Stephen Harper, Please Explain Yourself

Throw us a bone Stephen Harper, we deserve an explanation; any morsel of common sense will do. The question is simple – why do you believe Canadians should have fewer restrictions on guns?

With callously impeccable timing; on the anniversary of 14 women being gunned down at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, the Harper government plans for gun reform hit media with a bang. Perhaps scrapping the poorly managed “long gun registry” , with barely a murmur from mild mannered Canadians, set the stage for further madness. Without reasonable explanation I can only guess.

What shred of logic leads to the conclusion; hand guns and assault rifles should be declassified, making them readily available. Are we to go moose hunting with semi-automatic weapons, or pull out a hand gun when attacked by a bear? Despite considerable pondering, I fail to see why police should abandon regulations that require illegal guns to be destroyed. Likewise the wisdom in extending gun licences from 5 to 10 years.

The question is simple Mr. Harper. Sadly, my expectation for a straight answer is non existent. My only hope is that Canadians will wake up and ask – what are you doing to Canada Stephen Harper?

Stephen Harper with his cat; Stanley.

Made in China

It goes without saying that China is complicated.That said; messy politics doesn’t excuse flagrant disregard for health and safety. Pursuit of the almighty dollar has gripped the Chinese, who could blame them. The west has rolled out the red carpet, trade with China has exploded. We’re left to reap what we sow.

I’ve posted about tainted Chinese honey and pondered Chinese “ghost cities“.  While the bizarre existence of ghost cities; something the Chinese credit to real estate speculation, only serves to illustrate how strange China has become – honey is the story. Honey, vitamins, pharmaceuticals, toys, jewellery, pet food, ceramics, the list is as endless as it is scary.  This is not a ponder, rather a dire warning – think very hard before you purchase anything “made in china”.

We can’t apply western standards to their factories, we all live with goods produced in many countries where conditions are deplorable. Knowing that massive Chinese factories have installed “suicide nets” in response to factory workers leaping to their death, rather than face another day; isn’t the story. The story is what the Chinese put on store shelves.

Never mind the counterfeit goods, the knock off’s of designer apparel or pirated discs. Lets think about the supposedly legitimate goods we gobble up at bargain prices. Children’s toys and jewellery contaminated with lead and cadmium. Cosmetics with ridiculous lead content, pet food snuffing out Fido because of Melamine contamination. Pharmaceuticals sub standard and lethal, food products full of illegal antibiotics and pesticides.

It is beyond me how anyone could think this is OK. I can’t imagine what it will take to snap people out of their dream world and say – enough. For anyone who doesn’t think it effects them, think again. More than half the apple juice we consume comes from China, 90 % of Vitamin C, fish, vegetables and fruit are imported in staggering amounts. Food inspectors turn back thousands of Chinese shipments a year; in reality they are only capable of inspecting 1% of the imported goods.

The west will continue to be “played the fool” until we take a stand and refuse “Made in China”


Rather Blind than Fat

I’m no Kate Moss, nor am I over weight. By America’s Next Top Model standards my healthy size 8 would be considered “plus size”. North America has a massive problem with obesity. Statistics on childhood obesity are staggering, our “supersize” world is out of control. Just as remarkable are eating disorders, in no small part a result of impossible standards set by the fashion industry.

Arizona State University published the results of a recent study in the American Journal of Public Health. Based on a “blind study” of 100 women the results set me pondering. A shocking 1 in 6 said they would rather be blind than fat. It didn’t stop there; 1 in 4 would prefer herpes, severe depression, or alcoholism over a bulging waistline.

To be honest these results strike me as more disappointing than shocking. Women fought hard for the vote, equal rights ,abortion, and pay equity. Choosing a disability or social stigma in exchange for a size 2 not only defeats the battles, it proves women will never be equal.

Obesity is society’s problem, not limited to women; a concern to all. Until women are able to wrap their heads around the power of the mind, not the body – they will continue to be judged by their dress size.

Eating Disorders


Galactic Alignment

Mayan people were great time keepers. Able to calculate the length of a year, predict the spring and fall equinox, even understand that earth wobbled on its axis. As the much publicised Dec. 21, 2012 draws near; hype surrounding the end of the Mayan calendar swells. Barely a whisper is spoken of the fact the Mayan people had many calendars, some with dates thousands of years into our future.

Rather than ponder “end of days” or prophecy; why not come to our senses, and understand what is going to happen on Dec. 21. In relation to our known history it will still be a special day. Once every 25,800 years  a “Galactic Alignment” occurs. On Dec. 21, our winter solstice coincides with this event.

Simply put – at the winter solstice this year the earth and sun will be aligned with the galactic equator; the centre of the milky way.

By all means click on the links to learn more about this rare alignment. Certainly of interest; in particular the alignment of Sagittarius. In the 1970s a scientist monitoring radio signals from space noticed an anomaly coming from the constellation Sagittarius. He circled it and wrote “wow”. This is known as the “wow event” – the only unconfirmed radio signal from space.

Getting back to my point – the Mayans kept track of things. We know they had many calendars. I suspect  the “long count calendar” that ends on Dec. 21 is nothing more than an astounding countdown to a celestial event. How they were able to calculate this event with remarkable accuracy, we’ll never know. Archaeologists have managed to recover few pages from the Mayan daytimer. Lost to history, courtesy Spanish Conquistadores,  temple robbers, and grave looters, are the pieces that put this puzzle together.

Rather than dwell on end of days hype, I suggest we ponder the cautionary tale of ancient prophecy. Lets not confuse scientific documents with creation or prophecy myth. All ancient cultures, Hopi, Mayan, Egyptian, Greek, you name it – have similar stories to explain catastrophic natural events.  They all shared a connection to our natural world that we sadly take for granted.

We should all take a moment to ponder the accomplishments of not only the Mayan, but all ancient cultures. Be ashamed by our lack of regard for the world that sustains us, and take time to gaze at the stars. On Dec. 21 a rare galactic alignment will occur, be humbled by the fact the Mayans figured it out. The end of the Mayan calendar is simply a headline grabbing interpretation of a single Mayan observation. Probably nothing more than a simple multiplication table to the Mayans.


Office Party Refresher Course

My years in hospitality always peak at Christmas. Office party season; the “black Friday” for ballrooms, high end venues, caterers, and event planners. The spring and summer wedding spree pales in comparison. A wedding may take an exhaustive year to plan, follows an itinerary of speeches, dances and toasts. Most people know how to behave at a wedding. Restraint and manners apply to most gatherings. In fact the only function where common sense goes out the window seems to be the Christmas party.

Far from pondering human nature, reasons to “cut loose” on the company dime are clear. That said, I feel an obligation to offer an office party refresher course. In no particular order; some basic rules to consider…..

Dress appropriately, especially if you plan to “tie one on”. Do you really want to face co-workers on Monday morning as the “hot mess” who fell out of her dress.

Your company is giving you a nice dinner, a few drink tickets, and taxi voucher home. There’s no need to “pre-drink” or sneak liquor in.

Raise your voice in advance if you are vegetarian, vegan, lactose/ gluten intolerant, or likely to expire when exposed to peanuts or shellfish. Acting like a princess after the fact will leave your tummy rumbling. If we get a heads up, we’ll lay out the red carpet, nothing less than royal treatment. Demand it without notice, the shoulder you get will be frosty cold.

Don’t steal the decorations or wear them in your hair.

Don’t ask for a pole because you want to “limbo” When gripped with desire to limbo, it’s time to go home.

Never beg for a drink after the bar is closed or “borrow” wine from another table. Don’t embarrass yourself by repeatedly claiming the server took your drink in order to get a free one. You’re drunk, we’re not. What you think is genius; is just plain silly.

Thank your employer. Always remember – your behaviour is noticed.

Lastly; if you are the “boss” no respect will be gained by a drunken Karaoke session.

The list is endless. Unfortunately this ponderer is too exhausted after the 15 hours just spent on another office party.

the office season 2 christmas party 28

From “the Office” 2006