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THE FIFTH COLUMN: Why Does Canada Participate in the Olympics Anyway

I took this screenshot (CBC website) of the standings yesterday showing Germany in first place with 8 medals, Canada second with 10 medals and Norway in third place with 12 medals.

Yes, that’s right, because only being the very best in the world (well best at that particular place at that particular time) counts, the rest are all losers, so it seems.

Why do we rate the Olympics that way. The

Politics, Re-Spun: The Ultimate New Year’s Resolution

It’s mostly us.

Many of us have heard of the idea of planning policy to consider effects seven generations downline. We’re pretty smart. It shouldn’t be that hard. But we have many incentives to think short term. Sometimes so short that we are ignorantly and apathetically victimizing our descendants.

But I’m going to challenge you to embrace this ultimate new year’s resolution…

How high does a barrel of oil have to get before we embrace the reality of our future and do something before our apathy victimizes us all?

- via Canada22: Who Will We Be Over the Next 7 (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Online Surveys, No Longer Much Fun

Once upon a time, it was fun to take online polls. For lots of reasons. But one of my favourites was to watch how poorly polls could be constructed.

Once, six years ago, Innovative Research Group put a racist poll into the field. It included questions about whether I had favourable or unfavourable feelings about various races and religious groups, sometimes lumping in folks who come from nearby places. It was disgusting. What DID I think about Blacks, South Asians [as opposed to, say, Asians], Muslims, recent immigrants…you get the picture. They didn’t ask about South Americans or Jews or (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Are You Just Too Tired? We’ve Known Why for Decades

You actually do deserve a break today.

What ails us?

A large proportion of the total produce goes to a small minority of the population, many of whom do no work at all. Owing to the absence of any central control over production, we produce hosts of things that are not wanted. We keep a large percentage of the working population idle, because we can dispense with their labor by making the others overwork.

I wrote about that small minority on Thursday, all those tax havens. But we should also recall that hyper-consumption destroys our environment and wastes human effort (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What Young People Are Teaching Us About Empathy

Click the chart to see more inspiring charts! Descending/increasing lines indicate less/more concern among different generations of high school graduates for the various ideas.

I have so much hope for the future. Sometimes I get bogged down by negativity, but that’s usually just circumstantial. It passes.

Much of my hope comes from observing young people. Teenagers who never believed they can’t change the world. Young adults whose careers/vocations are in the volunteer sector while their day job pays the bills [a work-life focus that, it seems, only aspiring musicians embraced in the past]. People who leave solid, reliable careers before (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: A Pinterest is Worth 1,000 Blogs

OK, maybe not, but let’s try this.

I’ve been trying to figure out how Pinterest could complement this website. We’ve kicked it around and ended up speechless. Which is appropriate. See below.

I was asking the wrong question. And since I slid into Pinterest this week I can see that it is a silence generator. It’s an iconic language. It’s a place to let images wash over my axons and dendrites and pineal gland in a way to stimulate existence just like words, but without words.

So to fully embrace irony, I have now written a blog post about what

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Politics, Re-Spun: No, Taylor Swift. No.

[Here is what some of us have been wanting to say about Taylor Swift, but didn't because A. Lynn did it first, and perhaps best, reposted her with her kind permission. Thanks to Jarrah Hodge for pointing us to this piece of brilliance! Enjoy! - seb] I’ve been mentally composing this blog for forever and [...] . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: No, Taylor Swift. No.

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Mens sana in corpore sano: a sound mind in a healthy body

Mens sana in corpore sano: a sound mind in a healthy body – a very good motto that is. The saying comes from the Roman Juvenal, and it applies as much today as it did two thousand years ago, of course. I’ve alternated, myself, between being a certified bon vivant, almost a regular Zorba the [...]

Politics, Re-Spun: Better Homes & Bomb Shelters

Hallowe’en is fast approaching, and the eerie spectre of a potential Romney election win is casting a pall over the southern horizon.

How does a prudent real estate speculator in the United States prepare for the twin threats of roving zombie hordes and political implosion?

Bomb shelters, naturally.

As a certified real estate professional gawking from afar, I found myself wondering just how difficult it would be for our friends in the US of A to locate an abode with a cozy little bunker of one’s own? A piece of land that would offer both the pleasing aesthetics Cold War

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Politics, Re-Spun: Gentleman! Step Up and Reclaim Your Wife! Pesky Newborns Be Damned!

Chattel.

That’s all you are, women.

The personal property of men.

If you dare to turn your attention to something as trivial as…a newborn baby?

YOU ARE LETTING YOUR KEEPER DOWN.

Your breasts are ALL his. All.

Stick some plastic in that kid’s cry-hole, STAT! Then get back to doing what you do best: being a walking pair of tits, for titillation.

Men, if she dares to try to use her breasts for functional purposes, stop her. RECLAIM her. Those are your jugs. You shouldn’t have to share your property with a screaming, red, angry sausage.

*Ahem*

If you

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Big boys in big girls’ shoes: the significance of Sharon Needles & RuPaul’s Drag Race

It’s not easy to explain how RuPaul’s Drag Race – especially season 4 – is more than just a bunch of big boys in big girls’ heels, to paraphrase contestant Willam Belli.

On one level, the appeal of Drag Race is simply that it’s a really entertaining reality show, smart enough to adopt the good bits of shows like America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway but with a wink-wink cleverness that stays just this side of satire. (It’s Drag Show’s surreal spin-off, Drag U, that is the truly devastating parody. Also, unicorns.) There are winners and losers, (Read more…)

Flashback: Kirsty Who?

Way back when, I wrote the music column for my friend Christine Renaud’s express and upfront magazines, dedicated to “art, entertainment & life” in Prince Edward County. This review is very typical of my style at the time (or lack thereof!). I really can’t be arsed to edit it.

Remember Robert Plant’s “Tall Cool One” video, with its Robert Palmer-esque disinterested, robotic models lip-synching for Plant’s studly big eighties hair? Me neither. Even Zeppelin fans ignore it. “Tall Cool One” does have one saving grace (for me, at least) – a backing vocal by Kirsty MacColl, who sings the (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Joe Fresh & Loblaws: Perpetuating the Early Marginalization of Women

Not so long ago, my friend Becca was shopping at her local Loblaws store (Real Canadian Superstore, for those of us who live in the West.)

Like many people I know, Becca approves of their Joe Fresh clothing line, which offers Canadians the opportunity to buy stylish and seasonal clothing at reasonable prices. Always colourful, fairly hip, and relatively well made, Joe Fresh offers people of all ages and genders opportunity to dress in a manner that would usually cost much more at other retail establishments.

That day, Becca was perusing the children’s section, looking for something for her

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