Photos of readers

Well, ladies and gentlemen, those of other genders, and comrades, this is the last “photos of readers” contribution I have. If you want this to keep going, please send me two photos of you (preferably in quarantine, but not required), and cat photos are welcome too, so long as they’re your cats.

Today’s reader is Julian Cattaneo (note that “cat” is in his name), and his notes are indented below:

I’m usually quite reticent to publicizing my mug but finally decided that perhaps I should help keep your tank supplied (you keep asking). I’ve enjoyed reading about some of my co-WEITers, if that can serve as a descriptor.

I’ve been following WEIT assiduously for quite some time now — started shortly after reading Why evolution is true, although I post very infrequently. Have always found it interesting and it is one of the few sites where I can stomach reading the comments (your Roolz and enforcement certainly help!). And have learned quite a few things, from you and others. Plus you pointed me in the direction of the (now sadly discontinued) Imagine Conferences, which turned out to be among the most intellectually stimulating gatherings I’ve attended. I had the pleasure of meeting you in Richmond and Toronto and obtaining your cat-enhanced autograph on my copy of Faith vs Fact.

So: I’m a retired business prof (human resources management, international management, mainly) from the University of Windsor (Ontario, Canada) and also, for my sins, had a variety of administrative positions at the university. (My last actual teaching gig was at the Canadian Executive MBA at the Warsaw School of Economics in Poland, March 2018). So  photos of me at work are few and far between and excruciatingly boring.

Instead, some other views. We went to Argentina in April 2019 and visited parts of the northwestern provinces of Salta and Jujuy. The first picture is of my wife, Vivian (a retired social worker) on an outlook by the Cuesta de Lipán, a stretch of Route 52 that connects to the highway network and allows commercial travel from Brazil, through Argentina, and on to Chile. The cuesta itself is a succession of hairpin turns (some are visible under the sign on the right) ascending for 17 kilometres from the town of Purmamarca, Jujuy province (at 2192 metres above sea level) to the Abra de Potrerillos (4170 m). This outlook is at around 3600 m above sea level.

We continued on to the spot below. I get a kick out of asking Canadian and American friends to identify what is pictured. Invariably the answer is some variant of “people on a glacier” or “people on an ice field”. But no…
These are the Salinas Grandes (Great Salt Flats), some 30 km west of the Abra de Potrerillos. They are at 3450 m above sea level and cover about 212 square kilometres. A closed basin, the salt is left behind by evaporation. Certainly not as big as the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia (10,000 sq km, the world’s largest), but still quite impressive. There is another Salinas Grandes in Argentina, further south, which covers some 4700 sq km at 4500 m — world’s second largest after Uyuni.
Below, the two Ragdoll sisters we are staff to: Scotch and Soda.
Finally, for many years one of our hobbies has been Scottish Country Dancing. Here we are photographed at the Annual Ball of the Windsor SCD group. If you’re wondering at the coats of arms on the wall, it was held at the local German club. The dancing is an activity — like travel — that has been curtailed by the current pandemic.

14 Comments

  1. W.T. Effingham
    Posted August 8, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Great images. The cuesta beckons. It appears Scotch and Soda go well together. If I ever find myself ( hopefully with good companions) in that region, I would hopefully not pass the salt flats without perusing them closely.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 8, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    My, after those great photos we will likely have to kill some people to preserve the true identity. I recall a place in Utah that looked something like that photo but not the altitude certainly. Some great looking cats as well. Maybe you or Vivian can recall when everything changed from personnel to human resources. I lived through it but can’t recall where/when it begin. Maybe Walmart about 1980 something.

    • Julian Cattaneo
      Posted August 8, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      I seem to recall that the move to calling it “Human Resources” started in the late 1970s, and did meet some resistance (on the grounds that “personnel” means “people” while “resources” are things). The Personnel Association of Toronto changed its name to Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario in 1995.

      When I get cynical, I begin to think that the change to “HRM” was an attempt to get more status (& money) to the executives in charge of HRM…

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted August 8, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the information. For some reason I remember another name change that happened around the same time as HRM. It was the name associate. And the company that started this one was Walmart. No longer called employees but now associates. Being in a company that was primarily retail we all followed whatever Walmart was doing because they were the lead.

        • Barbara Radcliffe
          Posted August 9, 2020 at 12:40 am | Permalink

          Did it not go from ‘payroll’ to ‘personnel’ to ‘human resources; ? Where will it go next?

  3. Posted August 8, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the wonderful photos and narrative, Julian. Lovely family!

  4. Janet
    Posted August 8, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Julian and Vivian. I would love to see the Scottish Country Dancing!

    • Julian Cattaneo
      Posted August 8, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Let’s see: https://www.scottish-country-dancing-dictionary.com/video/reel-of-the-royal-scots.html
      The first version (top of the page)is quite good.
      There are some 15,000 recorded dances. This is a promotional video by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7UoHY57df4

      • rickflick
        Posted August 8, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Charming! Thanks.

      • Don Mackay
        Posted August 8, 2020 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for those inspirational videos, Julian. As a teen I played the pipes for Scottish Country Dancing, but did not learn to dance! So more recently, in my 70s, I joined a dancing class, and loved it for two years till an old knee injury made dancing impossible. So I joined the local pipe band with which I can at least march! What might not be so obvious to the listener of pipe dance music is the huge array of tunes written, adding to the pleasure of the dance and the playing for it. Just for the record I live in New Zealand, where Scottish traditions are still followed with enthusiasm.

        • Julian Cattaneo
          Posted August 9, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

          I played tenor drum in a pipe band in of all places Buenos Aires, Argentina. Also dropped into a Highland Games in, as I recall, Palmerston North, NZ, some 20 or more years ago

  5. rickflick
    Posted August 8, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always thought dancing – ballroom, or SCD, or square dancing, would be fun to try. Unfortunately, my weak ankle wouldn’t permit it.

  6. scruffycookie
    Posted August 9, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    You both look fabulous in your Scottish Dancing outfits! And your cats are beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Posted August 9, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the great photos. They remind me of a similar trip my wife and I made 1990. We also visited Salta, Jujuy (wonderful name) and Purmamarca, but didn’t go as far north as you did. Your pix show me we should have. I remember being amazed that, as we were in the bottom of a valley near Humahuaca, we were at an altitude greater than any we had experienced in the Alps. Makes you stop and think. Thanks again.


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