Monkeys and Mountains

Hiking Among Dead Giants in the Dinosaur Capital of the World!

adventures in Horsethief Canyon Drumheller Alberta Badlands

It's not everyday that you get the opportunity to hike among giants! Don't worry, they've been extinct for 65 million years, but you may just stumble across one when hiking in the Alberta Badlands, near Drumheller!

You can read the original article here: Hiking Among Dead Giants in the Dinosaur Capital of the World!. Monkeys and Mountains | Adventure Travel Blog - Outdoor Adventures | Germany Travel Tips | Life-Changing Trips | Adventures in Europe

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Posted on 6 October 2015 | 12:38 pm

Indian Country

Canada’s Missing and Murdered Women Is an Issue in the Coming Federal Election

A similar story was told across Canada this weekend: Too many Native women have gone missing or have been murdered....

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Posted on 8 October 2015 | 12:00 am


PUMA Celebrates the R698

For Autumn-Winter ’15, PUMA worked with today’s most distinctive visual artists presently dominating today’s online digital photography scene.

The post PUMA Celebrates the R698 appeared first on Hello Vancity.

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Posted on 17 August 2015 | 5:37 pm

List Verse

10 Tales Of Crazy Convicts In The US Prison System

While the US is “the land of the free,” it paradoxically has the world’s largest prison population. According to the BBC, 724 people per 100,000 are locked up in the American correctional system, which is a shocking statistic. With all these convicts passing through the Big House, American’s prisons are brimming with peculiar people from […]

The post 10 Tales Of Crazy Convicts In The US Prison System appeared first on Listverse.

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Posted on 8 October 2015 | 7:00 am

The Gate

Once upon a time in New Brunswick

You may have noticed that it's been a bit quiet around here. Not that long ago I was bustling my way through TIFF, but a day after it was over, I had to get myself to New Brunswick where I've been working ever since. It's coming up on two weeks that I've been here, and the adventure continues for another week before I head back to Toronto.

The post Once upon a time in New Brunswick appeared first on The GATE.

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Posted on 3 October 2015 | 1:00 pm


Five reasons to defend supply management from the Trans-Pacific Partnership

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Posted on 8 October 2015 | 2:58 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

John Sewell Talks City Affairs and 'How We Changed Toronto'


John Sewell, Mayor of Toronto from 1978 to 1980, recalls a time when citizen-led groups had real political sway on matters that shaped the way the city developed. Now, he says, a dysfunctional Council and a lack of proper public engagement is crippling Toronto land use planning. Sewell outlines his battles against uncontrolled urban renewal, sprawl and the demolition of heritage structures in his new book titled How We Changed Toronto: The Inside Story of Twelve Creative, Tumultuous Years In Civic Life, 1968-1980

As Toronto grew in importance, overtaking Montreal as Canada's most populous city, an array of housing and infrastructure projects promised to change the cityscape forever. City Council generally saw this as a positive, often supporting the demolition of entire neighbourhoods in favour of new structures. Sewell sought to change Council's mindset in the 1960s by bringing together a strong group of concerned residents. He joined the Trefann Court Urban Renewal Area in a bid to stop the demolition of the east downtown neighbourhood. Proposed to be replaced by a series of high-rise housing projects, the Trefann Court fight was a sign of the times. After an intense wrangling, the City cancelled its plans to demolish the neighbourhood. It was the first major win for the reform movement that swept Toronto in the 1970's.

The front cover of 'How We Changed Toronto', image courtesy of John SewellThe front cover of 'How We Changed Toronto', image courtesy of John Sewell

Sewell's law degree from the University of Toronto prepared him for a long road of battles against the redevelopment of several other established city neighbourhoods, including St. James Town and Cabbagetown, areas he would go on to represent as a City Council alderman following the 1969 election. 

Sewell became the face of the reform movement and was elected mayor in 1978. During his two-year term, he introduced a monthly transit pass and froze fares, fought for police accountability and gay rights at a time when these topics were more or less taboo, and called for increased police accountability following a series of bathhouse raids and the shooting of a mentally-ill man named Albert Johnson. 

His mayoralty ended in 1980 with the election of Art Eggleton, but Sewell continued to serve on Council until 1984. He currently serves as Coordinator of the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition, a group which promotes the reform of police policies. How We Changed Toronto joins a vast collection of successful books written by Sewell, including Up Against City Hall (1972) and The Shape of the City: Toronto Struggles with Modern Planning (1993)

UrbanToronto had the privilege of interviewing John Sewell, who spoke about the successes of the past, the state of current city affairs, and how his book can act as a blueprint for the future. 

John Sewell stands in front of a demolished home, image by John SewellThis image of John Sewell standing in front of a demolished home was used as a 1969 campaign poster, image courtesy of John Sewell

UrbanToronto: Reading this book, you begin to understand how much things have changed and how much has stayed the same. How has development evolved in the city from where it was in the 1960s and 1970s? 

John Sewell: What strikes me as interesting about the period now, 40 years later, is that we actually put in place a really brilliant way of addressing major city issues, which was to get a group of people together and maybe developers, environmentalists and social service people, and have them meet so that they can understand the issue and talk about it with staff and politicians. That's the way you can get really good outcomes.

When you look at how we created the Central Area Plan, that's exactly what we did. Until the early 1970's, we had a plan for the downtown that said it's all going to be office space. Well, people said no, we want more than that. The plan that we got was drafted by a core area task force of residents and developers and so forth, sitting down with the politicians and City staff saying let's work out some new principles and figure out how to proceed. That was the first time in North America that anybody had rethought their downtown. In the case of Toronto, it was pretty spectacular.

But of course now we're in the position where we again have to rethink the downtown. We're being overwhelmed with condo applications. Parts of the city are just being swamped with people that we can't accommodate for various reasons in terms of either transportation or parks or education. How do we rethink the downtown? I think we use the model we used for the Central Area Plan. Get a strong group of people together who begin to understand the issue, and meet with the politicians and the staff to figure out new directions to go in.

The other place we did that in the 70s was in creating a brand new downtown neighbourhood that we now call the St. Lawrence community, which was 45 acres of vacant, derelict land very close to the downtown. The question was: how do you develop it? Well, we did not say "oh staff, tell us what to do", we again set up a working committee, they met with staff and politicians and that's how we created what I think you can call a brilliant plan. The thing about the St. Lawrence community is forty years later it still works. One of the reasons it worked was because people said "you have to make it like the rest of the city, don't try and do anything special." Those are two examples of how you can make really smart long term decisions. I would argue, if you don't do that, you end up making messes. 

Looking north on Jarvis Street in St. Lawrence, image by Marcus MitanisLooking north on Jarvis Street in the St. Lawrence neighbourhood, image by Marcus Mitanis

The point is it's taken forever to get anywhere. Waterfront Toronto has been meeting for what, 20 years? When it came to St. Lawrence, our first meetings were in 1974. The first building was under construction in 1976. Two years. We didn't fool around. The reason we didn't fool around was because we had a group of citizens driving it. Unless we make that link, we're not going to get things done. The way the City tries to make that link now is through public meetings. Sorry, public meetings are not the way to go. You really need a serious committee where people get to know each other, know the issue, and get to control the politicians and City staff. The role we played in both the St. Lawrence and the Central Area Plan was to say "hey, wait a minute, you have to think about this and this, there's a whole bunch of issues." But public hearings, where everyone gets to spout off what they think, is a way of not taking people seriously.

UT: You don't think it's a proper dialogue. 

JS: No, and what you need is a dialogue over a period of time. The thing about having a committee is that at its first meeting everybody says what they think. At the second meeting, what usually happens is everybody says what they think but they modify it based on what they heard at the first meeting. Then at the third meeting, people actually start talking and say "what can we agree on?" That's the kind of process you have to set up. If there's any lesson whatsoever from this book, that's the lesson.

If you look at the chapter that tells the tale about failure, it was my fight against sprawl. Since the early 70s, I said low density, separated uses in the suburbs is the wrong way to go. I was never able to get a group together that would try and control that issue, and of course no developers ever wanted that, so I didn't get anywhere on that issue. Today, we've still got the same old sprawl. The problem is all the local people around the development area of a new subdivision want to sell their land. They're farmers and they're finally going to get retirement money. So it's very difficult.

That's the lesson of the book I think. If you can get a really strong group of people you can do some really amazing things. There's no question, the city we created back then is so much better than it was. As a lot of people say, in terms of what's in North America, it's really good. In spite of the problems that you and I know are around here. My wife was telling me that she was talking to somebody who had run into a whole bunch of planners who had come here from Portland. They were asked about their impressions of Toronto and they said, "what we can't get over is there's people on all the streets, the streets are really vibrant." We take that for granted.

New towers rise in the King-Spadina area, image by Marcus MitanisNew towers rise in the King-Spadina area, image by Marcus Mitanis

UT: You've talked about development in the city. What's the state of heritage preservation currently? The two are closely related. 

JS: It's not terrific, it could be a lot better. The City has always believed in the future and they've never really believed in the past, and that's a problem. We've made some attempts to save a few buildings here and there, the 'gems', but in terms of the 'ordinary' stuff, we junk it pretty quickly. I think that the City could have a really vibrant program that makes sure you're building in with a lot of the past rather than trying to get rid of it and start over again.

One of the ways of doing that I think is by making intensification really easy as opposed to replacement. We tried to put good, easy zoning controls into place in King-Spadina in the mid 90's and they're a mess as you can see with these giant towers which are not what we ever said should happen. But I think the other thing we have to do is we have to make sure that we're allowing development opportunity in areas where there aren't heritage buildings that you're trying to retain. For example, along Eglinton, Lawrence and St. Clair. Minor stuff of four to six storey buildings as-of-right. So you have to do a lot of things to be serious about heritage but you cannot just save the superstars of the past.

UT: You touch on heritage preservation quite a lot in your book.

JS: I tell the story about how we got started with heritage through the notion of listing buildings. It was a pretty interesting device we created where you didn't have to spend a lot of money. We had 400 buildings on that list, that's what we started with. We don't want to just have the stars, we want to have that stuff that's on Queen Street, that's 'ordinary' from the past.

UT: What about Heritage Conservation Districts? Are they a more appropriate way of saving heritage by doing it in bulk? 

JS: You want to allow for intensification. One of the really interesting things we did was in Cabbagetown where we put in a lot of assistive housing. It's now a heritage district and we wouldn't be able to do that today. That's the problem with the heritage districts because you don't want to freeze anything. You always want to allow change. But it's got to be appropriate change. This idea that stable residential neighbourhoods will not be changed, no, they should be changed with slow, gradual, small intensification.

St. Jamestown apartment overlooks Cabbagetown homes, image by Marcus MitanisA St. James Town apartment tower overlooks Cabbagetown homes, image by Marcus Mitanis

UT: What do you think is the number one issue facing Toronto today?

JS: The number one issue for City Hall is money. It doesn't have the money it needs to do things and it refuses to raise property taxes to a level that would help it. Property taxes are the lowest in the Greater Toronto Area. If we raised it to about the middle of the GTA that would be an extra $500 million a year. We could really use that money. Secondly, the City should be asking for more taxing power. We should be able to levy a sales tax so that we can actually generate the money we need. This idea that we're going to beg other levels of government for money… no level of government wants to raise money to turn it over to Toronto.

This is a dysfunctional Council. The megacity was meant to be dysfunctional. I don't think we're going to get anywhere with this Council because the politicians representing the suburbs generally don't believe in government spending money. The former City of Toronto that I was mayor of never had a problem with spending money. As long as you're spending it wisely, people will support you.

UT: Mayor Miller did introduce the Vehicle Registration Tax and Land Transfer Tax, which were both fairly unpopular.

JS: I believe they're unpopular in Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke. In downtown Toronto, I don't think they're all that unpopular. There's a difference in culture between people who live in mixed use, dense communities and people who live in single use communities that are sprawling. If you live in the middle of the city where you're surrounded by all sorts of people, some of who are poor or homeless, you end up caring about them a lot more and you're willing to spend money on them.

As I say in the book, the City of Toronto in 1905 adopted this brilliant policy that said recreation is really good for kids, so it's going to be free. It was free until the megacity came along. What kind of city do we want?

UT: Free recreation programs was something Rob Ford rallied against. What's your opinion on Rob Ford? 

JS: He's a very scary guy and this is an age that produces scary politicians. He's not the only one, I think Stephen Harper is exactly the same. They appeal to people's worst instincts rather than people's best instincts. I see that as a problem. I want a politician who is going to ask me to be the best kind of person I can be. This idea of wedge issues is absolutely dangerous in terms of what it does to the commonwealth of people working together. There's no question that various things feed into the popularity of those kinds of politicians and I think it's absolutely shocking and absolutely awful.

UT: On the planning side of things, do you think Jennifer Keesmaat has been doing a good job so far? 

JS: I think if we have a good Chief Planner we'll have some really good plans. I haven't seen them yet. As I say, I think the way to get them is by forming this reference group together and re-plan the downtown. We're not going to be overwhelmed by condos, we need to find just the right balance. Just as 40 years ago we said we weren't going to be overwhelmed by office towers. I don't see her doing that.

Old City Hall had been threatened with demolition, image by Marcus MitanisOld City Hall, now a heritage building, has been threatened with demolition in the past, image by Marcus Mitanis

UT: Old City Hall was threatened with demolition in the past, which you fought against. You've probably heard the news about the building possibly becoming a shopping mall. When the courts leave the space, what would you like to see occupy the building?

JS: I think we need to do the same thing and bring a group together. Maybe it's not one use, maybe it's five or six uses. I certainly think the uses should be more public than private. But what those are, I'm not quite sure at the moment.

UT: On less serious notes—are you following any particular Toronto sports teams lately?

JS: I'm a Blue Jays fan at the moment. I like them when they win. I've always had an interest in baseball. I find it a very nice game to watch.

UT: Do you have a favourite restaurant in the city?

JS: The old favourite is Le Paradis on Bedford Road. It's old, standard and we know what we're going to get.

UT: What do you like doing for fun in the city?

JS: I go to a lot of theatre. I'm quite a fan of Soulpepper. Theatre's something I like a lot.

UT: People have often felt disengaged from politics. They feel they can't make a difference. How would you advise somebody who is striving to achieve change? 

JS: Start looking at an issue you're concerned about and figure out who else you can talk to about it. That's something I often do. As an example I had lunch with a friend last week and we began talking about the next municipal election. You have to create a group that's going to meet a whole bunch of times so they get to know each other and share useful information and learn from each other.

UT: Has social media helped connect people in ways that weren't necessarily possible in the past?

JS: The problem with social media is that it talks about instant results. It's like talk radio, which I think makes for a worse world, not a better world.

UT: There were a lot of big battles you were involved in, from stopping the Spadina Expressway to saving the homes on the Toronto Island. What would you say was your toughest fight?

JS: The toughest fight by far was with the Toronto Police. After they killed Albert Johnson, my speech was a simple one: we have to have a change in police policies so they don't act this way anymore. They have to be trained better, get rid of height and weight restrictions and have a complaints commission. Of course the minute I said that, the world collapsed on me. Paul Godfrey, the Metro Chairman, attacked me. He went to a meeting of the police association and said, "Sewell wants to go after the cop on the beat", and then they really went after me.

It resurfaced at the election. I know the issue was a big one because after I lost, they took their revenge. They did bathhouse raids two months after the election and the officers were quoted as saying "now that we got rid of Sewell, we can run the city the way we want to." That was the toughest fight and not much has changed with the police in the last 40 years. 

UT: Your support for gay rights was a brave position to take considering the time. 

JS: The world has changed. The province came in and made it so you can't discriminate against a person on the basis of their sexuality anymore. Now we're so relaxed we have a Premier who is happily married and the world says this is fine. I was speaking out early on and you pay a cost for that. But in my opinion, the cost was certainly worth it. I think I did exactly the right thing at the right time and the fact it had bad consequences for me, ho hum, that's life.

UT: You're a significant part of the team at the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition. What inspires you to keep working? 

JS: I enjoy public policy issues. Do I see it as a chore? Some days, but most days no.

John Sewell and his book 'How We Changed Toronto', image by Marcus MitanisJohn Sewell and his latest book: 'How We Changed Toronto', image by Marcus Mitanis

UT: Finally, what message are you hoping your book really drives home? 

JS: I think the book provides a bit of a blueprint as to how we can move forward and deal with the problems we've got today. What's amazing is it really worked back then and people of all political stripes fit in with it. There were 23 members of Council and we were all over the map. Some were Conservative, Liberal, NDP, or independent like me. We had to put our ideas on the table and figure out how to work together. Council is much too large now. I don't believe you can have a reasonable discussion if you've got more than 25 people around the table. So we're going to have to have a smaller Council before we get anywhere.

I happen to think the megacity is bad because it forces these two different cultures to try and mix issues together and I don't like that. I want to get back to the metropolitan style of government. I think that's the rational and reasonable way to go. I think if Council asked for it, the province would probably agree. Kathleen Wynne and I worked on fighting the megacity. We were the head of Citizens for Local Democracy.

UT: We had a referendum that rejected the idea of amalgamation by a significant margin. 

JS: We had a referendum and 76% said no. Mike Harris and his gang said there was a silent majority in favour of it. But the problem is the city won't ask. The province can't go around saying they're going to dismember Toronto, they have to wait for the request.

UT: There has been talk about de-amalgamation before. It would be interesting to see what would happen if it were put to a binding vote. It's been a pleasure, thank you for your time. 

John Sewell's book is particularly interesting given the intense development pressure the city is facing. Toronto's increasing international presence is not unlike the growth it experienced as it overtook Montreal, and the same questions regarding heritage preservation and infrastructure keeping pace with development are just as relevant today. Toronto, often called a city of neighbourhoods, may look to this book as a guide to a future that balances the need for development with the desire to protect what has made it the vibrant metropolis it is today. How We Changed Toronto: The Inside Story of Twelve Creative, Tumultuous Years In Civic Life, 1968-1980, is on store shelves now and can be ordered directly from James Lorimer and Company


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Posted on 8 October 2015 | 7:30 pm

The Hook (B.C. News)

Harper Holds Another Unpublicized, Exclusive Media Conference (in News)

Thursday morning event not mentioned in usual list of campaign stops. 

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Posted on 8 October 2015 | 4:11 pm

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

Blind Dates Are Kind of Like Horror Films

Michael Mohan's SXSW Grand Jury-winning short film, 'Pink Grapefruit,' follows two couples—one on the ups, the other on the outs.

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Posted on 8 October 2015 | 9:24 pm

Michael Geist

CBC Shoots Itself in the Foot With Election Debate Coverage

Hubert Lacroix, the president of the CBC, recently placed the future of the Canada's national public broadcaster on the electoral map with comments aimed sparking a renewed debate on future funding models. Lacroix disputed claims that low ratings are to blame for the CBC's financial struggles, instead pointing to the need to consider alternative fee schemes, including new levies on Internet providers or supplementary charges on television purchases.

While disagreement over CBC funding is as old as the broadcaster itself, the more uncomfortable discussion for the CBC is its coverage of the current election campaign - particularly its approach to national debates and political party advertising - which raises troubling questions about its relevance in the current media environment.

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) suggests that most would agree that the CBC features an excellent group of reporters and boasts insightful analysts for its panel discussions. However, rather than working to make itself an invaluable resource for the election, the CBC has been unnecessarily restrictive in its broadcasting choices and in the use of its content.

The post CBC Shoots Itself in the Foot With Election Debate Coverage appeared first on Michael Geist.

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Posted on 7 October 2015 | 1:30 pm

The Tyee / The Hook

Harper Holds Another Unpublicized, Exclusive Media Conference (in News)

Thursday morning event not mentioned in usual list of campaign stops. 

Related Stories

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Posted on 8 October 2015 | 4:11 pm

14 things to do in Metro Vancouver on Friday, October 9

Keep busy with these events.

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Posted on 8 October 2015 | 10:00 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

What is the story here?

I truly don't know. He raised his middle finger to a truck that honked as it went by. It's a short story, for those with some time to do a bit of writing! I was doing a property walkabout, on my front lawn. Of course, anyone in trouble on the highways gets my attention. One time it was a deer hit by a car. A police officer came and she shot the doe, since it was dying. Another man, in a truck,

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Posted on 6 October 2015 | 11:52 am

Weighty Matters

Ultra-Processed Food Giant Mondelēz Embraces School Gardens and Cooking

While it's easy to criticize the machinations of Coca-Cola when they aim to teach children about "energy balance" in a cynical bid to help with childhood obesity, it's a great deal more difficult to criticize the recent strategy put forward by Mondelēz geared at addressing obesity and other chronic, non-communicable diseases.

According to this brief article Mondelēz' initiatives will include - along with the fitness piece - education and support on whole food nutrition including championing cooking classes and school vegetable gardens.

An interesting move for an ultra-processed food industry giant, and a smart one too in that these initiatives likely won't result in any reduction in the purchase of Mondelēz' products while providing Mondelēz with genuinely laudable PR that depending on the course content, may well stand up to public health advocates' scrutiny.

Would love to see the initiatives' collateral materials and implementation in more detail.

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Posted on 8 October 2015 | 9:30 am

Margaret Wente

If Trudeau is the bridge, Harper is the wedge

With the campaign down to a two-party race, the focus seems to be on leadership styles and side issues

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Posted on 6 October 2015 | 10:00 am

Lauren Out Loud

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

Tweet This Post

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Posted on 24 July 2014 | 6:54 pm

Rants n Rascals

5 Arts and Crafts Using Pinecones #diy #crafts

With the holidays on the rise, Halloween and Thanksgiving and then the big one Christmas, I’ve been thinking as I walk around my neighborhood scattered in leaves and pinecones, what kind of arts and crafts...

The post 5 Arts and Crafts Using Pinecones #diy #crafts appeared first on Rants n' Rascals.

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Posted on 8 October 2015 | 3:00 pm

Bow. James Bow

Liberty Under Glass

(You can see my photographs for the day here) How could I go to Philadelphia and not see the Liberty Bell, especially when my hotel is just two blocks away? So, that’s what I did. After a quick breakfast,...

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Posted on 8 October 2015 | 1:10 pm

A Toronto Blog

The Edgy Activist for down-free

A protest against plucking had Shalayna, Vegan Animal Activist, body-painted outside the Toronto Eaton Centre holding a "not down with cruelty" protest sign. The peaceful demonstration brings attention to the fight against animal cruelty to the heart of the city and she asks 'Please don't buy down!"
Many of the feathers used in clothing and comforters come from birds that are restrained and plucked live. PeTA asks that people save the birds from extreme cruelty by using down-like fibres.
The Edgy Activist was helped by several activists that held project signs and were splashed with fake blood.

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Posted on 8 October 2015 | 12:06 am

Robyn Urbak on Campus

These court cases may just be for show. But that’s a moot point.

Mooting, where teams play out a mock court case, can be fierce—and the once extracurricular activity is now often on the curriculum

The post These court cases may just be for show. But that’s a moot point. appeared first on

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Posted on 26 September 2015 | 4:38 am

Postcards From the Mothership

#TBT: These are the things I want to remember

One thing I really, really love about having had the blog all these years is finding these little morsels of joy. I wrote this for me six years ago, and I was right — I had forgotten almost all of these things, and each one of them is exquisite and worth remembering. For #TBT (throwback […] Related posts (automatically generated):
  1. “But I don’t want a curly-haired teacher!”
  2. A love letter to Lucas, Age 2(!)
  3. A love letter to Lucas, Age 7

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Posted on 8 October 2015 | 10:13 am

David Akins on the Hill

Hopeful Mulcair barnstorms through Tory-held Ontario ridings

One of the things that New Democrats have been trying to hammer into the heads of those of us in the Parliamentary Press Gallery for this election and last is that “New Democrats beat Conservatives!”. In other words, in most of the country, if you want to put a Conservative MP out of his or […]

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Posted on 3 October 2015 | 9:20 pm

Dutch Blitz

The Kitchen Sink

If you ever buy a house that needs to be renovated, DO NOT LIVE IN IT WHILE DOING SO. We did this with our last house, and it was ridiculous. We bought our new house and as you all know, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. It’s more sleeping on mattresses on the floor and […]

© Angella Dykstra 2005-2013 All rights reserved. | Originally published for as The Kitchen Sink.

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Posted on 7 October 2015 | 3:52 am

Nik at Night

The Complexities of Internet Grief

Yesterday I posted a photo of Cecil the lion and commented that the internet finally seemed united in their hatred of one person: the man who lured him out of his sanctuary, wounded him with an arrow, and then hunted the hurt animal for the next 40 hours before gunning him down in cold blood and beheading him for a trophy. But I was wrong about the internet being united on anything: because in that very moment a bunch of people thought, "Wait, we're UNITED about something? Can't let that stand" and immediately began suggesting that people who posted about the lion clearly cared more about animal suffering than human suffering.

At first I was annoyed: Jesus, can't we have one single moment of upset that something terrible has happened in the world before we all start calling each other names and guilting each other and accusing each other of not caring about anything else? The two aren't mutually exclusive: being saddened by the death of an innocent animal doesn't mean we don't care about the death of human beings, too.

But instead of being pulled down into typical internet arguing about something, let's ponder that thought and actually look at the issue, because, like it or not, these people are right. This lion was a beautiful creature, innocent, hunted only on instinct, and it was wilfully gunned down by a man who won't be arrested for his act. But ISIS isn't working in secrecy... why are we politicizing it and not spending every free moment of our days fighting it? Why are we not posting constantly about it on Twitter? And why the hell is anyone taking sides on the issue of nine people being gunned down in a church in the States? How is there a side to even take there?!

Is it possible that something about animals is ingrained in us from the get-go? Disney raises us to deal with big human emotions by anthropomorphizing animals and having them act it out for us. We don't mourn the loss of a human mother, but Bambi's mother, or Nemo's mother. We don't mourn the loss of a human father, but Simba's father. Animals are imbued with an innocence that humans can never have. If a lion bites you it's because you threatened him and he acted on instinct. He didn't get together with his buddies, draw up a game plan of how to lure you out of your tent, surround you, and kill you just for sport. When your cat bites you it's because you rubbed his belly wrong or he's trying to get your attention because you haven't fed him in the last three minutes or you just moved your arm after he'd been sleeping on it for the past two hours and you briefly interrupted his sleep. He doesn't plan to hurt you; he does so on instinct. But those of us with pets equate them with unconditional love. Sure, they might nip us or pee on something or make a mess, but sometimes snuggling with a cat or a dog is the only thing that makes the day a better one.

So when a lion dies we all cry out in horror. But just because humans are calculating and never perfect — even the sweetest lady who died in that church shooting could have bullied another child years ago when she was in grade school — it doesn't mean we shouldn't fight for the civil rights of everyone and be outraged that someone could have killed them. We have bumper stickers and posters declaring that Black Lives Matter. Is that even up for debate?! Who the hell thinks they don't?? And why aren't we fighting against anyone who thinks they don't, smearing their business pages with angry rants, shutting down their offices and forcing them to go into hiding like people did with the lion killer?

We as humans are so caught up in disagreeing along political lines or religious lines or ideological lines that we seem to have less and less sympathy for our fellow human beings. We can grieve the cat because he didn't have a different religion than we do, or didn't vote differently in the last election than we did, or didn't make an angry Twitter post one night that really changed our mind about him. He's just a lion. We humans are able to unite to mourn the cat, but we can't do the same about the human beings who are dying, or being tortured, or being mistreated, or being denied civil rights on a daily basis. And we need to.

This is Cecil the lion before he died. This is the photo I posted on Facebook yesterday.

And these are the nine beautiful people who were gunned down in South Carolina.

And this is Kayla Mueller, before she was murdered by ISIS. She was a humanitarian aid worker and human rights activist who was abducted in August 2013 and killed around the beginning of February 2015. She was 26.

Look into all their eyes. Mourn them. They all deserve our support, our outrage, our vow to make things change. Let's stop fighting amongst each other about who showed the proper amount of grief or outrage on Twitter or Facebook, or if you thought they showed too much on one topic and not enough on another. Let's stop pointing fingers and guilting each other and making people feel bad. Support each other in our grief, stand together against the real enemy, and actually turn the internet into a place that could effect change, instead of a place where we just fight amongst ourselves and then walk away to the next issue while leaving these incredible creatures — and their unnecessary deaths — behind.

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Posted on 30 July 2015 | 2:27 pm

Word Grrrls

Create Personal Door Signs

My personal door sign would be: Silence is Golden. We have so much chatter, clutter and noise in our lives every day (and I’m one of the few who choose NOT to add a mobile phone to all of that). I love a quiet day. I might run the TV in the background but I find, more often, I forget to turn it on. I seldom pay attention to it so I don’t miss it when it’s just part of the blessed silence. Most of the time I don’t need to enforce my sign. I ignore the landline, don’t have ... Continue...

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Posted on 8 October 2015 | 2:50 am

Elfshot - sticks and stones

Alaskan PalaeoIndian Spear Preparation

A resin cast
I received a cool courier package today from Alaska.  It contained a core of chert from the Brooks Range, a long strip of caribou back sinew and a resin cast of a PalaeoIndian spear point.  The objective is for me to make hafted reproductions of the borrowed spear point using the chert and sinew provided.  The chert is remarkably similar to some of the chert that I've collected from the Port au Port Peninsula on Newfoundland's west coast.  It's very fine grained and looks like it might have some fractures in it, which is also similar to the Port au Port chert that I have.  

Using the cast as a reference will help me make a more accurate reproduction. 

 Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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Posted on 10 September 2015 | 8:37 pm

Adam Radwanski

Thanksgiving weekend will be all about targeting specific types of voters

Over Thanksgiving weekend, the parties won’t invest equal effort in mobilizing all their supporters. Instead, they’ll be heavily targeting specific types

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Posted on 8 October 2015 | 6:51 pm

How to Survive Life in the Suburbs

Bowling ~ It’s THE Thing To Do In Minden Ontario

Cottage country is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the world…until it rains for 10 or 11 hours straight and your stuck inside said cottage with a gaggle of screaming kids.  When that happens, you need to get the heck out and DO something.  Anything!  So what is the thing to do […]

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Posted on 7 October 2015 | 12:31 pm

A Peek Inside the Fishbowl

Dress for Success

I have a confusing and conflicted relationship with The Act of Shopping. I am not a clothes horse, but I do love good clothes. I don’t like cheap clothing that falls apart and I don’t like fast fashion and everything that goes along with it. I will spend money where it’s warranted, on a great […]

The post Dress for Success appeared first on a peek inside the fishbowl.

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Posted on 6 October 2015 | 3:11 pm

Dawg’s Blawg

Protest song

Yeah, I know, this is a family blog. But I can’t help preferring this to Harperman. Let’s stop trying to make the case. If we haven’t made it by now, we won’t in the next two weeks. Let’s just get...

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Posted on 6 October 2015 | 2:08 am

Dammit Janet

Partisanship Is Sooooo Over

Partisanship is at best silly, at times ugly, and right now it's bloody dangerous.

Since PMSHithead got his minority I've been imploring the Fucking Useless Opposition® (FUO) to get their act together and actually OPPOSE this government's destruction of Canada. You know, like they're supposed to do.

But no. They'd rather bash each other.

And now, we've got perhaps the LAST CHANCE to boot Stephen Harper and his band of vandals, and they're bashing each other even harder.

The majority of Canadians could Cambellize the hated Harperoids, if only the FUO® would co-operate with each other a teensy bit.

But no.

This morning, the story about the Short-Pants Brigade taking over from the Immigration Department and making literal life and death decisions based on political expediency drove me over the edge.

I decloaked.

Connie responded.

Connie's dismay at the Harper government has been brewing for some time. In February this year I linked to this at Free Dominion.
Canadian conservatives don't deserve to have a majority government.

There. I said it. I haven't given up on conservatism. Actually, quite the opposite. I have just come to the conclusion that it is not in the interest of conservatism (or liberty or democracy, for that matter) for the Conservative Party to remain in power.

Her main beef then and now is the Jihadis Under Every Bed Law, aka C51. Free Dominion reopened its forum to join the fray against it.

As I wrote then:
It beats the hell out of me why anyone purportedly in this fight -- and it is the fight of the decade at the very least -- would scorn any ally. But some are too pure to join forces with groups they otherwise disagree vehemently with.

Just as now, it beats the hell out of me why anyone would scorn any ally in the fight to get rid of the worst government in Canadian history.

And Connie has other issues with the Harper Party, so when I heard that she was writing a book addressed to her fellow Conservatives, I offered to help.

She accepted. I proofread and indexed the book. It's called Betrayed.

From the Introduction:

In this book, I will be making the case that conservative Canadians have a responsibility to keep our government in check.  When a leader that we have elected goes off the rails and begins to dismantle the very fabric of our democracy, we have a duty to send our own people into the political wilderness until they learn to handle the unfettered power of a majority government with the care and respect it deserves.

Perhaps you are thinking right now that I am not giving Stephen Harper enough trust.  You might think that he is not the type of man to abuse legislation that allows warrantless government access to our personal information, or legislation that allows judges, in secret trials, to give CSIS permission to do virtually anything but rape us or kill us.

His record tells a different story as I detail in Chapter ten.

But,  even if you do trust Stephen Harper and discount my reading of events, he is not going to be the Prime Minister forever. You have a responsibility to ask yourself if you trust the level of power that Harper has consolidated in the PMO in the hands of every potential new government that this country ever elects.

If the answer to that question is "no", then we must accept that Stephen Harper, by ramming through some very perilous legislation --most  notably Bill  C-51, the  Anti-Terrorism Act -- has put future generations in danger. For that reason alone he must be stopped. I will be talking in this book about Free Dominion's history and about some  of our experiences with censorship and "disruption" that have occurred already, under the watch of our Conservative government.
I'm pretty sure that regular readers here need no more reasons to vote against Harper, but maybe you've got Conservative friends and family you're going to be seeing this Thanksgiving weekend.

You could print out copies of Connie's Introduction and hand them around the table. *evil grin*

Or not.

So, what's the point of this blogpost?

To show ALL YOU "PROGRESSIVE" JACKASSES that common cause exists.

And that the stakes are high enough.

Do something to stop Harper.

And stop bashing each other.


Regular readers may remember that Connie and I have history. We've agreed on issues like prorogation, the G20 police state in Toronto, prison farms, and the need for better definition of online defamation. And of course the Jihadis bill.

We've both taken shit for our occasional public agreement. Notably, but perhaps not surprisingly, from male people who seem to think we need policing for consorting with each other.

It may amuse, then, to learn of my "price" for helping with Connie's book.

It was inspired by Canadian Cynic, who, in support of the documentary "Election Day in Canada," tweeted this:

I asked Connie to make a donation to the film in her own name. I didn't ask her to make any kind of statement about it.

But she did.

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Posted on 8 October 2015 | 8:04 pm

That Artist Woman

Owls in the style of Paul Klee

It seems every year I do a Fall owl project.

These owls are inspired by Paul Klee.

This one is on hardboard but you could use cardboard.

The wings are made out of corrugated cardboard and the beak is recycled foam.

You can also do a full paper version, this one is in the art journal.


- substrate, can be hardboard, masonite, cardboard, canvas or paper
- gesso for priming, optional
- acrylic or tempera paint
- corrugated cardboard
- recycled papers
- glue


If you wish you can prime your substrate with gesso.

Take a piece of recycled paper, this is a large book page, paint with the colour you want for the body.

I also painted a red one for the head.

I painted the corrugated cardboard in shades of brown.  This will be for the wings.

I cut a beak out of recycled foam and painted it yellow.

I painted the background (substrate) in shades of blue.

I try not to let paint go to waste. I'll paint pages in my art journal or plain paper to use in printmaking to use up any excess paint.

This is the orange body paper. I turned it over and sketched out my body shape. Cut it out.

Add dashes of colour to the body.

Cut out some wing shapes from the painted cardboard and add dashes.

To cut out the head I took the red painted paper and turned it over. I traced the head and shoulders of the body on to it.

I turned it upside down and cut a triangle out of the forehead.

I then painted on the dashes.

To make the eyes I cut 2 round circles out of white paper,  I used my circle punch.

I then cut one out of some leftover orange paper.  I cut it in half for the eyelids.

I cut 2 smaller circles out of black paper for the pupils.

Cut a branch out of black paper.

Glue down all the pieces.

Add some shading and details with black and white pencils.

These china markers work on everything.  I buy them by the box at Staples.

That's it.


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Posted on 23 September 2015 | 12:03 am

A pretty Life in the Suburbs

Last minute ideas for Thanksgiving!

In case you need some Last minute ideas for Thanksgiving, I’ve got you covered!  Everything from simple decor ideas, to pumpkin recipes, desserts and side dishes! – – – – – Like I do for almost all of our holidays, I tend to leave things to the last minute.  But I have a theory for […]

The post Last minute ideas for Thanksgiving! appeared first on A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.

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Posted on 8 October 2015 | 11:00 am

Canada's Adventure couple

Why Nova Scotia Should be Your First stop on the East Coast

It was our first East Coast road trip in Canada and Nova Scotia was the perfect starting point. Nova Scotia was made for road tripping. We landed at the Halifax airport, we picked up our car and set off to explore the south shore of the province. It doesn't take long to get anywhere in Nova [...]

Read the original post Why Nova Scotia Should be Your First stop on the East Coast on The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog.

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Posted on 7 October 2015 | 8:34 pm

My New Life in Canada, under the snow!

These "What Was I Thinking" Moments

We’ve all experienced a few "what the hell was I thinking" moments, times were you were convinced you could totally make it work, no matter how far stretched the idea was. Or maybe that's just me.

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Posted on 7 October 2015 | 12:13 pm

Live From Waterloo

Things I was better off not knowing - #35

(En español más abajo)


- “I was in the bus with Santi and we were stopped at the lights. A guy in a Santa Claus suit came out of a parked car just right next to us and I screamed when I saw him. Then I hid under the seat for the rest of the trip because I was embarrassed”

- “Estábamos en el colectivo con Santi, parados en un semáforo. Un tipo vestido de Papá Noel salió de una auto que estaba estacionado justo a lado de nosotros y yo pequé un grito cuando lo ví. Después me dio tanta vergüenza que me escondí debajo del asiento por el resto del viaje”
More ‘Better off not knowing’ stories here

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Posted on 8 October 2015 | 1:14 pm