The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

Things that are Things

From the delicious to the sadly outrageous here are some things that are “things. ” That is, things that are trending in my news feed this week.


We here in the west are slowly learning what Japanese cooks have known for centuries: apparently, steamed hosta leaves make for excellent spring dining.

The folks at Fiddlehead Nursery in Collingwood tried blanching the newly sprouted shoots by covering them with a black pot in order to tenderize the shoots. However, blanching is optional.

Once harvested and washed, they steamed the leaves for about 4 minutes, added a little butter, salt and pepper and voilà! Instant garden gourmet.

I wish I had known this when I lived in Southern Ontario – my garden had wall-to-wall hostas!


Time to add a new word to your vocabulary. Also time to prepare yourself come the day you are invited to attend a wedding ceremony where the betrothed marries herself.

Presumably the same could/should apply to grooms – fair’s fair, right? But according to the news article, this trend is ladies only.

Sologamy is the act of marrying oneself and the growing relationship trend has seen more and more women in the U.K., Australia, Japan, Taiwan and the U.S., walk down the aisle by themselves to give themselves away to themselves.”

We can thank Carrie Bradshaw, apparently, who in a “2003 episode of Sex in the City mused about marrying herself. [She] made the declaration after complaining that her married friends never celebrated her decision to be single.”

Supporters of the trend see it as a way to have their (wedding) cake and eat it too. That is, they prefer the single life, but want to have a ceremony to mark the occasion. It’s a chance, they say, to make fun of the institution of marriage. Oh, and they want the dress.

I’m siding with the detractors on this one, and having some fun of my own wondering, “What happens if things don’t work out? Who gets the silver service?”

Workers Compensation

Lastly, a starkly contrasting and sobering news item connected to mining.

Over the long winter months, I read many books related to the history of mining in Cobalt and Northern Ontario. One book discussed the author’s life-long involvement with gold. He interweaves his autobiography with an account of the a court case between two gold mining companies who each claimed ownership of a gold prospect. The common theme being the extraordinary steps people will take to acquire gold.

In his early globe-trotting days, the author found himself in need of a job in Australia. He took work at a gold mine knowing that he was in for some back-breaking and potentially hazardous work. However, he was not prepared for the daily prescribed ritual of aluminum powder treatment.

I was not prepared either. In spite of three years of mining study and wall-to-wall rocks and mineral talk for the past decade, this was astonishing news.

You may be familiar with silicosis, the occupational hazard of inhaling fine particles of dust. The minute bits of rock lodge in the lungs and cause inflammation and scarring. The damage is permanent. It can lead to cancer.

By way of preventing silicosis, mine owners turned to treating the workers with aluminum powder. The CBC reports that “from the mid 1940’s up to the late 1970’s the powder was used in mines and other industries where workers might be exposed to silica dust.  It may seem unbelievable now, but the theory was inhaling that the powdered metal, ground to a specific micron size, would give a protective coating to the lungs.”

So, yes, it was a “thing.” Astounding. Good intentions, right? But, seriously! How could they NOT connect the dots? Dust in the lungs is dust in the lungs!

I’m happy to report that the “thing” of the past, the daily dosing of aluminum powder is indeed in the past.

The “thing “that came to my news feed this week is this news item.

Janice Martell is the daughter of a miner who worked in a uranium mine in Elliott Lake. Her father Jim Hobbs was required to take the daily doses of aluminum dust. He was told it was safe because the government said so. In 2001, Jim was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, a neurological disease that is possibly connected to aluminum. He died this week.

When she applied to Worker’s Compensation on her dad’s behalf, Janice was denied. This prompted her in 2014 to start up the McIntyre Powder Project, a research initiative.

Janice met yesterday with the Ontario Ministry of Labour. She wrote that her two goals are

  • getting answers for these mine workers and their families and
  • overhauling the WSIB system (which I want to be part of), to ensure that no other workers have to wait for a layperson to seek justice for them.

“We shall see,” she said.

This is a sad story. It is a David and Goliath story and it involves mineral riches and power. We shall see, indeed. I sense that Martell has a long, hard struggle ahead of her. I wish her well.


Categories: Gardening, In Other News, Mining Heritage

Tags: , , , , , ,

44 replies

  1. Nature does provide for the stomach. My friend and I hunt for leeks every spring along the Grand River. Berries are my favourite! Any in your neck of the woods!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Informative as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maggie, I just heard about this whole sologamy thing this week! Seriously, what next! Hope Janice is successful in her fight!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. sologamy? This is seriously a thing?

    What lengths people go to…if you want attention that badly, stand naked in the park and quote Shakespeare until the cops come. The fine for indecent exposure has got to be less than what you shell out for a full-blown wedding and reception…and the press coverage will undoubtedly be FREE.

    Although, if things DON’T work out – well, that’s easy. She gets half of the marriage assets, and then she gets the other half.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I knew these things were things, but I do believe you’re the one who alerted me to the aluminum powder initially. I can see the incredible battle for compensation a la David and Goliath, but always someone has to begin loading the slingshot, and I, too, wish her luck.
    I think I have enough greens in my diet to leave my hostas alone. Although, if I ever verged on starvation, it’s nice to know.
    I love Sex in the City. That’s another series I can watch 100 times.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sologamy? Yikes! Maybe those of us who are childless should throw ourselves a preg-not shower. Why can’t people just be something without trying to involve the rest of us in their foolishness. Fortunately, this is the first time I’ve heard of it… and hopefully the last.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. The scientific quackery that was forced on workers, often without their knowledge, is astonishing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It boggles the mind, Dan, it really does.

      In this case, the workers had no choice – they had to take the treatment: it was a condition of employment.

      I haven’t researched the history of the treatment, how it was discovered that aluminum would help protect against silicosis. I want to give the mining companies the benefit of the doubt, that they were acting in the best interests of their workers. But it would not surprise me to learn that these workers were used as guinea pigs to test the efficacy of the aluminum powder. Which, then, meant that they were being used as study participants without their knowledge.


  8. Do people just have too much time on their hands, or what? Sologamy? Really?! Why not just have a gathering with like-minded friends and celebrate being single? Or go on a dream vacation with yourself, which would probably cost less that a wedding? As to aluminum dust, sometimes man is incredibly stupid and thoughtless, not to mention greedy. The method of getting what you want changes, but the lack of concern about getting there seems to remain the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, I understand the urge to do something counter to the whole marriage institution thing. But I agree – if you want to stay single, then stay single. But to go through all of the motions of a “normal” wedding – showers, ceremony, dress, cake, honeymoon – I don’t understand how you can live with that contradiction. You are either for or against.

      It’s interesting to note that the tax departments are paying attention and bracing for an administrative adjustment to the assorted statuses.

      As regards your comments about stupidity and greed and thoughtlessness? Agreed. That’s what makes me sad.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Many once trusted doctors and government to the point of not questioning. This suffering is our cue to QUESTION!! Sologamy? (Snickers behind hand), listen, I’ve been invited to a lingerie party, which was all the near-solagamy I could stand! Hosta. Something weird in me wants to say,”Hosta la vida, baby!” I’m going to go make it get ready for work, now, and pretend this never happened. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  10. There was news recently of some crazy woman claiming she was in love with a Train Station. She goes everyday on her 45 minute break to hug and kiss the building. People are doing anything for attention now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hoo boy. I’d say crazy is as crazy does, but then I might be misunderstanding some highly cultured performance art.

      But you are absolutely correct – it’s all about bringing attention to yourself, marketing, branding, and out doing the next guy. Or train station smoocher.


  11. What a great idea for a post! … things that are trending. Good grief – there is an abundance of stupid stuff going on and this topic is just about bottomless!

    The only one I hadn’t heard about on your list was the steamed hostas. The way I look at it, as long as it won’t kill you, virtually anything is edible. Would I choose to? Probably not. Even the chocolate covered bugs at the CNE got a pass from me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So, what you are saying is that my “Thing” thing is a thing? And did I just prove your second statement?

      I’m with you about not eating the hostas. Though if I had to chose between bugs covered in chocolate and a freshly steamed hosta leaf, there’d be no contest. Pass the butter!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Your thing IS a thing and you didn’t prove the statement, you cast a spot light on it! 🙂

    … and I agree. Hostas sound a LOT better than bugs!


  13. My hostas send up very thick shoots, like spears. I can’t imagine blanching them for 4 minutes would be enough to make them edible. Anyway, thanks for the info on sologamy. Once my divorce is final it’s good to know that I have an option for recognition of my new single status 😉 Too bad I don’t fit into my wedding dress anymore, although that might not be the best option. Time for some shopping while I wait on a new home!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You can eat hostas?! News to me. I thought they were only a delicacy for the rabbits.

    You can marry yourself? Well, chalk another one up for narcissism.

    Now the last story, I understand. Sadly I can see how the quest for gold + other ores and mining dust are not the healthiest combination. I wish Janice Martell all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I recently watched a documentary regarding coal mining in the States. The distress it causes to the environment is also bad. The people living in the towns near the mines deal with the dust as well as poisoned water. Makes me very sad.

    I had to laugh over the marrying of oneself. I have a hard time dealing with myself….not so sure I would marry me. (although I’m rather fortunate I found a wonderful man)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The philosophical and financial ramifications of sologamy are staggering. Can these adherents claim “married filing jointly” on tax returns? How can we possibly get away with our constitutionally vested right to participate in adultery?
    I think I’m getting a headache…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Okay, Dennis Rodman did the marry-yourself thing. I think that’s the first time I heard of it. I might marry myself if sheet cake with big sugary f!owers was included.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. This post is an interesting mix! I may try eating the new leaves on my hostas now…. As for marrying oneself, I admit the point of that rather escapes me. But my goodness, the idea of forcing workers to inhale dust in order to protect them from other dust, that’s madness! I hope she wins her suit, she deserves to.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. So let me get this right. Sologamy, you marry yourself? Just think what the honeymoon must be like. Then what happens when you cheat on yourself and have an affair? What happens if you have the affair with someone who is also married to themselves? This sounds like it could get complicated. When you catch yourself having an affair, will you get a divorce? And if you get a divorce, who gets the kids?

    Liked by 1 person

Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s