Monkeys and Mountains

Why You’ll Really LOVE the Adventure of Ziplining in Como

Ziplining at Jungle Raider Park Xtreme near Lake Como in Lombardy, Italy was unlike anything I've ever done! Adventure junkies will love its uniqueness!

You can read the original article here: Why You’ll Really LOVE the Adventure of Ziplining in Como. Monkeys and Mountains | Adventure Travel Blog - Outdoor Adventures | Hiking Trips| Cycling Trips | Active Holidays

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Posted on 24 May 2016 | 7:53 pm

Indian Country

'Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic' is Incredibly Relevant to Native Communities

Pain pills and heroin addiction are sweeping through many Native communities....

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Posted on 25 May 2016 | 12:00 am


8 Simple Reasons you need to be at TechFest Vancouver!

Mark your calendars! Techfest is back in Vancouver May 25th! In a competitive market, it can be hard to get your foot in the door. Thanks to Techfest by TechVibes, growing tech companies and talented...

The post 8 Simple Reasons you need to be at TechFest Vancouver! appeared first on Hello Vancity.

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Posted on 25 May 2016 | 1:17 am

List Verse

10 Brutal Accounts Of Torture In Old Insane Asylums

Reports from the 1800s and early 1900s about the abuse of patients in insane asylums are enough to make the strongest person want to vomit. The patients were often kept in the most horrendous conditions and, in some cases, were treated far worse than any mistreated farm animal. Even worse, the asylums fought back against […]

The post 10 Brutal Accounts Of Torture In Old Insane Asylums appeared first on Listverse.

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Posted on 25 May 2016 | 7:03 am

The Gate

#AliceOnQueen pop-up hits Toronto for ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’

You'd better hurry, or you'll be late, for a very important date. The Alice on Queen pop-up event has arrived in Toronto for one week, and celebrates the May 27th release of Alice Through The Looking Glass with the Mad Hatter's Tea Party table brought to life courtesy of YouTube's How To Cake It star Yolanda Gampp and her team.

The post #AliceOnQueen pop-up hits Toronto for ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’ appeared first on The GATE.

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Posted on 25 May 2016 | 3:26 am


Feeding humanity in a warming world

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Posted on 24 May 2016 | 10:30 pm

This hungry Kitten

Easy Chicken Shawarma Kebobs

My last post was almost a month ago! Life gets busy sometimes and finding moments to sit and reflect don’t come around often enough. I have been on a journey to better health, and it’s been wonderful! I think we’ve … Continue reading

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Posted on 10 July 2014 | 3:45 pm

The cat from Hell

Goodbye Dear Furrends

This is said with a heavy heart, but it is time to say goodbye. Wes has been blogging since August …

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Posted on 22 September 2015 | 4:28 pm

The Future Soon

Octopus killing a seagull - THE KRAKEN WAKES

Octopus killing a seagull off Ogden Point breakwater

I love octopuses. Smart, powerful, adaptive, and deadly.

These are the first ever photos of a Giant Pacific Octopus catching and killing a Glaucous-winged seagull.

And they provide two important lessons: One, always carry a camera with you because you may happen upon a scientifically important event. And two, keep an eye out for the unusual.

I loved finding and booking this story for my local CBC morning show, On The Island. 

Take a listen to Ginger Morneau, the woman who took these photos.
Here she is speaking with CBC On The Island host, Gregor Craigie.

And this is where I found this story.

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Posted on 3 May 2012 | 6:21 pm

Urban Toronto

Photo of the Day: Rainbow

Today's Photo of the Day comes to us from Forum contributor UrbanOptic, who captured this fantastic view of a rainbow over Toronto's South Core area. Captured from the east tower of Ïce Condominiums, this shot overlooks the topped-off Sun Life Financial Tower and the rising Harbour Plaza Residences.

Photo of the Day, Toronto, Sun Life Financial Tower, Harbour Plaza ResidencesRainbow over Toronto, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor UrbanOptic

Want to see your work featured as Photo of the Day? Head over to the City Photos & Videos section of the Forum, or submit your images to the new and improved UrbanToronto Flickr Pool for your chance to be featured on our Front Page!

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Posted on 25 May 2016 | 4:00 am

The Hook (B.C. News)

More Combat Training for BC's Natural Resource Officers (in News)

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Posted on 25 May 2016 | 7:30 am

The Greater Fool

A little screwed

Andrew just bought a condo in DT Calgary. Poor Andrew. Unlucky in love, now horny over property. “A few years ago my life changed and I stopped owning a house (along with a wife and a couple dogs, I really miss the dogs) but with my divorce winnings (I mean home equity buyout) I put […]

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Posted on 22 September 2015 | 9:39 pm

We Asked Millennial Priests How They're Courting the Least Religious Generation

Millennials are the least religious generation yet, but at the same time, there's a resurgence in millennials becoming priests.

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Posted on 25 May 2016 | 10:55 pm

Michael Geist

Canada’s Copyright Lobby Revolving Door Raises Fairness Concerns Ahead of 2017 Review

The revolving door between government and lobby groups has long been a source of concern in the United States, where lead government IP officials have regularly jumped to lobby groups representing music, movies, and software interests and vice versa. In recent years, that has included the USTR official responsible for copyright in ACTA and the TPP moving the MPAA, the lead software industry lobbyist joining the USTR, and the general counsel of the Copyright Office joining the top international music association.

The Lobby Monitor reports that the revolving door has apparently migrated to Canada, with the former Director of Regulatory Affairs for Music Canada joining the government to play a key role in copyright policy, only to be replaced by the former Director of Parliamentary Affairs within the Prime Minister's Office, who was the lead on the surprise copyright term extension for sound recordings passed in 2015.

The post Canada’s Copyright Lobby Revolving Door Raises Fairness Concerns Ahead of 2017 Review appeared first on Michael Geist.

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Posted on 20 May 2016 | 8:40 pm

The Tyee / The Hook

More Combat Training for BC's Natural Resource Officers (in News)

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Posted on 25 May 2016 | 7:30 am

PNE Summer Night Concerts include Hedley, the Sheepdogs, Culture Club, Steve Miller Band

All concerts, except the August 20 show, are free with PNE admission.

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Posted on 25 May 2016 | 2:41 pm

A View from the Edge

Merry Christmas!

I just want to take this opportunity to thank all of you
for following my blog. I have been blogging since 2005; 3 years on 
another site and 5 1/2 years on this site. I started the blog mainly as a
diary and for my friends and family to keep track of our doings and 
whereabouts when we decided to hit the road in our RV. We got off the
road in April 2012. I have decided to step away from blogging for awhile, if not
permanently. I have many ideas in my head for books, and, in fact, have started
a few of them! I am hoping to spend more time this new year on writing. I
might check in from time-to-time on your blogs; may not comment, but just to
see how you all are doing. I've made some good friends over the years through
blogging, and I know that we will stay in touch.

Have a WONDERFUL Christmas and a HAPPY and HEALTHY
New Year!

Love, Pat

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Posted on 22 December 2013 | 2:24 pm

Cottage Country Reflections

Summer gardens and gardening!

May 21st First, I borrowed the kids' red rototiller, and I did this work on Saturday and Sunday. It was such a mess, and very neglected. I was totally defeated by bugs two years ago. It was good, honest work. What is delightful is that I could smell the lilac, which has just bloomed. And the Swallowtail has begun to visit! May 23rd On Monday, we were the first to arrive at Hillside Gardens!

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Posted on 25 May 2016 | 12:11 pm

Weighty Matters

Could "Psychological Stress" Explain The Biggest Losers' Metabolisms?

Seems extremely unlikely to me only in that there's no obvious pathophysiological mechanism that could help to explain why the show's psychological distress led to permanent and disproportionate metabolic adaptation.

And though that's what I told the reporter from the New York Post, she left out the "doubtful" proviso and left in the "possible".

The thing is, it's unclear why The Biggest Loser's contestants' metabolisms seem slower than would be expected simply as a consequence to weight loss. They're also slower than the metabolisms of patients who've had bariatric surgery and lost similar amounts of weight.

Could their greater degrees of metabolic adaptation be due to the nature of the show itself? Sure. But as I told the reporter Maureen Callahan, over and over again in fact, it's also possible that losing 40-50% of your body weight without surgery, regardless of approach, is responsible.

And yes, despite what the article misquoted me as saying, plenty of people have lost 40-50% of their body weights without surgery, but generally those losses occur with extremes of effort (like they do on The Biggest Loser). What I'd like to know is whether or not losing comparable amounts of weight slowly would lead to similar outcomes?

That'd be a challenging thing to figure out because losing that much weight slowly is a rarity. Of course that doesn't mean it doesn't happen, it just means that it's rare. It also means that randomizing people to lose 40-50% of their body weights with non-extreme efforts isn't feasible.

Lastly, though I think when it comes to weight loss The Biggest Loser's Dr. Huizenga is either deluded, unethical, or clueless, I never claimed to know him personally.

Bottom line. The Biggest Loser is a horror show (I've written extensively about it over the years), but so too is Maureen Callaghan's reporting on it for The New York Post.

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Posted on 24 May 2016 | 2:16 pm

Margaret Wente

Electric cars and unicorns: Ontario’s new green scheme

The province’s leaked green plan would be a gravy train for subsidy seekers, lobbyists and hawkers of renewable-energy schemes

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Posted on 24 May 2016 | 11:00 am

Lauren Out Loud

HIATUS: re-launching sometime, maybe, in the future

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Posted on 24 July 2014 | 6:54 pm

Rants n Rascals

Gear up for Summer with Bentology #BentoBoxes

One thing we love to do in the summer is go on a picnic. In order to do that though, snacks must be provided. Trace loves using his Bentology (Bento) Box from Fenigo for school, but he also brings it along whenever we hit the park. What’s a Bento Box? Wow you have to check it […]

The post Gear up for Summer with Bentology #BentoBoxes appeared first on Rants n' Rascals.

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Posted on 24 May 2016 | 7:09 pm

Bow. James Bow

Journeys End With...

As I was leaving Portland, I decided to make one more change to my itinerary. Instead of sleeping in coach on the Capitol Limited to Pittsburgh, I’d take a roomette instead and ride the Lake Shore Limited to Buffalo,...

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Posted on 25 May 2016 | 9:20 pm

A Toronto Blog

Harlem Globetrotters in Toronto

Just the name puts their theme song in my head but seeing members of the famous basketball team down at Toronto City Hall was pretty cool. Scooter Christensen #16, Bull Bullard #33 and Slick Willie Shaw #40 were filming in Nathan Phillips Square.

Standing on the elevated walkway the players took shots at a basketball net down by the reflecting pool. They were really friendly and took time to pose for photos with their fans.
"The Harlem Globetrotters began in 1926 as the Savoy Big Five. Now more than 85 years and 20,000 games later, the team has become one of the most recognizable franchises in sports." This year marks the 90th anniversary of the amazing and entertaining sports franchises in history.

Some of the balls floated in the pond

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Posted on 26 May 2016 | 12:30 am

Robyn Urbak on Campus

Samantha Power to the Class of 2016: ‘Get close. Go all in.’

And once you're close ... bring other people close with you — helping them see issues that can otherwise feel far removed

The post Samantha Power to the Class of 2016: ‘Get close. Go all in.’ appeared first on

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Posted on 23 May 2016 | 10:32 pm

Postcards From the Mothership

Photo of the day: Tumbling on the sand dunes at Port Franks

Remember when you were a kid, how fun it was to hurl yourself down a hill and try to outrun your momentum? Today’s lesson was “gravity always wins.” Lucky for us, the day’s other lessons included “cousins are awesome” and “it’s finally summer” and “there’s nothing better than family, even when they’re howling with laughter […] Related posts (automatically generated):
  1. Photo of the day: Cousins in the tent
  2. Photo of the day: Cousins in a tree!
  3. Photo of the day: Beach jump!

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Posted on 23 May 2016 | 12:17 pm

David Akins on the Hill

No love for premiers Ball, Wynne, or Clark

Poor old Dwight Ball. Just sworn in as premier of Newfoundland and Labrador not even six months ago, and voters on the Rock have given him zero in the way of a honeymoon. (By contrast, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, sworn in seven months ago continues to soar in the polls). Ball is least popular premier […]

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Posted on 25 May 2016 | 12:45 pm

Dutch Blitz

Time To Reboot

The past few weeks have been busier than my normal ‘windmilling-through-life” everyday experience. I attended ROAM and will write about that soon, because I have finally had time to proces it and want to share what I took away from it. I was then away for another reason that is not my story to tell, even […]

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Posted on 24 May 2016 | 3:30 am

Nik at Night

6.05 The Door

Hello my friends, and welcome to this week's heartbroken recap of a heartbreaking episode, in which our favourite Hodor meets his demise at the precise moment when we discover exactly why the only word he can utter is "Hodor." In the days that have followed, tributes have ranged from the crass — doorstoppers with Hodor's pained face on them — to the lovely — people putting stickers of Hodor's face next to elevator "Hold Door" buttons. The task of discussing that final scene will fall to my comrade-in-arms, Christopher Lockett, this week, so I shall begin. 

Nikki: The first thing that must be pointed out about this fantastic episode is who directed it. You should have seen the look on my face when “Directed by Jack Bender” flashed across the screen. For those of you who didn’t obsess over every moment of Lost(in which case, how, exactly, did you come to read my blog?!), Jack Bender was the lead director and one of the executive producers of the show. He’s responsible for most of the best episodes of that series, and the images that we remember most vividly from it. He directed the series finale, as well as every season finale that preceded it. He directed 30 other episodes, including “Walkabout” and “The Constant” — in other words, when you have a key episode that could change everything, you bring in Jack Bender.

And considering the revelations, lies, and that devastating ending, this was definitelya key episode.

We begin with Sansa and Brienne as they face Littlefinger, who has sent Sansa a raven to meet up with him in Mole’s Town. We last saw this place when the wildlings, led by Tormund and Styr, attacked the town and killed everyone in it. Gilly has been hiding out in the brothel with Sam, and she huddled in the back where Ygritte found her and told her to stay quiet. She survived (obviously) and escaped back to Castle Black.

Now Sansa, Brienne, and Baelish stand amidst the wreckage left behind, and she gets to confront him in a glorious scene of retribution we’ve been waiting for. With Brienne having her back, Sansa glares at Littlefinger and dares him to tell her if he knew what he was getting her into by leaving her there. Of course, Baelish wants to skip by the answer, so he stammers his way through a round of shrugging before Brienne holds her sword and says menacingly, “Lady Sansa asked you a question.” Sansa then helps him out: “If you didn’t know, you’re an idiot,” she says, “And if you did know, then you’re my enemy.” We watch Baelish staring at Sansa, knowing he betrayed the daughter of the woman he’s loved his entire life, a girl who is the spitting image of her mother. Despite the fact Littlefinger’s heart is made of stone now, in this moment we catch a glimpse of him actually appearing to feel a tiny ounce of remorse for what he put her through.

She tells him she can still feel what Ramsay did to her, not just in her heart but in her physical body. She tells him over and over again to imagine exactly what Ramsay did to her: mind, body, and soul. He didn’t touch her face, because he needed that, but he destroyed every other part of her body that could be covered up. Sansa stands like stone, as Brienne looks more enraged by the second yet maintains that cold glare.

“I’m... so... sorry,” Baelish says with phony empathy, and says he had wanted to protect her, and will do anything to protect her now. “You wouldn’t even be able to protect yourself if I told Lady Brienne to cut you down right now,” she spits back.

“You freed me from the monsters who murdered my family, and you gave me to other monsters who murdered my family.” And in that one sentence, she sums up exactly the hell she has lived through for years. The Starks were just a quiet family living in the North who had the misfortune of being chosen to be the Hand of the King, and in doing so became the target for every other family jostling for position. Baelish saved Sansa from the Lannisters, who had murdered her father, and he handed her off to the Boltons, who had murdered her mother, brother, and a sister-in-law she’d never met. He tells her that he will do anything to undo what’s been done to her, but you can tell from the look on Sansa’s face, there is no undoing what’s been done to her. But what it HAS done is made her stronger, willing to fight. She’s a strategist now, now some girl doing embroidery in the background while the men do the real fighting.

And as he leaves, realizing she’s not going to come with him (not that he ever thought that — I always feel like Baelish is 10 steps ahead of everyone) he tells her that he’s been in contact with her uncle, Bryndan the Blackfish, and that he’s gathered an army that would be willing to fight with her. She says, “I havean army.” Oh right, he says sarcastically as he passes her in the doorway, “Your brother’s army...” and then he corrects himself, “Half brother.”

Someone needs to push this guy through the moon door.

Sansa was my hero in this episode. Of course, what she does with Littlefinger’s information is suspect, and I can’t help but picture Admiral Ackbar jumping out of a doorway and yelling, “It’s a TRAP!!” but let’s give her a round of applause for making Baelish pause for even three seconds to actually consider what he’s done to Catelyn’s daughter.

And from there we move over to Arya, where she’s forced to watch a rather difficult reel of “Previously, on Game of Thrones.” In verse. What did you think of our Arya this week, Chris, and that very brief but squee-inducing cameo?

Christopher: To be honest, I completely missed Withnail on my first viewing—it was indeed very brief, and I must have been looking at my notes. When I rewatched the scene, I was thinking “what cameo?” … and then I saw him. Good old Richard E. Grant—he never disappoints.

I loved the Arya scenes this week. She hasn’t had very much to do this season yet, so it was great to see her story moving along. What was interesting was the way in which her identity as a Stark continues to stick to her, however much she might protest that she is “no one.” What precipitates this uncertainty is her poor showing against the Waif in their fight training; indeed, the Waif is so superior to Arya that one wonders if she was feeling ill on the day when Arya bested her in spite of her blindness. Plot inconsistencies aside, however, the Waif’s insistence that “You’ll never be one of us … Lady Stark” segues into Jaqen’s acknowledgement that this might, in fact, be the case. “She has a point,” Jaqen says, and proceeds to expound on the history of the Faceless Men: that they were a society founded by former slaves, who fled Valyria after—he seems to suggest—they killed all their masters and overseers. “Where did they go?” Arya asks, and Jaqen reveals that the free city of Braavos was in fact founded by the Faceless Men.

Arya’s struggle to lose herself has become an interesting reflection of the significance of naming and names, especially when her scene is juxtaposed with Sansa’s determination to win back the North, and Littlefinger’s snide observation that Jon Snow is only Sansa’s half brother. It’s a seemingly throwaway aside that cuts as only Littlefinger knows how: at once reminding Sansa of how she mistreated Jon in the past because she didn’t consider him a true Stark, while also pointing to the issue of his legitimacy: he might putatively be Ned Stark’s son, but as a bastard he lacks the legal rights of a trueborn, and unlike Ramsay was never legitimized by his father or by a reigning monarch. While Sansa and Jon will struggle to assert the rightfulness of the Stark name in the North, Arya struggles to set her legacy aside, but it clings to her like a burr.

All of which is made even more glaring by the play she attends. Did Jaqen know what the play was about when he sent Arya off to reconnoiter her assignment? If so, it’s a cruel little twist of the knife and, I would assume, one more test for Arya. The recapitulation of the events of season one calls to mind Karl Marx’s assertion that history repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce: the tragedy that Arya experienced first hand is repeated for her as a crude pantomime replete with farts, slapstick, and gratuitous nudity (all right, so that bit was accurate). It would appear that the Lannister propaganda machine has worked well: Cersei and Joffrey are depicted as fair and generous, Ned Stark as an oafish usurper, and Tyrion as the ultimate villain of the piece who arranges for Ned’s execution in spite of Joffrey’s leniency, humiliates Sansa, and slaps the new king (which, I must admit, is still deeply satisfying to watch even though it’s a fake Tyrion and Joffrey).

Maisie Williams does some lovely face-acting throughout the play, communicating that, however much she has committed herself to the Faceless Men, she is in fact still Arya Stark—and seeing her father misrepresented on stage obviously pains and angers her. These events are still very much a part of her, and she is a product of her personal history. Shucking all that to become “no one” is not easy.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this season is doing a lot of calling back to the first season, giving us echoes of where all of this started. “Don’t you wish we could go back to the day we left?” Sansa asked Jon last week. “I want to scream at myself, ‘Don’t go, you idiot!’” Unbeknownst to Sansa, her brother Bran has been doing something close to that, momentarily distracting young Ned Stark as he starts to climb the Tower of Joy. It’s hard not to read Arya experience of this pantomime as thematically parallel to Bran’s astral travelling, especially considering the way in which the play shows history as fungible: it distorts the facts of Robert Baratheon’s death, Ned’s execution, and the Lannister seizure of power, but for all intents and purposes that has become the standard narrative as it is popularly understood. By the same token, we get confirmation this week of something only suggested previously: that Bran’s virtual travels are not merely passive viewership, but can and do affect and change the past and therefore the present. The broken-telephone telling and retelling of Ned’s execution that produces a comic play broadly correct in the narrative but profoundly wrong on the details presages the way in which an imperative given to Hodor in his youth transforms into his only word and, as it turns out, his one mission in life.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The pantomime Arya watches is the most overt call-back of the season so far, and as anyone who has done Theatre Studies 101 knows, any time you see a play-with-a-play (or in this case, a play within a TV show), it’s a meta-theatrical gesture calling attention to the play’s very theatrical framing and artifice. And much like “The Murder of Gonzago” in Hamlet, this pantomime catches the conscience—not of a king, of course, and not just of Arya in her desire to dissolve herself into no one, but also that of the audience. I might be alone in this, but watching the play as Arya watches it, and seeing the distortions time and distance lend to the story, made me think of the increasing disparities between the novels and the series, and the ways in which the viewing experience is transformed for me now that we’re past the point where I, as an avid reader of the novels, had a narrative roadmap.

This sense was only heightened by the fact that this episode offers a handful of revelations, and a man wonders whether these will be consonant with the novels, or whether the showrunners are taking liberties. The first of these revelations happens after Arya’s scenes. What did you think of the fact that the White Walkers were created by the Children of the Forest as a weapon to fight humans, Nikki?

Nikki: That was certainly a shock. The Children of the Forest are far more fleshed out in the books, and have only been touched on in the show, occasionally mentioned by others as a race that had died out and has been forgotten. Now that Bran is with them, we see some of them survived.

I saw some confusion on social media the day after this episode aired, and some of it was directed at the Children of the Forest. Who are these tree women, and where did they come from? The Children of the Forest, according to the legend depicted on the show, were the first inhabitants of Westeros, and lived in harmony with the weirwood trees... until man came along. The legend that has been told to us so far is that they engaged in battle with the White Walkers, and were killed off, with this small handful of Children driven north to where Bran is. The White Walkers not only slaughtered the Children of the Forest, but the giants. The key figure you see with Bran is Leaf, and she seems to act as a de facto leader of the Children of the Forest. So when she reveals that the White Walkers — the enemies of the Children — were created by the Children themselves, it’s a shock. Think back to when Sam Tarly killed one of the White Walkers with that piece of dragonglass. He says in that episode that the Children of the Forest used to carry dragonglass daggers. Now his anecdote comes full circle and we discover that they are created by dragonglass, and it is dragonglass that destroys them.

I remember once visiting Barbados, and a local man was telling me a story of how settlers first arrived in Barbados and brought rats with them. Soon the island was overrun with rats so they brought in snakes to eat the rats. When the snakes got the rat population under control, the island suddenly had a snake problem. So they brought in green monkeys to rid of them of the snakes, but the green monkeys multiplied so quickly they were soon everywhere. They have yet to figure out how to get rid of the monkeys.

I thought of that anecdote when I was watching this scene last night. The Children of the Forest were living in relative harmony until man came along and destroyed that peace (typical). So they created a monster to eradicate the humans, but that monster ended up killing the Children of the Forest instead, then the giants, and then turned on man. It was a shock to learn, but in retrospect, it made total sense.

We shall return to Leaf, Bran, and Hodor. (sniffle... Hodor...) But now we turn to the Iron Islands, and Yara making a play for the throne. These men will not follow her, they say. They’ve never had a queen and they don’t plan to start now. She rolls her eyes and says no one pays attention to them anymore, and she will bring attention to them on a world stage. But they argue that they shouldn’t have to follow her as long as Balon Greyjoy’s male heir has returned.

Cue camera on Theon, who was gorging himself on the canape table and didn’t realize everyone was about to look at him — “ye mean me?!”... OK, not really, it’s more like Theon standing there hoping they weren’t going to look at him, because he knows what they must be thinking about him, and how it must look that Balon’s son has returned, and yet it’s his daughter who is vying for the throne. The newly shorn Theon steps up, clears his throat, and addresses them. “I am Theon Greyjoy, last living son of Balon Greyjoy... and she is the rightful ruler.” He tells them she is a leader, a warrior, and iron born. “This is our queen,” he says, on the verge of tears. Theon wanted to rule the Iron Islands, and Ramsay has taken away his dignity (among other things) and he can barely show his face here, but at least pushing his sister to the forefront might make up for his misdeeds.

And... then the dickhead shows up. Euron Greyjoy steps forward and says HE is the rightful ruler of the Iron Islands, and through his travels he has learned everything about this world and will help them rule it. Yara is shocked; the moment she sees him she knows he was her father’s murderer, and announces it in front of everyone — to which Euron basically says, “Yeah, what of it.” He points out how useless Balon was (no argument here) and that he was leading them nowhere. Theon speaks up and says Euron was gallivanting around the world while Yara and Balon were here ruling the Iron Islands and led them thus far. But Euron knows exactly what’s happened to Theon, and tells everyone, including the loss of Theon’s member. It’s a devastating moment — Theon is only just barely holding it together throughout this scene just with the thought that they might know something of what happened to him when he was Reek, but now there’s no doubt that they all know. The laughter and hissing from the crowd is like another finger being removed, and Theon winces at it. Euron turns to the crowd and says he will build a fleet of a thousand ships, and tells them of Daenerys. He says he will sail across the channel and give her the fleet, along with something else (he grabs his crotch) and in that moment I thought, “Ah. You are not long for this world, my friend.” If this show has taught us anything about women, and especially Daenerys, a cock who shows up waving his cock is swept away before you can sing the theme song (which, granted, is about half an hour long, but you catch my drift...)

And so, they make him king, baptizing him by killing him (this is clearly not a very advanced people) and chanting, “What is dead may never die” while Yara and Theon sneak off with Pyke’s best ships. Euron puts on his crown — which appears to be a piece of driftwood? — and announces that his first act as king is to murder his niece and nephew, before he realizes they’re already gone. And so he orders them all to build him those thousand ships, because he has some vengeance he needs to wreak.

I loved that Yara and Theon are now sticking together; we’ve seen them at each other’s throats so much, but if one tiny good thing came out of Ramsay’s abuse of Theon, it’s that Theon has been humbled by everything, and is finally following the right person. Though I do feel like Professor Marvel at the beginning of the Wizard of Oz film, looking off into the distance as the storm brews and saying, “Poor kid... I hope she’s all right.”

Before we move to the next scene, I just wanted to mention that the casting director for this episode was brilliant, especially with matching characters with their relatives. Euron looked like a dead ringer for an older Alfie Allen (Theon) — I couldn’t believe how much they looked alike. And when you see the flash of Ned Stark’s father, it looked so much like Sean Bean it was uncanny.

From the Iron Islands we sail to Vaes Dothrak, where Daenerys has a quiet and lovely scene of reconciliation that made me very happy. What did you think of the scene with her and Ser Jorah, Chris?

Christopher: It was a very sweet and powerful scene right up to the moment when Daenerys commanded Jorah to find a cure for his disease. And that last moment was made even more annoying by just how touching the preceding moments were: Daenerys’ affectionate frustration with Jorah’s stubbornness (“I banished you. Twice. You came back. Twice.”), giving way to concern and grief when he shows her his greyscale. “I’m so sorry,” she says, and we hear the tears in her voice. “Don’t be,” he replies. “All I’ve ever wanted to do was serve you.” At this moment in Jorah’s face we see regret eclipsed by a momentary happiness that shows the truth of his words: faced with certain death, he can take comfort in the fact that he has in fact served Daenerys, and served her well—and here, facing his end, he can admit that he loves her. He is ready to head off and face his fate. “Goodbye, Khaleesi.”

But she calls him back, refusing to release him from his vow to serve and obey her. Except, not really—he must still go, but with her command to find a cure and return to serve her.

Seriously? She is a queen with a whole host of new subjects, as well as her people in Meereen, and—I’ve got to assume—hundreds of message ravens they can send to all corners of the continent. What about, “We will send for the finest doctors in all the land to tend to you!” And yes, greyscale is contagious, but what about giving him a comfortable apartment in a remote part of the pyramid while healers are brought in to help him? She’s sending him off—alone!—in an inhospitable wilderness with what I’m assuming is not very much money, in an attempt to find a brilliant physician who can cure a deadly disease. And even if he finds it, the doctor will help him out of an overdeveloped sense of charity?

Nope. That didn’t work for me, and it was made worse by the fact that it was the one weak point in an otherwise wonderful espisode.

We shift from Daenerys riding from Vaes Dothrak, presumably toward Meereen, to Meereen itself, where Varys asks Grey Worm to recount the instances of violence in the city since their pact with the Masters. A fragile peace has taken hold, he observes with some satisfaction. “For now,” says Grey Worm darkly. “For now is the best we get in our profession,” Varys points out, but Tyrion is not satisfied: “It’s not enough for Meereen to have peace,” he argues, “They need to know Daenerys is responsible for it.”

What it boils down to for Tyrion is a question of story—the Sons of the Harpy have a good story, he says, a simple and straightforward one: resist the foreign invader. Daenerys’ is even better, more heroic and grandiose. But in and of itself, it is not enough. “The people know who brought them freedom,” says Missandei, obviously a little offended at Tyrion’s perceived slight to her queen. Tyrion, however, is more pragmatic: freedom needs to be coupled with security, and the newfound peace has to be indelibly associated with Daenerys. As we have seen, and as we have commented over the past few episodes, Daenerys is far better on the campaign trail than actually holding office—as a ruler she tends toward a top-down managerial style and is given to authoritarian tendencies at times. She makes for spectacular symbolism; Tyrion would like to see her associated with a few more humble but profound accomplishments, something best accomplished by someone perceived as honest and incorruptible.

There’s a lovely echo from last season when Tyrion is able to repeat Varys’ line—“Who said anything about him?”—and we shortly learn that he means to employ the red priests and priestesses of R’Hllor as his propaganda outfit.

His decision to ally them with the Red Priestess Kinvara is shrewd, but risky. Kinvara is only too eager to take up Daenerys’ banner, as Tyrion knew she would be, having overheard (as she cannily observes) the street sermons being delivered in Volantis. Her speech about Daenerys, her accomplishments, and her dragons makes it clear that the red priests and priestesses of R’Hllor see in Daenerys everything they could desire in a Chosen One: freer of slaves, born in fire, dragons at her (sort of) command to immolate unbelievers.

Her evangelicism, however, makes Tyrion somewhat nervous.

KINVARA: The dragons will purify nonbelievers by the thousands. They will burn their sins and flesh away.
TYRION: Ideally, we’d like to avoid purifying too many nonbelievers. The Mother of Dragons has followers of many different faiths.

Kinvara promises to send for her most eloquent priests, but Varys is skeptical. He reminds her of Stannis, of his failure at King’s Landing, and his most recent defeat in which he was killed. “It’s most hard for a fanatic to admit a mistake,” he says. “Isn’t that the whole point of being a fanatic? You’re always right. Everything is the Lord’s will.” I loved this little speech of Varys’—not least because it very pithily sums up my own dislike of fanatics, religious or otherwise—but Kinvara’s response reminds us that there is more at work here than mere power politics. There is also magic, ancient magic at that, and her offer to tell Varys who spoke from the fire that fateful day a sorcerer mutilated him says that there is more on heaven and earth than is dreamt of in Varys’ philosophy.

A point that is brought home rather powerfully when Bran decides to go astral surfing without his guide. What did you make of his encounter with the Night King and his army of ice zombies, Nikki?

Nikki: I mentioned earlier that the casting in this episode was particularly excellent, and that includes Kinvara (or, as I think of her, Idina Menzel... or, as John Travolta thinks of her, Adelle Dazeem), who carried herself very much like Melisandre, right down to that very specific accent she uses when she speaks. I noticed Kinvara was also wearing the same necklace that Melisandre wears, so presumably she is also much older than she appears to be.

But now over to Bran, who wargs alone, and somehow turns into Carl on The Walking Dead (and should have just stayed in the fucking cave). This time, without his guide, winter has come. At first, as has been the case in his other warg adventures, he appears to be unseen, moving among the wights as they stand like statues and pay him no attention... 

Until, in one terrifying moment, the Night King spots him, and then suddenly, all of the wights turn around and can see him. The scene abruptly transforms into the “Thriller” video, with the camera swirling around him as he turns back to the Night King, who’s now standing right beside him and grabs his arm. Bran screams, and wakes up.

It’s too late. He has the silvery mark on his wrist, and they have seen him. The three-eyed raven tells Bran that the Night King knows they’re here, and the mark on Bran’s arm is their entry pass to the cave, which, until now, has magically kept them out. He, Meera, and Hodor must leave. Meera begins frantically packing, while Hodor sits, immobilized, just muttering, “Hodor,” over and over again, quietly. The three-eyed raven tells Bran that it’s time he become him, and when Bran looks at him and says, “Am I ready?” the raven looks at him, and quite matter-of-factly says, “No.” And with that, Bran wargs one more time.

I’m going to let Chris take that final scene when we get there, but I wanted to bring things back around to my opening bit, and say this episode felt more like a Lostepisode than any other before it, not least because Bender is directing. In season 5, when the Losties travelled back in time to the mid-70s, it took a while for Hurley to come to grips with the basic concept of time travel that diverged from what he thought he knew in Back to the Future — when time travelling, anything that happens back then always happened. Keep that in mind when watching that final scene: on Lost, the Losties learned that they had always gone back in time, and that their actions always happened. They weren’t changing the past — they has always gone back to the past and had been a part of it. Lost was always about love, loss, connections with people, and a general WTFness pervaded every episode, and this episode of Game of Thronescarried with it that same sense of an emotional rollercoaster.

But before I sent Chris into the fray to dissect that moment (I don’t think I’d be capable of doing it without dissolving into tears), let’s stop over at Castle Black for a second, where Jon has a map on the table and says they must take Winterfell and they need more men. The Umbers and the Karstarks have aligned themselves with Ramsay, he says, and he also mentions the Mormonts and the Tullys. The Tullys are Catelyn’s family (who would certainly help Sansa, but it’s unclear if they would help Jon) but I was more intrigued by the mention of the Mormonts. Could this be the tie between Jon and Daenerys that I’ve been waiting for?

Sansa tells the table that her uncle, the Blackfish, has an army, and then lies about where she got the information. Brienne immediately shifts in her seat and looks uncomfortable (it won’t be the last time in this episode that Brienne makes that face), because she knows exactly who gave them the information, and she doesn’t trust him as far as she could throw Tormund. Brienne confronts Sansa outside, and Sansa sends Brienne to Riverrun so she can check things out.

But Sansa...

Sigh. Brienne isn’t worried about her own safety, but is more concerned about leaving Sansa behind. “With Jon?” asks Sansa. “Not him. I think he’s trustworthy. A bit... brooding, perhaps.” It’s Davos and Melisandre she’s concerned about. We can’t forget that for as much as we love Davos, she saw him help Stannis cut down Renly, whom she loved as a knight and perhaps as a woman. She cut down Stannis herself, but he was alone, already abandoned by Melisandre.

“And that wildling fellow with the beard...!!!” she adds, with a look of disgust on her face.

But Sansa knows Jon, and she reassures Brienne that he will keep her safe. “Then why did you lie to him when he asked how you learned about Riverrun?” she asks. Sansa has no answer. Out in the courtyard, the sister gives her brother a coat that was modelled after the one Ned used to wear, while Tormund gives Brienne the eye in an instantly gifable moment that is equal parts hilarity and awesomeness.

And as they all leave — Brienne to Riverrun, and the others to find Houses that will pledge fealty to the Starks — Edd realizes he’s suddenly the de facto Lord Commander, and immediately embraces the task.

And with that, we go back to Bran and the others at the cave, and the part you’ve all been waiting for. And with a gentle “Hodor,” I pass the reins over to you, my friend.

Christopher: You night have had your Lost moment with this episode, but afterward I couldn’t help imagining the whining, grinding noise of the TARDIS appearing, either back at Winterfell, or as Meera runs with Bran off into the winter storm … because at this point in my life, anything involving time travel invariably makes me think of the Doctor. “Can we go back … and save Hodor?” “Fixed point in time and space. Nothing I can do. I am. So. Sorry.”

I’ll get to Hodor’s final act of heroism in a moment, but first I want to just run through a few details from this final scene.

First: knowing that the Night King is on his way, why are Bran and the Raven lost in visions of Winterfell past? (Possible answer below).

Second, I can’t say I’m entirely down with the Children of the Forest’s weaponry. They made for some impressive explosions, but I couldn’t stop thinking of them as Holy Hand Grenades. Also: while they were only moderately effective against the ice zombies (and totally useless against the Walkers), they would have been devastating against the bronze age humans they were ostensibly fighting when they created the White Walkers to begin with. Or was this weapons technology they devised in the interim years?

Third: R.I.P. Summer. Barring some unseen deus ex machina, this episode saw the death of yet another Stark direwolf. This means that, of the original six, there are only two left—and of those two, only one, Ghost, is still with his human (Arya having chased Nymeria off to spare her Lady’s fate).

OK. Now onto the main event.

I rewatched this scene about five times (and cried each time) just to make sure I got the sequence of things right:
  1. After seeing the Night King and his hordes, Meera tries to wake Bran from his reverie, saying “We need Hodor!”, as Hodor has fallen into a panicked, very nearly fetal paralysis of hodors.
  2. Bran hears her voice in this midst of his vision of Winterfell, and the Three-Eyed Raven says “Listen to your friend.”
  3. Bran looks over at young Hodor; in the cave, present-day Hodor’s eyes go briefly milky.
  4. Hodor stands and grabs Bran’s sledge, and they start to make their escape.
  5. The Night King walks up to the Raven and swings his scythe; at Winterfell, Bran sees the Raven’s demise as him shattering into a thousand dark shards and swirling into nothing (at a certain point, it becomes hard not to start making analogies to The Matrix).
  6. Hodor, Meera, and Leaf—with Bran in tow—are now basically in the midst of a zombie chase, replete with sound effects that sound like they were lifted from The Walking Dead.
  7. Hodor, Meera, and Bran escape through the back door (Leaf having sacrificed herself), and Hodor hauls it shut. As she runs off with Bran, Meera cries repeatedly, “Hold the door!”
  8. At Winterfell, Bran hears Meera’s entreaties. Looking over at young Hodor, he sees his eyes roll back and he falls into a seizure, all the while crying desperately “Hold the door!” Which becomes … well, you know the rest.

The main question, as I ask above, is why were Bran and the Raven warging right then, when they knew full well the Night King was on his way? And why were they in so deep that Bran couldn’t bring himself out, even after he’d been parted from the tree roots? Why didn’t the Raven send him back before he died?

I wasn’t being entirely glib when I brought up the Doctor Who chestnut of a “fixed point in time and space,” as it strikes me that a possible answer to this question is that it was necessaryfor Bran to be virtually at Winterfell as all this went down. What becomes painfully, heart-wrenchingly obvious in the final moments of this episode is that Hodor’s entire self has been focused on this one act of heroism: that the hijacking of his mind, his agency, his very capacity for speech—and as we saw in Bran’s earlier visions, though he is big and humble, he had a nimble mind and a wry sense of humour—occurred so that one day he could save Bran Stark.

It is a heartbreaking moment, not least because Hodor has always been the embodiment of the gentle giant, guided by little other than simple love and loyalty. The two instances of him being possessed in this episode—in the present and in the past—made me think of season four, episode five, “First of His Name,” which featured Jon Snow’s attack on the mutinous watchmen, who had killed the Lord Commander and taken over Craster’s Keep.  If you’ll recall, the mutineers had also taken Bran, Meera, Jojen, and Hodor captive—and while Jon’s men carried out their attack, Bran warged into Hodor when Locke (Roose Bolton’s agent) tried to carry him off. (There’s a link hereto the video—unfortunately, embedding was disabled). Possessed by Bran, Hodor breaks his bonds and gives chase, running down Locke and killing him with his bare hands. He then comes to, seeing the dead body at his feet and the blood on his hands; as you put it in our post, Nikki, “Bran turns Hodor into a killer, which resonates so deeply as Hodor stares at the blood on his hands in confusion and heartbreak.” It resonates so deeply because we know too well what a gentle soul Hodor is, and in that moment the liberty taken by Bran in possessing him is deeply discomforting.

As it is in this episode—but even more, by a magnitude more, because it isn’t just a few moments of possession in this instance but the better part of a lifetime. One of the things I love about Game of Thrones and its source material, as I love about other contemporary fantasists like Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, and Lev Grossman, is that the standard fantasy trope of fate and destiny tends to get upended. And in those cases where we see a certain determinism at work, as in Hodor’s death, it upsets the apple cart. We see Hodor’s end not so much as a grand fate, as his subjugation to forces we might otherwise consider benign—in this case, Bran’s fledgling flights of vision, which accidentally appropriate young Willas’ life and turn him into Hodor.

None of which detracts from Hodor’s final act of heroism, or the sorrow with which we bid him adieu.

So that’s it for this week, friends. Be well, stay warm, and hold that door.

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Posted on 25 May 2016 | 9:09 pm

Word Grrrls

The Danger of Trigger Warnings

I think of trigger warnings as the peanut allergy campaign. Out of all the allergies people have (I’m allergic to animal hair for instance) why was the peanut allergy given such high priority? How did one allergy cause so much change in how food is served or allowed to be served? With trigger warnings it is ... Read more...

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Posted on 18 May 2016 | 12:35 am

Elfshot - sticks and stones

Completed Alaskan PalaeoIndian Spears

Alaskan Spear Reproductions
Here are a few photos of the completed set of four PalaeoIndian Spears based on artifacts from Alaska which will be used in a travelling exhibit in that state.  They can be broken down into interchangeable foreshafts and mainshafts, which should make transporting them a little easier.  

PalaeoIndian spear reproductions:  Spruce, Birch, Alder.  Various cherts and flints.  Rawhide, gut, sinew.  Pitch and hide glue.

Fully assembled, the spears range in length from 77 1/2" to 84", with foreshafts ranging from 15 1/2" to 18 1/2" and main shafts ranging from 64 1/2" to 70 1/2".
Generally, the lithic tools that I make are much smaller than these heavy spears.  These have a nice weight to them and should make an intimidating statement alongside the Ice Age mammals of northern Alaska. 
Each foreshaft and mainshaft ends with a tapered "scarf" joint.  The mainshafts have tough rawhide sockets attached to them so that the foreshafts can be fit securely in place.  All of the scarfs have the same angle of cut and the shafts all have similar diameters so the pieces can be mixed and matched with each other.
One of the challenges that I often face in photographing these sorts of reproductions is finding a way to balance the projectiles on edge so that I can photograph them from the side.  This morning, I realized that the plastic safety covers for wall outlets work perfectly for holding pieces this size on edge.  You can see them at work in this photo, but I bet you didn't notice them in the previous photo until I mentioned them here. The prongs are flexible enough that I think they'll work on any projectile from arrows and darts to spears.
Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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Posted on 6 May 2016 | 2:47 pm

Adam Radwanski

Tories ask Australian adviser what went wrong in federal election

Liberal Party of Australia’s Brian Loughnane commissioned for postelection review

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Posted on 13 May 2016 | 4:39 pm

How to Survive Life in the Suburbs

Disney’s Beach Club Resort ~ A Place To Create New Family Traditions

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World?  There are some incredible reasons to consider staying on-site and taking advantage of every extra magical minute.  We’ve recently returned from Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, held in Orlando Florida, where we had the incredible pleasure of staying at Disney’s Beach Club Resort.  This property is a deluxe resort […]

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Posted on 24 May 2016 | 3:29 pm

Apt. 613

Write on Ottawa: Adventure & memory in Letters from Labrador

When Ottawa-based writer Stacey D. Atkinson first met Dr. Patricia Davis, a retired psychologist who once worked in Northern Labrador as a midwife, Atkinson had the option of writing Letters from Labrador as a conventional memoir recounting Patsy’s adventures in the north in a straightforward manner. However, Atkinson has taken an interesting approach, using Patsy’s […]

The post Write on Ottawa: Adventure & memory in Letters from Labrador appeared first on Apt613.

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Posted on 25 May 2016 | 1:18 pm

A Peek Inside the Fishbowl

Zucchini ribbon and caper pasta recipe

I decided to try a new pasta dish for lunch the other day and use up a few ingredients I had lying around. This was the result: This dish is via the Canadian Living website (which you can find right here). If you click over to the original recipe you’ll see that my photo doesn’t […]

The post Zucchini ribbon and caper pasta recipe appeared first on a peek inside the fishbowl.

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Posted on 25 May 2016 | 12:14 pm

Dawg’s Blawg

Ontario set to curtail free speech

In honour of a friend who seeks to foster dialogue on Israel and Palestine by “raising the issue and lowering the temperature,” let’s have a look at a pernicious Bill now steamrolling through the Ontario legislature, but concentrate on some...

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Posted on 19 May 2016 | 12:20 pm

Dammit Janet

SHOCKER! Fake Clinics Lie

The Abortion Rights Coalition has released a major study into the online presence of Canadian fake clincs, or crisis pregnancy centres (full PDF report).

From the press release:

Anti-abortion counselling agencies in Canada often present misinformation on their websites or fail to disclose their anti-choice or religious agenda to prospective clients, according to a new study published today by the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.

Crisis Pregnancy Centres (CPCs) are anti-choice agencies that present themselves as unbiased medical clinics or counselling centres, and which often claim to provide women with non-judgemental information on all their options when faced with an unintended pregnancy. However, CPCs are not medical facilities, most are Christian ministries, they generally will not refer clients for abortion or contraception, and many promote misinformation about abortion. CPCs in Canada have no regulatory oversight; however, 68% of them are registered charities.

Researchers identified 180 CPCs in Canada, and looked at the 166 of them that have websites.

Results were not surprising. Well, not to those of us who have made it our mission to get these fake clinics regulated, defunded, and stripped of charitable status.

They lie about abortion risks; they promote sexual abstinence and adoption as ideal solutions to unwanted pregnancy; they fail to disclose their religious agendas; they do not reveal that they refuse to refer for abortion or contraception.

In fact, the Canadian study mirrors much of what was reported last year in a USian report, titled "Crisis Pregnancy Centers Lie." (PDF).

The situation in the US is much more dire. There are many, many more of these fraudulent operations and an astounding number of them get significant government funding.

The Canadian study reports on CPC funding (pp 29–30 of PDF). It seems that not much public funding goes to these places, but what does must be stopped.

A majority of them have charitable status.
Many CPCs also enjoy charitable tax status, which significantly increases their ability to fundraise (Arthur 2005). Out of the 180 CPCs we identified, 68% (122) had charitable tax status. However, Canadian groups should not be eligible for charity status if they disseminate biased or inaccurate information that is disguised as “education” or “counselling.” (Arthur 2005; Canada Revenue Agency 2013).

Coincidentally, Amanda Marcotte wrote recently about an analysis of USian CPCs' own data.

Nicole Knight Shine looked at the numbers and concluded they fail miserably at their mission -- if their mission is to dissuade women from choosing abortion.

Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are billed as alternatives to abortion clinics, but new data suggests they largely fail at their mission, persuading less than 4 percent of clients to forgo abortion care.

Back to Marcotte:

The thing is that CPC centers know this. Shine’s numbers come directly from their own database, showing that they they are well aware that the vast majority of women who come in their doors will not be intimidated, much less persuaded, out of their abortions. So why do they keep plugging away at it, when they know full well they are terrible at what they claim they want to do?

It’s because preventing abortion has never been and will never be the actual goal of CPCs, no matter what their fundraising materials might say. The real purpose is to shame women for having sex and to spread stigma over abortion, contraception, and any non-procreative sexual activity. The vicious lies and guilt trips they lay on women are not the means to an end, but are the end itself. The point is not really “saving lives”, but making women feel scared, guilty, and anxious, as punishment for having sex.

It is this atmosphere in the US that makes the endless screwing around with abortion laws and restrictions possible and, seemingly, acceptable.

In Canada, we are -- so far -- successfully resisting any similar attempts to recriminalize abortion.

This new study demonstrates though that we must remain vigilant and aware of what anti-choice forces are up to. We must impede them any way we can. Regulate them, defund them, and strip them of charitable status.

And for anyone interested in reading or writing about abortion, the ARCC report is full of helpful links and resources.

Kudos to all involved.

On a personal note -- and in what might be a first for a "serious" study -- DAMMIT JANET!, a mere blog, is cited for our efforts in getting public funding yanked from a fake clinic in Ontario.

We are chuffed.

ADDED: This is the only media story on the report I've found: Global.

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Posted on 21 May 2016 | 3:28 pm

That Artist Woman

Tipi Tri-rama

I have been making quite a few of these lately.  Now the tipi is an old project of mine but I realized I hadn't posted how to make the background.

This tri-rama has many uses or as a teacher told me this week, "This is a game changer".

Here are student examples from this week.


- tipi, use this post of mine to guide you
- file folder letter sized
- ruler and scissors
- oil pastels
- disk tempera paint
- white glue
- some moss and pebbles
- modelling clay in yellow. orange, and red


I like to use file folders for these tri-ramas but you could also use manila tag or pasteboard.

Using a ruler draw a line down the tab on the right side when the folder is open.

Cut along the line cutting the tab off.

Inside the folder there is a box, using the bottom of this box draw a line.

Essentially we are making a square so if your folder does not have a box just measure until you a square.

Fold 1 corner across to another corner.

Do the same with the opposite corners so it looks like this.

Choose one corner, (only 1) and cut to the centre.

This enables the bottom sections to overlap and form your tri-rama.

But before we put it together we want to complete our background.

The students drew their backgrounds first in pencil and then went over those pencil lines with oil pastels.

On one of the bottom flaps we made marks to look like grass.

We then painted with disk tempera.

This is mine fully painted.  You only need to do one section on the bottom.

Before I glue I re do those folds so my sides will stand up nice and straight.

Spread some glue on the unpainted flap.

Fold the painted flap over top the one with the glue and press down to seal them together.

We glued in some moss.

Glued a ring of pebbles for a fire pit,

and a bit of modelling clay for the fire.

Add your tipi and you have a great little tri-rama.


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Posted on 23 May 2016 | 8:00 pm

A pretty Life in the Suburbs

Raspberry Galette

This Raspberry Galette is a simple and delicious dessert idea!  Use a pre-made puff pastry crust to save time!  So good. – – – – – – – I love raspberries so much.  Growing up I remember picking fresh raspberries from giant bushes at my grandparents farm, then taking them back in the house to dip in the sugar drawer, then eating them doused in cream.  Seriously one of my lifes best childhood memories…farmhouse drawers full of sugar and fresh berries…dreamy.  Now I find it hard to eat raspberries any way other than fresh…can you blame me though? But lately I’ve been craving raspberries baked into a pie…like craving in a bad way (my mind works in mysterious ways).  So I decided to bake a raspberry galette, because galettes are the fastest and easiest way to a delicious homemade pie.  I really love galettes because they are way less pressure to make than a traditional pie…there is no fuss making a crust and the crust doesn’t have to look perfect.  In fact, it’s the rustic look of galettes that I love the best.  That and the fact that you can buy the crust. Yes, buy the crust.  I will never, ever, in the history […]

The post Raspberry Galette appeared first on A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.

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Posted on 25 May 2016 | 4:16 pm

Canada's Adventure couple

Pacifying Rio’s Favelas – Out with the Gangs, now bring on the Tourists

I first became interested in visiting Brazil's favelas when Dave was working on The Hulk in 2007. Some of the cast and crew flew down to Rio to film the opening scene where Edward Norton was chased through the slums of the city. When watching the colourful community built on the side of a steep hill [...]

Read the original post Pacifying Rio’s Favelas – Out with the Gangs, now bring on the Tourists on The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog.

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Posted on 24 May 2016 | 12:42 pm

My New Life in Canada, under the snow!

Victoria Day in Bloom

We had been waiting for this moment with the same eagerness as an American teen about to turn 21. Jackpot: a long week and hot weather. Finally!

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Posted on 23 May 2016 | 1:43 pm

Live From Waterloo

Before my very eyes

(En español más abajo)
Juan was cranky today (well, that’s unusual…); he said that he was tired of not being able to do anything. The thing is that last Wednesday he tore a ligament in his shoulder while playing rugby so he has not been able to do much, just go to school and that’s it. And it’s been four days, but kids today have less patience and get ‘tired’ of things faster, I guess…
Juan wanted to go to the mall, and while we were wondering what hidden plans he might have had (he’s sneaky like that), Florencia said that she would like to go as well. She was wearing some cute little shorts that she had bought there, so Gaby asked me if I could take her so she could buy another one because they happened to be on sale.
‘Sure’, I said, and to the mall we went.
While Juan was doing his own shopping, I took Flor to that store and we started to look for the shorts she wanted. I found, amused, that she has a very specific taste, and there was no way I was going to push anything I liked and make her buy it. She definitely knew what she was looking for! She picked a couple of shorts and a shirt or two and she went to try them on.
She came out wearing those shorts and a nice shirt (that yes, I picked for her!) and I just stood there, amazed. She looked just gorgeous. But you know what? She looked like a gorgeous teenager. Half jokingly, I asked her if she didn’t think those shorts were too tight, so then she got in front of the mirror… and stroke a pose. And then she stood like this. And then like this. She looked like a friggin’ supermodel.
And that was it finally hit me. My daugther, the youngest member of the Almada-Vera family, has turned into a beautiful young woman. And it has happened before my eyes. There are so many things going through my head right now: on one hand, I’m still in awe about how stunningly beautiful she is, and what a great kid I am lucky to call my daughter. On the other hand, she has grown up… I don’t have a baby anymore. Not even a kid. I have four children and they are all way into double digits right now. It’s likely going to take less time between now and when I have grandchildren than going back from today to the time when Florencia was a toddler.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying these days too. There is always good stuff about having kids ages 21 to 12. There are a lot of other challenges as well. It’s still a bumpy road.
But today was different. Today I saw my youngest as a young woman for the first time. It made me proud, and it made me sad at she same time. It made me think about the wonderful things that the future has in store for her, but it also made me think about my own future. There is a little less ‘future’ for me with every new day.
Bah. A Sunday afternoon rant. It had been a while.
ArgentinaJuan andaba malhumrado hoy (oh, qué sorpresa…); dijo que era porque estaba ‘cansado’ de no poder hacer nada. El asunto es que el miércoles pasado de lastimó los ligamentos del hombro jugando al rugby así que ha estado un poco inmovilizado, sólo habilitado para ir a la escuela. Han sido sólo cuatro días, pero bueno, los chicos hoy en día tienen menos paciencia y se ‘cansan’ más rápidamente, parece…
Juan quería ir al shopping, y mientras yo me preguntaba qué planes ocultos tendría el tipo (el es así de escondedor), Florencia dijo que a ella le gustaría ir también. Tenía puestos unos shortcitos muy lindos que había comprado ahí, así que Gaby me preguntó si la llevaría para que se comprara otro u otros porque estaban de oferta.
‘Seguro’, dije, y salimos para el mall.
Mientras Juan compraba sus cosas, llevé a Flor a ese negocio y comenzamos a mirar los shorts que quería. Me divirtió comprobar que ella tiene un gusto muy específico, y no había forma de que le impusiera comprar algo que no le gustara. Definitivamente sabía lo que estaba buscando! Eligió un par de shorts y una remera o dos y se las fue a probar.
Salió del probador con uno de esos shorts y una remera muy linda (que sí, yo elegí para ella!) y yo me la quedé mirando, maravillado. Es que estaba preciosa. Pero saben qué? Lucía como una hermosa adolescente. Medio en broma, le pregunté si no le parecía que esos shorts no eran muy ajustados, así que se fue a mirar en el espejo… y posó como modelo. Y luego se paró así. Y luego, así. Parecía una supermodelo, la verdad.
Y ahí fue que finalmente caí. Mi hija, la más chiquita integrante de los Almada-Vera, se ha transformado en una hermosa pequeña mujer. Y ha pasado en frente de mis ojos. Hay tantas cosas que me pasan por la cabeza… por un lado, sigo embelesado, contemplando su hermosura, y pensando en la suerte que tengo de llamar mi hija a una chiquita tan maravillosa. Por otro lado, ella ya ha crecido… Ya no tengo un bebé. Ni siquiera una niña. Tengo cuatro hijos y ya todos están en los dobles dígitos en cuanto a la edad. A esta altura me quedan menos años para convertirme en abuelo, que los que hay para atrás hasta la época en que Florencia recién comenzaba a caminar.
No me malentiendan, también disfruto de estos días. Siempre hay cosas buenas con estos chicos de edades que van de 21 a 12. También hay otros desafíos y otros problemas. Todavía es un camino sinuoso y con algún que otro bache.
Pero hoy fue diferente. Hoy ví a mi hija más pequeña como una mujer por primera vez. Me puso orgulloso, pero también me entristeció (o al menos me dió nostalgia) al mismo tiempo. Me hizo pensar acerca de las maravillosas cosas que el futuro tiene reservado para ella, pero también me hizo pensar en mi propio futuro. Cada vez me queda menos ‘futuro’, eso fue lo que pensé.
En fin… pensamientos de un domingo por la tarde. Hacía tiempo que no tenía un día de estos…
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Posted on 22 May 2016 | 8:29 pm