Editorial, Hants Journal

My first editorial for the weekly Hants Journal, Windsor NS

Life on a Small Town newspaper.

Hants Journal
Jan 8 2010

There’s something peculiar about people who choose to work on small town newspapers. The job is not rewarding in the conventional sense: the hours are long, critics are numerous and the pay– well let’s not talk about the pay.

So why do we do it? We can trot out all kinds of pomposities, like saving the world and shining the light of truth into dark corners but we’re fooling ourselves. In fact if we shone that light of truth into our own minds, we’d probably find something entirely different and not so flattering.

Scratch most good reporters and you’re likely to find a curious ten-year-old, a kid more likely to poke a dead cat with a stick than bury it, all in the spirit of irreverent curiosity.

We had a perfect example of small-town journalism the other day. Reporter Christy Marsters took a phone call from a woman who said her chicken had just laid what was probably the biggest egg in the whole world.

Most people would have dismissed that phone call, but Christy was swooning with delight as was the entire newsroom.

We gleefully planned how to take a picture of this alleged egg. Should we include the chicken? Would it co-operate? Was it even alive? Perhaps the owner would pose with the egg or maybe we should shoot it alone so it could be shown at its exact size allowing readers to compare it with their breakfast.

Alas, our front-page story disappeared the next day when our source phoned to say she could no longer find the stupid egg. “First time somebody ate my story,” Christy moaned.

This, believe it or not, is what we love. And so, we’re betting, do you. You’d have talked about that story and laughed about it. And in the process, if you’ll forgive our high-minded justification, we’d have built a stronger community, strengthened the ties that bind, just by talking about a chicken egg.

So here’s an assignment for the readers still with us: find us a story. Let your inner ten-year-old loose and tell us what occupies his or her mind. We promise, as seasoned journalists, to leave no stone unturned in our never-ending search for the truth behind the most irreverent inquiry.

–Stu Ducklow

Nudist camps no place for boobs

Nudist camps no place for boobs

Halifax Daily News
Sept. 18, 1985

A breast is just like an elbow, says a Halifax man recently enlightened by his experience in a nudist colony. It’s just another part of the body.

Our informant, a middle-aged businessman in metro, asked us to withhold his name. We’ll call him Bob.

Married for 25 years, Bob and his wife had become jaded vacationers, travelling through Europe and the Caribbean to various tourist spots. But 18 months ago on a vacation in London, Bob heard about a vacation spot where clothes are optional.

“It intrigued me. I asked my wife if she’d like to go.”

They left immediately for Cap d’Agde, a resort in southern France that includes four apartment buildings, banks, retail stores and several miles of sandy beach.

They arrived on a chilly day in May, she says, so most tourists were wearing clothes and everything looked normal.

But the sun rose in a a clear sky the next morning and Bob confessed to a feeling of trepidation before venturing outside their apartment. “I suppose it was something like jumping into cold water.”

He took the plunge, steppping out in his birthday suit and ran straight into his next-door neighbour. She was a beautiful lady in her 50s,said Bob, clad in nothing more than a smile.

His wife came out a moment later wearing only her high heeled shoes.

In the week that followed Bob learned some intersting things about human behaviour.

“You get real close to people. I can’t explain it — I don’t know why.

“When you take it all away you’re left looking at the person. There could be a millionaire and a pauper talking together, but you’d never know. They’re just two human beings.”

There were no sexual overtones, says Bob, and this gave a more human dimension to ordinary encounters. “One day I was looking for a grocery store and I met this gorgeous girl. But all I wanted to do was find this grocery store and all she was doing was giving me directions.”

This new-found innocence disappointed some peopel. “One beautiful model said she’d never come back again. She said nobody paid any attention to her.

“If you saw that girl on a textile beach (that’s what nudists called beaches where people wear clothes) you’d follow her with your eyes. You might say she had a cute bum or was well stacked. On a naturist beach you’d find yourself looking at her eyes and listening to her voice.

“You judge people by their character, not there bodies. As for pretty girls, when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.”

Even in banks customers go naked, he says. “At least you know they’re not carrying concealed weapons.”

Staff there and in retail stores wore clothes, he says, but customers are expected in the buff, even in cloting stores where no changing rooms are provided. “There’s nothing to take off— you’re putting it all on,” says Bob. “After a week, clothes feel constricting.”

Bob says the three-mile beach was nude for about two-thirds its length with more modest bathers from outside the community confined to one end of it. There was no fence around the resort but the placement of roads and buildings discouraged access by onlookers.

You could walk from one beach to another but you’d have to have a reason for being there.”

Bob and his wife enjoyed their two-week vacation so much they booked a two-week stay at the naturist Paradise Lakes Resort in Florida through Continental Travel, of Halifax. Other travel agents also offer naturist tours.

Nudist resorts are no cheaper than normal ones, he said, but you don’t need as much spending money. Naturists are seldom tempted away by local tourist attractions and as long as they’re naked they don’t have pockets to put money in.

The Three Faces of No

The Three Faces of No

Halifax Daily News
July 16 1984

Mary is watching television. Husband Charles enters the room and changes the channel.

She speaks in an irritated tone: “Charlie, I was watching that. Please change it back.”

And, to her ever-lasting wonder and amazement, the sky does not fall in. She does not collapse and die. Nor does Charlie. He doesn’t even walk out the door, never to return.

Instead, he switches back to Mary’s channel and grumbles about her assertiveness training class.

“People’s capacity for irrational thinking is phenomenal,” says Nina Woulff, a director and clinical psychologist at the Atlantic Child Guidance Centre who runs weekly assertiveness training classes at Mount Saint Vincent University.

“Some fears are so catastrophic they keep people from being assertive. We have to smoke out the fear.”

Many clients, for example, think terrible things will happen if the say the wrong thing at a party. Everybody will look at them, they tell her, or they will be asked to leave. Their host will never talk to them again or hate them forever. So they keep quiet.

One way to confront those fears is to act a little bit odd, says Dr. Wouldff. Here are some tasks given to clients:

• Ask people on the street what time it is. When you finally get to somebody who deson’t have a watch, look at your own watch and tell them the time.

• Get on a crowded elevator and announce each floor as it goes by.

• Walk into a Chinese resataurant and ask if they make enchiladas.

Walk into a drug store and ask for polka-dotted condoms.

“The purpose is to prove you can do it and you won’t die. The sky does not fall in. Other people don’t die, though they may look a bit confused. There’s nothing really offensive in what they’re doing, they’re just acting a bit odd.”

Her 12-member groups used to be all-female, “but lately men have been more assertive about getting assertiveness training. They’ve been a little slow on th uptake but they’re finally catching up.” Now nearly half the people paying the $70 fee are male. Both sexes have similar problems but there are differences. Men are more concerned with being perfect; women with being liked.

Her typical client is a middle-aged mother, working part-time with several teenagers living at home.

“She is the quintessential doormat,” says Dr. Woulff. “She believes her purpose in life is to meet every request made by her family. She tries to fulfill her self-imposed fate with incredible rigor and wonders why, at age 45, she feels depressed, bitter and hard-done by.”

Without being aware of it, “she has become a slave. Everybody else can say no and express their own ideas, but she doesn’t have those rights.”

In the group she rediscovers the basic rights she gave away long ago, like the right to be different, express opinions, to say no without justifying it and to make requests of other people.

Since childhood some people are taught that self-sacrifice equals goodness. “That equation has to be changed. We teach them that unassertiveness is lying, and that’s not good.”

But it is good to be assertive and honest, she tells them. And, at the end of the seven-session course, most clients believe it.

“People have changed so much that their friends don’t recognize them,” says Dr. Woulff.

Even their posture changes. In the first week clients often sit curled in on themselvs with hands clasped together. They speak in a thin, high voice, stare at the floor and end every sentence with a question.

After seven weeks they sit in a more relaxed manner and dress in colors they like. They make eye contact and speak with conviction.

Clients also act differently. “They start rocking the boat —they’re not the same old doormat. Their families say “I wish you’d never started that assertiveness training class’.”

Relationships usually improve because “most people prefer to live with someone who is honest,” says Dr. Wouldff. “If you can express anger much beter, you can express loving much better.”

But not always. “Some people want a partner who is only an extension of themselves.” Often they are violent, with words as well as fists.

“In maybe 10 per cent of the cases, a person has to stop and think, “am I going to stay in this relationship?” Occasionally people have used the group to give them the strength to end a relationship.”

But you don’t hve to be inconsiderate to be assertive. People who are demanding, pushy and disrespectful of others are merely aggressive. Assertive people make requests, not demands, in a clear, honest manner without being pushy. They listen to others but protect their own interests.

But you don’t have to sound like the voice of sweet reason, either. Dr. Woulff has to coach clients to sound angry and annoyed if that’s how they feel.

“Assertiveness is not easy. It may be fun, playful and humourous, but mostly it’s hard work. No pain, no gain. It’s easier in the short run just to do what people want you to do. But in the long run you stay enslaved and embittered.”

Parksville’s midway

Parksville’s Midway

Step right this way sir!

Parksville Arrowsmith-Star
Aug 31 1976

Short-changing customers could probably increase Ron Hale’s gross income by 10 per cent at Parkesville’s Midway.

“It’s unreal how many kids can’t count,” says Hale, who ran his own janitor service in Calgary for 11 years before opening the midway here four years ago with used fairground equipment.

But kids always get their change back. When the Midway first opened, customers counted their change carefully, expecting to be robbed. Now they check their wallets at the ticket booth before going on a ride, se says, and that form of acceptance has been a long time coming.

At first, local residents were wary of the village midway. “The first year, I made a few mistakes. I wasn’t used to a small town, and everybody’s got their sniffer in your business.”

His reorded music was too loud, for instance, and at least one resort owner complained repeatedly. So, when his loudspeakers were stoen, he never bothered to report it. “They were just meant to go.”

And his donkey was too loud, as well. It brayed in the middle of the night, and even sparked an editorial in a local newspaper.

He gave the animal away.

At one time or another, Hale’s had a whole menagerie of farm animals, including skunks, rabbits, chicks, ducks, guinea pigs, a sheep, a goat and a pony. The kids loved it, and so did he, especially the goat, which ate cigarette butts and kept the grass mowed. But you can’t harbour an animal in the village, so they’re gone too.

Running a midway is just like farming, says Hale, who finds his profits directly connected to the amount of overcast in the sky.

Though business is down this season, he’s seen worse. His first year, marred by a ferry strike “was a disaster.” His second season was good, but cold-weather affected his third season and this year is much the same despite his opening in April, a month early

The end o f August usually finishes his seaon, and he packs his equipment home.

During off-season he’s worked at odd jobs, but this year, he intends building a house for his famiyl. His retired father runs the ticket booth while his two sons and daughters, aged 10 to17 help around the grounds. His wife works full time and during the off-seaon last year he became a house-person, a role he didn’t like bit.

Next season may be his last in the community park. He finds the location too far from the highway and when his five-year lease with the village is up, he may buy land near the highway out of town, spending some money to improve it.

Though he’s never had an accident during operating hours, his biggest expense is insurance. All nine rides are inspected when they’re greased, about every three days, and there’s never been a structural failure.

Though he’s accepted as one of the crowd by people in travelling carnivals, he feels his operation is much safer than travelling shows “where it’s just slap, dab, get ‘er goin'”.

One kid got the thrill of his life when the car he was riding on came loose, he said,”but the mother was more scared than the kid.” And one youth was hurt playing tag on the trampolines after hours. After that, Hale posted a sign ordering customers to stick to one trampoline, rather than bounce all over the area.

It’s teen-agers that are the worst headache for Hale, but younger kids more than make up for it. “It’s the expression on their faces.” Running the midway is “the reverse of normal business. Usually you have somethng to offer that people need, but don’t want to pay for. Here, people spend their money with smiles on their faces.”.


Signs of tension but cultures co-exist.

Daily News
Sept. 30 1975

Officially, at least, there are no “hippies” living in the Slocan Valley.

Such terms ruffle the feathers of people working for the department of human resources, the RCMP or the human rights commission.

When pressed, however, members of the above government agencies make vague references to “members of the counter culture”. And that culture is extremely varied, they hasten to add.

Nevertheless, there is a conflict between two troups of people in the Slocan Valley, according to provincial Labour Minister Bill King, who called it “a very unhealthy situation” at a news conference last week.

Most people here call it a “a tempest in a teapot.”

Mr. King also referred to a “near-riot” in Slocan Village where people were beaten and kicked allegedly because some of them were on welfare.

But Cpl. Wayne McLaren, of the RCMP’s Crescent Valley detachment has another view of that incident, which happened Aug. 4.

“It was an incident that quite frequently happens in a bar on a Saturday night anywhere,” he said in a telephone interview.

Two people were charged with a total of four counts of common assault and one charge of assault causing bodily harm after a fight broke out at 6:30 p.m. in the Slocan Inn, Aug. 4, he said.

Cpl. McLaren added there are a lot of transient youth in the valley in the summertime, “and that’s subject to controversy,” but he knows of no organized campaign against them.

Social worker David Maxwell, who lives and works in Crescent Valley, said there are definite signs of tension between groups but the situation’s getting better.

“It’s a free-floating kind of prejudice” against people trying to live alternative lifestyles, he said, but it’s not based on any hard information.

The biggest cause of bad feelings between groups is the fear of some parents that their children will be introduced to drugs.

The second biggest cause of hostility, he says, is swearing, especialy if the taboo is broken by women.

Mr. Maxwll divides Slocan Valley residents into three groups that, he says, identify each other pretty well: Doukhobors, Anglos and freaks.”

The last group is composed of two factions: those who are chronic losers and those who seem to have a clearly defined dirction. “There’s a difference,” he says. “They may both be on welfare, but there’s a difference in approach. If there were jobs, they’d be out doing them. The other people are loafers, just along for the ride. They’ll drift on when they get bored, just like they’ve gotten bored with everything else.”

About one-third of the freaks in the valley are the losers, Mr. Maxwell estimates, and they’re giving the others a bad name.

Most of them are street freaks who move out to the country becuse that’s the thing to do, he says. Many of them use marijuana, but there are few dealers among them, and they don’t sell to local people, he says.

“It’s not fair to lump them all together,” said Mr. Maxwell. “There’s good and bad in every group.

“Some people are very definitely making it out here.” There are several organized societies working for changes in the valley, a lot of craftspeople doing woodwork, weaving, potery, stained glass making and even making wood stoves. Several farms are now almost self sufficient, he says. Some residents go to Vancouver in the winter to make money to improve their land.

The tension between groups is most evident in the children, says Mr. Maxwell. He says three of his clients had their cars vandalized by juveniles in the area.

Charges that most longhairs are on welfare are unfounded says Bill English, of the department of human resources.

“Most people, it doens’t matter whether they have long hair or short hair, really want to be self-sufficient,” Mr. English said. “They just do it different ways.” Though the deparment doesn’t have information on the nature of welfare recipients, Mr English said there are no more people on welfare in the Slocan Valley than anywhere else and there’s not a disproportionate number of young people on welfare in the Valley compared to other areas, he sid.

“The far greater majority of Slocan people are self sufficient,” said Mr. English, and those who are on welfare have a legitimate excuse.

“The labour picture is getting worse, rentals near town are hard to get and expensive. I don’t think a lot of people on welfare just sit around and do nothing,” he said.

Nelson is a pretty tolerant town, he said, but only up to a certain point. In the summertime when the transient population incrases and a lot of young people go barefoot in the city, “there’s a lot of mumbling.”

Ken Hughes who has covered incidents of discrimination under the human rights commission for the past two years said there is more discrimination against longhairs in Nelson than there is in the Slocan Valley.

‘It’s an archaic kind of thinking among “squares” — if that’s an appropriate term— that fails to recognize the rights of other people to do their own thing,” he said.

Most complaints from Slocan Valley residents that are documented in writing come from a pretty hard-core group, he said. He’s only had a couple dozen” such doumented cases in the last two years.

“Not a day goes by without phone calls,” he said, usually dealing with longhairs who have been refused serivce in pubs. Most discrimination problems are fixed up informally on the phone. About 95 per cent of such complaints are quickly solved, he said.

“The Slocan Valley is not a nest of trouble any more than any other area,” he said. There’s a fine group of people in the Valley, but neither side is lily white. I wish they would come together and talk it out.”

Most people who come to the human rights commission complaining of discrimination, do so because of the deparment’s word of mouth reputation, he said, but there are a lot more discrimination problems than the department knows about.

Pat Roberts, a probation officer who covers most of the Slocan Valley, said the so-called hippie element contributes little to criminal activity in the Valley.

“They’re expected to have drugs,” said Ms. Rogers, but that’s the extent of their criminal activity. As far as violent crimes, “not by hipies.”

Most breaking and entering and mischeif incidents are caused by children from better homes in the area, she said.

Within the Valley, hippies are accepted, she said. But on the fringes, where they’re not so easily accepted, the trouble starts.

She said there is more tenion at Mt. Sentinel School near Crescent Valley on the edge of the Valley than there is at W.E. Graham Secondary School in Slocan, inside the Valley.

Though many of these people need social assitance to get started in the Valley, they’re definitely not all welfare bums, said M. Rogers.

More longhairs in the Valley seem to know what they want and they’re doing it,” she said.

“In Nelson, it’s the in thing to grow long hair, but they don’t know what they want to do.”

Most people seem to disagree that the tension reported in the valley is the inevitable result of a large influx of people in recent years.

“People need scapegoats,” said Bill English. “Right now, it’s hipppies and draft dodgers.”

Ken Hughes agrees: there’s a certain kind of militancy that looks and finds thiings that aren’t there on both sides.”

Fears of a funny man

Something to Upset Everyone

Fears of a funny man

Daily News
Jan 18 1986

The whole audience is rushing towards the stage with intent to wreak grievous bodily harm upon John Wing Jr.

But Wing as a strategy: “As long as they’re laughing, they can’t get up.”

The audience at the Lower Deck laughed abundantly Wednesday night, but the Toronto-based comedian confessed to a few worried moments sparked by a beefy heckler a few tables away.

Wing handled him easily: “I’d give you my autograph but who’d read it to you?”

It got a laugh, even from the heckler. Wing has a fusillade of put-downs from the gentle to the brutal. Only a few are printable:

“Why don’t you sit on the mike so we can hear what you have to say before you open your mouth?”

“Isn’t is a shame when cousins marry?”

“I was going to do my (bleep) impression, but you beat me do it.”

“Wop I go down to where you work and kick burgers off the grill?”

“What pharmaceutical company is responsible for your condition?”

“You shouldn’t talk so much— people will think you have a big mouth. But considering your sexual preferences that must come in handy.”

Nothing is sacred to Wing.

“Happiness is a warm nun,” he sang in one number about the Pope. The audience was uneasy and he knew it.

His material isn’t all that funny but it’s fast, escpecially in a pub where people will talk right through the performance. In a university crowd where people listen more, he’ll slow down.

In his five years in the trade he’s learned audiences can be hostile, but mostly because they’re drunk. One man pulled a knife on him after a performance in Florida a year ago. “The bouncers beat the hell out of him. I just stood there and breathed hard.”

He’s had plastic cream containers thrown at him at Yuk Yuks Komedy Kabaret in Toronto where he works regularly as a comedian and emcee.

And one drunken heckler threw pennies at him all through his act. “He finally got me right in the forehead.”

But only once has he walked off stage. That was in a performance before an exceptionally drunk and rowdy crowd in Guelph. His fee was $250, a record. “The boss said I could cut my act short if I wanted to, so I did. He even paid me, too.”

Wing, 25, quit his English studies at the University of Windsor to join a rock band five yers ago. It promptly folded and he auditioned at at Yuk Yuks. “The first night it was great they went crazy. The next week I died a horrible death.”

He bombed once a week for eight months straight, performing on Yuk Yuk’s amateur nights. “I didn’t know anything about comedy — I had great presence, but no material.”

He watched paid comedians at Yuk Yuks every night during his first year. Now he has half a dozen songs in his repertoire and various impressions that include a Neil Young ‘fixed’ by his parents before puberty, a wheezy and puking Joe Cocker and a tantrum-prone baby Clint Eastwood.

He also has a persona, the perennial virgin and high school nerd. “It’ll have to go. I get laid so much now it doesn’t feel real.

“Well, I do have a girlfriend ad I’m a lot more relaxed than I used to be and I know more about people. (On the road) I get my chances.”

And he even makes a living. “This is the first year when I’ve made five figures. My first salary approached two figures”. That was $9 he got for a performance at Ryerson while still apprenticing at Yuk Yuks.

Offstage, Wing is quiet non-drinker (“I hate the teaste.”) He labors at his jokes, writing them down and reciting them at least 50 times before trying them on an audience.

“I think of my best jokes in bed. The only thing worse than bombing on stage is bombing in bed. So I’ll try something not quite kosher, or something not done.”

It’s this mood of deperate spontaneity that gets him most of his laughs– at least the ones on stage.

I’ll never fly again

This was the only interview with a survivor of a 737 jet crashed which killed 41 people in February, 1978. As editor of the local daily, the Cranbrook Townsman, I was in touch with Canadian Press in Vancouver who had heard that he was a crash survivor. While the editor called every White in the phone book, I called an advertising rep who knew everybody in town. He and I went to their home and I got the first interview. It was a general release on the CP wire and I even dictated it over the phone to the hard-boiled editor of a supermarket tabloid in New York.

I’ll never fly again

by Stu Ducklow
Editor, Cranbrook Townsman

David White, 20, of Calgary, might not have survived the crash of a Pacific Western Airlines jet here Saturday had he not been late for the plane.

In an interview in his parents’ home Saturday evening, White, one of two people to walk away from the crash scene, described what happened.

“I must have hit every red light on the way to the airport. I even got stopped by a train,” said White, a second-year physical education student at Mount Royal College in Calgary, who flew home to visit his parents, Anne and Bill McKay.

“I ran onto the plane … I was the last guy on. I walked down the aisle looking for a window seat.” Though he has flown on aircraft about 50 times in his life, David said he’d never sat “that far back” in an aircraft before. He took the last seat on the right of the aircrft, sitting alone next to the window.

“The flight was just brutal,” he said of the abnormally heavy turbulence the aircraft encountered on the way to Cranbrook. He kept his safety belt on the whole time.

He said the aircraft started what seemd a normal descent on its approach pattern, but didn’t seem to flare out, or flatten its glide path as much as normal just before touching down.

“It hit the runway so hard — I never felt anything like that before. It his so hard it lifted me off my seat,” then the aircraft bounced into the air and the power came back on.

Davide, who was watching the starboard engine on the aircraft said one of the two scoop-shaped thrust reversers that swings back behind the engine exhaust to redirect the thrust “flipped away like something had snapped. — I don’t think it (the damage to the reverser) was caused by the bounce.

“It flipped off and we started to bank super-hard to the left. Then it pivoted” or yawed with his side on the outside of the turn.

He said the thrust from the two jet engines must have been imbalanced because of the broken thrust reverser on one side.

I thought, “They’re really banking it hard” and then “whomp! we hit. I was thrown around and then I saw this orange flash way in front of me, but I didn’t feel any heat.”

After the aircraft stopped “I tore off my seatbelt and headed to the door of the plane. There was a stewardess (Gail Bunn, of St. Albert, Alta., also a survivor) banging on the door. She was freaked out. I shook her a bit and we both pushed on the door.

“We walked out onto the snow. I was half dragging her. She was in shock. I wasn’t really shocked at all but I’m really coming down now,” he said in our conversation hours after the crsh.

“We walked about halfway from where the tail (which had split off from the aircrft) was to the runway (about 150 feet from the wreckage). Then I think I heard someone moan — a girl’s voice. She said something like “help me”. The stewardess wanted to turn back, but he grabbed her to prevent her from doing so. Then he left the stewardess and headed for the girl himself.

“She was in a seat beside her mother in the snow. Her mother was dead. I unhitched her belt and packed her out. The stewardess still wanted to go back, but I kept saying “no”, I was afraid it would explode. We walked to the runway. A truck ploughed right through the snow then just came flying down the runway. I gave them the girl,” whom he learned later, was 11 years old.

He said he and the stewardess sat in a truck for about half an hour before they were taken to Cranbrook and District Hospital. The stewardess told him people had been “chucked into the trees.” He said he could see flames leaping 20 feet over the tail from the main body of the aircraft which was obscured from his vision by the tail.

The wreckage he described as “bits and pieces. They’re never going to find all those people.”

He said seven or eight people were in the tail section of the aircraft that broke away from the main body. About five rows of seats ahead of him were contained in the section that broke off.

The aircraft had refuelled in Calgary, he said, and the flight had only taken 15 or 20 minutes so there was a lot of fuel to burn. “All I could see was flame and smoke” when he got outside the aircraft. The orange flash he saw sounded like a subdued explosion: “it just went whoomp! It just ripped through the plane, but I didn’t feel anything. Even my hair wasn’t burned.”

He said the aircrft must have slammed into the ground near the end of the runway “at least 150 miles per hour.” The left wing and nose seemed to hit at the same time.

He and the stewardess were taken to the hosptial in a police car. An orderly looked at him “and couldnt believe was in the crash.”

Aside from pulled stomach muscles caused by his seat belt holding him down in the impact, he has no injuries and wasn’t even given a sedative.

“But I’ll never fly again. Not unless I absolutely have to.”


Part of a feature on Canadian fitness which included a self-test guide

400-pound man now a fitness poster boy

by Stu Ducklow
Editor, the Hants Journal

Jarid Wilson, 27, of Windsor, is reluctant poster boy for fitness. “I don’t want to look like Superman,” he says, when he’s asked to stand in the famous Man of Steel pose for this article.

But Jarid has done something almost superhuman. In two years he’s lost half his body weight and he’s kept it off for the two years since.

To hear him tell it, Jarid had a normal happy childhood growing up in Mount Denson. He was of normal weight until about the age of six, but began packing on the pounds as a result of bad eating habits.

He at little during the day, but began eating up to two hamburgers a night while watching TV and then going straight to bed. Inactivity was part of the picture. “My dad ate more than I did, but my dad worked,” he said.

His late-night eating accelerated until he would eat two burgers for dinner and as many as four later at night plus potato chips and soft drinks. The thought of breakfast made him sick to his stomach, so his regime of light eating during the day with binging at night continued.

During high school he played basketball and was pretty good at it. A big kid— he’s six feet, two inches now– he could push opponents anywhere on the gym floor but couldn’t move fast himself. “I’d love to play myself now,” he says wistfully.
And his weight didn’t make him a social outcast in high school either. “I always had good friends. And girls liked me. When a guy weighs 350 pounds in high school a girl feels safe.”

But none of his girl friends ever got serious about him, he said. “I was always a teddy-bear boyfriend” but never a serious boyfriend.

His weight increased in university. “You know how kids gain the freshman five pounds, well I gained the freshman 50 pounds.”
At age 22 he weighed 411 pounds and was beginning to have heart palpitations just sitting in a chair. He’d find excuses for not joining his friends at games of golf or basketball.

And when friends confronted him about his weight he just ignored them. “I was in denial. I was young and lazy.”

But finally his mother got to him. She offered to pay his tuition with Alan Mumford Boot Camps if he’d make a serious attempt to lose weight. He agreed.

Mumford pushed him hard with daily exercises, “but the biggest thing I changed was my eating habits.” Now he eats five times a day and goes to bed hungry.

Mumford closed his shop for renovations a month after Jarid began working with him, so Jarid continued on his own. “I just ran with it.” Though Mumford taught him the exercises and basic nutrition, Jarid kept learning on his own.

His father was dying of cancer and the heavy exercise regime helped him deal with his pain.

It wasn’t until he visited the hospital that he found out how much weight he had lost. Up to then, he had been too heavy to use a normal bathroom scale. He was shocked to discover he’d lost 60 pounds in only three months.

His proudest moment came when his father saw him at his target weight, a trim 200 pounds. His waist had shrunk from 52 to 32 inches. “My dad got to see me the way I am now. He was so proud of me, and I was so proud. He felt like I was able to take care of my family.”

But Jarid’s problems weren’t over. He had lost weight so fast that he had extra folds of skin over his chest, stomach and inner thighs. The skin wouldn’t just shrink away on it’s own and MSI, the provincial government health insurance program, refused to cover the cost of plastic surgery because it hadn’t authorized his weight-loss regime.

Jarid borrowed $13,000 and had a private Halifax clinic remove the skin on his stomach and chest.

Today, Jarid has no trouble keeping the weight off. He exercises four times a week and eats healthy food five times a day. Though he’ll eat junk food on weekends — “you still gotta live!” — he feels better when he eats properly.

He has allowed his weight to creep up to 211 pounds but has had no trouble holding his weight and no trouble sticking to his regime, “I live a comfortable lifestyle and I’m a comfortable size.”


SPCA looks for homes for abandoned dogs

Nelson Daily News
Sept. 15, 1975

Norman Johynson wold dearly love to get his hands on the people who abandoned the two dogs he found outside the central truck building Monday.

The hefty SPCA member makes a violent neck-wringing motion with his meaty hands, leaving no doubt about what he would like to do if the offenders were caught.

He found the two female German shepherds outside the building when he came to work Monday. they were so hungry, he says, they were eating mud.

He brought them inside the garage and fed them about a gallon of dog meal. Shortly after, the older dog vomited a mixture of mud and worms that looked like crank case oil on the cement floor.

Both dogs were about eight months old, he says, and probably unspayed. Nobody knows who abandoned them.

Both dogs bore signs of malnutrition and one had a serious case of distemper. They lay quietly on the cement floor licking Mr. Johnson’s hand when he patted them, obviously too ill to stand.

“That’s criminal,” said Mr. Johnson. “They depend so much on a human being.”

City poundkeeper Mike Popoff and Mr. Johnson took the two strays to the west Kootenay Animal Hospital that afternoon.

Dr. Hugh Croxall, a veterinarian, said the dogs will be kept alive because they may be needed as evidence in a court case if the former owners are found and charged.

Dr. Croxall says he has to destroy up to five dogs and eight cats per week for the city. He says the problem is one of education and overpopulation throughout North America.

Nelson, he says, “is a good dumping area” for dog owners who don’t want to pay the $5 fee to have their dog put to sleep.

Irresponsible dog owners have a peculiar rationale for abandoning their dogs in a city according to the veterinarian. “Some guy with a soft heart might take it, if the poundkeeper doesn’t destroy it or if it doesn’t get shot, or run over first.

They just seem to want to get rid of their problem but “if you doump a dog out on the road, it hasn’t just gone away— it’s still suffering.”

He says he regularly finds dogs tied to the hospital’s gate. Some of them have been shot, half drowned, run over and had their legs broken, or simply starved.

Though he’s under no legal obligation to take care of a dog because it’s tied to a gate, the poundkeeper will catch it anyway, and the hospital destroys strays found in the city.

A healthy dog may last two weeks in the hospital, in the hope that it can be given away for a pet. “But there just aren’t enough houses for all the dogs. Some will have to do without and it’s better for them to be put to sleep.”

Dogs that were pets can’t survive without people, he says.

“I despair of trying to educate these guys who say it’s wrong to tie up a dog os spay it — that it should be free. You’re interfering with the balance of nature. We protected the dog on one side of the scale, and now they’re overpopulated, but you can’t turn them back.”

Most stray dogs come to the hospital from outside of town, he says, and they get there by a pretty circuitous route.

“Big dogs have big litters.” Some dogs have as many as 12 pups per litter, he says, and the owners take the pups to a shoppign centre parking lot and give them away.

“So some innocent kid takes a dog home with him and the kids’s father takes it down to the dump and leaves it there.”

“You very rarely find the real offender, he says. That’s the one who gives the dog away.

Education, and limiting the number of animals is the ony to to do it,’ he says. “You can’t solve the problem by dealing with the cats and dogs.”


As a photographer I had a lovely time writing occasional articles on my craft for the Daily News. I couldn’t help exaggerate

Cameras: use them or lose them

Daily News Jan 4, 1985

One of the least-known hazards of photography is other photographers, especially those who would rather talk than take pictures.

They generally introduce themselves at the most inopportune time. Queen Elizabeth is roller skating down Gottingen Street and you’ve got it all in your viewfinder when you hear a voice in your ear:

“Hello, I see you’re a photographer. I’ve got three zoom lenses, two camera bodies with motor drives, a couple of automatic flashes with interchangeable power packs, several tripods and studio lights.”

Well, what can you do? If you’ve got any manners, you’ll put down your camera and listen to your well-equipped colleague. You might learn something.

“Really? That’s a lot of zooms. Are they fast enough?”

Skirts flying, the Queen sails past Cornwallis Street, hits a manhole and tumbles headfirst into the mud.

“Why certainly, I just use my flash if I don’t have enough light.”

Sirens wailing, an ambulance screams around a corner on the trail of the mud-caked monarch and runs straight into a busload of flag-waving schoolchildren.

“But all those flashes and batteries must be a heavy weight to carry around.”

Screaming children rush from the burning bus. Prince Philip bestows the kiss of life on an unconscious girl as the wreckage explodes behind him.

Certainly is, That’s why I never take it with me. By the way, shouldn’t you be taking pictures of all this?

A military helicopter lands amid the carnage to disgorge a squad of heavily armed paratroopers. “Well I suppose so, I don’t see anybody here from any of the papers. Maybe I can sell it to them. Nice talking to you.”

Riot police begin clearing the streets. “Sorry Bub,” says one of them, “no pictures”.

All of which goes to show that no matter how much equipment you’ve got, it won’t do you any good if you don’t use it.

And most people don’t.

British Journal of Photography once counted the number of cameras sold in one year in the U.K. and compared it with sales of film. The magazine concluded a lot of cameras were sitting bureau drawers most of the year.

It is not unusual, I’m told, for photo labs to process one roll of film with two sets of Christmas snaps on it– one from this year and one from the year before.

Why, we might ask, would perfectly sane people spend millions on photographic gear only to leave it lying in bureau drawers? Because, we might answer, they’ve go the visual equivalent of writer’s block.

And who can blame them? Afer blowing their budgets on all kinds of photographic muscle, they’re expected to take award-winning pictures every time. That’s a recipe for creative consitpation.

Novelists, so the cliche goes, spend hours crumpling up wads of typing paper before they finally come up with the words they want.

Photographers should do the same with film. A roll of black and white could cost you less than an evening in the pub and you don’t have a hangover to moan about next day.

The main thing is to shoot a lot and expect very little. And don’t be surprised if, before you reach the end of a roll, you’ve started working on an idea.

At the very least, you’ll be carrying your camera with you more often. So the next time the Queen goes sailing by on roller skates you’ll be too busy to brag about your equipment.