Here we'll focus on life in the Ottawa Valley - and we'll do it with a sense of humour.
Valley folk are proud of where they call home. They work hard, play hard, love their weekends and their toys.
AND they love to laugh. Even at themselves.
Enjoy this little slice of Valley life. through the eyes of a true Valley boy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Good morning class.Welcome back to Learning to Speak Valley 101. In today's class you'll learn words and phrases that will be vitally important if you are to understand what in the hell that Valley guy or gal is talking about.
This special class is geared towards Valley folks and how they describe a weekend of "celebrating" in a way that includes alcohol.
In other words - today's class will help you to learn just how much "celebrating" someone enjoyed by the way they describe their weekend.
You can learn to tell if it was a tame, wild or (not-so) memorable party.

Here's how you can tell:

Tame Weekend
If someone tells you they:
  • Enjoyed some cocktails
  • Tipped back a few pints
  • Downed a beverage or two
  • Scarfed down a few barley sandwiches
  • Emptied a few brown bottles

Example: "We were at a family barbecue and it was pretty low key - the wife enjoyed a few cocktails and I tipped back a few pints. Then we played euchre with the in-laws. Just sitting with the mother-in-law made me want to empty a few more brown bottles, but I didn't."

VERDICT: Tame weekend (with sympathy to the poor SOB)

Wild Weekend

If someone tells you they were:

  • Hammered
  • Boiled
  • Shnockered
  • Pickled
  • Loaded
  • Three sheets to the wind (if they're in their 50s or older)
  • Lit up
  • Blistered
  • Tanked
  • Ripped to the t*ts
  • Sloshed
  • Inebriated
  • Pie-eyed
  • Bent out of shape
  • Soused
  • Liquored up
  • Well lubricated
  • Smashed
  • Totally stoopid
  • Smashed
  • Mashed
  • Plastered
  • Bombed
  • Buggered up
  • Comatosed
  • Twisted
  • Wrecked
  • Messed up
  • S**t-faced
  • Feelin' no pain
  • Destroyed
  • Hugging the porcelain

Example: "I had a couple of pints and when I started feelin' no pain, out came the shooter menu. An hour later I was well lubricated and decided it was time for the whisky. Next thing you know, I was shnockered and feelin' totally stoopid. By 3 a.m., I was hugging the porcelain and, man, did that cold toilet bowl ever feel nice against my face."

VERDICT: A wild night. No doubt he remembered the beer and the shooter menu coming out. But his spouse won't let him forget the rest of the night, including the bits he left out about stripping down to his shorts and flexing while standing on a barstool. She'll keep reminding him. For a long time. A loooooong time.


It was simply an epic weekend if someone tells you they:

  • Will pay you back every dime you spent on bail
  • Aren't 100% sure, but think they got married
  • Wonder if you could help them read what their new tattoo says
  • Hope you could tell them where they left their pants
  • Are pretty sure they had two eyebrows when the weekend began
  • Really hope you can drive their new friend Kandi Kane (as in: "Gentlemen, put your hands together for the lovely Kandi Kane") home as you seem to have misplaced your car and are reluctant to ask your girlfriend
  • Feel as brain-dead and clueless as a Maple Leafs fan

Example: "Man, what day is it?"

VERDICT: Run to the computer and type your name on YouTube to see what you did last weekend.

(Disclaimer: We are no way endorsing drinking to excess. Trust me, you don't want to end up as brain-dead and clueless as a Maple Leafs fan)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Waging war on the earwig army

Attention all earwigs who regularly read this blog: beware. I am declaring war on you and all of your freakin' relatives.

Yup, you read it here first.

The war has begun for the liberation of Marshall-land.

It's not going to be pretty. In fact, it's going to get ugly. But I will be victorious.

And children will read about this bloody battle in their history books, and look at this as a turning point in world events - the day that man proved he was smarter than insect.

For the past few weeks, an army of earwigs has desceneded on my house. They occupy my dishcloth. They have set up camp near my garbage can. They use my kitchen sink as an exercise area. They have claimed any bag of chips or loaf of bread that sits open on my countertops.

And I am not alone.

After an exhaustive campaign to find out if anyone else in the neighbourhood has been invaded, I realize this earwig blitz is not limited to my place. Actually, I only emailed one person - but in the recent heat, even typing was exhausting. But this person also has earwigs running around his house.

But not for long.

I have had it with earwigs scurrying across my kitchen floor. I need to take it up a level.

I have Googled. I have drawn up a blueprint for war.

What exactly will I do? I'm starting off old school: stomping, squishing and squashing. But I will be relentless.

I have won the battle with ladybugs. I have taken out the flies. Now the earwigs are in my crosshairs.

If you have any other ideas on how to get rid of this little bastards, just let me know.

Forward ... march!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Want some wild weed? Come to the Valley

There's a new strain of weed in the Valley - it can grow more than 20 feet high and the leaves can be up to five feet in width.

Now, before you pack up your VW bus and head for Renfrew County, keep this in mind: this stuff can mess you up.

Giant hogweed has been confirmed in Laurentian Valley Township (near Pembroke and Petawawa) and this is nasty stuff.

If the sap from this bad-boy comes in contact with damp skin (perspiration will suffice) and the skin is exposed to sunlight, severe burns, blistering and painful sores may result. Now that's not good.

It's ugly - it can do damage - and it's tough to get rid of. Not good if you're speaking about your prom date, or a gigantic weed growing in the ditches of the Ottawa Valley.

For a more in-depth peek at this weed, check out this story from the Renfrew Mercury and

These guys go "hog" wild for weed, but not the kind you'll find in the Valley.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Doing anything to stay cool

When you're smack-dab in the middle of a stinkin' hot heat wave, it's not that difficult to spot people who don't have air conditioning.

Hair matted to the forehead, pit stains down to the waist, and subtle comments such as: "holy shart, it's so f**king hot and I don't have a f**ing air conditioner ..." are pretty clear indicators that someone is in need of an A/C fix.

In the Valley this week, the temperatures have hit a stupid 35C during the day, and dropped to an insane 25C at night. And this has been going on for four days - with no relief in sight for another few days.

But alas, this is Canada. It gets cold in the winter. Hot in the summer.

Not having an air conditioner for the summer is like not having a snow shovel for the winter. You can survive without one, but why in the hell would you want to?

But the worst part about sticky weather is trying to get some sleep at night when your house feels like the inside of an oven. You toss. You turn. You contemplate sneaking over to the neighbour's yard and stealing the air conditioner out of his window. You literally feel like you're going insane as your little oscillating fan moves disgustingly hot air around the room.

The only thing that remotely compares is sitting in traffic, window down in your car, and cursing to yourself that you should have bought a car with A/C.

Correct that: it's worse if you're sitting in traffic, wishing you had A/C and watching someone pull up beside you and the windows of the car are covered with frost. You know his A/C has 3 settings: cool, maxium and Arctic. That bastard.

So here are a couple of pics of folks who, despite not buying a vehicle with A/C, have creatively improvised.

The heat makes you do crazy things.

But I admit, they do look kinda cool.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Shakin' good times in the Valley

The ground shook.
My legs were wobbly.
The world was spinning.
OK, that was the morning after my season-ending ball party.
But it was a similar feeling this afternoon as an earthquake hit the Ottawa Valley.
About every 20 years a rumble passes through the Valley that measures on the Richter scale.
Mostly, it irritates Valley folk because it spooks the livestock and your pets, and makes your beer go foamy.
This quake shook for a good 20 or 30 seconds - and it was actually pretty cool to be a part of it.
No one was hurt. No major damage. No foamy beer (I was at work - no beer for me. And FYI: scotch doesn't froth up when shaken.)
Other parts of the world live in danger of quakes destroying their lives on a regular basis.
Here, having something give us a little shake, rattle and roll every couple of decades isn't a bad thing.
And hopefully in the next week or two I'll be able to coax my beagle out from under the bed.

If you want to see a Google map of the epicenter of the quake, click here.

PHOTO AT RIGHT: After the quake, the street in front of my house looks nothing like this one.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Looking for the Valley's biggest burger

It's not too often I go to a BBQ where I'm full after one burger - but if you were to put one of these bad boys on my paper plate (that would require the pricy Royal Chinet plates, not the cheapy-doo dollar store variety that I normally buy), I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to finish my potato salad or my dessert.
This 590-lb beauty (including all the trimmings) was cooked by BBQ nut Ted Reader in Toronto as he took a shot at a Guinness World Record. Though it hasn't officially been deemed a record at this point, the Burgersaurus was made with 300 lbs of beef, and that's almost four times the current record holder. Soon it will be on the pages of Guinness.
It took more than eight hours to cook on a special slow-cooking BBQ.

It makes the current world record holder look like a two-bite brownie in comparison. This sad excuse for a burger (shown below) weighs in at a laughable 78.5 lbs. Pathetic.

If you know of a place in the Valley that serves big burgers (not necessarily the size of these monsters) drop a comment below. Preferably one of those places where if you eat the entire thing and live, you get a T-shirt, a jar of Rolaids and a free meal.
Looking for the biggest burgers in the Valley!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Learning to Speak Valley 101 - #5

Good morning class.Welcome back to Learning to Speak Valley 101. In today's class you'll learn words and phrases that will be vitally important if you are to understand what in the hell that Valley guy or gal is talking about.

Today's word is:

Derived from: A combination of the words "grip" and "traction."

When is it used in coversation? When discussing treads.

Often found in sentences such as: "Holy frig, I need new tires or I'm gonna ditch her - there's no gription left on these ones." or "Holy jeez, I almost fell on my arse - there's no gription left on the bottom of these gumbuts." or "I got these new ball cleats and holy whistlin', you wouldn't believe the gription I have when I'm racin' around the bases." or "I can eat just about anythin' with these new dentures - my chompers don't move since I bought a tube of that Poly-Gription."

Sometimes used in conjuction with: The totally made-up word "slippy" as in: "I smashed my noggin when I was at the curling rink because the ice is slippy and I forgot there's no gription on the bottom of that slidin' shoe."

Chances (on a scale of 1 to 10) of hearing it around the dinner table: 5 (higher if you eat a lot of homemade pickles and jams, because you will hear: "Can one of you open this jar for me? My hands are all sweaty and I can't get no gription.")

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Know what really BUGS me?

Today was yard work day at my place.
Leaves needed to be raked. Branches needed to be trimmed. Grass needed to be whipper-snipped. And the scary part is - I was actually in to it.
I wanted to clean up the yard.
It's like this every spring. I'm excited to clean up the crap (literally crap when you have three beagles) that was buried by the snow. But by early summer, that enthusiasm begins to disappear and by late-August, my yard begins to look like a hayfield. But it's April and I'm still excited about yard work.
Or at least I was.
Until early this evening.
The reason?
Blackfly season officially arrived in the Valley at 7:22 p.m.
And I have the bite marks to prove it.
The little bastards.
Here is a photo of me dealing with my blackfly problem around 7:23 p.m.
Ahhhhh, life in the Valley.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Learning to Speak Valley 101 - #4

Good morning class.
Welcome back to Learning to Speak Valley 101.
In today's class you'll learn words and phrases that will be vitally important if you are to understand what in the hell that Valley guy or gal is talking about.

Today's word is:

When is it used in conversation? Normally as a friendly greeting or when asking questions

Often found in sentences such as: "G'day, howshe goin?" or "Howdy, howshe hangin'?" or "Man, I can smell your dirty feet from here - howshe stays with you I'll never know."

Sometimes substitued in a sentence by:
Hower (As in: "G'day, hower yanow?")

Those fluent in Valleyspeak will sometimes use both "howshe" and "hower" in a single sentence (this is not recommended unless you have completed Learning to Speak Valley 102 - the Advanced Class) Example: "G'day lad, howshe goin' and hower they hangin'?"

Chances (scale of 1 to 10) of hearing in church Sunday morning:
As a greeting - 10
During the service - 6 (Only if the collection plate is passed around and someone has forgotten their wallet - example: "Oh good lord, I only have a beer cap, a stick of Big Red and a snotty Kleenex in my pocket - hower we gonna get out of this pickle?")

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We need a Venison Express Lane in the Valley

Not sure where this photo was taken, but wouldn't surprise me in the least if it came from around the area!
And as someone who is always concerned about safety on the road - where are the cops when you need 'em? The driver of the car CLEARLY shouldn't be taking photos while driving.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Now THAT is a tractor!

The snow is long gone and the ground is drying up.
That means it's time for local farmers to think about planting.
But, like all of us, farmers don't have enough hours in the day to get to everything they want to get to.
They need a way to get things done quicker.
So look at it like this: if you're painting the outside of your house with a traditional brush and bucket of paint, you're behind the times. If you need to get the job finished, you need to take a page out of Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor's playbook. More power.
In the case of house painting - you turn to a spray gun. And voila, time saved and you're on to another project.
For the farmer, the traditional tractors just don't move quickly enough - at least not once you've read the specs for "Big Bud."
Who in the hell is Big Bud? Actually, it's WHAT in the hell is Big Bud?
It's a tractor that's 27 feet long, 20 feet wide and 14 feet tall and it can pull an 80-foot-wide cultivator.
What you just heard was the sound of Tim The Tool Man wetting himself.
Click here for more specs on Big Bud.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Valley eye test

If you visit the eye doctor, the eye chart always has that huge "E" at the top and letters than gradually become the size of fly droppings by the time you hit the bottom row.

But not in the Valley.

Take a look at this photo I snapped along the Bellamy Road between White Lake and Almonte. If you can spot the deer, you don't need glasses.
(HINT: If you can't see the deer, your best bet is to click on the photo and look at the larger pic)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Learning to Speak Valley 101 - #3 - Valley Twang

Good morning class.
Welcome back to Learning to Speak Valley 101.
In today's class, we're going to have a short spelling bee to help you learn the Valley spelling and pronunciation of everyday words so you can grasp the Valley Twang.

Teacher: Jason, please spell the word "potatoes" and use it in a sentence.
Jason: P-U-H-T-A-Y-T-U-H-S. Puhtaytahs. "My cousin used to work at Wes's Fries in Arnprior peelin' puhtaytahs all day long."

Teacher: Very good. Now spell the word "berries" and use it in a sentence.
Jason: B-U-R-R-I-E-S. Burries. "My friend Jurry Spurry can't wait for summer so he can go pickin' burries with his brothers Turry and Purry who love blueburries, strawburries and razburries."

Teacher: I'm impressed. Now please spell the word "calm" and use it in a sentence.
Jason: C-A-M. Cam. "I can't wait to get out in the canoe tonight because the lake is so cam - there isn't a ripple on the water."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Haunted past: Valley lad connected to hit song from the 60s

I've worked with Bob Burgess over the past few years and we've spent more than our share of time chatting, laughing, sharing one-liners and just hanging out.
He's the kind of guy you look forward to seeing when you get to work. You know the type.

Always armed with a joke and a smile. Hard worker. Likes to tip back the odd cold beverage. And laughs at my jokes.

A solid guy with strong Valley ties. He lives in Stittsville, but proudly reflects on the many years he called Perth home.

You'll meet few people as passionate about music as Bob. He's a lyrics junkie who knows his stuff.

He's told me that he played in a band a few years back. But he never shared too many details. In fact, he kept pretty quiet about it.

I just figured the 60s did a number on his mind and his memory was foggy.

But just when you think you know someone ...

It turns out Bob wasn't just in a band - he was in a band that was huge on the Montreal music scene.

This all came to light recently when Bob's former band - The Haunted - had their hit single from 1966 played on CBC's Vinyl Cafe thanks to host Stuart McLean who named their tune 1-2-5 one of the top-10 Canadian rock 'n' roll singles of all time.

How cool is that?

You can read the entire story in this article written by my colleague Nevil Hunt for a number of Valley newspapers connected to Ottawa Region Media Group.

It's a great read.

And below you'll find a video clip of the single from old footage courtesy of CBC. Truth be told, this was the first time I heard the song - and it's good (I'm way, way, way, way younger than Bob).
In the video, Bob is playing guitar and on lead vocals, shown mostly on the right of the screen.
And the very cool part is that it was co-written and performed by a lad from the Valley who I call a friend. (In the photo of the band shown above, Bob is back row centre)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Learning to Speak Valley 101 - #2

Good morning class.
Welcome back to Learning to Speak Valley 101.
In today's class you'll learn words and phrases that will be vitally important if you are to understand what in the hell that Valley guy or gal is talking about.

Today's word is:

When is it used in conversation?: When you're in a hurry or you need to buckle down.

Often found in sentences such as: "It's last call, we have 16 pints on the table and there's just the two of us - better giver!" or "Don't look now, it's the boss - better giver for a while until he leaves!" or "You were so loaded last night, and I'm sure you don't remember singing karaoke - but when that Celine Dion tune came on, man, did you ever giver! Dude, I didn't know you listened to Celine Dion."

Often used in conjuction with: Effin. As in, "Here comes her husband, I'm heading for the truck. If you're coming with me, you better effin giver."

Chances (scale of 1 to 10) of hearing in church Sunday morning: 3 (only if the story of Noah and the Ark comes up - then you'll hear comments such as, "Oh lordy. Noah didn't have a chop saw, a compressor or a nail gun - man, he would have had to giver to get that boat built.")

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Learning to Speak Valley 101

Good morning class.
Welcome to Learning to Speak Valley 101.
In this class you'll learn words and phrases that will be vitally important if you are to understand what in the hell that Valley guy or gal is talking about.

Today's word is:

Youse (rhymes with booze).

When is it used in conversation?: When addressing groups of two or more people.

Often found in sentences such as: "G'day, how are youse today?" or "Hey, can I bum a smoke off any of youse guys?" or "Holy whistlin'. Did youse two see the price of gas today?"

Never use in sentences such as: "Hey, you, with the big arms and the monkey wrench in your hand - did you just use the word 'youse', you illiterate moron?"

Chances (scale of 1 to 10) of hearing in church Sunday morning: 10

Saturday, March 27, 2010

To the Max: Keeping was all about giving

(Shown above, Max in 1982 - note the smoke!)

He took community news to the Max.

Last night, Max Keeping said farewell after 37 years (and 7,000 broadcasts) at the anchor desk of CTV News in Ottawa, better known to Valley folk as CJOH-TV.

Most of us grew up with him on our TVs, keeping us up to speed on what was happening in our neighbourhoods.

Recognized in all corners of the Valley - and beloved by many - Max seldom turned down a chance to visit and support a worthwhile cause. In fact, while chatting with him over dinner at an Arnprior Rotary Club meeting last fall, he told me he that he attends more than 200 such engagements each year. That's mind blowing.

He lends his name and punch to help charities, in particular children's charities, whenever he can. He has a Foundation named after him. He's the main face at the CHEO telethon each year. And he managed to handle anchor duties and oversee the news department at Ottawa's top community TV station.

He did so with class. Dignity. And professionalism.

He understood the importance of thinking 'local first.' He was all about community. He put his focus squarely on the issues affecting area residents.

And that's why folks in the Valley respected him so much.

His priorities had a truly Valley flavour.

And he loved coming to visit "up the line," as he said at the Rotary meeting.

A Newfie by birth and a Valley lad by choice, he was a good friend to the late Mac Beattie, one of the Valley's most famous ambassadors. And that's how he became familiar with the small towns and villages around the region. And with a few of the watering holes.

Max has been known to tip back a pint at various stops around the Valley, including a few just down the road from my place at the old T-Bell in White Lake.

If you want to win favour with people from the Valley, take a page out of Max's book.

Think locally. Work hard. Help your neighbours. Make a difference. Do so with class. And don't shy away from a cold pint when offered.

Check out this video from CTV Ottawa following last night's broadcast. Note another Valley connection in the video - Carp's own Catherine Lathem, a reporter with CTV.

Max Keeping with Yoko Ono and John Lennon in 1968.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lord have Mercer: Hockey lessons, Kinburn-style

Rick Mercer is always good for a laugh.Who can forget his "Talking to Amercians" show on CBC where he showed just how ignorant most Americans are to what life is like north of the border?

Equally funny is The Rick Mercer Report. This week had me laughing more than usual as he visited the Paralympic Games and got some hockey lessons, Kinburn-style as Valley boy Todd Nicholson got some air time on the very popular TV show.

Check out the video below.

It's a clip of the entire segment. It's all funny, but the sledge hockey segment begins at the 4:15 mark.

Watch for Todd to throw a bodycheck at a surprised Mercer. And then give him a little advice.

Another feather in Todd's cap.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blast from the past: Birling down, a-down white water

Have you ever heard a song that triggers a flood of memories.

No, I'm not talking about thinking back to making out on the dance floor to REO Speedwagon's "Keep on Lovin' You."

Great, now I can't get that tune out of my head.

But here's a little blast from the past that will drill that sappy 80s love song out of my mind. And I'll be whistling this tune all night.

Let me cue it up for you:

You're sitting in front of your TV, no clicker in hand. Yes, there were days when I had to waddle over to the actual set to turn the channel. But there were only four channels to choose from. Five on a cold winter's night.

Ahhh, country cable.

But CBC could be counted on to toss some Canadian culture at you. And if you didn't feel like turning the channel to a fuzzy CTV or a snowy Global (and TVOntario was only worth watching on Saturday evenings for Bleu Nuit) then you watched what was on Channel 4.

Those little two-minute vignettes were oozing Canadiana.

And none were better than this little ditty. Canadian history with a Valley flavour.

Check out this link and tell me you weren't singing along.

From the cool files: Todd is an inspiration to us all

How cool is this?
Todd Nicholson, a Kinburn boy and Arnprior District High School grad, just competed for Team Canada's men's sledge hockey squad in the Paralympic Winter Games for the fifth time.
If that isn't cool enough, he had air time on CTV, TSN, and had his photo in Sports Illustrated a few weeks back. He's carried the Canadian flag in the opening ceremonies, has worn the captain's "C" on his chest and has a trophy case full of medals and awards.
And he's now the proud papa of twins.
Next, he's going to be on a segment of the Rick Mercer report this week.
There will be more on Todd in upcoming blogs.
But for now, check this out:
This man is an inspiration and I'm proud to call him my friend.
For a great blog on the Paralympic experience this year, check this out:
A superb job by Todd's brother Gordie and his wife Jenn who kept everyone in the Valley up to speed on the Games in Vancouver.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Stating the obvious: No more ice means no more ice fishing

The mercury is climbing and the ice is disappearing off the lakes and rivers.
And the true Valley person is sad to see the ice fishing season come to an end.
No more sunny afternoons on the ice or in the shack, curled up with a book in hand and a beverage on the table.
You have to find something else to do with your weekends now.
Gardening? Nah.
Home renovations? Nope.
How about working on a new fish shack for next winter?
Now there's a plan.
Better start soon, because if you don't get the yard work done and get the projects on the honey-do list underway, you just may be sleeping in that shack for a long time.

On a sidenote, here's a photo of a true fish shack colony. About a decade ago on White Lake we had about a dozen shacks and thought it was a village on ice. How about this metropolis of about 600 shacks in Quebec?

Check out more photos on this cool blog posting:

And for a real laugh about ice fishing, check out this classic clip from the Rick Mercer Report.

A blueprint to become public enemy #1

Valley folk have a sense of humour about a lot of things, but they have absolutely no patience for people taking shots at their love of hunting or labelling them as "rednecks."
Enter one letter writer who put local residents in her crosshairs and fired both "hunting" and "redneck" bullets into the heart of the Valley.
In the West Carleton Review of Feb. 4, Amanda Lee-Hutchinson reacted to a story that ran the week before about a coyote killing contest sponsored by Al's Corner Store in West Carleton.
She was disgusted by the idea. She has a right to her opinion. The letter may have ruffled a few feathers based on the whole "anti-hunting" sentiment, attacking the idea of the contest, but she squeezed off a couple of rounds at not only hunters, but residents in general.

You want to become public enemy #1 in the Valley? A good way to do that is to call the locals "rednecks" and state that you're considering sponsoring a "redneck kill contest" where the targets are people in John Deere hats and bush jackets.
And then, for good measure, toss in a line about bad grammar and pick-up trucks.
Double ouch.
She stopped short of insulting mothers and their cooking.

That was more than a month ago.
People are still pissed about her comments. The paper received more letters in reaction to that one letter than they have on any single topic in recent memory. They ran reaction letters for a few weeks and still had many more they couldn't fit in because of space or libel issues.
Oh my lord, Ms. Hutchinson, what were you thinking?

To say that letter stirred up a hornets' nest would be an understatement.
Admittedly, it was fun to read the reactions. Then again, I'm not Amanda Lee-Hutchinson.
Have your say. If you don't like the idea of the coyote contest, by all means, have your say.
But don't do it by insulting the Valley folk.
That's a peeing match you don't want to be part of whatsoever.
Personally, I'm not a big fan of the bounty being placed on the coyotes. And I'm a hunter. And a Valley lad.
And I've even taken my share of line drives off the ol' coconut over the years.
But even this fellow would never fire those shots to get my point across. And I hunt. Have owned a 4x4, wear a bush jacket and have said "youse guys" more than once.
Valley folk can joke amongst themselves about their trucks, their love of hunting and their grammar. But you weren't accepted as being even remotely "Valley."
What in the hell were you thinking?
The dust still hasn't settled. And the worst part for the letter writer is that the real issue became buried under the avalanche of reaction to the redneck comments.
I'm not sure what I'd rather see standing at the edge of my property - a coyote baring its teeth or a pissed off person from the Valley.
I'll take my chances with the coyote.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring skiing Valley style

There is something to be said about being the first to do something.

In the Valley, there always seems to be unofficial races to be first.

People want to be the first to do many things each season: race the snow machine down the road after a few flakes of snow fall; hit the golf course while there are still patches of the white stuff on the fairways; open their golf course for the season (see: Highlands, Calabogie); walk around in shorts and a T-shirt at the first sign of spring; grab the first box of fries from Wes' Chips or the first cone from Scoops in Pakenham; and the list goes on.

But there are some lads in West Carleton who can lay claim to being the first to - are you ready for this? - to water ski on the river.

West Carleton Review reporter Derek Dunn pulled together this story about some diehard water skiers who were out for a leisurely ski on March 10.

Anyone ever see that Seinfeld episode about shrinkage?

(Above photo taken by Derek Dunn / West Carleton Review)

Friday, March 19, 2010

"I Am Ottawa Valley!"

Thanks to the success of the Vancouver Olympics - capped off with Sidney Crosby's gold-medal winning OT goal - Canadian pride has never been higher.
If William Shatner's cornball "I Am Canadian" rant at the closing ceremonies didn't kill that sense of pride, nothing will.
But Capt. Kirk's five minutes on stage inspired me to track down a little something I penned at the Arnprior Chronicle-Guide a decade ago - right at the time the original Molson "I Am Canadian" beer rant hit the airwaves.
To christen this blog that focuses squarely on life just west of the Nation's Capital, I humbly bring you: "I Am Ottawa Valley!"
Grab a cold pint and rant along with me.

I am intelligent, hard-working and open minded. And not just on weekends.
My address is a rural route, not a street number.
I know my neighbour's name, and have at least one of his power tools hidden in my garage.
I begin my alphabet with "A" and end my sentences that way too.
And it's pronounced "two-four," not "a case of beer."

I have no Rideau Canal in my hometown, but I do have White Lake.
I like politics, but the only party I'm loyal to is a keg party.
I have no Peace Tower, but I do have a tower of empties in my shed.
I call my mayor by his first name.
And I don't wonder how to flush after using an outhouse.

I can hear crickets from my porch.
I have a porch, not a verandah.
I don't complain of bug bites unless the blackfly is bigger than a grapefruit.
I own at least one Stompin' Tom 8-track and know every word to "Big Joe Mufferaw."
And it's pronounced "rasslin" not "wrestling."

I'm easy going, but have a temper during the playoffs.
I settle minor disputes in the parking lot, not in a courtroom.
I own a purple bug light and have a screen door.
I have learned the hard way that you shouldn't pee on an electric fence.
And it's a ball cap, not a "baseball hat."

I always hold a door open, and it's "ladies first."
Even at last call.
If the band doesn't have a fiddler, I want my money back.
I drink from the bottle and have opened at least one beer with my teeth.
And it's pronounced "ain't," not "aren't."

I volunteer without looking for a pat on the back.
I ask what I can do for my community, not what I have to do for recognition.
I sacrificed my body for my high school team.
I remember every victory and vividly remember every loss.
And deer hunting IS a sport.

The air in my village smells of freshly-cut grass, not exhaust fumes.
Traffic jams are caused by hay wagons, not by selfish drivers.
I am fiercely loyal to my hometown and the Valley - the only place to live.

I am Ottawa Valley.