Saturday, February 19, 2011



Billy Blue / S. Shawcross / 20 x 24 / Oil on canvas / SOLD
Be sure to visit our painting blog:

This weeks feature video:
With all the Middle East Uproar, this piece remembers Iraq

CURRENT COMMENTARY: This column, written in 2005 is probably the one that would later spur my regular columns on scientists. I would go on to found (in a figurative sense) the "Society for the Rehabilitation of Misguided Scientists" where I encourage them to take up needlework. It astounds me what they do out there in the name of science but it was ever thus and these columns afford me much delight so I guess I'm quite appreciative of the scientists out there. And most of them, because I usually check with the scientists before I publish, take my words with good humour. Once however, I got a call from the husband of one of the scientists who was studying mouse pee... Well... that was a column that never did appear, damn fine as it was... lol. I take on the scientists again in my next column published in the West Quebec Post. The scientist in question was quite a good sport about it all thank heavens (despite my own cringing as I forwarded it to him for approval because even I can't believe what I write sometimes. The muse has a mind of its own...) Anyway, the column below is pretty tame compared to what I eventually get up to. Enjoy.


I remember the good old days… Just last month as a matter of fact. Back in January 2005 we could find ourselves rolling down Highway 105 at the top of Mile Hill only to be transfixed by the magical sweep of Ottawa’s skyline in the distance. It was enough to make your heart flutter and make you darn right glad to be alive. Now it’s February and times have changed. Now the heart doesn’t flutter like it used to or if it does we don’t notice, preoccupied as we are by the thought that maybe our lungs aren’t getting enough oxygen and we’re just lucky to be alive. No longer do we see the skyline, now we see the smog.

Seems to me we didn’t have smog back in January. Back then the Quebec government hadn’t yet decided to unveil its new platform on wood stoves as toxic environmental pollutants. Back then the scientists weren’t even monitoring smog levels in winter. But now they are. Makes you kinda wonder which came first, the smog or the regulations. I remember back in January how we used to throw a log on the woodstove and watch the fire. So much for that small pleasure. Which brings us to the obvious conclusion: its time we starting stressing Liberal Arts in University.

There are far too many scientists and they are out of control. They are slaughtering chickens in Asia, cows in England and mosquitoes in Canada. They’re warning us about skin cancer, effluence, alien invasive species, smog, acid-rain and toxic waste. Why? It’s obvious of course: it’s a cry for help.

The truth is, scientists are miserable and they want us to help them but they don’t know how to ask for help so they slaughter chickens instead. It is obvious they hate the world and they don’t want anyone else to be happy.

We never used to have holes in the ozone, or sunspots or global warming or asteroids on a collision course with earth. We only started getting these things when we stopped stressing Liberal Arts in university and started giving students things like microscopes, telescopes and computers. Nobody back then thought about the consequences.

We have to understand scientists don’t mean to be so negative. They have either never known how to be happy or else its been trained out of them. We need to help our scientists and we can begin by taking away their equipment. We need to encourage them to take up needlepoint. When they’re not looking we’ll replace some of their test tubes with finger paints. When they start spouting mathematical formulas we need to give them Play Dough. We need to support their efforts to secure grants to study flower arranging with alien invasive species in the Ottawa-basin or how gasoline makes rainbows in water. Our scientists need our support. It may take time, but soon we’ll be able to watch the sunrise and burn wood in our stoves again without feeling guilty about how we’ve done all these scientists wrong.

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