Random Raves

Posted on December 6, 2007
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Damned selfish of her

            I’m a volunteer driver for Meals On Wheels. I’ve been doing it for about 25 years now. So many Miramichiers volunteer that I only drive once every 28 days. Like many others, I thought I was doing it for them when I began. I soon realized I’m the main beneficiary. The people I meet!

            Last year, with no kids or grandparents in the house, I volunteered Michelle and I to drive on Christmas day. It would help take Michelle’s mind off the unusual  Christmas morning peace and quiet.

            It helped and it was a ball. My 90-year-old flirt client was elegantly dressed in red and white and wearing a Santa hat. Tawit, tawoo!

            So, when I got my December reminder call this week, I volunteered us again for Christmas day.

            When I turned up today to pick up my meals, co-ordinator Ann Sillikers told me the volunteer scheduled to do the run that day doesn’t want to give it up.

            Damned selfish of her, don’t you think?

Buy your next MP

            One of the very best December specials is the opportunity to buy your next MP. They are up to 75% off if you act before the end of the month.

            Thanks to a brilliant provision of the Canadian tax act, you can donate $100 to the federal political party of your choice and get $75 back. The refund comes in the form of an income tax credit on your 2008 return due in April.

            If you donate $400 you get $300 back.

            It is part of the plan to make sure our federal candidates are beholden to us rather than to big corporations, unions or pressure groups.

            The other part of the plan is that the unions and corporations are prevented from buying the parties. They cannot outbid you.

            Neither can pressure groups mount campaigns for and against candidates or parties they don’t like. In the U.S., groups like the National Rifle Association can make or break a candidate.

            Why should you give a political party $100 or $400?

            Mainly because they have to get it somewhere. Would you rather they want to keep you happy or keep some big institution happy?

            You can even donate to more than one party if you wish although your tax credit will still only be a declining percentage of the total.

            Giving $500 will cost you $150. The smaller donors get the best deal.

 You could donate $200 to the traditional party you want to see run the country and $200 to the Green Party to help them pressure government if you like.

            Every democracy gets the best government money can buy.

            Who do you want to own your government?

            If you want the people to own yours, this is a wonderful annual opportunity to help ensure that.

 The 632 solution

          In the interests of energy (and money) conservation, I set out to seal and insulate the electrical outlets and switches on the outside walls of my house.

            You can buy sets of foam kits at hardware and building supply outlets. I also found some marvelous stuff in packing material that comes with electronic gear and the shelving material being installed at the refurbished Sobeys.

            However, installing the stuff was driving me nuts. The screws that fasten the cover plates to the receptacle are about the length of the eyelashes of a baby mouse.

            With the foam behind the cover plate, it is very neat trick to find, much less penetrate the screw hole. I spent an hour lunging, stabbing and cursing at one single-outlet panel. The doubles and triples are easier.

            So, being the reasonable person that I am, I took it out on the next electrician I encountered.

            I asked Blaine Jenkins why the %#&* electrical industry made such tiny screws for work you can’t even see.

            He laughed and said electricians wonder about that their whole careers.

            “Fortunately,” he said, “The solution is simple. It is 632.”

            He told me to go to any hardware section and get a box of #6-32 metal screws by one inch long. Apparently #6 indicates the diameter of the screw and 32 indicates the number of threads per inch. The inch long is because size matters. Boy, does it matter!

            Because they are metal screws, they come with little nuts.

            It may seem a trivial piece of information for a column. It does, however, make saving some energy money a much less frustrating, irritating, character testing exercise.

            You’re welcome.      


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