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Opinion

Snapshots (Pipelines, barbecuing, signals, tanning)

Curtailed commentary on current conditions: faulty reasons for pipelines, good reasons to barbecue, the wrong kind of signals, and the wrong kind of tanning.

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Print Edition: July 17, 2013

Illustration by Anthony Biondi

Lac-Mégantic catastrophe isn’t reason for pipeline

There’s nothing more twisted than a political regime or corporation that uses a tragedy to advance its profit-driven goals. Yet that could very well happen after the horrific—and entirely avoidable—train derailment that caused toxic oil to spill, ignite and destroy the centre of Lac-Mégantic, a small Québec town. It certainly didn’t take long for journalists and experts to begin foretelling it. Just days afterwards, articles began to sprout up about how it would never have happened if only a pipeline had been in place.

Yet, how fitting is it that those who wish to quell all of the horrors we feel about the risks of ramming a pipe through our farms, schoolyards and parks would use the example of an even more horrendous oil-transport disaster.

I’m sorry, but Lac-Mégantic is even more evidence that we need to cut back—not scale up—our extraction and transport of a deadly, toxic substance that, even when not spilled, is destroying the world we rely on for survival. We need to stand up for what is right or Lac-Mégantic will have happened in vain.

JOEL SMART

Illustration by Anthony Biondi

The barbecue taste of summer

It’s right up there with swimming, golfing and loud music as a necessity of summer. In fact, it’s hard to argue that there’s anything better on a beautifully blue-skied, 30-degree day.

Really, it’s so great that even dropping a ribeye steak right off the searing grill onto your knee is worth the outcome.

There’s no doubt taste is a major factor in the outdoor grill’s greatness. But taste is only one of the many. Just think about all the foods that are cooked at their pinnacle on the barbecue: steak, hamburgers, chicken, corn on the cob, asparagus, potatoes and yes – even bacon.

There’s also the portability. A portable barbecue can be used to cook just about anywhere – just crank on one of the propane cylinders, or light up the charcoal, and you’re set. Being able to have that kind of freedom also ties into what are the greatest parts of summer – camping, friends and family.

JOE JOHNSON

Illustration by Anthony Biondi

Sending the wrong signals

If you’re a driver, then I assume three things about you: first, you have a license; second, you know what all the buttons, switches and levers in your car do; and third, that you have the capacity to use them.

Sadly, this is not always true.

There’s a lever in your car, on the left side of the steering wheel. It can be moved up or down. This device is called a signal. Use it.

I’m getting tired of using my mind-reading ability to determine what direction you’re turning as you slam on your brekes before a green light. Just signal left or right and I’ll forgive the unnecessary emergency stop.

Worse is when you signal left and turn right. “A” for effort, I guess.

Or when you leave your signal on. How does that even happen? Don’t you hear the obnoxious clicking sound? Or see the little arrow on your dashboard?

ASHLEY MUSSBACHER

Illustration by Anthony Biondi

Accidental tanning

Tanning isn’t great. I mean, it’s okay when you’re doing it in a healthy way with proper sunscreen application and all, but then there are the accidental tanning moments. The moments you think you’re protected but the next morning reveals the unfortunate truth.

I’m talking about the driving arm.

Anyone who drives knows what I’m talking about. You think you’re safe in your little car. You think all the world is well and the sun can’t touch you because you’re basically in a moving room and windows protect you, right? Right?

Wrong.

Your left arm gets significantly darker than your right and you begin to plan out scenarios in which you could pull it off. Like maybe you could walk into a room with the left arm entering first to trick people into thinking you’re beautifully dark everywhere. Or maybe you could coordinate with shadows at a party to hide the truth of your pasty white right arm.

Sadly, we all have to face the truth of growing up: being an adult means wearing sunscreen every time you leave the house.

AMY VAN VEEN

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