Indian Country

Native Funerals as Family Reunions: A Few Thoughts on Loving Each Other Better

At this very moment, all of us are missing out the life of someone we say we care about and love.  There’s some who means the world to us whom we will never see again, and we do...

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Posted on 26 March 2015 | 12:00 am


Grenson x Hardy Amies Brown Lace-up Derby Boots

The Derby takes inspiration from the classic lace-up boot, with a nod towards the Hardy Amies brogue seen on Savile Row

The post Grenson x Hardy Amies Brown Lace-up Derby Boots appeared first on Hello Vancity.

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Posted on 26 March 2015 | 7:00 pm

List Verse

10 Fascinating Jewish Communities That Time Forgot

Most people who are familiar with Biblical history know that the tribes of Israel and Judah were scattered following the invasions by Assyria and Babylon in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C. and the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Where did all those people go? Most people are familiar with the Ashkenazi and the […]

The post 10 Fascinating Jewish Communities That Time Forgot appeared first on Listverse.

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Posted on 27 March 2015 | 7:00 am

The Gate

Inateck Mini HiFi Bluetooth speaker review

There is no shortage of Bluetooth speakers, and yet the Inateck Mini HiFi Bluetooth Speaker is noteworthy because it hits all the right notes at a very affordable price, and with a portable, light and sturdy design.

The post Inateck Mini HiFi Bluetooth speaker review appeared first on The GATE.

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Posted on 24 March 2015 | 1:00 pm


Labour leader speaks out on Bill C-51 in Parliament

Thursday, March 26, 2015
Far reaching anti-terrorist Bill C-51 could be used to muzzle labour and other activist groups, says CLC President Hassan Yussuff to parliamentary committee

Anti-Terrorist Bill C-51 is so far-reaching that it could be used to stifle labour unrest, strikes, and other forms of civil protests, Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff told the committee hearings on Bill C-51. 

Yussuff spoke about how the bill opens up the definition of a national security threat to include “interference” with  “critical infrastructure” and “the economic or financial stability of Canada.” C-51 could be use to muzzle labour, indigenous rights, and environmental activist groups.

Image: People's Social Forum

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Posted on 26 March 2015 | 8:22 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

At the Food Dish

We feed the cats on the top of the portable dishwasher so Cinnamon does not eat their food. This is a conversation I overheard while getting Cinnamon’s supper ready. and Filed under: Cat Behaviour

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Posted on 27 March 2015 | 1:57 am

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

Tower Floors Rising at The Madison on Eglinton


The Yonge and Eglinton area is the site of much development activity these days, as the blocks surrounding the intersection are intensified in advance of the new Crosstown LRT line under construction. On Eglinton Avenue, a short distance east of Yonge, construction is progressing on Madison Homes' eponymous condo development, The Madison. The Kirkor Architects-designed development consists of 33 and 36-storey towers, joined by a shared eight storey podium which will contain a 40,000 square-foot Loblaws supermarket on the second floor and plenty of retail at ground level.

The Madison, Madison Homes, Kirkor Architects, TorontoThe Madison viewed from the east on Eglinton Avenue, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Roundabout

Since our last update on the project just over a month ago, four of the tower floors have been poured for both of the two towers, meaning that The Madison's towers are each rising at a rate of approximately one floor per week. 

The Madison, Madison Homes, Kirkor Architects, TorontoTower floors rising at The Madison, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Roundabout

Cladding installation has also made significant progress since our last update, with much of the podium now finished in a dark matte black precast concrete. Glazing is also in for a large percentage of the podium's punched windows, while a window wall and spandrel cladding combo can be seen on the south side of the podium. A similar cladding is being applied to the podium's main northern facade fronting Eglinton Avenue East.

The Madison, Madison Homes, Kirkor Architects, TorontoPodium cladding at The Madison, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Roundabout

Construction of this sizeable project will now seem to speed up dramatically compared with what has been perceived as rather slow until now. The sheer size of the podium and its complexity has meant that there were times over the past few months when it wasn't easy to notice much progress from week to week. Now that forming has moved to the much smaller and repetitive floor plates of towers, The Madison is set to fly up.

The Madison, Madison Homes, Kirkor Architects, TorontoRendering of The Madison, image courtesy of Madison Homes

For additional information including renderings, floor plans and building facts, visit our dataBase file, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread links, or leave a comment in the space provided at the bottom of this page.

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Posted on 27 March 2015 | 2:40 pm

The Hook (B.C. News)

Toolkit for Change: How Messages Can Mobilize (in Opinion)

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Posted on 27 March 2015 | 7:40 am

The Greater Fool


Remember Junior, the Italian mama’s boy with the hots for an eight-hundred-thousand bung? As I told you yesterday, the $649,000 Toronto beater house turned into an $810,000 sale after 13 competing bids were tabled. (Junior lost.) Or were there? Bidding wars are back, at least in the GTA and YVR (while markets like Calgary and […]

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Posted on 26 March 2015 | 10:26 pm

Hiking With Barry!

Paskapoo Grasslands – Calgary – Hiking Alberta

Given what little remains of native land on Paskapoo Slopes, and the impending potential threat of having it largely eliminated by commercial and residential real estate development, it occurs to me the majority of my meandering over the past 30 years has … Continue reading

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Posted on 24 March 2015 | 6:36 pm

Why Are Indigenous Australian Kids Doing Time in Adult Prisons?

Image via.

This post originally appeared on VICE Australia.

This week a Freedom of Information Report obtained by the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) revealed children as young as 12 are being held in adult prison cells in Western Australia. The report showed that in the past three years, 197 children in Kimberley had spent up to two nights in regional prisons cells.

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The children were detained in Broome and Kununurra while awaiting transfer to the Banksia Hill Detention Center in Perth. Banksia Hill is the only juvenile center statewide for offenders aged ten to 17, but immediate transfers can be difficult to arrange. This and the lack of housing facilities for offenders means the only option police have is to detain the children temporarily in holding cells.

WA Police defended their decisions in a statement that noted children are left in prison for "short periods" because of WA's lack of juvenile detention centers in the area: "As there are no juvenile detention facilities in regional WA, detainees are held in police station lockups, until transport can be arranged at the earliest possible opportunity."

The WA's Department of Corrective Services told VICE that—according to the Young Offenders Act 1994—children were only to be held in custody as a "last resort." However, in the same clause, the act states children in custody must be in a facility "suitable for young people," and unexposed to "any adult." This is concerning considering these lockout cells fall outside of the jurisdiction of WA's Inspector of Custodial Services Neil Morgan. The inspector can only inspect them at request of the police station—which after doing so in 2013, he described some as degrading.

West Australian Minister Helen Morton said that it was for the children's own safety and protection that they were held in adult cells. "It is a pragmatic solution to a very difficult problem," she commented to the ABC, "You've got very small numbers of children for very short periods of time, who are at high risk to themselves and others."

Whether they're held in adult prisons or not, concerns have been raised over children being detained for minor charges. In WA, any minor arrested can only be bailed out by a person deemed to be a responsible guardian. If one cannot be found, the child must be transferred to Banksia Hill in Perth to await trial.

While there is a support system in the Youth Bail Options Program to provide minors without guardianship a secure home, the program only operates outside Kimberley in Armadale, Kalgoorie, Geralton and Port Hedland. This means children arrested in other towns, without responsible guardians, must be detained temporarily in prison cells.

It's a difficult predicament for the police in other areas, who have to choose between sending a minor into a possibly unsafe environment at home, and holding them in an unsuitable one at an adult prison. According to Amnesty's Indigenous People's Rights Manager Tammy Solonec, this has compounded the incarceration of indigenous youths in detention. "The result is young offenders being transferred miles away from their community. There they wait in limbo alongside real criminals," she said.

According to the Youth Detention Population in Australia 2014 report, an average 47 to 65 indigenous offenders were awaiting trial on a typical night. The number is so high because many indigenous youths in WA are in juvenile detention for negligible crimes.

In a phone call with VICE, the CEO of the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia, Dennis Eggington, insisted change is needed in Western Australia to prevent their youth from ending up in juvenile detention. "I'm not pretending there aren't young people committing serious crimes," he said. "But often we have children, mostly Indigenous, going to jail for stealing an ice-cream or for accepting a Freddo-Frog."

Eggington said that because of the triviality of most crimes, it was common for Indigenous youths at Banksia Hill to be charged with only a fine. "What that means is that the time our children spend in detention was for nothing," he added.

However critics of the system are not calling for more juvenile detentions centers. Both Tammy Solonec and Dennis Eggington claim that would cost billions. Rather they want to see money put into early intervention and diversionary programs.

Eggington goes on to suggests that Western Australia needs more alternatives for children awaiting bail. "We need facilities such as bail hostels, run by local Indigenous communities," he said. "Most of these Indigenous children should just be returned to their elders, where they can be punished in their own way."

Follow Jack on Twitter.

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Posted on 27 March 2015 | 4:30 pm

Michael Geist

Why the Crull Controversy Is a Symptom of Bell’s Bad Bundles Bet

The furor over Bell Media President Kevin Crull's banning of CRTC Chair Jean Pierre Blais from CTV news coverage following the pick-and-pay decision made for a remarkable news day yesterday.  From the initial Globe report to the unprecedented response from Blais to the Crull apology, it was a head-spinning day. While Bell presumably hopes that the apology brings the matter to a close, that seems unlikely to be the case as there are bigger implications for Crull, CTV News, and Bell more broadly.

Crull's future has been the subject of much talk, with some calling for his resignation, particularly since there is evidence that this is not the first instance of the editorial interference. Assuming it has occurred before (the reference to "re-learning" in the Crull apology is telling), CEO George Cope was undoubtedly aware of the practice and must surely have condoned it, suggesting that Crull will survive. However, Crull's bigger problem may be that his ability to represent Bell Media before the CRTC has been irreparably damaged. Bell could have Cope represent the company rather than Crull (indicating the seriousness of the issues), but Crull will struggle as the public face of the company before the regulator for as long as Blais remains chair.

The post Why the Crull Controversy Is a Symptom of Bell’s Bad Bundles Bet appeared first on Michael Geist.

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Posted on 26 March 2015 | 11:42 am

The Tyee / The Hook

Toolkit for Change: How Messages Can Mobilize (in Opinion)

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Posted on 27 March 2015 | 7:40 am

21 things to do in Metro Vancouver on Friday, March 27

Keep busy with these events.

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Posted on 26 March 2015 | 11:00 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

Paint Party Friday and Oak leaves

original Paint Party Friday gives me good motivation to play with shapes, light, saturation and colour. I'm no artist, I just relax with my photography and sketching. playing with colour Black and white I like this one! I think it looks better in black and white! My grandkids have been having their way with the coloured markers.  Actually, they are the kids' markers, I just

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Posted on 27 March 2015 | 11:36 am

Steve Paikin

Steve Paikin: Alberta Premier Jim Prentice hints at health care premiums, mirroring a move Ontario made over a decade ago

Pity poor Alberta.

For years, oil prices of more than $100 per barrel enabled the province to fund public services that were the envy of the rest of the country.

Lately, however, oil is trading at half that value. As a result, Alberta’s revenues have cratered. The province—which not long ago boasted it not only didn’t run deficits but also had paid back all of its accumulated debt since Confederation—now says it can’t balance its budget for another two years.

Alberta is currently the only province in Canada without a sales tax (it’s long been considered political suicide to create one). But it looks like it’s going to take a page out of Ontario’s history book, and its own not-too-distant past, by resorting to a new health tax—though it probably won’t call it that.

Back in the fall of 2003, the Ontario Liberals returned to power after 13 years in the political wilderness. They quickly discovered the provincial coffers couldn’t support the health and education promises the party made during the election campaign, and Premier Dalton McGuinty tasked his new finance minister Greg Sorbara to come up with new ways to generate revenue.

What emerged was the hugely controversial “Ontario Health Premium.”  The public was infuriated: the premium violated McGuinty’s campaign promise not to raise taxes.  The Liberals soon became known as the “Fiberals.”

To his credit, new Alberta Premier Jim Prentice is demonstrating considerable political guts by hinting to Albertans before a pending election that a new health premium could be in the works.

On province-wide television this week, he laid out the case that plummeting energy revenues mean hard choices are ahead, including potentially re-introducing the health care premium the province once had, and ditched, when times were good.

“We will be asking Albertans to begin to contribute directly to the costs of the health system,” he said in the address.

What does the former finance minister who brought the health premium to Ontario think?

“I think it would be a stroke of genius for them,” said Greg Sorbara.

In his book The Battlefield of Ontario Politics, Sorbara describes how he and his team in the Ministry of Finance managed to bring in the Ontario Health Premium despite the ensuing political firestorm.

“Today the OHP raises $3-billion annually,” he said.  “It’s progressive and is paid by those with the capacity to pay. It was the right tax at the right time. No party has ever campaigned on removing it from the mix. It has stood the test of time.”

Of course, one thing neither Ontario nor Alberta will do is call the premium what it really is: a tax. For too much of the electorate, the word “tax” is still ballot box poison. Clever communications people responded by getting it renamed a “health premium,” as if that would soften the blow.  

But there was one problem when Ontario called its new tax a “premium.”  Several unions insisted if it really was a premium, then employers should pay for it as part of a collectively-bargained agreement.  The McGuinty government found itself in the bizarre position of having to convince unions and courts its premium wasn’t a premium but actually a tax that employees, not employers, were obligated to pay. Legally, the McGuinty government won the argument, but its logic was baffling.

I’m not sure the communications wizards figured out that part of the story, but the reality is the Ontario Health Premium is still in place and it’s still called a premium.

Now, it’s Alberta’s turn to see if a “premium” has the same staying power more than 10 years later and more than 2,000 kilometres away.

Image credit: Government of Alberta/

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Posted on 26 March 2015 | 10:02 am

Weighty Matters

Why Don't You Love Me?

Today's Funny Friday video is about, at least at first, unrequited love.

Have a great weekend!

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Posted on 27 March 2015 | 9:30 am

Margaret Wente

It’s not Harper’s war, but it may be ours

Why does the Prime Minister want to extend Canada’s mission against the Islamic State? The critics have one view – here’s another

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Posted on 24 March 2015 | 11:00 am

Lauren Out Loud

HIATUS: re-launching January 2015

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Posted on 24 July 2014 | 6:54 pm

Rants n Rascals

Is Vaping Safe For You? #vaping #quitsmoking

It’s an argument that is still being discussed by health professionals, individuals and government officials. Is Valping safe for you? What is Vaping? And why do consumers believe it’s better than smoking cigarettes? Vaping – The use of an electronic cigarette that produces vaper (not smoke) without the combination of tobacco and chemicals used in traditional […]

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Posted on 26 March 2015 | 11:34 pm

Bow. James Bow

My Thoughts on the Plot of Frozen Fever

Spoiler alert: here is the first part of the plot, as summarized by Wikipedia… It’s Anna’s birthday and Elsa plans to throw her the perfect surprise party with the help of Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf. However, after planning the...

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Posted on 25 March 2015 | 2:03 pm

A Toronto Blog

2015 Verizon IndyCar Season starts this weekend

The downtown streets of St. Pete, Florida will be filled with the sound of music powerful cars in the first race of the year at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.  Previous series champion driver Will Power won the 2014 race on the 1.8 mile, temporary 14-turn street course. This is the street course which provided the first non-oval track in IndyCar history and which eventually led to the race in Toronto. 
The Honda Indy Toronto race will be here June 12-14, 2015, about a month earlier than usual due to the all invasive 2015 Pan Am and Para Pan Am games and one of 16 IndyCar races scheduled for this year. 
Charlie Johnstone of Honda Indy Toronto explains. "There was much speculation this past Fall about moving the event to another venue and another date. The truth is, there were in fact many long discussions in this regard. We kept an open mind and thoroughly evaluated all viable options. At the end of the day, the criteria really focused on the delivery of the best possible experience for our race fans, teams and drivers, festival goers, hospitality clients and sponsors. Consistently, the feedback from these key constituents was that to maintain the integrity of the event we must continue the heritage of racing inthe streets of Toronto. Accordingly, our only real viable option was to stay at Exhibition Place and move the date to June for 2015. Once again, we will present an outstanding line up of racing, including Verizon IndyCar Series, Indy Lights, USF2000, and Pro Mazda. Returning due to popular demand will be exotic car racing in the form of the Porsche GT3 Cup and Robby Gordon's SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks. We're even trying to get more racing on the track - if we can squeeze in more time – so stay tuned!"
Changes to series sponsorship this year include the loss of the Toronto Sun as the official newspaper of the race, probably having something to do with sale of the chain to Post Media, as the Toronto Star takes over that spot. I wonder if they will have Toronto Star Grid Girls?

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Posted on 26 March 2015 | 11:00 am

Robyn Urbak on Campus

Just say ‘non’: The problem with French immersion

French immersion—meant to inspire national unity—has turned into an elitist, divisive and deeply troubled system

The post Just say ‘non’: The problem with French immersion appeared first on

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Posted on 22 March 2015 | 1:49 pm

Postcards From the Mothership

Photo of the day: Lizard on a Rock

Isn’t it funny when the random bits of your life come together in a cohesive way? Toward the end of February, my friend Yvonne mentioned she was doing something called Hot Power Yoga Basics, and I was intrigued. I’d done yoga classes at the local community centre on and off way back in the day, [...] Related posts (automatically generated):
  1. Fun new project: Online photo class with Harry Nowell
  2. Holiday cards – your preferences?
  3. Ask the audience: Internet safety

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Posted on 26 March 2015 | 12:28 pm

David Akins on the Hill

Harper gets questions. Two of them. Here’s how they were picked.

Last night at about 7:30 pm on Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a statement to reporters and then allowed us to ask a couple of questions. The PMO restricted the Canadian reporters present — about 15 of us — to a total of two questions, one of which […]

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Posted on 10 February 2015 | 8:17 pm

Dutch Blitz


Many years ago (Eight, maybe?), Nataly Kogan took a chance on me and hired me for my very first freelance writing gig at her (former) site Work It! Mom. My duties expanded and I was in charge of recruiting guest posters, creating slideshows, making gift guides, and more. Nataly sold the site to create the […]

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

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Posted on 23 March 2015 | 12:11 am

Nik at Night

LOST: Were They Making It Up All Along?

Well, hello there! After a too-long hiatus from this blog (two and a half months! Sheesh...) I just read something so fantastic I had to share it here and urge all of you Lost fans to read it, too. Written by Javier Grillo-Marxuach, who was one of the writers on Lost during the first two seasons of the show, this essay was devised in response to the same question he's been answering for a decade: were you making it up all along, or did you actually know where the show was going?

Anyone associated with the show, even peripherally, has had to answer this question. It's the #1 question I'm asked all the time: Do you think they actually knew where the show was going, or were they making it up as they went? I've answered it in a hundred different ways:

  • Does it matter? Lost was a show about the journey through life, not what happens at the end of it. 
  • They must have known where they were going to a certain extent, since certain things in the beginning of the series were brought full circle in the finale. 
  • Have you ever actually spoken to a novelist? Most of them don't know where they're going when they put pen to paper at the beginning of a book.
  • I believe they had the seeds of the show, but then just let the characters and story lines carry it, while keeping true to a few essential elements. 


I couldn't imagine how annoying it would be to actually work on the show and have those questions asked; after all, where I can just speculate based on my experience watching the series, these people actually know the answers and therefore will have them pulled out of them like a pair of pliers extracts a tooth in a dentist's office. 

And so, Grillo-Marxuach wrote this amazing piece. In it he not only reveals the details of a pitch meeting back in February 2004 — eight months before the show premiered — where they knew there was a secret organization on the island, and polar bears (complete with explanations for them), and a hatch, and that the island was about the war between good and evil, etc., but he talks about the experience of being in that room. Of the difficulties Damon Lindelof underwent as a young show runner suddenly thrown into the position of having to run the biggest show on the network. Of the tensions when one of the writers would get fired and he'd watch his friends leave, one by one. Of what it felt like being the last writer standing from season 1. Of what it was like when they had a story almost put together and then Damon would rush into the room with something that had come to him in the middle of the night and change the episode from good to brilliant. 

Of the fact that the wheelchair was an 11th hour addition to "Walkabout," and that writer David Fury actually argued against Damon's idea and said it wouldn't work. 

He talks about how Damon momentarily left the show partway through the first season, and still wasn't sure until he returned to discover what the writers had come up with for one of his favourite characters:

However, when Damon Lindelof heard the beats to a story in which Hurley was revealed to be an amateur hypnotist who would use his abilities to pry to the location of the kidnapped Claire from the now-amnesiac Charlie, his pride of ownership came roaring back with bull force.
If ever there was a moment when I knew that there was no way Damon Lindelof would ever leave Lost again it was when he told us what he thought of that idea.

This is essential reading for Lost fans. I'll warn you: it'll take a while to get through it. But it's absolutely worth it. And if anyone is still asking whether they knew where they were going by the end of this article, then it's pretty clear that person had already answered the question for himself in the first place. Go here to read the entire article. 

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Posted on 24 March 2015 | 8:57 pm

Word Grrrls

Pay with a Poem

The post Pay with a Poem appeared first on Word Grrls.

What is a poem worth? As authors around the world despair of making a living, a company based in Vienna has finally come up with a definitive answer: one cup of coffee. Julius Meinl, a coffee-roasting company founded in 1862, is marking Unesco’s World Poetry Day with a promotion in 1,100 cafes, bars and restaurants ... Read more...

The post Pay with a Poem appeared first on Word Grrls - Writing daily whether I want to or not.

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Posted on 21 March 2015 | 9:07 pm

Elfshot - sticks and stones

Many small jobs

I'm back working on the Ikaahuk artifact reproductions.  Some of them, like this offset awl are nearly finished, while others require several more days of work.   I could really use some long, uninterrupted days in the workshop.  Hopefully next week.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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Posted on 25 March 2015 | 6:58 pm

Adam Radwanski

Online politicking, you say? Way too offbeat for Canadian politicians

Foreign politicians are investing in savvy Internet campaigns – but not in Canada, where campaigners remain wary of the Web

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Posted on 27 March 2015 | 4:10 pm

How to Survive Life in the Suburbs

Spring Essentials By Denby And A Beautiful #Giveaway

Can you feel it?  The air feels a little fresher, the breeze has a new crispness, the sun is shining a little brighter.  I don’t want to jinx it; but is it possible that Spring has finally arrived?  Yesterday I threw caution to the wind, opened up my windows, blew away the cobwebs and yes, […]

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Posted on 27 March 2015 | 5:07 pm

A Peek Inside the Fishbowl

Refresh complete

Twitter and Instagram followers already know that we spent our March Break in Punta Cana. I spent most of yesterday in a sleep-deprived fog and today I’m back to work, starting with the onslaught of email that filled my inbox while I was away. Our trip was my ideal holiday; the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure […]

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Posted on 23 March 2015 | 2:54 pm

Dawg’s Blawg

Politically sidelined, Part 2: Cis, trans, ultra ad ultimam

For those of us who recognize that gender is plastic—if not infinitely so—the debate over the notion of “transgender” is of considerable interest. The actual number of “trans” persons in the population is minuscule. Yet the issue of discrimination against...

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Posted on 26 March 2015 | 3:09 pm

Dammit Janet

Dear Christian Medicos: The 21st Century Is Calling (And Suggests You Take Up Podiatry)

The old-guard patriarchal medical establishment has come out swinging against the new Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSO)'s referral requirement for treatments too icky for their sensitive Xian souls.

No 21st-century medicine, ethics, or standards of patient care for them, thank you very much.

And look how they're framing it.


With physician-assisted suicide on the horizon, the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada [CMDS] is asking the Ontario Superior Court to declare that a new regulatory policy infringes upon doctors’ freedom of conscience.

The society, which represents close to 1,700 members [nationwide], filed documents in court on Friday regarding the CPSO’s Professional Obligations and Human Rights policy that was announced on March 6. The policy means doctors who refuse to refer patients for services on religious and moral grounds, including abortions, could face discipline from their regulating body.

“Our big concern is euthanasia, which is right around the corner,” said Larry Worthen, CMDS executive director.

First, the Harper government is far too busy ramming through completely egregious Jihadi Terrorists Under Every Bed legislation and rushing off to a very likely illegal war with Syria to be bothered crafting any new legislation on doctor-assisted dying.

Next, the new soul-searing CPSO requirements would ask doctors to refer patients to practitioners who will provide the services that the patient seeks and that CMDS member is too gord-fearing to offer. In rare instances, a duly sworn and licensed medical practitioner in the province of Ontario may be required to SAVE SOMEONE'S LIFE, by doing something they don't like.

These earth-shattering new rules are the result of a painstaking consultation process set off when some Ottawa women trying to get birth control from a walk-in clinic were turned away.

Birth control. Not abortion. Certainly NOT euthanasia.

I think any doctor refusing to participate in modern, non-judgemental medicine should have his or her license yanked or else shunted into a specialty or practice where they have nothing to do with lady parts.

Dermatology or podiatry would be good.

But as a simple expedient, this morning on Twitter I had a suggestion.

Easy-peasy no? Just tell us who you are so we can avoid you.

But no. Not only do Christian MDs' conscience rights trump patients', their privacy rights do too.

So, I started nosing around the Christian Medical and Dental Society's website and started posting some names I found there: Michelle Korvemaker, Diana Haak, Dan Reilly, Shalea Piteau, Sandy Tigchelaar, James Warkentin, Joel Emery, Corina Gotschling, H. Elmer Thiessen, Donato Gugliotta.

I invited Twitterers to post other known CMDS members' names or names of MDs who had refused requests for birth control.


Shit hit fan. The fetus freaks smelled blood. They had me -- a pseudonymous blogger -- in a MASSIVE GOTCHA!

I was "outing" people -- licensed medical practitioners, mind -- from behind my pseudonym!!!!!!!

Andrea Mrozek of the Focus on the Family Astroturf Blog demanded twice on Twitter that I reveal my real name, then she whipped off a blogpost with the same demand.

Because my desire to list the MDs who would waste our time -- funny but patients' time is valuable too -- and presumably OHIP's money in futile visits was some kind of despicable hypocrisy, while these MDs' insistence on their right to run people around, deliver moral lectures, and bill OHIP for it was not only totally okey-dokey, but Noble and Principled.

The whole thing is hilarious of course, but it reveals what the agenda is.

The gord-botherers know exactly how ridiculous their stand on birth control and abortion is and are trying to divert the reasonable new requirements into a SHRIEEEEK-FEST over euthanasia.

Julie Lalonde of the Radical Handmaids made an appearance on a CBC Radio phone-in show that had the above-mentioned Larry Worthen of the CMDS as the full-hour guest.

She was subjected to the euthanasia GOTCHA! and responded gracefully that that wasn't yet an issue and frankly no one yet knows how it will be handled.

In private conversation afterwards, she said: "I think the assisted suicide issue is a red herring that is meant to dredge up support for their cause because they know that their views on birth control and abortion are in the minority. But since assisted suicide is a relatively new public discussion in Canada, they're trying to piggy-back on top of it to get people on their side."

Diversion, red herrings, smearing, shrieking. Check, check, check, check.

The fetus freaks are fighting a rear-guard battle and the poor dears know it.

They just can't accept it yet.

ADDED: Martin Regg Cohn's excellent column: Why Doctors Shouldn't Play God on the Job.

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Posted on 26 March 2015 | 9:05 pm

That Artist Woman

Peacock Batiks and Journal Pages

I recently did these peacock batiks with Grade 3.  It ties into social studies where they are learning about India.  The peacock is the national bird of India.

We used lots of bright colours.

Now if you don't want to do a batik you can also create amazing peacocks in the art journal using painted papers.


- fabric, regular white cotton muslin works great
- pencil
- wax paper
- reference photos of peacock
- Elmer's clear gel glue
- acrylic paint in a variety of colours
- fabric markers, glitter paint, metallic paint to embellish

Art Journal:
- art journal or background paper
- heavy paper for painting
- disk tempera in bright colours
- glue
- markers, glitter, acrylic paint for adding details



Cut your fabric to your desired size.

Lay down some wax paper onto your work surface.  Put the fabric on top of the wax paper.

You can add some tape if you need to hold the fabric in place.

With your pencil draw out your peacock directly onto the fabric.

I asked the kids draw a large enough peacock to fill the space.

Use your Elmer's gel glue and go over your pencil lines.
Sometimes my students find it hard on the hands to squeeze the glue out of the bottle so I'll put some in a little cup and they use a paintbrush.

Go over every line as well as whatever part of the design that you want to stay white.

Keeping the fabric flat let dry.

Paint the peacock using acrylic paint mixed with a bit of water. The water helps the paint flow a bit better making it easier to paint the fabric.

Paint the entire piece of fabric so no white is showing. You can go right over the glue lines.

Let the fabric dry. Now you need to remove the glue. Place the fabric in the sink and let it soak in some hot water.
After 1/2 an hour or so give it a bit of scrub and rinse.

Let dry.

The batik is done but if you want you can add extra sparkle using glitter and metallic paints.

I used the paint to add details to the feathers.

That's it for the batik.  You can make it into a banner, placemat or even a pillow case.

Art Journal:

You need to paint a few papers for the peacock.
First I painted a paper for the body.  I choose blue and green.

I then painted 1/2 of a paper purple and magenta.  The other half I painted yellow.

I painted my background page a nice rich orange.  In fact it was already painted using leftover paint from the batik.

On the back of the paper I painted earlier I drew out my peacock body.
I cut it out.  Save the scraps in case you need them later when making feathers for the peacock.

I had this leftover piece of blue painted paper so I drew out the shape of my feathers.

Cut it out.

I cut strips from the purple and magenta paper and added them to the feathers.

I also added circles form the leftover body paper and yellow paper.  Glue into place on the background and then add body shape.  I cut legs and a beak out of the yellow paper.

I added paint, pencil crayon, marker, and glitter paint to further embellish my peacock.

That's all for now.


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Posted on 22 February 2015 | 12:32 am

A pretty Life in the Suburbs

Chilled Noodle Salad with Ginger Wasabi Dressing

Chilled Noodle Salad with Ginger Wasabi Dressing and my SUPER fun experience with Chef Lynn Crawford!  That is what my title should have read, but it wouldn’t fit! Last week I was lucky enough to attend a media event at the SAIT Polytechnic Culinary Campus here in Calgary featuring Chef Lynn Crawford, to celebrate the launch of […]

The post Chilled Noodle Salad with Ginger Wasabi Dressing appeared first on A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.

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Posted on 25 March 2015 | 12:00 pm

Canada's Adventure couple

6 Unique Cruises, 6 Different Continents

This week we leave for our very first Caribbean Cruise. We've heard a lot of naysayers tell us they'd never go on one, and we're interested in seeing how it goes. We think the timing is right and we're ready for it. Plus, we're doing a couple adventures for our shore excursions that we're really [...]

Read the original post 6 Unique Cruises, 6 Different Continents on The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog.

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Posted on 26 March 2015 | 11:55 am

My New Life in Canada, under the snow!

When Pretending is Hard

It is March Break and Mark’s daycare decided to organize fun activities throughout the week. It's a great idea, except that tomorrow is “Beach Day”. And I must admit I’m struggling with the concept.

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Posted on 25 March 2015 | 12:27 pm

Live From Waterloo

Silly Monkey Stories #273 - Candies

(En español más abajo)
Canada22/Feb/2015 – Florencia (11)
We were coming back from soccer practice and Florencia looked pretty tired. I remembered that I had an open bag with a few chewy candies in the back, so I offered them to her. She of course said yes, and her face changed when she started to eat them. I understand, those are so good!!!
But what she said, all serious, made my day:
- These candies should be in every grandma's house…
Argentina 22/Feb/2015 – Florencia (11)
Volvíamos de práctica de fútbol con Florencia, que estaba bien cansada. Me acordé de que tenía una bolsita con caramelos masticables en el asiento de atrás, y se los ofrecí. Por supuesto aceptó, y su cara cambió cuando los empezó a comer. La entiendo perfectamente, son espectaculares!!!
Pero fue la observación que hizo, toda seria, lo que me hizo el día:
- Estos caramelos deberían estar en la casa de todas las abuelas…
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Posted on 18 March 2015 | 1:24 am