Monkeys and Mountains

Everest Base Camp: Here I Come

The original can be found here: Everest Base Camp: Here I Come. Please read the original.

Everest Base Camp for me isn't just something I would like to do, but something I feel the NEED to do. But first I have to figure out a way to overcome these challenges:

Monkeys and Mountains - Adventure seeker and explorer by day, luxury seeker by night

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Posted on 14 April 2014 | 2:41 pm

Indian Country

Duane ‘Chili’ Yazzie’s Grassroots Campaign for the Navajo Presidency

Duane “Chili” Yazzie is looking for 1,500 Navajo voters to chip in one dollar each....

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Posted on 16 April 2014 | 12:00 am


The Official Launch of DeeBee’s TeaPops

If you’re like me, I give into my sweet tooth way too easily. But often times I’m left feeling guilty afterwards because because of all the sugar I consumed. Well, there goes my workout....

The post The Official Launch of DeeBee’s TeaPops appeared first on Hello Vancity.

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Posted on 13 April 2014 | 7:31 pm

List Verse

10 Bizarre Prehistoric Cryptid Sightings

Everybody knows about the Loch Ness Monster and Megalodon. You might also be aware that there is supposed to be an Apatosaurus living in the unexplored depths of the Congo. But there are quite a few other prehistoric animals said to be still walking the Earth in various remote places. 10The Mapinguari “The moment you […]

The post 10 Bizarre Prehistoric Cryptid Sightings appeared first on Listverse.

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Posted on 16 April 2014 | 7:02 am

The Fur Files

Dangerous Things People Should Probably Avoid

My husband is a smart guy. He knows a lot about a lot of things. I would consider him to be one of those people who is both life smart AND book smart AND good at fixing washing machines. (Ours keeps breaking and breaking and breaking – I’m about to go all “I’m sending a […]

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Posted on 11 April 2014 | 2:13 pm

The Gate

Photo: At the Toronto Zoo today for an interview about Disneynature's Bears and also saw this bear, and a wee polar bear.

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Posted on 16 April 2014 | 9:43 pm


Recognizing hate groups as the major domestic terror threat in the U.S.

Amy Goodman
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: beardymonsta, F. Montino

Another U.S. shooting spree has left bullet-riddled bodies in its wake, and refocused attention on violent, right-wing extremists. Frazier Glenn Miller, a former leader of a wing of the Ku Klux Klan, is accused of killing three people outside two Jewish community centers outside Kansas City, Kan. As he was hauled away in a police car, he shouted "Heil Hitler!" Unlike Islamic groups that U.S. agencies spend tens of billions of dollars targeting, domestic white supremacist groups enjoy relative freedom to spew their hatred and promote racist ideology. Too often, their murderous rampages are viewed as acts of deranged "lone wolf" attackers. These seemingly fringe groups are actually well-organized, interconnected and are enjoying renewed popularity.

Unlike Islamic groups that U.S. agencies spend tens of billions of dollars targeting, domestic white supremacist groups enjoy relative freedom to spew their hatred and promote racist ideology.

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Posted on 17 April 2014 | 11:31 am

Urban Toronto

Photo of the Day: Urban Sunset

Toronto is still the reigning construction capital of North America, and our city shows no signs of relinquishing that crown any time soon. With more cranes and construction projects than any other city on the continent, Toronto photographers are taking notice of the changes around them and composing images that wouldn't have been possible a few years earlier. Today's Photo of the Day comes to us from Flickr member 'Katrin Ray', who posted this stunning shot of the sun setting behind a growing Bloor-Yorkville skyline in the UrbanToronto Flickr Pool. In the image below, active projects U Condos (left) and Nicholas Residences (centre) can be seen making their mark on the neighbourhood as the sun sets to the northwest.


Photo of the Day, Toronto sunsetSun setting over Toronto, image by Flickr contributor Katrin Ray

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Posted on 17 April 2014 | 4:00 am

The Hook (B.C. News)

For-Profit Clinic Lawsuit May Transform Health Care (in News)

'Hard to overstate' impact of Brian Day's extra-billing challenge, doctors say.

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Posted on 17 April 2014 | 7:40 am

The Greater Fool

What could go wrong?

Five years ago Ricky and Carmen came to Canada for a better life. That led to graduate studies, two so-so jobs, two kids, a new SUV and a two-bedroom apartment in Burlington. But it’s not enough. This is the land of entitlement, after all. “So we are today renting a 30 yr old apartment, with […]

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Posted on 17 April 2014 | 12:16 am

Hiking With Barry!

Waterfall Valley – Winter – Calgary – Hiking Alberta

Waterfall Valley is an easy, urban hike located in Bowmont Natural Environment Park along the north shore of the Bow River in northwest Calgary, Alberta.  This winter hike begins from home in Bowness heading north to a park entrance in the cul-de-sac … Continue reading

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Posted on 26 February 2014 | 7:54 pm

New Zealand Students Can Buy Beers With Rats

Jonathan with a future beer

For centuries New Zealand flightless birds and slow-moving reptiles lived without fear of native predators. This golden era ended when the British showed up on rat-infested ships. Since then, rats have become the key player in the destruction of native forestry and the extinction of nine native species of birds. Clearly the rats need to go, but how do you motivate New Zealanders into becoming active rat hunters?

Beer Trap is a program that lets time-rich and beer-poor university students to swap dead rats for free brews. Genius, right? We spoke to Jonathan Musther, one of the masterminds of the campaign, about the intricacies of fixing the environment with young Kiwis and alcohol.

VICE: So first of all, how do I get a free beer?
Gareth Morgan:
It's pretty simple, you bring a dead rat to Victoria University of Wellington’s Science Society, we supply the traps, and we exchange it for a voucher which you can use to claim a drink at The Hunter Lounge (the uni bar).

Other than beers, why are we killing rats?
It’s a twofold problem. For one they kill a lot of our natives. They eat skinks and lizards and they also eat insects like the Weta. Plus birds’ eggs—even tree-nesting birds like the Tui’s because rats can climb trees quite happily.

Rats can climb trees?
Yeah, absolutely. The other side of the coin is not only are they directly predating our species, they are also competing with them. In New Zealand, the ecological niche that rats occupy in Europe was solely occupied by the foraging ground-dwelling birds and large insects like the Weta. Rats forage more efficiently because they evolved with a lot more pressure from other organisms. New Zealand was a really cushy place to evolve—birds didn’t have to bother flying.

Why do you want students in particular killing rats?
Right now the Department of Conservation have a great trapping system in our parks and reserves, but they can’t just walk in and start trapping in the backyards of various people’s house. So we began thinking about how we can get people involved with urban trapping. It started as a project in the Wellington zone to create a buffer zone around the parks and reserves, so that the birds that hop across the fence don’t just get eaten.

We do have a bit more of an obligation up in Kelburn (near the University) because we have Zealandia and the Otari-Wilton Bush. Those are the two big breeding areas, and the birds go between the two, and while in transit they get eaten by a cat or possum, or they nest outside and their eggs get eaten by a hedgehog or a rat.

So we decided to get students involved, running Beer Trap from the Victoria University Science Society, and that the best way to incentivise them would be to get them a free drink. They are students after all.

Have you had trouble with offering alcohol as an incentive?
Some people have, but I don’t think it’s an issue because I don’t think anyone’s going to catch that many rats. No one’s going to catch ten rats and go to the Hunter Lounge and get sloshed.

If they did they probably deserve it. They did just kill ten rats.
Yeah, if they want to have a big night, sure.

So, what else are you killing?
The traps we’ve been giving away are mostly to catch rats, you’d probably catch a stoat as well. But I personally have some other traps out with Halo that can catch rats, stoats, and hedgehogs.

You’re killing hedgehogs?!
There’s not a lot of research out there on hedgehogs, but the Department of Conservation says that we’re only just beginning to realise how evil they are. They got away with it for quite a while now for being cute. But they have done some studies in the South Island which show that they are responsible for one in five fatal attacks on low-lying bird’s nests. They also go nuts over invertebrates and insects, one hedgehog was found with 283 Weta legs in its stomach. And they can eat 10 percent of their body weight each night—so about 100g in one night.

I think we have a lot sentimental attachment to hedgehogs, and they are very cute and lovely, but they’re eating our national icons like the Weta.

Is it hard to convince people that what is essentially a huge ugly insect should be saved over the life of a cute little hedgehog?
I think what it comes down to is that (Wetas) don’t live anywhere else. And we as a society have decided that somehow there is an intrinsic value in species, and when any species is close to extinction we give attention to that and try to bring them back.

People draw the lines in funny places. I can’t understand that if we’re going to value something cute like the dopey-eyed Kakapo parrot, because they’re rare, then we should also value something like the giant ugly Weta, which is also rare.

I can sympathise with people who say that you shouldn’t kill animals, and I can sympathise with the viewpoint that there is some intrinsic value in a species and that we should maintain it—but anything in between is weird. Your decisions are just ruled by emotion, and you’re letting that get the better of you. You say, “I want to save these because they’re cuddly and cute, but those I don’t care about because they’re ugly.” I can’t get my head around it. It’s one end or the other.

Have you been getting any opposition?
Yeah, with the Hedgehog people (Hedgehog Rescue New Zealand). The public feedback was mostly positive until the hedgehog thing came into play. We’ve now been dubbed, “remorseless hedgehog killers”.

That’s gotta hurt, what are the Hedgehog people doing?
The Department of Conservation spends millions of dollars poisoning and trapping hedgehogs, but then Hedgehog Rescue New Zealand comes along and finds those hedgehogs, nurses them back to health and release them back into the wild.

What’s the end goal of all this “remorseless killing”?
For now what we have to do is to keep those (predator) numbers down as far as we can so native species stand a chance. But the hope that all conservationists have is that you’d be able to eradicate these predators from New Zealand entirely , eradicate rats, possums, stoats, weasels, mice and hedgehogs. So instead of finding a rat or a hedgehog in your garden you might find a kiwi, and instead of a rat in your roof you might find a giant Weta—even though that would be terrifying.

Follow Laetitia on Twitter: @TeeshTeesh_

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Posted on 17 April 2014 | 12:30 pm

Michael Geist

Access Copyright Urges Copyright Board to Ignore Supreme Court Ruling on Fair Dealing

Access Copyright has filed its response to the Copyright Board of Canada's series of questions about fair dealing and education in the tariff proceedings involving Canadian post-secondary institutions. I have several posts planned about the 40 page response, which continues the copyright collective's longstanding battle against fair dealing. This one focuses on Access Copyright's astonishing effort to urge the Copyright Board to reject the Supreme Court of Canada's clear ruling on the relevance of licensing within the context of fair dealing.

Access Copyright has frequently argued that the availability of a licence should trump fair dealing. For example, in the 2001 copyright consultation it stated:

As a rule, where collective licensing is in place there should be no exception or limitation to a right for which the holder has a legitimate interest. As defined in the Act, anytime that a licence to reproduce a work is available from a collective society within a reasonable time, for a reasonable price and with reasonable effort, it is commercially available.

Access Copyright reiterated its position in its 2003 intervention in the Law Society of Upper Canada v. CCH Canadian case.  It argued:

Copibec and Access Copyright submit that the obtaining of photocopy licences, when they are offered by collective societies that are authorized by copyright owners to grant licences on their behalf, is an established and readily available alternative to the dealing. Where collective societies have created a workable market for institutional users to obtain licences for the right to reproduce works protected by copyright, courts should acknowledge that the reproduction of such works, absent a licence, will generally affect the potential market for those works, and take this factor into account in any analysis of whether a dealing is "fair."

The Supreme Court of Canada proceeded to directly respond to the Access Copyright argument in its CCH decision. The unanimous court ruled:

The availability of a licence is not relevant to deciding whether a dealing has been fair. As discussed, fair dealing is an integral part of the scheme of copyright law in Canada. Any act falling within the fair dealing exception will not infringe copyright. If a copyright owner were allowed to license people to use its work and then point to a person's decision not to obtain a licence as proof that his or her dealings were not fair, this would extend the scope of the owner's monopoly over the use of his or her work in a manner that would not be consistent with the Copyright Act's balance between owner's rights and user's interests.

That is about as clear cut as you can get: Access Copyright directly raised an argument and the Court unanimously rejected it. So what does Access Copyright do in its brief to the Copyright Board? Go right back to the same argument that the Supreme Court rejected:

In the digital age, the availability of a licence – whether from the rightsholder directly or from the collective that represents the rightsholder – has to be a consideration as to whether there is an alternative to the dealing. (The commercialization of works in a digital environment is done through the issuance of licences as opposed to the sale of physical copies of works.) In this case, a licence is clearly available from Access Copyright: the works in issue are all in Access Copyright’s repertoire. Further, the evidence filed by Access Copyright establishes that licences for the exact excerpt of the works that have been copied are available for purchase from the publishers. Given these alternatives, the copying purportedly permitted by the Policies is unfair.

Unfortunately, this example is only one of many misleading or inaccurate claims in the Access Copyright brief.  More on its effort to deceive the board on the timing of the Supreme Court of Canada's fair dealing decisions and the government's expansion of fair dealing in Bill C-11 in a post tomorrow.

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Posted on 16 April 2014 | 4:17 am

The Tyee / The Hook

For-Profit Clinic Lawsuit May Transform Health Care (in News)

'Hard to overstate' impact of Brian Day's extra-billing challenge, doctors say.

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Posted on 17 April 2014 | 7:40 am

The Georgia Straight proudly sponsors the 2014 DOXA Documentary Film Festival

The 2014 DOXA Documentary Film Festival takes place May 2 to 11 at various Vancouver venues

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Posted on 16 April 2014 | 10:53 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 a week of weather!

Geraldine was awake Monday Asleep on Tuesday! Monday, it was 26 C. in our yard. Geraldine bullfrog had woken up.  Tuesday it was ice pellets. Geraldine has gone back to bed. The crocus were being hammered with the ice, which was bouncing on the deck yesterday. We took a drive on Sunday. It was cloudy. I spotted a pair of mergansers in the river. I hope they stay warm today, as it is -5C. and

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Posted on 16 April 2014 | 11:34 am

Steve Paikin

The Biggest Gamble of All

Dalton McGuinty's appearance on "The Agenda" in advance of the 2007 election.

Do you remember the election campaign of 2003?

Dalton McGuinty, then the opposition leader, looked into the cameras and promised in an oft-played ad not to raise your taxes. He even, at a lavish ceremony, signed a Canadian Taxpayers Federation pledge not to do so. Then, he got into power, saw how big the deficit was, saw what his election commitments were, and changed his mind. Taxes were raised to pay for the improvements to health and education he wanted to make.

In the lead up to the 2007 election, McGuinty similarly committed not to raise taxes. "You know I won't," was his promise. McGuinty was re-elected, partly on the strength of the health and education improvements his government delivered.

But during his 2007 mandate, McGuinty again raised taxes, albeit with extenuating circumstances. McGuinty's provincial Liberal government and Stephen Harper's federal Conservative government harmonized their respective sales taxes into a new HST. Yes, Ontarians got some tax cuts in the short run. But they're also, in the long run, paying a higher sales tax on haircuts and music lessons, which used to be exempt from provincial sales taxes. 

And yet again, McGuinty and the Liberals won the ensuing election in 2011. In fact, they may be the only government in the Western world to implement such a significant change in taxes, and yet win re-election notwithstanding.

One of the lessons Ontario's 24th premier took from these policy accomplishments was that Ontarians will reward you politically, even if you raise their taxes, if you can convince them it's in the public interest and can demonstrate how their lives are better as a result.

Premier Wynne and Transportation Minister Glen Murray discuss "Moving Ontario Forward"

Kathleen Wynne is now going for the trifecta.

In the face of considerable opposition (mostly from the Conservatives), Wynne is set to announce in the May 1st budget that she'll call on some Ontarians to pay more tax than they're currently paying, in order to fund her government's $29 billion, 10-year "Moving Ontario Forward" infrastructure plan.

Conventional wisdom says, it's the biggest political gamble a Liberal leader could take, increasing taxes for yet a third time. But as Wynne said in her speech to the Toronto Region Board of Trade on Monday, "I made a commitment that I did not want a future premier to have to stand here 50 years from now, wishing someone had shown the courage and leadership to take action."

Wynne has confirmed not everyone will feel the pinch to get more infrastructure built. For example, there will be no increase in the HST, gas taxes, or income taxes on middle or lower income people. Left unsaid, but certainly implied, is that taxes will go up on corporations and higher income Ontarians. And Wynne clearly suggested that it would be political suicide to increase taxes on people outside Toronto to pay for the Greater Toronto Area's new transit needs.

"No one in London or Sudbury will be expected to pay for projects in Toronto," she said.

So now we wait for the May 1st budget in which Finance Minister Charles Sousa will finally get specific and lay out which "revenue tools" the province will choose, having already rejected so many.

Wynne is clearly content to put the Liberals' future on the line with this third attempt in a decade to raise more revenue. In fact, she almost dared her opponents to reject the budget, saying "If the opposition won't support us, then I am happy to take our plan to the people."

If that happens, Ontarians will have a good and clear choice. Wynne's transportation plan with its concomitant "revenue tools;" a Conservative transit plan which leader Tim Hudak insists can be achieved without any new fees or taxes; an NDP plan, which the party has strategically declined to roll out yet, presumably out of fears that it would be stolen or overly criticized; and the Greens who have been specific for years on the need to build more public transit, and pay for it by taxing behavior we don't like, such as polluting and smoking.

We'll have more to say about all of the above tonight on the broadcast at 8:00 p.m. and again at 11:00 p.m. as we debate how the government can pay for its promises on transportation and discuss the politics of budget-making. 

Tonight's guests include: Carol Wilding of the Toronto Region Board of Trade...

...Cherise Burda of the Pembina Institute...

...and the new CEO of CivicAction, Sevaun Palvetzian.

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Posted on 16 April 2014 | 8:22 am

Weighty Matters

The 3rd Myth of Modern Day Dieting: Dieting Must Be Difficult

A few weeks ago I shot some short videos in my office covering the 13 myths of modern day dieting that I wrote about in The Diet Fix. Believing in these myths can break anyone's weight management efforts. Over the coming days I'll be publishing them online.

Simply put, weight lost through suffering comes back. While there's no doubt that weight management and healthful living require effort, if the efforts required include regularly facing off with hunger, blindly denying yourself foods you enjoy, or following a dietary regime that doesn't fit your tastes, they're not going to last.

Whatever program or diet you undertake, the most important predictor of your likelihood of long-term success is being able to answer, "yes" to the question, "could you happily live this way for the rest of your life", with the key word there being, "happily".

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Posted on 16 April 2014 | 9:30 am

Margaret Wente

Intolerance is now a vice of the left

Whatever you think of Christian values, let’s hope Canada has room for a law school like Trinity Western’s

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Posted on 15 April 2014 | 11:00 am

Lauren Out Loud

For fashion’s sake: That one time I played a stylish 60′s housewife

How do you do, homies? I’ve got some sweet fots to show off today, courtesy of one very talented crew of ladies brought together by stylist Melissa Marchand. I’ve not got much to say other than a) that was a very fun day b) I totally want to start dressing like Betty Draper and c) […]

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Posted on 11 April 2014 | 6:03 am

Rants n Rascals

Delicious Snacks for Easter

Be honest, we all love good food, treats and snacks and Easter is the perfect time to indulge without guilt. Let’s face it, whether you agree with the commercialisation of Easter or not, it sure does promise a wealth of delicious chocolate goodness, which is never a bad thing. But have you considered making your […]

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Posted on 15 April 2014 | 8:05 pm

Bow. James Bow

How Frozen Should Have Ended

Yup. Pretty much this:...

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Posted on 15 April 2014 | 12:54 am

A Toronto Blog

To Trains

The arrow points the way to the #Toronto Transit Commission subway trains and you can fix your hair in the mirrors as you pass by.

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Posted on 17 April 2014 | 12:56 am

Robyn Urbak on Campus

Are students really boozing in Western’s libraries?

My university faces unfair "party school" stereotype

The post Are students really boozing in Western’s libraries? appeared first on

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Posted on 15 April 2014 | 10:36 pm

Postcards From the Mothership

Manotick families – have your say about George McLean park

This blog post is part PSA and part rant. The PSA part is that the city is planning to update the play structures at George McLean park in Manotick. (Thanks to the Manotick Village and Community Association for the notification on this one!) According to the MVCA parks and recreation page: The City is replacing [...] Related posts (automatically generated):
  1. Encouraging risk-taking on the playground
  2. Ottawa’s Hidden Treasures: Andrew Haydon Park
  3. Ottawa family fun this weekend: Manotick’s Picnic in the Park and Soapbox Derby

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Posted on 15 April 2014 | 9:09 pm

David Akins on the Hill

North Korea stares at Abbott and Harper (and me)

  Last week, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea. Here’s The Sydney Morning Herald‘s Philip Coorey reporting on Abbott’s visit: Prime Minister Tony Abbott stared across the border at North Korea and labelled it an outlaw state and a threat to world peace on Wednesday. Meanwhile, there […]

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Posted on 13 April 2014 | 9:39 pm

Dutch Blitz


Back in February, I was getting my hair done at my friend Jenny’s and she showed me all of the things she’d learned how to crochet since Christmas. Her sister Karen — another one of my closest friends — has been crocheting for a long time and it inspired Jenny to buy some yarn and […]

© Angella Dykstra 2005-2013 All rights reserved. | Originally published for as Hooked.

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Posted on 17 April 2014 | 4:31 am

Nik at Night

Game of Thrones 4.02: The Lion and the Rose

And the internet should be exploding right... about... NOW. Exploding with GLEE, that is!!!! Welcome to week 2 of our season 4 Game of Thrones posts. As always I'm with my dashing colleague Christopher Lockett, as we work our way through this deliciously happy episode. EEEEEEEEEEEE!!! I'll let Chris go first while I try to collect myself...

Christopher: This episode is an excellent reminder that, however much we might complain about GRRM killing off our favourite characters, every so often he kills the people we hate with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns. The wee prick is dead! But because I knew that was coming, and because I have enjoyed your vitriolic loathing of the little shit lo these three years, Nikki, I will let you do the first jig upon his grave in this post.

Instead, I will begin by talking about the beginning of this episode: last season we left Theon in the throes of torture, mind-games, and castration. This season we see that young Ramsay Bolton—sorry, Ramsay Snow—was not merely tormenting Theon for his own amusement. Oh, make no mistake: he was totally amused by the whole process, the sick bastard … but it was all also done with an eye to breaking and subjugating Theon to the Bastard of Bolton’s will.

Poor Theon. I know you have very little sympathy for him, Nikki, but I wonder if the events of this episode have softened that perspective at all. We first see him hobbling along as fast as he can behind Ramsay and his (apparently) equally sociopathic lady friend (I think I heard him call her Miranda?) as they chase a terrified girl through the woods. I must confess that, watching this scene, I could not help but think the same thing as when similar moments occur in A Dance With Dragons—namely, a flashback to that moment in the Simpsons when Ranier Wolfcastle announces at the local community center that he will be teaching people how to hunt “ze deadliest prey … maahhn.” Apparently, Ramsay took the remedial course, in which he learned to hunt helpless terrified chambermaids (I’d like to see him try to hunt Brienne).

However much my mind may jump to such inappropriate allusions, this opening scene serves as a reminder later that Ramsay is only partially a calculating psychopath, and that at heart he takes perverse joy in inflicting terror and pain. For me, the most affecting—and horrifying—moment of this scene is when Ramsay sics his hounds on the wounded girl, which we don’t see but hear … instead we see Theon’s tortured face as she screams. Again, Nikki, you have to admit: however much you might not care about Theon’s torments, Alfie Allen shows his acting chops in this episode. He has little enough to say, but shows everything on his face. In those few seconds of hearing the girl’s screams mingled with the hounds’ growls, we see Theon’s own terror, horror, fear, hatred, and self-loathing … in short, we see Reek.

Sweeney Theon

And we see Reek again when Ramsay commands him to shave him in front of his father. “Theon was our enemy,” he tells Roose Bolton. “Reek? Reek will never betray us.” Roose has not appeared in the series as he is in the novels: in the novels he is described as slightly built, rheumy-eyed, pale, and generally physically unprepossessing … and yet carrying with him cold threat and danger, a man who looks through you. In A Game of Thrones (the novel), when Catelyn suggests at one point that Robb needs someone with cold cunning to lead his southern forces, Robb presciently replies “Roose Bolton. That man scares me.” In the series, Roose (played by actor Michael McElhatton) is somewhat more physically imposing than I imagined the character, but he does a good job of conveying Roose’s cold, calculating nature. We meet his new wife briefly: Lady Walda, a daughter of the Frey clan, part of his reward for helping Walder Frey betray the Starks. I’m probably spoiling a point that will be revealed in a later episode, but the deal with Frey was that Roose’s dowry would be his betrothed’s weight in gold. And so without hesitation he chose the most corpulent of the Frey girls. Roose is not, in other words, a man swayed by anything so fickle as sensual appetites (a reason he was probably disgusted with Robb Stark’s willingness to betray a marriage contract for love); and so we see his disappointment at the pleasure his bastard takes in torturing and killing. “We’ve been flaying our enemies for a thousand years!” Ramsay protests when his father takes umbrage at his treatment of Theon. “The flayed man is on our banners!” “MY banners,” Roose corrects him abruptly. “You’re not a Bolton. You’re a Snow.”

But however much Roose might regret the trust he put in his bastard, Ramsay’s exhibition of Theon’s compliance impresses him in spite of himself, and he suggests that, if Ramsay can retake Moat Caillin, perhaps—perhaps!—that designation of Snow can be reconsidered.

I’ll ask you what you thought of the Ramsay/Theon scenes, Nikki, but first—please, do your Dance of Joy on the corpse of the Wee Prick.

Nikki: Eeeeeeeeeee!!!

Ding dong, the little shit’s dead!
Which little shit?
The INBRED shit!
Ding dong, the lit-tle shit is DEAD!!

Ah. I said last season that Joffrey deserved to die, and yet I didn’t want him to because I enjoyed hating him so much that my enjoyment in despising him outweighed wanting to see him die a horrible death. Now, I shall revel in the moment (even though I know I’ll probably miss him soon). Never has a mess of vomit and blood and snot been so… beautiful. I had no idea this was going to happen; as far as I’m concerned, GRRM kills off the characters we love, and the only time a bad guy dies is when it’s someone we haven’t much invested in (like Polliver in the previous episode). To take out the most despicable of the Lannisters? The king? The single worst person on television right now? Glorious.

And by the way, Joffrey had to die for so, so many reasons, but chucking money at Sigur Rós and telling them to stop playing and get out? DIE, YOU LITTLE SHIT, DIE! (Anyone who follows me on Facebook knows my deep devotion for the Icelandic band, who play the minstrels at the party and then sing “Rains of Castamere” over the end credits; they are easily my favourite band and the best live band I’ve ever seen. How DARE he?!)

Sigur. Freakin. Ros.

But just in case it wasn’t clear that his death is definitely a good thing, they’ve really upped his dickishness these last episodes, especially in his despicable treatment of Tyrion. First bringing out a bunch of dwarf jesters to reenact the war between the kings of Westeros, once again beheading Ned Stark before his daughter Sansa, then treating Tyrion like garbage in front of the hundreds of guests, Joffrey’s sniveling face is the one every viewer most wants to smack, and has been since the first season.

Tyrion, I’ll let you have the honour:

However, beyond our personal grievances, and him being a horrible person in general, Joffrey is, quite simply, a terrible king. He’s weak, too scared to run into battle (as Tyrion brilliantly reminds him when he stands up at the wedding and tells Joffrey to reenact for all the guests how he had handled the Battle of Blackwater). He never, ever listens to any sort of counsel, whether it’s from Tyrion or Tywin or Cersei or Baelish. He knows very little about Westeros in general; remember in the previous episode where Daarios handed Daenerys the flowers and told her that in order to rule, she needs to understand the flora and fauna of the country, the people and what they need and want, and every bit of the landscape? Joffrey wouldn’t know what the difference between a flora and fauna was, much less have any sense of his people. The reason the marriage to Margaery was going to be positive was because she could stand before the people and say all the food was being given to the poor (an offer that Cersei quickly and privately repeals), which is the sort of thing Joffrey would neverthink of doing, but she tells everyone he did to make him look like a good and benevolent king. A king isn’t any sort of king if he doesn’t have one iota of support from his subjects.

The question now is, who could have done it? Was it Tyrion? He was holding the goblet, but there was really no time that I saw (having watched the wedding scene three times now) where he could have slipped something into that goblet. Could it have been Sansa, who holds the goblet at one point? (Again, she doesn’t seem to slip anything into it.) The final glass of wine was poured from the decanter sitting before Cersei, and she clearly didn’t do it, but that wine had to have been brought in from the kitchens. Sansa is quickly whisked away by the fool we’d seen in the previous episode, the man whose life she’d saved back in the second season, as if he’d known all along this was going to happen. Could he have poisoned Joffrey? Suddenly showing up the day before the wedding to say “heya” to Sansa and then grabbing her by the hand and telling her to run away seems a little suspicious. Could it have been the pie? Joffrey was drinking the wine the whole time, but it’s only after he takes a bit of the pie that he begins choking. Margaery is the one feeding it to him, and she never takes a bite (it’s passed around to others but you never see them bite into it, either). If someone had laced the pie, they would have been chancing killing everyone sitting up on the dais. It makes more sense to have put something in Joffrey’s goblet, but again, he’s using that goblet through the entire scene and it’s only at the end he begins choking.

In any case, there are so many people who would want him dead, the possibilities of who actually killed Joffrey are endless. Jaime for mocking him in the previous episode? (Jaime is his father, and seems to know that, so I doubt he’d kill his own son.)
The court jester?
Tyrion, just because he knows more than anyone what a sniveling little shit he is? (And for mercilessly slicing to bits the book that Tyrion had bought as a wedding gift, which had probably been handprinted and cost a fortune?)
Tywin? Seems like a long shot but since Joffrey’s such a horrible king, perhaps he was cleaning house with him the same way he was trying to do with Jaime? (If he’s willing to kill Shae, the woman Tyrion loves, why not kill the result of his twin children having an incestuous relationship?)
Lady Olenna? She seems pretty darn unfazed by the whole thing, and the goblet that he grabs right near the end is sitting on her table.

My money’s on Jónsi from Sigur Rós. As if I needed a reason to love that man more.

I’m sure the mystery will continue throughout the season, perhaps longer, perhaps just until the next episode, who knows, but at this point it doesn’t matter. All that matters is the king is dead, which will no doubt plunge all of Westeros into war once again. Although, we as viewers know that for all the talk of peace in the land and the war finally being over, there’s nothing but scheming and planning for more wars happening all around. That war will never be over.

I do want to add, however, one last time, that I think Jack Gleeson played Joffrey brilliantly. He was SO despicable, not just in his words, but in the way Gleeson held his lips in a constant sneer, in the way he always nonchalantly leaned against the sword on his hip, or crossed his arms in laid-back defiance, or flicked his hands about as if dismissing the one in front of him. I couldn’t imagine any actor playing him as perfectly as Gleeson did, and I really will miss the way he portrayed his character. But first, let's all watch him die again:

Something wrong, Joffrey?
You've, um... got a little something on your face there.

What's that, Joffrey? (giggle)
You're looking a little... zombie-like, there. Oh, and by the way:

Back to Theon, you’re right, I’ve never been a fan, and perhaps it’s just that I’m not a fan of Alfie Allen. I don’t know why, he just bugs me. But it’s never clouded my judgment about the character and what is happening to him; I think his life has been difficult, being taken from his father as a spoil of war and being a second-rate child to Ned Stark his whole life, constantly reminded he is not a Stark, but a POW, essentially. And then when he finally returns to his own father, Balon shows him even less love and respect than did Ned. He’s spent his life trying to prove he’s someone, and now he’s been tortured both physically and psychologically, and reduced to this sniveling, shaking thing we see before us. The scene of him shaving Ramsay Snow is masterfully executed, from Ramsay’s flippant way of telling him that Robb Stark was dead, to Roose’s very subtle look that he might actually be impressed by what his bastard son has done to the creature, to Theon looking one second like he’s about to lose his mind and try to take all of them out with a razor, then keeping it together and getting back to the task of shaving his slave driver, and calmly and politely telling them the truth about Bran and Rickon, probably the most important bit of information anyone in the Seven Kingdoms could have right now.

Now that you’ve allowed me to rejoice and kick up my heels with glee (I thank you for that, sir), how did the death of Joffrey on-screen compare to what you read in the books?

Meanwhile, I shall continue to do the dance of joy.

Christopher: No longer do the dance of joy, Numfar! For though we rejoice at our least favourite Lannister’s timely and appropriately agonizing death, it looks as though our favourite Lannister will be taking the fall for it—whether he did it or not. And obviously I know who was actually responsible for the assassination, and just as obviously won’t betray that fact … and even more obviously will watch in glee as you try and figure it out.

But one way or another, Tyrion has been accused, and suddenly all those images from the trailers of him in a small, dark room make more sense. Cersei is obviously unhinged by her son’s death, which creates a perfect storm between her mother’s grief, her general irrationality, and her hatred of Tyrion. Will Tywin (reluctantly) defend his son? Will Jaime intercede? Or is this the end of Tyrion? Stay tuned!

This was a very Lannister-heavy episode, which makes sense … the final scenes can’t help but echo the toast raised by Tyrion at the beginning, “To the proud Lannister children: the dwarf, the cripple, and the mother of madness!” Joffrey’s madness—or at least his complete and utter willfulness and petulance—is certainly at the forefront of this episode. There is a brief moment when he seems to have attained some semblance of grace and generosity, first when he is magnanimous with Margaery’s fatuous father Mace Tyrell, and then again when he manages to be gracious about Tyrion’s gift of a book. Of course, that lasts only until he receives Tywin’s gift, which is exactly the kind of toy his sociopathic little mind delights in and cannot resist from cleaving Tyrion’s gift in two (it’s probably just as well there wasn’t a hapless servant in reach). As you say, Nikki, the book looks expensive, and it is—in the novel, Tyrion is beside himself, murmuring that that had been one of only four copies of the book in the world. We know, of course, how much Tyrion loves books: that he gave such a rare and valuable tome to Joffrey probably wasn’t the wisest course. He must have known such a gift would goad him (in the novel, after he hacks it apart, he sneers at Tyrion that “You owe me another gift, Uncle”); it would have been smarter to have given him some sort of innocuous weapon, but I tend to see the gift of that book as a moment of genuine hope and kindness on Tyrion’s part, the infinitesimal hope that Joffrey might actually learn something from it, and a kind gesture from someone who knows the true value of books and learning. Whatever moment of sanity Joffrey appears to have had vanishes as he acts out like a spoiled child on Christmas morning, so outraged by a gift that displeases him that he breaks it.

I think it is this essentially childish nature that makes Joffrey’s madness at once so infuriating and so terrifying. Imagine giving a willful toddler power of life and death, and adding into that mix innate sadism, and that’s what we have with Joffrey. His petulance at his own wedding reception is emblematic of this, when he gets impatient with Sigur Ros; also in his planned “entertainment,” which is comedy of the lowest possible brow. Any more lowbrow and it would be underground. What is most interesting about this scene is less the show itself than the reactions of its audience: how everyone responds is a good insight into their character. Margaery at first looks amused and happy, smiling and clapping—probably relieved to see her new husband in good humour for the first time that day—but quickly becomes perturbed as she realizes the cruel intent behind it. Joffrey’s little brother Prince Tommen, who is sitting beside Tyrion, laughs until he also suddenly realizes that it is meant to mock his uncle (his quick, chagrined sideways look at Tyrion exhibits more humanity in a nanosecond than Joffrey has shown in three seasons). Loras Tyrell looks disgusted, and exits as soon as the dwarf Renly is humiliated; his father, Mace Tyrell, looks dismayed; Sansa is in shock; Tywin is at first mildly amused, but slowly grows more obviously impatient with the proceedings; Varys can’t quite keep an appalled expression from his face.

The only person who seems as amused by the show (besides a handful of sycophants in the audience) is Cersei, who watches the whole event with a smug, indulgent smile. “Mother of madness,” indeed—it’s as if she’s the only person watching who hasn’t realized what a monster, and a childish one at that, her precious Joffrey is. She’s even delighted and amused when Joffrey is so convulsed with laughter that he spits wine.

And then … well, the entire confrontation between Joffrey and Tyrion plays out almost exactly as it does in the novel, and if possible, it is even tenser. I’ve got to hand it to GRRM: you know something bad is going down from the moment Tyrion verbally smacks Joffrey down, but you assume it’s going to happen to Tyrion … that he’ll be driven past whatever reserves of patience and calm he has to say or do something that will be unforgivable. It’s one thing to smack Joffrey when he’s still just a prince, with only the Hound and the horses in the stable as witnesses. It would be something else entirely to cuss out the king, or worse, strike him in front of hundreds of witnesses at his own wedding. And I honestly thought, the first time I read it, that that would be Tyrion’s downfall.

Instead, it’s Joffrey’s. But also Tyrion’s, as the distraught Cersei—showing herself as unreasoning at her son’s death as she was blind to her son’s life—points the finger at him.

But as delightful as it is to dance on the little shit’s grave, I suppose we should address the other two key parts of this episode: the ongoing saga of Lady Melissandre’s purgation of nonblievers in Stannis’ household, and Bran’s evolving talents as a skinchanger and seer. What did you make of the Stannis bits, Nikki? That scene does not, to the best of my memory, appear in the novels.

Nikki: You mean something ELSE happened in this episode? I’ll have to consult my notes… why yes, you’re right. I wanted to note first the sheer beauty of the production of the wedding scene: from the fire eaters and jugglers to the music and the banners; from the gorgeous dresses and hairstyles to the setting (I believe they actually filmed this scene in Croatia), once again the production values and set design of this show just send it soaring above everything else on television. And you commented on the direction of this scene, which is so true: Joffrey’s antics with the little people dancing about in their silly costumes is one thing, but far more important are the reactions to those around him, and I think the look on Varys’s face is the most telling of all. He’s the spider, the one who flits from side to side, knowing exactly what to do or say that will keep him alive, but still performing his little Machiavellian machinations behind the scenes.

Other reactions to the pantomime:

Varys is the one who has arranged for Shae’s comfortable life across the sea; it just took Tyrion to be cruel enough to get her on the boat (another terrible moment in this episode that is overshadowed by the ending). Tyrion certainly looks devastated when Joffrey chops the book to bits, but much of his moroseness can be chalked up to the fact that he’s just overheard Cersei consulting with Tywin, and he knows what he has to do. He finally found someone who was able to look past his physical stature to love the man, and he has to give her up. “You’re a whore! Sansa is fit to bear my children, and you are not.” Watch the body language in this scene; he stutters and stammers his way through his speech, and is unable to look Shae in the eye as he does so. What he’s doing is saving her life, but he’s destroying her soul — and part of his own — in doing so.

But now… to Dragonstone! “Lord of Light protect us, for the night is dark and full of terrors!” As we know, his wife is more of an acolyte and devoted follower of the Lord of Light than is Stannis, and when we first arrive at Dragonstone in season 4, it’s to see Selyse’s own brother being burned at the stake as a heretic. While most sisters would be horrified, begging Melisandre to reconsider, Selyse is so filled with the spirit of the Lord of Light that her face is glowing, and she looks like she’s on the verge of ecstacy. “Did you see? Their souls. It was their souls. Our Lord took them, did you see?” Stannis turns in disgust and walks away. I don’t think he saw what Selyse saw. Davos catches up to him to remind him what a travesty this is, that Stannis’s own father had worshipped the Seven Gods, and he was turning his back on his own tradition. Stannis just bluntly states that he’d told his brother-in-law to tear down his idols, and he’d refused. There’s very little conviction in Stannis’s voice; he believes in the Lord of Light — he definitely saw something come out of Melisandre back in the second season — but the Lord did him no favours at Blackwater, and there is doubt on his face. If he keeps killing the soldiers who don’t believe in Melisandre’s religion, he won’t have any left.

“Did you see, Ser Davos? They’re with our Lord now, their sins all burnt away. Did you see?” says Selyse, still beside herself with joy. “I’m sure they’re more than grateful, my queen,” Davos responds with fake sincerity, to the chagrin of Melisandre.

It’s interesting how the rituals to worship the Lord of Light always seem to happen in the dark.

Later, Melisandre goes to see Stannis’s daughter, and she’s gentle and kind, and tells Shireen that she doesn’t believe in a heaven and a hell, just a heaven. The only hell, she says, is the one we live in now. It’s rather difficult to disagree with her on thatone.

I’m fascinated by the religion on the show (and as I’ve said before, it’s explained much better in the books) simply because in our world, so much of the turmoil, war, and hardship seems to stem from clashes of religious beliefs, far more than territory or personal grievances. Each group seems to worship someone different in Westeros, and while it rarely comes up as a topic of warfare, when it comes to Stannis, the religion and his devotion to Melisandre (which is stronger than his devotion to the Lord of Light) has been helping him make decisions. There’s an uneasy look on his face, however, that he’s not so sure about the results of those decisions so far…

One quieter aspect of religion on the show is the weirwood, the white trees with red leaves and sap that the Starks have always turned to in times of sorrow. What did you make of the Bran scene in this episode, Chris?

Christopher: Frankly, the Bran scene was a bit of a relief. For so long he’s been carried and dragged northward, with Jojen and Meera telling him how important he is, but with only a few exceptions—mostly when he sees through his direwolf’s eyes—we haven’t really had much evidence that this is in fact the case … instead, we’ve been treated to a rather tedious and uneventful journey north. It is a welcome change to have such a vivid scene in which we see through Summer’s eyes as he brings down a kill, and be about as irritated as Bran to be yanked out of it. Jojen reiterates a point (I think) he’s made before: that it is dangerous to spend too much time in your animal’s mind, for the longer you’re in there the more tenuous your grasp on your own humanity. His little speech does a good job in reminding us of the temptation for Bran: to be able not only to walk, not only to run, but to hunt, and be the master of the forest … “It must be glorious,” Jojen acknowledges, and for crippled Bran, who suffers the daily humiliation of having to be carried everywhere, it must be like a drug. But one that is, as Meera warns, just as addictive and even more dangerous.

It is not, apparently, just Summer who offers Bran oracular sight, however—the weirwood he touches gives him a series of visions more vivid than any he has yet experienced: he has visions of the past (his father polishing Ice in the Godswood, the tombs beneath Winterfell, himself falling from the tower); he sees his three-eyed crow; he sees the massive shadow of a dragon over King’s Landing; and he has the same vision Daenerys did in the House of the Undying, of a roofless and snow-filled throne room in King’s Landing. And repeated several times is the image of a great weirwood, with the whispered words “Look for me beneath the tree.”

It’s the first time since the assassin attempted to kill the sleeping Bran that any part of his storyline has given me chills. Any final thoughts, Nikki?

Nikki: I, too, got chills, and it was a thrill to see Ned Stark again, even if it was just a flash of his face from some piece of stock footage. I still miss him…

I’m definitely excited about next week’s episode, and the fall-out of Joffrey’s murder. Tyrion is clearly in for a world of hurt, Tommen suddenly has a new and huge responsibility, and I hope Sansa’s able to get away before the Lannisters capture her. Until then!!

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Posted on 14 April 2014 | 2:00 am

Word Grrrls

Lexophile is a Good Word

My Mother forwarded this in email today: “Lexophile” is a word used to describe those who love using words in rather unique ways, such as “you can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish”, or “to write with a…

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Posted on 17 April 2014 | 1:47 am

Elfshot - sticks and stones

Intermediate Period Spear Reproduction

The hafted reproduction
alongside a 1:1 photo of the
original artifact
This is a hafted reproduction of an Intermediate Period spear or dart point based on an artifact found in an approximately 3000 year old archaeology site in Sheshatshiu, Labrador.  It is hafted in to a foreshaft with spruce gum and red ochre glue and sinew lashing.  The foreshaft is fit into a main shaft that is based on historic Innu caribou hunting spears.  The historic period spears had permanently fixed iron spear heads and were used for spearing caribou in close quarters, especially from canoes while the caribou were swimming.  

The foreshaft and socket
The recorded lengths of Innu spears range from 4 feet to well over 7 and a half feet long, although most of the references I've come across are in the 4 to 6 foot range.  For this reproduction I used a main shaft that is just over a five feet long and the total length of the spear is around six or six and a half feet, depending on which of the foreshafts is mounted in it.  Like the historic spears, the socket of the main shaft is reinforced with lashing to prevent splitting.  I used gut for this lashing and spruce for the mainshaft.  Other details borrowed from the historic Innu spears is the straight, non-tapering shaft with a consistent circular cross-section of a little over 2 cm.  There is also a small knob on the butt end of the spear, presumably this was there to assist in thrusting and retrieving the spear.

Spruce mainshaft, softwood foreshaft, gut and sinew lashing, red ochre and spruce gum binding. The mainshaft is 5 feet 1 inch long and when fitted with this foreshaft, the complete spear is 6 feet long. (click to enlarge)

The antler knife handle is tapered at
the end so it will also fit into the
spear mainshaft.
The interchangeable foreshafts will allow the interpreters to change the character of the spear by swapping out different foreshafts mounted with different point styles.  In total, there will be three different foreshafts, each mounted with a different biface or projectile point, including the knife that I mentioned in the last blog post.  The one limit will be the mainshaft itself.  Its a very good representation of a handheld thrusting spear, but it is not an aerodynamic design and doesn't easily lend itself to the interpretation of many of the notched bifaces as projectile points, perhaps fitted onto darts that were launched with a spear thrower.  Imagine a slighter shaft, with more of a barrel shape, lacking a knob on the butt end and perhaps outfitted with feathers to create drag and spin.  Again, that's one of the benefits of the detachable foreshaft technology.  The same foreshaft that could be fit onto this thrusting mainshaft could also be used on a light dart designed to be hurled at prey with a throwing stick or atlatl.

I had a choice of projectile points to use on this reproduction.  I went with the point with the tip damage over the more complete examples because I found a stone that was a very good match to the original artifact.
 Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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Posted on 16 April 2014 | 6:48 pm

Adam Radwanski

Ontario’s dysfunctional government cries out for election

Any electoral outcome is preferable to Queen’s Park’s current level of dysfunction and venom

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Posted on 14 April 2014 | 12:00 pm

How to Survive Life in the Suburbs

Sports Mama! WW

Three cities, four days, two very proud parents. Yes, some awards and medals were won, and a few tears were shed, but most importantly, memories were made.  Now we catch our breath until the next event, thankful for incredible coaches and healthy happy girls.  I hope you enjoyed this very late and “almost” Wordless Wednesday, […]

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Posted on 16 April 2014 | 2:52 pm

A Peek Inside the Fishbowl

A waterless car wash? Yes, it can be done!

Awhile back I received an email from Canadian Tire about the goclean waterless car wash, asking me if I wanted to try out a sample. I am often on the lookout for useful/new/cool things for my editor’s faves column in Capital Parent Newspaper, and this seemed like a good candidate. (I’d also seen goclean on […]

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Posted on 15 April 2014 | 7:08 pm

Dawg’s Blawg

Good riddance

Even within the benighted ranks of the Conservative Party of Canada, Rob Anders stood out: a walking nullity, his every word spoken as though by rote, a person for whom “convictions” were a sign, not of moral strength, but of...

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Posted on 13 April 2014 | 3:10 pm

Dammit Janet

Abortion in Atlantic Canada: GAME ON!

When I was a youngster, the battle for abortion rights in Canada was on. Even as a poor student, I contributed regularly to Canadian Abortion Rights Action League and continued until we won. Natch, I turned my bod out when required too.

Now it's the current generation's turn.

This is winnable. And it will be fun for the young'uns. We haven't had a good feminist dust-up in Canada in ages.

It's got all the elements: a petition, rallies in Fredericton, PEI, Halifax and elsewhere across the country starting tomorrow, Thursday, April 17.

Politics enters in of course, especially in an election year, which seems to spook the fetus fetishists, who must realize the clock is ticking LOUDLY on their antediluvian attitudes.

Plus, of course, the legal battle, instigated by Dr Morgentaler, which has to date provided a handy out for the government.

Health Minister Ted Flemming has declined to comment, citing the lawsuit the late Henry Morgentaler launched against the provincial government in 2002, demanding the government pay for procedures at this clinic.

"That lawsuit is still before the courts, it's still an open file before the courts, so beyond that I'm not prepared to comment further," Flemming has said.
Oopsie. Lawsuit has been withdrawn.

Besides the cross-country support, this is a very real issue in PEI, where there are NO abortions performed. About 10% of the procedures at the NB clinic were done for Island women.

In light of that, I found this absolutely astonishing.
A search of Hansard, the official written record of debate in the P.E.I. legislature, shows the word abortion has only come up in debate three times since 1996.
THREE times in nearly 20 years??????

The silence is being shattered in Atlantic Canada.

And it's gonna be FUN!

Previous DJ! coverage of New Brunswick and PEI.

ADDED: LEAF weighs in.

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Posted on 16 April 2014 | 4:58 pm

That Artist Woman

Happy Monday Giveaway

Happy Monday everyone.  I haven't had a giveaway for a while on the blog so let me introduce you to this little book.

InstaCraft by Alison Caporimo is filled with 50 quick and easy little crafts. Just right when you don't have a lot of time but need a handcrafted item as a gift, party favour or accessory .

You can click on the photo for a closer look.

Here are a few examples of some of the projects.

So cute.

If you want to win your own copy of "InstaCraft" you can enter by leaving a comment on this post,  by liking this post on Facebook, or send me an email at

I'll make the draw on Thursday just in time for Easter.

Good luck everyone!

Disclaimer: All comments provided are my own but the book has been provided by Ulysses Press.

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Posted on 15 April 2014 | 2:37 am

A pretty Life in the Suburbs

Lemon Cream Fruit Tart with a Shortbread Cookie Crust

I made you scrumptious tart that would be perfect for a spring or Easter celebration!  Come on over for the recipe! xoxo

Lemon Cream Fruit Tart with a Shortbread Cookie Crust {A Pretty Life}

The post Lemon Cream Fruit Tart with a Shortbread Cookie Crust appeared first on A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.

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Posted on 16 April 2014 | 12:00 pm

Canada's Adventure couple

Cowboy up at Brasada Ranch Resort in Central Oregon

Oregon was made for cowboys. With the high desert, wide open ranges and multitude of ranches, you can't help but want to strap on your boots, put on a hat and get on a horse. Lucky for us, we had the chance to live our cowboy dreams at Brasada Ranch in Central Oregon near Bend. This is one outstanding piece of property that has country hospitality with five star service. We checked into our rooms where our purely Oregon duds [...]

Read the original post Cowboy up at Brasada Ranch Resort in Central Oregon on Adventure Travel blog for Couples | The Planet D.

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Posted on 16 April 2014 | 9:00 am

My New Life in Canada, under the snow!

The Magic Box

A few months ago, while vacuuming Mark’s room, I tossed the toys, artistically scattered everywhere à la modern art, into one of these big empty Pampers diaper boxes. It was just a practical way to clean the carpet properly. The carton box wouldn’t last long with Mark, I thought.

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Posted on 16 April 2014 | 12:03 pm

Live From Waterloo

WW#329 - Interconnected

Five family members, five different cities, one screen. We chatted –and laughed- for over an hour.
From left to right: Gaby (my wife, in Kitchener, Ontario), Santi (my son, in Howell, Michigan),
Paco (my brother, who asked for this post, in Buenos Aires, Argentina) and my niece Natalia (in Burke, Virginia) 
Below, laughing a little, just me (in Sudbury, Ontario)

Cinco integrantes de la familia, cinco ciudades, una sola pantalla. Charlamos –y nos reímos- por más de una hora.
De izq a der: Gaby (mi esposa, en Kitchener, Ontario), Santi (mi hijo, en Howell, Michigan),
Paco (mi hermano, que pidió este post, en Buenos Aires, Argentina) y mi sobrina Natalia (en Burke, Virginia)
Debajo, riéndome un poquito, yo (en Sudbury, Ontario) 

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Posted on 16 April 2014 | 6:13 am