The Quick Brown Fiox

Love letters ~ Your fellow writers are getting published in Origami Journal, Near to the Knuckle, CommuterLIt, Canadian Immigrant....

Origami fox by Lexar from a design by Roman Diaz
Hi, Brian.
I am happy to finally write in with the news that a short story I created during one of your “Next Step in Creative Writing” classes has been published in the Spring edition of Origami Journal and will also be published this summer in Near to the Knuckle in the UK.
“Edge of Reason” was an exercise in trying to create a sympathetic antihero and was inspired by the sight of young cliff divers plunging into the Mediterranean surf of the Spanish Costa Tropical. 
Thank you once again for your guidance and words of wisdom.    
Karen MacDougall
Read Karen’s story in Origami Journal here.  For information about submitting to Origami Journal and Near to the Knuckle, see here.
Note: This summer, beginning at the end of June, I’ll be offering “Intensive Creative Writing” courses on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons in Burlington. In the fall, I’ll be offering Intensive courses on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and Next Step courses on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. For details or to reserve a spot, email me at:

Hi, Brian.
I’ve got a story published on CommuterLit! You’ll have seen this story before in the Thursday evening Next Step class in Georgetown. But check out my edited and published version of “Silence” here.
For information on submitting to CommuterLit, see here.

Dear Brian,
I would like to share with you the amazing news that my personal short story titled "Our First White Winter" has just been published online in the Canadian Immigrant magazine. This was one of the stories I wrote as an assignment for your great Writing Personal Stories  course.
Thank you for your excellent guidance and great help to improve our writing creativity.
Have a wonderful and relaxing night,
Manuel Gomez 
Read Manuel’s story here. For information on submitting to Canadian Immigrant see here.
Note: The next session of Writing Personal Stories runs Tuesday afternoons beginning April 28 (see here). Then a new session will begin in the fall. Read reviews of my weekly courses here.

Hi, Brian.
I just wanted to thank you for the “Writing Great Characters” workshop on Saturday.  I have been stalled in my writing, and I realized at the workshop it was because I didn't have a clear picture of my character's personality and motives.  Your exercises and handouts have inspired me and I'm happy to say I spent the rest of the weekend writing.  Writer's block conquered (for now, ha)! 
Looking forward to all the upcoming workshops!
Marina Unger
Note: I’ll be leading “Writing Great Characters” workshops on Saturday, July 11, in Burlington (see here), and on Saturday, July 18, in Kitchener (see here).

See my full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Barrie, Brampton, Bolton, Burlington, Caledon, Cambridge, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Niagara on the Lake, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond. 

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Posted on 23 April 2015 | 2:32 pm


Loretta Young: Le secret de Sainte-Loretta

Gretchen Michael est née  le 6 Janvier 1913 à Salt Lake City (Utah). Fille de Gladys Royal et John Earl  Young,

elle avait deux soeurs et un frère: Polly Ann (actrice, 1908-97), Elizabeth Jane (actrice Sally Blane (1910-97) et John (1914-97), ses parents ont divorcés alors qu'elle avait 2 ans. La mère et les enfants déménagèrent à Hollywood. Maman  a ouvert une pension de famille et s'est remariée avec George Belzer et a eut une autre fille: Georgiana (actrice,1923-2007).
À partir de 4 ans, Gretchen figura dans des films muets: "The Primrose Ring",  "Sirens of the Sea" (1917), "The Only Way",  " White and Unmarried" (1919), "Le Cheik" (1921), quelques uns aux côtés de ses soeurs aînées. Un jour, elle a répondit au téléphone; au bout du fil,  Mervyn LeRoy demanda si Polly Ann était disponible pour un film. Gretchen s'est présentée au Studio, à la place de sa sœur et a obtenu un rôle dans "Naughty But Nice/Pas sage mais mignonne", "Her Wild Oat" (1927), En signant un contrat à la First National, à 14 ans, on la prénomma Loretta. Elle tourna: " The Whip Woman", "Laugh, Clown, Laugh/ Ris donc paillasse"(1928).

Chanson de son fils Peter
Thomas Lewis
Elle fit ses études au couvent Ramona à Alhambra, en Californie. La Warner lui signa un contrat et lui offrit ses premiers grands rôles dans "The squall" , "The careless age", "The last life" (1929), "The forward pass", "Loose ankles" (1930), "The platinum blonde/La blonde platine" (1931), "Taxi !" (1932), "The life of Jimmy Dolan", "Zoo in Budapest/ Zoo à Budapest", "Man's castle/ Ceux de la zone" (1933) , entre autres. En 1930, elle épouse civilement l'acteur Grant Whiters son partenaire dans le film "Too young to marry" (1931)(quelle coincidence), mais, elle l'annula l'année suivante. Ensuite, elle tombe amoureuse de Spencer Tracy. Même, qu'ils avaient prévu de vivre ensemble, mais ils se sont séparés car incapables de brisé le mariage de Spencer.
En 1934, elle signe avec la 20th Century Fox et tourna "The house of Rothschild" , "The crusades/Les croisades" et "Clive of India" (1935). Lors du tournage de "The call of the wild/L'appel de la forêt"(1935), elle a une aventure amoureuse avec Clark Gable (alors marié à Ria Langham), Loretta tomba enceinte, puis donna naissance à Judy (1935-2011), Le Studio cacha ce fait pour préserver l'image pure de l'actrice. Loretta tourna "Ramona" , Ladies in love"(1936) et "Love is news/L'amour en première page"(1937). En 1937, Judy fut (enfin) présentée comme une enfant adoptée. Loretta épousa Thomas Lewis, en 1940, deux fils naquirent: Peter (1945) et Christopher (1944).
Des films: "The Story of Alexander Graham Bell/ Et la parole fut"(1939), " And now tomorrow/Le bonheur est pour demain"( 1944), Rachel and the Stranger" (1946), "The Farmer's Daughter/ Ma femme est un grand homme" (Academy Awards 1947), "The Bishop's Wife" (1947), "The Stable "(1949) .
En 1953, Young announça sa retraite du cinéma, après son dernier film, "It happens every Thursday" (1953). Plus tard, Young signa un contrat avec Proctor & Gamble et NBC qui produisirent son émission "The Loretta Young Show" (1953 à 1961) et la série TV "Letter to Loretta "(1953-1961). Elle divorça en 1969. L'actrice avait quelques surnoms: Sainte-Loretta, The steel Butterfly et Attila the Nun selon le site IMDB.
Loretta épousa le designer de mode Jean-Louis, en 1993, mariage qui dura 4 ans. En 1994, sa fille écrivit un livre Uncommon Knowledge qui dévoila la vérité sur son véritable père, Clark Gable. Loretta refusa d'avouer ou de nier le secret que Judy dévoila, sauf dans une biographie qui fut publiée après sa mort. Elle paticipa à une série télévisée Lady in the Corner (1989) et un film "Christmas Eve"/ La colombe de Noël" (1986). Loretta est décédée du cancer des ovaires, le 12 Août 2000.

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Posted on 25 April 2015 | 11:15 pm

Other Food - Daily Devotions

The supernatural good-news life

Paul and the Viper
Paul and the Viper*
Mark 16:9-20

TO CHEW ON: " ' And these signs will follow those who believe: In my name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents, and if they will drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.' " Mark 16:17-18

What an incredible list of predictions Jesus makes here, of signs that will follow those who spread the gospel:

1. They will have power over the demonic realm (Mark 16:17).
Luke recounts an almost humorous incident showing the unique power that Jesus' followers have in this area. When some Jewish exorcists use the name of Jesus without the power of true faith in Him, the demon responds: "Jesus I know and Paul I know but who are you?" Then the possessed man beats up the exorcists - Acts 19:13-16.

2, They will have new powers of communication: " ' … speak with new tongues' " (Mark 16:17).
I understand this promise to involve more than only the glossolalia of the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4). It is that for sure, i.e. the power to communicate in languages not learned. But I believe it is also the tongue used in private prayer and self-edification (1 Corinthians 14:2,4, 14-16). And, I would submit, we could also make a case for the new tongue including the tongue of boldness, so evident in the early Christians (Acts 4:31).

3. They will have remarkable protection
(Mark 16:18).
The experience of Paul in the Island of Malta brings Jesus' words to life about protection from snakes (Acts 28:3-6). And to the protection stories from Acts we could add the testimony of Christians experiencing unusual protection through the centuries. In this department, I love the saying attributed to Henry Martyn: "I am immortal until God's work for me to do is done. The Lord reigns" (from Inspirational Quotes).

4. They will have unusual power
to heal (Mark 16:18).
This comes true for the Apostles in Acts as we see them perform numerous healings, sometimes even raising people from the dead (Acts 3:7-11; 5:12-16; 9:3-9, 32-35, 39-42; Acts 14:8-18; 16:18; 20:8-12; 28:8-9).

The question I ask myself is, do these signs still follow the spread of the gospel today? Are these things our experience? Some have developed a hermeneutic which says the signs and wonders seen in Acts were only for that time. However the words we read today are attributed to Jesus. The evangelical church doesn't take His command to " ' preach the gospel to every creature' " as only for the apostolic time. So why do we often wave off the signs that confirm the gospel as meant exclusively for an earlier age?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, please confirm Your reality, power and word with signs and wonders again. Amen.

MORE: Modern prayer for spiritual awakening

Bible teacher Beth Moore has written an impassioned "Intercessory Prayer for Awakening." Read it HERE.

The Feast of St. Mark Evangelist.

Today the church celebrates the Feast of Mark the Evangelist, the author of the Gospel of Mark and today's Bible reading.

This Collect begins the day's liturgy:

 Almighty God, by the hand of Mark the evangelist you have given to your Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank you for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

* Illustration of "Paul and the Viper"
Illustration from Volume 10 of The Bible and its Story Taught by One Thousand Picture Lessons, edited by Charles F. Horne and Julius A. Bewer, published by Francis R. Niglutsch, New York, in 1910. Many of the original paintings were in color, but were published in this book in black and white.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Posted on 25 April 2015 | 9:00 am

Anglican Samizdat

Diocese of Huron Dean quits

When Kevin Dixon was installed as cathedral Dean in the Diocese of Huron, an imam read from the Koran to celebrate the occasion. Dixon has now moved on to become vice-president of operations at International Justice Mission Canada (IJM), an … Continue reading

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Posted on 25 April 2015 | 2:06 pm


OMG! I Reached the Target!!! -24.5kgs!!

I've been so busy and it has been hard to follow the diet since my new job begin but still at least my brain has burned some energy so much while I've been sitting front of the computer that this morning when I stepped on the scale, for the last time of this project, it showed me 62.5kgs, meaning that I managed to reach my target weight that I set a year ago! 

I haven't yet checked the wedding dress but it should fit. I try it this evening when the kids fall asleep! And I promise to come back with photos and final fitness test results but don't wait me too early. I have to travel to Norway next week so the updates may last...



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Posted on 15 January 2015 | 7:14 pm

After the Kids leave

And now a word from Rachel…

Dear Wendy, Rachel here. I’m pretty sure if my mother tried to write a post right now, she might just break down. See, she’s had a rough past 48 hours, mainly because she was helping me move all my junk…er… precious possessions out of Humber residence, where I’ve just finished my third year, and into […]

The post And now a word from Rachel… appeared first on After the Kids Leave.

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Posted on 25 April 2015 | 4:07 am

Buzz Feed

How Many Of These Classic Black Movies Have You Seen?

There are a whole lot more than Friday and The Color Purple.

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Posted on 25 April 2015 | 5:23 pm

How to survive life in the suburbs


Have you seen it yet?  That adorable bear who causes all kinds of trouble, and has a sweet accent to boot. It’s PADDINGTON and he’s simply good old fashioned family fun. From the beloved novels by Michael Bond and producer David Heyman (HARRY POTTER), PADDINGTON tells the story of the comic misadventures of a young […]

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Posted on 23 April 2015 | 9:53 pm

Progressive Bloggers

Cowichan Conversations: In Medicine Hat, Homelessness Is (Almost) Over

Medicine Hat Mayor Ted Clugston: ‘What we’re saying to other municipalities is that you can do it, too.’ Photo: David Dodge, Green Energy Futures.

According to its mayor, Medicine Hat is ”a hardworking oil,

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Posted on 25 April 2015 | 11:39 pm

Bird Droppings

Why comedy clubs are the modern day Alamo

   I repeatedly made fun of Chinese drivers this weekend in a public setting and everyone laughed.  The Oriental people in the room might have laughed the loudest.  I know that sounds crazy in these "enlightened" times, but I was operating in the relative safety of the last bastion of political incorrectness: the comedy club. 
   Comedy clubs are the 21st century speakeasies of free speech.  What goes on there hasn't been formally prohibited, but a lot of what's said would never fly in any other public forum.  The comedy club is a refreshing oasis of edgy wit in a barren intellectual wasteland where honesty, truth and individual thought and expression are actively suppressed.  Off stage, especially in social media arenas like Twitter, the high priests of progressive groupthink hold comedians to the same standards of intolerance that they try to impose on everyone else. (See Noah, Trevor and Gottfried, Gilbert.)
   The comedy club setting alone doesn't make it open season for ethnic slurs, misogyny, homophobia or any other form of hate speech.  However, the best comedians will embrace the most socially and culturally sensitive topics and transform them into well-crafted routines that allow us to come together and laugh at things that otherwise divide us.  Audience members who don't like or don't get a joke are free to boo or leave, although the worst punishment for a comedian is stone-faced silence.  Booing or walking out at least gives them something else to work with.  Either way, at the end of the night, the audience only remembers the jokes that made them laugh, because no one - or at least no one in their right mind - comes to a comedy club looking for a reason to be offended.  Not yet, anyway.  The day they do will be the last stand for relevant social satire on race relations, gay weddings and making deals on nuclear technology with people who wipe their ass with their bare hand.  

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Posted on 5 April 2015 | 8:34 pm

Trashys World

A few thoughts about my union…

I belong to a public sector Union. It isn’t a huge Union, not the scale of PSAC, PIPSC, CUPE and the like. There are around 12,000 members, I think; the majority of whom work in one department.   I, and for a great many of my colleagues, think that our Union should deliver two basic services. These are: […]

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Posted on 24 March 2015 | 11:09 pm

The Galloping Beaver

Dick-pic Revolution

Reposting my comment at Creekside. 2015 turned out to be a bizarre year for the surveillence state. In April, John Oliver interviewed Edward Snowden about the spy agencies' spying and used a "dick pic" to make his point. Later, the Canadian government passed Bill C-51 giving its spy agency free reign. The "Dick Pic Revolution" began shortly thereafter and by December googling "dick pic"

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Posted on 7 April 2015 | 10:01 am

Michael Geist

Is the Great Canadian Copyright Giveaway Really About Some Cheap Beatles Records?

The government's surprise decision to include copyright term extension for sound recordings and performances in this week's budget is being painted by the music industry as important for Canadian artists. But sources suggest that the real reason for the change is the result of direct lobbying from foreign record labels such as Universal Music and Sony Music, who were increasingly concerned with the appearance of public domain records from artists such as the Beatles appearing on store shelves in Canada. As discussed in this post, Canadian copyright law protects the song for the life of the author plus 50 years. However, the sound recording lasts for 50 years. That still provides decades of protection for record companies to profit from the records, but that is apparently not long enough for them.

Earlier this year, a Canadian company called Stargrove Entertainment began selling two Beatles records featuring performances that are in the public domain in Canada. The records were far cheaper than those sold through Universal Music and were picked up by retail giant Walmart, who continues to list the records on their website (Can't Buy Me Love, Love Me Do). There were additional titles featuring the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and the Beach Boys. Some of the titles are still available for sale through Walmart.

The post Is the Great Canadian Copyright Giveaway Really About Some Cheap Beatles Records? appeared first on Michael Geist.

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Posted on 23 April 2015 | 7:32 pm

Montreal Simon

How Progressives Can Engage Young Canadians in the Election Campaign

When Joe Oliver made his outrageous statement about leaving Harper's granddaughter's generation to pay for the Con's revenue killing tax policies, he only said it because he thought he could get away with it.

Because he knows, like we all do, that a lot of young Canadians don't bother to vote.

And it is fashionable in this aging country to blame the young for that troubling democratic deficit.

But as the crusty Globe editorialists point out, all political parties must also share the blame for not making a serious effort to appeal to them, or involve them in the political process 
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Posted on 25 April 2015 | 12:31 pm

Ghost of a Flea

Philippe Lanfranchi - Christian Dior: The Man Behind The Myth (2005)

"It’s 1947. France is in the midst of reconstruction after the war. Although fabrics...

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Posted on 25 April 2015 | 2:44 pm

The Disaffected Lib

The Struggle Ahead for a Decent Future for our Youth

It's sometimes hard to read a Henry Giroux essay without coming away feeling like you've been dragged into a dark alley and bludgeoned.  In his latest essay, this American intellectual explores what we've allowed ourselves to become, how we've been complicit in our own orchestrated economic, social and political degradation.  Brace yourself.

"The danger is that a global, universally interrelated civilization may produce barbarians from its own midst by forcing millions of people into conditions which, despite all appearances, are the conditions of savages."

- Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism
Following Hannah Arendt, a dark cloud of political and ethical ignorance has descended on the United States. Thoughtlessness has become something that now occupies a privileged, if not celebrated, place in the political landscape and the mainstream cultural apparatuses. A new kind of infantilism now shapes daily life as adults gleefully take on the role of unthinking children and children are taught to be adults, stripped of their innocence and subject to a range of disciplinary pressures designed to cripple their ability to be imaginative.
Under such circumstances, agency devolves into a kind of anti-intellectual cretinism evident in the babble of banality produced by Fox News, celebrity culture, schools modeled after prisons and politicians who support creationism, argue against climate change and denounce almost any form of reason. The citizen now becomes a consumer; the politician, a slave to corporate money and power; and the burgeoning army of anti-public intellectuals in the mainstream media present themselves as unapologetic enemies of anything that suggests compassion, a respect for the commons and democracy itself.

Education is no longer a public good but a private right, just as critical thinking is no longer a fundamental necessity for creating an engaged and socially responsible citizenship. Neoliberalism's disdain for the social is no longer a quote made famous by Margaret Thatcher. The public sphere is now replaced by private interests, and unbridled individualism rails against any viable notion of solidarity that might inform the vibrancy of struggle, change, and an expansion of an enlightened and democratic body politic.

...Under market fundamentalism, there is a separation of market values, behavior and practices from ethical considerations and social costs giving rise to a growing theater of cruelty and abuse throughout North America. Public spheres that once encouraged progressive ideas, enlightened social policies, democratic values, critical dialogue and exchange have been increasingly commercialized. Or, they have been replaced by corporate settings whose ultimate fidelity is to increasing profit margins and producing a vast commercial and celebrity culture "that tends to function so as to erase everything that matters." Since the 1980s, the scale of human suffering, immiseration and hardship has intensified, accompanied by a theater of cruelty in which violence, especially the daily spectacle of Black men being brutalized or killed by the police, feeds the 24-hour news cycle. The tentacles of barbarism appear to be reaching into every aspect of daily life. Domestic terrorism has come home and it increasingly targets the young.

Given these conditions, an overwhelming catalogue of evidence has come into view that indicates that nation-states organized by neoliberal priorities have implicitly declared war on their children, offering a disturbing index of societies in the midst of a deep moral and political catastrophe. Too many young people today live in an era of foreclosed hope, an era in which it is difficult either to imagine a life beyond the dictates of a market-driven society or to transcend the fear that any attempt to do so can only result in a more dreadful nightmare.

Youth today are not only plagued by the fragility and uncertainty of the present; they are "the first post war generation facing the prospect of downward mobility [in which the] plight of the outcast stretches to embrace a generation as a whole." It is little wonder that "these youngsters are called Generation Zero: A generation with Zero opportunities, Zero future" and Zero expectations. Or to use Guy Standing's term, "the precariat," which he defines as "a growing proportion of our total society" forced to "accept a life of unstable labour and unstable living."

...The war on youth emerged when the social contract, however compromised and feeble, came crashing to the ground around the time Margaret Thatcher "married" Ronald Reagan. Both were hard-line advocates of a market fundamentalism, and announced respectively that there was no such thing as society and that government was the problem, not the solution to citizens' woes. Within a short time, democracy and the political process were hijacked by corporations and the call for austerity policies became cheap copy for weakening the welfare state, public values and public goods. The results of this emerging neoliberal regime included a widening gap between the rich and the poor, a growing culture of cruelty and the dismantling of social provisions. One result has been that the promise of youth has given way to an age of market-induced angst, and a view of many young people as a threat to short-term investments, privatization, untrammeled self-interest and quick profits.

Under such circumstances, all bets are off regarding the future of democracy. Besides a growing inability to translate private troubles into social issues, what is also being lost in the current historical conjuncture is the very idea of the public good, the notion of connecting learning to social change and developing modes of civic courage infused by the principles of social justice. Under the regime of a ruthless economic Darwinism, we are witnessing the crumbling of social bonds and the triumph of individual desires over social rights, nowhere more exemplified than in the gated communities, gated intellectuals and gated values that have become symptomatic of a society that has lost all claims to democracy or for that matter any modestly progressive vision for the future.

Giroux continues with a discourse on the "soft" and "hard" war being waged by neoliberals on North American youth.

In Canada, one child in six lives in poverty, but for Aboriginal and immigrant children that figure rises to 25 percent or more, respectively. By all accounts, the rate of incarceration for Aboriginal youth - already eight times higher than for non-Aboriginal youth - will continue to skyrocket as a result of the Harper government's so-called Safe Streets and Community Act, which emulates the failed policies of the US system by, among other things, strengthening requirements to detain and sentence more youth to custody in juvenile detention centers. Surely one conclusion that can be drawn from the inquest into the tragic suicide of 19-year-old Ashley Smith, who spent five years of her life in and out of detention facilities, is that incarceration for young people can be equivalent to a death sentence.

...Politics and power are now on the side of lawlessness as is obvious in the state's endless violations of civil liberties, freedom of speech and most constitutional rights, mostly done in the name of national security. Lawlessness now wraps itself in government dictates. In Canada, it is evident in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's support for Bill C-51, an anti-terrorist bill that further limits civil rights through a pedagogy of fear and racist demonization. It is also apparent in the United Sates in such policies as the Patriot Act, the National Defense Authorization Act, the Military Commissions Act and a host of other legal illegalities. These would include the right of the president "to order the assassination of any citizen whom he considers allied with terrorists."

...Current protests among young people in the United States, Canada and elsewhere in the world make clear that demonstrations are not - indeed, cannot be - only a short-term project for reform. Young people need to enlist all generations to develop a truly global political movement that is accompanied by the reclaiming of public spaces, the progressive use of digital technologies, the development of new public spheres, the production of new modes of education and the safeguarding of places where democratic expression, new civic values, democratic public spheres, new modes of identification and collective hope can be nurtured and developed. A formative culture must be put in place pedagogically and institutionally in a variety of spheres extending from churches and public and higher education to all those cultural apparatuses engaged in the production of collective knowledge, desire, identities and democratic values.

The struggles here are myriad and urgent and point to the call for a living wage, food security, accessible education, jobs programs (especially for the young), the democratization of power, economic equality and a massive shift in funds away from the machinery of war and big banks. Any collective struggle that matters has to embrace education as the center of politics and the source of an embryonic vision of the good life outside of the imperatives of unfettered "free-market" capitalism. In addition, too many progressives and people on the left are stuck in the discourse of foreclosure and cynicism and need to develop what Stuart Hall calls a "sense of politics being educative, of politics changing the way people see things."

...The issue of who gets to define the future, share in the nation's wealth, shape the parameters of the social state, steward and protect the globe's resources and create a formative culture for producing engaged and socially responsible citizens is no longer a rhetorical issue. This challenge offers up new categories for defining how matters of representation, education, economic justice and politics are to be defined and fought over. This is a difficult task, but what we are seeing in cities such as Chicago, Athens, Quebec, Paris, Madrid and other sites of massive inequality throughout the world is the beginning of a long struggle for the institutions, values and infrastructures that make communities the center of a robust, radical democracy. I realize this sounds a bit utopian, but we have few choices if we are going to struggle for a future that does a great deal more than endlessly repeat the present. We may live in dark times, but as Slavoj Žižek rightly insists, "The only realist option is to do what appears impossible within this system. This is how the impossible becomes possible."

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Posted on 24 April 2015 | 8:20 pm

De Smog Blog

Academics Want University To Pull Plug On Climate Contrarian Bjorn Lomborg's $4 Million Australia Consensus Center

Bjorn Lomborg

Senior academics at an Australian university are asking their bosses to pull the plug on a $4 million taxpayer funded research centre fronted by climate science contrarian Bjorn Lomborg.

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Posted on 24 April 2015 | 3:35 pm


2015 RotoRob Third Base Rankings

Beltre is getting long in the tooth, but remains one of the safest options at third base. He got off to a bit of a slow start in 2015 before snapping a mini skid. Many believe that Beltre will really regress this year, and certainly the power drop off last year was worrisome, but we'll believe it when we see it. We're definitely expecting his BA to dip after last year's .345 BABIP, but otherwise he'll be a very productive option once again.

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Posted on 25 April 2015 | 6:40 pm

Canadian Living

5 tips for cut daffodil flower arrangements

In celebration of Daffodil Month, we've got five easy tips for taking care of your daffodil flower arrangements.

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Posted on 24 April 2015 | 12:00 am

Pro Woman Pro Life

Make room for life

Get your Kleenex out.  This is really a lovely testimony to life – and honestly, it’s not that hard, nor is it that expensive, and it will be the best thing that could ever happen to you. Parenting advice.     photo credit: Reese’s Hazels via photopin (license)

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Posted on 24 April 2015 | 8:20 pm


Budgets ignore the housing disaster but so do the advocacy groups

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Posted on 25 April 2015 | 5:47 pm

Rolling Around in My Head

Out In Public View

Picture description: The word 'out' in capital letters surrounded by a purple bacground.
I feel a responsibility, both as a disabled guy and a gay guy, to be 'out.' Publicly, up front, out. I had a discussion with someone at work the other day about being out and open about who you are makes everything you do a political statement. We were waiting downstairs yesterday morning for WheelTrans when another older fellow in the building came down and sat on a couch opposite Joe, I was in my wheelchair.

He talked about the fact that he was going to the doctor that morning. WheelTrans pulled up and I got on. Joe came back into the building and he asked Joe where I was going so early in the morning. Joe told him that I was going to work, that I liked to get an early start in my office. Joe told me that he was shocked, flat out shocked. We don't know where he expected that I was going but 'to work' was not the answer that he anticipated. 'Out' ... being 'out' is about that.

So we decided to meet the wedding organizer from the church in a public place. Timothy's, which was the place where I changed my mind about getting married, which is always bustling with activity. The tables were all full when we got there, so as I zipped ahead to scout for any possible movement, a table came available back where Joe and the planner were standing. Great.

This guy finds a date, goes over the service, asks questions about music and about the organization of the day. Joe and I had already planned a lot of what we wanted to happen so we filled him in and he jotted down notes. We drank tea, he drank coffee, and we worked through what needed to be done. When we chose the date, he said, '2016' and we said, 'No, this year' we thought he was going to fall over. Apparently most people take a little longer to plan the event. We're taking a few weeks.

But, and here's the point of the post, as we talked and worlds like 'wedding' and 'marriage' and 'church' and 'ceremony' wafted from our table to others at other tables and others walking by, they looked and saw who was there.

Two men.

Two older men.

One fat, disabled guy.

One guy who, they think, could do better.

Let me be clear that we just held the meeting there, like people hold meetings there all the time. We've held many other meetings in this place. We did not put on a show in any way. We just held a meeting about our marriage ceremony there, in public.

Because being out.

Changes or challenges people.

And that's part of our job as people who are different and who advocate for a world that welcomes, not fears, difference.

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Posted on 25 April 2015 | 10:22 am

A Canadian Foodie

Helen’s Famous Homemade Peanut Brittle

My mom, Helen McKinney, is famous for her homemade peanut brittle! Mom is 85 April 21, 2015. We are hosting an afternoon tea party on April 19 to celebrate this milestone that so few reach in life, and she is treating her guests with her famous homemade peanut brittle! Mom held a huge celebratory party...

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** Remember to join %% to create your own online recipe box and then click SAVE on my recipe below to add it! I use my online recipe box ALL the time! **

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Posted on 12 April 2015 | 5:06 pm

Dean Somerset

Stuff To Check Out: Late April Edition

It’s late April in Edmonton which means we’re expecting 5-10 cm of snow today. Of course that would have to happen 2 days after we changed out the winter tires on our car for summers, and during the weekend everyone is looking to buy flowers and do yardwork, but whatever. I’m sure by the time…… Read More

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Posted on 25 April 2015 | 2:45 pm

Knit Nut

Ernie goes to Italy: Part I

I was going to blog about Italy today, but I didn’t get around to it. Here’s the thing: an Italy post needs pictures. I have a new camera (a real one, not a phone) and I’ve started learning Adobe Lightroom but I’m still figuring it out. So far I’ve imported our 1,987 Italy pictures, sorted [...]

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Posted on 24 November 2014 | 2:42 am