How You Can Tell It’s the Holiday Season at My House

I switched from “all season” Bath and Body Works products to Twisted Peppermint, which smells exactly like candy canes and is therefore just plain weird at other times of the year. I’ve also been listening to John Denver and The Muppets. And The Muppet’s A Red and Green Christmas. And the soundtrack to A Muppet Christmas Carol. Because nothing puts you in the holiday mood like The Muppets. Yes, it’s a little early – I usually wait until December 1 before succumbing to the season. But it’s been a rough couple months, and sometimes we need to soothe ourselves in...

Halloween: The Rise of the Chocolate Mafia

Ah, Halloween. When I was a kid, it meant three things: 1) Trying to come up with a costume that would fit OVER my parka, because it’s cold in southern Alberta after dark at the end of October. One year, my mom got free boxes from the grocery store, cut arm and neck holes, and painted them – my brother was a die and I was a domino. We were the hit of the neighbourhood. 2) Losing most of my haul to said mother, because that was before peanut-free factories, and half of what was in my pillowcase would...

Earl Bakken: The Man Who Changed Our Hearts

Earl Bakken passed away last week at the age of 94. Not many people have heard of Bakken, but he saved millions of lives all around the world. In 1949, Bakken founded Medtronic, a garage-based medical equipment repair shop that made $8 in its first month of operation. In 1957, an infant with a heart condition died after a blackout disabled her plug-in pacemaker. At her surgeon’s request, Bakken invented the world’s first portable model, powered by an external battery taped to the chest. A few years later, he and his partners licensed designs for the first implantable pacemaker....