Monkeys and Mountains

The Number One Bird Watching Spot in Finland

The original can be found here: The Number One Bird Watching Spot in Finland. Please read the original.

Liminka Bay is the number one bird watching spot in Finland, according to wildlife photographer Jari Peltomäker, who promises that he's not biased. You can find over 200 bird species there!

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

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Posted on 19 October 2014 | 2:52 pm

Indian Country

You Think Team Names Are Bad? 12 Images of Propaganda Against Natives


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Posted on 29 October 2014 | 12:00 am


Rogers Talks 2014 Helps Vancouver Small Business Owners Focus on the Big Picture

It is every small business owner’s dream to get insider access to actionable tips and tools from industry leaders while networking with like-minded small business owners. October 29th Roger’s Talks 2014 came to Vancouver...

The post Rogers Talks 2014 Helps Vancouver Small Business Owners Focus on the Big Picture appeared first on Hello Vancity.

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Posted on 30 October 2014 | 1:13 am

List Verse

10 Of The Strangest Foods People Ate Through History

Ever looked into your great-grandma’s recipe box and been surprised? Although some contemporary chefs like to think that culinary creativity is new, food culture has always been diverse. Throughout the ages, people have eaten just about everything they could from the land, sea, and air. 10Fish Bladder Jelly Photo credit: Century Recipes The Victorians gave […]

The post 10 Of The Strangest Foods People Ate Through History appeared first on Listverse.

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Posted on 30 October 2014 | 3:00 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 | 10:13 am


Six ways to discuss sexual assault with survivors in mind

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Talking about Jian Ghomeshi? Here are some ways to talk about sexual assault allegations and be sensitive to the fact that many people are survivors of sexual assault.

Can we all please be so cautious how we talk about Jian and what's going down with the CBC right now? As a survivor of sexual assault and an advocate for people who have been assaulted, I'm already shaking at how I feel this, and the discourse around it, is going to play out. 

With statistics like one in five women being sexually assaulted over their lifetime, the chances are that we have survivors -- or people who may be victimized in the future -- watching how we talk about victims of sexual assault. 

Photo: flickr/Devon Buchanan

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Posted on 29 October 2014 | 12:42 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 | 11:45 am

The cat from Hell

Pumpkins and Magic!

Mes will show yous the giant stack of pumpkins tomorrow night, but peoples has asked how mes makes them and with Mommy’s permission, mes thought me would shows yous the magic! First Mommy fires up the caldron! Mes sure everfurry body’s Mommy has one. Mommy sniffs it to make sure that she has put the […]

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Posted on 30 October 2014 | 12:03 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 | 2:21 pm

Urban Toronto

Daniels HighPark Condos to Enjoy some of Toronto's Best Fall Views


As much as the people who know it love it—and that's a considerable number of people—High Park is probably still under-appreciated as one the great city parks. Not located as centrally as Manhattan's Central Park, the mostly hilly and reasonably wild High Park is certainly popular, but maybe not as entrenched in Toronto's psyche as much as it would be were it ringed with condos and in a downtown location.

The park is getting one condo overlooking its vast expanse though, and you would think from the view to be had from Daniels HighPark Condominiums construction site that the 161-hectare large swath of green and autumn accents is all forest in fact, but at ground level you would find that playgrounds, tennis courts, baseball fields, soccer pitches, a swimming pool, an ice rink, a zoo, an outdoor amphitheatre, a restaurant, a huge pond, gardens galore, and running trails have been liberally sprinkled throughout. It's all a short walk from an eponymous subway station, and the park even has its own train weaving through the grounds on weekends.

South views at Daniels HighPark Condominiums Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsThe south view from the penthouse level at HighPark Condominiums, image by Craig White

It's views like the one above which residents of this building will soon enjoy that will ever so gradually increase High Park's mystique in this city. Ready lin a year or so to add new shops and a rustic Italian pizzeria and wine bar across from the park, the 14-storey development by The Daniels Corporation will pull the boundaries of nearby Bloor West Village's much-loved shopping strip a little further east, and give people a new destination to admire the park from.

East views at Daniels HighPark Condominiums, Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsHighPark Condominiums as seen from Bloor West Village, image by Craig White

The Diamond Schmitt Architects-designed building is U-shaped, with 9-storey tall southwest and southeast arms that shelter a courtyard. That outdoor space will both be an entryway to the condominium, and a place where people can sit and enjoy a coffee or a meal with no north wind blowing through. 

East views at Daniels HighPark Condominiums, Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsHighPark Condominiums as seen from across Bloor, image by Craig White

Yesterday we checked out a lot of what's going on at or just above ground level at the building, but today we go up into the upper half of HighPark Condominiums to take advantage of a beautiful day and the great views.

Our first stop is on the ninth floor of the building's southwest arm. The roof here is stepped back from the new street wall created by the building, and the step back provides wide terraces for units here. (Click on any image to see a more detailed enlargement.)

East views at Daniels HighPark Condominiums, Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsThe east view from a 9th floor suite, image by Craig White

One more floor up, and we are in the future 10th floor lounge and party room. To be outfitted by Tomas Pearce Interior Design, it will take best advantage of the roof over the southwest arm, opening onto a landscaped deck designed by Land Art Design and equipped for enjoying the outdoors.

South views at Daniels HighPark Condominiums Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsThe southeast view from the future 10th floor lounge and party room, image by Craig White

Out on the future deck, The building climbs another four storeys above. In the right distance you can just make out the line of the roof of the southeast arm: that area will have a green roof. It will be nice to look at, but won't be for touching: the green roof will be closed to residents and allowed to grow without being stepped on.

East views at Daniels HighPark Condominiums, Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsThe east view from the 10th floor amenity terrace, image by Craig White

There's another green roof on the building in the northwest corner too, seen in the image below.

East views at Daniels HighPark Condominiums, Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsGreen roof on the 9th floor, northwest corner, image by Craig White

It's on the ninth floor where the building bumps out a bit on the Pacific Avenue side.

Green roof at Daniels HighPark Condominiums, Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsView down to the green roof on the 9th floor, northwest corner, image by Craig White

Looking up to the west from the same vantage point, the apartment towers of the High Park neighbourhood dominate, while you can just make out the low-slung entrance to High Park subway station nestled in among the trees at the very centre of the image.

West views at Daniels HighPark Condominiums, Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsView to the west from Daniels HighPark Condominiums, image by Craig White

Below, we've come back around to the south side of the building, overlooking the southwest arm, giving us another view of the coming amenity deck, plus the wide terraces for the 9th floor suites. 

West views at Daniels HighPark Condominiums, Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsView over the southwest arm at Daniels HighPark Condominiums, image by Craig White 

Looking up from that vantage point, we get the Humber Bay Shores skyline view.

South views at Daniels HighPark Condominiums Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsSouthwest view over High Park towards Humber Bay Shores, image by Craig White 

When we move east through the building, we get a better look at the courtyard between the two arms. Looking down into it, you can see another couple of roofs at the second and third storey levels. The smaller triangular roof on the second floor (pretty much behind the 'danger' sign clipped to the safety fence) will be set up with garden plots for residents to grow their own vegetables. The larger roof will become a second landscaped activity deck for residents, off the building's third-storey lounge and party room. 

West views at Daniels HighPark Condominiums, Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsView to the southwest from a high floor at Daniels HighPark Condominiums, image by Craig White

A couple of floors higher and looking to the east, this is the view we get:

East views at Daniels HighPark Condominiums, Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsSoutheast view over High Park towards the Toronto skyline, image by Craig White

If we zoom in a bit…

here's Bloor-Yorkville…

Downtown from Daniels HighPark Condominiums, Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsThe Bloor-Yorkville skyline as seen from Daniels HighPark Condominiums, image by Craig White

the College Park area…

Downtown from Daniels HighPark Condominiums, Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsThe College Park skyline as seen from Daniels HighPark Condominiums, image by Craig White

and the Financial Core:

Downtown from Daniels HighPark Condominiums, Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsThe Financial Core skyline as seen from Daniels HighPark Condominiums, image by Craig White

While all of those buildings were just standing idly on the horizon, work was going on to finish HighPark Condos' 14th floor. Here the park's trees are replaced with a forest of rebar and conduits, all waiting for the concrete to be placed, bucket by bucket, until it covers the fly form below, and submerges the reinforcing steel and the service lines into its new whole.

Rebar work at Daniels HighPark Condominiums, Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsReadying the 14th floor for concrete placement, image by Craig White

Turning around, we get a look at the first of the fly forms to be positioned for the building's mechanical penthouse floor. After that there will just be one more concrete slab to create for the roof, and Daniels HighPark Condominiums will be topped off.

Roof work at Daniels HighPark Condominiums, Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsForms in position for the mechanical penthouse level, image by Craig White

Tour over, we are back down at ground level, and taking a final look through the trees on Pacific Avenue up at the building.

Views at Daniels HighPark Condominiums, Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsA southeast view across Pacific Avenue to Daniels HighPark Condominiums, image by Craig White

Over the next weeks and months, HighPark Condominiums will gradually be sealed off from the coming winter weather so that interior work can go ahead full-force. As the trees lose their colour for another year, the building itself will take on warm buff and red-brown hues as bricks are laid over much of the white area you can see above. We will be back to check on progress when there are new things to see.

Want to know more about the building now? UrbanToronto's dataBase file for HighPark Condominiums, linked below, has more information, official links, and lots of renderings of what the completed project will look like. Want to talk about it? You can get in on the conversation in the associated Forum threads, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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Posted on 29 October 2014 | 6:00 pm

The Hook (B.C. News)

Greetings, from the Balmy Tarsands (in Opinion)

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Posted on 30 October 2014 | 3:40 am

The Greater Fool

50 shades of taper

Warning: The following post deals with explicit fiscal and monetary policy. It does not contain flogging or whipping. Jian Ghomeshi has left the site. The safe word is ‘yellen.’ Cast your mind back to the summer of 13. Fed boss Bernanke said his central bank would start to taper back on its stimulus spending, as […]

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Posted on 29 October 2014 | 5:49 pm

Hiking With Barry!

North Ribbon Creek – Kananaskis Country – Hiking Alberta

North Ribbon Creek provides access to Memorial Lakes in Kananaskis Country.  But, I am getting ahead of myself.  Access to North Ribbon Creek is via the popular and commonly hiked Ribbon Creek trail which was decimated by the June 13 floods.  After … Continue reading

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Posted on 29 October 2014 | 1:30 pm

I Looked into the Void and Saw Marina Abramovic

I Looked into the Void and Saw Marina Abramovic

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Posted on 30 October 2014 | 9:47 am

Michael Geist

Canada’s New “Anti-Terrorism” Bill: Responding to the Courts, Not the Attacks

The government yesterday introduced Bill C-44, the Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act. While some were expecting significant new surveillance, decreased warrant thresholds, and detention measures, this bill is a response to several court decisions, not to the attacks last week in Ottawa and Quebec. A second bill - which might use the U.K. legislative response to terror attacks as a model - is a future possibility, but policy decisions, cabinet approval, legal drafting, and constitutional reviews take time.

Bill C-44, which was to have been tabled on the day of the Ottawa attack, responds to two key issues involving CSIS, Canada's domestic intelligence agency.  The first involves a federal court case from late last year in which Justice Richard Mosley, a federal court judge, issued a stinging rebuke to Canada's intelligence agencies (CSEC and CSIS) and the Justice Department, ruling that they misled the court when they applied for warrants to permit the interception of electronic communications. Mosley's concern stemmed from warrants involving two individuals that were issued in 2009 permitting the interception of communications both in Canada and abroad using Canadian equipment. At the time, the Canadian intelligence agencies did not disclose that they might ask their foreign counterparts (namely the "five eyes" partners in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and New Zealand) to intercept the foreign communications.

The post Canada’s New “Anti-Terrorism” Bill: Responding to the Courts, Not the Attacks appeared first on Michael Geist.

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Posted on 28 October 2014 | 8:30 am

The Tyee / The Hook

Greetings, from the Balmy Tarsands (in Opinion)

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Posted on 30 October 2014 | 3:40 am

What happens when homophobes have their first gay hug

What do you think would happen when a homophobe hugs a gay person for the first time?

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Posted on 29 October 2014 | 5:31 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 | 9:24 am

Cottage Country Reflections

It was a beautiful funeral!

A fitting funeral for Canada's son. I spent some time watching the funeral for our soldier. It was stirring. Full military honours. 'Twas interesting that CTV's coverage, their locales and shots, were better than CBC's. This is a sad example (below), hard to see anything. It was a full military funeral, with pipes and drums, kilts. Yam, you would have been impressed. Do you think CBC needs

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Posted on 29 October 2014 | 9:06 am

Steve Paikin

Steve Paikin: Finally, That Elusive Victory for John Tory

John Tory celebrates his victory in the Toronto mayor's race with friends and supporters Monday night. 

While watching the municipal election returns last night, my mind kept drifting back to a comment made by former Ontario Premier Bill Davis almost exactly a year ago. 

Davis was being fêted by TVO for, in effect, being the father of Ontario's public broadcaster, which he created four decades earlier. As the province's 18th premier surveyed the audience, he saw his former principal secretary, John Tory, in the crowd. 
“I have no doubt,” Davis said, “that John's best political contribution is still to come.” 
In many respects, it was an odd comment to make, and I have no doubt many people thought Davis was simply being generous to his former advisor. Tory, it seemed, had given up on elective politics after suffering what felt like too many damaging losses in too short a space of time. 
He ran for the Toronto mayoralty against David Miller in 2003, and while he took his support level from next to nothing to 38 per cent, at the end of the day, he lost. 
But his showing was strong enough to catch the attention of Ontario Progressive Conservatives, who made him leader of the provincial party less than a year later. 
But then came the lean years: a loss in the 2007 provincial election to Dalton McGuinty; a loss in Don Valley West to then-cabinet minister Kathleen Wynne; an ambiguous and frankly tepid level of support from PC party delegates on whether he should remain on the job; and finally, the coup de grâce (the blow of mercy to put a suffering animal out of its misery), defeat in an ensuing 2009 by-election in the supposedly-safe PC seat of Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, which seemingly ended his political career for good. 
And yet, there was Bill Davis, who knows a thing or two about politics saying, four years later, that he thought Tory's best contribution to politics was still to come. 
Davis' prediction has now come true. 
Although it was outgoing mayor (but incoming councillor) Rob Ford last night who reminded his supporters that the Ford family “never, never, never, never gives up,” in fact, one could say the same thing for John Tory. I doubt running for mayor again was all part of a grand plan for Tory. But the fact is, rather than crawling into a hole and disappearing, he put his head down, got himself a high profile radio show on Newstalk 1010, putting him at the centre of the action when it came to political commentary in Toronto, and continued to do his good works in the city (raising money for important causes, and chairing CivicAction to get more public transit on governments' agendas). Lo and behold, five years later, Tory became the unifying, seasoned political force that nearly 400,000 Torontonians got behind as their standard-bearer to end the Ford dynasty at City Hall. 
Back in 1997, Toronto became “The Megacity,” amalgamating its six former constituent cities into one unitary city-state. Mel Lastman became the first Megacity mayor, and when he won re-election in 2000, he captured 483,277 votes, still the highest total in Canadian history. But for all of the talk that many voters held their nose and voted strategically for Tory to keep Ford out, the fact is, Toronto's 65th mayor will wear the chain of office having received the second highest vote total ever: 395,141 votes. 
That bests Lastman's first win in 1997 (387,848), Rob Ford's 2010 victory (383,501), and both of David Miller's tallies (332,969 in 2006, and 299,385 in 2003). 
Not bad for a guy who was supposedly box office poison five years ago. 

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Posted on 28 October 2014 | 6:02 am

Weighty Matters

What I Learned By Actually Reading That Drinking Milk Will Kill You Study

So a study was published the other day in The BMJ. In it authors explored their theory that milk consumption might in fact increase your risk of death and of hip fracture. Why? Well they finger D-galactose, one of the breakdown byproducts of the lactose in milk, which in animal models has been shown to be pro-inflammatory and lead to shortened lifespans and neurodegeneration. Extrapolating from the mouse models led the authors to infer that 1-2 glasses of daily milk would provide sufficient D-galactose for human harm. The authors further assert that not only can D-galactose lead to shortened life and neurodegeneration, but also to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and ironically, age-related bone loss. And it's not all dairy that worried these authors, just milk, as both cheese and yogurt have lower concentrations of lactose and galactose, and cheese and yogurt also may have positive probiotic related health contributions.

To explore their theory the researchers used two Swedish cohorts. The first included 61,433 women, and the second 45,339 men (both after all exclusions), and with them the authors explored the cohorts' relationships between milk intake (ascertained by way of just two food frequency questionnaires with the women and only one with the men) and mortality and hip fractures over a 20.1 year mean follow-up period. As far as possible confounders go, they considered hormone replacement therapy, menopausal status, and whether or not the women had children, smoking status, body mass index, vitamin D supplementation, alcohol consumption, a healthy dietary pattern, cortisone use, leisure time physical activity, education, and marital status.

Results wise the researchers found that the mean intake of milk was roughly a glass a day for both men and women but that some folks were drinking more than 3 glasses daily, and some less than 1. During the 1,231,818 person years of follow up 15,541 women died as did 10,112 men. Fracture wise there were 4,259 hip fractures among women and 1,166 among men. As far as milk goes, the researchers found those women consuming >3 glasses a day vs. women consuming <1 had a hazard ratio of total mortality of 1.93 (and 1.60 for hip fractures). Comparing male heavy vs. light milk drinkers, the risk found was less pronounced (though still significant according to the researchers) at 1.10 for mortality, but nothing for hip fractures. But bear in mind, those hazard ratio span an average of 20 years of follow-up.

So should you stop drinking milk because it's going to kill you after it leads you to have a hip fracture? These sorts of studies are brutal. No doubt the researchers do their utmost to try to ensure they control for confounders, but given the food data utilized are often single contact food frequency questionnaires (as was here) which are then extrapolated to represent decades worth of consumption, and that lives in general are complicated, it really is difficult to get too worked up about the results. For instance it's difficult to put a great deal of stock in this particular study's FFQ validities as they report the frequent milk drinkers as consuming nearly 40% more calories than the infrequent, and yet the weights of those two groups are within about 3lbs of one another.

So I remain unconvinced that milk is in and of itself markedly toxic, but that said, drinking 3 or more glasses of the stuff a day isn't something I'd be advising anyone to do simply on the basis of liquid calories not being particularly filling. Given that there are many studies that dance around milk providing ever so slight health benefits as well as many studies that dance around milk providing every so slight health risk, I'm still comfortable with my belief that milk is neither a magic fairy brew nor a devil's broth and consequently should be consumed in the name of loving it (in the smallest quantities you need to like your life), but not in the name of health, and that eating your dairy, from a health perspective, is likely preferable to drinking it.

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Posted on 30 October 2014 | 8:25 am

Margaret Wente

A Florida farce, courtesy of outside money

Two gubernatorial candidates nobody wants, one indictment of toothless campaign finance laws

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Posted on 30 October 2014 | 3:00 am

Lauren Out Loud

HIATUS: re-launching January 2015

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Posted on 24 July 2014 | 2:54 pm

Rants n Rascals

For Love of a Pup: How A FB Community Brings Hope to One Family

You hear all the time how the Internet is a bad thing. Social networking is getting out of control. Kids online are seeing things they shouldn’t. Marriages are ending, friendship become broken, nobody is listening to anyone because we are so hooked to our devices. And that may be true. However, over the past few […]

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Posted on 18 October 2014 | 8:57 pm

Bow. James Bow

Believe it or not, these do come in red

I received the following image in my e-mail as part of a promotion by the Geek shop They are, indeed, Star Trek Original Series hoodies. Available in yellow, and blue. Oh, they do come in red. Make no mistake....

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Posted on 24 October 2014 | 11:56 am

A Toronto Blog

GO Transit train delays in #Toronto

The afternoon rush hour commute almost got thrown into disarray as an investigation near Union Station delayed several trains which were scheduled to go to Milton, Kitchener and Barrie. Starting before 4 pm the delay lasted about two hours before regular service on the lines resumed.
Early morning GO train sits at a station on Wednesday, October 29 waiting to head to Union Station

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Posted on 29 October 2014 | 10:32 pm

Robyn Urbak on Campus

Field of dreams: One student’s story of survival against all odds

After a suicide attempt, football became Jeremy Pearce’s sole focus and his ticket out of a dead-end life

The post Field of dreams: One student’s story of survival against all odds appeared first on

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Posted on 30 October 2014 | 11:28 am

Postcards From the Mothership

In defense of t(w)een trick-or-treaters

Oh hypocrisy, thy name is mother. If parenting has taught me anything, it’s that any righteous judgement I make will promptly or eventually come back to bite me on the ass. Once upon a year or two ago, I was firmly of the opinion that trick-or-treating was and should remain the domain of young children. [...] Related posts (automatically generated):
  1. H1N1 and Halloween
  2. Lucas speaks
  3. Some random and rambly thoughts on Halloween

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Posted on 30 October 2014 | 6:26 am

David Akins on the Hill

On key terrorism question, Trudeau stands with Harper, RCMP; Mulcair does not

Were last weeks attacks in Quebec and on Parliament Hill acts of terrorism? The government was quick to label them as such. Today, after their first caucus meetings since last Wednesday’s Parliament Hill shooting, both NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau were asked this question. Both had different answers. Here’s Thomas Mulcair: […]

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Posted on 29 October 2014 | 2:42 pm

Dutch Blitz


I’m a pretty social person. I chat with other parents when I drop my kids off at school and when I pick them up. I talk to people I run into at the grocery store, and people who work in the offices who I do contract work for. I talk to people at church, at […]

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

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Posted on 30 October 2014 | 1:25 am

Nik at Night

The Walking Dead 5.02: Strangers

Nikki: After last week’s barnburner of a season opener, this week slowed things down a tad as the group tries to figure out their new dynamic together, after having been apart for so long. Split up into groups, they had various adventures, tragedies, and traumas, all of which are difficult to talk about. Back together, there’s some reticence in the group, some confessions, and a lot of mystery hanging in the air — are they different people now? Do they still work as a unit or will they ultimately realize they’re better off apart?

This week’s episode introduces us to Ellis CarverFather Gabriel Stokes, bringing yet another alumnus of The Wire into the fold. I couldn’t help but expect Carver to slap some cuffs on D’Angelo as soon as he saw him, but I very quickly dropped that notion when Stokes became a mystery unto himself. Why are there scratch marks all over his parish, which appears to be clean and ordered on the inside? Why weren’t all the stained-glass windows shattered? Were they too high for the walkers to reach from the outside? I’m assuming this is a priest who locked out his flock, leaving them to the walkers and watching them die, and the reason he didn’t want to go to that supermarket with the walkers in the watery basement is because they were all his parishioners and former friends. But I’m hoping the revelation will be a little more complicated than just that.

What were your thoughts, Josh? Did Father Stokes lie when he was answering Rick’s three questions, or cleverly work around them?

Josh: As a former reader of the comic series on which the show is based, I often wonder how different it would feel to watch The Walking Dead if I didn't find myself constantly comparing it to the source material — not in terms of quality (as I believe the mediums too disparate to evaluate in parallel) but strictly regarding the content. The show and the origin comics are certainly distinct, but it's inarguable that storylines and plot points from the source material are frequently pulled into the show. And any time the action hews closely to an existing sequence of events from the comics, it becomes very difficult not only to view the proceedings objectively but also to discuss them in this forum without feeling somewhat disingenuous. This week's episode is a great example of that, as both the character of Father Gabriel and the transplanted Terminites/Hunters story seem fairly exact in their replication of the comic's material.

For example, the episode's final line is a word-for-word quote from the last panel of issue #39:

This kind of thing makes it practically impossible for me to answer your question about Father Gabriel, because all I can seem to picture is what the comics have told me is coming next. Perhaps I'm not trying hard enough to break away from that foreknowledge and imagine other scenarios; there is certainly plenty of room for the writers and producers to take the story in new directions rather than simply replicate what Kirkman has already done, and they've done a serviceable job of that in the past. However, at the moment all signs point to a rather direct adaptation, maybe more so than ever before.

That being the case, I am left at somewhat of a loss as to the best way to discuss it. I hate spoilers as much as anyone, and the last thing I want to do is compromise our readers' (or your) enjoyment of what's to come by saying too much. What I will say is that your one-sentence assessment of the clues' implications strikes me as a perfectly simple and reasonable explanation, albeit somewhat obvious, as you pointed out. Then again, oftentimes that kind of restraint serves to lend needed authenticity to fiction. I suppose we'll have to wait and see.

Now on to what I feel perfectly comfortable discussing, which is most everything else. 'Strangers' offered up a lot of conversation, but all of it came across as very natural to me, stepping nimbly from issue to issue and gradually clearing the air of conflict to re-set the stage for the season, nicely bonding this expanded group into something more like what it had come to be before the Governor's final attack on the prison splintered it into pieces again. In particular, the early exchange between Carol and Rick was perfectly pitched and beautifully written, culminating in the idea that he now needed to ask Carol's permission to join her group. I also loved the way Tara chose to level with Maggie about her role in the Governor's militia, and how easily came Maggie's forgiveness — testament to the way her father raised her, I'd say.

Much like last week, however, I think my favorite aspect of this installment was Carol and her ongoing struggle to reconcile what happened with Lizzie. In each discussion she had throughout the episode – with Tyrese, with Rick, with Daryl – she says little, but Melissa McBride's remarkable performance offered up a depth of emotion and internal strife that radiated from every small look and word and action. Her character continues to surprise and impress me, and I long to see what they have in store for her next.

Because, of course, at the end of the episode, Carol and Daryl take off together with the gas and supplies she had planned to use for her departure from the group, chasing after another car that bore the same distinctive cross in its window as the one that kidnapped Beth. I'm thinking this will be one of those times when the next episode will abandon RickCo. and the Bob-B-Q storyline entirely in favor of giving us a window into what's been going on with Maggie's long-lost little sister since last we saw her.

What do you think?

Nikki: Bob-B-Q, haha!! I am calling him that from now on. :) Carol continued to be the highlight of the show for me, as you say, and I think it’s that almost eerie calm from her I like so much. As someone pointed out in the comments last week, there’s something almost sad about it, as if after a life of being abused by the man she once loved, of watching people die, of watching her own daughter suffer at the hands of walkers, of having to watch both of her surrogate girls die (one by her own hand), something in her has just snapped and she’s become distanced. When Sophia walked out of the barn she was screaming and crying and pleading with Rick, but we haven’t seen that side of her since. She doesn’t show any emotions: she didn’t rail and argue and scream against Rick when he left her in the suburb. She didn’t flinch once as she was covering herself in zombie goo. She didn’t look scared when she walking amongst them. She didn’t jump or show any fear when Tasha Yar was suddenly in the room. She didn’t hop up and down and leap into Daryl’s arms, just quietly smiled. She gives a small smile when Rick acknowledges Carol as their new de facto leader in this one. She can’t talk to Daryl the way she once did, and her dialogue has become as reticent and terse as Daryl’s usually is.

I’m working on a book on Sherlock right now, and one aspect of the character of the great detective is his dire fear of being bored. He will do almost anything to avoid being bored, and when he is, then everyone around him needs to look out. I find with Carol there’s a similar thing happening here: she’s filled with so much pain and anguish that she cannot let out that she needs to keep herself busy just to stop the emotions from entering in. Why was she getting that car ready? When Daryl asked her, she just said, “I don’t know,” and almost looked frustrated, as if she genuinely didn’t know why she was doing this. But I think she needed to separate herself from the others and get back on the road so she could drive into more zombie packs and continue to fight, blow up, plot, scheme, do ANYTHING except just sit and relax and try to enjoy the company of others. The moment she stops acting, she starts thinking. And she will do almost anything to avoid doing that.

I think these early episodes are leading up to one hell of a moment for Carol; this could be Melissa McBride’s Emmy season (if, you know, the Emmys could actually look at anything other than the fucking obvious... this is the same awards show that overlooked Tatiana frickin’ Maslany, so I use “Emmy” as a metaphor for “one’s talents being recognized,” even though that’s no longer in the Emmy handbook... okay, rant over). I think she’s going to have a nervous breakdown of some kind, and I hope it won’t be the undoing of her. Let’s hope it’s less Jungle Hair Claire from Lost and more of a catharsis that allows her to put this pain behind her and move forward to a happier future. She deserves it more than just about anyone.

Back to the Bob-B-Q and Father Stokes, my friend Colleen (who often comments here) messaged me and asked if perhaps the guilt of Father Stokes lies in the fact that it was HE who introduced the idea of cannibalism to the group. Is it possible that the Terminites are in fact part of Stokes’s flock? Could he have been the misguided shepherd who provoked it? This could tie in with what I was saying: he could have locked them out of the parish, then watched out the window as they sat below it, eating one another and glaring at him as if to blame him for what they were forced to do. Either way, it was an utterly hideous and creepy way to end the episode. A friend of mine watched the episode late at night, and then had to go outside to walk her dog and the streetlights were out. She’s braver than I am!

Any final thoughts, Josh?

Josh: You just had to bring up the squirrel baby, didn't you?

AAAAHHHH!!!! Still scarier than anything on Walking Dead.

It's true that things look exceedingly dire for poor Bob Stookey, but I thought they were looking pretty dire for him already. And no, I'm not just talking about he and Sasha's happiness as they played their Half Empty, Half Full game and made kissy faces at each other (though it's true that sort of thing rarely bodes well in this universe). More specifically, his peculiar behavior after Abraham's 'Save the World' speech and the banquet that followed – when he kissed Sasha and then went outside and stood staring back at the church, first smiling, then crying, and generally looking for all the world like he was about to leave for good – had me totally convinced that he'd been bitten when the zombie pulled him under the water at the food bank. And if that was the case, then what does that mean for the freaks we last saw gnawing on his shinbone? I'm holding out hope for something a lot worse than indigestion.

Bits & Bobs:

• “People are just as dangerous as the dead, don't you think?” “No. People are worse.”

• The church, by the way? Unmistakably Methodist, in spite of Father Gabriel's collar and title. I'd recognize an old southern Methodist church anywhere, and white clapboard with a tin roof and the big square steeple? Might as well be a flashing neon sign. I'd almost guarantee it.

• Rick's speech to Carl, and Carl's response. “We're strong enough that we don't have to be afraid, and we don't have to hide.” Oh, Carl. Hide anyway.

• “Rule #1 of scavenging: there's nothing left in this world that isn't hidden.”

• The waterlogged walkers looked amazing – super creepy, and very Italian style, I thought. So much slime.

• Rick and Michonne's discussion of the now-missing sword (which is bound to pop back up sometime, don't you think?): “I miss Andrea. I miss Hershel. I don't miss what was before. Don't miss that sword.” Well, I DO.

• Per Abraham, I vote that walkers should hitherto be referred to only as 'the undead pricks.'

Until next week, sleep well, you guys. Two eyes open.

Nikki: I just had to pop back in here (because yes, I love having the final word) and say that YES YES YES I agree with you on Michonne’s sword!! Someone mentioned last week (I thought it was in the comments, but I must have seen it elsewhere...) that someone needs to start a Kickstarter campaign for Michonne’s sword, and I completely agree.

And I also agree that it looked like Bobby got bit when he went under the water.

And speaking of squirrels, what if Carol snaps and fashions one of Daryl’s squirrel carcasses into a squirrel baby?! :::shudder:::

Until next week!

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Posted on 23 October 2014 | 1:02 pm

Word Grrrls

Lame Apocalypses

You get the idea. Now see what you can come up with yourself. Have fun.

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Posted on 23 October 2014 | 6:14 pm

Elfshot - sticks and stones

Ötzi in Bolzano, Italy

Ötzi - reconstruction
One of the highlights of the Italy trip was heading north towards Bolzano on my 40th birthday to visit the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology - the home of Ötzi - the Iceman.  Ötzi is a 5300 year old wet mummy that was found frozen in the Tyrolean Alps in 1991.  Not only was his body preserved, but many of the tools that he was carrying with him as well.  The museum does not disappoint.  Ötzi's mummified body is on display in a cooled room, behind glass.  The window into the mummy room is the first display that you see when you enter the exhibit space.  Then all of his tools are beautifully presented and interpreted.  Photos are not allowed in that part of the museum, but you can seen wonderful photos of the artifacts on the museum website (link above). Photos, however, are allowed in other parts of the museum, including the fantastic reconstruction of Ötzi and a lifesize, interactive touchscreen autopsy table that lets you examine the mummy inside and out.

The outside of the museum in scenic Bolzano.

The touchscreen autopsy table let you zoom in and see different layers or bone, muscle, and tissue inside the mummy.

Ötzi's big hands and his farmer tan reminded Lori and I of my dad's hands as soon as we saw them.  Its a remarkably lifelike reconstruction of a man who made his living with his hands.

 Photo Credits: Tim Rast, Lori White

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Posted on 29 October 2014 | 6:55 am

Adam Radwanski

In Tory, Toronto finally elects a compromise candidate

City finally breaks out of its pattern of overcorrecting past mayoral choices

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Posted on 28 October 2014 | 5:00 am

How to Survive Life in the Suburbs

Win a $3000 Vacay in Paradise! #VisitPV Twitter Party!

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but winter, it’s coming!  Do you want to know the very best way to beat those exhausting winter blues?  Start planning a way to escape them!  Yes, for me some of the very best way to beat the winter blahs is to skip through […]

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Posted on 29 October 2014 | 9:01 am

A Peek Inside the Fishbowl

Three stories, and talking to our daughters about the creepy guys, AGAIN.

I’ve already written about the issue of creepy guys before. Yet here I am again. You know why? Because the issue of the creepy guys will never go away, and it depresses the crap out of me. One Mark asked me whether I thought it was true that someone in authority could laugh at and/or […]

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Posted on 30 October 2014 | 10:59 am

Dawg’s Blawg

Matthew 6:5

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in...

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Posted on 28 October 2014 | 4:22 pm

Dammit Janet

Again, Public Funding Given to Religious Anti-Abortion Group

Back in January 2009, DJ! reported on public funding -- in the form of a Trillium Foundation grant -- being given to a crisis pregnancy centre, aka a Christian slut-shaming organization. I wrote to the foundation to ask its justification for this largesse but never heard back. (In truth, I didn't follow up.)

That was a rather minor grant of $8,600.

In April this year, a far larger grant was made to another fake clinic in Sarnia.

From the Foundation's website:
Lambton Crisis Pregnancy Centre

$83,800 over two years to operate a satellite office in rural Lambton County that educates women facing unplanned pregnancy on the options that are available to them.

Let's back up a bit. For those who haven't heard of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, it is the sop to our collective conscience for our government-run numbers racket, aka the "gaming industry".

Basically, the Ontario government preys on the hopes and delusions of its citizens, rakes in a ton of dough, then parcels some of it out to community and health centres, boys and girls clubs, you get the idea.

Now regular readers of DJ! know what crisis pregnancy centres are but here's a quick refresher on how they work at the moment in ass-backwards Texas.

In many of the Excited States, these evil organizations get actual taxpayers' money handed out to them specifically to lie to, manipulate and shame women. (Check the Texas link for some breath-taking dollar figures.)

So, sure, we have them here in Canada -- just yesterday, the Grand Opening of a new one was reported in Strathmore, Ontario -- but they are privately funded by churches and other meddlesome panty-sniffers.

Or so we thought.

But now we learn that $83,800 of Ontario "gaming" enthusiasts' hard-earned dough has been doled out to a religious organization.

What do we think of this, fellow fans of fairness, democracy, and accountability?

Here is the website for the Lambton Crisis Pregnancy Centre. It's fairly standard for these operations, offering, for example, "post-abortion counselling".
No matter how long ago your abortion took place, it is never too late to seek healing and resolution. Heart’s Hope is facilitated in a group or can also be in a one-on-one setting. It is a ten week program that allows you the opportunity to face your decision, grieve your loss and promote healing. Our trained facilitators will treat you with compassion and empathy; we recognize that grief is a deeply personal thing and we aim to gently guide you through that process.
Because abortion is always and inevitably a "loss" that requires "healing" and "grieving," right?

It is a registered charity and on its donation page it includes a link to Canadian Council of Christian Charities, lest there be any confusion about where they're coming from.

I plan to write to the Trillium Foundation (contact info here) to ask again about this practice. You can too.

It also has a Twitter account, @ONTrillium.

This is public money. It should NOT be going to religious brainwashing concerns. If "we" as the people of Ontario must bilk our neighbours of money, at least let's salve our consciences by sharing the ill-gotten gains with organizations that actually do some good in our communities.

UPDATE: A response:

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Posted on 29 October 2014 | 11:04 pm

That Artist Woman

Poppy Inchies

I recently completed these Poppy inchies with a Grade 5/6 class in honour of Remembrance Day.

The students made all 4 and then picked their 3 favourite to be mounted on 1"x 4" boards that are cut in 12" lengths.

Here they are up on the bulletin board. We completed them in two 1hr. sessions.

Please note: Like all my inchie projects each one of these squares can be done as a large project.


- 1"x 4" fence board cut into 12" lengths, you could also use black paper
- 4 watercolour paper inchies, we used 3"x 3" inchies
- cereal or cracker box cardboard, about 3" square
- scraps of corrugated cardboard
- drywall filler
- masking tape
- acrylic or tempera paint in red, blue, black, green, yellow and white
- disk tempera in red
- black and red paper scraps
- white paper, about 3" square
- old book pages
- tacky glue
- black button
- black pony bead
- black pencil crayon and/or fine black sharpie
- oil pastels in yellow and orange


We started by painting our boards with black acrylic paint.  We painted the front and the 4 sides.

Set aside to dry.

Now when I do inchies with the kids we work on several at once, when one stage is drying we are working on another step/inchie.  But it's easier for me to explain the steps for each inchie one at a time.

We will start with our Georgia O'Keeffe inchie. I tell the kids that O'Keeffe took a bee's eye view when painting flowers.

Give each student a length of masking tape, about 6 inches or so.

Have them cut it into 3 pieces.

Have them cut each piece in half lengthwise using a wavy or curvy line.

Choose 3 and tape off 3 corners.  Make sure the tape goes from one side to the other.  It's OK if a white corner peeks out.

Take the orange and yellow oil pastels. Make a outline next to the tape.  Then do a inner outline.

Using disk tempera paint inside the tape.  The kids can mix up a second shade of red to add. Just add a touch of blue for a darker red or a touch of yellow for a lighter red.

Set aside to dry.

Remove the tape.

Use a sponge and add some black acrylic to the one corner that had no tape.

Using black pencil crayon add the stamens.

Now we will do the inchie based on Irish painter John Nolan's work.

Draw a horizon line in the upper 3rd of the inchie.

Paint the upper portion with blue acrylic.  We used a nice electric blue.

Paint the bottom portion with green acrylic.

Let dry.

Mix a lighter blue (original colour + white).

Add some of this to the upper edge of the inchie.

Add some yellow and lighter green (original green + yellow) to the meadow.

Let dry.

Using a very small brush add some poppies to the meadow.  I asked the kids to make tiny ones in the distance, a few medium ones and then a few large ones in foreground.

Let dry.

Using a fine sharpie add the stems and a few buds.

This inchie is based on a project I did 2 years ago.

I gave the kids 2 small pieces from a newspaper or phone book.  They glued them randomly to our next inchie.

With the leftover paint from the last inchie dilute it a bit with some water and then paint this wash over the square.

You want to still see the bits of paper.

Let dry.

Take the piece of white paper and paint red.

Using a little piece of cardboard (this is not that 3" piece), add some lines to the red paper with  dark red acrylic paint.

With the red and black papers cut 2 circles out for the flower (1 large than the other) and a stem for the poppy.

Glue onto the inchie.

Glue the black pony bead into the centre.

I printed "is for poppy" off the computer and we added a P stamp to our inchies.

Our final inchie.

Take the 3" or so piece of cardboard and cut out a poppy shape.

Add some drywall to the front for texture.

Let dry, it takes about 4 - 6 hrs.

Cut your old book page in half.  Spread some glue on your inchie.

Stick your book page on the inchie.

Trim to fit.

Take some black acrylic paint (maybe the leftover paint from the O'Keeffe poppy), water it down a bit and give your book page a wash.

You can also splatter a bit of that black paint as well.

Let dry.

When your drywalled poppy is dry paint with red acrylic.  We used 2 different reds.

Cut a circle out pif a scrap of black paper, glue to the center.  Add a black button on top of the black circle.

Pick your 3 best and glue on your black board.

Great work Grade 5/6!


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Posted on 29 October 2014 | 6:16 pm

A pretty Life in the Suburbs

Our Budget Friendly Kids Bathroom Makeover

Have I ever shown you our kids bathroom?  Um, of course not because it’s a bathroom…a bathroom with peeling fishie decals and toothpaste smeared mirrors.  Oh, and I can’t dare show you a room with a hideous light fixture…oops I did.  Please ignore it. The kids bathroom has needed some love for a looooong time.  It has […]

The post Our Budget Friendly Kids Bathroom Makeover appeared first on A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.

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Posted on 29 October 2014 | 10:49 am

Canada's Adventure couple

Versatile Travel Style – We finally look good

We have a good friend in the travel world named Trish from Tripstyler. She always looks so fashionable when she travels. Dave and I on the other hand have always looked a bit frumpy and disjointed with our travel style. We pick up cheap items in Thailand: You know, the God awful Fisherman's pants that only look good on skinny twenty somethings? Or we do a shopping spree in places like Cape Town or Brisbane to update our tattered travel [...]

Read the original post Versatile Travel Style – We finally look good on Adventure Travel blog for Couples | The Planet D.

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Posted on 28 October 2014 | 6:38 am

My New Life in Canada, under the snow!

11 Things I Learned During This Trip to China

Coming from the West, China offers a unique experience. It’s quite a culture shock, really—even for me (this was my 6th trip to China) and even for Feng, to a certain extent. You live, you learn… well, these are 11 things I learned during our trip to China.

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Posted on 29 October 2014 | 9:52 am

Live From Waterloo

Things I was better off not knowing - #14

(En español más abajo)
…and then that other time we were jumping off the 2nd floor stairs of the old house and we broke the handle”
Yes, but we kinda fixed it”
Wait… what?” 
…y también esa vez que estábamos saltando de la escalera del 2do piso en la otra casa y rompimos la baranda”
Bueno, sí, pero más o menos la arreglamos”
More ‘Better off not knowing’ stories here

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Posted on 30 October 2014 | 10:57 am