Saturday, 25 July 2009

Humanae Vitae

41 years ago today...

Humanae Vitae was published.

"The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships."

"Married love is also faithful and exclusive of all other, and this until death..."

Pope Paul VI

Thursday, 23 July 2009

"The Works" in Ottawa - as I continue my quest for the best burger ever

A Saturday night in mid-July, we enjoy dinner at The Works...

The Works

I'll cut to the chase. It's a very good burger. I discovered the place when a friend of mine brought me there after a bit of a dispute over the In-N-Out recommendation. I happen to like fast food; Dean, not so much. He likes his burgers brought to the table by a waiter. So Mr. Fancy Pants brings me to The Works and I'm sure glad he did and I'm sure glad I came back last week.

Great - The concept, the presentation! Full of attitude, lots of cool burger names and combinations to choose from, like "The Love Goat" (goat cheese +), "Sam and Ella" (Salmonella, get it?) and "Sum Yung Guy" (OK, that's still juvenile and considering the toppings, it's gross). I had the "Bruschetta Bomb" - and it was very, very good! As The Works describes it, they have 5 locations, 8 burgers, 66 toppings, 528 combos... This is Toby's Goodeats Toronto in the 80's to the power of 10. Something tells me the brains behind this operation enjoyed a Toby's burger or two back in the day.

Good - The burger itself. Not too plain, not too seasoned. "You pick a burger - it doesn't have to be beef," our server tells us. "Oh yes it does," says I. You pick the combo. You pick the side. "It doesn't have to be fries," says the menu. "Oh yes it does," says I. The fries are hand cut and seasoned with sea salt. A little greasy this time - maybe the oil needed changing in the deep fryer, or the temperature of the oil was too low.

Room for Growth - Very efficient and well presented server missed the opportunity for a little interaction. Frankly he was a bit stonefaced; friendly enough but not outgoing. He started out well with the "have you been here before?" question and the walk through the menu. Taking it up a notch with a few suggestions, and few questions about what we like and dislike would have earned him expert status and a better tip. We ordered water, but looking at the menu in hindsight there were a number of good milkshakes he could have suggested - he probably would have had the sale. He didn't, for example, offer us the opportunity to order a special burger not on the menu but advertised on the tent card that would have helped with fundraising for the hospital and earned me a chance to win a 1970 Malibu. I would have gone for that!! Trouble is, by the time you've gone through the extensive menu you don't start looking at the promo card until you're in the "waiting for my burger" zone, which incidentally isn't rushed but well worth the wait.

The Ultimate Comment Card Question - will I come back? Yes, and hopefully while there's still a chance to win the Malibu. Even without a cool car and charitable connection, this burger stands by itself and I recommend you try it next time you're in Ottawa.

Lessons from the Windsor Municipal Strike

Three things I have learned from the Municipal strike in Windsor, Ontario.

1. We refer to strikes as "labour disruptions, labour unrest, labour this, labour that... " Without taking one side or the other, is it equally possible to refer to this strike as "management unrest, management strife, etc."? Just asking...

2. People went hungry. No matter whether you agree with the issues they struck for, people on the picket line did not bring in enough strike pay to even cover the mortgage, let alone car payments and food. You have to respect that there are still people in this society who are willing to sacrifice personally for what they believe to be the collective good and that isn't a bad message to be sending to the kids (bad behaviour from one or two idiots aside).

3. If you manage your garbage very carefully be composting, recycling, rinsing and considering the end result in your purchasing decisions, you can really increase your diversion rate from the landfill. I think we're all a lot more aware of how much garbage we produce because we had to haul it away ourselves.

4. A little wildflower growth ain't all bad. It's possible we've overmanicured the public greenspace and this strike has taught us that we don't have to be so damned pristine. I hope that we'll let the grass grow in select areas by cutting back from the road a few feet and letting the rest get a little wild in a controlled fashion. It's a beautiful thing in the right places.