DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Tossing Pebbles in the Stream: 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Friday, March 30, 2007


Looking out my attic window, this is what you see. The snow in the forground is along he edge of the gully that runs to the river being the house. This drains the surface runoff from the rocky ridge across from the house. The land you see is the valley bottom land which eons ago was covered with water.

The dark spot on the ground is what is left of my old manure pile which caught fire and burned for 5 months last summer. It smoked most of the time and occasionally flaired up in flame. I made several efforts to extinquish it but in the end the rains of Autumn and Winter put it out. I hope!

The river trench is in front of the line of snow in the background. The hills are Pre-Cambrian rock crown land covered with forest.

Here is Ruby my Duroc sow. She is trying to get a drink out of the container. She proceeeded to tip it over and roll it around the yard with her snout. I relented and poured the water into her pail. Her eight half grown piglets are not far away.

Here is mother cat. She is about to have kittens. i think she has chosen to have them down in the shed in a nest of hay. There are too many cats, dogs and people in the house. She is basking in today's sunshine.

Here are some of my chickens in their hewn house with the south facing picture window. They are doing me proud. Virtually all of them are laying an egg a day. It has been a tough winter for fowl. I will start letting them out to range about soon. At a time the sow is not loose. She has developed a taste for chicken!
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Sending Money to Cuba

Since before Christmas, I have been trying to help an American send money to a Cuban friend in Cuba. It is against the law in the US to transfer money to Cuba, under the Embargo the US has inflicted on that country. American financial institutions that normally would transfer funds to a foreign country, like Western Union., do not even list Cuba as a country. I would like to know how Cuban Americans arrange to send money back home. I am sure they have a way around this legislation.

In Canada, there is a conpany that transfers money overseas, Transcard. It allows a person in Cuba to open an account in that country, that functions like a credit card. A Canadian can open a file with them to transfer money from Canada into the Cuban Transcard account in Cuba.

My new American friend contacted me after I responded to his plea on a bloggers site for a Canadian to help him transfer funds to Cuba. It turned out we belong to the same church, he is a member of a local church in Knoxville, Tn. He had met a poor family in Cuba and wanted to sent them a little money from time to time. I agreed to help.

The Cuban fellow had a Transcard account It seemed like a simple matter to transfer the funds mailed to me from the US. It proved to be more complcated. I needed more information on the mechanics of the transfer. I could not get Transcard to return my calls and I always got an answering service when I phoned them.

I decided to see if there was a better way to transfer funds. Transcard is very expensive. I have now been able to send $70 Canadian. When all the fees are paid (including 8% fee to change money into Cuban pesos), the amount transfered to the individual is the equivalent to $49.00 Canadian.

I began my inquiry by trying to contact the Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association. They too did not return my calls. I contacted our largest bank to find out if Canadian banks had branches in Cuba. To my surprise, they do not. in spite of the fact that Canada trades with Cuba. Banks in Canada deal through Cuban banks. Following that I wrote the Canadian Embassy in Cuba to ask the best way to transfer funds and whether the Embassy would receive and hold the funds to be picked up. They too, did not respond. Shame on them.! I decided to contact my local member of parliament's office To seem if they could answer my questions. They promised to contact Foreign Affairs office to get the answers. They did not reply. Our postal service is listed as an agent for an organization that cooperates with Transcard to transfer funds. I contacted the main postal office in North Bay. First the girl said that was no problem until she realized Cuba was not listed on the list of countries to which they can transfer funds .

Canadian credit cards, not American ones, can be used in Cuba. This is how Canadian vacationers access more funds when the need them. Unfortunately, a Cuban cannot acquire a Canadian credit card.

I have also thought of getting a Canadian going on vacation to take the funds. I have relatives that vacation in Cuba. Ironically, the day I sorted this all out I got a postcard from my sister. . . on vacation in Cuba.

All of this has been interesting and very frustrating. I was about to give up. I had offered to return the funds to my American friend, and sent him all the information I found out saying he could pursue it from the US as well as I could. He tried and to our surprise in managed to contact Transcard.

I have now sent the money to Cuba. If this works I will do this for my American friends on a regular basis. He had previously tried to send cash in the mail and only one in three attempts did the money reach his Cuban friend. He figures someone in the Cuban Postal Service stole it. When Transcard told me I would not get a written receipt from them, I now have doubts about their veracity. Time will tell.!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Springtime on the River

Here are some photos of the Temagami River that runs across my property.

It is a beautiful bright morning without a cloud in the sky. Yet. it s cool, -5C with a nice wind that will help to dry things out. This is the upsteam view of the Temagami River.

This a the downsteam view of the river from the bridge. This used to be our swimming hole where, for many years we swam daily all summer. There is a large boulder just under below and in front of the bridge you can swim off. It causes an eddy current that slowly moves upsteam while the rest of the river moves on down with some strong current. The gravel bar is causes by the boulder and the old crib from a former bridge washout out in the flood of 1979. There is a small gully that drains the land of surface water just to the right which washes gravel into the river. For the adventuresome one can jump off the bridge 15 feet to the water.

These days, I swim downstream in front of the cabin we built. There is the old ford of the river here. There is also a sandy and shallow side of the river. It is safer for this old guy and his grandchildren. The cabin cannot be seen from the bridge in summer, it is just ahead of the clump of birch trees on the right downstream.

This is the laneway to the cabin. Still snow covered but melting and drying out quickly. Ben and Blackie get to explore around a bit more with most of the snow gone. Maybe Ben will find one of his many balls he has lost.

For the next, couple of weeks the weather will be cool and dry. Such a slow Spring thaw will guarantee no flooding later in the Spring when the Temagami highland wilderness releases its Winter snows.

The road to nowhere! This road recently named Denonville Road is total on my land. It ends a couple of hundred feet up the road at my property line. I missed the meeting when they were renaming some of the roads in the area. previously this 1/4 mile long road had no name. I would have suggested it be names Robinson's Lane. It was named after an fellow who lived a half mile upstream in an old shack years ago. Mr Denonville turned out to be Ms. Denonville. He was a "fellow" who mysteriously came here from Quebec during WWII. He may have been a draft dodger. He lived and worked in the area as a trapper and logger. When he died he was sharing a house with another fellow who had no idea he was really a woman, a transexual probably. It was discovered when Ms Denonville went to the hospital to die. His housemate was so suprised he was reported to have gone to the hospital and peeked under the covers. In the cabin, they founda trunk with women's clothes in it. The first person who told me this story was so confused about such a thing he could hardly figure out the words to talk about it. As soon as he spoke of this "man... woman..", I knew of what he was trying to talk about. When I lived in New Haven, I knew three transexuals, withwhom I been supportive as an extension of a special support program out of Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford Connecticut. One of these people "a guy named Debbie" had come out of prison with another fellow (an effeminate homosexual hooker" where they had been sent for robbing a wig store. (This crime always makes me smile. ) Those were interesting days for me for sure. I have always loved interesting people who didn't fit mold of my middle class upbringing.

I seem to have drifted along way from some Spring photos of the river. Is this what is know as stream of consciousness writing:) I still wish the road had been named after me.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

I Now Call Him, Bubba!

My friend, Dave LaChapelle, who is now sharing my house with me. Is a simple man with simple tastes. He only eats the plainest of foods, which can be locally grown or raised. This is a result of growning up on a farm and working locally all his life. He has travelled little, never by plane or train. So at 84 he is not hard to please with regard for food. As long as it is meat and potatoes and vegetables, in season, or pickled vegetable, out of season. Bread is OK and he loves my muffins since they are similar to what his mother used to make. For Dave, like so many country people, the only exotic spice he uses is "catsup", the universal spice:)

He has never eaten grits or corn bread., Southern peasant food. I told him I would make him some for breakfast instead of muffins and hot oatmeal, his usual fare. It told him he would like it and if he did:. . . "Dave I will have to call you Bubba from now on.!"

SO I NOW CALL HIM BUBBA!! He is a French Canadian version of a country "good ol' boy.

Grits are a running joke of mine around here. You cannot buy them in the stores. My Floridian friend, Veronica brought me 25 pounds a year ago and I have been eating on this supply. Whenever I get to town i always check out the cereal section of the chain grocery stores. When I find no grits for sale I always say in a loud voice, "WHAT NO GRITS, WHAT KIND OF A GROCERY STORE IS THIS.". Being shy and not wanting to draw too much attention to myself, I say no more although I have been know to confront some young female cashier over the lack of grits in her store. (An old guy's way of flurting. I try to do it with a bit of a twinkle in my eye.)

Also, it is very hard to get stone ground cornmeal in Canada. The cornmeal is so refined it does not make good cornbread. While living in the US, I started making cornbread to feed those who dared to go camping with me. Now I have to depend on friends to bring me cornmeal from the States. Veronica, a year ago, also brought me 25 pounds of it , which I am still using.but supplies are running low. Hummm! maybe I need to get my brother to bring some from North Carolina when he comes for a visit to Toronto this summer. (make a note to Self!)

My first experience with grits and cornmeal was when I lived in Roxbury, the inner city black neighbourhood of Boston. As a minister in the area, I used to eat in a local store front restaurant, where I was always the only white patron. I got to know the owner and short order cook who told me what was going on in the community. The menu was limited in this restaurant so I most ofen got grits, cornbread, and smothered chicken. (Not the healthiest fare but it sure filled you up and "stuck to your ribs".) To make it special I sometimes got black eyed peas as well. Yumm! Perhaps, I should make Dave smothered chicken next. That would be a real adventure in eating for him. It is the Southern equivalent of poutine, the "haut cuisine" of French Canada. (For my American friends it is french fries with cheese curds smothered in gravy.) So disgusting looking, I have never been able to bring myself to eat it. Those that do say it is good.. . . . . .lots of calories and stuff the harden your arteries!

I must have been hungry to start this rant on food. Time to go for a cornbread muffin slathered in butter.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Spring is finally here. . .well almost !

Just when I thought I might take a picture of our Spring like weather it snowed. It is snowing heavier than it did all Winter. "Two steps forward one step back" is the way Spring comes around here. Since the official beginning of Spring here the day time temperaturs have been above freezing. With a little rain and wind the snow rapidly disappeared. A couple of hours ago I was out in my shirt sleeves trying to install some electric fencing to contain my pigs as they had begun to plow up the lawn around the house and they seemed interested in exploring the dirt at the side of the road. They even took it upon themselves to get the calf to join them and go visit the neighbours while I was distracted trying to install a new water pump. For the sake of neighbourly relations I had better get them under control.
Prior to Amalgamation when our unorganized township became part of West Nipissing, animals could roam about, "range law". With the exception of bulls over 10 months, it was not the resonsibility of farmers to keep their livestock contained. it you didn't want your neighbours cattle in your garden it was your responsibility to fence them out. While most farmers tried to contain the animals, this law let them off the hook if the accidentally got out and ended up in someone's garden. Now alas, the situation has changed. The loss of range law is just one of the freedoms we gave up though amalgamation. In exchange, we got highter taxes and a a meddlesome bureaucracy. They do seem to plow the roads in Winter a little faster which is the only improvement I see in service.
Gee! don't I sound like a red neck local conservative. "The governement that governs least, governs best." I may have to turn in my socialist credentials. Life is full of contradictions.Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 23, 2007

Evi Edna Ogholi - Happy Birthday

One good turn deserves another. Last month, Peggy was kind enough to acknowledge my birthday. After searching her blog, Hidden Haven Homestead, I found out that her birthday is March 24.

Happy Birthday Peggy! I am sure there will be many who will be thinking of you on your birthday and wishing you all the best. I am sending you my best wishes through the singing of Evi Edna Ogholi on
this YouTube video. I hope you have a spendid birthday.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Four Years of Destruction

I have been wanting to write something to acknowledge the anniversary of the War on Iraq. It is hard to put one's feeling into civil reflection. It has been such an outrageous fiasco that has destroyed two countries,
: one the cradle of civilization, (Iraq) and the other once a hopeful light to the World.(the United States of America).

We now know it was a fraud perpetrated on the American people and not a last response to a real and present danger to the US. It was in fact, the fulfillment of a plan that existed before the tragedy on 9/11, before George W. Bush was elected President..

The correct response to 9/11 should not have been a military one. What was required was an cooperative international intelligence gathering and police action to bring, criminals to justice.

To see how far off the mark the war was I suggest you read President Bush's own words. They are high minded and optimistic. How low the US has fallen in it's enterprise is stiking. These words disquise the truth that the war was illegal by international standards and from the beginning the Bush administration have been war criminals.

After 9/11 the American people as well as other, such as Canada, were manipulated by fear. This seems to have been a deliberate strategy of the Bush administration which saw such a lack of faith in the rule of law and the responsibility of a democratic society to defend not take away the peoples right and liberties, so carefully crafted over the generations. America has become a less secure place because of it as people has discovered how government is snooping into their lives when ever it wants to, in spite of laws that are supposed to protect the people from such actions. These draconian measures have often been criminal according to US law.

The Bush administration will be judged by history as the worst one. It has not only been involved in criminality, international and national in scale it has also failled to face the problems with in the US, a country increasingly falling behind other progressive countries in meeting the needs of it's people. The Bush administration has also been legally corrupt in many ways and incompetant in others.

What has been dishearening to some is the inability of the legislative branch of the American government to rein in an administration that is so bad for American and the World.

On the anniversary of the War in Iraq we need to think of those who have suffered as a result of this aggressive act by a country we like to think knows better. The death of soldiers and the dreadful injuries which have left so many with a lifetime a disability to remind them of their countries ignoble war. There are also the Iraqi deaths, mostly civilian and their countless injuries. They have paid a dreadful price for something not of their making. And then, their are the prisoners, illegally detained and tortured for up to five years. The vast majority of these will never see justice in a court and sadly most are innocent of any crime against the US.

Here is a website I visit from time to time which tally's the victums. Look at it long and hard. Try to fathom the suffering behind the statistics. All for nought.

I am a real softy when it comes to lists of names of dead soldiers. I can rmember sitting and crying over WWII casualties from the little college town I lived in Canada in the 60's. I have never know personally a casualty of war, but the futility of the deaths of a society's young and future is a overwelming idea for me. I was in the US during the Vietnam war and protested hard against it, so much so in a way I feel at time a Veteran of sorts of that war and feel I have over the years suffered some form stess disorder as a result. One of the things I would like to do is visit the Vietnam memorial in Washington but I know it would be too overwelming for me. Just thinking of it fills me up with emotion. And now we have new lists of name of soldiers and casualties. At the site mentioned above you can call up the list of names of dead soldiers by State. Pick a State, any State, and start to read the names. I have read the names for several s
States. I am often brought to tears. Such a waste, in lives and loves. For nothing worth dying for. All the patriotic nonsense used to get the young and often poor, to die for the wealthy and priveleged does not make the tragedy honourable.

As a human being, I will never understand how those who perpetrate such criminal and illegal wars live with their own consciences. How do the sleep at night. Surely, they must know they lied to themselves and then the rest of us as the justification for war.

The criminals of this war need to be tried and convicted for their crimes in an international forum. We know this will never happen. In the end, their is not justice for their crimes. History will judge and it will inform us that two countires were destroyed and are in need of repair.

Peggy's Pretty Farm

The little crafted farm, my friend June made, made me think of Peggy's place at Hidden Haven Homestead. Bunny rabbits and chicken abound. I regret they are no goats, the royalty of her animal farm. Think of them inside the cute addition with the window boxes.

In the novel, Animal Farm, it is the pigs that come to be "more equal others. That is more like my place. with nine overly affectionate porcine beasts. Peggy would not tolerates such aggressive creatures.

Besides a plethora of animals at Peggy's it always seems to be under construction with decorating and new animal housing. Truly a homestead lovingly put together.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

In the Yard

A nice sunny day! Still a little below freezing but their is hope for some warm weather in the next couple of weeks. The last of the snow will go. Here the animals are enjoying the sun by the shed. The hens are sitting at the picture window in the hen house enjoying the view. Daisy, the cow, always like to soak up the rays of sunshine. Lucy, the calf, is laying down no doubt thinking when she can next steal some milk from Daisy. Rosy the sow is loose also with the eight young pigs. They call come when I call, that can be a mistake!

I called the piglets up to the back porch. I sound like a supporter of the "Rasorbacks" . . . Soo, Wee! Here comes the pig parade. !

Here is the group feeding at the back porch. Poor Rosie is thin. Spring will see here beef up (pork up). I hope to breed her soon, if arrangements can be made.

Shortly after taking these pictures all the animals showed up at the front of the house. I am waiting to see if they will go back to the shed by themselves. It is nice and sunny in front of the house and their is a little grass showing they are feeding on. This weeks task is the string the electric fencing and try to confine the pigs. They have already been to the neighbours. Luckily, when I call. . .home they came trotting down the side of the road in single file. It is interesting the kind of control you can acquire over pigs with a promise of little good meal and a lovely back scratch. Sounds like a woman I knew once:)
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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Changes Around the Place

I have been busy helping Dave and June move into my place. We finally got the kitchen organized a little. Below is a picture of the relaxing end of you kitchen. My dining table used to be here but I have moved it to the middle of the room again. Where the brown cabinet is used to have a white one which stored food. It is now at the end of the counter. You can see a corner of it in left foreground. When I get some helo i will move my second freezer to the basement so i can have more room. We now have satellite TV for three of the four TV's in the house. The one in my bedroom remains with its rabbit ears. I prefer having only two channels to watch there.

Here is David our seniour resident. He has taken up a permanent position at the table . He loves living in a house rather than in his old garden apartment. Having been a logger and farmer all his life, raising 10 children, my place makes him feel more at home.

Here are June's two dogs, Daisy and Bobbi. They seem to be able to tolerate the cats and my dog, Ben and my neighbour's dog, Blackie.
The dogs are Daves constant companions.
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Thursday, March 15, 2007

About the Place

As they say on the News, first the weather.

After two days of warm weather, 8C, which brought on the Spring melt . The roads are down to the gravel and there are actually some bare patches of ground by the house. Another day, we would see the fields starting to show bare spots.

BUT, the cold decided to revisit us. This morning it is -15C plus windy which makes it feel closer ot -30C. The ground, which has thawing out was flash frozen overnight. Needless to say my pigs hunkered down in their nest of straw instead of coming to find me for their feed. No doubt in a couple of days, the Spring thaw will continue.

The good thing about this weather is that it slows down the melt down and avoids flooding. I guess the sugaring off in the maple bushes will be slowed to a standstill until the days are warmer.

The warmer weather worked out good for us as it gave us an opportunity to move Dave and June into my house. They are going to share my large house with me. It turned out they had more "stuff" than I imagined. Lots is going to the attic for storage and I hope we can arrange the rest without feeling overwelmed. They have some rooms for their exclusive use and we share the utility areas.

I pride myself on my Spartan and sparce living and try to have minimal stuff around (except books and paper, which I find hard to part with). I am fairly relaxed about this current invasion of my space. I guess Veronica's moving in for six month's last year soffened me up. I was more resistent to change back then. I could have done better by Veronica and told her more how I really appreciated how she made my house a home, (once I adjusted a little.) My house and my property is large enough I can find quiet places and quiet times for myself.

The day after Dave and June moved in there was a knock at the door. It was a handsome fellow who acted as if he knew me. "Do I know you? I asked." (thinking my memory was failing me.) "No he replied, but I know her. " He had spotted June. It turned out he was Dave's grandson. He is "Stompin' Tom's son, (I wrote a little about him, our Nationalistic Country singer, a few blog entries back). Dave's daughter was married to him at one time. June no doubt embarassed him by pointing out this relationship to me. Apparently, when I wasn't present she got him to promise to get me a copy of the country tune his father sings, "Bud the Spud" one of my favourite tunes. It is about trucking potatoes from Prince Edward Island across Canada.

I guess there will be other little surprises now that I am not living alone.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Roy Orbison. . . . "Walk On"

I have been a Roy Orbison fan since the '60's. He is one of the few singers I went out of my way to see perform live: once in a smokey drinking joint in Toronto and near the end of his career in a theatre in North Bay Ontario.
My favourite song is "Crying" like so many of his songs celebrates "loser love". Oh! how my life has been filled with loser love. As a romantic optimist I submitted myself to the vagaries of the pursuit of love and romance.
I could have done better!

"Walk On", is a little known Orbison song. It is good advice I never could follow.

I watched a movie on his music the other night and it reminded me how much I enjoyed his songs.

Friday, March 09, 2007

U.S. oil, foreign sources


Barrels per day (millions)

Canada 1.829

Saudi Arabia 1.471

Mexico 1.245

Venezuela 1.045

Nigeria 1.010

Angola 0.610

Algeria 0.421

Iraq 0.419

Ecuador 0.254

Kuwait 0.163

Source: U.S. Energy Information

I don't think most Americans, or Canadians, know that Canada is the biggest supplier of Crude Oil to the US.

You would think Canada would get more respect and concessions from our American cousins. Unlike Mexico, foreigners can own our precious energy resources. Sadly so! They are largely owned my non-Canadians.

Perhaps, it is time for Canada to take back ownership of this resource for the sake of national security. I for one do not think any of it should be exported but should be available only to Canadian as needed instead of being faster and faster exploited for profit, (for the short term benefit of some, and the long term threat to us all.) just to support the American wasteful life style. I guess this makes me a rabid Nationalist as well as a commited Socialist.

Afghanistan's Women's Plight

I have been tryng to write for several days a posting for International
Women's Day. Better late than never! I have been reading a lot about the plight of women around the world. None is more dire than in Afghanistan where in the midst of war, poverty and lack of services women continue to be limited and abused by rigid tribal customs.

Canadians are there trying to help the fragile Afghanistan government gain control over the country and begin the reconstruction after decades of war. The Canadian military is there as part of the Nato forces. They are trying to do some reconstruction work in the mildst of military attempts to impose security. In the end, it may prove to be a lost cause unless more progress is not made in bringing real improvements to the lives of the Afghan people Those in most need are women and children.

The Right Honourable Governor General of Canada, Michaelle Jean was in Afghanistan visiting Canada troops. She is the nominal Commander in Chief of the Canadian military and is there to show her and Canada's appreciation of their efforts. As she has done in Haiti and Africa she brings up the cause of women and the need to improve their lot.

Anyone who thinks the nascent democratic government in Afghanistan is anything more than democratic in name only is mistaken. Too begin with it is a government which only exists at the whim of the United States, the invaders. It does not have power and control over all the country. It has limited funds. It is also a very corrupt government where 60% of the parliamentarians are connected to warlords and drug trafficers. It is a start.

One of the bravest women in the world is Malalai Joyal a young woman who is in the parliament as a representative of Farah Province. She openly and to their faces denounce the presence of warlord and criminals in the government. She has been shouted down as an infidel and a communist and her life has been threatened. There hve been assasination attempts on her life. She is not without support. She is very popular among many Afghanis particularly women. She is an inspiration to them and seen more of them getting involved in their own "liberation".

Ms. Joya has brought her crticism of the make up of the government and its ineptitude and corruption to the International community. She has toured and spoken in Canada as well as other Western countries.

Malalai Joyal is a great symbol of the struggle around the world on International Women's Day.
If she lives long enough she will no doubt be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The improvement of the condition of women in Afghanistan will be a long slow process. It is a tribal and traditional Islamic Society. The Koran has enough wisdom which can be used as a basis for reversing some of the most cruel tribal customs. It will only come to pass when women demand it an enlightened scholars support their cause. With luck some day their may achieve the status of women in Iran, where women are among the most liberated among Islamic theocratric countries. (still well short of Western liberal democracies standard for women). As in the West it will take time. Remember it is within the lifetime of some that women had limited rights in Western democracies, in case anyone is feeling self righteous. Still women, in our Society, have not achieved full equality of men.

Malalai Joya confronting the warlords on the opening day of the Afghan parliament.

I urge you to read about this remarkable woman who gives one hope for the future of that struggling country.

Defense Committee for Malalai Joya ????? ???? ?? ????? ????2 Her fascinating achievement is documented here including videos of her speeches. A UN study of the condition of women in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Damn! It's Cold, Again

Winter returned. Last night it was -37C, with the wind chill. I heard on the radio the school buses aren't running because it is too cold. I guess those little dears can't take the cold waiting by the side of the road. "When I was a kid. . . . . . . ." It could be worse. Up on the James Bay coast (the real northern Ontario) it is near -50C

It seems we are being punished for such a mild early part of Winter.

By Saturday, it will be up around 0C once again. I imagine my 10 pigs have a great pig pile in their nest of hay. The hens will be delivering frozen eggs. My seven cats are in the house. Rabbits are safely in the basement. And, my dog and my neighbour's dog are here beside me in my room. They know better than to venture outside.

Today, the task is to keep the home fires burning.

Perhaps, I will read the book my sister sent me on treating your own Depression."The Feeling Good Handbook",not the most upbeat birthday present I ever got. Reminds me of the girl friend who gave me the book, "How to Become your Own Best Friend", as she told me our relationship was over. How considerate! ( That is a tale for my book!)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Good for you Miss Mansour

Rights need to be fought for one small issue at a time. Not often enough do we stand up but let things slide.

To her credit, 11 yearold Aswahan Mansour, a Canadian soccer player stood up and refused to remove her Hijab in a soccer tournament. She was barred from the game by a decision of referee, which his right to interpret the rules of the game set down by FIFA. Red card renews Quebec hijab debate

The rule against head gear is meant to prevent injury to the play or her sister players. There is no explanation of how the head scarf is dangerous, as it is tucked into the neck of the shirt in the way the shirt tail is tucked into the shorts. No injury was cited as an example of the danger.

FIFA and the Quebec soccer body supported the referee's decision.

To his discredit the Premier Charest of Quebec put in his two cents worth supporting the referee. Should I mention there is a election underway in that Province which has a long history of some nasty forms of discrimination.

To their credit, Ms Mansour's coach and team mates supported her as did other teams from Napean. They left the tournament and refused to come back to Quebec to play until the rule is changed.

Aswahan Mansour

Iranian Women Soccer players

Ironically, FIFA is encouraging women's soccer in Muslim countries. The Iranian women not only wear the Hijab but also a uniform that meet a standard a modesty acceptable to Islam in that country.

Why should a young Canadian girl by disrespected by not being allowed to wear her hijab: a sign of her faith, modesty and chastity?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Snow over the Moon

I was hoping to get a glimpse of the lunar eclipse today! No luck! we are having our second day of heavy snowfall obscuring the sky.

The weather is warm, just below freezing so the snow flakes are big and fluffy. We certainly got the 20cm promised. I suspect more. While this would be delightful just before Christmas, it is rather late for this season. Hard to imagine in two weeks the melt will be on.

Today's snow is for you, Peggy!

Todays' accumulation on the porch rail.

How everthing is freshened up. While it is warm today by Tuesday they saw it will drop to -18C
(0F) for a couple of days. That should be the end of the deep cold.
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Race: The meaningless Concept

The new face of Canada As children my family all looked like the tow- headed lad in the back row.

While Canada in the last twenty years has welcomed large numbers of Asians, Caribbeans, Africans and Middle Easterners, race is not a prominent issue in Canadian society. In fact, there are efforts to eliminate it when it raises it's ugly head. We have anti-discrimination laws that work. Police are publically criticized for race profiling. Newspapers are reluctant to identify individuals by "race" or ethnicity unless it is really important to the story. Officially "race" is not a concept used. It is replaced with "visible miorities" when discrimination issues arise. This is all part of Canada's official policy of embracing Multi-culturalism.

Two of my interests came together this morning: my interest in exploring the differences between the United States and Canada and my frequent exploring on the Internet, places in the news. This morning I looked up Enterprise , Alabama, which had its high school destroyed by a Tornado and today President Bush will visit. Enterprise, Alabama (AL) Detailed Profile - relocation, real estate, travel, j

Here is what struck me:

Races in Enterprise:
White Non-Hispanic (69.4%)
Black (23.0%)
Hispanic (3.9%)
Two or more races (1.9%)
Other race (1.3%)
American Indian (1.0%)
Korean (0.8%)

I realized I had seen this on web sites for countless towns in the US. What is the point of including statistics on "race" on a site about the town. And the categories???? What sense do they make. What is White Non-Hispanic. If one is to use White (trying to indicate of European origin) why further qualify it. Is one less white if you are of Spanish European origin? Of course, Hispanics come in many skin tones.

And then there is Black. This two is a meaningless concept. Most African American's probably have some while ancestors. Should they not be categorized as two or more races. Why do Hispanics and Koreans get their own categoris. American Indian is another can or worms if it means anything like the categories here in Canada: Status Indian, non-status Indian, First Nation people, Metis, Half-breed. If American Indian means any or all these I would bet their are more that 1% of the population that could claim American Indian. To explore the notion of race begin with Race - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia After reading this one will be struck at how useless a concept it is.

Race is a useless concept. There is only one race THE HUMAN RACE. Most recent research into this concept has focused on DNA to reveal how close and far and by what route we migrated for our African origin as people. Trace Your Ancestry with DNA -

This startling list of races, which I have seen on many web sites of American towns, made me look at the sites of Canadian towns. They do not include such lists or references to race. Usually, there are photos of people which indicate it is a culturally mixed community which welcomes families of many ethnic and "race" groups.

I looked up the government site on the ethnic makeup of Canada. Here is the summary of a study project Ethnic Diversity Survey: Portrait of a Multicultural Society: Product main page In this survey "race" is only used in a street level sense to explain discrimination experiences by visible minorities.

The American listing of "race" as important to understand an American towns and not Canadian towns, leads one to conclude American society is still obsessed by race and thereby racist while Canadian society finds race largely irrelevant.

For a country, that sees itself as a "melting pot" the idea of race should be melt away.Unfortunately it persists in the United States. Canada, which has been described as a "verticle mosaic" (a class society). {the book, The Verticle Mosaic, by John Porter seems to be out of print. This makes me feel really old.}, rather than a melting pot. Ironically, in practice Canada does melt cultures together in a couple of generations.

If American towns include racial make-up as a way of advertizing their town, I for one sees it as a negative indicator. I would would not want to live in such a racist community.

Friday, March 02, 2007

In like a Lion

Well! it seems March "came in like a Lion" and hopefully will go" out like a lamb". Winter is not through with us yet. We are enjoying a snow storm today. It is light fluffy snow which contrasts with the wet, rainy, icy snow they got south of here which makes driving so hazardous. The school buses are not running today, more do to the blowing snow than just the snow fall. If we get the 20cm predicted this will be our heaviest snowfall this year, which has had a disappointingly small amount.

On a mission of mercy, I made it to North Bay just before the storm started yesterday evening to perform a wedding for a young couple. The fellow is in the military and about to be moved to Comax, BC. (Lucky fellow! as British Columbia is a beautiful part of the country).

It seems the military does not recognize a common law marriage, as our government does. The military would not pay to move this fellow's partner unless they were married. (I must look into this.) I did what was necessary to see them legally married at their home on the North Bay military base. At some point, they will celebrate their marriage, when they can get back to their family and friends in Quebec.

For my American friends the Eastern Headquarters of NORAD is in North Bay. It used to be located underground in a man- made cavern but is now above ground. A sure sign the cold war is over. There are American soldiers here as NORAD is jointly operated by Canadians and Americans. They keep a low profile. I don't think I have ever seen one in uniform. In fact, you see very few Canadian soldiers in uniform in the community. My first antiwar protest was in the early sixties over the plan to have BOMARC, missiles located here. In the end, Canada refused to have them on Canadian soil.

I love the way the snowflakes look so large close to the camera.

These are the chimney's for my two wood stoves, a cook stove in the kitchen and a wood heat box in the basement.

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The snow obscures my neighbour's house 1/4 if a mile away.