Posted in Video Review


For each blog post, I send it out to a wide community of friends and associates. In response to the last blog, Explorations, Sandra Barry sent me the link to a four-part YouTube documentary on Glen Gould and the Idea of North. It includes footage of Jim Lotz.

For me, it is hard to recall life in the town of Schefferville, Quebec, in the 1960s. I did share the links with Heather. She had spent time in Churchill, Manitoba, during the 2010s. I believe the Idea of North has changed remarkably since the video of Glen Gould/ Jim Lotz.

As noted by Sandra Berry …
” I don’t know if you know that he [Jim Lotz] was involved in Glenn Gould’s amazing THE IDEA OF NORTH — Jim was one of the voices that Gould recorded and incorporated into the polyphonic soundscape that evoked his journey northward on the train — I am not sure his destination, but he recorded interviews with a raft of people and wove them together in a most amazing documentary/recording. Nothing like it had ever been done before, and nothing like it has been done since. Just google Gould and Idea of North — CBC even did an anniversary documentary about its broadcast. I remember how amazed I was to realize Jim Lotz’s voice was one of the many in that project.”



To Sandra Barry for the video links. Edward added the graphics. Heather added her commentary.

Posted in Article Review, Book Review, Video Review

Thomas Merton

This week, I finished reading Thomas Merton in Alaska (see Connecting Communities blog post).

It brought back memories of my travels to Alaska, after completing field work in the Canadian Rockies in the early ‘70’s. Merton died in Bangkok in 1968.

The book includes essays on ‘Community, Politics and Contemplation’, ‘Prayer, Tradition and Experience’ and ‘The Life that Unifies’.

The book provides background to the recent Emergence Magazine article ‘On the Road with Thomas Merton’ by Fred Bahnson. Within the article, there is a link to a film by Jeremy Seifert, under the same name.

In May 1968, Christian mystic Thomas Merton undertook a pilgrimage to the American West. Fifty years later, filmmaker Jeremy Seifert set out to follow Merton’s path retracing the monk’s journey across the landscape. Amid stunning backdrops of ocean, redwood and canyon, the film features the faces and voices of people Merton encountered.

Source: Emergence Magazine (photo by Thomas Merton: California 1968)

”The film shares a remarkable geography, as well as the perceptions of Merton who took his first extended trip away from Gethsemani Abbey, his monastic home in Kentucky.”


Emergence Magazine, Fred Bahnson’s, On the Road with Thomas Merton, includes a link to Jeremy Seifert film, On the Road with Thomas Merton.

Thomas Merton, 1988, Thomas Merton in Alaska. Prelude to the Asian Journey, New Directions Books.

Posted in Article Review, Video Review

Map Nerds

Thanks to Frank Fox who follows the BBC News App. He forwarded the ’Map Nerds’ link.

Photographer Richard Webb at BBC Scotland News

”They form a unique online community project called Geograph, a charity which aims to collect representative photography and information about every square kilometre of Britain and Ireland.”

”Since 2005, more than 13,000 contributors have submitted seven million pictures covering 281,000 Ordnance Survey (OS) grid squares.”

I forwarded the link to Edward Wedler. He could see all sorts of citizen science potential for Nova Scotia, for the community and for COGS. Just a few examples:

  • Tourism and Heritage
  • Planning and Land Use
  • Environmental, Monitoring, Management, and Protection
  • Engineering
  • Emergency Response
  • Film Shoot Scouting Locations and Creative Industries

It is time to reclaim our Geography!!

In a recent blog post, I have referenced Zita Cobb’s presentation on World GIS Day. Mary Ambrose at Esri Canada arranged for a link to the forty-minute presentation.

Courtesy of ESRI Canada

Enjoy the video, then ask the question:
What can be learned from Fogo Island for the Annapolis Valley, with a focus on Agriculture?

Your comments on this video and questions are welcomed.

Today, I stopped at a new store in Middleton. The Rockin’ Rogi Diner and picked up some perogies.

Earlier, at the Endless Shores Books in Bridgetown, I found Michael Hynes’s book: The Myth-Guided Mind.


Edward, the snowbird, is on his way to Florida. Thanks for his graphics and ideas. Frank Fox for discovering the world of ’map nerds’. Mary Ambrose for the link to the Zita Cobb presentation. Heather for the company on our trips into Halifax.


The Rockin’ Rogi Diner, 101A Commercial Street, Middleton.

Michael Hynes, 2021, The Myth-Guided Mind, Catapult Press.

Posted in Article Review, Video Review

Local Support

Saturday, we went to Centrelea Community Centre and purchased our Chili dinner; organized by Anne and Bill Crossman and their team.

This week, The Register (October 21) was full of local stories.

Paul Colville looked back forty years on the routing of Highway 101 through Annapolis County and the role of the citizens in the decision process.

Past Premier, Stephen McNeil described the potential impact of the Atlantic Loop on the energy supply in the region. Anne Crossman mentions the availability of a new book, by Chantelle Webb ‘An Eggplant, a Starr and a Pony walk into a Cafe’. Sounds intriguing. I picked up a copy at Lunn’s Mill in Lawrencetown.

I dropped off a box of used books at The Endless Shores. As a result, I picked up the latest issue of Rural Delivery.

This was started by Dirk van Loon in 1976. As the cover states ‘Farm, Country and Community since 1976.’ This issue includes an article on experiential education in Nature, and solar energy. it shows a photograph my neighbour, Peter Redden, scythe in hand at the Maritime Hand Mowing Championship in Northville, NS (page 8).

Electronically, I received Planted (Newsletter 22 October) from Kings Cross, London, UK it includes two videos :

What is biophilic design?
Why Rewild?

Its interesting to compare the context in England with the situation in Canada. Also via the Internet, information about changes at The Flying Apron, Summerville and Sugar Moon Farm, Earltown.

At the end of the day, I am left with two unanswered questions.

Given the availability of geographic technology at COGS, what is the vision of the educators/administrators on the application of these tools to engage the community in the management of our regional landscape in post-COVID, climate-change times?

What is the vision of the municipality for the management of our landscape in post-COVID, climate-change times? Does it include conversations with COGS staff? Or is the Council still mired in Valley Waste, Internet and Gordonstoun issues from the previous council?

Meanwhile, here in this corner of Paradise, Heather waits to see the impact of a clover cover-crop on next years garden.

From, yours sincerely, “A Country Bumpkin” or should it be “Worzel Gummidge“?


Mike Bezanson for his handyman skills. Anne and Bill Crossman for helpful conversations. Likewise, Paul Colville and Frank Fox. Edward added the graphics, Heather shared the gardening chores.


Annapolis Valley Register. October 21, 2021.

Anne Crossman. A Town Reinvented. p.7

Paul Colville. How residents made officials listen. p.8.

Stephen McNeil. Greening up the energy grid. p.7.

Rural Delivery, Vol. 46. #4. October 2021.


From Maria Popova … Brain Pickings has been reborn (renamed) The Marginalian.

Posted in Video Review

Know your place

Peter, my brother, sent me a wonderful link to the history of Whitton and Hounslow Heath in West London. It is a YouTube video that looks at that landscape over the last four hundred years.

Hope this link works !

What was notable for me ? The interjection of historical maps with photographs of the current landscape. It takes me back to taking the Southern Region commuter train from Whitton to Chiswick. Both Peter and I attended Chiswick Grammar School for Boys.

Other memories include the stories of Hounslow Heath, Dick Turpin, the notorious highwayman, and his horse Black Bess.

The term ’know your place’ can be used in a different context. Know your place in society. Working class, Middle class, Upper class/landed gentry. It all comes back.

This week, Edward is busy with the Parrsboro International Plein Air Festival. As a consequence, this blog will be lacking his magic, artistic and technical touch. I have asked him for a blog on his experience, perhaps for next week.

Book recommendations come in. From Rocky Hebb, I received Lou Ureneck, Backcast. From Brian Arnott, The Abornaut. No shortage of good reads.

This week, John Wightman hosted a meeting between CANMAP and COGS/NSCC. I look forward to further developments on ’know your place’.

We do need a post-COVID twenty-first century Church map of Annapolis County. It should show the current land use, new businesses etc that reflect accurately the rural renaissance.

Don’t forget to see the movie of the same name, at Kings Theatre, free, this Sunday, September 19th. SOLD OUT.


Contributions from Peter Maher, Rocky Hebb, Brian Arnott and John Wightman.


Lou Ureneck. 2008. Backcast. Fatherhood, fly-fishing and a river journey through the Heart of Alaska. St Martins Press.

Meg Lowman. 2021. The Arbornaut.

Posted in Video Review

Nicholas Cage in Pig

Friday evening, we went to the King’s Theatre in Annapolis Royal to watch Nicholas Cage in Pig.

There was a relatively small masked audience. The film is about a Truffle hunter (Cage) and his pig. It is set in the Oregon forests outside of Portland. The story starts out in the woods and the stealing of the pig. Most of the movie is focused on Cage’s pursuit of the thieves. It also sheds light on the gourmet food trade in the region. In an earlier life, Cage (the character) was a well-known chef.

The film offers insight into authenticity, life on the west coast of the United States and Buddhism.

Meanwhile from AIRO in Annapolis Royal, I received the trailer to Rural Renaissance: How Canada’s oldest town reinvented itself. There will be three free showings on September 19th. at Kings’s Theatre. But you must reserve in advance.

On the home front, it is time for harvest processing. First, the gooseberries with elderberries jam, then the grapes, and, of course, we are inundated with tomatoes. The 2021 climate has created a bumper season for the different types of berries. And yet, for some reason, our Apple crop is a bust. We are not sure whether lack of pollination or a local pest outbreak. Overall, across the Valley, it looks to be a great Apple harvest.


Edward added the links and graphics. Heather shared the processing of the garden fruits.


Nicholas Cage, 2021, Pig

Rural Renaissance: How the citizens of Annapolis Royal reinvented Canada’s oldest town. Showing on September 19,2021.

Posted in Article Review, Video Review

Three perspectives

Saturday, I received the Healthy Forest Coalition report to members.

Two points caught my attention:

  • Removal of industrial forestry from Crown Lands;
  • Harvest Plan Map Viewer (HPMV) becomes the only portal for responses to planned harvests on public land.

This lead to the conclusion.

”This position makes it explicit that public concerns about landscape level decisions for industrial forestry activity will not be entertained.”

Monday, I received the latest quarterly newsletter from the Bras D’Or Lake Biosphere Reserve.

It included contributions on ‘Getting involved in Citizen Science’ by Kirsty Lock, ‘Mesonet Observations’ by Jonathan Buffett and ‘Springs in the Bras D’Or Lake Biosphere Reserve’ by Fred Baechter.

Also, on Monday I listened to a CBC interview on Indigenous Architecture.

Tonight (21st) TVO is showing the film ‘From Earth to Sky’. This struck me as pertinent, given the design of the new wing at COGS.

Over the weekend, Heather and I went up to the family homestead in South Victoria. We were struck by the changes in land use in that part of the province. Many fields were being recolonized by trees and shrubs. And yet, the communities (e.g. Tatamagouche, Pugwash) are eagerly waiting for the loosening of COVID restrictions.

I would encourage members of Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve to look closely at the newsletter from Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere Reserve. There are many ideas relevant to this region.

I would also encourage the NSCC to consider ways of integrating the new wing into the COGS building, perhaps within the context of indigenous architecture and landscape design.


Bob Howard for passing conversations on landscape design. Heather shared the travels over the weekend. Edward added his graphics.


Healthy Forest Coalition newsletter, June 19,2021

Bras D’Or Lake Biosphere Reserve newsletter, Summer Solstice Edition, June 21,2021.

TVO documentary, June 21, 2021, From Earth to Sky.

Posted in Video Review

Public Broadcasting

In New Glasgow, we have access to PBS Maine. This allowed us to watch American Masters, Oliver Sacks: his own life. ‘The video looks at the life and work of the legendary neurologist and story teller, as he shares intimidate details of his battles with drug addiction, homophobia, and the medical establishment. ‘

Now I need to find Awakenings on Netflix with Robin Williams and Robert de Niro.

Saturday night on PBS Maine seems to be ‘Brit comedy night’ it includes Judy Dench in ‘As Time goes by’ and then later, John Cleese in ‘Hold the Sky’. Brings back memories of the quirky British humour. Often, politically incorrect.

Public Broadcasting, sponsored by corporations and individual foundations, offers a significant contrast to the CBC.

Meanwhile, after our return drive through the Rawdon Hills, I was able to catch Eleanor Wachtel in conversation with Alex Christofi on his book, “Dostoevsky in Love” on CBC Writers and Company.

A satisfactory conclusion to a weekend organizing vaccination appointments across the province. More to come, next week.


John Stewart for access to PBS, Maine. Heather, my travel companion. Edward for online research and graphics.


PBS Maine, Oliver Sacks: his own life, American Masters, April 9,2021.

Alex Christofi, Dostoevsky in Love: An Intimate Life, CBC Writers and Company, April 9,2021.


Oliver Sacks

I have found only two types of non-pharmaceutical ‘therapy’ to be critically important for patients……. music and gardens.’

Brain Pickings April 11, 2021.

Posted in Video Review


We headed back to New Glasgow on Thursday. Thursday has become Reader/Register day. This week’s news included an update on the candidates to replace Stephen McNeil. They appear to be Carman Kerr and Bill MacDonald.

In the evening, we watched Conviction, a documentary by Nance Ackerman.

‘Conviction went inside Canada’s women’s prisons to imagine alternatives to incarceration through art and music and premiered at the Hot Docs International Film Festival’.

I checked out Nance Ackerman’s web site. It took me to other documentaries, Heartstring Productions in Tupperville with her partner Jamie Alcorn, and Cousin Tours, workshops with Nance and her cousin, Laurie Nassif.

This reminded me of Anne Crossman’s list of local authors. In this case, it would be a list of creative film makers. It also reminded me of Carman Kerr and his interest in Adventure Tourism.


Heather journeyed with me to New Glasgow. Edward added the links and graphics. Anne Crossman shared her interest in local authors.


Through, you can find links to documentaries : Conviction, Carry me Home, Cousins Photo Tours.

Anne Crossman column in the Register, April 8th. lists many of our local authors.

Posted in biographical sketch, Video Review

A Global View

There are days when Spring has not arrived. It is cold rain and windy, a time for watching a video in front of the woodstove. This week, we watched two movies:

  1. The 100 Year March: a Philosopher in Poland.
  2. Seaspiracy

Klaus and Shirley recommended the first; Edward recommended the second.

A Philosopher in Poland looks at the events of the Second World War and the freedom of the Polish people. Seaspiracy looks at the global exploitation of the oceans: the killing of whales, sharks, tuna indeed it deals with all marine species. Both films provide a sobering perspective on today’s society.

A Philosopher in Poland raises the question of nation states. This is particularly poignant given the time of COVID. What lessons can/have been learned from the Second World War? It would be interesting to see similar documentaries on other countries e.g.Russia, China, the United States. And, at the local level, Canada and Nova Scotia.

The same is true for Seaspiracy given the Canadian (Nova Scotia) approach to the management of natural resources. What is happening off the coasts, in terms of the fishing industry? Canada is bounded by three oceans.

Looking for answers, I happened upon a short essay in Wendell Berry’s book Home Economics, titled ‘A Nation rich in Natural Resources’, p 133-136. It was helpful. (also, see HERE)

”Indeed, once our homeland, our source, is regarded as a resource we are sliding downwards towards the ash heap or the dump”.

The ‘icing on the cake’ was the recent Guardian Weekly, March 26, 2021. It included two items on the United Kingdom. Edward Docx ‘Send in the Clown’ Making sense of Boris Johnson and Priyamvada Gopal ‘Why can’t Britain handle the truth about Churchill?’

Both articles led to a reflection on the post-war era in England. My time was 1945-1969. I arrived at the University of Western Ontario to start graduate work in Geography, over fifty years ago. Canada is now my homeland.


Edward and Klaus/Shirley for their viewing recommendations. Edward added the graphics. Heather shared the viewing.

Details HERE.

Image courtesy of Lars Andersen

Reminder of what day this is!


The 100 year March: A Philosopher in Poland. Stefan Molyneux, host of Freedomain Radio

Seaspiracy on Netflix

Wendell Berry, 1987, Home Economics: A Nation rich in Natural Resources, p.133-136, North Point Press