in Ontario, Canada, almost no one has heard of them.

Great Winter Softshell Pants for Hiking, Skiing, and Snowshoeing

The sun shines 288 days a year in Flagstaff, Arizona. I sweat on the trails, even while hiking out of the Grand Canyon through the snow on New Year’s Day. But when I’m kicking up powder, my pants get wet, and after dark my legs get cold.

My merino-wool socks and winter hiking boots are on standby near the backdoor. I keep a 19-ounce insulated jacket in my backpack. Now I’m hoping for a pair of REI Acme Pants for Christmas. The durable Schoeller® Dryskin fabric is warm, breathable and water and wind resistant, and the rip-and-stick tabs and ankle zippers keep the cuffs from sliding down over my heels.

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Starting Early Gets the Prize: Kids Want Wisdom

Do not underestimate your child’s hunger for wisdom and capacity for boredom. Teach your children that earning, saving, and spending money is an adventure. Show them that starting a business or working for wages can take them up mountain trails. Tell them true-life stories. Let them know that it’s fun to aim for early retirement, for unencumbered bank accounts and long vacations.

Flat Feet and Arch Supports

Maybe you visited your doctor after taking up running, and the doctor told you that your feet hurt because your arches fell. In other words, you have flat feet. Well the chances are that it’s your shoes, not your flat arches, that are causing the pain. The arch supports hurt your feet: You do not want humongous arch supports. You want shoes that are built with very mild (low) arch supports.

Both New Balance and Vasque make athletic shoes that fit flat feet and wide feet. Vasque even says that their Perpetuum last is “comfortable for people with flatter feet.”

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They Say Vegetables Don’t Stop Cancer. I Don’t Believe It.

This week the media told us all that a new study shows that eating lots of vegetables does not “significantly” lower cancer risk. (The study indicates that vegetables might provide a very small reduction in cancer risk, but that statistic may have resulted from reporting error and bias — see Eating Vegetables Doesn’t Stop Cancer: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/08/eating-vegetables-doesnt-stop-cancer/.)

The cancer researchers had 142,605 men and 335,873 women report on their eating habits and lifestyles during 1992 to 2000. They then assessed the association between cancer risk and diets high in fruits and vegetables.

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Beware of Advice from Meetup.com Members

If you join a Meetup.com activity, let’s say a hiking group, and you hear the members giving out impromptu advice regarding survival, health, injury, etc., make sure you consult a professional, too, or at least do some reading.

You might find that at a monthly hikers’ meeting, an attractive know-it-all is showing you a stretching exercise for your sore knee. But if you go to a good physiotherapist, you might learn that the stretching will only exacerbate your knee or hip injury, that what you really need to do is build muscle strength in the injured area.

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Desert Cotton

In a previous post I talked about wearing cotton in hot deserts (see Cotton for the Grand Canyon). Now I would like to point out that in the Arizona desert beginning in September, you should carry a survival blanket and a lightweight polyester fleece shirt or jacket (and maybe even some silk-weight long underwear) if you expect the nights to be cool or if you are hiking to higher elevations. Then if you are unexpectedly delayed or caught out after dark, you can switch out of your cotton shirt and/or wrap yourself in the emergency blanket. Or you might want to dispense with the cotton and wear nylon shorts or pants and a short-sleeve polyester shirt, but when you expect the nights to be cool always carry an emergency blanket and an extra layer of clothing.

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