DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Tossing Pebbles in the Stream: 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 .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.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My Eye is Better

Some friends have asked how my eye is healing. Well it is better, as good as in this photo. It makes me feel so much better. Younger as you can see from my picture, sans beard. :) I feel 13 again. Damn! I was an handsome chap. As long as I do not look in a mirror, I can still be 13.

JackFrost dropped by

Belatedly I took a picture of the frost on my kitchen window above the sink. It was starting to melt as I had just done some dishes.

This is the window I gaze out of when I do dishes and meditate. (The zen of dishwashing). The coldest part of Winter is finally here and my old ill- fitting windows can get frosted. The nights these days sees the temperature drop to -34 C to -38C. With it rising to around 18C (0F). Not far south of here it dropped to -40C. Tomorrow they promise a warmer day at -7C. With a little wind it can feel much colder. These days the packed snow squeaks and my beard frosts up. . . . Nature's way of telling me how cold it is.

This kind of weather is a struggle which keeps one busy with keeping the wood stoves going and hauling water to the shed for the animals as my water line froze underground. Those of us who suffer from "cabin fever" or depression due to the low light will experience it in the coming month.

Some communities have Winter Carnivals these days which get people out enjoying activities and each other. These can be a nice break in the struggle of Winter.

I figure four more weeks of Winter, My mother always said, when she went into the hospital to give birth to me it was Winter but two weeks later when she came home with me, at the beginning of March, it was Spring. This rule of thumb has always been a guide for me.

There is not very much snow so far. Not enough for snowshowing. The snowmobile trails are only partially open. The toughest among us can go icefishing but the weather is more hospitable in March for my taste.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Reasons To Be Proud

"That will not happen. He is a Canadian citizen." These are the reassuring words repeatly spoken to Monia Mazigh when she told the Canadian officials that her husband Mahar Arar was afraid he would be sent to Syria by the United States. In he end, he was the victim of an American rendition to Syria where he was imprisoned under inhuman conditions and repeatedly tortured for a year. During his imprisonment his wife tirelessly lobbied the Canadian government to have him released. When he was finally released Mahar Arar has very publically worked to clear his name.

It has finally happened. After the public inquiry into the circumstances of his ordeal, Justice Denis O'Conner's report completely cleared him. He was the victim of wrong doings by the RCMP, who wrongly identified him as a threat to Canadian security and knowingly shared this false information with the United States. Upon his return to Canada the RCMP conducted an attack on his character to cover up their wrong doings. Justice O'Conner recommended a financial settlement and an apology from the government.

It has now happened. Prime Minister Harper officially apologized, on behalf of all Canadians, to the Arar family and agreed to a financial settlement of $10.5 million, plus his legal expenses.
Harper's Apology 'Means the World': Arar

Previously, the Commissioner of the RCMP, Giuliano Zaccardelli, apologized, before he was fired for being less than truthful with a government committee. Parliament has also previously apologized.

Sadly, there are still three other cases of rendition by the United State of Canadians to countries that use torture, that parallel Mr. Arar's experience. These need to be cleared up promptly.

If there is to be any good come out of all this, it is that there are two reasons to be proud of this out come. The first is that Mahar Arar and his wife fought and won to clear his name and defend his civil liberties. His defense of civil liberties is a defense of civil liberties for all of us. Perhaps, the next time government employees think of violating a citizens rights they will think twice. It is too bad more of those involved this time did not lose their jobs. They are unworthy of the responsibility of upholding the law.

The second is that the Canadian government has publically apologized and come to an out of court settlement, and thereby telling all of us that Mahar Arar is completely cleared and once again should be recognized as a loyal and trustworthy Canadian, beyond suspicion.

The Arar's make me proud that he is a Canadian and that he defended his good name so relentlessly. We are all better for his efforts. Hopefully, as the years pass he will recover emotionally from his ordeal and that he will once again find employment in his IT engineering field.

Shame on the Americans for continuing to keep Mr. Arar on their watch list. They apparently think just as little of our legal and political system, which cleared Mr Arar, as Canadian citizenship that they would not deport Mr. Arar to Canada. Canadians have a right to be better treated my our southern neighbour. We certainly don't need the American Ambassator David Wilkins telling the Canadian government to mind their own business when they try to right the wrong by having Arar removed from the American watch list.

Perhaps, Senator Leahy, from Vermont will get a satisfactory explanation this week from the Bush administration for their treatment of Mr Arar.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Circa 1950

(click on picture to enlarge)

Here is a picture I recently located and really like. It is my mother with my sister, Penny, my brother Richard and myself (standing). I had a sister who died at 2 months as a SIDS baby. Joanne would have been the oldest. My mother is 33 in this picture. Penny is 9, Richard is 4 and I am 7.

As you can see we lived in a wooded "rural" area where we enjoyed nature and played in the "woods". It was a nice place to grow up.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Around the Place

Some of my young pigs, a couple of weeks ago, meeting with me on the step of the porch. When you live alone you enjoy talking with whomever shows up. My pigs come when I call and are very curious. The really furry one is a my dog, Ben, who thinks he is in charge of the pigs.

Finally, I got all my wood in the basement.(It takes up a quarter of my basement in my 25' square house, piled floor to ceiling. Thank goodness Winter held off so I could finish this task.

I like to think of "doing wood" as a form of meditation, the zen of wood.

I really must get all my wood cut and split this Spring and put in the basement in September. Doing wood around here is an art form I have yet to master. Perfectly piled wood in people's years is a sign of their expertise. My wood invariably falls over. The wood in the basement has fallen over twice requiring repiling.

Mother cat and one of her kittens on the clothesline balcony. Mother cat has produced the plethora of cats that I look after.

Monday, January 22, 2007

News We can Live Without

Today the trial of Robert Pickton, the alleged serial killer of over 60 women in the Vancouver area, begins. If you know nothing of this case you are lucky but you are about to have all the details thrust upon you. Canada's largest murder trial to start - Yahoo! News

In brief, Robert Pickton was a pig farmer in suburban Vancouver who picked up women, most of whom were sex trade workers in downtown Vancouver to party with and then murder.

Until now the grizzly details of his crimes have been limited by the court so as not to taint the potential jury pool. Now the jury has been selected these restraints have been lifted.

The trial will last for a year during which time we will daily be subjected to reminders of the dreadful details. Pickton is being tried on six of the murders. He has been charged with 20 more which he will be tried for later. He is suspected of killing at least 30 more women.

It appears the bodies of his victims were disposed of by feeding them to his pigs, grinding their flesh up with pork and sold or given away to his friends and neighbours for consumption, sent to a rendering plant along with waste pig parts, where it became part of products for human use from animal feed to cosmetic products and some were left to decompose on his farm property. The evidence is so horrendous that some reporters who know the evidence have sought psychological couselling. The jury has been warned by the judge of the disturbing nature of the evidence which they will have to view in a year long trial. Death Farm News The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper

Most of the evidence wil be forensic evidence recovered over two years of work of digging up all the soil on the 17 acre Pickton farm and sifting it for pieces upon which DNA could be extracted to identify the women. It took 100 professional people to do this painstaking investigation.

The media circus is about to begin. The CBC this morning is beginning special braodcasts to follow this trial. They claim to have methods in place to self impose limits to the graphic nature of evidence reported upon. As we know, this will not be enough to limit the details of the evidence coming out through less responsible sources.

This case will fill the press in the US as well. These reportings are beyond any control the courts may put on distribution of evidence as we learned from the notorious Bernardo/Homolka trial, over a decade ago.

A plea of guilty would save us all from having to witness this trial for the next year. This would be too much to hope for. There will also be other trials in the future so it may drag on for years,

At the heart of this case are the lives of the women. As sex trade workers, drug addicts, native or troubled women their deaths went under reported and badly investigated for years. Who in mainstream society cares about marginalized women in the downtown core of Vancouver??? There are efforts to have the stories of these women be told with dignity and caring. These women were loved by their families and friends.

Hopefully, this trial will resolve issues for those who loved them and bring a kind of justice and dignity to their lives. Only if this is achieved will the trial have much meaning for society for the details are too ghastly to be told.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Little Mosque on the Prairie

These days Canadians are enjoying the TV series of Little Mosque on the Prairie. This is a light hearted humourous situation comedy about a small Mosque in a small prairie town, sharing rented space in a Christian church. Little Mosque on the Prairie

It is a safe shallow treatment of issues for Muslims in a Christian-secular society. It is a first effort to depict Muslims in a TV program where they are just ordinary folks working out issues among themselves and within their small Prairie town. Of late, Muslims have only been depicted on TV as villains in American propaganda programs. They have replaced the Russians, the Italians, Asians, and hippies, previously reviled groups in recent years. While Little Mosque on the Prairie is not very informative of real and serious issues for Muslims in North American Society, it is at least endearing, offering some balance to the badly skewed view of Muslims in the Society.

Al Rashid Mosque

What interests me is that the first mosque in Canada was founded on the Prairies in Edmondon, Alberta. Muslims first came to Canada about 140 years ago. Many were refugees from the Ottoman Empire. Like so many immigrants they sought a new beginning on the farmlands of Western Canada. Muslims in Canada, Like Muslims in the United States now outnumber the Jews in our Society. They have yet to realized their full power and influence in our multicultural Society. I once wrote a Muslim woman e-mail friend, studying in Canada, that the day will come when a news reader on National TV in Canada will be a Muslim woman wear her hajib. The day this happens and no one comments the Muslims in North American will have created a place for themselves as a group. This day is not far off. We now see East and South Asian Candians on TV without comment as being unusual. I remembers when we only say men of European origin in such roles in the public eye.

In 1938, the Al Rashid Mosque was built on the innitiative of a Muslim woman's group. Muslims of Edmonton The city of Edmonton donated the land and Christians and Jews contributed to raising the money to help their Muslim neighbours built the above Mosque, now preserved in a park in Edmonton.
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Friday, January 19, 2007

Well I am back, again!

Well my computer was not the only thing on the was on the fritz.

I sustained an eye injury when a hook at the end of a closer chain on the shed door hit me in the eye and hooked under my eyelid and ripped in for six stitches. "Oh, I have hurt myself was my usual expletive! ", I heard myself say. Followed by a "Damn!!"

It is no fun being alone in such a crisis. I picked up my milking pail and headed for the house, where I managed to phone for an ambulance. with blood streaming down my face.

Then, you wait, when you live at the edge of the area. Finally, the First Response crew from the adjacent town showed up. Shortly, the ambulance arrived and transported my to the local "hospital" where they sent me on the the hospital in North Bay. Luckily, the eye specialist was available. He gave me what I guess was a date rape drug and with a local anaesthetic he stitched me up, as I floated in and out of awareness. For someone who does not take drugs as a rule it was an interesting experience. I must ask what the drug was. I certainly relieved me of my anxiety. I have a strong aversion to touching my eyes,{ my nipples and my feet.} ( I think I just told you more than I should!) I was to go today and have the stitches out but my ride could not make it. Next week perhaps.

My computer has crashed for the second time this month. I wish I knew more about it. My old laptop worked for a while before it crashed.
Being without a computer is stress full but it freed up time for me to read a book on "Nixon in China". He used to be my favourite President to hate before George Bush, the worst President of the United States ever. I have gained some respect for Nixon in the foreign affairs field. He was uniquely prepared to open up communication with China. This book, revealed the complexity of his personality and gave me some insight into Kissinger, Chou En Lai, and Mao.
I am also rearranging my house to accomadate some changes around here.
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