Feminism, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, SoCS

This Is Bogus, #SoCS

I have a beef for you.

SoCS

I was surprised with this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt.

http://lindaghill.com/2015/10/23/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-2315/

I thought, immediately about my mom’s beef, which is one of my favourite things she makes, and she makes a lot of delicious things.

I thought about how weird we all found it when our favourite Swiss Chalet, chicken restaurant, started selling rotisserie beef too. Weird for my family, yes, as that has been one of our favourite family restaurants and they are known for their chicken. They have sold hamburgers and fish and chips for a long time, so not really so weird. I tried the beef a few weeks back. Not as good as my mothers’ but still tasty.

But then one of my favourite movies of all-time came on the TV and a beef began to form, the non red meat kind.

Big Daddy will always remind me of a double date I went on, back in high school, and we went to see this one, one of Adam Sandler’s best.

It just recently came on NetFlix and I was happy then, but I can’t pass up a movie when it comes on television, even with the annoying commercials, which should be beef enough.

Then there’s the second most annoying part of movies when they are aired on TV and that’s the deletion of all swear words.

Butt instead of ass.

Of course, it’s a young child in the main role. In the film he says “assholes” and in the dubbed version he says “jackasses”.

Are they horrible stage parents, neglectful, who let their kid actor child say bad words?

How does the movie community get away with that, but we can’t let those words be said when the film arrives on television?

As for Adam Sandler: he can’t say “piss” when he sees how much of a puddle there’s in the bed-wetting scene. They dub over Adam Sandler’s voice completely, replacing “that’s a lot of piss” with something about lake Michigan. In that case, to me it sounds like it’s not even Adam’s voice saying the words. They must have gotten someone else to say that one, assuming we wouldn’t care or notice. I notice.

He’s allowed to tell the little boy to “shut up” still, but he can no longer shout “horse shit” like he does in the McDonald’s scene.

They can’t talk about testicles. God forbid you use the proper names for things, but using women )the “weaker sex”) to prove a point about not being manly and that’s just fine.

This made me wonder, again, about our society and what it deems appropriate.

We have violence, with a warning, or a later airing, usually after nine at night.

As for a movie playing in the middle of the afternoon, well it’s perfectly fine for the old man in this one to say to Adam:

“Bring it on Woman!”

It’s meant as a name he’s calling him. I could call that sexism. I could say that, although subtle and less shocking in the moment, it could be instilling the wrong kind of beliefs and feelings in young viewers, or even making such name calling okay for adults too.

In the film, the little boy learns bad behaviours from Adam’s character, until he starts teaching him better. We are afraid of teaching our children words, we think are inappropriate, “ass” for example. Then we go ahead and teach them to use “woman” as a negative name to call someone.

I am not saying one thing is worse or better. They are not the end of the world either. I just don’t understand our priorities sometimes. I don’t know what the right answer is.

Just my beef for the day. Interested to hear other peoples’ and I am sure there will be some, as this is a common use of the word. PErhaps I should have delved into the whole vegetarian debate instead.

Sweet Child

Oh well…there’s always next time.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Feminism, Happy Hump Day, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes

IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND: Lions, Tigers, and Bears – Oh My!

“Watching the news in the evening is a bit like being on an emotional Tilt-aWhirl. “Isis now sets people on fire.” “Harper Lee has a new book out!” “Some oddballs are bringing measles back because they’re scared of autism, which is a bit like saying I’m worried about birthday candles, so let’s start a forest fire.” “It’s going to be gorgeous this weekend!” “Look, a politician being deliberately rude.” “And also, look at these adorable puppies!” My limbic system does not work that fast!”

I would like to expand on the list of seemingly random news topics my FB friend started above, in my sporadic mid-week Wednesday post: IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND.

I thought about what’s been front and centre, in the news lately, and here I go:

**the recent hacks into the adult dating website Ashley Madison.

I don’t care what a couple consenting adults (and I use that term loosely) do, as long as it’s consensual. My problem is when there are lies and deceit involved.

The site’s tag line, “Life is short. Have an affair,” is the most offensive thing I’ve ever heard and I hate that it’s a Canadian company. My problem with it, even though it’s people I have no business with, is that it reflects badly on society at large. All I can add would be, I don’t feel badly in this instance, and karma’s a bitch.

However, this Vice article has an interesting take on the situation,

here.

**Then the long suffering story of Deflate-gate.

The final decision on the ruling and appeal is that Tom Brady is solely responsible. The coach and all others involved are off the hook, but of course Tom wasn’t the only one with knowledge, having done something shady here.

Tom Brady: Why I had deflate gate mobile phone destroyed

He destroyed his cell phone, for unrelated issues he claims, and now he is stuck with his mansion and his gorgeous super model wife. Poor guy.

I suppose all this affects other people, those who may not be involved. I can say it’s only a game, just a silly football player, but then I remember people and the pure joy I’ve seen in them when it comes to football, this team in particular. Although it may seem insignificant to me, I want to keep an open mind because sports can be a positive thing, something to make people happy.

On the other hand, cheating isn’t a lesson I want today’s youth to pick up from their favourite athletes.

**The Netflix Newborn Policy.

Netflix Now Giving Employees ‘Unlimited’ Maternity, Paternity Leave – HuffPost

“Looks like NetFlix is onto something,” the American reporter said, to end his news story.

They do realize how much of the rest of the world has been “onto something”, this something specifically, for quite a while now, don’t they?

First it was IT and tech companies who were in the news for offering egg freezing for their female employees.

Apple and Facebook Offer To Freeze Eggs For Female Employees – The Guardian

Do they offer on-site day care facilities?

The work force and these companies, society as a whole, has this whole thing all wrong. Don’t offer incentives for women to hold off on having children because they won’t have to worry, can focus on career, and just worry about starting families later. Offer time off for parent-child bonding from the beginning, without the pressures to get right back to work. Depending on frozen embryos isn’t the answer.

Why does America only seem to care for themselves? I am sure that isn’t everyone, but it’s still an “every man for himself…or woman, as it so happens” situation and this is so very backwards.

We are giving birth and raising the next generation. They matter. Invest in them. Don’t focus on money alone and what it will take away from everyone else.

No. Women are not going to milk it, having children just so they can get time off work. That is a silly excuse and a lame go-to rebuff to what most of the rest of the world has already figured out.

The other argument is, oh what about other women and men who have decided, for whatever reason, not to have children. It’s not fair and even for them. So life isn’t always fair.

I’m blind. What’s fair about that? I’ve learned to deal and they can too.

Even if this does start a trend, there will always be those who judge women on this, their loyalty or their work ethic, but now that fathers are included in this, I hope for more gender equality all around. This is including adopted parents too.

**Immigrants and migrants.

I heard it’s something like 2,000 so far this year. That’s the number of African and other migrants to have come, trying to sneak into Europe, being stuffed into boats by greedy smugglers, sinking and drowning by the boatload.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-33791920

It’s so sad, the things, the types of persecution these poor people are fleeing from, hoping for a safe crossing to a better life. They may realize how unsafe their journey seems, but are desperate and willing to risk whatever they must. Those who capitalize on this vulnerability are the scum, but with all these stories I’ve tried to keep an open mind, even if it might not appear to be so.

        And last but certainly not least:

With the story of Cecil the Lion being talked about everywhere lately, with airlines banning transport of hunting trophies and 90s favourite Beanie Babies soon to release one of the lion and with sales going to wildlife causes, I thought of a movie my brother and I watched several years ago.

This was still when we lived at home with our parents and when VHS was how we watched our movies, the pre-DVD era in our household.

Have you ever seen the film starring Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas?

Ghost and the Darkness

He was famous Doors front man Jim Morrison, Batman, and a blind massage therapist. It was his highly convincing role as John Henry Patterson, real life engineer and author of the nonfiction book “The Man-eaters of Tsavo” that is as far from The Lion King as you’re going to get.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man-eaters_of_Tsavo

“Even now, if you dare lock eyes with them – YOU WILL BE AFRAID.”

A blogger I follow said it better than I thought I could:

https://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com/2015/08/05/cecil-the-lions-death-highlights-the-fact-that-humanity-is-the-scourge-of-a-fragile-earth/

However, with all the animal stories in the media and in the headlines I try to keep an open mind.

In Zimbabwe, We Don’t Cry For Lions – The New York Times

Do we here in North America truly know what it must be like ore in places like Africa and Asia, where some of the most dangerous animals live alongside humans? We shout our disapproval when a story of mistreatment happens to get picked up, but what do we really know of it?

In the time of “Ghost and the Darkness”, we had no social media to spread a story far and wide in a matter of minutes or even seconds.

I do know that we are all sharing this planet and deserve to share its resources, but our shared use of all this gives those determined to destroy for their own aims the chance to mess it up for us all.

Oil here in Canada.

The clear causes of global warming and the power of nature, with the extreme weather and lack of water in not just far away deserts, but drouth in California, which is so often in the news.

Is it such a surprise that wildlife is being poached illegally?

I disagree with how we treat animals, The Calgary Stampede or the Running of the Bulls for example.

I have had and do have hunters in my family. I grew up with it around me at times. Sure, it was never my thing, but I went on eating meat. I still do. I am not a vegetarian, but I have vegetarians in my family as well.

I love my family and respect their wishes. It’s a little harder to judge those you care about and know personally.

I don’t see why anyone would want to hunt a lion for sport. I don’t get the point of mounting an animal’s head on the wall. What satisfaction does that possibly provide?

Someone needing to feel superior to an animal. Yes, we humans have advanced weapons and we can come out on top. Doesn’t mean we should.

Defenseless, like so many are afraid to be without their guns, we would be at the mercy of a wild animal or an intruder, both of which may very well intend to cause harm.

I want to understand those living in Zimbabwe, just like I want to understand why the people living in the remote Faroe Islands have an annual pilot whale hunt as a part of their culture.

http://www.mappingmegan.com/understanding-faroe-islands-grindadrap/

I want to understand different cultures, not to simply sit in judgment from over here, without the foggiest clue.

I am definitely no radical activist. I respect the passion they have, if all they want is to save a species from being hunted to the edge or off the edge of extinction. I often wish I had it in me to go out and make a difference, but for now I remain here, writing to hopefully make my voice heard amongst the roar and the uproar.

Ghost and the Darkness seemed a wild, historical, adventure film. I was hooked by it from that first time I watched with my brother. He described the scenes where Douglas and Kilmer hunt the bloodthirsty lions. Truthfully, although characters like the doctor (played by Bernard Hill) meet their end at the jaws of the killers, it was more the cow that was sacrificed by the people and the baboon used as bait to catch the lions that bothered me most.

This true story made an excellent film, showcasing what it was like then and now. Why humans hunt. It’s an important part of many cultures, since the beginning of humanity, and our modern times now seems to have made it a trophy sport, for pleasure and for fun.

So many traditions should come to an end, in my opinion. We must learn to let go of certain practices, to make way for the advances we have made and the knowledge we now possess. There’s just no need for some things, unnecessarily curl things.

I commented on the above blog on Cecil and the wider problems, and it wasn’t a very optimistic comment. The blogger tried to reply in a more positive light, but I don’t know how to look at our world in just such a light most of the time, if I am being honest. It is apparent that many people care, as the response to Cecil shows, but at the same time we are battling a large segment of our world that just does not care, is only out for itself, as I have pointed to several times in this week’s “In The News and On My Mind” post.

Then there has been the demand for blood, directed toward the dentist who killed Cecil. I don’t know the man and his motives, nor what’s in his heart. I don’t condone his actions, but he is a human being, therefore I believe there can’t be mob ruled justice, as outraged as so many are.

Why should be be honest in our relationships or in athletics?

Why should we care about those being persecuted in their own countries or those who want to spend time with their newborns?

Why does it matter to think about how we use the world’s resources or why animals are important to our planet and to its future?

I hope I don’t have to even answer that, but some people just don’t get it, nor do they care, and I’m not sure that can be fixed with rational convictions or logical bullet points. I don’t know why “every man for himself” seems to be how humans think and act.

What are your thoughts on any of these topics I’ve mentioned here today? The discussion needs to continue. for all our sakes.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, TGIF

Planting the Seeds of Compassion

1000 Speak

When it comes to compassion, what do a couple of wrestlers, a gnome, and an abandoned button factory all have in common?

I thought a lot about what I wanted to save for my featured 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion post. I came to writing about this through a mixture of things, all leading me here today.

Isn’t that how the best ideas come to be?

On one of the warmest days of July, 2013, family and friends gathered around to watch two people we cared about walk out onto a flimsy dock, in the middle of a pond on a large property.

The floating dock was made from recycled materials. This was a true reflection of the lovely young couple and their care for the environment. They cared about the mark they were leaving on the world around them and we all were there because we cared so much about the two of them.

Later on we sat at rows of tables, under the walnut trees, with a soft warm breeze. The rest of the evening, in fact the whole weekend, would be full of good friends, lots of family, and an extensive line-up of the music that clearly represented this most unique duo.

To them music isn’t just music. This is evident by the radio show they have done, Sunday nights, for years now: Non Toxic Air Waves is a place where they play songs, all that have a certain significance, as they have always used the platform to discuss, on the air, issues of sustainability and social justice.

They are truly an inspiring couple, for so many reasons, and I am proud to call them family.

To see them together is a lesson in true companionship, trust, and compatibility.

You may be wondering why it is I have chosen today to feature them. I hope, by the time I am through, this will be indisputably obvious. When I thought about how I could put my own unique spin on the topic of compassion, on this important day for underlining its importance for our world, I came to the undeniable conclusion that these two are the best example of what compassion means.

From summer to a cold winter day in January.

I wanted to speak to them about their life together and the effect they have on everyone and everything they meet. All their modesty aside, I believe they deserve the attention and the praise, although they did not ask for it.

Their property contains their house, a nursery full of native plants (during the summer anyway), swamp land and a woods. A pathway leads from house and nursery down to the pond where they walked out that sunny July day, to celebrate their commitment to each other with us all gathered to celebrate with them.

On this day it was snow covered and she helps me navigate my way. The three of us then proceed to skate on the frozen pond, (a clearly Canadian winter pastime), all the while we talk about everything under the sun…or in this case, the snowflakes.

As we make our way back up to the house to warm up, they show off something they are proud to show me.

They took an old pink armchair, started cutting holes in it, stuffing soil and plants in, and placing moss on.

In her words:

“It will be a living chair and will hopefully clean air: Yeah!”

Her enthusiasm about this old chair sums up what they believe so strongly and what they live through example. It made me smile when I first read those words because I could hear her love for the project in my mind.

As a young girl she sold tadpoles instead of lemonade and he learned about gardening and plants from his mother and learned to love the natural world by exploring around his home, while starting, at an early age as a boy, by working in his neighbour’s garden..

She graduated with an Honours Bachelors Degree in Environmental Studies, Environment and Resource Studies with a specialization in Environmental Assessment at the University of Waterloo (Wow! What a mouthful).

He worked in nurseries, greenhouses, and as a landscaper and is an expert on all things seeds and sod. He obtained a Recording Engineer Diploma from the Ontario Institute of Audio and Recording Technology (OIART).

Together they began Wild Life Gardening, started something they like to call Trash Theatre, and organized something known as Procession of the Species in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

She has taken her knowledge and, together with his creative abilities, they have developed lesson plans to go into the schools with Trash Theatre. Through interactive skits and creativity they teach children all about the natural world and all the species that that world is made up of. They use music and self-expression to help kids feel inclusive and to help them explore their individual talents and strengths.

I spoke to them as we ate vegetarian pizza, down in their cozy basement by a roaring fire, for over four hours that day. We listened to music the whole time, from jazz to reggae to rap.

Something like this, a calling that they seem to have for this stuff, it appears to be a love so strong and pure, almost beyond my ability to pin down with words here, but I had to at least try.

They taught me about the term “native plant species” and how vital they are to a healthy planet.

Of course the term is pretty self-explanatory really, but I honestly never gave it much thought before they brought my attention to it.

I have visited their beloved nursery in the spring and he took the time to show me just some of the plants they had, letting me feel and hold some and he made sure to show me the ones I could smell.

There’s always something new going on, at their place, depending on what season it is.

They use terrariums as a way of letting anyone have their very little nursery of their own. They sell these at markets on the weekends and they are working on creating a children’s book, another fun yet educational tool to introduce children to a love and respect for our environment.

I wanted to know more about Trash Theatre, Wild Life Gardening, and about what matters to them.

She showed me something then, a puppet made out of some sort of bright orange or pink fuzzy material. It had a mouth, ears, eyeballs made from styrofoam Christmas balls, and the eyelashes were made from reused yogurt containers.

These are the kinds of masks and costumes they make, for Procession and with school children during workshops with Trash Theatre.

He jokes with me about the time a woman came up to him and informed him that naming it Trash Theatre didn’t make it sound very appealing. Of course, to her, the word trash didn’t exactly conjure up positive ideas, it works for them and word of mouth is spreading. Through grants and the Ontario Arts Counsel they get sent to schools all around the province and the impact they have is making a name for them that only they could pull off.

It’s kind of like a continuous Halloween. They search secondhand shops for items that someone else no longer wanted, but of which can be useful to them.

The unique look he has, with long hair and beard, this makes him uniquely suitable to dress up as a gnome.

Yes…a gnome.

They do singing telegrams and where, these days, can you get a singing gnome?

For their engagement party they dressed up as two wrestlers: Hulk Hogan and Macho Man’ Randy Savage (guess which one was which).

🙂
This, I think I can safely say, none of us had ever seen the likes of before, since, or ever will again. This is what makes them two of a kind.

They then bring this freedom of expression to children all over. They tell me that dressing up gives kids the opportunity to be whomever or whatever they want, choosing to hide their faces, which then helps them to feel freer to express themselves and to participate in performing with the others.

They encourage every child to participate in some way, whether big or small, as a leader or behind the scenes.

He gets the kids to rap right along with him and they incorporate instruments and music into it.

She prefers to be in charge backstage, helping get the kids into their costumes.

They then use fun and interactive play to teach the classes about native plants and animals and how the children themselves can make a difference to these things and the environment in their own lives, in their own small ways at home.

They love all birds, such as woodpeckers and owls. They love and care about the health of native species such as monarch butterflies and bees, pollinators of the plants, which benefits everyone.

Procession of the Species marks Earth Day

I asked them why the word “procession”?

“Procession is more of a celebratory liberating expression, where parade is more of a military term, kind of like showing off or to concur. Eli Sterling, the creator of Procession of the Species in Olympia Washington, is particular about this,” I was told.

Also, at an old and abandoned button factory the two of them run workshops, combining science and the natural world with artistic expression

I wanted to know who they look up to, admire, or revere. When I asked this, he hesitated, saying he had to think because he’d not really thought about it. I was surprised at that.

She right away spoke of trail-blazing women such as Jane Goodall, strong females who have gone out and made a difference to the natural world.

He thought about it. He named writer Kurt Vonnegut, but really his biggest influencers would have to be his brother, sister, and his parents.

Both him and her have it in common that they grew up in good families with strong role models and close sibling relationships. A lot of both their love for the natural world and for teaching others how to cherish it have come from the amazing families they have.

So they’ve lived and worked together for so many years now. I must admit I have wondered what that is like, but apparently I am not the first to be curious.

The two biggest questions this couple receive are:

When are you going to have children?

And

How do you do it? How do you possibly work and live together without getting on each other’s nerves all the time?

They must be sick of these by now, I figure, but they seem to take it with good humour and wise and thoughtful responses.

They are very much of the “whatever happens happens” belief, not saying either way. This, I believe, is a very healthy attitude to have about anything in life. Their unique experiences interacting with children through Trash Theatre gives them a chance to have an affect on the lives of children, which would make them amazing parents one day, but they don’t seem to fret about it either way.

As for the second question…well, they are like anyone else, in that they have their moments.

She tells me he is much more laid back and that she’s often the one who gets worked up. At times like this, they go to separate ends of their house or yard or one goes off on an errand or to pick something up for the business. It isn’t rocket science really. She tells me she knows how lucky she is to have found him and the feeling is clearly mutual.

It is something you just feel when you spend any amount of time with the pair. They are one of those rare fits for one another. Their creativity and their care for the world around them is evident.

He has a photographic memory, whether its for music or for a type of plant.

Her passion for saving and sparing the planet is hard to miss and her desire to teach anyone who will listen makes her charming and warm.

He uses rap and free style, not only as a creative gift, but as a way of training his memory and as a type of self-expression and a form of therapy.

I wondered if they had the urge to travel and, if so, where?

They seemed quite content to stay here in Canada, specifically Ontario. It is their home and it is where they work so hard to make our natural surroundings thriving and healthy.

They love the work they do landscaping people’s yards, including mine. They did so much, planting native plants and a red maple in my back yard.

Having a big group jam session in their basement, with friends, is one of their favourite ways to spend a Sunday.

While the thought of growing a nursery/greenhouse is always there, they try hard to balance work load with enjoying themselves
Their true goal is to teach others how to best help our native species thrive so that we can enjoy them for years to come.

I really enjoyed my day spent with these two. We talked philosophy, music, and life in general. I felt like someone understood, as it gets harder and harder, in your thirties when everyone around you is having children, some years ago already in many cases.

Their words of solace and wisdom about love was just the perspective I needed to hear, as I saw just how wonderful it is when two people truly click and compliment one another as they so naturally do.

This couple has weathered a lot over the years and has built something and continues to build it, leaving a legacy and an example to the rest of us. The world would be a much healthier and more prosperous place if the rest of us followed in their footsteps.

I wanted to write about the difference they’re making and the people they are, on this day, because at the heart of who they are and what they do there is compassion for all living things.

Compassion for the natural world, for youth, and for humanity as a whole.

That’s what today is all about.

***

In the above article I reference material from wildlifegardening.ca and from conversations the three of us have had. All the rest are my own personal observations, thoughts, and feelings.

For more information on any of what I’ve written about here, please visit any or all of the following:

http://www.wildlifegardening.ca

http://www.trashtheatre.ca

This past month and 1000 Speak has been one of the most inspiring for me and I hope we can continue the momentum of compassion that we’ve started here.

Colors of Wind

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