Jim’s Notebook

Jim Stewart served as the former Webmaster for the STDOA.  The opinions expressed on this page are his own.  He can be reached at jstewart@stdoa.ca or on Facebook.  He now lives on a farm in New Brunswick with his wife Dorothy.

A graphic artist, he is shown here with Charlie at the Grand Opening of the Lions Club Dog Park.  Charlie is a rescue from Kentucky through Open Arms Transport and the ABCR.  Photo by John Blake

Jim is married to Dorothy Stewart who formerly wrote the STDOA Newsletter, the St. Thomas Dog Blog, and now writes dorothystewart.net.

Will “Crategate” Derail Romney’s Presidential Bid?

by Jim Stewart – February 16, 2012

T-shirts.  Bumper stickers.  Dog bandanas and coats.  Fridge magnets, signs and posters.  If it can be cranked out by the incredible American merchandising machine, it is on the drawing board and taking form right now.  Not to mention the blogs, websites, and most of all (wait for it)…..the 2nd thoughts people are starting to have about this guy.

Will it stick?  Who knows.  It’s a long time from February till the Republican Convention and even longer to the election in November.  And a lot can and will happen during the twists and turns along the path in the most high stakes chess game/poker match of all–to become the next President of the United States.

Continue…  “Crategate”

Economics Explained with Cows

by Jim Stewart – December 19, 2011       (original source unknown)

In these hard economic times, most people are confused and wondering just what the hell is going on.

Here is an old standby floating around the internet for years, updated for our times, that makes things so simple even YOU can grasp complex world economics in 2012.  It uses the old standard of cows that was taught in economic classes back in the 40s…


Continue… Economics Explained

It’s Your Nickel

by Jim Stewart – October 13, 2011

Perhaps it’s time for one of these billboards in our area.  Perhaps the solution is local, not national.  Why should local ratepayers, local municipalities, local rescue groups keep stretching their overburdened resources to enable this scourge?  For what?  So puppies can be bought with a click of a mouse?  Hey, when YOU’RE the guy with the mop bucket, mopping up someone else’s vomit the night after the party gives you a different perspective of the balloons and the streamers.  There aren’t mops big enough, there aren’t mop buckets large enough to handle this mess we ourselves have created by our culture and complacency.

Continue…  It’s Your Nickel

Does Auburn, Indiana hold clues for a viable St. Thomas future?

by Jim Stewart  -  May 19, 2011

Anyone doubting the viability of restoring the CASO Station and the Elgin County Railway Museum in St. Thomas need only visit Auburn, Indiana.  Your visit is almost guaranteed to open your eyes, mind and spirit to the possibilities that exist right here in our own backyard.

Auburn is hoppin’.  And it’s hoppin’ with planes, trains and automobiles.  And for a guy or anyone who appreciates machines, history and popular culture, the place is just a dream.

And it all started because some people had vision, saw the potential, and an idea that they wouldn’t let their own history go to waste.  They built on what they already had:  a building that once housed the national headquarters, showroom, administrative and design offices of the Auburn Automobile Company.

Continue… Does Auburn, Indiana hold clues for St. Thomas?

St. Thomas, Ontario–Was that the Bottom?

May 7, 2011     by Jim Stewart

In August of last year the scene in St. Thomas was indeed depressing.  It seemed like everywhere you looked you saw vacant factories.  It felt like we had reached something, a low point that stunned most people’s comprehension.  Even after the Free Trade agreement, I don’t remember it looking this bad.  I went out with a camera on August 4 of 2010 and recorded some of what I saw.  The images pretty well say it all…


Continue….  Was that the Bottom?

Michael Ignatieff Bids Farewell

May 4, 2011   by Jim Stewart

And so, I bid you adieu!  My work here on earth is done.  No need to thank me, your shinning, upturned faces is thanks enough.  Thanks to my foresight, you will not have to vote again till 2015.  By that time the Mayan Calendar will have expired, Jesus will have come and gone (again), and you’ll be so sick and tired of a Harper government you’d vote for Daffy Duck if he ran for office.  Au revoir, arrivederci, so long.

Post- michael-ignatieff-bids-farewell/



Gary’s Rant

May 1, 2011  by Jim Stewart

I think I finally smartened up about something:  PC Computers, like cars, need to go in at least once a year “for maintenance.” Just count on it.  Once you accept this as a fact of life, your blood pressure will drop and you can rest easy in the comfort that you have figured out, at last, one of Life’s Great Mysteries.

I should note here that I am a Mac person and have limited knowledge about PCs.  But it is difficult to only have Macs in a PC world, so I use an older PC laptop running XP to surf the net, open programs the Mac doesn’t like, etc.  I’ve gotten used to it, and this system works fine for me as I can do research while watching the garbage that passes for TV or taking it back to bed with my morning coffee.

So after watching my PC laptop chuggin’ slower and slower every morning, when it was taking the computer longer to fully wake up than me, I decided to finally do something:  I called a friend.

More… garys-rant/


US housing market bodes an ill wind for animal rescue groups

April 17, 2011  by Jim Stewart

The US housing market is at risk of a major collapse in 10 cities with 6.7 million mortgages waiting to flood the market, and another 2 million in foreclosure being held back by the banks.  The last time this happened people were walking away from homes and leaving their pets to fend for themselves or dumping them at shelters.

This comes at a time when many States are broke, having to cut back on unemployment benefits as gas and food prices are rising.  Considering our proclivity for backyard breeders, buying pups on Kijiji, and with Prop B just being overturned, the amount of animals to hit already distressed animal shelters is bound to get worse.

More… us-housing-market-bodes-an-ill-wind


Why? (She lives in a Boeing 727)       April 1, 2011

This is a picture of part of the email I received.  Great story with incredible photos.  But it’s not entirely true.

So that was the lead in, with these pics and others attached (now posted on our Strange & Wonderful page)

More… why-she-lives-in-a-boeing-727


In Memory of Jack Ruault – March 17, 2011

“The tarantula has escaped.  It’s around here somewhere, just telling you so you don’t step on it.  It’ll come back when it gets hungry.”

Now at this point you have to ask yourself one question: is the hair that’s starting to stand up on the back of your neck actually your hair, or the hairy legs of a creature that is crawling up the back of your neck and no doubt about to stick it’s proboscis into your brain stem and drain you, paralyzed to resist, of all your brain fluids and god knows what else?

Then you relax because you know it’s Jack.  You’ve seen him handling his tarantula, him letting it crawl up his arms, over his hands, and you know it’s ok.  It’s cool.  Jack was like that.  He was cool.  He was fun to hang out with.

More… in-memory-of-jack-ruault

Aftermath of Whistler - Feb. 19, 2011

Murky.  Through a glass darkly.  A mystery wrapped in an enigma.  Those words describe what it was like just trying to do some simple research on the Whistler sled dogs.  Just some observations:

In general, I found Joey Houssian and his organization Outdoor Adventures less than forthcoming with information.  In fact, the only one who seemed to be forthcoming at all in this whole mess is the canine killer himself, Bob Fawcett.  And from what I can figure out he wants to be forthcoming.  Two different styles completely, yet they make a joint statement.  Strange.  They should be suing each other.

Fawcett seems like a completely broken man.  He’s a guy who wants to die.  But at the same time he wants to reach out.  The fact that he hasn’t taken his own life is an indication of some inward strength.  I realize that many would be happy if he did just that, and many would feel it would be far better than he deserved, but for me that would solve nothing.  I want to know what drove him to do such a thing if there is ever a hope of preventing more BS of this type in the future.  I’ll save my death wishes for serial killers and the predators of children.

More… aftermath-of-whistler

Timeline- Whistler Sled Dogs - Feb. 17, 2011

Trying to figure this out is like trying to shake the truth from a tree.

Before 1995 – Bob Fawcett begins racing.

1995-98 – Bob Fawcett becomes founder of his own business (called Howling Dog Tours Whistler?)

July 2, 2003 – Whistler, BC is announced as the location for the 2010 Winter Games.

2004 – Howling Dog Tours Ltd. Canmore sells it’s 50% interest in Howling Dog Tours Whistler to Bob Fawcett.

Jan 2006 – BC SPCA issues 65 orders to Howling Dog Tours.  Howling Dog corrects them all.

Feb 2006 – Two year countdown begins as the Olympic Flag is handed to mayor of Vancouver at the Turin Games.

More… timeline-whistler-sled-dogs

Whistler Sled Dogs–The Fix is In - Feb. 6, 2011

Well, not the kind of fix in the movies with an envelope of money given to a judge or politician, but the kind of fix that lawyers dream up.  Bob Fawcett, the manager of Howling Dog Tours Whistler, who has admitted to killing 100 sled dogs, has made a joint statement with his former customer/employer Joey Houssian that he never received instructions from Houssian on how to cull the dogs.  Forever after, this statement will be referred back to.  “Did you not, Mr. Fawcett, state on February 2nd that you did not receive instruction to kill the dogs in the most brutal manner possible?”  The lawyers have what they need.  Mr. Fawcett has done the right thing:  He has taken total responsibility for the brutal manner in which the dogs were killed.  So why don’t we all feel better?

Because the whole thing stinks, that”s why.  You know it, I know it, the cat knows it. There’s something wrong here, and it isn’t just the killings.   There are just too many questions, and they are the kind that nag, that don’t quite leave you alone.

More… sled-dogs-the-fix-is-in

Massacre in Whistler – Feb 1, 2011

Every city, town, or village that has ever hosted an Olympic event has experienced a mini-depression afterward, usually leaving taxpayers on the hook for enormous debt and clamoring for city officials’ heads.  Why did the owners of Howling Dogs think that Whistler, B.C. would be any different?  This is greed, pure and simple.  The dogs were a commodity, like sugar and soybeans, to be “stocked” in an anticipated need for a special event.  And when the tourists didn’t come, they had to “manage” inventory.

More… massacre-in-whistler

Missouri narrowly passes Puppy Mill act in US elections – Nov. 3, ’10

The residents of Missouri have spoken, and the Tea Party isn’t very happy.  In fact, they’re not very happy at all.  Missouri, with its 3000 estimated puppy mills and known by humane groups as the “Puppy Mill Capital” of North America, has passed Proposition B, known as the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act.  The USA Today story reports that animal rescue groups are of course pleased, but the LA Times reports that Tea Partiers are “Barking Mad” and Joe the Plumber (pictured above), who gained national attention as the sidekick of John McCain, has called the Prop B a grand conspiracy with a hidden political agenda by HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) to take away the rights of Americans.  Here are his some of his comments from a website called Alliance for Truth, which has since been taken down and vanished without a trace.

More… missouri-puppy-mill-act/

Dover’s Deer Ticks – Oct. 25, ’10

This past summer we ran a story on Deer Ticks which is now on our Health Alerts page.  Apparently Southwestern Ontario wasn’t the only place that was experiencing this problem.  Dover, Massachusetts had its problems and according to this story on NPR radio, Lyme Disease is epidemic in some parts of New England.  So Dover has decided, for better or worse, to fight Lyme Disease with Bows and Arrows and has approved a massive cull of 75% of the deer population assuming that it will help alleviate the problem.  But it may not be the solution some people expect.  To quote from the article, “Killing deer is not a magic bullet.  People have to manage their vegetation, they can clean up around their homes.  These ticks need high humidity, so if you have brushy areas and lots of leaf litter, that’s a great place for the ticks to develop.”  As an aside, the guy who wrote the story accumulated 20 ticks in the space of one hour when he was outside researching the article.

I love venison, but I had to make sure I wasn’t reading an episode of South Park.  Obviously we have a problem in the northeast with deer overpopulation, and a cull is preferable to starvation.  If you’ve ever taken your kids to the Pinery and seen the carcasses of starved deer it’s not a pretty sight.  But assuming that deer ticks are caused by deer is a pretty big leap.  These insects go in cycles and spells, like a bad year for fleas, mosquitoes, beer bugs, or even bedbugs.  2010 was the worst, most humid summer I can remember.  I came away with one thought:  thank god they aren’t called Canadian Ticks, or Old People’s Ticks, or First Born Young Ticks.

So long, and thanks for listening.

The St. Thomas Dog Owners Association is a non-profit organization that promotes off leash dog parks and supports responsible dog ownership and the welfare of dogs.