Saturday, December 30, 2006

One Dead Leader Down, One Nearly Dead State to Go

Congratulations Mr. Bush... as a result of your illegal war, following on your illegal election, you've managed to terminate the last remaining political support for Palistine. Your mates in the Israeli parliment must be bloody thrilled.

But at least you had the grace to have the corpse transferred by U.S. Military aircraft. Was that to make sure and sure the deed had been done?

Refresh my mind; how exactly was Hussain related to bin Ladin? Sorry, wasn't it bin Ladin you were after? Wasn't it bin Ladin who you were pinning the four, 1/2-mile-high-falling-down-straight-into-their-state-of-the-art-footprints, buildings and one disappearing 757 on?

All that is left now is Palistine's crazy leader. Is he next?

Monday, December 25, 2006

A thought for those of you in the US who think the illegal war and the illegal president and the attacks on your freedom are fine; and for Canadians, who think that it is no problem that we must now carry a passport into the US:

Those who would give up a little freedom to get a little security
shall soon have neither

Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Fathers and Dads

With the release of his new film, Will Smith is on the interview circuit with his son, Jaden, who plays his son in Pursuit of Happiness.

When asked about his children and his parenting, Smith said he and Jada "View themselves as guides rather than disciplinarians. "We feel that we are partners in their life, but they are responsible for the lives."

He goes on to say "Something we noticed in our upbringing and specifically in the black fcommunity coming out of slavery in the United States - children were dealt with in the master-slave relationship. We're trying to break the cycle of 'beat them when they do something wrong.' If you get them used to a master-slave relatiohnship, when they leave your home, they're going to be looknig for a master. We want them to be looking for partners."

The Smiths commented further that they believe the 'industrial era traditional education' most children are subjected to doesn't address certain core skills, "First and foremost [being] their ability to communicate with people. The quality of your relationships and the quality of the groups of which you are a member are more important than the Pythagorean Theorem could ever be," said Smith.

To all this, I say a hearty YAH! Followed by, can dead people read or hear the news?

My father passed away 3 and a half years ago. We had a deep relationship but not necessarily a good one. Sadly, my dad was brought up in a very protestant, children-should-be-seen, depression-era home.

He was a very smart man, but, in my opinion, for what it's worth, not always wise. He could not, or would not, acknowledge that my way of doing things wasn't necessarily wrong; it was just my way. His attitude towards me really badly affected our relationship. When he was dying, I said sorry for having been a crappy daughter. That made him cry, which I was sorry about, but it was the first time he ever said "You aren't a crappy daughter." He did say nice things to me and often about me (he very regularly forwarded my writing and other tidbits to family living away) but often the things he said directly to me came with an implied or stated "but."

I have step siblings. They lived with my dad and my other sib and I lived with our mom, who also had 'that' kind of childhood. I'm the eldest in the original family and second eldest in the blended family

I was then, am now and will always be the 'wild' one of the family. I never conformed; I didn't buy in and I didn't stick around when the crazyness got to be too much. My dad, although he meant well, critisised me endlessly about everything, but particulary about how I raise my kids and about my partner.

Between me and my three sibs, we have 10 children; 8 girls, two boys. The youngest will be 12 shorty and the eldest will be 26. Two of us are married; one is recently divorced and I am in a long term, non legalised relationship.

From eldest to youngest, here's what's going on with the kids:

The eldest has been bulimic/anorexic since age 12. At 15 years old, she was dating a 25 year old and was living with a friend in another town. By age 17, she was working, underage, in a bikini bar. She did not complete highschool. She has an amazing talent for music and songwriting; she has an album ready to be produced by a known producer but she will not tour nor will she take hold of her talent. She spends much of her energy being angry at her family members rather than being successful and throwing that in their faces.

The next oldest has graduated from University with a honours degree and is working for a national company. She has had three boyfriends in her entire life. She was with the first a year; the second she was with 2 and a half and the third 3 1/5 and going strong.

Number three kid is in third year university and has honours marks. She is a director with a radio station and has about sixty million friends. She is experimental but pragmatic. She has paid for all her schooling and residence out of her own pocket and that after travelling europe for a year following high school, also on her own dime.

Number four is in first year college and has good marks. She has participated in loads of pursuits but has stuck with none until college, which she loves. She has travelled for two weeks at the expense of a parent and a boyfriend. She spent a week living with a total stranger -male, aged 29 - in Paris. All is well with this kid though.

The fifth grandchild left home at 17 and is living with her boyfriend. She has an interesting job in entertainment. She does well in her work. She completed highschool but likely will not go on. She will probably be quite successful in her field.

Number six has just completed six years of competitive dancing and is finishing secondary school. She speaks three languages. She is going to the orient for the holidays and has been all over the world already, with friends and family. She will be going to university in another city, in another language, starting in September '07 and will attend on full scholarship due to the second language.

Next, number seven, has had a very disturbed childhood with little direction. Super smart and fearless, he has been sucked into the world of drugs and gangs and is currently living out of the city in a secure school setting. Thanks to some adults with a lot of focus, he's now excelling in school and will complete two grade levels in one year, all with honours (which is the requirement for graduating).

Number 8 is a wild child who lives at home but is never there, dates much older men, drinks too much, hates school and detests one of her parents. Scary. Chamelion

Number 9 is struggling with promiscuity, alcohol, drugs and boys. She is currently home schooled, ostensibly to keep her out of trouble. She wears tons of makeup - like Alice Cooper.

number 10 is also home schooled because of illness - except there's no illness. He played sports for a while but a pulled muscle was labled a hernia, so that was over. This child really believes he sees ghosts.

Mine are the grad, the university student and the dancer. No problems, no drugs, no promiscuity, no moving out, no dating paedophiles. Lovely kids. I'm so proud. I am essentially a single parent, although my partner has been a steady influence on my kids. He does not live with us but is here most of the time.

I hadn't ever put it into such eloquent terms as the Smiths have, but how they raise their kids is how I hope I've raised mine - as a partner who discusses with them the direction they're going, the things they're doing and the mistakes they might make, not from the point of view of master/slave or boss/employee, but as someone who knows their kids are separate, thinking humans with goals and dreams and wants and minds. Sometimes I'm wrong about things and that's ok with me. They know I'm falable. It hasn't hurt them a bit for me to be human and apologise when I screw up.

Yes, there are times when I've put my foot down and said "NO WAY" to something or some behaviour but that is accompanied by "Here's why there's no way." Once, I made one of my kids sit at the kitchen table all night because she would not tell me where she'd been between the party she was allowed to go to and the sleepover at her girlfriends (didn't happen; we brought her home). She finally broke after sitting there for 8 hours over night and she was grounded for the rest of the summer, but she got the message.

My parenting style and lifestyle has been endlessly criticised by everyone in my family and yet, my kids are doing wonderfully.

As for my dad, I think I must be moving into a new stage of mourning. I miss him but lately, I've become angry that I cannot sit him down and say "LOOK!" Look at what's going on! I'm the crazy wild kid with all the weird ideas and there are my wonderfully successful, lovely kids out there doing well, making friends, getting on and having a great time doing it and there are the other kids, struggling a bit in some cases and totally lost in others.

I'm the one who was roundly chastised for getting rid of an abusive spouse - because he was a suit and a christian so couldn't possibly do what the police report said he did. No comments were ever made on the drunk, shiftless man my sister dated and who gave her herpes... nor were there ever comments on why her 17 year old was working in a strip club at 17, but my daughter caught shit for discussing her views on censorship. She's against, for the record.

If I could have five minutes with my dad, assuming he is aware of what's really going on, and assuming, as he's dead, that he's been enlightened and can now see everything without bias, I would ask him why he subjected me to a life of slavery; why he could not accept how I did things and why he would never acknowledge that I was actually doing a really good job. And I'd ask him why he was so hard on me when other of my siblings could have used a HUGE tune up! Who lets their 15 year old date a 25 year old???

In a way, I guess it doesn't matter; my kids are my best advertisment: but it still stings and aches and I've always had a difficult time making friends out of the people who are in authority in my world - or at least until about 2 years ago.

About Fathers and Dads, nearly any man can father a child - too many do. It takes one hell of a man to be a dad. See Will Smith above for reference. If there was a law that stipulated that any man who fathers (not including sperm donors- the real kind), must also commit to being a dad and a dad that raises his kids, not forces them to grow up according to his rules. My Step dad was that man.

Learn from your kids!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I just wanna know...

Just wanna know something: Why is this 17 year old kid at the funeral of his best friend?

Why is he in a wheelchair and why does he have a cracked pelvis and sternum?

Why is his other friend, Mike Hagar, still in a coma?

Why is their friend, Connor, dead?


It is alledged that a 24 year old guy, drank a lot and then decided to get into his truck and drive. During his drunken drive, he careened through a red light and slammed into the driver's side of Connor's car, killing Connor and slamming Mike and John into the hard, broken, twisted metal of what was left of Connor's car. It took the medics over an hour to extricate Connor from the mashed wreck of his car.

Mike is my daughter's best guy friend. He's still in a coma and it's been nearly a week. John has been released from hosptial into the hell that will be his life until he somehow finds a way to understand the sensless killing of his friend by a guy who lives in a city where there are zillions of cabs and where the police would have driven him home for free.

Honour for Connor.

Don't drink and drive.

This CAN happen to you.

Mr. Harper, the great pretender, part deux!

I just want to register my amazement at Mr. Harper’s continued theft of ideas, quotes and policies – and even of an “I’m from” (as he allows the “from the west” when he’s actually from Toronto. A few years at university does not make anyone from anywhere near the west.

Harper’s recent statement, that Quebec is a nation within Canada, is a rip off of Michael Ignatieff’s more eloquentQubec est ma nation, mais le Canada est mon pays,” (Quebec is my nation but Canada is my country) several months ago – in French; no wonder Harper missed it – quoted in Maclean’s Magazine on November 20 2006 in an article by Anne Kingston and from his policy primer, Agenda for Nation Building.

How long will it be before Mr. Harper adopts everything from "Agenda", rebrands it and takes credit for it? Given his inability to have creative, original thought on policy, not long I wouldn't expect.

I can hardly wait to see the demise of the poser who is this country’s current “Prime Minister.” He has the position purely by default, due to Paul Martin’s ineffectiveness following Mr. Chrétien’s handing off of a much damaged party mired in all sorts off good ol’ Canadian bullshit.

Mr Chrétien was a scoundrel and Mr. Martin was a weakling, granted: in a field of very poor candidates, and in light of the debacle that was the Liberal party at the time, Mr. Harper emerged the most convincing in a field of losers. That doesn’t make him a qualified candidate. His election only reflects Canadians’ resignation that, at that moment, there was no better choice.

Due to his many years living and working in the US, Michael Ignatieff may be perceived as the prodigal son, undeserving of a place in our Country’s leadership. He is, however, uniquely qualified for the position of Leader. He has long-term, intimate knowledge of and a very emotional love for this country’s politics, structure and goals and he as an equally intimate knowledge of the goals of the US administration

Ignatieff holds no illusions about the direction the US is taking in respect to internatinal affairs. Where Harper is happy to live in GWBush’s filthy back pocket and to be his pawn, Mr Ignatieff understands the US so well that there is nearly no risk Canada will simply become its anaemic parasitic twin.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A couple more...

Well isn't that just so convenient for Mr. Rumsfeld to "resign" if that's what it's called when the President directs you to do it....

Good timing though; apparently there's some huge report coming out in the near term. I hear this report is going to discuss the NON EXISTENT WMDS and may allude to WHY THE HELL WAS THE US IN IRAQ WHEN THE SO-CALLED PROBLEM WAS bin LADIN.

And what's up with Halliburton? How does a defense company become powerful enough to direct the actions - override the generals - of the US military??? And how come the defense contracts Haliburton has were never tendered to any other company - oh, maybe because Mr. Rumsfeld - past board of directors didn't want it to be so!? INVESTIGATE? Nope. The agency that would have investigated this mess was shut down by the current US administration.

Oh, hey, what about those voting machines? No records and no open source code? The company that made the machines refuses categorically to make any part of the source code available. Makes one wonder what they're hiding. How easy are those machines to manipulate? How many of the votes entered were the votes counted? I guess it's good that the investigation organisation isn't around to have a look at these machines either.

What a mess.

I think Mr. Rumsfeld might shortly either come under some deserved scrutiny or will quite disappear. I'm also fairly sure that whatever scrutiny he might be subjected to will be quite readily deflected and that, regardless of the so-called President's move to remove Mr. Rumsfeld, he will protect the deposed one to cover his lying ass.

On the subject of politicans too close to the US "president," I note with interest that the Canadian PM has had little to say about much recently but did a very nice job with a diversionary spectacle by his utter about-face on income trust taxation.

Very nice! that little reversal certainly protected him from any questioning on the issue of the US Administration, his very close ties to it, and his own potential loss of face.

Very shortly, and probably before the next US elections, the current admnistration is going to come under some spectacular scrutiny. Man, for us Canadians, it's going to be a RIOT watching the "leaders of the free world" go under the Free World's microscope!

At least the US president is funny - in nutty, needs meds way; at least it takes the edge off the "He's screwing with so many economies that we're all going to need about 50 years to recover. Oh and he apparently doesn't like his dad either. What a guy.

'Kay. I'm done for now.

Monday, November 06, 2006


I want to put some predictions on here just for the record.

Saddam Hussain's trial has ended for now, with a guilty verdict and a pending hanging. This verdict will be appealed and I predict that the retrial and second verdict will happen in the months before the US elections in two years and that the result of that will serve to oust the currently "ruling" party out.

However, I also predict that, in order to save the rulling party, Mr. bin Ladin may well finally be 'found' and dealt with to offset the potential damage from the Hussain affair. If journalists and others can find and interview Mr. bin Ladin, and if there is someone collecting and distributing the occasional video tape, then why can't the US army find the guy? Because it has been instructed not to. Period.

I predict that GW Bush will also be outed around that time or shortly after, as one of the most dishonest presidents/politicians/men ever known to have held office in the US and I predict that even his father, who has developed quite a close relationship with Mr. Clinton, will have something to say in public. I further predict that Mr. GW Bush's ongoing problems with alchohol will serve to reduce him to "that poor guy" following the end of his presidency. Mr Bush has, even in the last few months, taken to various podiums very drunk. Sadly, there is little difference between the drunk and the sober GW in terms of the idiocies that come out of his mouth.

I predict that Stephen Harper, the Canadian PM is on the verge of massive unpopularity. When lifelong Conservative voters publicly state that they will no longer support their party due to its leader, one has to believe Mr. Harper's hold is in serious jeopardy. When big C conservatives say he is not to be trusted, then you have to know there are problems.

Today, finally, it was noted in our city's daily that Mr. Harper is NOT from the west as he toutes, but from Toronto.

Mr. Harper went to university in my city and even then he was only here two years. He is born and bred Toronto. He has seriously misread the minds of his constituents in this province. The changes to the income trust thing. His absolute flip on that one issue has left everyone wondering what else he's going to flip on. That was a biggie.

I predict that not only will Mr. Harper become very unpopular but that due to his reversals on significant campaign promises, that the previously hated Liberal government will be back in power within a year with Mr. Ignatieff at the helm - he of the "Next Trudeau" mantle.

I predict that in the UK, the National Rail system, British Airways, Air Canada and Cathay Pacific, which I believe are now mounting a massive and costly PR campaign against discount travel, will achieve their goals via a massive discrediting - and potentially via sabotage - hobble and, in some cases end, the discount carriers in that country.

There is a huge push to cause guilt in the minds of the UK traveller for using discount airlines - apparently nothing you could ever do in terms of reducing your impact on the planet will ever have as much impact as not flying on discount carriers - or flying at all, depending on who's speaking (and who's paying that person to speak.....)

But that belief is stupid: discount carriers use the same type of jet fuel as BA or Air Canada or any major airline. The discounters just don't make their client's bleed cash. Sadly, the British public, being very uneducated and, worse, very disinterested in reading, analysing or considering what's going on in their country, stand to be lied to and taken to 'the cleaners' because they don't give a damn.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I was right! An Expert Has Written a Book...

I am thrilled to write this post. Today on The Current, a CBC morning program, Dr. Nina Jablonski discussed with Anna Maria Tremonte the concept of race as a political concept and also how and why skin colour evolves.

The way people carelessly bandy about the term race, even applying that term to religious groups (ie the Jewish race) and cultures (as they do in the UK when they refer to themselves as the English race), is distasteful at best and absolutely disgusting in the full.

I am glad to know the scandalous, misuse and sometimes criminal use of a fase concept has received high level study. I hope soon the use of the term 'race' in all its terrible permutations and for all the political reasons, will cease and the term itself will finally die out.

A link to the full interveiw follows. If that link becomes inactive, go to The Current or to the CBC website and search the program archives. CBC also provides written transcripts of its programs. Directions for acquiring transcripts can be obtained by e-mailing or calling CBC directly.

The following is a short excerpt from the interview:

(NJ) "The possession of any particular skin colour is an interesting story of adaptation but it tells us nothing of uniqueness of group membership."

(AMT) "It tells us nothing about race."

(NJ) "That's right. Exactly."

(AMT) "Does your work essentially argue that race doesn't exist?"

(NJ) "Clearly, that is the inescapeable conclusion. Mine is not the first study in which race turns out to be a biological falacy... use of racial labels in any kind of biologically usefull context is a complete nonsense and we already know from a social point of view that race has been very much maintained in our societies as a social construct. And we know, through many lines of evidence, how incredibly destructive that has been."

Dr. Jablonski goes on to point out that humans are one species wearing multiple colours, a point I also made in my post of Wednesday, December 7th. In that post, entitled Falacy of Race, I discussed this very subject.

Race as we use the term in the 'civilised world,' is a means of division, derision and stereotyping. But the values we attach to 'race' are invalid and untrue. Were people to divide and deride on the basis of eye or liver colour, most people would find such division/derision ridiculous. However do they then manage it when that division/derision is based on skin - also an organ of the body?

Here's the link to the interview. I encourage everyone to sit down and have a very good listen.

Here are some additional links:
Wikipedia: Human Skin Colour
Skin: a Natural History (Book) by Nina Jablonski
Profile of Nina jablonski

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Back from England and Scotland: photos

Round two! We've just returned from a two week holiday in the UK. We spent 3 days with family in England prior to heading north to Inverness and area, where it was our intention to cycle the Great Glen cycle route.

The weather was gorgeous. With the exception of the first day we were in the UK, when it rained, but only lightly all day, and the morning of the last day we were overseas, we had exceptional, surprisingly warm weather. In the highlands, the temperatures ranged from 14 to 20 degrees C the whole time.

Oh, and also except for one afternoon, October 11th. That day it poured. That day was also the first of what we though would be two days cycling.

The Great Glen runs between Inverness and Fort William, and is bordered on the Inverness side by the Moray Firth, into which the River Ness flows, and on the Fort William side by Loch Linnhe, which empties into the sea on the wet coast of Scotland.

The Highlands are mountainous to say the least. We knew there are three climbs of some 900 ft each along the trip. What we didn't know and weren't necessarily prepared for is the rest of the route is very hilly otherwise, mostly going up - at least that's how it felt.

We had hired bikes from a place in Fort William. The owner transported the bikes up to Inverness for us - and hour's drive - and left them with his brother in law not far from where we were staying with my friend Penelope at her B&B Atholdene House (which I cannot recommend highly enough. It is GREAT).

We had also been provided an excellent, waterproof map by an on line acquaintance of mine, Steve, from Benderloch in Scotland. We had all the necessary rain gear and layering clothing and a couple off good mountain bikes, all of which was our undoing really.

My partner and I bike a lot and I run, often as much as 30 Kms a week, so we're reasonably fit for milddle aged people. We were, to be short, quite overwhelmed by the Great Glen.

The Highlands of Scotland are wild and vast and in places very scarcely populated. As we were cycling well out of the tourist season for the area, we were quite alone on our trip. Between the heavy bikes and the 10 or so pounds of gear we both had with us and the quiet and the wind and occasional rain that day, and the solitude - and the wrong turn down a 1.5 mile long, very steep hill, which we had to re-climb afterwards, we were quite overwhelmed by the time we arrived at Drumnadrochit.

Drumnadrochit is a gorgeous village at the NW end of Loch Ness. It is the home of several shops and businesses dedicated to everything about the Loch Ness Monster. It is also the village below the beautiful ruins of Urquhart Castle. By road it is 13 miles beyond Inverness - about a 2o minute drive. Via the Great Glen, it is about 32Kms, largely uphill. Add in an extra 5 Kms for a wrong turn and it's a bit of a distance.

On arriving there, 1.5 hours later than we had anticipated, we sat down at the the Glen Cafe for lunch and to assess. As we sat there, the heavens opened and delivered a deluge. Despite the rain, we decided to press on wards - we were not cold, owing to waterproof gear and proper undergarments - towards Urquhart Castle and to Invermoriston, our destination for the night. Sadly, on arriving at the castle only 2 miles on, we realised that neither of us was going to be able to manage another 32Kms to Invermoriston and so back we went to Drum in search of a B&B, where we would stay the night.

In the end, we decided to terminate the ride and go either to Fort William or back to Inverness for the night. We left our rented cycles with the very accommodating hosts of the Glen Cafe and called Martin, who rented us the bikes to explain.

During the day, we had tried to get a bus either to Fort William, our destination, or back to Inverness. None of the drivers would take our bikes - with the exception of the last guy, who was driving the bus we took back to Inverness; he said he'd be glad to take the bikes, which were already secured inside the locked Glen Cafe. Ironic.

The next day, we hired a car in Inverness - a Golf (right hand drive, standard, diesel with which I drove on the right side of the narrow, shoulderless road at 60miles an hour) drove to Drumnadrochit, loaded the bikes in the car and made our slow and merry way towards Fort William. Along the way, we discovered that the B&B we had booked for our first night was not 2 miles south of Invermoriston as we thought, but two miles south of Fort Augustus, which is itself 8 miles past Invermoriston. We would have been hooped, wet, tired and lost. Small mercy but mercy all the same.

The weather was gorgeous, warm, sunny and dry, which, although we appreciated it very much, added to our respective private chagrin at not having met our challenge to bike the Glen. However, we are realists and we knew that we were pushing ourselves beyond what was safe. We could have completed the ride we are sure but we also realised that we had lost heart.

The upside was the warm, surprised welcome back to Atholdene house by Lucy, the Angel of Coffee, and a bunch of lovely days spent tramping around the Inverness Area and fun evenings spent at the always excellent Hootenany's in Church Street in Inverness.

I have photos posted on my Flickr space. They are copyrighted so please ask me before you used them, but also please enjoy.

If you'd like more information on the Great Glen, the cycle path and the walking path, please leave a comment on this page.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I'd run, but....

This weekend, I ran in this event called "Run for the Cure," which is designed to raise money for breast cancer research and ultimately to find a cure for this disease. Those of you who've been reading my blog know my opinion on whether or not a cure 'can' ever be found (Untruths in Fundraising), given the devastation to the cancer industry a cure would cause.


It was a blast. It was great fun to run down city streets with a ton - 15,000- other people. It was great. I ran with a colleague and beat my 5K time by about 5 minutes, which was great.

It's a huge event in terms of organisation and it went off without a hitch. Loads of media, tons of participants, no chaos. A good day in general.

The only thing I have to complain about is how people cannot grasp the principle of "walk to the right" and why they don't have any concept of how difficult they make it when they stand in the doorways during a very congested, busy event.

I'm sure there were a lot of people who didn't understand my look of daggers as I was trying to get from the inside meeting places to the outside....

I only have two rules for busy places but they apply to all of amusement parks, busy malls, churches, big outdoor events - anywhere there are lots of people

Walk to the right - and this includes on escalator and for entering elevators. Simply walk to the right! How bloody hard is that? In England - London - there are signs in the Tubes directing people (tourists) to walk to the right so that those who want to walk up the escalator can do so. If you happen to stop on the left, Londoners will push you out of the way. And so they should!

Second rule is do NOT block doorways. Imagine if YOU had to quickly get your child out of a busy place and all these people were blocking the doorways!

Doorways are entries and exits. They are NOT where a person should stand and talk. Neither are narrow hallways.

Remove yourself to somewhere that will not prevent others easy entrance/exit.

The bottom line is to always remember that you are not alone. Manners make YOU easier to be around.

Here's a great book by a GREAT writer, Lynn Truss, for anyone who doesn't know the rules.

Also see "Miss Manners" or anything by Emily Post.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006



Here's to you Keith Olbermann! It is aobut time someone spoke up.

George W. Bush;
Worst Administration in History

Go here for the excellent, outspoken commentary by video

Go here for the complete text of Olbermann's speech.

Here's More on the 9/11 attacks

Musings on Sins, Sinners and Sinning.

Is it worse to screw up and, by extension, not by design, piss someone off, or to be the pissed off person and not accept an apolgy?

Having been in this position - that of the inadvertently wronged person - a few times in my life, and also having been in the position of being hurt and not wanting to accept an apology, I want to know which is the greater sin.

Anyone know a Rabbi?

People, being the falable humans they are, are prone to making bad decisions, being idiots, saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, being insecure and reverting to pretty animalistic behaviour sometimes.

However, in most cases, people don't sit about plotting to piss other people off. I'm sure there are people who have some psychological syndrome that predisposes them to finding ways to piss off their friends and family, but I think those people are reasonably rare.

The rest of us simply make asses of ourselves without any planning or pretense. So, if a person screws up, is surprised by a reaction, feels bad about it and offers an apology but the apology is refused, I'd say the refusal is the greater sin.

I've been reading a synopsis of The Anger Diet by Brenda Shoshanna and how anger is often the outlet of choice, "...when people are depressed, feel anxious or suffer mood disorders, they really are angry, she says. Anger also appears as apathy, hopelessness, promiscuity and passive-aggressive behavior, she adds.

Speaking for myself, that was certainly the case in the past. I lived many years feeling powerless, ugly and incapable; I didn't believe that I had any viable skills or anything to offer anyone. This serious lack of self-esteem allowed me to marry the absolute wrong person (I temper this with gratitude for my children, who I would not have had were it not for that bad marriage).

I suffered intense anger for years - everthing set me off including others' unintentional slights, looks from strangers, frustrations - you name it, it pissed me off.

My saving grace was (is) a wonderful friend who has been instrumental in forcing me to look at my life, my self and my accomplishments from a rational, not emotional, point of view and to allow myself some self-congratulations. This is a whole 'nother post so I'll leave it for now.

I still have moments of anger and self-doubt but also have a much greater, useful ability to sift through the situation and consider it from a non-emotional point of view. It's rare day that I lose my temper now. It's a question of not proceeding from an emotional basis on every point , but from a point of view of analysis - my dad would jump out of his skin if he were to read this... "respond, don't react" was his mantra.

Having said all that, it does make me a bit angry to have an apology tossed back in my face - ignored in this case, but, as I beleive most people don't actually go out to piss off their friends, I'm in a position of forgiving the tosser. Weird and circular!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dawson College

Just a quick note about this terrible event.

  • Not all young men who wear trenchcoats are dangerous.
  • The shooter was in possession of a legally obtained, registered gun
  • The shooter had problems that were not related to his dress, age, place of residence or his choice of website.
  • His mother, quoted in the paper saying she was in shock and hadn't raised her son to kill people (WHO DOES??) is asking for privacy. Good luck.
  • Unnoticed or ignored depression in adolescents can result in suicide, whether by the adolesent's own hand or via the adolescent causing a situation where they risk dying or being killed.

The reality is that this guy was very certainly exhibiting lots and lots of warning signs and probaby for a long time. In a 'civilized country' where women learn to yell "FIRE" rather than "help" if they're being attacked (because people are not included to help but very inclined to avoid), it comes as no surprise that this individual, who was obviously very disturbed and distressed, took action, albeit the worst action possible. The attack was his "FIRE" call because his repeated calls for help - to his family and friends - had gone entirely unheeded.

The fact that his mother was in such outright denial - and that no other members of his family have chosen to speak publicly - indicates the roots of the shooter's problems were very firmly in the the family. If they didn't acknowledge that their child was in serious distress, who else was going to?

As for the young woman who was killed, she will now become the symbol for the tragedy, when she has little to do with the actual tragedy - a young man in such distress that he attempts to kill pile of people just so someone notices him! There are many who call his behaviour a suicide.

I don't mean to be callous towards the young woman who was killed or the others who were injured. Her death is devastating in every sense. I cannot imagine losing a child - I have a daughter at university at present. In my deepest heart, I'm terrified for her every single day; who knows who the people around her are and to what lengths they might go?

What I wish is that the media would finally place responsibilty where it belongs; with the family because it is always within the family that problems start.

I also wish that parents would reach out much sooner when they're having problems with their children. There is no shame in asking for help, or if there is, it cannot match the shame that this family will now live with.

The media will never actualy expose the truth of this story or the Columbine story or the Taber story. Family matters and problems, crappy parents and crap parenting are not news. Those are just the hallmarks of our 'civilized' country.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Politics of a Different Stripe

So, I heard the funniest thing the other day, via the office grapevine...

I have taken this post down, not because I didn't like it or because I have any remorse about anything I write here but because I had great concerns that I was about to be revealed to the subjects of the blog.

As all bloggers and their readers know, the blogosphere is a freewheeling kind of place where the writers say whatever they will, without fear of reprisals from their friends, co-workers, readers or bosses.

A caveat: I do not believe that there is any room in the blogosphere for violence and racism, but I also hold dearly to free speech, so yeah, sometimes that stuff gets into the space because people have the right to express themselves even if some of us would rather they just shut up.

Those of us who keep anonymous blogs do so no only to protect ourselves, but to protect those about whom we write.

Most of us are ethical enough to not slander our subjects and I specifically do everything I can to not identify my subjects, including, whenever possible, not identifying even their gender.

Having said that, we who have noms de plume or who remain anonymous do so for a host of usually very good reasons - one being keeping our day jobs.

Those readers who are invited into the inner circle must always hold that privilege in high regard as entry implies respect and trust. Broken trust is very difficult to repair.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bombs and when they bomb

So it looks like the last ditch effort to make Mr. Blair popular again with his countrymen has bombed....

The so-called planned terrorist attacks on 10 commercial airliners was just that: planned. But planned to highten the prime-minister's very sagging popularity there, as he is living in GWBush's other back pocket - along with Stephen Harper. What a bloody weird party that all is.

So out he will go, leaving the airline industry very affected, the adjunct services losing massive amounts of revenue and with his head hung low and his tail between his legs.

Now people, if you actually believe that there was any threat at all, you are being played. There was no real threat. The only threat that exists is to people who's skin is brown and who's ethnicity is Pakistani (even if they're third generation Brits). Those people are being used as pawns in the war to create the 'coalition of the willing' in Britain, as it has been created in the US via the 'attacks' on the towers. Fortunately, Mr. Blair is quite clued in and he knows that such a large scale attack as that on the towers would never have the same effect with the British public. That's why such a thing never happened there. He may be unpopular but he knows his people. It's a damned shame that he's been so poorly played by the US government.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

911 Cover Up

Loose Change 2nd Edition -
Korey Rowe / Dylan Avery / Jason Bermas

If you can watch this and come out at the other end believing that 9/11 happened the way the US government wants you to think it did, you are a SHEEP.

In the Bible, SHEEP are regularly sacrificed.


They got you.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Fake News; Fake Terrorists

What do you get when you blend a puppet president with a whey-mouthed prime minister and an illegal war and to countries full of people opposed to said war?

You get fake news and fake terrorists.

23 people arrested. No names released

11 remaining, still no names released

"some type of liquid" unnamed

Total Chaos designed to entice the British public; result? Devastation to services adjunct to the airline and travel industries... note the relatively quick correction to what's now allowed on board.

It's fake people. Mr. Bush and his gang of terrorists are skilled (man I hate to say that) at coercing you, Joe Public, into believing there is rampant terrorism going on or being planned.

Mr. Bush is hell-bent on keeping the war alive - although it is weird how it has shifted to people and places that have nothing to do with the original story line -how did Pakistan get wound up in this?

And now Mr. Blair has finally got a full-fledged set of marrionnett strings as a gift from Mr. Bush.

People, you're being lied to in order to create more buy-in for the illegal war for oil in the middle east.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Just 'cause the photo's too cool for words.


July 2006

Quebec Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 11, 2006

Courtney's grad from an arduous 3 years (a four year degree completed in three years, I mean) at Mount Royal College in Calgary AB Canada.

She completed her Degree in Interior Design at one of only a few 4-year degree-granting facilities in Canada and the few that are FIDER certified.

Huge accomplishment Courtney! Congrats on making the Dean's Honour Role and on your distinction for the essay you wrote and for simply an amazing three year effort.

You GO girl! Stantec is very fortunate to have you with them. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I'm going to tell you a secret that could change the world!

Ok. It won't change the world. I only speak/write/read two languages, and lots of countries censor the internet so loads of people won't, or won't be able to read this post.

It's about parents screwing up. Again.

There are TWO simple things that you can do to screw up your kids for life.


One is to either not employ the word NO, or to rescind a NO due to whining or temper tantrums.

The second is to not establish a routine or to not stick to a routine.

That's it.

Here's how to do it. Not having routines, not saying and meaning no and being a wuss about sticking to the routines will get you a child that will walk all over you - and probably one that will, in future, do same to co-workers, friends, colleagues and employees.

If you, the parent, who is charged with the care and nurture of this little baby, cannot establish and stick to a routine, you will have put into motion the means by which you will screw up your kid.

READ ON. I'll tell you about three specific routines you should - no MUST - employ if you want to have well-raised kids.

Routines must be established at the earliest and I mean right away.

Children need LOTS of sleep, even though they will tell you they don't. The more fatigued they are, the more frenetic they become and the more they protest bed. Just because they say they're not tired doesn't mean you let them run around screaming until midnight. That makes them spoiled and you a pushover.

When your baby is two to three months old, usually, they begin sleeping through the night. THIS is the time to establish the sleeping routine.

Babies will need to eat once in the early evening and probably once more just prior to midnight. The routine is this: last awake feeding is around 7:00 p.m. This is the foundation hour and this is going to always be the foundation hour until they're about 12 years old.

Last semi-awake feeding is 11:00 p.m.. This is the time that will eventually be eliminated and in most cases can be by the time the babe is six months old. this is also a foundation hour for later, as this last, later feeding will leave an imprint. When your kid is an adult, 11:00 will be a natural time for them to sleep.

If you're feeding your child any later than that or if they're a year old and still getting up at night, you are allowing your child to control the routine. More about this later.

Establish the bedtime routine immediately and only deviate from it when absolutely necessary. By the way, there is NOTHING on TV that makes deviating from bedtime necessary. NEVER let a child stay up for a TV program. Everything's available on the net or on DVD. Bedtime is WAY more important.

My girls were required - and there was NO negotiating - to be in bed by 7:00 p.m., every night. Period. Until the end of sixth grade (they would have been around 11 or 12 years old), bedtime was 7:00 and there was no discussion.

In grade 7, they were allowed to stay up until 8; grade 8, 8:30; grade 9, 9:00. In tenth grade, the bedtime routine was so firmly established that even when it was necessary for them to stay up for homework or after school activities, they were tired and really wanting to go to bed by 10:00.

Establishing this routine has a future benefit. If your kid is naturally tired and wanting bed by 10:00 p.m., they're not going to be whining about staying out till midnight on school nights - or any night for that matter.

Now I'm saying go to bed. I did not say go to sleep. People fall asleep at different rates. One of my girls is asleep before head is on pillow. One reads for three or four minutes; the other reads perhaps for 1/2 an hour. I'm fine with that. They're in bed at the routine time and are thus forced to extend the routine by finding something quiet to occupy themselves until the fall asleep. Reading is a great choice.


No. Kids need routines they can depend on and the need ADULTS they can DEPEND ON. If your child figures out not only can you not be depended on, but that you will alter the routine at a whim, guess what? The child now runs the show.

There are several reasons for a regular bed time:
1: kids need sleep
2: parents need adult time
3: kids must absolutely understand that they may not intrude on adult time.
4: kids need a dependable, never changing routine
5: kids need the opportunity to build on established routines
6: success at school, life and with friendships depends on solid foundations in childhood
7: development of solid foundations for the child is the responsibility of YOU, the adult.

So now you've established a regular bedtime that you will not alter unless there is a very good reason. And because you will not waiver on bedtime, you have also established that you are not a pushover. If you say it, you mean it.

This is the second key concept. If your kids get to understand that by applying the right pressure (whining, whinging, tantrums) you will cave, believe me, they will capitalise on it and sometime down the road, you'll have a 15 year old stealing your car and another kid smoking up in his/her bedroom because they know that, with enough of the right pressure, you will cave.

DO NOT CAVE under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. If you say it, do NOT unsay it.

OK. Here's an example of how to apply the NO CAVE rule. In this scenario, your 10 year old wants to ride the neighbour's motorcycle around the neighbourhood - and the kid doesn't want to wear a helmet. If your kid knows without a shadow of a doubt that you mean what you say, and that no means "no-damn way-and-don't-ask-me-again," then you're going to have about a one minute conversation with that kid. It will go like this:

He/she asks "Can I go ride the motorcycle and no I'm not wearing a helmet;" you say NO; they start to negotiate; you give them the "Don't ask me again, I already said no" look. End of conversation. Employ at all reasonable points.

The next routine you establish is the getting out of bed routine. Most young kids get up early The rule is that they may not come out of their rooms until a certain hour. If that's six a.m. in your house, fine. Just stick to six a.m.

If they come out before the established hour, march them back into their room, tell them in no uncertain terms "STAY IN HERE UNTIL SIX A.M," close the door and go back to bed - or wherever you were.

Do NOT negotiate, yell, or talk through the door. You say your piece once and only once. If they come out again, repeat the above process. Do not say one word beyond "STAY IN HERE UNTIL SIX."

Your goal is to implant in your child's mind that you are the boss, that what you say goes, that there will be no negotiation and whining will not get them anything.

The next routine is the "must be up and dressed by" rule. Doesn't matter what time it is. If your family must be up, dressed, fed and out the door by 7:30 then set your "must be up by" time to what works and STICK TO IT. This includes weekends! Why? Because these routines are invaluable for creating stability and dependability in your child and also for establishing that what you say goes, all the time, no negotiation.

One more: "What's on your plate is what is for dinner." You don't have to eat but don't come back later because this is dinner and dinner time is now.

You want picky, unhealthy kids? Let them tell you what to make and when. Want picky, unhealthy, bossy, spoiled kids? Cave

You want healthy kids who eat and don't complain? Stick to the "What is on your plate is dinner," rule. Start when they're young. Kids should be breastfed until they're at least six months old but after that, they can gnaw on well-cooked broccoli and mashed up sweet potatoes - or whatever else everyone is eating, providing it has been made safe for them to consume.

Chips and Crisps are NOT food. Neither are DingDongs, Coke or pretty much anything processed. If it comes in a box or a plastic bottle, it isn't food. Such things should only be consumed rarely because they make you stupid, unhealthy and fat. Period.

Oh. And be an example. If you don't eat well, you'll be fat and unhealthy and so will your kids.

A note on 'punishment;'



DO NOT HIT YOUR CHILD. Employ time out but do not hit your child.

I guarantee that if you follow these concepts they will save you a world of grief.

Early establishment of routine gives your child a HUGE, beneficial foundation for their future. They will be able to cope in school - because school is all routine. Children who don't have established routines STRUGGLE in school and are often tarred with the ADHD brush (this condition is actually very rare!) If your child has no properly established routines before they get to school age, how do you expect them to cope!?

Routines are the bedrock of coping in school.

Secondly, you will have established yourself as the indisputable authority figure. Your child must understand that when you say no, you mean no and nothing they do is going to alter your no.

CAUTION. There is a concept called occasional reinforcement. Reinforcement is a very strong motivator. Occasional reinforcement is even more motivating.

In my example of putting a child back in their room if they're out too early is an example of reinforcement. You do and say exactly the same thing - no more, no less - each time. Reinforcement.

Occasional reinforcement, however, is where, occasionally, you don't put the child back in their room. That occasion will stick with your kid and will cause whining and tantrums. If you've done it once, you MIGHT do it again and that is the gamble that every child will take. Possibility is a very strong motivator for all humans - and kids, although occasionaly they may not seem it, are humans too.

If you allow it once and then you give in once, you're lost. Occasional reinforcement (allowing/giving in) lets your child know that you can be had. NEVER do it.

I'm sure all this sounds really harsh. It isn't harsh at all. You're not a dictator. You're a parent who I hope has your child's best interests and future at heart. Your goal is - or certainly should be - is to give your child the most solid foundation you can.

I have followed these concepts through raising three daughters. My eldest has just finished her first degree, a degree that over the last three years has required her to be at school sometimes for 20 hours at a time - while she held a job! Her routines are well established and she was able to develop her own routines to cope with the rigours of school. She is on the Dean's Honour Role and she has had a semi-full time job for the whole time she's been in school. She has had a job in her field for a year, and has been offered a full-time position with that international company on graduation - next week.

My second child has been travelling in Europe since last September and for the last 5 months, worked as an Au Pair (nanny) to four girls in Scotland. Her routines are so well established that she was able to easily create similar routines in that household - routines the children had never had, but which totally simplified their and their parents' lives.

One month into her job in Scotland, this daughter called me and told me that she totally understood why I had done things the way I did and that she had put those techniques into practice with this family. She made a huge impression on the family and caused a positive shift in their lives by placing some expectations and routines.

This daughter also graduated on the honour role from high school and is entering university with scholarships in the fall. (Update: this kid is living in New York after finishing her University degree DEBT-FREE because she had the discipline to sleep well, go to class, schedule her study and also work her job).

My youngest has just returned from a six-week work exchange program through the Canadian Government. She has been easily able to adapt to her new job - which is in another province - a french-speaking province - and her new situation because she has foundational routines - regular bed times, regular up times, being on time for work and having respect for persons in authority. She came home with several commendations both from her job and from her host family. (Update: this kid is in year two of a four-year criminology degree and will also exit school with no debt thanks to two PT jobs. She maintains a 3.5 GPA and she also manages to travel quite often. Habits are good.)

I have had moments of rebellion from my girls, to be sure. But they have been short-lived because my girls know that under no circumstances will I bend. Once I make a decision on how it's going to be, that's how it is. They know that there is nothing they can do to change my mind.

Here's an example of how much I won't bend. Once, one of my daughters went to a house party at the home of a family we knew from her school. She was to stay there until 11:00 p.m. and the was to take the bus with three friends to her girlfriend's house, where she had permission to spend the night.

Around midnight , we got a call from the sister of one of those friends, asking if we knew where the girls were, as they had not turned up at their destination. My initial reaction was intense fear!

The sister had heard the girls were in a local walking park (large park of over 80 acres), which is closed at night. My spouse and I went to one end of this park and the sister who'd called went to the other. We did not find the girls. Upon arriving home, however, my daughter called. It was 1:00 a.m. I asked her where she was, and she said at her friends, where she'd been since 11:00 p.m.


We went immediately to pick her up, which she protested very loudly; however we did not bend. In fact we didn't say anything beyond "Get in the car."

Once home, I had my daughter sit down at the kitchen table where I told her she was staying until she came clean on her whereabouts. She would not, so she spent the night - all 8 hours of it - sitting at - and occasionally sleeping on - the kitchen table. She finally came clean at 8:00 a.m the next morning. She never pulled anything like that again because she knew we'd find out, that she'd be punished and that - worse thing - she'd look really stupid in front of her friends because we weren't about to protect her from her own choices.

One final technique and this one is also critical. There will be times when the decisions you make will be the wrong decisions. You will screw up.


Be humble. Be human. Be an adult your child can trust.

You are not a dictator. You are a loving parent. You have rules and routines not to restrict your kids but to free them from spinning about in oblivion. Kids may misbehave but they're doing it to find out where the limits are and IF YOU'RE THERE and paying attention to them.

Do what you say you're going to do.
Stick to your guns, maintain the routines
Say sorry when you're wrong.
Start this when your child is an infant and you will eliminate 90% of the trauma and heartache that so many parents experience.

It is THAT easy. Guaranteed.

More on routines at these places, and please note, they are here for information only. I do not endorse or even necessarily agree with everything in them. OK?
ADD Centres of America: Good article on routines
Wholesome Baby
Parent Resource Network (SD)
Raising Children Network
Suite 101

Flame Wars

Re: I Am Canadian

This posting by Neil Osborne has generated a ton of mail, all of it, with the exception of one letter, positive and suportive, although not always in complete agreement.

I hope I speak for Neil when I say thanks for reading and thanks for your comments.

On the note of the one negative e-mail we received, we chose not to post the comments becuase they indicated the writer had not read Neil's letter but was intent on making personal attacks toward both Neil and myself.

Sadly, this writer continued his slagging today and has upped his personal attacks to a level that is unacceptable and so has been blocked from posting any comments at all.

The writer of these comments accuses me of not supporting free speech because his comments are not posted here. To clarify, I support anyone's right to speak freely. However, as writer and moderator of this blog, I also have the right to decide what goes and what does not go on here.

As I know this person personally, and have for several years, I felt very strongly that the writer was seriously damaging his own repuation via these comments, which show not only an intellectual naivete, but also a grave misunderstanding of world events, and an unrestrained anger about opinions that differ from his. Interestingly enough, said writer directed me to read a website, Little Green Footballs, which content seems at odds with the writer's opinions.

The writer also made statements that, in addition to behing highly and unnecessarily insulting, bordered on Libelous.

I am sorry about not putting these comments on the blog but neither of us really saw the point. The writer seems to be seeking some sort of weird fight with us/me/Neil and neither of us wishes to engage.

Brilliant people do not insult those they consider adversaries... Brillant people seek to learn. Others engage in wars.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Man, this is the coolest. I didn't know I could put video on my site. I'm trying to make it fit and to figure out what to do if my HTML isn't closed, whatever that means.....Watch this space for video to appear shortly.

Thanks for your patronage.

On another subject, does it ever occur to you that the whole plane crashing into the pentagon hasn't had a ton of coverage? Well, it's hard to cover something that not only didn't happen but was STAGED! It was. Just 'cause the US government would like you to believe otherwise and would tell you that you're a bad "American" (USian) if you believe otherwise, the facts - not what the government and the media want you to think, absolutely show otherwise.

"If you've seen many of the managed demolitions where they implode a building and they cause it to essentially to fall vertically because they cause all of the vertical columns to fail simultaneously, that's exactly what it looked like and that's what happened" - Matthys Levy, co author Why buildings Fall Down

WMV video download (524kB)

Um, and where exactly were the state funerals for all those who died on that supposed boeing held? Hmm? It's bullshit kids.

Like, where's the list of names of the deceased and how come, if there was jet fuel on board, that the paper in the offices adjacent to where the plane 'crashed' didn't burn??? And how does a Boeing just disappear into nothing and hey, what happened to the THREE security tapes taken by businesses in the vicinity? And seriously folks, don't you think you'd bloody notice if a boeing flew over you - 40 or even 100 feet above your head? Like, where are all the people who were on the busy roadway beside the Pentagon? Wouldn't you think a bunch of 'em would say "HOLY SHIT, did you SEE that!!!????" Nope. None. Nobody's fessed up to having been flown over.

And what is up with the plane landing 4o minutes prior to the crash, offloading the passengers and then taking to the skys again?

Where did the passengers go? Into Witness Protection perchance?

Oh, and by the way, what's up with all the chemical burns on the towers? Since when does a burning building's structure show shearing rather than heat-caused buckling?

Y'know, it didn't happen how the government in the US wants you to think it did, 'cause if you actually ever think for yourself, you won't be part of the coalition of the willing. And THAT wouldn't be good for the puppet president, now would it?

"Floor by floor it started popping out."

"It was if they had detonators and they planned to take down a building."

WMV video download (411kB)

Larry Silverstein, WTC 7, and the 9/11 Demolition [Details]

We are told that WTC 7 collapsed through fire, yet Larry Silverstein says the building was "pulled" (i.e. demolished). Videos of the collapse and other evidence shows that the building was indeed demolished. When and why was this building rigged for demolition?

More Here:

Um... Why did none of the planes show any commercial markings anyway? Like, werent' they supposed to be United airlines carriers? Like, wouldn't that company's logos be pretty obvious?

Soooooo why were those planes grey and logo-free???

And why does the symbol for the Illuminati show on all US paper currency?? Hmmm? Why is that? I hear the federal reserve is pretty much an Illuminati strong hold - hold and strong being the operative and true descriptions.

More eyewitness accounts from the twin towers here:

Monday, August 07, 2006

My rent-a-kid...

This is Andreanne and her sister, Gabrielle. Andreanne is with me and my fam for most of the summer, thanks to the Canadian Unity Council's Summer Work Exchange Program.

Andreanne turned 16 in late June, so it's a big trip for her, but she's well up to the challenge.

My daughter, Emillie, is in Repentigny, staying with Andreanne's family there, also working as part of the exchange. Emillie has photos


and a damn fine blog


Both girls have it to enjoy the country, see things and improve their second language.

This is a great exchange program, despite its weaknesses (young, inexperienced coordinators). If your kid is in French immersion and finished 10th or 11th grade, they should apply. Prepare to have your own rent-a-kid for six weeks, but it's a blast. Just do it.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Alexandra Marie
2005 clay sculpture Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 31, 2006


The following is a copy of comments graciously provided to my by my brother-in-law, Neil Osborne, who many of you will know as the lead singer of 54-40, a truly Canadian band.

It is a call to arms in a sense.I fully support Neil's views on the issue he writes about here, although I am far more of a cynic: my comments back to Neil follow his well-thought-out essay.

The links inserted are mine.

My name is Neil Osborne . I am Canadian. Maybe I’m “the” Canadian. You see I am the singer and chief writer for the veteran Canadian rock group 54.40. I have crisscrossed Canada dozens of times from Gander to Campbell River.

I have sung to thousands on every Canada Day since 1986. I have been interviewed by Peter Gzowski, Ron Mclean, Much Music and every major daily and radio station. My songs have been heard on commuters’ car radios for over 2 decades. I have sung to and partied with Canadian troops at CFB in Kingston numerous times.

I have lived in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. I know the fabric of the quilt that is Canada. I’ve camped on it. I have traveled the world and come to know the unique respect and trust folks from other nations give to Canadian level-headedness and our progressive, “nice people “attitude.

This is my country. It does not lack identity or need redefining. On several occasions Europeans have asked my forgiveness for thinking I was from the United States for they too recognize that my culture is a distinct one.

But I love Americans. They (most) are just so utterly misguided. The American-led attack on Afghanistan was meant (I thought) to bring that Saudi criminal named bin Laden to justice. Regardless of motive, by UN standards the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan -- a sovereign nation -- is not only illegal but devastating to the country and its people.

Americans then took Iraq. Previous to these invasions, only the dictatorships of Stalin and Hitler ever invaded and occupied two or more countries. My father, an RCAF WWII vet, was among those who signed up to liberate the people and countries under Nazi domination -- a just and noble cause.

But now I am sad. My heart is heavy. Anthony Boneca (Cpl) was killed July 9 2006 in Afghanistan. He was in a war that wasn’t his or his Canada’s. A very bad dream turned to a real nightmare. Although I’ve never met him, I know this kid. Were I to have run into him anywhere in the world we surely would have bonded and talked hockey, Tim Horton’s, beer and Canadian rock music.

“Strong, healthy, helpful and considerate” according to his uncle, Anthony had vowed he would not return to Afghanistan again and was looking forward to his homecoming in Thunder Bay. Now Anthony will never see his home. And a family is left with its grief. Death leaves a black hole in many hearts.

With false pride seeded in denial, PM Harper and minister Mackay seem eager to bandy about Churchill-like phrases about ‘these difficult times’ and ‘safety of citizens’ in Canada and Afghanistan. Are the citizens of Thunder Bay any safer now? Is anyone really concerned about an Afghan terrorist attack in Thunder Bay? Is this ambiguous ‘security threat’ of greater importance than the environment, health & education, crystal meth, crime, taxes, employment, the price of real estate, and who might win the Stanley Cup?

Perhaps now it is. Only the threat is not from terrorists but rather our own government and its willingness to send good Canadian kids to be killed for some vain notion that Canada should be a ‘player’ in a distorted version of ‘What the World Needs Now’. This is sickening to me. Our Canadian identity, morals and values have been hijacked without so much as the debate democracy requires.

Lester Pearson’s crowning achievement (and one of Canada’s) was winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his creation of the United Nations peacekeeping force during the 1956 Suez Crisis. We Canadians were the peacekeepers, with a strong bent towards neutrality. We were the new Swiss, only we cared about everybody, not just ourselves.

We used to look at each global situation on its own merit and address the need from a positive perspective. In that spirit, Canada developed and worked to maintain a leading role in UN peacekeeping efforts for many years serving in over 50 missions, including every UN effort until 1989. We now have just 59 military personnel devoted to UN missions.

Canada, which virtually invented peacekeeping and once ranked among the top 10 contributors to UN missions in terms of military personnel, is now ranked 50th. Still, I was unbelievably proud we refused to participate in the invasion and occupation of Iraq

Now, however, our government is commanding our young people to actively kill human beings in Afghanistan. Now it seems to me that it was the fact that the 9/11 attacks killed so many innocent civilians that made it an abhorrent terrorist act yet somehow, killing thousands of Afghan civilians in an effort to force the once US-empowered Taliban to change its policies has become a moral imperative.

We’re told that if we don’t kill certain Afghan nationals we risk the bombing of our cities and murder of our citizens here in Canada. With that kind of logic it’s a wonder the British back in 1812 didn’t do a seal hunt on Canada’s French population.

There is an assumption that the present day Taliban is a breeding ground for terrorists. I would dispute that on lack of any evidence. They are simply fighting a civil war and foreign invaders as they have always done. We (Canada) simply have no legal or moral grounds to be involved as invaders on one side of a civil war, especially one that has at its roots a long history of foreign interference in the region. Clearly, this “war” (occupation) is not of our creation. We should stick to our role as peacekeepers.

A true Canadian will sacrifice anything in aid of a friend in need, as evidenced in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. But when we discover we’ve been deceived and lied to, we Canadians will stand apart and say enough is enough. There is the saying that ‘nice guys finish last’. Not true. Nice guys finish nice guys. And someone who finishes nice is someone you can trust. I am Canadian. You can trust me. I say enough is enough. I am standing apart and am commanding my government to stop this insanity and bring our young people home and have them do work that all Canadians can be proud of.

Neil Osborne

P.S. I have added some perspective in the form of quotes for those convinced of a moral imperative to now kill in Afghanistan.

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of man as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

-- Helen Keller

"Afghanistan's complexity and lethal tribal politics have been marketed to the public by government and media as a selfless crusade to defeat the `terrorist' Taliban, implant democracy, and liberate Afghan women. Afghanistan is part of the `world-wide struggle against terrorism,' we are told. "None of this is true. In 1989, at the end of the Soviet occupation, Afghanistan fell into anarchy and civil war. An epidemic of banditry and rape ensued. A village prayer leader, Mullah Omar, who lost an eye in the anti-Soviet jihad, armed a group of `talibs' (religious students), and set about defending women from rape. Aided by Pakistan, Taliban stopped the epidemic of rape and drug dealing that had engulfed Afghanistan, and imposed order based on harsh tribal and Sharia religious law.--
- Eric Margolis

“The US poured millions into the Taliban regime until about four months before 9/11. It was only cut off when the regime refused to sign a contract with US oil giant Unocal to build a pipeline south from the Caspian Basin to Pakistan. Much was made of the fact that the Taliban refused to hand over Osama bin Laden to the US. But Bin Laden was a national hero wounded six times in the anti-Soviet struggle -- which the US financed. When the Taliban offered to turn him over to an international tribunal upon seeing evidence of his guilt in 9/11, the US refused. And then invaded. This was by any international legal standard a totally illegal war, which could only have been justified if Afghanistan threatened the US. It is also an illegal occupation.”

- Murray Dobbin

This is mine....

As for the various conflicts ongoing internationally, I don't know what it will take to make people in this country open their eyes to our slow decent into the black hole that is US politics, but if you can make something happen on whatever level, then good. Whatever it takes. You have a voice, a presence, and a brilliant philosophical mind.

I don't see and end to any of the current slough of wars, regardless of public opinion and pressure. Those conflicts are not only supported and enflamed by the US administration and whatever nefarious goals it has, but ingrained on the participants on a cellular level. I mean that literally. Hundreds of years of conflict have caused a situation where the participants have no real idea why they're fighting, or what the original 'sin' was. They just know that's the way it is. Same in Ireland where people on both 'sides' tell their kids that "those people eat their babies."

The greatest sin there ever has been and ever will be is to teach a child to hate, and that indeterminate, groundless hate is the basis for all these wars and unrest. Add that hate to bizarre and self-serving interpretations of old manuscripts disseminated by possible psychopaths (some studies say that as much as 20% of the human population is, or borders on, psychopathic) and you have a very effective recipe for unending continuation of said conflicts.

The US involvement, and the clown that poses as a President in that country, have created such a profound distrust of "The West" that, despite all the good intentions we might have, I don't believe that we can effect any change at all unless we have peaceful anarchy.

The media does not help: Its subtle slander of any non-white, other-than-Christian, or non-conforming person promotes hatred and distrust of those same non-conformers. Take for example the media's interpretation of so-called riots that burned Paris last summer. Those conflicts were much localised and were not the national catastrophe the media would have had us believe, nor was the ethnic community in full revolt. A small group of rightfully disgruntled, under- or unemployed young males did what young males often do when they are prevented from attaining their goals - or getting enough money to feed themselves: they do stupid, dangerous things.

Having said all that, I fully support any effort on the part of Joe everybody to take a stand and make an issue of political stupidity. Regardless of the electoral system in this country, which supposedly allows us to elect people to speak for us (so how did we get Stephen Harper, who lives in GWB's pants and who is truly a puppet?), they don't and we are - or choose to be -- largely voiceless while our elected officials allow the abduction of this country's people into the US way of thinking and acting, internationally.

My dad said, some years ago, that in 10 years, Canada would be using US currency. I thought he was wrong but I'm not so sure now.