Whiskeyjack


Whiskeyjack

I can’t take credit for this photo. My husband took it last October on the Duffy Lake Road between Whistler and Lillooet. Anyone who has spent time in the Canadian woods knows of the Whiskeyjack. Inquisitive, fearless, and able to recognize people as an easy food source – they gather the moment you step foot in their world. Apparently this one thought my husband’s camera might be tasty.

I say toss the Canada Goose; they’re cranky, poop all over our parks, and generally make a nuisance of themselves. The Whiskeyjack is curious, polite, and charming. In my mind – a far better representation of Canada.

Cuba and Santeria


Pondering religion has me taking a look at Cuba and Santeria. The birth of Santeria is unique in that it sprang from a measure of tolerance by Spanish invaders. Spanish plantation owners allowed their slaves to form clubs called Cabildas; a place where African slaves  melded traditional Yoruba faith with Catholicism. What sets this apart is that it happened around the same time Spanish conquistadors were obliterating indigenous civilizations in Mexico and South America.

No question the Spanish had no God but their own in mind, that said it’s fascinating Santeria was tolerated. Perhaps it seemed harmless enough as it wasn’t part of local culture. They were businessmen for the most part who might have recognized the benefits of keeping the peace.I suspect the clever practice of referring to Orishas; Santeria Gods, as “saints” duped Spaniards into thinking the imported work force was toeing the line.

Santeria believes in over twenty Orishas; Gods able to wear many different “masks” therefore perceived in other cultures as their own holy figures. It has no text, and is passed on by word of mouth. Money isn’t wasted constructing places to worship; ceremonies take place in private homes or rented spaces. It worships nature, and takes a holistic approach to healing. Followers are given a “mother” and “father” Orisha in ceremonies conducted by a priest. Orishas have different colours associated with them; followers wear beads to identify their mother and father. Offerings known as ache are sometimes made in the form of blood from animal sacrifice.For this reason many people think of it as Voodoo, a misconception built on one tiny aspect of a rather complicated faith.

It would take hours to explain the intricacies of Santeria. My kindergarten overview doesn’t do justice to a faith born and raised for no purpose other than to help its followers. Santeria doesn’t knock on your door with newsprint pamphlets, it doesn’t care what others believe or pass moral judgement. It focuses on drawing strength from within, and honouring nature. It accepts all faiths and welcomes anyone who knocks on its door.

Perhaps this helps to explain the joy found in Cuban people. People who laugh and sing despite the lousy deal they’ve been handed. Ponder our world if we took a lesson from Santeria and kept religion to ourselves. A world free of church leaders sitting on piles of plundered wealth, free of hatred, judgement, and the belief it mattered one iota which afterlife any of us found ourselves.

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Photo -aboutsanteria.com

Take “God” Out of Politics


I could care less for the religious views of people I meet. As long as they’re polite enough to keep it to themselves, I’ll take them at face value. Religion is a personal matter; it belongs at home, no one’s business but your own. Sorting out matters of faith is complicated; something as individual as each of us. In a perfect world it wouldn’t be an issue.

Our world is far from perfect. Religion fuels an ever widening gap that threatens to take us all down. It seems history has taught us nothing. For all our science and technology, mankind is no different than 1000 years ago. Scarier still – we seem to be walking backwards.

Fundamentalist Christian ideology creeping into the norm faster than Islamic Jihad. I can’t believe we’re debating abortion again, blaming Godless upbringings for pulling the trigger at mass shootings, or sentencing homosexuals to burn in hell.

I have a suggestion – a simple, logical place to stop this madness. At the very least – a baby step towards common sense. I’m going to single out America because like it or not America still packs some weight. America is fighting tooth and nail to preserve their second amendment “right to bear arms” . The founding fathers were adamant about the “separation of church and state” Lets fight just as hard for that principle.

I propose that any elected official be forbidden to use God or the Bible as a defence for their position. Further more – God would not be allowed mention in speeches under any circumstances. “God” has no business in politics.

Poverty, Disease, and Pollution


If society could adapt to change as readily as marketing firms, the world would likely be a different place. Not for the faint of heart; advertising requires cunning and the ability to disregard conscience and morality. Success granted to those able to put their finger on the prevailing social winds.

Social media is the ad man’s wet dream. Hit “Like” on Facebook, print coupons, sign up for free offers; not only are we doing half the work for them – our actions are tracked and analyzed. It gives the expression “finger on the pulse of the nation” a whole new meaning.

These days poverty, disease, and pollution satisfy the corporate bottom line. Buzz words like ethical, organic, environmentally friendly, and fair trade line the coffers. Philanthropy for profit, a resounding success. Anyone who thinks otherwise is sadly mistaken.

Known as “strategic marketing” or “cause marketing”, companies attaching themselves to social issues put smiles on shareholder faces. In 2006 the “Red” campaign was launched to raise money for Aids in Africa. Championing the cause were Bono and Oprah. Virgin, Converse, Dell, Armani, Motorola, Apple, and the Gap all sold “red” products with a portion of sales going to Aids relief. That year a reported 18 million dollars was donated; over 100 million was spent on the ad campaign, and profits for companies involved skyrocketed. Granted, they raised some money. Call me cynical but ponder what the 100 million they spent on advertising could have done. If conscious of anything other than profits, a true act of charity would tell the story.

Corporate branding with tragedy has become a slick, calculated marketing strategy. I fail to find anything ethical about this illusion. All I ask is that before going out of your way to purchase these socially branded products; you stop and think. If you believe in a cause; find a reputable charity and donate directly. Send the ad men back to the drawing board; profiting from tragedy is despicable.