Monday, March 31, 2008

On this Day in History

On this day in history, Newfoundlanders chose between confederation and dominion status by a vote of 51% to 49% for confederation with Canada. Not everyone was satisfied with the results, however, and validity of that vote has been debated in the years since. I am a proud Newfoundlander, I love that rock in the Atlantic like no other, but I also love Canada. It took a year living away overseas for me to discover just how lucky I am to be Canadian. I know many Newfoundlanders feel we would be better off on our own, and I am not sure I agree. Besides, the rest of Canada needs us- we brought a soul to the country, our artistic talents, our unique sense of humor, our quick wit and ability to cut through the bull. One need only to look to Ray Guy, Rex Murphy, Rick Mercer, and General Rick Hillier to see those qualities in action. We should be proud of all we have given Canada, and recognize that Canada has given us a lot too. It hasn't been a perfect union by any measure, but is something we are working on. It is something worth working on.

Happy Anniversary!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Turn it off.

There has been much talk about Earth Hour this past week. Some people seem to embrace the idea- seeing it as a positive step, though largely symbolic in nature, while others seem to mock the whole idea, seeing it as a feel good frivolous activity that will accomplish nothing. To those folks I ask: "What does doing nothing accomplish?". That kind of cynicism is of little worth.

I don't think anyone who is participating in Earth hour really believes it will have a huge impact on climate change- that one hour really isn't supposed to do that. It is more an exercise about ideas, about raising awareness, about showing our kids we are all trying to make a change, and above all, it is about how small changes can make a difference.

We all need to participate because climate change is not someone else's problem, it is ours. No one is exempt.

Yes, it is just an hour but it can be so much more if we just drop the attitude and try to make the changes we can. We need to be more proactive as a population- after Earth Hour we must continue to conserve, to reuse, to recycle. We need to demand better packaging, and more responsible waste management of our manufacturers. We need to ask of our government, of our communities, of ourselves, what next?

Earth Hour will not make the changes we need, but it is a step. As the Chinese proverb says" A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step".

Side note: Whomever the dimwit was at the CBC who labeled the Earth Hour activity a bandwagon should be tarred and feathered and hung from Gallows Hill. Way to set the tone for the cynics and lazy arses, Dilbert.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Newfoundland Artist Peter Jacobs

I have been a Facebook now for about half a year- and as much as people complain about it being highly addictive and point to issues of privacy, I think it has been one of the Internet’s savviest offerings. It has been great for me to connect with friends I have not spoken with in ages, and family I seldom get to see. But it’s also a wonderful platform for talented artists to engage a wider audience.

Recently my Aunt Minnie and I became Facebook friends and knowing how much I missed home she sent me a link to a song called Take Me Back, by Newfoundland artist Peter Jacobs. I think I must have watched it about eight or nine times, nodding my head to the lyrics, and trying to ignore the lump that formed in my throat. This guy was singing what I feel in my heart when I think of home. It is almost anthemic in sentiment and it reminds me of “Song for Newfoundland”, by Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers.

I contacted Peter to ask him about his music and the story behind it. Like many Newfoundlanders he left the Rock in search of work: "I left like most everyone else, having too, not wanting too. Lucky enough to get a job in the forestry industry. But like most everything else it didn't last…Take Me Back came from seeing some of my family members, friends and even people I didn't know having to leave everything they own and move away. And being from a small town when you hear that someone is going away; it's the talk of the town months before they leave and months after they are gone. Counting the empty houses over again, counting the people that are left. You can see it in most everyone's eyes that they would rather stay, and if everyone had the choice to come back having found work back home I’m sure they would... seems like resettlement of outport towns all over again. After I thought about the first few words to Take Me Back, I think it was written in about 20 minutes. The words flew almost too fast to write them down and could have went on and on”

Peter has been playing music most of his life can remember a time as a young fella performing in pool hall with a crowd of “older ones” paying him quarters to sing “made over three dollars one night, thought I had her made!” He laughs.

Like many Newfoundlanders, Peter’s family figured largely in developing his talent for writing and performing. He would often go to his Aunt Daisy's house at recess time and sing for her. Everyone in his family loved music and his parents always encouraged him to play. His brother is also a singer, songwriter who plays guitar and the accordion. “Well, growing up…my brother, he was away a lot and I always loved it when he got to come home and I could hear him playing and singing. Good ole Kitchen party was always the best thing to be a part of.”

Peter started to think about making a CD with his music after seeing an ad in the local paper calling for local song writers. The CD he has out now was a collaborative effort with Devin Robinson of , guitarist Clint Curtis, accordion player Aubrey Cull, and drummer Stefan Davis. A new CD is also in the works and should be released in a few months. His current CD is available for purchase on his website.

I asked Peter what he thought it was about Newfoundland that keeps calling people home, and whether or not he would consider leaving the Rock again. He credits our love of the Island with “the friendly, kind, generous, atmosphere that most everyone that comes here sees. A very laid back, slower pace of life”. He does not want to leave the Island, but believes that choice is “something me and lots others really haven't got much control over” We discussed the future for Newfoundlanders, specifically those who had to leave the Rock, to return only on special occasions and holidays. I wondered how Peter felt about claims The Rock was about to see better times, that people may be able to return.

“They (the MPs) have been talking about better time ahead for years. But as I say in a song I wrote a few days ago:

So we go on and wonder how much more we can take
MPs say they can do the job they have a plan in place
The’re not the ones who pay the price for mistakes they make
It's the loved ones from our down-home shores that have to move away

I honestly don't think that it's gonna change anytime soon”

Sadly, Peter, I think you are right.

Anyway folks, have a listen and pass it on to another homesick Newfoundlander.

*Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me Peter.
I wish you all the best in your music career.*

Thursday, March 20, 2008

That has got to suck...

Picture it, you are checking your lotto numbers and see one by one the numbers matching the winning number. Your heart is racing, your palms are sweating, the ticket is shaking in your hand: so far you have all of the numbers correct...except that last one! Damn!

But hey, that is still worth a nice piece of coin right?

Normally, yes.

Not this time though.

Not for you and 238 other people who had tickets with five of the six correct numbers, plus the bonus number, in Wednesday night's Lotto 6-49 draw.

I haven't checked my numbers yet- but I am sure if there is a lotto draw win slated for me in my lifetime, this is the one I will hit.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Peep Show for the Easter Season

Just wanted to wish you all a safe and Happy Holiday this easter! Go easy on the Peeps.

And for more Peeps on display check this out. (Thanks Karen!)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Education is not a liability

It is an investment; like all good investments it takes years to pay off. You would think a Finance Minister would be aware of this basic fact of economics. If he is aware, it appears that Jim Flaherty cares less about that then he does getting those photo ops with the wife and kids just right. Stop sending that crap to me in the mail Jim! I don't want a Christmas card from you. Or a bulletin from your wife on her community contributions. Can't you people think of better ways to spend that money?

Apparently he can't, because that little prick is going to quash a bill that would allow parents to contribute up to $5,000 annually for each child to a Registered Education Savings Plan – and deduct the amount from their income taxes.

I guess it sounded too much like a good idea. One that will help families make a better life for their children. Children who, as well educated, trained, skilled tax paying adults would help to make a stronger Canadian economy. But who needs that hey Jim? Your kids won't have to worry, and I guess that is all that really matters.

Isn't it ironic, after all the Conservatives whining about the Senate, that they spent a great deal of time trying to convince that very same Senate to kill the bill. If not kill it, have the Senate Tories two-step around it long enough for Jimmy to get his work-around in place.

I don't believe he is really killing this bill because he feels it "imperils the fiscal plan of the government". Nope, this is more about forcing an election at a time when his government is comfortable no one really wants to vote for the other guys in the big house.

Be that as it may gentlemen, but I will not be voting Conservative this election. I am sure there is a Green Party Candidate in the woodwork somewhere who will get my vote. Cripes, at this point I would seriously consider the Yogic Flyers.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Great. Just freaking great.

More snow.

It is bad enough that we have been dumped on time and time again, but we have to put up with people who feel the need to say things like "Cold enough for ya?" .

In the nine years I have lived in the GTA, I have never seen this much snow on the ground, for this long. It is so unusual for this area that there is an actual snow shovel shortage.

It is not just the snow, it is the grey sky, the lack of light. It is really starting to mess with my head. The poor shaggers at the Weather Network are getting desperate too- they just don't know how else to say more snow is coming. The latest warning for our area reads : Menacing Snowstorm for Southern Ontario. Jeeze b'yes, what the hell do you mean menacing? It is just a bit of snow.

Yes the sight of it makes me want to ram hot pokers in my eyes. Yes, you mainlanders have no idea how to drive in the stuff. Yes, it is going to be a bitch to shovel. But it is just snow. Not the Lord of the Nazgul, hungover and horseless.

All the same, I am sick of winter. Steve had it right when he posted this lovely postcard to Mother Nature.

Hey Ma Nature, whatever we did to piss you off, we are sorry, and we won't do it again. We would like a new season please.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Kids music, to whose ears?

I never planned on having children. Kids under five confuse and terrify me, and they know it too. Some of them take advantage of that fact and dance on my head, knowing I will go tharn; stare off into the distance and wait for the parents to come save me. Others are more wary- they retreat to a corner and play quietly, eyeing me slyly from the corner of their eyes. I do the same. While the quiet ones are easier to manage, I always viewed them with even more suspicion and fear then their more demonic, louder counterparts. I knew what to expect from the loud obnoxious kids, the quiet ones could plan, they could really do some damage.

So when I found out my womb had been invaded I knew my life was in for some major changes and that I was not going to enjoy some of them. Kids music and entertainment is probably the big one for this stage of the post gestation period. From those bloody inane Mommy and Me groups with Circle Time and Musical Babies to the god awful Story Hours from older women with big poppy eyes and high pitched voices, kids entertainment can really make you want to drink the Kool Aid.

Don and I really could not do it for long, we made the effort but after a time we could not stomach the music anymore. We play stuff that we listen to for The Boy, which is quite the range of music, pretty much everything except country (I would rather floss my teeth with my own spine than listen to that twanged out caterwauling) and rap (Kill whitey, bang da ho, pop dis one or dat one, are messages my son can do without). So when I saw this video on You tube I could totally relate.

But yeah , we do make concessions. There is a fair amount of Baby Einstein viewing that goes on in our home. I try to look away- but it is oddly compelling stuff. We have a friend who survived the 60's who upon seeing the videos described it to being stoned and watching a Lava Lamp. After awhile, you start to understand what the lamp is trying to tell you.

If you haven't seen a Baby Einstein video before- count yourself lucky and then go Google one before you look at this dark offering. This video is not what we show The Boy but it is exactly what those wacked out videos look like to adults. Enjoy: