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Showing posts from September, 2015

The veiled threat: a quick thought.

"I don't think that anyone has the right to tell a woman what to wear, or what not to wear. And if indeed there are cases of oppression, let's not go after the  oppressed person, let's go after the oppressor. And it's not by depriving a woman in that circumstance of her citizenship and of her rights that we're going to be able to reach out to her." --NDP Leader Tom Mulcair (source)
I've been wrestling with this issue since it showed up in Qu├ębec a couple of years ago. I have the privilege of counting among my friends an extraordinary woman who has spent time in Saudi Arabia, where she was required to be veiled. Her views match quite well with those of women's rights activist author, and president of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, Raheel Raza.  I would love to see Raza, or my friend, debate Mr. Mulcair.
Because both sides here have valid points. Both sides can legitimately claim to stand for women's rights.
It is true that the niqab--…

Okay! Blue Jays! Let's...Play...Ball!

I know there are many people out there who believe baseball is only slightly less boring than competitive paint drying. I'm not going to disabuse you of your notion, because we all have sports we can't stand.

For me it's football. I've only ever watched one football game from beginning to end, when the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks defeated the Mount Allison Mounties to win the Vanier Cup in 1991. It was a school spirit thing, even though I never really had much of that.  (Still remember the T-shirts, though, with a Golden Hawk extending an upraised middle talon, caption "Mount This!")
I have a prosaic reason for hating football: it was always the football players who took the keenest interest in rearranging my face. I've been beaten up (quite badly) by Tim Tindale, who went on to play for the NFL's Buffalo Bills (slogan: Boy ILove Losing Superbowls). That's my claim to football fame right there.
I'm a fan of baseball. It appeals to me on many …

This Is How I'm Different

I knew I had a real problem the first time I used Microsoft Word.

This little puppy popped up on my screen and asked me if I needed help. I didn't, and so he tucked his tail between his legs, gazed forlornly at me as if I had just banished him outside, and slunk off the screen.

Now, it's not as if I cried, or anything. But I did get a little hitch in my chest. I wanted to tell the puppy that he could come back and stay on my screen as long as he didn't get in the way of my typing. Maybe wag his tail every now and again. Look at me with a little happiness in his eyes.

The Microsoft Office assistants have been mocked, parodied, and called "one of the worst software design blunders in the annals of computing" by Smithsonian magazine. And all I remember about them was banishing the little puppy, and feeling awful doing it.


A couple of weeks ago, with back-to-school in full swing, the amount of garbage set out to the curb in my neighbourhood suddenly quad…

So, like, total freedom, right?

--the Wiccan Rede (song here, one I love and live by, live and love by)

So I've been reading a lot about poly relationships, and there seems to be a recurring tend. The impression I'm getting is that if you're poly you have to be okay with everything your partner wants. For example, you're not comfortable having sex with someone who's having unprotected sex with someone else. The response is usually to tell that person to work on themselves so they're not stifling their partner's expression and that hard limits are just signs the person shouldn't be poly. Am I missing something? Is it really fair to tell a person they're not allowed to say they're not okay with something?
--user "CSpyder", posted to r/polyamory, 9/23

This is an extreme variant on a common question in poly circles. Indeed, it's pretty fundamental to relationships in general.

We're all familiar, or we think we are, with t…

Escape to Another World

The cinematic highlight of 1993 for me, and I'm sure for many others, was the release of JURASSIC PARK.  I had seen virtually everything Hollywood had put out over the preceding two years--cinephile girlfriend--but our relationship  had blown up like a Michael Bay explovaganza by that point. Hobson's choice: I saw JURASSIC PARK alone. 
I have always hated going to the movies alone. It hasn't stopped me from doing it, if I really want to see the movie badly enough, but I feel like the world's biggest loser, sitting by myself...almost as if I'm wearing a trench coat with nothing underneath it. But for JURASSIC PARK, I didn't care. Dinosaurs trump low self-esteem. Dinosaurs trump a lot of things, really.
And that movie performed. It was damn near perfect: stunning spectacle--the effects hold up 22 years later--but so much more besides. It functions as a scathing critique of blind faith in science, of capitalism, of humanity's misperception of its place in the …

Refugees, Again

1956...Budapest is rising...
1956...Budapest is fighting...
1956...Budapest is falling...
1956...Budapest is dying...

It's sickening, what Hungary is doing to Syrian refugees.

Hungary has a far-right PM (Viktor Orban) with an even-further-right opposition that has been gaining in popularity lately. The Syrian refugee crisis is the perfect opportunity for Orban to be a good Nazi and "preserve the Hungarian nation". And so you have razor wire, tear gas and water cannons to repel the tide, and worse-than-prison conditions for those refugees who managed to get in before Hungary had any clue as to the scope of the situation.

It's strange that Hungary, of all nations, should be so virulently anti-refugee. The 1956 uprising, the first spark of heat in the Cold War, is still within living memory. It produced over two hundred thousand refugees, more than a few of whom are still alive.

But in Hungary, and in Eastern Europe generally, a strain of xe…

The Job: time to take "stock".

Another "let's all hate Wal-Mart" thread is going on in Reddit as I write this.

Hating on Wal-Mart is a popular thing to do. I've indulged in it once or twice myself (that last link, one of my better blogs, will take you into "my" store, six years before it became "my" store, for the 2009 incarnation of the anniversary sale that's currently running--not to mention a Sobeys store I had yet to work at in 2009 as well).

I have worked for the big blue behemoth for five and a half months now...just long enough to have some genuine insights into the culture of the place.

I should tell you first off that the Wal-Mart Supercenter I work at is atypical, just as the FreshCo I worked at  is atypical. Both stores have a solidly middle-class clientele, a far cry from the stereotypical 'trailer trash' Wal-Mart (and FreshCo, for that matter) customer base.  My Wal-Mart has two other peculiarities: As Supercenters go, it's quite small; and it'…

"He's Just A Kid..."

A 14 year old male is charged with arson, possession of an incendiary device and endangering human life after the Dollarama a couple of blocks from my home went up in flames the other day. The plaza housing this Dollarama was evacuated, surrounding streets were closed to traffic and area residents were told to keep their windows closed against billowing toxic smoke. (That store smelled poisonous as it was, I don't even want to imagine what it smelled like on fire.)

And some people think the 14-year-old should--well, yeah, I guess we have to punish him, but let's not be too harsh here because he didn't know any better.

Excuse me?

"Well, of course he would know fire is bad. But he probably had no idea of how fast the fire would spread".

Oh, okay. So he just wanted to set a little fire, maybe burn just one side of one aisle of the store. All righty, then.

"Healthy, well-adjusted 14-year-olds don't firebomb stores with people inside them."

No excrement,…

Why I am so open about loving more

A couple of months ago, my father gently suggested to me that I am "too open" in my blogs about polyamory.  He was concerned that I was sharing details without permission, and to some degree that I was sharing details at all.

His first concern is unfounded. If a blog involves Eva in any substantive way, she reads it (or I read it to her)  before it goes live. In eleven years of blogging, she has yet to outright nix something, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times she has suggested that I reframe a sentence. I've been married to her longer than I have been blogging. I know her, and our, boundaries.
And when others have made, or will make, an appearance in these blogs, the same principle applies. Any details I share here have been vetted and okayed.

There really haven't been that many details. I certainly haven't written anything, nor will I write anything of a prurient nature. Which is one of the points I want to make here.

It niggled at m…

Kim Davis

Canada is not a perfect country. The cost of living is crazy compared to the United States; the internet speed is pathetic and we pay through the nose for it; we can't (legally) get half the media or many of the products that Americans take for granted.
We have racism in spades up here, towards aboriginals instead of blacks, but it's here. I'll refrain from political comment since people are well aware of my views and polls suggest the current government has less than six weeks left in power.

No, Canada is not perfect. But we have a few things going for us. Gay people have been able to marry here since 2004 and next to nobody cares. Even if, hypothetically, Kim Davis was a Canadian, she would have been quickly and quietly fired. That's because most of our municipal officials are hired, not elected. Political parties simply do not exist at the municipal level here. I believe this to be a good thing.

Religion in Canada is a private matter, which in my opinion is just as …


This blog was going to be one thing, and it turned into something else, presto-change-o, before I'd even finished researching it.

I was going to write a withering condemnation of those people who criticize women for exploring their sexuality. Then I actually sat down to read, and read up on, my source material...and I found myself mentally criticizing a woman, not for exploring her sexuality, but for how she went about doing it.

Here is a link to an article by Robin Rinaldi. She is a woman who wrote a memoir called The Wild Oats Project, about her year of open marriage. It should be noted that her open marriage has very little in common with my own. For one thing, she unilaterally initiated hers when her husband had a vasectomy (she had wanted children; he refused; she decided she'd have lovers instead, a leap of logic I don't quite understand).

She had at least twenty lovers over the course of that year, and from the sounds of it she had very little emotional attachment to…


I've been thinking a fair bit about divorce, lately.

Not mine, I hasten to add. Eva is every inch still the "wife of my days,
the companion of my journey,
the friend to my life",
as our vows predicted and affirmed she would be. But all around me relationships are either teetering or outright collapsing, and it's a heart-wrenching thing to watch.

I am a child of divorce myself: a bitter, acrimonious divorce far too personal to detail that happened when I was five years old. My mother kept exhaustive scrapbooks of the first seven years of my life; some of the stuff written in them for the year 1977 I can actually recall on my own, while other things are best viewed through the prism of a relationship dissolving in a house full of acid.

I still vividly recall, knowing...that it was my fault. My five-year-old brain was certain that I was a VERY BAD BOY. I was repeatedly told, of course, that I hadn't done anything to cause this, so I decided if it wasn&…

Is Canada a Refuge, Still?

More than four million refugees of the Syrian civil war have fled their country since the civil war began five years ago. It's the largest movement of people since World War One, and Europe is overwhelmed. Greece alone has had more than 800,000 people seek asylum by some counts.
And things like this keep happening: getting out of the immediate chaos is only the first hurdle for refugees. All too often they either die in the attempt to seek a better life...or they're turned away.

I've been hearing for years about how Canada has a "moral obligation" to confront ISIS. Strangely, we don't seem to have any moral obligation to confront their handiwork.

I think we do. I think Canada should be taking as many of these refugees in as possible.

I still remember every minute of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics opening ceremonies. Do you remember this part?

"I came to Canada as a refugee. Forty-five years later,  for me, Canada is a refuge, still."
--Joe Schlesinger, t…

Going Moldy....

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