A personal view of Knowlton, Quebec, the Eastern Townships most beautiful village.

Laughter - The Best Medicine in Knowlton
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Laughing, like squeezing a big orange mascot, is so good for the soul it doesn't matter if your team even wins!Yeah...me and Youpi go way back to when we danced in the aisles for the Expos...now he's with the Habs and we still like to get together and tell jokes...sure we both no we'll never see another Stanley Cup but when we're splitting our sides in juvenile jocularity we hardly notice!

Youpi's Latest Joke: "A husband was in big trouble when he forgot his wedding anniversary. His wife scolded him, "Tomorrow there better be something in the driveway for me that goes from zero to 200 in two seconds flat!"

The next morning, the wife found a small package in the driveway. She opened it and found a brand new bathroom scale!"

I know...it's an eye roller but as one Michael Pritchard put it:

You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.

With winter coming and the cold starting to rattle our bones and the endless failure of our lottery numbers to come through and the sad state of the economy and the environment collapsing around us it almost makes a grow man cry and curse the almighty for showering us wih such terminal hardship! But maybe instead of gritting our teeth and wailing we need to just have a good old fashioned belly laugh!

Did you ever see the 2001 film “Laughing Club of India” , a short documentary about Doctor Madan Kataria, who decided to find out whether or not "laughter is the best medicine."? Well, in India in the 90’s, the good doctor gathered together a group of sick and depressed patients and neighbors to meet daily to laugh. Yep...just getting together to laugh! After a time, Dr. Kataria found that the participants experienced improved health and decreased levels of stress. And so, it was in 1995 that the “laughter yoga” movement officially started and there are now over 5000 laughter clubs in over 40 countries around the world. There are actually many laughing clubs in Quebec and one as close to us as Magog!

Now Knowlton can have a first-hand look at the laughter yoga phenomenon that is helping heal the human spirit one belly laughin’ kneeslap at a time! Montreal film director, journalist, and all-around wise-guy Albert Neremberg is bringing his unique brand of laughter yoga to Lac Brome with what he calls “Laughercize”. The show is sure to be a sell-out so get tickets now as it is for one night only, on December 1st, at the Arts Knowlton theatre at 7 pm. Tickets are only $10.

Nerenberg will reveal what is driving the sudden rise of the international laughter movement, and demonstrate Laughercize, Laughter Yoga and how active laughter improves health and outlook. Audience members will get an interactive taste of some of the breakthrough techniques in the development of laughter for health.

The event promises to expose some of the new revelations around laughter’s ability to treat disease, improve fitness and elevate mood. Although laughter’s benefits have recently become better documented, the challenge is getting people to laugh for reasonable amounts of time. “That challenge has been overcome” says Nerenberg, who will demonstrate some of the methods.

Background on Laughter Yoga and Laugherize.
Laughter Yoga is a new form of exercise developed by Indian doctor Maidan Kataria. Kataria’s innovation was developing a form of laughter therapy that doesn’t require jokes.

Although...I heard another good one recently from Youpi: How many mice does it take to screw in a light bulb? Two, but don't ask me how they got in there!

Happy child image courtesy of the www.laughercize.com website. Thanks! The old saying that ‘laughter is the best medicine,’ definitely appears to be true when it comes to protecting your heart,” says Michael Miller, M.D., F.A.C.C., director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center. “We don’t know yet why laughing protects the heart, but we know that mental stress is associated with impairment of the endothelium, the protective barrier lining our blood vessels. This can cause a series of inflammatory reactions that lead to fat and cholesterol build-up in the coronary arteries and ultimately to a heart attack.” Bouts of laughter seem to reverse this effect.

It might well be stating the obvious, but scientists have proved what everyone else takes for granted — that laughter really is good for you. It turns out that even the anticipation of watching a funny video can raise the levels of immune-boosting hormones in the blood, and the benefits can last up to a day.

“The systems on which we have evidence that mirthful laughter has an impact are: the skeletal muscular system, the central nervous system, the respiratory system, the cardiovascular system, the immune system, and the endocrine system” (5). William F. Fr Jr., in Humor and Health Journal

Laughing just 15 minutes a day can help you lose weight. Scientists at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., have discovered that a daily dose of laughing can burn up to five pounds of fat over a year. Ten to 15 minutes of laughter could increase energy expenditure by 10 to 40 calories per day.

Lee Berk, of California's Loma Linda University, found that people expecting to watch a funny movie had 27 per cent more beta-endorphins and 87 per cent more human growth hormone hurtling around their blood than a control group did.

"The human race has only one really effective weapon, and that's laughter. The moment it arises, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place. " Mark Twain

Albert NerembergAlbert Nerenberg is the director of several acclaimed feature documentaries including the hit films Stupidity and more recently the CBC comedy Let’s All Hate Toronto. He developed the slideshow while working on a documentary on laugher for CTV which he is shooting around Canada and in Europe. Nerenberg is the inventor of Trailervision a website which popularized movie trailers as their own art form which CNN called “an international cult phenomenon.” Nerenberg has been the subject of retrospectives at le Cinematheque Quebecoise and the Just for Laughs Festival. He is also the inventor of Laughercize, a more accessible form of Laughter Yoga. Some of us remember Albert back in the day when he was a fixture on The Main in Montreal usually seen wearing a multi-colored plaid sports coat and yellow and green socks!

It's sure to be a real hoot! Tickets are available at the door on a first come first serve basis.

“Laughing May Be The Best Medicine” with Albert Nerenberg
Dec 1st, 7 pm, Arts Knowlton, 9 Echo, Knowlton
For more info call 450-242-2927 or visit: www.laughercize.com

For more information on Laughing Clubs in Canada visit Dr. Katarias official website

SAQré bleu! Knowlton gets a new liquor store!
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The New Liquor Store is so cute! And even better than that is the fact that there is now more booze inside!The new and improved Société des alcools du Québec, SAQ, is now open for business right across from the fairly-new IGA on Knowlton Road in what looks to be the continued growth of a new and modern commercial center in Knowlton, Lac Brome.

The opening ceremony was attended by Mayor Wisdom and a few VIP's, the land developer, contractor and architect and a few friends and family who gathered to officially open the new liquor store. You'd think with record profits of a quarter billion dollars they could have thrown a bit better party! They were passing out small plastic glasses of some rather cheap wine called Monkey Gonch or something and a red wine that would have been a good substitue for CLR! And I'm sorry but grabbing a few boxes of frozen entrees from the IGA across the street hardly can be considered friendly finger foods! Either the SAQ is real cheap on their budget for parties or someone decided to substitute the good stuff for their own wine cellars and instead serve up the boxed rotgut to the guests!

The new government liquor outlet is housed in a brand new building with a Victorian sensibility to go with the theme of Knowlton and the colors of the new building reflect a charm that seems to represents both the SAQ corporate brand as well as the modern approach at looking historical that Knowlton seems to want to present.

The newly constructed building fits in perfectly to the "new look" of Knowlton and the builders should be congratulated for building a "nouveau-classic" structure that is tasteful, chic and modern yet still keeps a historical and cozy small-town sensibility. The colors are beautiful and it harmonizes nicely with the IGA across the street and the Brome Lake Center a few blocks away! Developers should take these project as lesson in how Knowlton should look when they do their building; some projects in and around Lac Brome look as if they were designed in a vacuum of aesthetics but this new SAQ hits the bulls eye of good taste!

The old SAQ was in a run-down eye-sore that looked like some sort of slum mini-mall, which used to house the old IGA and the video rental store. Ever since the IGA moved out of the building next door to build their new facility last year the parking lot has been virtually deserted. The video and DVD rental store is still there, the sole remaining tenant in the grey, beat-up worn-out building, but now with the SAQ officially moved into their new home many people are hoping something will happen to the property and fast.

Apparently the old IGA building was going to be turned into a new pharmacy but why in the heck would a drugstore company want to move into that poorly built, poorly insulated, decrepit old building? Isn't the fact that there is a glut of falling apart, run-down places for sale and rent in Lac Brome proof that no-one is interested in investing in someone else's hand-me-downs? If you a corporate entity with a strong and vibrant brand like a PharmaPrix or a Jean Coutu (or a Starbucks or a Urban Outfitters or a Archambault or a Burger King or a Winners or a Future Shop for that matter) would want to move into a dump like that old IGA building? Wouldn't you prefer to have a modern new building to move in to without the expense of renovation and retro-fitting unless it was in a very busy, up and coming neighborhood that had a positive demographic outlook with a potential for profit and growth?

Hmmm...does Knowlton even have that? The opening of the SAQ says "maybe".

The fancy new liquor store is proof that we can drink those wimps from Cowansville under the table!The SAQ obviously did the right thing by having a brand new building designed and built especially for them, and it looks like more proof that Knowlton may be seeing a shift of positivity. Heck...if the SAQ has entered into a long-term promise to stay in Knowlton then surely there must be good things on the horizon because if the Government feels that the tiny little village of Knowlton is a feasible place to erect a profitable booze outlet, even though there is one in Cowansville, they must have inside information to the future financial trend inherent in our little kingdom!

So what's next for Knowlton's new commercial hot-spot? There is lots of prime real-estate available and the new SAQ will hopefully entice some good tax-paying tenants into Lac Brome to help improve our quality of life. It does look like Cowansville will remain the most popular shopping destination of choice for many Lac Brome residents, as they practically have erected a shopping mecca at the intersection of highway 104 and highway 202, but at least we can go buy our overpriced wine locally now in a nice plush ambiance.

Recent business reports talked about the new SAQ direction which included touches like tasting areas, lounges with comfy chairs, and more modern surroundings. It looks like this new SAQ is one of the new breed of Société des alcools du Québec ; while not quite as funky as Starbucks it sure the heck beats the look of the old liquor store with it's "Point St. Charles Depanneur" feel!

In recent years the SAQ has come under criticism for opening too many stores too quickly and their profits took a hit; with the recent scandals of overpricing, price fixing and some odd Brittney-esque behavior from the heads of the government operated monopoly the SAQ have recently been forced to start closing non-profitable stores in order to get back to the huge reaping of outlandish profits. A huge sigh of relief was heard over the region as the SAQ decided to continue operations in the small market of Lac Brome and give us all a little more of a reason to stay a bit longer!

Not only is the new liquor store as cute as a button but more importantly it's much larger and so it holds so much more booze!! That alone is reason enough to put a "Thank-you to Saint Jude" notice in the Brome County News!! Cheers!

The new SAQ is open for business and there is supposed to be a "grand opening" wine and cheese on November 29th from 5 to 7 pm. Knowlton Société des alcools du Québec is across from the IGA.

Who Turned Out The Lights
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An incandescent lightbulb-as close to the sunset as many of us will see!This week, have you noticed that many people in Knowlton looked as if they were suffering from low-blood sugar levels; many of us shuffled about bleary eyed and dragged our feet as if a deep dark and raining psychological Cumulonimbus cloud were dumping misery and strife upon us as if we were all a tragic bunch of Linus’s straight out of Peanuts!

Of course November is never easy and the first sight of snow is enough to turn even the heartiest Townshipper into something that, from a distance, shivers like a quivering mound of cranberry sauce with a toque and mittens! Oh my…not again! First comes the cold and then the snow and then the abomination we have come to call “winter” hits with full force.

But the low temperatures and minor teasing of snow flakes this week couldn’t be the reason for the look on the faces of Knowlton residents…it took me a while to figure it out but as I left the office last night at 5 o’clock I came to a sudden realization as to why I’ve been so grouchy this week: Daylight Saving Time and the clocks falling back took effect!

It suddenly made sense as to why it seemed that a sudden mood disorder had swept through my brethren in Lac Brome! It was pitch black at 5pm for goodness sakes!

No wonder no-one had any energy to spare any more! We finish work at 5 o’clock, if we’re not on shift work, and it already feels like we should be in bed. By the time we get home, cook supper and do the most basic chores like feeding the cat and taking out the trash it feels like it’s midnight; dark, cold and in-hospitable and we are feeling like subterranean moles who haven’t seen the sun for ages!

Let's take a look at how we're doing as far as having useable daylight here in the Eastern Townships...let's look at the difference between May and November. First look at the healthy looking May Sunshine chart with a balance of sunlight before and after work.

Then compare the May sunlight hours to the November sunlight hours...

No wonder we’re all out of whack!

To make things worse, by the time we do get to sleep, it seems like it is only a matter of minutes before the sun comes up as if on an accelerated schedule…but at 6am! Why in the name of all that is Holy do we need to have the sun shining at 6 in the morning?

Having the sun set before most of us are even finished work should be considered cruel and unusual punishment! This is akin to environmental waterboarding for Pete’s sakes! How, without the aid of a wheelbarrow full of Celexa or Wellbutrin, can a citizen expect to survive this deprivation of life giving sunlight?

Why even bother going back and forth? What kind of twisted mind even came up with such a notion of altering the clocks in such a way? Apparently around 1905, some “prominent” English land developer and outdoorsman William Willett was somehow inspired to invent Daylight Savings Time during one of his pre-breakfast horseback rides when he observed with dismay how many people slept through the best part of a summer day. An avid golfer, he also disliked cutting short his round of golf at dusk. His solution was to advance the clock during the summer months, a proposal he published in 1907.

Excusez-moi une momento! This entire Daylight Savings Time concept was created by some leisure-suited Larry who enjoyed prancing about on a horse at 6am and then would spend his evening contributing to society by swing golf clubs? My goodness…someone pass me a few ounces of Dramamine please I can’t bear this notion!

DST has come and gone and undergone many transformations around the world and it seems that it is costing more money and creating more problems than it actually solves. Finding out that Seven-11 lobbies hard for Daylight Savings time so they can sell more Slurpees or that the Sporting Goods Association also spent buckets of cash convincing politicians in the US that daylight saving time was a good idea…yeah sure…good for their business…but what about the human cost?!

There are many countries that don’t wreak havoc with peoples lives and leave the clocks alone…there are countries that have tried it and have stopped…when will we take a stand and tell the leaders in charge of such critical societal regulations that we need to make changes in the way modern time is handled or we will be come a country of eyeless mole people who hibernate from November to March. In fact judging by the population of Knowlton it looks like a lot of people go south where the sun shines after 5pm. The lights are off and the sidewalks are empty! But not all of us can afford a seasonal frolic on the beach; some poor sods need to work all year and this lack of sunlight must make them simply miserable!

There have been proposals set forward to have a Single/Double Saving Time which would put the clocks one hour ahead in winter and two hours in the summer…if this means more light after I’ve finished work I’m all for it! And since we’re in Canada we should call it a “Double Double” and add even more daylight hours but just letting everyone off work two hours earlier between November and April…now that is a platform to win an election on!

Remember when NASA was driving their remote controlled Mars explorer all over the red planet? Apparently, the scientists involved in the project had to be awake during the Mars day and then sleep during the Mars night so they could communicate with their little surface rover and they were forced to ignore the day and night cycle of planet Earth. If they went into NASA command at 9am Earth time it was 4 in the morning on Mars and the rover was asleep in the shadows!

The brainiacs at NASA designed special clocks that adjusted to the Martian planets’ rotation and all the scientists on the project had special wrist watches and bedside clock-radios that followed Mars time and adjusted to the variations of Mars different daylight schedule. The scientists quickly adjusted to this alternate time zone so maybe we should take a lesson from these rocket scientists!

Why not treat time like an ebbing and flowing tide? Why not have the “hours” of the day expand and contract according to the length of the day? I know, this is sounding a bit existential, but bear with me…I’m suffering from light deprivation and retinal withdrawal! The average working stiff can still serve his eight hours per day for the man but those eight hours shouldn’t be uniform like a piece of string , they should be like an elastic band, stretching and contracting to maintain a fluid motion…this is nature’s way…just ask David Suzuki!

And don’t give me the old argument that this would wreak havoc with the economy…have you looked at the world’s economy lately? This is hardly an example of a working model of efficiency…the planet is literally dying from over-exploitation so maybe by giving back the sunlight to nurture our souls we will make things better instead of sacrificing our precious lifespan toiling away with blue fingers in the dark! Enough of this Daylight Slaving Time!

One astute resident of Knowlton commented to me that the turning back of the clocks had such an effect on the spirits of residents that it was the very reason they didn’t sell rope at Canadian Tire in November; if they did, most folks would be swinging from the rafters at the end of a noose!

Of course he was joking…or was he? As he spoke he looked chillingly similar to Horatio Cane just before the opening blast of We Won’t Get Fooled Again!

Read more > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time

Ondoiements - Suzanne Dubuc
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Suzanne Dubuc P-006-07, 2007, acrylic on canvas, 35 X 46 cm Arts Sutton Gallery announces the official opening of Ondoiements, an exhibition of some 30 recent works on paper and on canvas by artist Suzanne Dubuc.

Image is courtesy of Suzanne Dubuc P-006-07, 2007, acrylic on canvas, 35 X 46 cm

The show opens on Saturday, November 11 at 2 pm, with the artist in attendance.
The exhibition continues until December 9, 2007.

« (…) water gazed upon in its reflection and in its depths at the same time. »: Suzanne Dubuc quoted this extract from Gaston Bachelard, L’eau et les rêves, at the beginning of her cycle about water (2003). Now, she is showing us a third facet motivated by her fascination with water.

« For the past few years, Suzanne Dubuc has been explored in her work a moment, a place that live in her and seem inexhaustible: through the fluid screen of the lake, she observes the natural elements that are submerged.

In this silky and silent world, inhabited by furtive lights, wandering plants, sand, and sediment play hide-and-seek. Seaweed, moss and tree trunks sink into the deep, in a brief eternity that reminds us of our own.

To translate the reflection of this uncertain world, Suzanne Dubuc uses several techniques including paper collage. Working with successive transparent layers, this technique allows us to find, in each work, the movements of the creation and the logic of spatial organization. She invites us to follow the undulation « ondoiements ».

Suzanne Dubuc lives and works in Montreal. She has participated in group exhibitions since 1980 including Art postal at Arts Sutton Gallery, in 1996. Ondoiements is her twelfth solo exposition. She obtained a master’s degree in museology at Montreal University in 2002 and several scholarships from Quebec and Canada, from 1976 to 1995. Her works can be seen in public collections such as the Quebec Museum, the Canada Board of Arts, Hydro-Québec, Gaz Métropolitain and Air Canada.

Curator: Lise F. Meunier

The Arts Sutton Gallery is located on 7 Academy Street in Sutton and is open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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