After the Kids leave

Sunday videos: Eureka! What a great idea!

Dear Readers, We hope you’re enjoying the weekend.  Here are a few videos to see you through the long weekend: A brilliant idea, which we wish we’d thought of first. Where do good ideas come from?  Steven Johnson has figured it out. We always wondered how Easter chocolates were made.  Now we know. Have an …

Read More

Posted on 20 April 2014 | 4:02 am

Buzz Feed

17 Tips For Living In A Dumpster

A professor shares nuggets of wisdom on living in a used dumpster during a yearlong experiment . Madness ensues.

Shop for your home at the local dump.

All models come standard with a convertible roof and sliding doors. If vaulted ceilings aren't available, go for a skylight.

Hire some hot scientists to test the inside of your new home for pathogens.

Because your neighborhood pest control doesn't handle e-coli, bubonic plague, and stale Budweiser.

Secure your home from being 'serviced': The sound of a garbage truck will haunt you.

Let's see, which alarm to choose on the iPhone? Crickets, harp, or GARBAGE TRUCK. Wakey, wakey!

Pass on the bamboo: opt for carbon-neutral cardboard.

Because it's recyclable and you can always steal some more from the neighbor's recycling bin.

View Entire List ›

Read More

Posted on 20 April 2014 | 3:34 pm

How to survive life in the suburbs

Carrying On With One Twisted Easter

When my girls were wee, Easter Morning was all squeals and sunshine.  Running from behind doors, to peeking under couches.  Skipping while searching and competing to see who could find the most Easter Eggs.  I frantically tried to capture the moment with my camera, while their Dad straggled behind grinning and rubbing his eyes; both […]

Read More

Posted on 18 April 2014 | 12:01 pm

Barbara Kay

Barbara Kay: Children’s aid societies gone rogue

In a rare victory for common sense, a judge has pointedly rebuked a CAS for its appalling conduct

Read More

Posted on 16 April 2014 | 4:01 am

Progressive Bloggers

The Moncton Times@Transcript - Good and Bad: April 18: Journalism and ethics

Yesterday, I gently disagreed with Norbert on the quality of BBC news; (he regarded it as a world leader.) Last night, by chance, I came across the BBC report on the Geneva talks on Ukraine.

It set the beginning of the crisis with the Russian annexation of Crimea. In fact, almost all the western press begins with that annexation. And that is propaganda and lying. The Russians annexed Ukraine for a reason. It was because highly organized street mobs had overthrown the elected government of Ukraine, replaced the government with, among others, neo-Naziis, and were planning to join Ukraine (Read more…)

Read More

Posted on 18 April 2014 | 5:30 pm

Bird Droppings

Habs an easy pick vs Lightning

   In the mug's game of Stanley Cup playoff predictions, it doesn't get much easier for the mugs than the Canadiens' opening round series with Tampa Bay. 
   The injury to Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop makes Montreal the clear favourite. Bishop's Canadiens counterpart and Vezina Trophy co-frontrunner, Carey Price, is coming off a breakthrough season that included career-bests in goals against average and save percentage and an Olympic gold medal. Never mind the Vezina - Price a frontrunner for the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP, and anyone who thinks his suspect post-season history is cause for concern hasn't been paying attention. The way Price has embraced pressure situations this season, it wouldn't be surprising if he actually lifts his game to another level in the playoffs. 
   With Tampa pinning its goaltending hopes on journeyman backup Anders Lindback and/or 21 year old rookie Kristers Gudlevskis, the Canadiens have a decisive advantage at the most important position on the ice. Everything else being equal - and there's not a lot else that separates the Canadiens and the Lightning - the smart money says the Habs take the series in fairly short order. 
   Montreal in five. 

Read More

Posted on 16 April 2014 | 11:16 am

Trashys World

Hudak vows to cancel full day Kindergarten

As a volunteer on a not-for-profit childcare centre Board, I can say with some authority that the FDK horse has left the barn. There has been some bumps on the road to implementation, but it has overall been a success. Furthermore, cancelling it now in its final stage of implementation would not only throw Ontario […]

Read More

Posted on 12 April 2014 | 2:50 pm

The Galloping Beaver


Putin, and his great tribe of nostalgic Russians, which by the news footage seems to be comprised middle-aged men in bluejeans and flags, and old women fondly cradling pictures of Stalin.  The common denomintor? Grievance at the embarrassment and hardship that followed the collapse of USSR. Putin, with all his shirtless photos with tigers and guns and Siberia taps into this sense of inadequacy

Read More

Posted on 22 March 2014 | 12:27 pm

Michael Geist

Access Copyright Urges Copyright Board to Ignore Bill C-11's Expansion of Fair Dealing

As I noted in a post yesterday, Access Copyright has filed its response to the Copyright Board of Canada's series of questions about fair dealing and education in the tariff proceedings involving Canadian post-secondary institutions. Yesterday's post focused on how Access Copyright has urged the Copyright Board to ignore the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling on the relevance of licences to a fair dealing analysis. Today's post examines the collective's response to the Copyright Board's question on the effect of the fair dealing legislative change in Bill C-32/C-11. Access Copyright engages in revisionist history as it seeks to hide its extensive lobbying campaign that warned that the reforms would permit mass copying without compensation.

For two years during the debates over the bill, Access Copyright stood as the most vocal opponent of the expansion of the fair dealing purposes to include education. Given its frequent public comments and lobbying efforts on the bill, one would think its response to the Copyright Board, would be pretty straight-forward. For example, it created a copyright reform website - - that warned:

the education exception will permit mass, industrial-scale copying (equivalent to millions of books every year) without compensation to the creators and publishers who invested their creativity, skill, money and effort to produce this content.

In the 2010 digital economy consultation, Access Copyright told the government much the same thing:

New exceptions, which create a sudden increase in uncompensated uses of works, will result in significant lost sales and millions of dollars in revenue losses to Canadian content owners from collective licences alone.

Maureen Cavan, then the executive director of Access Copyright said:

Schools won’t have to pay to make reproductions of textbooks and other materials developed to meet the requirements of provincial curricula...the education exceptions may permit mass, high-volume copying (equivalent to millions of books every year) without compensation to the creators and publishers who invested their creativity, skill, money and effort to produce this content.

Access Copyright was asked during the Bill C-32 committee hearings to specify the likely cost.  Roanie Levy, the current Access Copyright executive director, responded:

Based on our study, we believe that about $60 million is at risk as a result of the scope of fair dealing in the education sector, as well as other education-related exemptions provided for in Bill C-32. This is revenue that COPIBEC and Access Copyright collects today for the copying of a chapter here, a page there, for the distribution of works in class, for the use of works in exams. It also includes the royalties that certain film distributors collect from the education sector.
So we're talking about a minimum of $60 million at risk, but you also have to consider that, when a use or reproduction becomes free of charge, an increase in that type of reproduction follows. There will also be a revenue shortfall that will be more difficult to quantify as a result of a decline in sales of texts intended for schools.

Unequivocal positions, which the government rejected by adding education as a fair dealing purpose with no limitations or restrictions. 

Yet when Access Copyright is now asked about the effect of the change, it claims that the legislative change that it once warned would cost $60 million was not a change at all. Instead, its response to the Copyright Board is that the legislative change did not change the law but rather codified the existing law as expressed in the Supreme Court of Canada fair dealing decisions. For example, its response includes the following:

In effect, the majority of the Supreme Court of Canada jurisprudentially expanded the meaning to be afforded "research" and "private study" to include instruction. This decision expanded what was once understood to be limited allowable purposes of private study and research to include copying performed for the purpose of instruction or education. This expansion of the allowable fair dealing purposes was later codified in the amendments to section 29 of the Act. The coming into force of the statutory amendment in November 2012 did not serve to further expand fair dealing because the Supreme Court of Canada had already interpreted the exception as including that purpose. Simply put, and contrary to the apparent position taken by a number of educational users that the legislative amendments further expanded fair dealing in education, the legislative inclusion of education as an express allowable fair dealing purpose simply now accords with the jurisprudence.

There are at least two obvious problems with Access Copyright's attempt to revise history.  The first is its record - in the media, in lobbying campaigns, and before Parliament - that the fair dealing reform in the bill was a significant change that would "permit mass, industrial-scale copying (equivalent to millions of books every year) without compensation to the creators and publishers."

The second is that Access Copyright is attempting to deceive the Copyright Board by suggesting that the legislation came after the Supreme Court of Canada decisions. As it well knows, the Supreme Court of Canada decisions actually came two weeks after Bill C-11 received royal assent. Access Copyright deceptively uses the coming into force date to misleadingly suggest that the law simply codified the court's decisions, when the court's decisions predated the legislative reform. Bill C-11 could not have codified the Supreme Court rulings since the bill passed the House of Commons, the Senate and received royal assent before the release of the Access Copyright decision by the Supreme Court.

Why is Access Copyright attempting to revise history?  Once again, the reasons are obvious. First, the government would not have added education to the fair dealing purposes if it had no meaning at all.  Rather, it was clearly the government's intent to expand the scope of fair dealing to cover more than research and private study. Second, Access Copyright is seeking to deflect attention from the fact that it has already told everyone what it thinks the legislation means. To again repeat its own words from the advocacy site it used to encourage people to speak out about the bill, the reforms "permit mass, industrial-scale copying (equivalent to millions of books every year) without compensation to the creators and publishers."

Read More

Posted on 17 April 2014 | 4:24 am

Montreal Simon

Harperland and the Winds of Change

Sometimes I think that getting Canadians to take any kind of political action is like that swan trying to get the wooden ones to follow.

Because we must be one of the most democratically complacent people on Earth.

But even in this frigid spring, even in Harperland, the winds of change are blowing. 

Read more »

Read More

Posted on 20 April 2014 | 9:44 am

Ghost of a Flea

Johan Renck - Valentino Uomo, the new fragrance (2014)

Behind the scenes....

Read More

Posted on 19 April 2014 | 2:28 pm

The Disaffected Lib

Here's the Deal

I'm packing in this blog for a while.  It's simply not worth it.  I have other things deserving of my attention that have been too long neglected.   One of these entails churning through studies and research papers pertaining to a form of carbon sequestration that holds the promise of significant benefits to the western provinces and states.  I've been exploring this idea for about two years and it's now time to see if it can be put through a feasibility study.

Another is to pursue some writing opportunities that I've been skirting around for some time.  Trust me, I can write far better than the fare that's been dished up on this blog, most of which never gets proofread.

I want to become directly involved in the effort to stop the Northern Gateway and, if possible, Kinder Morgan also.  Writing about it isn't going to make a meaningful difference.  That much has become clear to me over the past three years.  Elizabeth May alone stands against these pipelines and she isn't going to be able to convince the NDP or the Liberals to place Canada ahead of their partisan political pursuits.

I think our children and theirs are in for a very bumpy ride over the next several decades.  Change is setting in far faster than anyone had envisioned just a few years ago.  Democracy is no longer safe in my country and I can't see that improving in the future.  Hard and uncertain times lie ahead.  On the world scene we may be lapsing into another Cold War, this one focused on the South China Sea instead of the Fulda Gap.  We don't seem to have the will - or the goodwill - to prevent this from happening.

See you all later.

What follows is a post, "The Cult of Living Large" from March 2 that somehow got taken down.  I think it's a worthwhile read.  I managed to recover it from another site where it had been cross-posted.

2015, we're told, is the year the developed world (that's us) and the emerging economies (China, India, etc., etc., etc.) will close ranks to formulate an effective plan of action to fight climate change.  It's going to be Kyoto on steroids, a true hallelujah moment, a meeting of minds, a global joining of hands, a flexing of collective muscle and sinew.

Yeah, right.

2015 is probably our final chance to reach some sort of meaningful, global consensus.  In case you haven't noticed we're already being overtaken by climate change impacts, and this is the 'early onset' stuff.

So why am I writing this off?  That's simple, it's not going to work. We're focusing on a symptom, not the disease.   That's right, - climate change, anthropogenic global warming, call it what you like - is a symptom, a major symptom to be sure but just one aspect of the really lethal malady that lurks beneath it.

Let's consider another symptom - population.  We're now at 7+ billion and headed to 9-billion and more.  That's nearly triple the number of mouths to feed than we had when I was born.  There's something stirring inside that 7+ billion, an emerging middle class of gargantuan proportions.  It's said there's a larger middle class in India than in the United States.   China has an even larger middle class.  It's a phenomenon of social mobility that's sweeping every emerging economy in Asia, South Asia, Africa, South America, pretty much everywhere.

Here's the thing.  This emerging mega-middle class wants the same things we have.   They want more and better food, bigger homes, they want cars and consumer goods of every description, they want travel and luxuries.  They want more, a lot more.  And, as they get what they want, it consumes more energy, more resources especially freshwater, and produces more CO2, more waste and more pollution of every variety.

In the half century following the end of WWII, India added roughly a billion people to its population. The United States, during this same interval, grew by about 100-million.  Here's the thing.  A hundred million people in the ultimate consumer society had about the same overall environmental footprint as those billion Indians.  So you can see where I'm going with this emerging mega-middle class issue.

Now, consider this.  Even before this onset of the mega-middle class, mankind, our global civilization was using about 1.5 Earths worth of resources.  We're using resources at an ever growing rate that's already one and a half times greater than our planet's ability to replenish them.  That's impossible, isn't it?  Well eventually it will be but for now we've come up with some conjuring tricks to keep the party rolling.

There's a term for it.  We're 'eating our seed corn.'  Instead of settling for what nature puts on the table before us, we're also raiding the pantry and we're hitting it hard.  You can see it with the naked eye from space.  Astronauts can see the state of deforestation as we raid our forests, the 'lungs of the planet' to satisfy all that middle class demand.  We can see rivers that no longer flow to the sea.  We can see the dust plumes that rise in China and now cross the Pacific to North America.  We can see the encroaching deserts.  We can see the tailing ponds of Athabasca.  We can monitor the collapse of one global fishery after another as our commercial boats, responding to middle class demands, 'fish down the food chain.'  We have satellites that can now measure surface subsidence triggered by our exhaustion of groundwater - aquifers.  

We even awarded a Nobel prize to the fellow who came up with the greatest conjuring act of them all, the Green Revolution.  His idea was that a country that was food insecure could boost agricultural production by tuning up its marginal farmland through the use of irrigation and the application of modern fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.   It worked.  India, for example, once beset by periodic famines, became a major food exporter.  The bounty was so wonderful that nobody paid much mind to what awaited in the long term.  Now, just decades later, the land is becoming exhausted.  In some places more than twice as much fertilizer is needed to grow crops and, worse yet, the groundwater resource is in distress.  If you pump out water at many times the natural recharge rate, you're heading for 'empty.' 

We usually overlook the critical fact that not only does nature put food on our table, she also empties our bedpans.  The biosphere cleans our waste.  It always has and, if it hadn't, we wouldn't be here having images of bedpans run through our brains.  Rain cleans pollution from our atmosphere.   Rivers are magnificent at cleaning waste as they run to the oceans.  Our oceans suck CO2 in massive tonnage from the atmosphere.   Soil, the microbes and chemicals within it and the plants that grow from it,  absorb and then clean waste in a variety of ways.  It's just another vital function of our biomass.  But, here's the thing.  It's a finite planet, remember?  That means our biosphere has a finite limit to the amount of waste it can process.  Once it reaches capacity, waste backs up, accumulates.  We're familiar enough with polluted rivers and lakes, polluted air.  China is now hitting a major soil contamination problem, the result of massive industrial pollution of some really bad stuff like arsenic building up in soil to the point where crops are unfit for human consumption.  We've got all sorts of this going on in just about every corner of the world, especially the heavily populated hot spots. 

We've engineered a global cult of living large.  The high priests mass in the financial districts and legislative assemblies of every major centre on the planet.  They lead us in the worship of growth.  If we have a problem they teach us that the solution lies in growth.  Their liturgy is founded in 18th century neo-classical economics, 19th century industrialism and 20th century geo-politics.  There you will find the faith, chapter and verse.  That this might be madness almost never occurs to us.

Here's the thing.  China may zoom off the charts with 10% annual growth in GDP but we in the West target about 3% annual GDP growth.  It's compounded growth.  We expect the current year to be 3% larger than the previous year.  Now let's run the math.  As a scale let's use a hypothetical adult lifetime of 50-years - 35 working years, 15 years of retirement.  Let's begin at Year 1 of lifetime 1.  By the time lifetime 1 is over, at year 50, 3% annual GDP growth would mean the economy had grown 4.4 times larger overall.  At the end of lifetime 2, the economy would have grown over 19 times larger than it was in Year 1.  After lifetime 3, GDP would have swelled by 84 times.  At the end of lifetime 4, Year 200, GDP would have grown 369 times what it had been in Year 1.  Not 369 per cent larger.  No, 36,900 per cent larger.  369 times larger.  That would be reflected in commensurate massive increases in consumption of energy and other resources and massive increases in consumption of goods and services and massive increases in waste and pollution of all sorts.  How do you squeeze all that growth into a finite world?

You do it by eating your seed corn, raiding the wine cellar and, eventually, you empty the pantry.  What then?  Well, at that point, your options are narrowed considerably.  You start wondering what your neighbour might have left in their pantry.  If you're tribal, you might go raiding.  Happens all the time.  Eventually something has to give.  Usually the strong take from the weak, the rich take from the poor.  Hell, rich countries are already buying up the best farmland in food insecure countries like Somalia where we routinely have to provide famine relief.  Go figure, eh?

This essay started with climate change.  That morphed into a look at population and the approaching plague of the mega-middle class and then into rapacious excess consumption and finally into our addiction to growth and how that leads us to the edge of a cliff.  See, they're all connected.

Climate change is not a disease.  It's a symptom of the disease that underlies all of these other symptoms.  That disease is the lethal and dysfunctional manner in which we, as a global civilization, have become organized - socially, economically and politically.  We have crafted institutions and modes of interaction based on a bountiful supply of cheap energy and the remarkable advancements in technology and science.  We have evolved into a civilization of "because we can" with scant regard to whether we should.

Fighting climate change is like a needle exchange programme for heroin addicts.   It's harm prevention and that's really, really great and wonderful and necessary.  It reduces the transmission of HIV and other diseases that create enormous costs to society.  It does not, however, remedy the addiction itself.  Fighting climate change isn't going to save us any more than a clean needle will save a junkie from the inevitable ravages of addiction.  It may buy us time and that's a good thing but, with everything else that's building, it probably won't be much. 

There are solutions - logical, equitable, justifiable solutions if we, as a global civilization want to take them.  Rapidly decarbonizing our economies and societies is one and it's essential.  We have to get rid of our fossil fuel addiction. 

Getting free of our toxic, growth-based, neo-classical economics model is just as essential.  We need to shift to steady state or 'Full Earth' economics.  I can refer you to several good texts on this or you can get the idea from consulting Wiki.

 Population.  What to do?  We must calculate our biosphere's population carrying capacity.  It is said that we began exceeding our planet's resource replenishment rate in the second half of the 70s at between three to four billion people.  Much has changed since then.  We've not only packed on another three plus billion in numbers but we've also significantly increased our per capita consumption, our environmental footprint which means we're probably looking at a maximum very close to the three billion mark.

How do we get from 7-billion to 3-billion.  There's just one way that I can think of short of resorting to mass annihilation.   We gradually phase out globalized agriculture, a trade as old as civilization itself.  Each country should curb agricultural exports by something in the range of 5 to 10% each year.  Eventually the nations of the world, rich and poor, are left with a reality of self-sufficiency.  That would be a shock to countries like the U.K. that have found it cheaper to import food than grow it domestically and now rely on 75% imported food.  It would entail rationing in some countries and the diversion of investment from financial and industrial growth into agriculture.  I just cannot think of any other way to drive depopulation.

We need institutions to oversee and enforce the protection and allocation of common resources including global fisheries.  No longer can we have massive commercial fleets pillaging our oceans.

In effect there are real solutions, not just the cheap and dirty fixes we have used in the past but real solutions.  We need the resolve to take them.  If we don't do this on our own terms, we'll reach the same point in other ways.   That would be insanely tragic.  We have a choice.

Read More

Posted on 13 March 2014 | 4:08 pm

Peace order and good government eh!

Saturday night blues blogging

This is Otis Rush performing at Montreux in 1986 with Gambler's Blues....

Read More

Posted on 20 April 2014 | 1:23 am

De Smog Blog

Keystone XL Review Extended, Delaying Final Decision Until After 2014 Elections

Reuters and Politico broke a major story today that TransCanada's northern leg of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will not be decided on until after the 2014 mid-term elections.

“The U.S. State Department will…extend the government comment period on the Keystone XL pipeline, likely postponing a final decision on the controversial project until after the November 4 midterm elections,” Reuters explained.

Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama have final say over whether the pipeline will be built because it crosses the U.S.-Canada border.

Reporters learned of the decision after a call between high-level congressional staff and State Department officials. 

“The justification is the need to wait on continued litigation over a Nebraska court decision earlier this year, which threw part of the project’s route in doubt, two sources said today after a call between the State Department and congressional staff,” reported Politico.

In the end, the decision came down to politics, according to Politico, though there are no shortage of climate change and ecological concerns for the prospective pipeline.

“A delay past November would spare Obama a politically difficult decision on whether to approve the pipeline, angering his green base and environmentally minded campaign donors — or reject it, endangering pro-pipeline Democrats,” they reported.

Proponents and Opponents Respond

Twitter has been abuzz since rumors of the announcement started swirling and many prominent individuals with a stake in the fight have already chimed in.

“Keystone XL delay further proof that State Department has bungled this process and has no business overseeing environmental reviews,” tweeted Friends of the Earth Senior Campaigner Ross Hammond.

Bill McKibben — whose organization led the civil disobedience Tar Sands Action in summer 2011 that put the Keystone XL and tar sands on the map for many — also responded. 

“It's as if our leaders simply don't understand that climate change is happening in real time–that it would require strong, fast action to do anything about it. While we're at it, the State Department should also request that physics delay heat-trapping operations for a while, and that the El Nino scheduled for later this spring be pushed back to after the midterms. One point is clear: without a broad and brave movement, DC would have permitted this dumb pipeline in 2011. So on we go.”

Elijah Zarlin, CREDO's senior campaign manager, said: “It is deeply disappointing that Secretary Kerry and President Obama can’t yet muster the courage to stand up to the oil industry and reject Keystone XL. Still, this is yet another defeat for TransCanada, tar sands developers like the Koch Brothers, and oil-soaked politicians. No doubt, the nearly 100,000 people who have pledged to risk arrest to stop Keystone XL played a key role in pushing the administration to more accurately consider the full impact of this project - which must clearly result in rejection. No delays will diminish our commitment to stopping Keystone XL.”

On the other side, Fox News referred to the decision as a “Friday News Dump” and the Koch Brothers-funded American Energy Alliance (AEAtweeted, “Most had never even heard of @justinbieber back when @TransCanada applied for #KeystoneXL permits,” alluding to the fact Keystone XL has now been up for debate for five years. 

Industry-funded Energy in Depth spokesman Steve Everly echoed AEA

“It took the U.S. less than 4 years to win two theaters in World War II,” stated Everly. “It's been five years and we can't approve a metal pipe.”

One thing's for certain: the prospective pipeline will likely become a major politico “hot potato” in the months leading up to the November 2014 elections. 

Photo Credit: Rena Schild | Shutterstock

Read More

Posted on 18 April 2014 | 7:05 pm


2014 RotoRob MLB Draft Kit: Top 65 Prospects, Part III

Odorizzi has had trouble against lefties, so bear this in mind when he faces a team that leans in that direction. Originally taken 32nd overall by Milwaukee in 2008, he's been very durable in his career (and could remain as such thanks to a very smooth, easy delivery) and hasn't shown any alarming weaknesses, but has periodically had issues with the long ball.

Read More

Posted on 19 April 2014 | 4:17 pm

North by East West

Review – CD and show review – City Walls – Engines

This past Friday night (April 11), I had the pleasure of being invited to a show at a new venue in down-town Vancouver.  On Main Street just past the infamous intersection of Main and Hastings, I parked my car in front of the Vancouver Police Department as I figured it was super safe there (and
read more

Read More

Posted on 14 April 2014 | 3:46 am

Canadian Living

Home decor: How to decorate with colour

From what colour to paint your bedroom to the design ideas you should never try, this is your comprehensive guide on decorating with colour. 

Read More

Posted on 18 April 2014 | 12:00 am

Pro Woman Pro Life

Servant leadership

Thoughts on Jesus and leadership from Brian Lilley: “Couldn’t we use a little of  that servant leadership today?” I have to say, I see plenty of ‘servant leadership’ from the pro-lifers with whom I connect. They pour out their lives for those who can’t speak up in defence of their own lives. I’m a member […]

Read More

Posted on 19 April 2014 | 6:13 pm


Wife of Canada's prime minister shows callous disregard for missing and murdered women

read more

Read More

Posted on 19 April 2014 | 4:48 pm

Let Freedom Rain

New York Times tars and feathers Harper and the Conservatives

Canada's reputation under Harper is like Mad magazine; you can no longer take us seriously. The Conservatives are hilarious for their lack of self-awareness. The New York Times nails it.

Read More

Posted on 1 April 2014 | 4:58 pm

The Gossip Wrap-up



Here is the first movie trailer for the upcoming Eli Roth directed cannibal feature, THE GREEN INFERNO.

I saw the world premiere of THE GREEN INFERNO at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, and while I'm not an expert on the cannibal genre (I'm a vampire and zombie girl), this seems to be a great homage to the classics. Translation: stupid people from a "developed nation" go into the jungle to save/film a local indigenous tribe, only to get eaten by them. What's to hate?

THE GREEN INFERNO arrives in North American theatres on September 5, 2014.

Read More

Posted on 19 April 2014 | 10:51 pm

Rolling Around in My Head

He Is Risen

(originally published in Mouth Magazine, reprinted in "A Real Nice But: articles that inspire, inform and infuriate, from Diverse City Press)

Snow fell, four inches deep. Sweeping it off the car was not the way to celebrate Easter and usher in a new season.

My feelings were jumbled from a conversation days earlier. I had been consulted on the rape of a young woman with a disability.

We were faced with the fact of the rape, the fact that the courts wouldn't believer her and that society doesn't take crimes against people with disabilities seriously. The day was a hard one. At the end of the day I was challenged.

The staff who had been there almost from the moment of the rape and through all the events that followed, mocked me. She asked, "How can you believe in God, in Jesus, in Easter? How can you believe that whole story of death and resurrection? How can you not see that it was simply a story built to explain and humanize the magic of Spring.

"How can you look into the eyes of a woman, raped and brutalized, and say that you believe in a compassionate God?

"Fool." She actually called me a fool.

Driving to church, I desperately looked for signs of spring. It became important for me to see a bud, some green, or hear the sound of even one bird. No colour, no sound, just the white of new snow. Easter. Spring. Hope.

How can I believe?

I thought of her, a woman with Down Syndrome who trusted too often, too quickly, staring at me when I asked her to tell me what happened.

I have no trouble believing in the betrayal of trust. I know that some early Judas could betray a man who trust too often, too quickly. I know that the world is full of those who simply can't be trusted. I know that friends can hurt and family can bruise. I have no trouble believing in the betrayal of trust.

Turning the corner towards the church, I turned on the car radio for distraction and heard that the trust fund to liberate a man who murdered his daughter because of her disability had reached a significant amount. I heard that support for his cause was strong.

I heard that a young boy with a disability had to fight for a lung that the hospital thought would be wasted on him. I heard that when it was announced that the transplant would be done, members of his town, his province, tore up their organ donor cards not wanting to save the undeserving.

I thought of her eyes. Eyes that knew, instinctively that the law just wasn't there for her. A society that sees murder as kindness for those who are disabled will not care much if one is otherwise brutalized.

I have no trouble believing in the hatred of the crowd. I know that people often call for the death of an innocent. I know that society can be convinced to hate those who are blameless. I know that millions will march lock-step behind any who preach of an Aryan race. I have no trouble believing in the hatred of the crowd.

She told the story with quiet and calm. She told her story again and again. First to us. Then to the police. Then to the doctors. She told of how the man had hurt her. How he had forced her to the flow. How he had made her take off her clothes. How he had pierced her. Her eyes filled with tears the third time she told the story. I thought the tears would never stop.

I have no difficulty believing in crucifixion. I know that there are those who pierce flesh with bullets. I know that there are those who would pierce hearts with vicious words. I know that there are those who would pierce souls with messages of hatred and bodies with iron rods of power. I have no difficulty believing in crucifixion.

There it ends. I know that Christ was killed, blameless. Snow falls on Easter. Spring buds hid from the cold. Parking, I cried. "Fool." I had been called a fool.

I remember hearing that the doctor stood her on a cloth and had her strip. Her body searched as they prepared evidence. Her pubic hair combed, the wounds inside her measured and documented, hair pulled from her body to be matched.

Then, thus ritually "cleansed" of evidence, she was bundled into sheets and then taken home. She had finally run dry of tears. She allowed herself to be bathed and then lifted to her bed. She dropped into sleep as if dead.

I have no trouble believing in death. I know that death comes as a relief to most who struggle through this life. I know that most die crucified in one way or another by cruelty, indifference or pain. I know that for those who commit suicide, death is the portal to a world free of hurt. I have no trouble believing in death.

Remembering the phone ringing the next morning I had woken from a troubled sleep. Sleep filled with anger and hate. I heard her voice. She was up, refreshed and strong. She said that she didn't care if the police didn't believe her. She said that she wanted to go to court and tell the world what he did to her. She said that she wanted everyone to know that she was not a liar.

She said that even if he goes free he will know that she knows. She spoke so clearly that  I couldn't hear her disability through the complex notions of which she spoke.

Tears again. I felt ... Joy? Sadness? I don't know. But for the first time I understood Easter. I understood Spring. I understood Hope.

The miracle of Easter is not that Christ died for His beliefs. We have sacrificed ourselves since the dawn of time. We can all imagine dying for at least one principle.

No, the miracle is not that Christ would die. The miracle is that he would want to rise! The miracle is that he would get up and go on. The miracle is that into a world where there is betrayal, hatred, crucifixion and death, he would rise again.

The miracle is that a woman, despised by society and brutalized by one she trusted could get up in the morning and go on. Resurrection. Rising again.

Maybe I am a fool. But I see a woman rising on the day after rape as resurrection. I believe that Christ wanted us to know that there is always hope. There is always a reason, every day, for rising. Resurrection.

I opened the car door and stood. Hope, to go on again, resurrected for the thousandth time into my own life.

Come, spring.

Read More

Posted on 20 April 2014 | 8:35 am

A Canadian Foodie

Crispy Ginger Beef: The Authentic Calgary Recipe

I was there and I remember I wasn’t actually “there”, but my dear friend, Rae Wyshynski, was there. She lived in Calgary, and I, in Edmonton, in the early 80′s. She is the one that really opened my eyes to the world of food. An avid reader and an analyst, she was, I would say. […]

** 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! **

Read More

Posted on 9 April 2014 | 1:48 am

Dean Somerset

2 Big Announcements for Easter Weekend

Okay, so I know everyone is probably enjoying a long weekend, whether you choose to observe this weekend as religious or not, so I don’t want to take up too much of your time. I did want to give you some much needed information on a couple of really big thins coming up. First, I’m…… Read More

The post 2 Big Announcements for Easter Weekend appeared first on Dean Somerset.

Read More

Posted on 19 April 2014 | 1:59 pm

Knit Nut

Someone bought my house

Living Room

So I kind of got busy there for awhile and didn’t write much about what was going on. Among other things, we fixed up my house and put it on the market. By fixed up, I mean painted the inside from head to toe, re-faced the kitchen cabinets, replaced the kitchen floor, refinished [...]

Read More

Posted on 30 March 2014 | 5:09 pm