Thursday, June 29, 2006

Crisis Over But I'm Not Ready To Make Nice

The Crisis at work is over. In the past three days I have learned:

- Never EVER work with friends, or you may lose them, as I did

+ True friends come through for you when you need them the most (Thanks Sunny D and Ashley)

+ I can handle the stress of having a lot to do in a short period of time. I managed to do 3 weeks of work in less than 3 days.

+ I'm a great multitaskter and super organized that it would make Monica Geller jealous :p

- I hate being lost (ie. driving directions) and can lose my temper

+ My relationship with George has gotten stronger with him helping me control the firebomb that erupted Sunday. We make a great team and pair. :-) <3

+- Doing 18 hour days and 6 hours of sleep will make you have more 'stupid moments'. And long after you think you can't go on, somehow your brain turns on, adreneline kicks in and you can go go go!

+ I can handle any challenge put in my way and that this one didn't test my limits enough.


So this adds up to a great pat on the back from bosses, big hugs and kisses to George and minus one "friend". I gained more than I lost and I'm looking forward to the summer. My exchange students arrive on Friday night!!!

My plane for my business trip leaves in 5 1/2 hours....I should pack...

Wal-Mart is Not Evil

If you read any article today, it must be this one. I am a part of this mailing list and was intreagued by "The Ultimate Pro-Wal*Mart article".

A sample:

Wal-Mart's Critics

In spite of Wal-Mart's outstanding achievements and tremendous benefits to the public, a determined group of Wal-Mart critics has appeared on the scene. These people have made it their life's mission to smear and obstruct Wal-Mart at every turn, many of them behaving with the same passion that one might expect from religious fanatics. The critics are utterly ignorant of economics, yet they pretend to be authorities on the subject, and loudly proclaim such things as: "Wal-Mart causes unemployment," "Wal-Mart lowers wages," and "Wal-Mart reduces access to healthcare." In addition to these alleged economic sins, they say: "Wal-Mart destroys communities," "Wal-Mart treats its female employees unfairly," "Wal-Mart causes greedy consumerism," "Wal-Mart desecrates sacred ground." To listen to these critics, one might think that Wal-Mart was the source of all evil.

Every time Wal-Mart tries to open up a new store, there is a good chance that these anti-Wal-Mart crusaders will be there to interfere, attempting to persuade zoning boards and local governments to intervene and make it impossible for Wal-Mart to operate. They've created websites such as and that provide "public education" on their incorrect version of the economic effects of Wal-Mart. They've held anti-Wal-Mart demonstrations, and put out advertisements, books, and movies. They've called for crippling regulation of Wal-Mart, and increased taxes on Wal-Mart. One of their favorite activities is to point to someone who they believe has been, or could be, negatively affected by Wal-Mart's success — no matter how temporarily — misinterpret the meaning of this phenomenon, and proceed to work themselves into a frenzy because they are convinced that this proves that Wal-Mart is destroying the world.

All of their objections are based on profound ignorance of Wal-Mart's actual economic significance, and their behavior is destructive to themselves and everyone else. The huge amount of media attention given to these critics by many willing accomplices has strengthened their negative influence. The critics have succeeded in making themselves impossible to ignore. They have dragged Wal-Mart's good name through the mud, causing the general public to associate Wal-Mart with the endless list of accusations, rather than with the incredible service they provide.

You must read the rest, great read.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

QUOTABLE QUOTES: Afterall, We're Just Human

This came at a perfect time. I guess we're really just human. Sometimes I forget that. I will be out of town until Friday night. Will resume regular blogging next week.

Beautifully Stated

As we grow up, we learn that Even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will.

You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it's harder every time.

You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken.

You'll fight with your best friend.

You'll blame a new love for things an old one did.

You'll cry because time is passing too fast, and you'll eventually lose someone you love.

So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you've never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you'll never get back.

Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Nothing Like a Crisis to Keep You on Your Toes

Spitfire will be on a week long hiatus because of a crisis at work. She will resume normal blogging next week.

So What Would That Be In Turtle Years?

Oldest Animal in the World Dies at 176

SYDNEY (AFP) — A 176-year-old giant tortoise believed to have been studied by famed English naturalist Charles Darwin, has died in Australia after a short illness. Harriet was hatched on the Galapagos Islands in 1830 but lived out her final years at Australia Zoo in southeast Queensland where she was the star attraction.

Senior veterinarian John Hangar said the 330-pound reptile died on Thursday night after a short illness.

"She had been sick yesterday with, in effect, heart failure," Hangar told ABC radio.

"She had a fairly acute heart attack and thankfully passed away quietly overnight."

Hangar said Harriet had been credited with helping Darwin pioneer his theory of evolution.

"It's thought she may have been taken off there (Galapagos) by Charles Darwin," he said. "She's spent a period of time in Britain and found herself at the Botanic Gardens in Brisbane from about 1850 or 1860 onwards and eventually she found her way up to Australia Zoo."

Originally named Harry, Harriet was mistakenly identified as male at first, an error not rectified for more than a century.

Harriet made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's oldest living animal. However, a tortoise who died in India earlier this year, Addwaita, was said to be about 250 years old, according to the Calcutta zoo where he had been living since 1875.

Source: USA Today

Amazing Darcey @ Dust My Broom

Dust my Broom is one of my favourite blogs. They have come up with a great idea to use their advertising revenues to sponser children through World Vision. George does this already and has two children, but I thought I would do my part as well.

I do surveys online for a few companies and sometimes I receive an incentive $5 for completing a survey. They pay me through my Paypal account. Unfortunately Paypal charges you $0.50 to transfer money (if it's less than 150$) to your bank account. So today I donated the 5$ sitting in my PayPal account and I've decided to donate all the money I receive from doing surveys to the Children of the Broom.

The Myth of Multiculturalism

A great editorial by Salim Mansur in the Toronto Sun yesterday. This is a debate I constantly brought up in my stupid biased uninformed tolerance means think like me compulsory Canadian Studies course. The last paragraph:

The experiment in multiculturalism has made Canada a divided house vulnerable to the quarrels of the global village within its borders. The inescapable question for Canadians now is whether they still have within them the capacity to repair their divided house and prevent its fall.

Hat Tip: Joanne's Journey

Family + Food + Laughter = Great Weekend!

It's been a great weekend. My boyfriend, George, came down on Thursday night. On Friday we went to bike shops in town, first looking for a road bike for George, and then we ended up looked at mountain bikes for me. I was looking for one with full suspension and found a Trek Fuel 80 for $400 off for $1275. I took it out for a test ride up and down a hill, through some grass and also on pavement. It was the cheapest full suspension in the store. But I still didn't want to spend that much, even if I'm using it for the Mountain Biking Team or to bike to school in the fall. But I figure, this will be the last bike I buy, so I want a good quality bike that will last for a long time.

When we got home, we checked out cycle classifieds and found a Trek Fuel 70 (pretty similar) within an hour's driving for $900. I called but the guy was out of town and wouldn't be home until Monday. I was disappointed because I wanted to take a look at it since be going up to that area the next day.

We went to the Opa Outdoor Greek Festival that night. It was smaller than we had imagined but the good was pretty good. Unfortunately I have yet to find a Greek Salad that is better than Alexandos in Peterborough. The Souvlaki and Tzatziki at the festival was delicious! The dancing was great to watch while eating, but after than there wasn't much else to do.

On Saturday George and I went to Hamilton for a big family BBQ get together. It was great to see the extended family and kids all at once. I drew George a family tree to try and explain how everyone is related and names. It was my dad's extended family. His brother, John came up from New Brunswick and all of his sister, Linda (and her husband, Ted)'s children (and their children) were there. I finally got to meet Nathan, he's 5 months now. Also Ginny and James and their kids, MacKenzie (4) and Lindsay (2), were there, who I don't get to see too often either. And it was great to see the older kids, Steven (14), Madeline (11) and Jordan (10). George and I supervised the older kids in the pool for a little bit, then we watched the video scrapbook that my brother and I made for my dad's 50th birthday (a few years ago) which had many reaching for the kleenex (This video has made people cry who aren't related to us and don't know our family that well). We had a scruptious dinner with a potluck of food from everyone. MMmmm (Aunt Linda please send me that Potato salad recipe!) But then we had to leave :(

Unfortunately, we missed Danielle and Glenn because we could only stay until 5:30 because we had to drive back to London to be at George sister's birthday get together. They were also have a BBQ dinner and cake, and pushed their BBQ back to 7 so that we could make it. Riley is getting so big now at 8 months. Rebecca and Jeff were there too with Kennedy who's 7 months now and crawling up a storm. George's mom and brother were there too and of course Buster, the Jack Russell, was tearing up the joint ;). We ate some more and stayed until about 11 and George and I were both exhausted.

All in all it was a fantastic weekend. Next week will be super crazy busy with work, so I won't be blogging much. My exchange students are coming on Friday, but I'm a chaperone so I will be flown out to Quebec on Thursday morning and taking the train to London with my exchange students on Friday.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Opa Outdoor Greek Festival

I plan to hit up London's Opa Outdoor Greek Festival tomorrow night! My boyfriend George is coming down today and we're going to go to the festival, likely with his family (who also lives in London). It shall be a good weekend!

Eat, drink and be Greek

"Kefi" is the word of the weekend as the annual Opa Outdoor Greek Festival begins Friday night. The Greek word doesn’t have a direct translation to English, but implies a desire to have fun and to enjoy oneself.
The Greek community has ample reason to celebrate the festival this year. Last month, it held the 70th anniversary of its beginnings in London. There are about 5,000 Greeks in the city.
A highlight of the weekend will be the abundance of food. Authentic Greek cuisine, pastries, ice cream and a speciality coffee bar are some of the fest fare. Cooking demonstrations will be held.

“It’s very interactive,” Chelonis said.

The Opa Greek dancers will perform several times each day.

What: Opa Outdoor Greek Festival
When: Friday, 6 p.m.-12 a.m.; Saturday, 12 p.m.-12 a.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m.-12 a.m.
Where: Hellenic Community Centre, 133 Southdale Rd. W.
Admission: Free

Better Than Adam Sandler's Remote Control

Hmmm...I wonder when this will be available in Canada?

A Peaceful Marriage May Just Be a Spray Away
Can't get him to skip poker night just once? And why won't she leave you alone when she knows your team is in extra innings in the finals?

Researchers say there might be an easy solution on the way: nasal spray. Loaded with what scientists are calling a "love hormone," otherwise known as oxytocin, the spray can help couples keep their relationships calm and healthy, HealthDigest reports.

Researchers say that oxytocin helps people manage stress in social situations by lowering the amount of cortisol, which the body produces when stressed, thus leading to less arguing and fighting and a more peaceful domestic life.

A study of 50 fighting couples showed that those given the nasal spray with oxytocin displayed significantly lower levels of cortisol in their systems than those couples given a placebo.

A Case of Mistaken Identity

Wow, I can only imagine the emotional rollercoaster that these families must have gone through.

NEW YORK — DNA testing is virtually infallible when used to determine a person's identity, but how reliable are the people responsible for conducting the investigations?

That question is at the heart of the case of two college students, Laura VanRyn and Whitney Cerak, who were involved in an April 26 car crash in Upland, Ind. One of the women, thought to be Cerak, was pronounced dead on the scene by local coroner Ron Mowery. He said he relied on the dead woman's friends and physical evidence found at the accident scene, including a photo ID, to make his identification. Four days later, the woman thought to be Cerak was buried.

Meanwhile, the other woman, thought to be VanRyn, was taken to an area hospital. The VanRyn family stayed by the woman's bedside for five weeks, thinking it was their daughter. All the while, doctors, too, believed they were treating Laura VanRyn. It wasn't until the woman was able to communicate that her name was Whitney that the VanRyn family knew something was terribly wrong. Doctors later confirmed through dental records that the woman was not VanRyn, but instead was Cerak.

Experts believe the mix-up of the two Taylor University students was due to a combination of questionable training and inadequate scientific procedures and equipment.

The Odd Couple

I read this article about a married couple who have separate apartments. At first I thought that it was crazy, but after reading the article it definitely made sense. Plus since they are two doors down from each other they aren't too far apart.

Plus there’s the matter of household neatness. I’ve been known to burst into a cleaning frenzy if yesterday’s newspaper is left spread across the coffee table. Her apartment is littered with two-year-old phone bills. If the yogurt in my refrigerator is a couple of days past its expiration date, it goes straight into the trash. Her freezer still houses the complimentary ham the grocery store gave her for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving 2003.
Instead of becoming the social pariahs I feared, I suspect Lauren and I may in fact be the vanguard of a new social movement and one day our arrangement will be considered unremarkable. It wasn’t so long ago that an unmarried man and woman living together in the same apartment was a social scandal; why should a married couple living in two apartments rate a second thought? After all, when Lauren and I got married we promised to share our life and our love. We never said anything about sharing our bathrooms.

An interesting idea. I'm sure they have less fights over dishes, toilet seats and dirty socks. I think one of the most important aspects of a marriage is learning how to live together, how to compromise, how to give sacrifices and not always get your way. But if most couples that have this arrangement do not divorce, then perhaps it is something to be taken seriously.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Economics in Elementry/Secondary School

Economics is so important in this world, but why isn't it taught in elementry school or high school? Well most of us know that most elementry teachers will have Psych/Soc and not an economics degree. In high school, there isn't really a department-fit for it. There's the math department, there's the history department

I felt like an idiot in my first few years of University because I had no concept of economics, capitalism, trade etc... Although I had taken many history courses, and got 80s in school, I was so ignorant about a subject that makes an important difference. I really think an economics course should be a required course for graduation in high school. When was the last time you used Trigonomentry? This at least would be something useful!

This is how a guy taught economics to students in Grade 5. A pretty interesting read. Read the whole thing: Teaching Basic Economics to Fifth Graders. Here's a sample:

Lesson 1: Trade
The first week's "word for the day" was trade.

To illustrate trade, I gave each student a very small, inexpensive gift I had purchased at a Dollar General nearby. I distributed the gifts randomly, then told the students they could trade their gifts (if they wanted to) with their immediate neighbors. Some did. Then I opened the class up to unrestricted trade and said they could trade with anyone in the whole classroom. Many more now traded. When they were finished I asked how many of them had traded because they believed by trading they would be better off. All said they had.

Once they settled down again, we talked about the concept of trade in general. I was impressed with how well they already understood this concept; they seemed to clearly understand that exchange involves giving up something you value less for something you value more and finding someone else with opposite valuations. For good measure, I ended the day by snatching away the gifts of two students and forcing a trade where none had been performed. One student was happy with the exchange, the other unhappy. This allowed us to discuss the idea of a "fair" trade — which I defined as a trade where both parties voluntarily take part. Again, I was impressed with how easily they seemed to grasp this idea as I replaced the items I had snatched away for my "forced" trade.

Lesson 2: Money
Lesson 3: Savings
Lesson 4: Competition
Lesson 5: Price

My goal with these fifth graders was not just to introduce them to the basics of economic science, but to inoculate them against future attempts to teach them bad economics. By showing them that trade, money, savings, competition, and prices all have distinctly human origins and purposes, I hoped to help them make better sense out of the "economics" they will some day be exposed to.

Indeed, the concepts we discussed can easily be shown to relate quite directly to other economic concepts; for instance, trade is related to opportunity cost as well as profit and loss; money facilitates trade as well as economic calculation, savings is tied to investment, capital, and production, while competition and prices are related to demand, supply, and relative scarcity.

The constant animating force behind all human action, and the creativity it unleashes, cannot be captured in predictive models or in mathematical formulas. It is precisely this fact that precludes employing the methods of the natural sciences to solve problems of human action.[3]

The fifth-grade teacher may have struggled with this understanding of economic science, but fortunately, her students had no trouble with it.

Hat Tip: Musings of the Technical Bard

Reminds Me of the Stargate Rings

For those of you who watch Stargate SG1 will see this picture and think of the transportation rings. Those who don't watch Stargate...well, you're missing out!

Source: National Geographic

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

June 19, 2006—It looks like a rainbow that's been set on fire, but this phenomenon is as cold as ice.

Known in the weather world as a circumhorizontal arc, this rare sight was caught on film on June 3 as it hung over northern Idaho near the Washington State border (map of Idaho).

The arc isn't a rainbow in the traditional sense—it is caused by light passing through wispy, high-altitude cirrus clouds. The sight occurs only when the sun is very high in the sky (more than 58° above the horizon). What's more, the hexagonal ice crystals that make up cirrus clouds must be shaped like thick plates with their faces parallel to the ground.

When light enters through a vertical side face of such an ice crystal and leaves from the bottom face, it refracts, or bends, in the same way that light passes through a prism. If a cirrus's crystals are aligned just right, the whole cloud lights up in a spectrum of colors.

This particular arc spanned several hundred square miles of sky and lasted for about an hour, according to the London Daily Mail.

—Victoria Gilman

Source: National Geographic

I've Been Tagged

I've been Tagged by my cousin (in-law/by marriage....however that works) James Koole

5 things in my refrigerator:

1. 2 containers of Water
2. Orange Juice
3. Cherries
4. A half used Red onion
5. Jalapeno Havarti Cheese (mmm my favourite)

5 things in my closet:

1. Clothes neatly hanging up
2. A hydropack minipack (not Camelback Brand, but you get the idea)
3. Boxes full of old scrapbooks, yearbooks, mementos
4. Board games: Risk, Monopolgy, Clue
5. An unopened souvenir beer from Trois Pistoles Quebec (9%)

5 things in my handbag:

1. Cellphone
2. Wallet (hopefully...I tend to lose misplace it a lot
3. Lip balm (Blistex and Lip Smackers brand)
4. Tide to Go
5. Advil (is my friend)

5 things in my car:

...I don't have one.... :-( Donations welcome :p

5 people I tag:

1. The War Room
2. Canadianna
3. Kerploka
4. Joanne's Journey
5. Blue Blogging Soapbox

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Good Laugh At Ryerson

I simply loved Lorrie Goldstein's article out of the Toronto Sun today.

Dear Honorary Doctorate Recipient:

Greetings from the Ryerson University Awards and Ceremonial Committee, 2007 edition.

Thank you for agreeing to accept an honorary doctorate from Ryerson University.

While other universities do things the old-fashioned way by doing some basic, freshman-level research into the views of those they are thinking of giving an award to BEFORE they offer it to them and they have accepted, we here at Ryerson prefer to research such views only AFTER naming recipients. We have found this makes the whole awards thing so much more exciting. Besides, nobody here knows how to use Google.

As you may recall, last year we gave an honorary doctorate to world-renowned Montreal ethicist Margaret Somerville, which she accepted and which we announced before we learned that -- holy cannoli, who knew?! -- she opposes same-sex marriage on complex ethical grounds having to do with the rights of children and the traditional role of parenting in marriage. Or something like that.

Anyway, once we learned about Prof. Somerville's controversial views on same-sex marriage, which she had cleverly hidden from us by talking about them before Parliament and in the media, we at the Ryerson Awards and Ceremonial Committee, said that had we known about her views in advance, we might not have offered her an honorary doctorate at all.

In that context, we would kindly ask you to answer the brief questionnaire below in order to determine whether you are worthy of receiving an honorary doctorate from Ryerson.

Don't worry -- there are no wrong answers.

Even if we disagree with your responses, we will still give you an award. We will just say that had we known of your views prior to offering it to you, we probably would not have given it to you, but now we have to for the sake of free speech. Ready?

- Question 1: Are you (a) a supporter of same-sex marriage (b) a really big supporter of same-sex marriage (c) the biggest supporter EVER of same-sex marriage ever or (d) the Imperial Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan?

- Question 2: Are you (a) politically correct (b) totally politically correct (c) so politically correct it hurts or (d) a fascist?

- Question 3: Academic freedom at Ryerson University means (a) academic freedom (b) is this a trick question? (c) nothing important or (d) what would you like it to mean?

- Question 4: Anyone offered an honorary doctorate from Ryerson University should (a) decline with thanks (b) try not to laugh (c) auction it off for a couple of bucks on eBay or (d) run away screaming.

Thank you for filling out our questionnaire and we look forward to seeing you on June 19. Or maybe not.


The Ryerson Awards and Ceremonial Committee

Hat Tip: Daimnation


Author’s Note: This will begin a weekly analysis of a “Bizarre Human Custom” in which I will examine human or North American customs and rituals from a different point of view. When I think about one of our cultural or societal customs I will consider it either from the perspective of an anthropologist examining our culture 1000 years from now, or from the perspective of an alien who is new to the planet Earth. This Tuesday I examine the custom of “The Playoff Beard”.

Humans of the male persuasion from around North America spent much of the day, on this day of 20 June in the 2006th year, with hair removal of “The Playoff Beard”. Today marks the end of the season of the athletic competition of what the North Americans refer to as “Hockey”. There is a common practice in which the male competitors of this athletic competition do not remove their facial hair when their contingent enters what is known as “The Playoffs”.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting“The Playoffs” refers to the athletic contest that occurs after the exercises are finished. If one is successful during the exercises they will go to “The Playoffs”. The warriors and their master trainer—sometimes referred to as “coach”—use “The Playoffs” to measure how prosperous they are in their athletic aptitude. The goal of the battles is for a large mug once belonging to Lord Stanley.

If a contingent reaches “The Playoffs” there is an unfounded fear that the warriors as well as the male congregation of devotees—sometimes referred to as “spectators”—must not remove their facial hair, as it would result in tragedy and a loss of the battle. There has been no evidence to indicate the customs in which the women engage during this period of time since they are excluded from this ritual. A theory has been proposed that women did engage in this ritual but used artificial hair or cosmetics to join the custom.

One is permitted to maintain the cultivation ensuring trim and proper edging. If one is to remove all of their facial hair during “The Playoffs” prior to the elimination from the battle, one may be ostracized or denounced for being the explanation of losing the battles. Along with the battle for Lord Stanley's Mug, there is an unspoken competition amongsts the warriors to whom can develop the longest, thickest and messiest facial and head hair combination. Men who grow long and thick beards are seen to be more masculine and distinguished.

If a sequence of battles is lost this team must retire, in which they will be permitted to remove “The Playoff Beard.” The most unexplainable attribution to this ritual is a series of proclamations by a set of mythical beavers known by the names of Frank and Gordon of Bell (a land which we have yet to discover).

Monday, June 19, 2006


I've always been told that I'm smart. Sometimes it was in a sarcastic way: "You're too smart for your own good." But seriously, I think I'm going to take a Mensa test. I remember when I was a kid I was often pulled out class to doing gifted testing. My teachers wanted me to skip a couple grades, but my mom wanted to keep my at the top of my class, instead of just above average at the next grade (plus the social implications of being away from your peers/friends). A few months ago I did this blog IQ test and got 140.

Your IQ Is 140

Your Logical Intelligence is Genius

Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius

Your Mathematical Intelligence is Genius

Your General Knowledge is Genius

At first I thought it was just good for my self esteem. But I've decided to see if I'm really the smart ass everyone says I am ;)

Today I did this really hard IQ test from the International High IQ Society and as you can see I was 1 point away from being asked to join.

So I contacted Mensa Canada to obtain an at home practice test. I hope to write a supervised test by the end of the summer!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Why I Think the Divorce Rate is at 50%

I think Ayelet Waldman hits the nail in this essay. She writes about how she loves her children but she is not in love with her children. Her romantic love and devotion goes to her husband. Quite a different, but refreshing perspective, from what we normally hear.

I HAVE been in many mothers' groups -- Mommy and Me, Gymboree, Second-Time Moms -- and each time, within three minutes, the conversation invariably comes around to the topic of how often mommy feels compelled to put out. Everyone wants to be reassured that no one else is having sex either. These are women who, for the most part, are comfortable with their bodies, consider themselves sexual beings. These are women who love their husbands or partners. Still, almost none of them are having any sex.


I do love her. But I'm not in love with her. Nor with her two brothers or sister. Yes, I have four children. Four children with whom I spend a good part of every day: bathing them, combing their hair, sitting with them while they do their homework, holding them while they weep their tragic tears. But I'm not in love with any of them. I am in love with my husband.


I wish some learned sociologist would publish a definitive study of marriages where the parents are desperately, ardently in love, where the parents love each other even more than they love the children. It would be wonderful if it could be established, once and for all, that the children of these marriages are more successful, happier, live longer and have healthier lives than children whose mothers focus their desires and passions on them.

This is worth reading the entire thing!

BT Site of the Week!!

Wow! I have been chosen by Blue Blogging Soapbox as the Blogging Tories Site of the Week!! I looked at the list of other bloggers who received the same honours and there are many of my favourite bloggers there! Canadianna's Place, Bound by Gravity, Dust My Broom, Dissonance and Disrespect and Small Dead Animals, Being as I only started this blog 3 weeks ago and while some of the above bloggers have been blogging for over a year, I was surprised but very thankful to receive the honour!!

Yah Me!!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Importance of Men

On this Father's Day weekend I would like to highlight the importance of fathers, and men in general. I would also like to reiterate that males as a whole in our society do not get enough attention. As I blogged about previously:

We have walks to end violence against women, but it is a fact that men are more likely than women to be murder, assaulted or victims of violent crime. We have million dollar programs from the Ontario government to aid women and children from domestic violence, but what about our men?

We have walks for breast cancer. But it is a fact that the number one cancer that kills males between the ages of 18-35 is testicular cancer. Unfortunately, no one is talking to men about doing self-exams or talking to their doctor.

We have more women than men enrolling and graduating with University degrees. Or have a look at the difference of grades and academic achievements between boys and girls. Girls often always do better in school. But I ask, what it happening to our men? Our boys?

They are being left behind.

I read an excellent article in the NYT about this yesterday and the author agrees with me, that women are getting too much attention:

The Weaker Sex
Published: June 17, 2006
WHEN I say I study gender-specific medicine, most people assume I mean women's health. Patients ask me, "Do you take care of men too?"

I may be partly to blame for the confusion: in the years since the revolutionary 1985 report on women's health from the United States Public Health Service, I — along with many of my colleagues — have tried to atone for the fact that for so long the majority of diseases that afflicted both genders were studied exclusively in men.

Over the past two decades, we've radically revised how we conduct medical research and take care of our female patients. And we've made valuable discoveries about how gender helps determine vulnerability to illness and, ultimately, the timing and causes of death. But I now believe that we doctors and researchers may have focused too much on women.

What emerges when one studies male biology in a truly evenhanded way is the realization that from the moment of conception on, men are less likely to survive than women. It's not just that men take on greater risks and pursue more hazardous vocations than women. There are poorly understood — and underappreciated — vulnerabilities inherent in men's genetic and hormonal makeup. This Father's Day, we need to rededicate ourselves to deepening our knowledge of male physiology.

Men's troubles begin during the earliest days in the womb. Even though there are more male than female embryos, there are more miscarriages of male fetuses. Industrial countries are also witnessing a decline in male to female birth ratios, and we don't know why.

Some scientists have argued that the probability of a male child declines as parents (especially fathers) age. Still others have cited the prevalence of pesticides, which produce more birth defects in male children.

Even when a boy manages to be born, he's still behind the survival eight ball: he is three to four times more likely than girls to have developmental disorders like autism and dyslexia; girls learn language earlier, develop richer vocabularies and even hear better than boys. Girls demonstrate insight and judgment earlier in adolescence than boys, who are more impulsive and take more risks than their sisters. Teenage boys are more likely to commit suicide than girls and are more likely to die violent deaths before adulthood.
It's possible, too, that we've simply been sexist. We've complained bitterly that until recently women's health was restricted to keeping breasts and reproductive organs optimally functional, reflecting the view that what made women valuable was their ability to conceive and bear children. But aren't we doing the same thing with men? Read the questions posed on the cover of men's magazines: how robust is your sexuality? How well-developed are your abs? The only malignancy I hear discussed with men is prostate cancer.
I am very much interested in gender studies, but there's NO WAY I would actually like gender studies in University. I've taken a class that's cross listed with Women's Studies (by the way, why are there no Men's Studies?) or was taught a professor from that department. NEVER AGAIN. "Femi-Nazis" or my favourite: "Bra-Burning Bitches" They just go on and on about how women are still oppressed, glass ceiling, blah blah blah.

When in truth, men are the ones undervalued in our society. Need proof? Who's graduating University? Who's getting 80s in school? Why are there no Men's Studies departments? Why is there a walk against violence against women, when men are more likely to be murdered or assaulted? Why a run for breast cancer and not one for Testicular or Prostate Cancer?

It is time to stand up for our men. And it can't be just men that stand up. They aren't allowed to stand up for their "rights". Wait a minute, have you ever heard about "men's rights"? You hear about women's rights all time. We have lost perspective, and we are losing 50% of our population.

This over attention (read: obsession) on women, and the oppression of women, women's rights, really, a lot of the post-modern feminist movement is one of the greatest myths of our time. Did the feminist movement do good things? Sure! I like that gender roles have changed which allows me to the smart women that I am, and not necessarily. Balance is always good. More women in the workforce and more men involved with child care duties makes our lives, roles and skills balanced. Not harm in that.

The problem is, the post-modern feminist movement has gone too far when we're leaving men behind. IMHO I think some of the radical feminists like it this way and like seeing men fall behind women.

Although this blog is just a small voice, I know that I am smart and that I will do great things in my time. Perhaps one day, these concerns of men being left behind becomes current/mainstream issues.

Education Standards

So while reading headlines in NewsGator today, I was intrigued to read more about this story:

California Exit Exam Disrupts Diploma Ceremonies
It's graduation time in California high schools, and "certificate" time for the 47,000 students who did NOT pass the state's new high school exit exam. That's creating some awkwardness at commencement ceremonies.

I clicked to read more, but that was it! That was the entire article. TWO SENTENCES!? Hey I think I'm going to become a reporter in California, I like the way they're doing things. [sarcasm on] You know, keeping people informed and having such attention to detail giving the reader the real big picture [sarcasm off].

Anyway, I clicked around to read more articles about the issue and found another article.

The California Supreme Court has reinstated the state's high school exit exam as a graduation requirement. The divided ruling means that 47,000 seniors who haven't passed the test may not be able to graduate. The decision comes even as high schools across the state begin to hold graduation ceremonies.

California's class of 2006 represents the state's first graduates required to pass an exit exam, which tests tenth-grade-level English, along with eighth-grade math and algebra. Opponents claim the test discriminates against poor and minority students.

The state high court's ruling reverses the May 12 decision of Alameda Superior Court Judge Robert Freedman, who invalidated the graduation requirement for 2006. In his decision, Freedman cited a disadvantage for non-native English speakers and students living in poorer areas.

I think this exit exam is a good idea. However, I do not believe it was fair to suddenly at the end of May reinstate the law when graduation is in June.

I haven't seen the exam, and I am not an education expert; however, it doesn't matter if you are rich, poor, black, or white you can't just hand out diplomas if students do not have the skills. If you don't have a grade 10 level of English and grade 8 level of Math you shouldn't graduate. Period. I don't know California's standards or high school levels, but in Ontario you must have 4 English credits (1 credit per grade of high school) and 3 math credits (1 of these credits must be grade 11 or 12). Therefore, all successful OSSD (Ontario Secondary School Diploma) graduates should be at a grade 12 level of English and a grade 11 level of math.

Our country needs high standards in education because we live in a globalized world. In other countries such as China and India they are knocking North America's socks off with the amount of engineers etc... they are graduating. Yes they have a higher population than we do; however, instead of trying to recruit the best and the brightest from other nations (and thus giving them brain drain). We should be creating our own high standards of education, pushing our students to work harder, and learn more.

I drive around the city often and the Catholic high schools are out at 2pm!! Many times I feel I get nothing accomplished in a 8 or 9 hour work day. In high school I had 4 classes, each being 75 minutes. That means I'm in a classroom for 5 hours. That's 25 hours per week! That's it!! And in these 25 hours we're not learning very much.

I read this article back in September:

Universities try to cope with students lacking basics
University students lack basic skills, professors say
Thursday, September 22, 2005

The lack of basic writing and math skills among incoming students has become so dire that one Canadian university has resorted to "academic spies " -- two Sherlock Holmes types who pore over stacks of test scores.

The University of Ottawa has taken the extraordinary step of hiring these two full-time statisticians who have the unique job of weeding out students at risk of academic disaster early in their school year.

"We think we're flagging the weak ones and then offering them the services they need," said Serge Blais, director of the Student Academic Success Service.

Although professors have long lamented the English and math skills [emphasis mine] of their students, they are increasingly complaining that too many students -- some with top marks -- arrive on campus unprepared for the rigours of academia. These students struggle to string together a sentence, let alone form a paragraph.

"I have seen students present high school English grades in the 90s, who have not passed our simple English test. And I don't know why," said Ann Barrett, managing director of the University of Waterloo's English language proficiency program.

It's a perplexing problem that has become the topic of much debate on university and college campuses.

So is the solution just putting more tests, making standards higher? Yes and no. You can't just raise the standards (change the curriculum) without first making sure the students are able to get the skills.

I heard that physical education is no longer mandatory in schools (HUGE MISTAKE, but that's another issue). So what is being taught in place? Well, in English class we learn about symbolism, poetry, Shakespeare and metaphors. USELESS. How about some REAL skills in English class? I deperately want to get into a grammar course that is held in the evenings at Trent. I am willing to pay $250 for it too. I know that my grammar is not bad; however, I know I make mistakes, and I rather not make them. Especially because I will soon be taking a Master's program.

Friday, June 16, 2006

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: I Always Knew I Was Unique

I wrote this post in January of this year. I love going to the hairdresser, and showing off that, yes this colour is natural.

I Always Knew I Was Unique:

Thanks for my great friend Jane, who pointed this article out to me.

If predictions by the Oxford Hair Foundation come to pass, the number of natural redheads everywhere will continue to dwindle until there are none left by the year 2100.

The reason, according to scientists at the independent institute in England, which studies all sorts of hair problems, is that just 4 percent of the world's population carries the red-hair gene. The gene is recessive and therefore diluted when carriers produce children with people who have the dominant brown-hair gene.

Dr. John Gray's often publicized explanation of his foundation's findings: "The way things are going, red hair will either be extremely rare or extinct by the end of the century."

In less than 100 years redheads might not exist. :-( My roommate Emma got me this cute book for Christmas.

I remember when I was 8 years old walking up Tomkins Avenue on my way to the Beckers need my house to get 5 cent candies, a kid about my age was walking in the direction towards me and asked if I dyed my hair. I remember that I toss my head to the side, flipped my hair and said, "No it's natual". I was a drama queen at an early age ;)

To be a red head you need to have the gene on both sides of your family. I know that it was my mom's dad's parent's who both had red hair, but no one knows who had it on my dad's side. It must really go way back! those recesive genes. And unless George has it on his side (Greek and British) then the buck stops here and I can't pass the gene on. And we really will become extinct.

But I will always be a spitfire ;)

Cars and Free Trade

You may have heard about the hooplah protesting against free trade with Korea. The CAW has a ditty in their Take Action Campaign:

No Free Trade with Korea

The federal government has initiated free trade negotiations with South Korea, and those talks are proceeding rapidly. Three top-level negotiating sessions have been held. It is possible that the two parties could reach a comprehensive free trade agreement by the fall of 2006.

A free trade deal with Korea poses substantial economic risks to Canada. Many important Canadian industries would suffer tremendous damage if Korean-based producers are allowed more freedom to penetrate Canadian markets: auto; auto parts; shipbuilding; electrical and electronics products; machinery; tool, die and mold industries; food processing; and other sectors. Canada's bilateral trade deficit with Korea is already $4 billion, resulting in the destruction of some 15,000 jobs. This pain would inevitably get worse under a free trade deal with Korea.

A free trade agreement with Korea can be stopped, if concerned Canadians work together.

Join the CAW campaign to stop the deal. Below, you can download information to share with co-workers, family and friends – and you can send a pre-written e-mail to Stephen Harper, with a copy to your MP

The problem is, North American cars SUCK!! Not only do North American companies make bad cars, they are also the cars that are the most stolen! I read this article in the London Free Press today in which the police names the top 10 cars stolen in London:


1. Chrysler Neon

2. Chrysler Intrepid

3. Dodge Caravan

4. Plymouth Voyager

5. Honda Accord

6. GMC Sierra

7. Jeep Cherokee

8. Chevy S10 pickup

9. Chevy Cavalier

10. Pontiac Sunbird

As you can see, all but one are North American cars! And we all know that Honda is favourable among youth as a status car. My mom has a Cavalier and she never locks her car, but I always do when I'm driving it. My boyfriend has a Hyundai and he loves it. Not only is it incredibly efficient on gas, as you can see, he doesn't have to worry that it will be stolen! Yes there are economic implications to Canada, but as a free market society works, the best product will survive, and a crappy product will die. Plus the different between a Ford Focus and a Hyundai Accent will be about $3000! Shouldn't it be that domestic cars are cheaper?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Who Owns Your Penis?

Until your 18, who owns your penis? According to a case in divorce court, mom and dad can battle out on whether you should be circumsized. Even at 8 years old!

Mom, dad take feud over circumcision to court
June 14, 2006
By Carla K. Johnson Associated Press

Groups opposed to circumcision are watching the case of an 8-year-old suburban Chicago boy whose divorced parents are fighting in court over whether he should have the procedure.

The child's mother wants him circumcised to prevent recurring, painful inflammation she says he's experienced during the past year. But the father says the boy is healthy and circumcision, which removes the foreskin of the penis, is an unnecessary medical procedure that could cause him long-term physical and psychological harm.

"The child is absolutely healthy," the father said during a break in a court hearing on the matter Wednesday. "I do not want any doctor to butcher my son."

The mother testified that her son has had five bouts of painful inflammation and has begged her to help him. Her son cannot wear underwear or jeans during the bouts and is comfortable only in loose-fitting pajamas, she said.

"My child was in the bathroom crying. He asked me to come in because his penis did not look normal," she said, describing one of the episodes.

The couple's 2003 divorce decree gave the father the right to offer input on medical decisions. Earlier this year, he sued to block the surgery and Cook County Judge Jordan Kaplan ordered the mother not to have the boy circumcised until he could hear from both parents and the opinions of doctors who've examined the boy.

The Associated Press is not naming the parents to protect the child's privacy. The father was born and raised in Poland. She is from Slovakia.


Source: Chicago Sun-Times

Why Doesn't Money Help?

I just read a really good post over at Dust My Broom. Darcey starts with quoting the Toronto Sun and continues with his own commentary and experiences.

Not All Aboriginals Live in a Marxist Paradise

Larrie Goldstein asks in today’s Toronto Sun - Why, no matter who’s in charge, does nothing ever get better for aboriginals?:

All in, Canadians spend through their federal, provincial and municipal governments more than $10 billion a year on Canada’s aboriginal people.

All in, there are about 1.3 million aboriginals.

So all in, Canadians are spending more than $7,500 per aboriginal per year or over $30,000 for a family of four.

That’s almost half what the average Canadian family earns in a year. So why isn’t it making the lives of aboriginal Canadians any better? Where’s all that money going?

Why are so many reserves locked in third-world conditions decade after decade when it comes to such basic needs as safe drinking water, decent housing, schools and health care?

Why are crime, suicide and addiction so rampant? What about the 70% of aboriginals who live off the reserves? How can $7,500 per person per year be doing so little to help them?

Clearly, the major problem is the distribution system for all this cash, a huge government bureaucracy — both native and non-native — that stands between every aboriginal and that $7,500 a year. Eighty per cent of the money the federal Department of Indian Affairs spends on aboriginals is transferred not to individuals, but to native bands where it is then disbursed through local chiefs and band councils.
Good points. Let’s look at a brief native hierarchy today -> Mr. Terry Nelson, chief of the Roseau River First Nation is currently leading the charge for new blockades in Manitoba because he feels his community is not being treated fairly by Canada - Has withheld welfare payments from people who report his corruption and withheld education allowance from people who live off reserve….

Read the Rest

Farewell Mr. Dressup

Final curtain set to fall on Mr. Dressup


From Thursday's Globe and Mail

Toronto — After a decade in reruns, Mr. Dressup is being pulled off the air. The pioneering children's TV show will be removed from CBC's weekday lineup on July 3 and will air on Sundays only. On Sept. 3, it will end altogether.

The show stopped production in 1996 when Ernie Coombs retired after three decades of appearing as Mr. Dressup, a low-key, yet iconic character in Canadian television history. Coombs died of a stroke in 2001. A spokesman for the CBC said that since 1996, the show has been repeating episodes from the final four seasons.

Source: Globe and Mail

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Playing the Torture Card

When I heard on the news last night that the 17 terror suspects were claiming that they were being tortured in jail, myself and my family burst out laughing. I read an article in the Globe and Mail about it yesterday.

Lawyers for some of the accused terror suspects are alleging that "cruel and unusual punishment" their clients have faced in custody amounts to "torture."
David Kolinsky, who is representing Zakaria Amara, said his client has been locked in a small concrete cell without windows, where meals are slipped to him under a small slit in the door and the lights are left on 24 hours a day.

"This type of treatment is known to cause depression and suicide. ... This type of treatment is, in fact, cruel and unusual punishment contrary to the Bill of Rights," Mr. Kolinsky said.

Mr. Kolinsky also alleges that his client has faced at least some sort of physical abuse from guards.

"As he was being searched, the guard touched his ribs and he's ticklish. He giggled a bit. And the guard drilled his finger in to his cheek and said, 'Is this funny?'"

He said he has also not been able to meet with his client without guards watching over.

"There was no privacy at all in that respect," he said.

Mr. Galati said the treatment of the detainees amounts to torture.

"Clearly, leaving the light on 24 hours a day and waking them up every half hour for the last 10 days constitutes torture," he said. "No lawyer is willing to prepare for a bail hearing or a picnic with a client unless they're not overheard when they have a conversation with their client."

I wasn't actually surprised to read that claiming torture is right out of the Al-Quaeda Training Manual:

Source: Photo

Hat Tip: Dissonance and Disrespect and Proud to be Canadian

Moral dilemma

For Christmas last year George gave me a jewelry box. I picked it out from Reed & Barton. We ordered it in early December through a third party company. They promised it would be here by Christmas. On December 23rd the doorbell rang. I ran to the door to answer it. There it was. My Christmas present in a box! I ripped it open. But to my demise, it was not the one I had picked out. Instead, it was an even more expensive one, one that I had picked out as a 'maybe' but deemed it to be too expensive and that I didn't need one that big.

I called the company right away to let them know of their mistake. I was pretty disappointed because I wouldn't have my present in time. I ended up getting someone else's box, so they likely got mine. He contacted the manufacturer and said he would try his best to get the correct one to me in time for Christmas. The next day was Christmas eve, and the doorbell rang that morning and I received the correct jewelry box in time for Christmas.

Here's my moral dilemma. It's June, and the first Jewelry Box is still sitting in my living room, all boxed and taped up ready to go. I've contact the third party seller at least five times since Christmas telling him that UPS still has not come by to pick it up. He said that someone would mail me a sticker to just stick it on, so that I would not pay to sending it back. Still, nothing.

Do I call again? Do I keep the jewelry box? I don't really need it, but it is beautiful, and is one of the most expensive ones! Do I call and offer to pay half for it? I wouldn't mind keeping it for a family heirloom or giving it to my future daughter. I've called this guy five times telling him I still have it. He tells me that he will contact UPS again, but nothing ever happens.

What do you think I should do?

I thought out posting about this when I read something over at Dust my Broom.

Ring Tones That Adults Can't Hear?

I heard this news bit this morning and checked it out:

When it came out in Britain in December, the Mosquito sound system was supposed to be the sonic equivalent of a "no loitering" sign. Its annoying, high-pitched sound --which many adults can't hear but most young people can -- would act as a teen repellent.

Now, teens are staging a worldwide rebellion: Downloading the sound, or another ring tone in that same high-frequency range, allows them to hear their cellphones ring when their parents and teachers (mostly) cannot.

And the company that brought the Mosquito to market -- Compound Security Systems Ltd. of Britain -- is being barraged by a new market of companies wanting to sell a line of subversive ring tones.

I was really skeptical when I heard about this. It couldn't be true! So I googled around to see if I could find a sample of the ring tone.

I clicked this website to find the ring tone. Just click on the speaker to have a listen.

I could hear it. I called my parents into the room and they could hear it too. Although my sample size is only 3, I really think it's a scam.


As you have likely noticed I have placed a photo of myself in my profile. Since I rather not have my real name and photo on the internet, you get a nice side profile!

By the way, compliments are always welcome! ;)

Monday, June 12, 2006

19% of Canadians Find Pedophilia Moral.

No this wasn't the headline in the Globe and Mail article, nor was this directly stated. However, this was:

Not surprisingly, pedophilia was ranked the most unforgivable behaviour, considered immoral by 81 per cent of respondents.

And therefore 19 per cent would find pedophilia moral? Of course I'm drawing a presumptious conclusion. But it is a little disturbing. 1 in 5 seem ok with pedophilia! Wow. In Canada. In our cities. Soldiers with guns Men with pictures of children. Forget the gun registry.

I really would like to have the breakdown of this study/poll. As a sociology student I am SUPER critical of the constant polls conducted on issues. I want to know what questions were asked, the wording of these questions.

I am also greatly concerned with the polls conclusions: Men more tolerant than women, poll indicates.

How do you define tolerance? Showing respect for the rights/opinions/practices of others? There is a difference when you're "rights" and "practices" affect others. When it comes to abortion, pedophilia, prostitution etc... There are at least two parties involved many who are subject to abuse. Even divorce, if there are children involved, there is more than just the couple splitting.

Although we live in a free country, and society, and I do value our freedoms, I don't see the need to endorse or incourage abortion, divorce, alcoholism, prostitution etc... If we as a society are more "tolerant" of it, it becomes acceptable and normal. I don't see why the behaviour of pedophies should EVER be tolerated. If you've been watching the media/news or recent court cases there have been many instances recently where pedophiles have received easy sentences. One case in the US recently was about a convicted sex offender and the judge did not give him any jail time because SHE believed at 5'1", he was too short for jail.

I remember from my law class back in high school that that there is a hierarchy in jail and child molestors are the lowest on the pole. Therefore this judge's ruling is rediculous.

And if you think that's bad:

Another judge (female), this time in Quebec rules that a pedophile's sentence too harsh.

I guess I'm an intolerant bigot then, because I believe these pedophiles should be locked away and throw away the key. SOOO many of these creeps and lowlifes reoffend. There hasn't been any proof that you can be rehabilitated from being a sex offender.

As a society we should not tolerant this behaviour EVER. And giving these lighter sentences does not give a message that we object to pedophila.

So let me get this straight. If I object or look down up those who choose to prostitute their bodies for sex, sexual assault children, or kill their unborn baby, I'm the intolerant one?

Got it? Class Dismissed!

Remember it's good to be open minded, but not so open minded that your brain falls out!

Oh Microsoft, How I Love Thee, Let Me Count the Ways....

Yeah, so the new Windows Operating System is coming out next year! Are you ready for the switch? Are you counting down the days?

I sure am not.

Is it because I don't like change? Who really likes change when it comes to technology (other than those geeky-types who can't wait to upgrade even if the old one still works fine). I'm very much of the opinion, "If it ain't broke, why fix it?" I like XP, I don't plan on changing unless I must (and if I can get Vista for free lol)

Anyway, I happened upon an article that tells you 10 things you love/hate about the new OS.

The decision for some home and small-business users to upgrade to Microsoft Windows Vista once it becomes available in early 2007 will depend largely on what the new operating system can do for you and what hardware you have to run it on. Microsoft has prepared a Get Ready page listing the hardware required to run Windows Vista, and for Windows Vista beta 2 there's a public download available now. It's still early, and Microsoft could easily change aspects of individual features between now and the final release. But based on what I've seen after living with Windows Vista beta 2 for a week, here are five things I think you'll like about the new operating system--some of which might persuade certain fence-sitters to upgrade--and five things that may convince others to stick with Windows XP for a few more years.

Click to read the five things you'll love and the five things you'll hate.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I AM....not American

I read this in the mailbag over at

Kate S. in Toronto writes:

I don't advise anybody to refer to Canadians as "Americans" — no matter what continent we share. You're liable to get a hockey stick across the back of your head if you so much as suggest that They are Us. The most deadly insult you can offer a Canadian is to mistake him or her for an American. Trust me, you want to forget this multi-culti idea tout suite.

There seems to be every Canadian Stereotype in this little write up, but at the same time, what Kate said is all true. We never want to be seen in the same light as Americans. Canadians think that Americans are arrogant because (we think) they believe they are God's gift to the world and are the best at anything and everything.

The truth is, Canadians are more arrogant because we look down on Americans, we think we are better than them. In hockey, in cultural matters, world issues etc... We take pride in our socialist policies and our perceived 'culture' (that only seems to be how we are different than our American neighbours). And many of us truly believed we are more evolved than our neighbours because of our multiculturalism and federalism.

I think as Canadians we should eat some humble pie.

Bon Appetit!

Buzz "Take your pill woman!"

I, like a vast majority of women are taking oral contraceptive pills. I have a pretty good reminder system. Alarm goes off at 10pm and George takes the responsibility to remind me, or to make sure I have taken it.

I am surprised that an invention like this has not already been invented or on the market!

An electronic device which reminds women whether or not they have taken their daily contraceptive pill has been designed by a university student. Lai Chiu Tang, a student at London's Brunel University, hopes her design could help cut unwanted pregnancies.

The 'Remember' device also advises users what to do if they have forgotten to take their pill. It continually predicts the user's current level of protection and glows red if it is too low. The pill is more than 99% effective against pregnancies, but research suggests 70% of women forget to take one a month, and 10% forget it at least four times.


Click here to read the rest.

Old News: Everything will give you Cancer

I found this article extremely irritating.

Cancer-causing agents found in everyday items, says expert

Before I even talk about the article, the title deserves some examination. We really didn't need an "expert" to tell us this. I could have told you that. Would you have believed me? Perhaps not. We need "experts". We trust our "experts". Also, aside from genetics and smoking, we do not know the cause of a vast majority of cancers, therefore it's easy to blame "everyday items".

Dr. Samuel Epstein, who teaches environmental and occupational medicine at the University of Illinois, says many household products are cancer-causing yet consumers don't get the full message from authorities.

It's time to take a different tack, the emeritus professor told an environmental conference on Saturday: Forget the feds, forget the Canadian and American Cancer Societies, and take a trip to your local city or town council.

Epstein said Canadian and U.S. federal governments have ignored many of the dangers of cancer-causing agents in homes and businesses.

Instead, he said, the community needs to rally around a call for safer products, and municipalities are the likeliest path to laws that will protect us.

-Milk, in his view. Canada banned using growth hormones in dairy cows in 1999, he noted. But we have harmonized our regulations with those of the United States, allowing U.S. milk into Canada. And American dairy farmers can use growth hormones.

Such hormone treatments may allow some of the drug itself to enter the milk, he said. But it also tends to cause ill effects in the cattle, which then need more antibiotics drugs that can also enter the milk.

"Apart from all the other crap in milk, you'll find opus cells and antibiotics," he said.

He said the combination raises the risk of colon, breast and prostate cancers

-Soaps, shampoos and cosmetics. Consumers aren't told what's in their favourite soaps, makeup and perfumes, he said. Yet with scented products, "a very significant percentage contain allergens."

Other products in many cosmetics are either cancer-causing in themselves, or break down into formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen, he said.

"To the overwhelming majority of the Canadian public this will mean nothing at all" because there's no labeling of the ingredients or their dangers on these products, he said.

He called cosmetics "a witches' brew of carcinogens and hormonal agents."

(emphasis mine)

Our "expert" seems unable to find other words than "crap" and "witches' brew". And he wants us to contact our municipality? LOL!

I'm not about to change my lifestyle or diet because I could get cancer from my deodorant, milk or make-up. Also I'm not about to pay 3 times the amount for meat or produce just because it's "organic". After all, George Burns lived to 100 while he drank and smoke every day and Linda McCartney died of breast cancer and she was a vegetarian.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Crazy Optical Illusion!

This is a crazy colour optical illusion. You must click on this link to access the true optical illusion. Make sure your mouse cursor is not on the image of the Big Spanish Castle. Now stare at the black dot for 15 or more seconds. Then without moving your eyes, put the mouse cursor on the image. Tada! Move your eyes again and you lose it in colour! This is what the castle looks like in black and white:

Friday, June 09, 2006

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Help Wanted: North America's Poor

I wrote this essay back in September for a scholarship. I had to answer the question, "Is Canada and the US giving enough for the victims of the Tsunami?" in 500-600 words. I didn't win, but I still am proud of this paper.

HELP WANTED: North America’s poor

On December 26th 2004, while many children around the world were playing with their new toys and many adults were preparing for New Year's Eve, an Earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 resulted in a devastating Tsunami that struck South East Asia. Over 170,000 are confirmed dead, the highest casualty rate by a natural disaster in recent history. The countries that suffered severe casualties and extensive damage include India, Indonesia, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Many countries and organizations around the world have pledged and provided support in the form of money, volunteers, and aid.

Hundreds of thousands died and millions were left homeless or displaced from their communities by the devastating Tsunami. North Americans opened their wallets and gave generously during the holiday season to those that were affected by the Tsunami; while here at home, several thousand of North America’s poor did not have adequate housing, shelter from the frigid temperatures, or even a hot meal. Even worse, children’s dreams of Santa Claus were shattered because their parents had to explain to them why there were no presents under the tree (that is to say, if they could afford a tree). Canada as a whole has forgotten the internal struggles of poverty in her own nation, and Canada’s social safety net is no longer a priority.

Canada and the USA have each pledged over 400 Million in aid over the long term to help communities in South East Asia rebuild. It is shameful that the government of Canada spends millions on Foreign Aid when people in their own country are dying due to lack of life’s basic necessities: adequate food, clean water and affordable shelter. It is also disheartening as a citizen of Canada, that several of those who fought for this country’s fundamental freedoms (veterans) are living below the poverty line. This just supports the old saying, ‘old soldiers never die, they only fade away’.

Although around Thanksgiving and Christmas, people are more generous and are thinking about those in need; however, it is a fact that in the spring and summer months most food bank stocks are depleted. It seems that middle class North Americans must get caught up in their busy lives of balancing dual incomes to keep up with Jones’, and driving the kids to Brownies or hockey practice, that many do not have the time or desire to read the newspaper, volunteer or even vote! North Americans tend to open their wallets and hearts when a large disaster occurs--that receives extensive media coverage--in a land far away, but somehow we have the audacity to walk by that homeless man who talks to himself, every single day on our way to work or school.

Canada and the USA are among the wealthiest nations of the world and they should give to those countries that are in a crisis; however, what kind of nation is Canada or the USA, who cannot take care of their own? As we have seen with Hurricane Katrina, often our resources, such as troops to establish order, money, volunteers, and aid are not able to be mobilized or allocated quick enough to help those in need. Many people immigrate to North America because of the numerous “opportunities” and to increase their standard of living but many still experience poverty here. Although North American governments should give some aid to those affected by the Tsunami, we have to master our internal problems, before having an impact externally. Whatever happened to the ‘common good’ and taking care of our neighbour?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Middle of the Night Rambles

I can't sleep right now, so I would thought I would try to blog it off.

I just had a long conversation with an old friend. We used to work together with a local cadet unit. We updated each other about our lives and with the lives of other people from the unit with which we've kept in touch.

The conversation lasted about 90 minutes, and consisted of your typical update of friends who have not spoken in a few years. So and so got married, so and so broke up/separated/divorced, and so and so got someone knocked up. So and so moved to here and there, so and so got sick, and so and so hasn’t changed.

Life truly has its ups and downs. I really like keeping in touch with old friends and having a history and following each others’ lives as they develop, expand.

Our conversation kept my mind spinning hours after we got off the phone. I tried to Stargate it off, but after 2 episodes I still am not tired.

What I keep thinking about is why some people succeed and why some others stray off the path? As a sociology student I constantly think about the social factors affecting the issue.

I found out upsetting news of some old friends. Two of my cadets ended up becoming fathers. Normally fatherhood is a celebratory occasion, this also being that Father’s Day is soon upon us. But this is not too happy of an issue. It hurts. It hurts because I knew these cadets. They were under my command. I thought they had potential and would do great things. Not that becoming a father at 17 will stop you from doing great things. But life is just so much harder now. I’m picturing a really too young couple pushing a stroller down the street, or trying to get on the city bus or working a dead end job because you barely got to finish high school. It saddens me. I also learned that another cadet friend of mine got mixed up with the wrong crowd and chose not to see the light.

It reminds me of looking at that photo of a group of us in high school in grade 10. It was a great day in June, we all skipped class to enjoy the sunshine and laying on the grass, talking. The photo is of us posed arms around each other smiling as we gaze into the sun.

I don’ like to look at that photo anymore. I’ve lost touch with many, but get updates through some channels who’ve kept in touch or the ‘last I heard’ updates. One got knocked up and moved out of the house, messed up with drugs too. Another likely didn’t finish high school either and last I heard is ‘gone’ not necessarily with drugs, but mental issues.

Although these two individuals were not in cadets, they had similar situations. They got mixed up with the wrong crowd, or they made a large error in judgement.

Is their life over?



It’s just tough and sad. And although you can’t save them all you want to and you try to figure out along the way what went wrong. Was there something you could have done more? Should have I made a phone call? Was is possible to save them?

This mental beat up isn’t healthy of course. But I’m glad my old friend has the passion, drive and desire to do something positive for youth. She’s trying to start up her own business with creating a fantastic program for these types of youths at risk. I just hope her heart doesn’t break where she comes across one that she cannot save.

Why is it that cadets attracts kids that have very screwed up family lives? Now this isn’t always the case of course. But man, do we get some screwed up kids. It’s sad really.

I remember when I went to camp in 2000 and I started a boundary breakers session with my fellow tent mates. Boundary Breakers is an activity where there are only two rules. One, whatever is said must never leave the circle and two, you may pass at any question. You sit in a circle and start off with easy questions: “What’s your favourite colour and why?” or “If you could be any animal what would it be?”. Later once you’ve done a few ice breakers you can go onto more serious questions: “When was the last time you cried” or “What do you dislike the most about your parents.

So I lead one of these with my tent mates and it turns out I was the odd kid out. I was the weirdo. I was the screwed up one because I was too perfect. Of my 9 tent mates: 2 were raped, 2 had kids, 1 was abused, 2 were alcoholics or had alcoholics in their immediate family, 2 had cut themselves and the majority had divorced parents. Many cadet families are from broken families. Often parents bring their kids to cadets trying to instill some discipline in them. For others, is a youth program that is free.

I am very much for promoting the family. That’s one of the reasons that draws me to a right of centre political belief. Although it is unrealistic to expect everyone to fit into a cookie cutter of the family of two married parents and with their biological 1.7 kids and a dog, but in my experience and in my limited research are best. Thinking back of all the cadets I’ve experienced a great many who got caught up in the wrong path had parent issues. I don’t want to put their names here but I can think of them. Those that have excelled (who are in University now etc…) are often from two parent (never divorced) families.

This doesn’t mean that a two parent family means you’re going to have good kids and that if you’re a single parent or if you divorce that you’re going to screw up your kids. However, as a sociologist I look at the research and evidence. Of course my sample of comparing cadet famillies is biased but it’s just an interesting observation.

I have done a little research on the topic. I did a paper in OAC Soc about cohabitation and divorce and there were studies that I read that shocked me with the impact your parent’s relationship has in determining your life long relationships.

It just seemed that life was simpler when divorce never happened and two parent families were expected. Unfortunately this is the 21st century. Divorce is expected of half of marriages, there are no more family norms (to the point where if you're parents have been married for more than 20 years it's shocking and even abnormal).

Sure when we had 2 parent (never divorced) families life may have seemed simpler. But were people happier? If divorce was taboo, you were stuck--or as a feminist would refer to it as trapped--in a marriage. And so women now have roles outside the kitchen. They are educated and "liberated". In the late 20th and early 21st century Canada has embraced "flexible" families to ensure everyone can be included and happy.

The question is,

Are we happier now?

Drugs and violence is plaguing our cities which affects our neighbourhoods, or schools, our families. Where do drugs and violence usually stem from? Broken homes. Homes that had violence, alcoholism, drug abuse, living in a dangerous (rough) low income neighbourhood, and peer influence to make trouble or even join a gang. Often families in low income housing are 'kids' who've just had a baby, or a single parent who's trying desperately to make ends meet.

Let's not follow Jack Layton or Hilary Clinton and creating a "village". To solve this chronic problem is to not put Band-Aids (I mean, Adhesive Bandages) on the issue by putting all the money on social issues, social nets.

Let's go to the source. Let's rescue, heal, help the family structure. It's clear that kids who get pregnant at 15 will need help. But let's stop putting condoms bathrooms and talk more about abstinence (if that is possible in our sex obsessed culture) and more about the importance of families.

Let's stop putting money in creating a childcare system so that strangers or "professionals" can raise your children, but help parents who want to stay home make that economically possible. Someone remind me when it became the government's responsibility to raise our kids? It makes more sense to help parents raise their children.

Why is divorce so easy to do? Let's strengthen adult relationships/marriage. Research has proven (sorry it's 3am, no links) that 2 parent (non step)families are best, that cohabitating families do not have the solid bond that marriage provides. Research has also proven that first marriages are the most likely to work out. If you divorce in your first marriage and remarry, you're even more likely to divorce and your marriage is likely to last shorter than the first. Ross Gellar anyone?

Will all families "fall victim" to what I am fortelling? Of course not, there are exceptions to all. However. As a sociologist/sociology student there is ALWAYS a pattern.

Canadian Media

I'm taking a 400 level media course (full year) in the fall and I am very much looking forward to it. I've always been interested in media studies, and at one time I wanted to become a journalist. However I really disliked the reporter mentality of 'get the story' or 'if it bleeds, it leads'. I wanted to study the media. How it is produced, who has the power, etc... How media affects us, how words are used to manipulate and change the framing of a story.

So instead of making media/journalism studies in University, I wanted to take more sociological approach to media. I had enrolled at Trent for Cultural Studies, but the department is an artsy fartsy joke. I quickly changed my major to Sociology, and picked up Canadian Studies along the way.

I do not received the newspaper, I read the headlines online, so I missed this, but Stephen Taylor makes an excellent observation of two different drafts of the cover of the National Post. I really would like to know where he got the draft!

Water Cooler Chat

In the past week or so you have likely overheard at least one person or groups of people discussing the terror related arrests. One of my favourite bloggers, Nicol, over at The War Room, has finally got a new post up! He's used his famous 'under cover agent' to obtain this recorded transmission ;)

MANDY: Omigod! I am so sorry to hear about the terrorist threats.

KHALID: Me too.

MANDY: Do you feel threatened by the backlash?

KHALID: No. Not really.

MANDY: But what about the racist attack on the mosque?

KHALID: The media are saying otherwise but the truth is; we do not know who vandalized the mosque or why.

MANDY: Probably some right wing bigot. Nazi’s! Fascists! Zut alors!

You must read the rest!

The Stages of Manhood

Received this in my inbox this morning! Had a good chuckle from it.

The Stages of Manhood

Before Marriage:

During Marriage:

After the Divorce:

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Read 'Em and Wipe!

BATAVIA, NY - A truck carrying toilet paper catches fire today and backs up traffic for hours:

BATAVIA, N.Y. — Please don't squeeze the Charmin. And don't dump it on the highway, either.

Crews on the New York State Thruway spent hours cleaning up the mess caused when a truck full of toilet paper caught fire.

It happened about 40 miles east of Buffalo. The driver of the rig managed to escape.

But roll after roll of the bathroom tissue spilled onto the highway, backing up traffic for miles. That, in turn, led to a separate accident involving two trucks. Police say no one was seriously hurt.

Well, looking on the positive side, at least it was traffic backed up and not anything else!

Source: Fox News

Monday, June 05, 2006

Want To Win an Argument? Feed Your Opponent Coffee!

So it's a warm summer afternoon and you and a coworker go get some fresh air and take a break from the project on which you are working. You're in the middle of a discussion of what you should do about XYZ issue. You think you should solve it a certain way, while your partner thinks you should solve it another way. Want to get your way? Suggest when you get fresh air that you get a coffee. Why? Scientists are saying that the caffeine may make you more pursuasive.

The coffee you drink as a pick-me-up in the morning could also make you more open to persuasion, researchers say. Evidence from a new study suggests that this happens because caffeine revs up the brain, not because it generally boosts mood.

Previous studies have show that consuming caffeine can improve one’s attention and enhance cognitive performance, with 200 milligrams (equivalent to two cups of coffee) being the optimal dose.

Moderate doses of caffeine can also make you more easily convinced by arguments that go against your beliefs, say Pearl Martin of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and her colleagues.

Source: New Scientist

BOOK REVIEW: The Velveteen Principles

My favourite book when I was a kid was The Velveteen Rabbit. When I saw The Velveteen Principles: A Guide to Becoming Real in the bookstore I couldn’t resist. I was having one of those days in Chapters where I had 9 books piled up and wanted to take them all home. Some girls have shoe fetishes, but I like books. I was with my boyfriend George and he said I could pick three and had to put the rest back. I put this one back very reluctantly. But George ended up buying for me! He wrote in the cover: Hunny Bunny, A gift for no reason <3 Hunny Bear.

If you don’t know the story of Margery Williams's The Velveteen Rabbit, I will summarize it here. It is Christmas morning in 1922 and a young boy receives a velveteen rabbit along with other toys. After the Christmas excitement the Velveteen Rabbit loses its newness and is insecure with the other toys being more modern. He seeks the wisdom of the old Skin Horse who says that the Boy will love him again one day. The Boy later comes down with scarlet fever and seeks the Velveteen Rabbit for comfort. This experience transforms the Velveteen Rabbit into what the Skin Horse calls Real. Real is what happens when you become your true self and are loved despite and even because of your imperfections.

The Velveteen Principles was written by Toni Raiten-D’Antonio, a psychotherapist, who loved the story and thought it had application to every day life. I adored this book and it made The Velveteen Rabbit even more special to me. She has much wisdom, but also appears human, which makes for a real story/book. She affirms that the Velveteen Rabbit is more than a children’s tale but this story has the power to remind us of life’s basic truths: we all want to feel valuable, beautiful and loved for who we are on the inside.

The first section, “To Be Real in a World of Objects” is 40 pages long and describes how our society and culture is obsessed with objects. The explains the difference between superficial beauty and real inner beauty. She uses an example of an old couple at her doctor’s office. This old man in his 80s wheeled in his wife. The woman was quite ill. She wore no makeup and had red splotches and blue veins on her wrinkled face. She wore clothes that were not feminine nor fashionable. Yet when her husband stroked her hair and spoke softly into her ear, she smiled. This was true inner beauty and love.

The book’s message reminds us how important it is to be able to answer the question, “who am I?” To do this, we must self-develop and reflect and look within instead of outside for the answers. Don’t answer this question by your titles, i.e. ‘ I’m a student’ or ‘I’m a husband and a father’. But rather, I am Sharon and I care about animals, I have great respect for the military, I love to cook and I love autumn.

The book really spoke to me about my imperfections and how to be okay with them. Raiten-D’Antionio talks about how many of us fear failure, and that we are perfectionists. These feelings demand perfection of others and we may treat our friends, family and coworkers like they are less human without compassion and consideration.

The second section of the book has 12 “Velveteen Principles”. The message is how to become Real like the Velveteen Rabbit did. The principles reflect texts from the book and often have personal examples or examples from the author’s clients. The principles range from: ‘Real is Possible’ it is also ‘a process’ ‘emotional’ and ‘empathetic’. Real is also ‘courageous’, ‘honest’ ‘grateful’ and ‘ethical’.

I was very impressed with the flow of The Velveteen Principles: A Guide to Becoming Real. It was a super fast read. I read it on the train home this weekend and I was finished it even before my transfer at Union. Each section and principle starts off with a quote from the book. In addition, the author had excellent segways between each principle. The book reminds me of another one of my favourites, Tuesdays With Morrie. It’s just one of those feel good books. In a way it’s a self-help book without being too much in your face. I truly cherish the story The Velveteen Rabbit and the hidden wisdom of the human condition makes the story ever more special.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Happy Anniversary

I just wanted to wish Nicol at The War Room a happy 1 year anniversary of his blog. If you haven't read or heard about The War Room I will tell you a little about it.

The blogging format is unique and creative. The War Room has 'Dossiers' which examine certain issues such as religion, education, and film. There are also 'Quick Dispatches' which are just shorter comments on issues. Then my favourite section is the 'Trasmission Behind Enemy Lines', where there is a conversation often between a child and an adult talking about issues about Toronto, same-sex marriage, and multiculturalism. Lately he has strayed from this format, but always offers insightful, informed opinions on current issues.

I found my way upon Nicol's blog last summer and really liked what he had to say in the first few Dossiers about education. It really made my re-examine my personal and political beliefs and why I believed in the left-wing philosophy. Over the summer I began to blog on my own at Live Journal and truly re-evaluated why I believe what think on many issues. Why did I not like Stephen Harper? Why was I never going to vote for the Conservative?

I am happy to report that after inner reflection in what I truly believe. I realized that I agreed with many of these Conservatives/conservatives. Although many people believe that I have "changed" in the past year because of my boyfriend (who is a strong conservative) but truly, I voted/believe in conservative values after reading many blogs and realizing that I agree with how they see things.

So here I am today. I've recently made the switch from Live Journal to Blogger, and so goes the next chapter in my life. Thanks to The War Room and other blogs I learned more about myself.

Keep up the great posts Nicol.