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Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

Podcast from Podomatic – Part 11

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on September 30, 2010 at 6:00 AM

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Podcast from Podomatic Part 10

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on September 29, 2010 at 6:00 AM

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Podcast from Podomatic Part 9

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on September 28, 2010 at 6:00 AM

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Podcast from Podomatic Part 8

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Technology, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on September 27, 2010 at 6:00 AM

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Podcast from Podomatic Part 7

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on September 26, 2010 at 6:00 AM

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Podcast from Podomatic Part 6

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on September 25, 2010 at 6:00 AM

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Podcast on Podomatic Part 5

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on September 24, 2010 at 6:00 AM

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Podcast from Podomatic – Part 4

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on September 23, 2010 at 3:00 AM

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Podcast from Podomatic – Part 3

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on September 22, 2010 at 6:00 AM

https://kakonged.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/podcast-march-12-2010-1.wav

Podcast from Podomatic – Part 2

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on September 21, 2010 at 6:00 AM

https://kakonged.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/podcast-march-12-2010-31.mp3

Podcast from Podomatic – Part 1

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on September 20, 2010 at 6:00 AM

https://kakonged.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/podcast-may-22-2009-11.mp3

vRetta Shifts Paradigm from E-Learning to Cloud Learning

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Opinion, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on September 19, 2010 at 3:00 AM

Anand Karat - September 19, 2010

TORONTO – August 18, 2010 – vRetta, an education company that uses cutting-edge immersive technologies to create business simulations, e-learning courses, and online learning platforms, announced today the industry’s need for a paradigm shift from standard e-learning to Cloud Learning.

“Standard e-learning is in need of a radical transformation,” says Anand Karat, President of vRetta. “People are being trained using e-learning courses which are nothing but slideshows with an audio track that has minimal interactivity. It’s time to provide learners with enriching and impactful learning experiences.”

“Today, emerging Cloud Learning technologies are enabling organizations to deliver their e-learning content through a virtualized pool of thousands of remotely hosted secure servers across the globe,” says Charles Anifowose, Director of New Media at vRetta.

Cloud Learning technologies increase the bandwidth available for content delivery, permitting the use of immersive cinematographic techniques to create highly engaging business simulations that enhance the learning experience. These highly interactive experiences feed into sophisticated, data-rich statistical software, which administrators use to assess and evaluate both hard- and soft-skills learning outcomes.

vRetta announces the need for a paradigm shift from Standard E-learning to Cloud Learning through the release of this short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmZL-5h5zeE

About vRetta

vRetta specializes in the production of finely-tailored training and learning content, course design, learning platforms, and statistical assessment and evaluation tools that are delivered on-demand. vRetta also offers its expertise in providing organizations and academic institutions with learning solutions through its consultative practices.

While empowering learners with virtual simulations and immersive learning tools, vRetta’s Cloud Learning stimulates engagement and learner retention, which significantly reduces the time to proficiency and improves ROI on training initiatives.

For more information, visit www.vretta.com.

WEEK 2 – SPACE PLANNING: DEFINING KEY PIECES (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on September 18, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Clare Kumar - September 18, 2010

By Clare Kumar

Pretend you are visiting your office for the first time. Take a look around with fresh eyes. What do you see? Does every piece of furniture serve the purpose it was intended for? Are there pieces simply attracting piles of paper? Often when we spend a lot of time in a place, be it work or home, we stop really seeing what’s there. We just accept that it’s supposed to be there, whether it’s working or not.

To make sure that everything in your office ought to be there, take the following steps:

1. Identify your work activities

Analyze how you spend your time at work and what activities you engage in. Referring to your calendar can help ensure you include all the activities that are critical to your work. Some activities to consider are:

Pretend you are visiting your office for the first time. Take a look around with fresh eyes. What do you see? Does every piece of furniture serve the purpose it was intended for? Are there pieces simply attracting piles of paper? Often when we spend a lot of time in a place, be it work or home, we stop really seeing what’s there. We just accept that it’s supposed to be there, whether it’s working or not.

To make sure that everything in your office ought to be there, take the following steps:

1. Identify your work activities

Analyze how you spend your time at work and what activities you engage in. Referring to your calendar can help ensure you include all the activities that are critical to your work. Some activities to consider are:

* Working with a computer to manage email and work on documents, or to talk with others
* Writing to create content, manage your calendar, jot down ideas or conversation notes
* Meeting with others face-to-face to talk informally, deliver presentations or hold collaborative work sessions
* Preparing or collating documents
* Talking on the phone for anything from quick chats to lengthy conference calls

2. Select furniture pieces that support your work

You might think this is an obvious step, but it often gets less thought than it should. Your ideal furniture depends on the kind of work you do, and how you like to do it. I’ve seen people take phone calls sitting at their desks while others need space to walk around while talking. Knowing your preferences is an important step in building a functional office.

Let’s take a look at the furniture required to support using a computer, for example. You might need a surface for the computer laptop or keyboard and monitor, a chair, a place for hard drives, a backup system, printing and scanning devices, modems, routers and other peripherals.

Think through each activity and list all the key pieces you require. It’s easy to look at a magazine photo of an uncluttered desk and forget all the items that must be accommodated. Be careful to marry the need for function with your passion for form.

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

Week 2 – Space Planning: Effective Storage (Originally Published in GetConnected.com)

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on September 17, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Clare Kumar Writes About Organizing Your Office Space – Photo Courtesy of GetConnected.com

Clare Kumar - September 17, 2010

By Clare Kumar

After defining the key furniture pieces you need to support your work, the next step is determining appropriate storage systems. Storage is all about locating the necessary tools and information easily and retrieving them with the appropriate expenditure of energy. Rather than thinking about a storage system, it may be helpful to think of a “finding system”.

1. Identify what you need to store

For each activity involved in your work, develop a list of the sources of information, reference materials and office supplies you use. Imagine a day in your office, from entering in the morning, through work periods, breaks, lunch and leaving at the end of the day. That way you won’t forget to consider creating homes for things such as cleaning supplies and places to store clothes and food.

You will also want to think of what is incoming and outgoing for each activity and make sure there is space for each process. For dealing with paper mail, for example, you’ll want to make space for sorting incoming mail, filing active work and reference material, and both shredding and recycling.

2. Determine the most convenient place to store things

Where to store things will depend upon the frequency of use, personal preferences and ergonomics, and of course the space you have available.

Basic organizing principles tell us that the most often used items should be placed close at hand. I call this ‘prime real estate’.

After defining the key furniture pieces you need to support your work, the next step is determining appropriate storage systems. Storage is all about locating the necessary tools and information easily and retrieving them with the appropriate expenditure of energy. Rather than thinking about a storage system, it may be helpful to think of a “finding system”.

1. Identify what you need to store

For each activity involved in your work, develop a list of the sources of information, reference materials and office supplies you use. Imagine a day in your office, from entering in the morning, through work periods, breaks, lunch and leaving at the end of the day. That way you won’t forget to consider creating homes for things such as cleaning supplies and places to store clothes and food.

You will also want to think of what is incoming and outgoing for each activity and make sure there is space for each process. For dealing with paper mail, for example, you’ll want to make space for sorting incoming mail, filing active work and reference material, and both shredding and recycling.

2. Determine the most convenient place to store things

Where to store things will depend upon the frequency of use, personal preferences and ergonomics, and of course the space you have available.

Basic organizing principles tell us that the most often used items should be placed close at hand. I call this ‘prime real estate’.

Personal preferences affect storage choices. For example, you may prefer to file papers in folders while others prefer binders. You may like to use a notebook to capture ideas while others will write them down on a whiteboard. Let your preferences be your guide, for if you choose a system that doesn’t suit how you like to work you will be less likely to use it.

Considering ergonomics means that heavy items will be placed at waist height and lighter items in harder to reach places to avoid back strain and possible injury.

If office space is in short supply, consider customizing the space and using specific organizing tools to fit your needs. It will certainly make the most of the space you have.

3. Know your company policies, insurance requirements, and legal obligations

Privacy regulations, insurance policies, and often internal corporate policies provide strict guidelines regarding the storage and disposal of business information, particularly if your business involves gathering a client’s personal or business information.

It may mean having lockable cabinets in your office to restrict access to sensitive information. You may require an easily accessible shredder to destroy documents. Metal cabinets may be required to help prevent loss in a fire. Detailed information and strict guidance regarding the storage of business data can be found at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s website. Investigate what applies to you.

Coming up next in the series: Space Planning – The Office Layout

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

Source: http://www.getconnectedmedia.com/blog/author/Clare%20Kumar

CRTC Changes to Community Television

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Technology, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on September 16, 2010 at 8:00 AM

CRTC - September 16, 2010

CRTC changes community television policy to enhance local participation

OTTAWA-GATINEAU, August 26, 2010 — The Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today issued a new policy that will
give Canadians more opportunities to participate in their community
television channels. The CRTC’s policy will also ensure that these
channels better reflect the realities and interests of local citizens.

“Community channels give Canadians the unique ability to see themselves
and their neighbourhoods, towns, and cities reflected on television,” said
Michel Arpin, the CRTC’s Vice-Chairman of Broadcasting. “This can only be
achieved through equal partnerships between cable companies and the
communities they serve. Access to the broadcasting system must be as open
as possible, especially for people who are new to the production of
television programming.”

Under the new policy, the CRTC will require that community members must be
involved in the creation of at least half of a community channel’s
programming. This means that the original idea for a program must come
from members of the community, who must also be involved in some aspect of
the production, whether in front or behind the camera.

Additionally, at least half of a channel’s programming expenditures will
have to be devoted to this type of programming, as well as to community
outreach initiatives and the training and development of volunteers.

Given the significant changes to the policy, the CRTC has determined that
the new requirements will take effect on September 1, 2014.

The CRTC has also introduced measures to improve the accountability and
transparency of the funds’ cable companies allocate to the operation of
their community television channels. Cable companies will have to provide
this information on a yearly basis starting in 2012.

Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-622
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2010/2010-622.htm

The CRTC
The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises
broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.

Reference document:

Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2009-661
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2009/2009-661.htm

Innoversity Roadmap 2030

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Disability, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Religion, Sports, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on September 15, 2010 at 4:41 PM

Innoversity - September 15, 2010

Innoversity – September 15, 2010

Hello,

I’m writing to let you know about an upcoming event on engaging visible minority, Aboriginal and disabled communities in public policy development and implementation. It is called Roadmap: 2030, which would be of great interest to your staff and contacts. Community Organizations such as yours are eligible for our subsidized rate of only $100 per person for the 2-day event – please see the pdf flyer attached.

Roadmap: 2030 is a two-day event being held on September 21 & 22 in the Appel Salon of the Toronto Reference Library. It will bring together community organizations representing a visible minority, Aboriginal and disabled Canadians, policy developers, service agencies, NGOs and political parties and will offer best practices and insight into engaging and collaborating with diverse communities to identify their needs and priorities and develop solutions to the issues facing those communities. From identifying stakeholders to building community capacity to finding unique methods of consultation and engagement, Roadmap: 2030 will give attendees tangible practices and ideas that they can put into place immediately to jump-start or enhance their diversity efforts.

You will hear from policy developers, academics, media and community organizers on innovative ways for the public sector and ethnocultural, Aboriginal and disability communities to collaborate, identify the needs and priorities of diverse communities and leverage the economic and competitive advantages Canada’s diversity offers. Click for more about our sessions.

Speakers include:

John Tory (Chair, Toronto City Summit Alliance),

Justice Murray Sinclair (Chair, Truth & Reconciliation Commission),

Peter Dinsdale (Exec. Director, Natl. Association of Friendship Centres),

Alia Hogben (Exec. Director, Canadian Council of Muslim Women),

Michelle DiEmanuele(CEO, Credit Valley Hospital),

Gerard Etienne (Director General – HR, Health Canada),

Katherine Hewson (Asst. Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Citizenship & Immigration),

Don Lenihan (VP, Public Policy Forum),

Ratna Omidvar (Exec., Director, Maytree Foundation),

Debbie Douglas (Exec. Director, OCASI),

Michael Bryant (former Ontario cabinet minister) and much more.

Click to see more, including links to individual bio pages.

Registration is now open, and full details are available at www.roadmap2030.com
We’re also on facebook.com/Roadmap2030 and twitter.com/Roadmap2030

Call or e-mail us with any questions at 416.932.8284 and roadmap2030@gmail.com


Innoversity presents Roadmap: 2030

September 21 & 22, 2010
Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge St.

www.roadmap2030.com

Week 1 – 10 WEEKS OF ORGANIZING KNOW HOW TO GET YOU READY FOR ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on September 15, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Clare Kumar Writes About Organizing Your Workspace – Photo Courtesy of GetConnectedMedia.com

Clare Kumar - September 15, 2010

By Clare Kumar

Every year, the third Thursday in Small Business Week is “Organize Your Desk Day”.

Why a day to focus on something that sounds as simple as an organized desk? For many of us, an organized desk is an elusive reality keeping us from clear thinking and maximum productivity. One study reported that employees spend up to 30% of their time searching for lost information. Not only is that expensive, it simply doesn’t feel good. Another study suggests that over half of computer users report pain from use during the first year after starting a new job. Uncomfortable workspaces lead to unproductive work.

Think about how much time you spend working in your office. Isn’t it worth figuring out how to ensure that your workspace is helping, not hindering your work? An organized desk is really a symbol of an organized workspace, one that is:

* consistently ready for use
* convenient for finding the tools and information you need
* comfortable and conducive to your work activities
* creative and inspiring

Over the next ten weeks, we will go step-by-step through everything you need to do to create an organized desk in time for Organize Your Desk Day. We will explore how to effectively manage your space, time, information and ‘stuff’ – the tools of work and your sources of inspiration.

Simply tailoring your workspace to suit you and how you like to work will boost your productivity. People are different sizes and shapes and have different learning styles and responses to their environments. Some things in your office may be working well for you, but chances are your space could be further customized to suit your preferences and work style so you can work more efficiently. Worth exploring?

Here are three important steps to take to get the most out of the following weeks as we tackle organizing your workspace:

1. List what currently frustrates you about working in your space.

It could be things such as recurring neck pain when using the computer, not being able to find files, suffering too many interruptions, glare from the afternoon sun, a calendar that’s never up to date, or bills that go unpaid. You get the idea. This is your chance to think about your daily work experience and identify what’s not working. Rank this list in order or frustration. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to think positive.

2. Define the benefits you will value from being more productive.

What if you could solve the problems you’ve just identified? What would the benefit be to eliminating neck pain, for example? What will the impact be of increasing your physical comfort and reducing stress on your body? Will it affect your relationships? How about the ability to accomplish more in less time? Think through what you will actually do with the additional time.

Write down at least three major benefits and keep them handy. Write them in a notebook or on your smartphone or computer. Add them to the top of your whiteboard to keep them visible. Create a file called “Organizing” or “Productivity”, choosing the term you are most likely to remember. You’ve now got a list of meaningful benefits that will continue to inspire you to pursue change.

3. Make it your intention to create order.

This simply means making a commitment to invest time and energy to establish order. If it feels daunting to work alone, it can help to engage a partner. Find a colleague or fellow entrepreneur and work on your spaces at the same time. Each week set up a time to talk through your projects, what’s working and what’s not. You’ll keep each other accountable. Even better share your stories and successes on our blog or at http://www.facebook.com/organizeyourdeskday.

Armed with your commitment, motivating reasons, list of trouble spots, and the strategies and tools we’ll explore in the upcoming weeks, you’ll be quickly on your way to greater productivity and peace of mind.

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

Source: http://www.getconnectedmedia.com/blog/author/Clare%20Kumar

Go Global Expo

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on September 14, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Go Global Expo Gives a Chance for Educators and Students to Travel the World – Photo Courtesy of Zinzi de Silva

Zinzi de Silva - September 14, 2010

By Zinzi de Silva

Go Global Expo (http://www.letsgoglobal.ca)

The Go Global Expo is a FREE Expo that features international opportunities for those who are considering an exchange, a degree or semester abroad, international work or internships, traveling, volunteering and international development work abroad.

Zinzi de Silva – September 14, 2010 – 2

Zinzi de Silva – September 14, 2010 – 1

The Expo showcases:

* Over 70 exhibitors from over 130 different countries
* DreamNow founder and executive director, Dev Aujla’s thought-provoking and informative opening address, How to Make Money and Change the World, Saturday at 11:00 a.m.
* Informational Seminars on International Development and Volunteering Abroad(Saturday, 1:00-2:30 p.m.) Funding for Study Abroad (Saturday, 3:00-4:30 p.m.)Work Abroad (Sunday 1:00-2:30 p.m.)
* A photo exhibit consisting of the ‘best of’ Verge Magazines annual travel photo contest.

Dates: Sat, Sept. 25 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. & Sun, Sept. 26 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Location: Hyatt Regency Toronto, 370 King St. West, Toronto 
Admission: FREE

Pre-register now at http://www.letsgoglobal.ca to get a free digital subscription to Verge Magazine, and be entered to win great prizes, including a Contiki Holidays trip for two to Europe and two weeks in the Galapagos courtesy of Lead Adventures!

Week 1 – Organizing Your Workspace: Three Steps to Getting Started (Originally Published on GetConnected.com)

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on September 14, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Clare Kumar Writes About Organizing Your Office Space – Photo Courtesy of GetConnectedMedia.com

Clare Kumar - September 14, 2010

By Clare Kumar

Simply tailoring your workspace to suit you and how you like to work will boost your productivity. People are different sizes and shapes and have different learning styles and responses to their environments. Some things in your office may be working well for you, but chances are your space could be further customized to suit your preferences and work style so you can work more efficiently. Worth exploring?

Here are three important steps to take to get the most out of the following weeks as we tackle organizing your workspace:

1. List what currently frustrates you about working in your space.

It could be things such as recurring neck pain when using the computer, not being able to find files, suffering too many interruptions, glare from the afternoon sun, a calendar that’s never up to date, or bills that go unpaid. You get the idea. This is your chance to think about your daily work experience and identify what’s not working. Rank this list in order or frustration. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to think positive.

2. Define the benefits you will value from being more productive.

What if you could solve the problems you’ve just identified? What would the benefit be to eliminating neck pain, for example? What will the impact be of increasing your physical comfort and reducing stress on your body? Will it affect your relationships? How about the ability to accomplish more in less time? Think through what you will actually do with the additional time.

Organizing tools are critical to creating an efficient and effective workspace. Tools help us group like items together, identify and contain items for easy retrieval, and place items in the most comfortable position for use.

However, not all tools are created equal. It is important to consider how and where you will use an item to make sure you’re making the right investment. Sometimes a cheap solution can turn into an expensive one if it doesn’t solve the problem or hold up to use.

When deciding which tools, consider:

1. The purpose.

Be very clear on the organizing problem you are trying to solve. For example, rather than just thinking “I need a place to store my paper documents”. Think about how you would like to refer to the information, how often and for how long. Identify how much information must be referred to at the same time. This might lead you away from traditional filing to selecting binders which keep information in sequence. You might consider adding page protectors to preserve documents.

2. How it will be used.

If you’re purchasing a tool that will be used frequently, be used to invest in sturdy equipment. Everything from staplers and hole punches, to binders and drawer organizers, come in a variety of qualities and at different price points. I have seen many offices with broken stapler collections. Buy once and buy well.

3. Where it will be used.

Before purchasing a tool, think of where it will ‘live’. If tools are difficult to retrieve and use they will often be ignored. It may mean taking the time to create space to store an item or a work surface for a specific activity.

One of the most common mistakes people make when organizing is shopping for organizing tools too early, before determining what will really work. Before investing in organizing tools, it is also important to understand the options available to you, your preferences, and the budget. The greater the investment, the more you want to be sure that you’re making the right choice.

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

Source: http://www.getconnectedmedia.com/blog/author/Clare%20Kumar

2010 Toronto Natural Hair & Beauty Show

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Religion, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on September 13, 2010 at 10:26 AM

2010 Toronto Natural Hair & Beauty Show
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre
Sunday Sept. 19, 2010
11AM – 8PM
Brought to you by Toronto Naturals, Naturally Me! & Celebrity Unisex Salon

$15 – General Admission
$10 – Students (Valid ID) & Seniors
Free – Children 12 & Under

Advanced $15 tixs available:
Marsha Patterson – 416.580.5309
Celebrity Unisex Salon – 416.850.4085
Nanni’s Natural Hair Salon & Spa – 416.243.5151

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This year’s show will feature
interactive educational workshops, vendor market place, and live entertainment.

Show Hosted By:
INTELEKT

Live Performances By:

CHATTA
DJANGO
CARIBBEAN DANCE THEATRE
HUMBLE
JAHVID

Hair Showcases By:
NATURAL MYSTIC HAIR SALON
I AM NOT A BARBER
SECRET HAIR SALON
CELEBRITY UNISEX HAIR SALON

Fashion Showcases By:
UNITEES
BEAD 4 HEALTH

Workshops:
THE HEALTHY DIVA – DETOXING YOUR LIFE WITH THE HEALTHY DIVA
WRAP-A-LOC – SISTAH NANDI
TRANSITIONING FROM CHEMICALLY TREATED HAIR TO LOCS OR NATURAL HAIR –
MARIA THOMPSON
HAIRLOCKING 101 – MALAIKA-TAMU COOPER
THE ART OF HEAD WRAPPING – NAZA HASEBENEBI
PROPHET NOBLE DREW ALI AND THE MOORISH DIVINE – CULTURAL EDUCATORS
HISTORY OF BLACK HAIR – ANYA GRANT (IHEARTMYHAIR.COM)
THE HISTORY OF SHEA BUTTER – ANU
DEALING WITH VARIOUS TYPES OF ALOPECIA – DR. NADINE WONG
WHAT IS SISTERLOCKS? – AVALON WILLIAMS
THE POLITICS OF BLACK HAIR – DONNA KAKONGE
2 BARBER WORKSHOPS – DESIGN CUTS – CRAIG “MR. TAPER” LOGAN
MORE TO ADD!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For SPONSORSHIP information contact:

Stephanie Joseph-Walker
647.206.1543

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WETV Documentary: Teacher’s Guide

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Sports, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on September 12, 2010 at 3:00 AM

WETV - September 12, 2010

I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can’t stop eating peanuts. – Orson Welles, New York Herald Tribune, Oct. 12, 1956

On the whole, people on the Montreal streets seem to agree with Orson Welles. Many felt that TV was “crap,” that it was “fake” and one person even tried to stay away from it. Despite this, there are still millions of people watching all over the world, or the TV stations would be out of business. WETV is one these businesses who are trying to profit from those who do watch TV. It is global and Canadian at the same time. WETV is trying to give a new meaning to television. This report accompanies a 17-minute documentary WETV. WETV’s alternative position, programming and position on cultural imperialism, and future will be discussed.

In many ways, WETV (1) is not like the main players Robert McChesney and Edward S. Herman write about in “main Players in the Global Media System.” Right from its beginning, it has had a different quality to it that Time Warner, Disney, Bertelsmann, Viacom, and News Corporation. WETV is a global satellite (2) alternative network. But what does WETV mean by alternative?

WETV prides itself on being a hybrid of many mainstream stations such as TVO, CNN, CBC, TV Quebec, etc. Charles Morrow (3), the direction of communications for WETV, says that their programming is not trying to challenge the mainstream. One way at looking at an alternative is that it does challenge the mainstream, such as video magazine Channel Zero, based in Toronto.

WETV can be looked at as an alternative in terms of the audience it is trying to attract. It does claim a particular interest in women, youth, the environment and sustainable development, and cultural diversity. One of the reasons for their intent could be:

Demographics indicate that up to 45 percent of southern populations are below the age of 20 representing an emerging market of consumers, while the majority of the northern population is above the age of 35, facing mid-life review, and have become more interested in television programming on more serious subjects such as the environment, voluntarism, world affairs and lifestyles (Anon 9).

Although WETV may be an alternative in terms of its focus and audience interests, its motivation comes from majority demographics, a very mainstream way of looking at television. One of the things Rupert Murdoch is trying to do is grab the male audience by producing sports programs. WETV is just going after a different kind of audience. WETV can be looked at as an alternative based on its financial structure. It has five sources of revenue: advertising, airtime sales, public and corporate sponsorship, and subscriber fees and DBS and cable subscription. In terms of advertising, it carries six minutes per hour. WETV’s aim lies in its alternative business structure:

The more the product is tied neither to government funding, or the cost per thousand demands of advertising, the more opportunity there is to develop new programming in a flex of broader interests and perceptions that reflect the essential values espoused by public service systems. That is the aim of WETV (Nostbakken 14).

David Nostbakken, the current president of the WETV Network Corporation, was director of communication at the International Development Research Centre (a crown corporation set up to fund developing world research) in 1993 when in a reorganization he was downsized out of his position. He had long thought that commercial television was exploiting weaker cultures and convinced the board of directors of the IDRC to fund a one-year study of the impact of television on developing countries. Approved in March 1993, this was for $1 million. A test of his theories was implemented for the September 1995 Beijing Women’s Conference, at which the IDRC secretariat, which had taken on the name WETV, set up a satellite network and delivered programming to about 30 stations around the world from Beijing. Subsequently, IDRC provided an additional $915,000 to support the project, and finally $200,000 in February 1996, when the board agreed that WETV could set up a two-pronged corporate structure, a foundation, registered in Canada, and a profit-making operating company. IDRC has one seat on the 12-member board of the foundation, to protect its interests.

IDRC’s motivation to fund WETV was that the centre had long been concerned with the dissemination of research results and had done some work in training and support to journalists. It also had funded a number of developmental television shows hosted by Hon. Flora MacDonald, former Conservative Minister of External Affairs, and then chairperson of the IDRC board of directors. There was a history of funding television-related projects.

The funding of WETV from IDRC was essential to establish it as a visible institution, and Dr. Nostbakken was always under pressure to find other funding, either from other donors, advertisers, or sponsors. During the initial two-year period, some small amounts of funding were received from UN organizations and from a few European bilateral donors.

A long dialogue was undertaken with CIDA, starting in 1994, by Charles Morrow, whom Nostbakken had hired as a consultant after he retired from CIDA. Knowing CIDA, Morrow created a proposal that responded to a number of CIDA’s program priorities in the areas of sustainable development, for example. He pitched that WETV programming would contribute to a better understanding of the environment, respect for human rights and cultural diversity.

The goal was to “support the actions of governments, international agencies, communities, and individuals in achieving sustainable development, and promote freer culture expression, especially in developing countries,” says Charles Morrow. The short-term purpose was to establish an alternative global access television network linking TV station in north and south as a broad partnership of public and private interests. The outputs including producing 598 hours of educative and informative programming over the period of 18 months of a project of $1.7 million. This proposal was put to the NGO division of Partnership Branch in March 1996. There was considerable ambivalence in CIDA about this as it has no policy with regard to social communication and television. As the current Minister for CIDA, Diane Marleau, remarked to WETV officers during a discussion in October 1997, “CIDA is not in the television business.”

The project did not fit within established priorities, it was sent to the minister, Hon. Pierre Pettigrew in June 1996. Some discreet behind the scenes lobbying was done by WETV and its friend in Ottawa with the result that he gave a green light and the projects were approved in August 1996. Because of its size and fact that it was known within government circles that WETV had had to appeal several times to the IDRC board for additional funding, there was some skepticism within CIDA about the venture. In particular, CIDA was uneasy with WETV’s business plan which claimed that it would rapidly become self-sufficient of government grants on the strength of private sector investments, advertising, and sponsorships. (Also, WETV looked to UN agencies and government aid departments to “buy” time in large blocks, to show their own programming). To date, CIDA has paid out three-quarters of the amount of the agreement, waiting for other governments or private-sector donors to come in. WETV is currently working with a group of US investors in socially responsible corporations, as well as a number of European governments.

WETV is an alternative in its business plan and operating structure, it is also an alternative to the dominant American version of the international news. Nostbakken refers to the Canadian Broadcasting Act to form his vision for WETV. The Act recognizes respect for minorities, diversity of perspectives, women’s views, children’s views, and an array of religious views that point to the plurality of our society. Nostbakken is using a Canadian model as a basis for his vision of global broadcasting. But the question arises; doesn’t CNN International reflect diversity too? What is different about the diversity that WETV represents?

The Canadian perspective is often seen as a less biased perspective than the Americans. Dennis Murphy, in Concordia administration, notes an interesting example in terms of the coverage of the recent visit of the Pope to Cuba. He was watching Canadian news and it was pointed out that the Pope made a joke during his speech after people applauded. The pope said that it was good that people applauded because it gave him time to rest (the Pope was not feeling well). Fidel Castro, the leader of Cuba, laughed at the Pope’s remark. In an American broadcaster’s news coverage of this event, the reporter simply said that Fidel Castro was laughing at the Pope, without explaining why. Also, whereas the Canadian coverage showed Castro addressing Cubans and the reporter made a little comment on Castro, the American reporter showed the same image but commented that Castro was getting old and looked tired. The American reporter also did not highlight a Cuban’s comment on the American embargo, which the Canadian reporter did. This exemplifies the type of bias that is possible with American journalism.

WETV may also be better received by those in the third world because as a Canadian-based operation, it does have the legacy of neo-colonialism, or colonialism like the American, British and French broadcasters do.

WETV is an alternative in many ways, but one may ask what kind of an alternative? Focusing on human rights, cultural diversity, the environment, and sustainable development are the kinds of things, not every social class has time to think about. What about the child labourer in India? Will WETV give him or her what she needs?

WETV continues to try to be an alternative as a network based on partners. It is owned and operated by two companies, WETV Network Inc., for-profit share (4) capital company and WETV Foundation, a not-for-profit company that deals with public sector agencies, donor agencies, foundations and the UN system. “We believe in participatory communication and we believe in bringing in many partners as we can so WETV can be an inclusive organization, open to as many voices and as much diversity as we can make possible,” said Charles Morrow in an interview November 6, 1997. Nostbakken talks in the video about the producers of WETV being from all over the world. But ultimately one must question, who is the main decision-maker? The answer is that those stationed in Canada are.

WETV has broadcast affiliates like network television. However, it is also modeled on specialty television in terms of its business structure, standards of production, program schedule, niche marketing and advertiser support. Access to developing countries is provided through the program schedule so that developing countries can tell their stories in their own way through their own independent producers. WETV has 37 broadcast partners in 30 countries. Among them are the St. Vincent Broadcasting Corporation, Uganda TV, Vision TV and Television Northern Canada, and Radio Television Malaysia. The first phase of recipients of WETV programming was concentrated in Latin America, the Caribbean, and English-speaking Africa. Bruce Paddington, the executive producer, notes the potential problems of having partnerships with government broadcasters, which most of WETV programming is partnered with. Sometimes these broadcasters are elitist and do not serve the interests of the country. However, in a country like Uganda, Uganda TV is the only television station that reaches outside of Kampala, and this broadcaster ensures that not only an urban viewing audience will see WETV. WETV has a contract with the broadcasting affiliates so their programming is aired during normal viewing hours. They provide program descriptors so the programs will air to the target audiences.

WETV has also created a partnership through the UN-based Inter-Agency Committee which focuses on beneficial ways for UN agencies to participate and benefit from WETV.

How is WETV an alternative, using a very mainstream medium? TV broadcasting tends to be quite mainstream unless it is used in a “guerilla” style. WETV concentrates on television rather than emerging technologies such as the Internet to get their message across…why?

Television has a greater global penetration than telephones. Audiences in developing countries watch the most daily television. Of 24 countries where daily television viewing exceeds three hours, 60 percent are from developing countries. The distribution of television equipment in certain developing areas (Asia, Central and South America and Eastern Europe) is experiencing such dramatic growth rates that they are approaching the worldwide average per household. The American continent remains an area of marked underdevelopment, with no significant signs of even relative growth (Anon, 9).

Nostbakken (5) says that about 1 percent of the world is hooked up to the Internet. In the conclusions reached from the research in WETV’s business strategy, “television has inherent properties that make it the best medium for transmitting messages that enfranchize southern cultures and educate youthful audiences in preparation for the 21st century (Anon, 10).WETV is using television, as well as the Internet, in an attempt to inform, educate and entertain people. WETV worked with Apple computers for the Habitat II Conference. Recently, it is working with Global Exchange inc., an American Internet service and software provider. They have created a website on sustainable development (www.sustainabledevelopment.com). “The argument that information and communication technologies will democratize societies ignores the fact that people, not microchips determine social change” (www.wetv.com – Oct. 21, 1997). WETV is using television and the Internet in different ways than the main players like News Corporation. But why not radio as a medium, it’s less expensive, and it is prevalent throughout the world?

Despite WETV’s effort to use television and the Internet in positive ways, there are still many negative aspects to this technology (6). This is noted on WETV’s website. The following comes from a section on the website entitled “Does the information highway go south?” from conference proceedings at Tampere, Finland, September 1994:

Many countries in the developing world still lack the most basic forms of communications infrastructure. There are enormous gaps between the technologically advanced, industrialized societies of the world and the developing nations in the availability of communications services. Of all the gaps that exist between the south and north, none is growing faster than the information gap, and the information highway threatens to increase the growth rate to the point where some countries and some segments of society in both the south and north may be left out altogether (www.wetv.com – Oct. 21, 1994).

Ashok Khosla, chairman of Development Alternatives, from India, points out that the information and economic structures that exist fail to serve more than two billion people who are marginalized in the developing world (www.wetv.com – Oct. 21, 1997). He also says information technology brings many good things, but it also brings “commercials and American soap operas that encourage the formation of habits that are not sustainable” (www.wetv.com – Oct. 21, 1997). A man who made a comment at the Robert McChesney lecture on December 4, 1997, at the University of Montreal supports Khosla’s idea. He spoke of TV in eastern India. In a town where there’s a satellite dish powered by solar energy, the man asked a villager what he thought of TV? The villager said, “We thought it would teach us a lot, but all it does is show us what we can’t buy.” WETV does have six minutes of advertising an hour, and it must make sure that this advertising does not detract from the message in this programming. However, the way it is structured, it is not completely dependent on advertising. The programming also contains many public service announcements for organizations such as the World Wildlife Foundation. “As Nicholas Johnson of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission once said, ‘all TV is educational TV. The only question is what it is teaching,” (Nostbakken 3). WETV programming is trying to teach and entertain about the empowerment of women and youth, the environment and sustainable development, and cultural diversity. Also, one may ask, does a box reflect the world diversity? There is a lot of subjectivity that goes into pointing of the camera lens. Nostbakken talks about the basic rules of TV in the vide, does the medium dominate the content, or does the content dominate the medium, or is their an equal partnership? Nostbakken’s idea of TV giving voice is a tricky one. There are still certain criteria of elements that make up basic rules of TV’s content. How does WETV challenge this criterion? How well does it live up to its ideal of participation and partnership? In the video, some people said that mainstream television doesn’t reflect the world’s diversity. Perhaps discussing WETV’s programming could explain if it is any different.

WETV has two kinds of programs, Mosaic and Cornerstone. Mosaic programs are from the international partners, such as UNESCO and UNICEF who buy airtime to run their programs. The programs deal mostly with sustainable development. Cornerstone programs are like “Tapestry,” which focus on culture and entertainment.

There are series currently running on WETV, they are “Tapestry,” “Voices and visions” and “Living Together.” “Tapestry” is about culture, art, music and creative expression across the globe. “Series episodes range from world music to artist profiles, to dance and drama” (www.wetv.com – Oct. 21, 1997). “Voices and Visions” is a series about gender issues. “Through ‘Voices and Visions,’ WETV will feature profiles of women who have overcome the odds, women who are still facing the challenges, and the need to keep up the fight” (www.wetv.com – Oct. 21, 1997). “Living Together” explores a range of topics, from the environment to new technologies, and from human rights to profiles on achievers. In an interview with Charles Morrow November 6, 1997, he describes the programming this way:

It’s a youthful look; it’s a bright in your face look too if you wish. We’re broadly educational, but we’re also entertaining. If you look at our programming you’ll see that we have documentary programming on the issues of the environment, child labour, land mines, pretty weighty stuff. But on the other end of the spectrum we are trying to provide programming which is culturally diverse, and in the popular culture area we are trying to find programming from the south that would travel well right around the world and there’s a great opportunity to do that. We can see the resurgence of forms of world music…it seems to us there is a major demand for that sort of thing both in the south and in the north. So young, youthful, in your face, broadly educational, but also entertaining and interesting.

WETV’s programming does sound diverse, it even looks diverse as the video shows. Now that WETV and its alternative structure and programming have been discussed, the ultimate question is – does WETV, being a broadcaster from the north, promote cultural imperialism? “Cultural imperialism is essentially about the exalting and spreading of values and habits – a practice in which economic power plays an instrumental role” (Tomlinson 3). The cultural imperialism thesis states that local culture in many parts of the world, which is traditional and authentic, is diminishing because of “the indiscriminate dumping of large quantities of slick commercial and media products, mainly from the United States” (Tomlinson 8). In a 1996 study for the First World Forum on Television by the UN concluded that 83 percent of programmes imported by a sample of countries studied were from the U.S. “Baywatch” is the most widely distributed show (Anon, 10). For Tomlinson, he notes that some theorists translate cultural imperialism into media imperialism. Media imperialism is a way of discussing cultural imperialism, it is a form of cultural domination.

The headquarters of WETV is in Ottawa, but most of the programming will be commissioned from southern producers. They have an office in Montevideo, Uruguay and will be establishing regional offices through the third world. The board of directors of the foundation, which oversees editorial policy, has members from Mexico, India, Thailand, etc. Part of its job is to scrutinize programming to see that the editors live up to the mission statement. The foundation board will have an advisory committee called the Standards and Practices Advisory Committee that will address such questions on a day-to-day basis. It will be made up of representatives of public service funders of the network, such as CIDA, plus a number of specialists from developing countries, serving in their own capacity.

A large program of WETV will be in dealing with cultural issues, such as the portrayal of women. For instance, WETV foresees that a program director of a television partner in say, the Malaysian public broadcaster, might have problems with the content of a soap opera sources in Brazil. WETV would warn such broadcasters in advance. As they are just beginning to produce entertainment programming, such as extended music videos, and since the material is delivered mainly on videotape, no actual complaints have been received. However, WETV does know some stations have decided not to run certain programs because of these factors. Once they go into full satellite distribution, this may become more of a problem. WETV sees more of a problem with cultural issues rather than cultural imperialism.

The president of WETV, David Nostbakken acknowledges the domination of northern and western media in the world. He also recognizes its impact on southern and eastern countries. Nostbakken says:

Already the globalization of news seems to be overpowering local issues, threatening to leave populations unaware of their own national affairs. With the advent of a global information highway, western products, values, tastes, and attitudes in a word, the culture will reach more people in more ways. Will the highway pave over distinct nations, unique cultures, histories, tradition, and languages? Or, with hundreds of channels available to the world audience, will we hear the voices of those members of society who have long been marginalized (www.wetv.com – Oct. 21, 1997).

This is the fundamental question of the information passed in this technology. The structure of television is such that it weeds certain people out. It is the media savvy that is given voice on TV. Those who know how to project themselves on TV. Even when streets are done, the producer still has the decision to edit out those images and voices that just do not “shine” on TV. There is an imbalance of a more media literate society in the north, compared to the south. Nostbakken refers to media imperialism more specifically as electronic colonialism at the Global Knowledge 97 conference:

In culture terms, the new electronic media will not on their own reflect a diversity of the world. In the broadcast media, television in particular; a form of northern industrialized ‘electronic colonialism’ has emerged, owing to the successful enterprise of the north, and the lagging enterprise in the south (www.wetv.com – Oct. 21, 1997).

Electronic colonialism is about people not being able to express themselves. Nostbakken says that we will be in trouble without this expression. But, perhaps this type of colonialism as Nostbakken calls it, is inherent to the very nature of television. For example, can one remember the last time they heard a stuttered on television? How will WETV, in its efforts to provide entertainment, as well as education, be much different than the kind of television aesthetics that currently exist?

Many aspects that Tomlinson brings up in the discourse of cultural imperialism can be compared to WETV to discover whether it is encouraging cultural imperialism in its programming. Tomlinson talks about who speaks, and this issue also comes up in looking at WETV. Tomlinson notes that “according to UNESCO estimates, ‘more than two-thirds of printed materials are produced in English, Russian, Spanish, German and French” (Tomlinson, 11). WETV broadcasts in English, Spanish and Portuguese – on the surface, with the exception of the broadcasting in Portuguese, it would seem WETV is part of linguistic imperialism. Yet, in examples such as the “Little Jane Story” in Taiwan from the Five Minute Project shown in the video documentary, other languages are spoken on WETV. Also with their partnerships with government broadcasters, this ensures that WETV is producing in more than just the dominant languages. For example, Uganda TV is one of the few broadcasters in the country that is committed to airing most of the tribal languages. The Five Minute Project is also an example of how WETV is dealing with the technically aware. They worked with women who already knew something about TV and had produced things before. Will WETV really be about sustainable development? Giving voice to the truly voiceless?

Tomlinson also discusses that “capitalism is a homogenizing cultural force” (Tomlinson, 26). Everything looks the same. In some ways, WETV is not promoting this. For example, the story from Uganda for the Five Minute Project looked very much like Ugandan television, and quite distinct from something that was from the Netherlands, called Zap Mama (a portion of Zap Mama was included in the video documentary). But WETV, on the other hand, is also contributing to a homogenizing television aesthetic in their training of television. The north training the south about TV is teaching the south how to become more like the north, how to create television that looks more like the north.

Other sources can be used to measure whether WETV is promoting cultural imperialism. Dave Laing in “The music industry and the ‘cultural imperialism’ thesis” talks about how the most discussion about cultural imperialism centers around the audio-visual media, film, and television. He introduces music as an issue to look at cultural imperialism. WETV’s show “Tapestry” is a world music video show that defies the kind of cultural imperialism Laing writes about. Yet, WETV is still responsible for the selection of music videos, and it is coming from a northern point of view.

For the future, Nostbakken questions what will happen in the 500-channel universe that is emerging with digital compression and fibre optic cable. He poses that since nearly all of the international information media are owned by westerners, “is it not their ideology that the information highway will be transporting?” (www.wetv.com – Oct. 21, 1997). WETV will be an alternative to the type of broadcasting that will be promoting western ideology. WETV has big plans for its future.

WETV plans to switch to Direct Broadcast Satellite systems when their programming reaches above four hours a day. WETV plans to be in over 100 countries in five years – they currently have a five-year contract with the affiliates. It plans to have a viewing audience of 6 million in its first year, 60 million in its third year, and 120 million by its fifth year.

WETV also plans to do more with the Internet. They plan to use it to get feedback from their programs. As well, their alliances with regional NGOs will be used to conduct audience and distribution research for those who are not wired to the web.

In terms of programming, there are five additional series expected in 1998. “Welcome to the Global Village” is a magazine show about important issues of the day from the point of view of people who work and live in various regions all over the world. “Living Green” is about the issues and people involved in sustainable development. “WorldBeat” is about popular music and culture from all regions. It will be music videos and live performances of starts, popular in their own countries, but not necessarily known to a wider audience. “Window on the World” “highlights the similarities children share with others around the globe while celebrating their differences. WOW! Gives special emphasis to programming from developing countries, providing exposure to children in lesser known parts of the planet” (www.wetv.com – Oct. 21, 1997). “Lifelong Learning” is a show in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning. It is a distance-learning program. The information available is targeted towards women and youth, such as agriculture, health, literacy and life skills. WETV plans to have four special events each year that they will broadcast. “The special events are designed to support important world conferences on the environment, food, and agriculture, women and children, habitation, forestation, health, human rights – the issues of sustainable development” (Anon, 11).

Will profit win out with WETV and affect their programming? CBC started with educational programming such as “Live and Learn” in the 1950s and 1960s. These programs are now gone and there seems to be more of a focus on entertainment than education, such as coverage of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Will WETV have this great idealistic vision that financial concerns will cloud over?

WETV is currently distributing one hour per week, in English and Spanish. Once about $10 million in additional investment and public sector grants are received, WETV will be able to move to one hour a day. At this point, it will be possible to sell advertising to socially responsible advertisers and attract sponsorships (PBS billboard type) from both commercial advertisers and public-sector organization, like the Red Cross. It will be interesting to see how WETV’s alternative business structure holds up in the future.

WETV is trying to be a different kind of broadcaster, and it is too soon to tell if it has succeeded. It has good intentions, but even hell is filled with good intentions.

Swaying While Walking: Promotion and Public Affairs in CBC’s “Undercurrents”

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on September 10, 2010 at 3:00 AM

Undercurrents - September 10, 2010

There is no doubt that media and technology are changing the lives of most people.

Of course, there are those who still travel miles to deliver a message rather than use a telephone, because the cannot afford one, there is no infrastructure for one, or choose not to use one. There are some people in this “wired world” who have never used the Internet. Actually, only 1 percent of the world’s population is actually lured into the worldwide web (Interview: Nostbakken, WETV). However, a conference called Global Knowledge in Toronto last summer (1997) included panels empowering the poor with information and knowledge, empowering information tools for grassroots women and broadcast radio for development. A conference in Ghana this summer is aimed at helping Africa pick up speed on the information highway. A hit on the Internet with search words “media and technology” brings up more than 3.5 million hits of discussion groups, conferences, books, organizations and so on that reflect just how much our lives are changing with media and technology. And this possibly only reflects 1 percent of what is happening in the world.

Enter “Undercurrents” in an engine.

What is “Undercurrents?” It is a weekly political affairs show heard on WMUA radio in Amherst. The show presents interviews with people who are on Nightline on NPR. “Undercurrents” is also the fire ever-alternative news service on video, based in Britain. This “Undercurrents” challenges mainstream news values. “Undercurrents” is also a guide for serious divers in Sausalito, California. If one has a wetsuit, oxygen mask, this “Undercurrents” can tell you the lively way to swim with the fishes.

But, there is another “Undercurrents,” presently on the CBC-TV that is based in Toronto. It is a “show about how media and technology are changing our lives” (Interview: Mesley, CBC, “Undercurrents”). Wendy Mesley is the host and creator of the program. “Undercurrents” is an example of how public affairs broadcasting influences the discourse of modernity and post-modernity. In this modern world where it seems like everyone is trying to sell you something, and even the CBC is not above running advertisements for Jerry Springer’s “Too Hot for TV” video or trying to sell their own tape on the ice storm coverage – “Undercurrents” stands out as a little different. It walks the fine line between promotion and public affairs, but it tends to consistently fall on the side of being public affairs. The show tends to spend more time telling the audience things they probably did not know, than selling them something they do not want. This essay will examine the fine line “Undercurrents” walks and how it consistently stays within the realm of public affairs. The birth of the show explains whom “Undercurrents” always had a commitment to public affairs.

From the pilot show in 1995, Wendy Mesley declared “this show is about keeping our heads through all that info overload, and staying focused through the blur of electronic images.” But it seems like just getting “Undercurrents” on air required staying focused through the blue of CBC bureaucracy. The idea for “Undercurrents” was born by Mesley in 1991 to 1992. The show is her baby (which took a lot more than nine months to hatch) – it took three or four years to happen. “I still feel like it’s in intensive care” (Interview: Mesley, CBC “Undercurrents”). The show was canceled after budget cuts for the 1997 to 1998 season. New funds were allocated and now it is back on the air, but it has had a lot of rescheduling. The idea arose when the topic of media accountability was hot at the CBC; Gerard Veilleux at that time was the president. It took a new president, Tony Manera, for the idea to really take hold. The CBC knew it needs a new audience, and the show was one way of addressing this. “Undercurrents” got its name through a contest.

The executive producer of the show is F.M. Morrison; the senior producer is Pam Bertrand; and Mesley is the host, although she does not see herself as host. She is emotionally attached and her main involvement is in the journalism (Interview: Mesley, CBC “Undercurrents”). The show has its core staff, but it also regularly incorporates contributions from freelancers and ideas from the audience.

Clifton Joseph is a “dub poet at large.” He does “anything to do with words and propaganda” (Interview: Joseph, CBC). He is a freelancer who has worked for several programs, at the CBC, TVO, and CTV to name a few.He used to do book reviews on “Canada AM,” and does regular dub poetry performances and MC gigs across Canada and the U.S. “All my years in media, “Undercurrents” has been the best place I have worked” (Interview: Joseph, CBC). He describes “Undercurrents” as not looking quite like MuchMusic where sometimes the camera work can make you dizzy. “There’s a funky studiousness to the way they [“Undercurrents”] do their camera” (Interview: Joseph, CBC). This view of the show is part of its aim: “current affairs television can still inform and provoke while being visually imaginative and creative” (Anon, CBC, 2). This technical style is part of selling the show to a youthful audience, which “Undercurrents” does have. In a show essentially helping people to become more media and technically savvy, the savvy aesthetics give the show legitimacy. But it is the content that really shows how “Undercurrents” is more about information than advertising. Joseph’s story on Barbie copyright is an example of this and will be discussed later.

The show is based on ideas, not profiles or companies. The format of the show usually includes three field reports with studio bits in between where Mesley gives the introduction of the story. The pilot show included pieces about computerized imagining, viewer complaints from the CBC, a case in New York that involved amateur video that was linked to the Bernardo case, a snippet on South African TV, a story about the use of male bodies in advertising, and a commentary from Evan Solomon about buying into the information highway.

From the very first show, “Undercurrents” walked that fine line between promotion and public affairs. They did a story about the male bodies used in advertising where they featured a Diet Coke commercial. Was the playing of this commercial and the discussion around it just another form of advertisement? In terms of the way the story was done, there was not as much emphasis on the product of Diet Coke, but more on the way the ads were done. They also displayed how people think of commercials using male bodies by getting opinions from the street.

A show that aired March 29, 1998, began with an interview with Michael Moore. Moore was on a promotional tour, and “Undercurrents” caught up with him. From the way the story was done, what stood out is not the fact that Moore was on tour, but his thoughts about the demise of investigative journalism and his comments on the censorship of his program “TV Nation.” Of course the mention of the documentary he did, Roger and Me, probably stimulated enough interest to get a lot of people who liked what Moore said to go and check it. The media always has tremendous power just in suggestion alone. Again, what really stood out were his comments on journalists, which was important public affairs information.

In that, it shows there was also a story done by Joseph on the Barbie copyright chill. It included different instances of people waiting to sue the Barbie label and being harassed, or in some cases sued by lawyers from the Barbie Company. This was an issue of balancing free speech with business trademark protection. The story did not necessarily make Barbie look good. Although it is likely that Barbie is not a major advertiser for a prime time show like “Undercurrents,” and the bulk of the “Undercurrents” audience probably do not play with Barbie dolls currently, there are still some individuals who are parents who may think twice about buying Barbie if they care about issues of free speech. The story also showed how popular Barbie is and the kind of influence she has had on people who want to put her on their website or collect a lot of them – in this sense, it was a promotion of Barbie popularity, but the main message that came through was the one about free speech.

On October 27, 1997, a story about Chioma Ikejiani was aired on “Undercurrents.” Ikejiani was used as rags to riches story for the press. At first, she was on welfare; at the time of the story, she had become a real estate agent making $100,000 a year. She appeared on “Dini Petty,” “Camilla Scott,” “The National’s” Town Hall addressing questions to the Prime Minister, Radio Atlantic, the Toronto Star to name a few. Ikejiani’s successful plan to be a media darling is the story “Undercurrents” was interested in. In some ways, “Undercurrents” was just another way for Ikejiani to be in the media serving as further promotion of this woman. But the show did include elements of Ikejiani that most people who recognized her from other media stories did not know, such as Ikejiani had only been on welfare for about two weeks and came from an affluent background. All this is very interesting in light of the fact that Ikejiani was used as a “welfare expert” on the Camilla Scott show, and as a representative of the welfare constituents on a CBC Town Hall with the Prime Minister. This kind of information definitely borders more on public affairs information than promotion.

The story revealed another fine line, that between the media and the sources it uses. It seemed like Ikejiani was willing to talk more than the media were about all her publicity and her questionable story. She turned out looking media savvy in a devious way. “Everything I’ve done has been calculated to some extent” (Ikejiani, CBC “Undercurrents” transcripts). There were many other areas of public affairs information that would have been interesting to know, such as her need to be in the media so much or why these media organizations jumped on a story of a black, and Nigerian woman who was once on welfare and now was a success. Why did all these people do her story? This story walks the fine line, but outside of some information that would have been good to know, it definitely does not promote Ikejiani.

“Undercurrents” recently did a show about a conference for journalists that Bayer helped to sponsor. The whole conferences were a way for Bayer to try to improve their image. Doing a story like this did not exactly put Bayer in a promotional light. The story was more about the public affairs of people knowing what companies like Bayer are up to when it comes to influencing journalists. The story was also risky considering that Bayer is currently suing the Fifth Estate.

“CBC is the only place to get this kind of programming” (Interview: Mesley, CBC). In many ways Mesley is right. The future of the CBC is uncertain though, and in looking at “Undercurrent’s” future, if the corporation goes in an advertising direction, this could greatly affect the show. “Undercurrents” works because it is a station that does not solely count on advertising for funding. However, with government cuts to the CBC, how will this affect the show? Patrick Watson in the Globe and Mail outlined his strategy for the survival of CBC TV and this is something that could strengthen the public affairs aspect of “Undercurrents.”

Advertising must in no way influence program decisions. CBC programmers should strive to make their best and most challenging programs accessible to the largest possible audience, but neither by sanitizing or oversimplifying them nor by rendering them ‘safe’ like the safe classical music on commercial FM stations (Watson, Globe and Mail, D5).

Watson also went on to state that public broadcasting is about serving citizens rather than ratings. “Undercurrents” walks the fine line, but it is more about analyzing the impact of the male body in ads then it is about Diet Coke, it is more about the state of journalism today than it is about promoting Michael Moore, it’s more about a discussion on free speech than it is a Barbie ad, it’s more about revealing the media bandwagon syndrome than it is about promoting Chioma Ikejiani, and it is more about revealing attempts to manipulate journalists than it is about promoting Bayer. Though it does walk a fine line, it walks with a sway to the left.

Quebec: a case of cultural and linguistic imperialism?

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Religion, Sports, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on September 9, 2010 at 3:00 AM

Quebec - September 9, 2010

Gaetan Tremblay’s essay poses the question – “is Quebec culture doomed to become American?” He answers that there is a real threat of cultural invasion. But, the situation is not that bad, he writes, at least in the early 1990s when the article came out.

This paper is a critical analysis of Tremblay’s essay. After a brief summary of the article, some points of criticism will be raised, followed by questions arising from the work. There will also be an attempt made to update Tremblay’s article by referring to the recent television ratings in Montreal done by the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM). The results of an informal survey will also be used to update the ideas presented by Tremblay.

Tremblay uses certain data concerning television supply and demand. He beings his thesis by citing the Broadcasting Act, and then reviews those elements which highlight broadcasting as a service to preserving Canadian culture. The Quebec government’s effort to defend and develop Quebecois culture is also examined. He contrasts this notion with the American one to see cultural products as commodities like any other, subject to free market rules. In the essay, Tremblay presents his research and makes observations. He notes that two-thirds of all programs broadcast by Quebecois networks are of Canadian origin. The remaining third of programming is foreign. Public television has slight higher quotas than private television. The situation in programming is in the area of entertainment, particularly drama programming, which includes series, “teleromans,” films, and cartoons. Films make up the bulk of these programs, and more of these films are of American origin.

Tremblay observes that there is a strong presence of American products. However, he says the 50 percent proportion is not out of control. The reason it is not out of control is that of the language barrier, CRTC regulations, and view preferences. The BBM reports that Quebecois programming makes up the majority of the 20 most watch programs. Tremblay asserts that the Quebecois want to keep their protective policies and regulations for fear that the problem will deteriorate. This fear stems from four things: the proximity of America, the limited internal market, Quebec’s status as a linguistic minority in North America, and market rules favour American products.

Though Tremblay accomplishes much in his essay, it does have some shortcomings. For instance, Tremblay asserts that the Quebecois want to keep protective policies and regulations on Quebecois culture, but he does not support this claim with any data or evidence. Since throughout the essay he supports his ideas with data and his own research, it seems odd that his claim in the essay has none. In the data that Tremblay uses, it would have been interesting to have an age breakdown. To know what younger people are watching would give some sense of the future of Quebecois television viewing habits.

Another shortcoming of Tremblay’s article is that he sets out to answer a question about Quebecois culture by only looking at television. What the Quebecois watch on TV is only a portion of what the culture is. If Tremblay really wants an accurate answer to the question and title of his essay, his research will have to include more than just television.

Throughout the essay on television and Quebecois culture, many questions arise: should cultural products be commodities like any other and thus be subject to market rules? What happens to a cultural form when you change the language? Does it become part of the culture, is it recreated? What is Quebecois culture? Should there continue to be laws protecting Quebecois culture? Tremblay’s essay was written in 1992. The most recent part of his data is from 1990. Tremblay’s article raises some very important issues that are still relevant today. In order to update the information in this article, an informal survey was conducted and recent reports of the BBM were consulted.

BBM conducts surveys for its members, who include media organizations across Canada, both Francophone, and Anglophone. It selects a sample of the population to see what they are watching on TV and listening to on the radio. For the purpose of this analysis, only the share of the television market in the extended Montreal area was consulted. Particularly, the Francophone stations were compared the American stations in terms of viewing habits in primetime, from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. Ratings and the share were taken from the summer of 1996, which includes surveys from the weeks of June 20 to June 26 and July 4 to 10. BBM monitors individual viewing habits in one-week windows. The results of this survey included 3,368 respondents from the extended Montreal area. The share is the percentage of the total number of hours watched on television in a time slot. For example in a 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. slot, CFTM’s TVA edition got a 32 percent share of the total number of people watching in that time. Yves Robert, account executive at BBM, says one should look at the share when figuring out how a TV station is doing compared to others. An example of the survey used for the following analysis is enclosed at the end of this paper.

The report reveals that at the supper hour most people are watching the news on the Francophone stations, but there is a significant number, between 16 to 22 percent of the share, who watch ABC News. Moving further into primetime, from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., the most watched shows on Monday night are American programs, such as Beverly Hills 90210. On a Friday night, however, the most watched show is Cine-Columbo on CFTM, Télé-Metropole and second is Family Matters, an American show. Overall, from looking at primetime viewing habits, the audiences of Francophone TV slightly outnumber the American programs. Tremblay’s research still holds true, but he never mentions the American sitcom, whose influence becomes apparent when looking at the BBM report.

To update the information in Tremblay’s article even more than give voice to his ideas, an informal survey was conducted on Saturday, November 8, 1997, in the Eaton Centre, Montreal Trust Place and the streets of downtown Montreal. The survey is in no way as representative as BBM’s. It was conducted with 30 respondents, but it still gives a sense of what the Quebecois (in this case Francophone) are thinking and feeling about issues that stem from Tremblay’s essay. Thirty Francophone respondents were chosen randomly in an effort to be diverse in terms of gender and age. The respondents were asked three questions.

1) What kind of television do you watch the most, Quebecois or American? Why?

2) Do you think that Quebecois culture will become American? Why?

3) Do you think there should continue to be laws to protect Quebecois culture? Why?

Overall, the results were in keeping with Tremblay’s findings.

Table 1: Quebecois versus American Television Viewing Habits

Quebecois TV – 12
American TV – 10
Both – 8
Total respondents – 30

Similar to Tremblay’s findings, overall Francophones are watching more Quebecois television than American television. A significant number are watching both. Not everyone gave reasons for their viewing habits. Here are some of the reasons for those who did answer the question:

Jean, 18: watches more American programming. He finds it funnier, watches American TV for movies.

Sara, 29: watches more American television. “It’s what everybody watches at work and this way I can talk about it too.”

Sophie, 38: watches more American TV. “I watch with my child and all he likes are the English sitcoms and cartoons.”

Denis, 43: watches more American TV. He watches the movies and the comedy shows. Denis watches French TV at the supper hour.

Constance, 32: watches both. “They both have good things to offer. I like the news on French TV and movies on American TV.”

So, just as Tremblay found, the Quebecois are watching American programs for the movies and cartoons, or basically the entertainment programming. It is also interesting to note from this survey that it is mainly those people who watch more American programming who explained the reasons for their viewing choice. Even seven years later, (from the original date of this publication in 1997), Tremblay’s findings are still relevant.

Francophones surveyed also seemed to agree with Tremblay in terms of the major question he raises in his essay, according to Table 2.

Table 2: Is Quebec Culture Becoming American?

Yes – 8
No – 14
Already is – 7
Maybe – 1
Total Respondents – 30

According to Table 2, the majority of Francophones do not think Quebec culture will become American, that’s 14 out of 30 respondents, almost half or 47 percent. However, a significant number thought there is a threat of cultural invasion, 8 out of 30 respondents, or 27 percent. What is also interesting is that almost as many people thought that Quebecois culture already is American, 7 out of 30, or 23 percent. If the respondents who thought Quebecois culture would become American and those who thought it already is American are combined, then that makes 50 percent, more than those who answered “no.”

Here are some of the reasons respondents gave for their answers. Again, in this case, not everyone gave reasons:

Jean, 18: “Quebec culture already is Americanized, look at the McDonald’s, the Burger King. I drive an American car, I wear American clothes [had a Tommy Hilfiger sweatshirt on]. Actually the culture is very similar so of course, were influenced.”

Sara, 29: “No, the language difference will always stop Americans from ruling completely.”

Sophie, 38: “Yes, I think Quebecois culture is in danger of becoming American, especially among young people.”

Benoit, 22: “Yes, Americans are going to take over the world.”

Suzanne, over 40: No, she says, Quebecois culture will not become American, it’s the same thing.

Virginie, 26: Yes. There are a lot of immigrants in Montreal. This makes her think she’s no longer in Quebec. She is from Trois-Rivérès. “I think Montreal will become American, but the rest of Quebec will stay the same.”

Mathieu, 27: Yes. “Quebecers like the American way, you see American fashion in the shows. Quebecers like the powerful way of Americans. They are like chameleons, Jacques Villeneuve wins and we’re proud to be from Quebec. We don’t have an identity, we go along with what’s cool.”

Louise, 35: “No, not necessarily if we are aware of the difference in cultures. If people were aware they would choose Quebecois culture.” The shows are the same. There should be laws to protect Quebec culture.

Yves, 38: “Perhaps, with independence, Quebec will become American. The States will take over.”

Kenel, 32: No. He said the rest of Canada will administrate Quebec if there are independence and Americans won’t take over.

Marie, over 65: “No. But if Quebec gets independence then it won’t become American. If it stays part of Canada then it will become American because all of Canada is becoming another state.”

Constance, 32: No. She said that laws will continue to protect Quebecois culture.

Martine, 34: “No, as long as there are strong supporters of Quebecois culture, like me, then the future will be OK.”

Angelique, 19: “Yes. This whole free trade is dangerous to Quebecois culture. Quebec is a small market, it can’t compete with the big Americans.”

A variety of reasons were given as to whether or not Quebecois culture would become American. A few people cited Quebec laws preserving the culture as the reason why Americans would not take over. Several people saw the power of the Americans winning out, and a few people noted the similarity of the cultures.

Although Tremblay did not have research as evidence for his claim that Quebecers liked the laws to protect culture, according to this informal survey, he was correct. All 30 respondents answered ‘yes’ to whether there should continue to be laws to protect Quebecois culture. Very few gave reasons for their answers, but here are some of the responses that arose:

Jean, 18: “The situation would get even worse for programming if there weren’t any laws.”

Sophie, 38: “It’s cheaper for broadcasters to have American programming. Without the laws, they will just do what is cheaper.”

Virginie, 26: “There should be laws to protect the culture because laws help people to do the right thing.” She’s a law student.

Mathieu, 27: “America is so big and close and powerful, we need something to protect our culture from such power.”

Lousie, 35: She says the laws help us to distinguish what is French culture versus American culture.

Tremblay again proves to be correct. He states four reasons why Quebecois want laws to protect culture, and some of these reasons come up in the answers from the respondents.

What greatly distinguishes this survey from Tremblay’s research is the age breakdown of the respondents (Table 3), and how responses can be categorized corresponding to age (Table 4).

Table 3: Age of Respondents

Under 25 – 8
Twenty-six to 64 – 20
Over 65 – 2

Table 4: Respondent Choices by Age

Question 1: what kind of television do you watch the most, Quebecois or American? Why?

Under 25
French TV – 4
American TV – 4
Both – 0
Number of Respondents – 8

Twenty-six to 64
French TV – 8
American TV – 6
Both – 6
Number of Respondents – 20

Over 65
French TV – 0
American TV – 0
Both – 2
Number of Respondents – 2

Question 2: Do you think that Quebecois culture will become American? Why?

Under 25
Yes – 4
No – 1
Already is – 3
Maybe – 0
Number of Respondents – 8

Twenty-six to 64
Yes – 4
No – 11
Already is – 4
Maybe – 1
Number of Respondents – 20

Over 65
Yes – 0
No – 2
Already is – 0
Maybe – 0
Number of Respondents – 2

There were definite differences in responses by age. For the purpose of this paper, the answers from the age group that is under 25, the future leaders, will be highlighted. An equal amount of people watched Quebecois TV and American TV, while no one watched both. Perhaps 38-year-old Sophie was “half-right” according to the survey. This number for the under 25-age group is less than those of the 26 to 64 age group. On the question of whether Quebecois culture will become American, only one respondent under 25 answered ‘no’ compared to 11 from ages 26 to 64 and all the respondents over 65. According to this survey, those under 25 tended to be more pessimistic about the future of Quebecois culture than other age groups.

These papers has critically analyzed the article by Gaetan Tremblay, “Is Quebec Culture Doomed to Become American.” A BBM report from the summer of 1996 was used to update the material in Tremblay’s essay. According to the report, the material from Tremblay is still relevant. Also, an informal survey of 30 respondents in the downtown Montreal area was conducted. The responses corresponded with the findings of Tremblay and also shed some light on issues he never raises, such as the sentiments of the future leaders of Quebec society.

Documentary Screening on September 12th

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Religion, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on September 8, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Caroline Kunzle was Part of a New Project on Peace in the Middle East – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Caroline Kunzle - September 8, 2010

Caroline Kunzle – September 8, 2010

Distinctions: Space and Power

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on September 8, 2010 at 3:00 AM

Distinctions - September 8, 2010

This essay will explore how four authors have made distinctions of social space and of power in the social world. For instance, Pierre Bourdieu’s “Social space and symbolic power” from his, In Other Words, theorizes on how social space is created and how groups exist in social space.

Similarly, Dick Hedbige’s “Towards a cartography of taste 1935-62,” from Popular Culture: Past and Present, consider some of the changes in British social and cultural life during 1935 to 1962. He attributes the changes to two factors, “Americanization” and the “leveling-down process.” John Frow’s “The concept of the popular,” from his Cultural Studies & Cultural Value, points out flaws in Bourdieu’s theory, such as working from a top-down model of social domination, and also theorizes what the “popular” means. Mica Nava’s “Consumerism reconsidered: buying and power,” from Cultural Studies 5 discuss the relationship between people and commodities and shows how consumerism can be used in a political way.

In particular, I will show how Bourdieu contrasts with Frow on distinctions of social space and power, second, how Bourdieu and Hebdige share similar theories about space and power, third how Bourdieu and Hebdige differ with Nava in their distinctions of power, and fourthly, how Nava and Frow share similar theories on distinctions of power. Through the differences and similarities in the authors, we will see how Nava and Frow are more relevant to understanding distinctions of space and power in today’s social world, the ‘global village.’ Throughout the study of these distinctions, the relevance of Nave and Frow’s theories become apparent.

Bourdieu theorizes on how the social space is divided, by using terms such as “habitus.” He says that the “’sense of one’s place”, or the “habitus,” and the “’sense of the other’s place’” creates a social distance (Bourdieu 128). This knowing of one’s place and knowing of another’s places is a social space distinction. Bourdieu’s argument, however, does make allowance for the person who watches the “Simpsons,” drinks beer and bowls, and also listens to the opera. He states:

Agents classify themselves, expose themselves to classification, y choosing, in conformity with their tastes, different attributes, clothes, types of food, drinks, sports, friends, which go well together and which they also find agreeable or, more exactly which they find suitable for their position (Bourdieu 131-132).

Bourdieu only recognizes that people choose their tastes based on their social position. This does not consider that many people have tastes that do not fit neatly together; someone who drinks beer and bowls can like the opera too.

For Bourdieu, the distance between different groups’ social space is distinct, while Frow seems to suggest a less ordered social space than the one proposed by Bourdieu. For Frow, the social space is divided between the popular and the dominant culture that he frames as a political conflict. His use of the word ‘popular’ encompasses a social space, but within that space there is diversity. Bourdieu, on the other hand, says that the social world is neither chaotic nor completely structured. However, Bourdieu’s vision of social space distinctions is more structured than Frow’s. The distinctions of Bourdieu are also emphasized by his use of the word “class.” Frow instead refers to differences of culture. In an advanced capitalist society like ours, Frow believes that there are not strict class differentiations because we have a media and an education system that break down strict class lines. “These institutions have thoroughly transformed the system of ‘postmodern’ relations to cultural value” (Frow 86). Therefore, Frow is more aware than Bourdieu of the effect that mass media and mass education have on blurring the distinctions in our social space.

Clearly, Bourdieu’s position seems to assume a total acceptance of one’s sense of place and that of the other: unlike Frow, there is no political conflict involved in Bourdieu’s theory. For Frow, popular culture is in opposition to the power structure of the dominant culture. Frow, for instance, maintains that culture forms are not fixed (something not recognized by Bourdieu), a text is not fixed, and a text is not bourgeois in the sense that it cannot be anything else. Also “’there is no one-to-one relationship between a class and a particular cultural form or practice’” (Frow 73). Class structures intersect and overlap. For example, Tiger Woods (African-American and Asian) plays golf (associated with the white upper middle class). Golf then does not become fixed to what is most commonly identified as golf. Frow’s theory, therefore, more modern than Bourdieu’s and takes into account the cross-cultural and other-class considerations in the “global village” of today. However, though Frow disagrees with Bourdieu on many points, he agrees with Bourdieu’s key thesis “that the primary business of culture is distinction” (Frow 85).

Although Bourdieu differs from Frow in his construction of social space, he is similar to Hebdige. Bourdieu says that commodities such as playing gold, red wine, champagne, and whiskey are distinctive signs that differentiate group or classes of people. This leads to a social space that is symbolic, “ a space of lifestyles and status groups, characterized by different lifestyles” (Bourdieu 133). Similarly, Hebdige divides social space in relations to taste and uses commodities to describe a social space. Hebdige also depends on language to form a cultural value and uses the same distinctive signs as Bourdieu to exemplify the relationship between class and commodities in an excerpt from Evelyn Waugh’s The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold. The reader forms and identity of the character based on his dislike of commodities like plastics, Picasso, sunbathing, and jazz. Hebdige, in particular, illustrates the distinctive force of words. He writes of words that embrace a meaning that creates a social space. These words from a language of value:

Specifically, we have seen how a number of ideologically charged connotation codes could be invoked and set in motion by the mere mention of a world like ‘America’ or ‘jazz’ or ‘streamlining.’ Groups and individuals as apparently unrelated as the British Modern Design establishment, BBC staff members, Picture Post and music paper journalist, critical sociologists, ‘independent’ cultural critics like Orwell and Hoggart, a Frankfurt-trained Marxist like Marcuse, even an obsessive isolationist like Evelyn Waugh all had access to these codes (Hebdige 213).

The cues Hebdige speaks of creating distinctions. These codes are embodied by language. Language is also part of the significance of commodities in creating and symbolizing their value. To a lesser extent, Bourdieu sees language as distinctive signs. His use of the word “habitus” is one that encompasses a social space. He also uses words, such as “petty bourgeois,” which encapsulate a meaning that distinguishes social space.

Similar to Hebdige and Bourdieu, Nava examines the distinction of social space in relation to commodities. In Hebdige, commodities have their identifications, their selling points: streamlining became associated with the new and the future; the Cadillac became a symbol of the American dream. For Nava, social space is a relationship between consumer and commodity. Like Frow she sees a political element in this construction of social space. In the social space discussed by Nava, commodities make distinctions. Hebdige also examines this in part by Bourdieu and. Nava, however, concentrates her theory on distinctions of power. The main concern for all authors is distinctions of power; these distinctions of power will be with Hebdige’s view.

The dominant group, through the “leveling-down process”, sees in the ‘other,’ namely America, as well as Hebdige’s discussion of power. Hebdige exemplifies the power of American culture in Britain by discussing the introduction of rock music to the BBC. The BBC, as an ‘official point of view,’ was late in accepting rock music in its programming:

Despite the relaxation in the tone and style of the BBC broadcasting allegedly affected by the advent of commercial television in 1954, rock n’ roll was deliberately ignored and resisted by the BBC radio networks (Hebdige 202).

When the BBC finally did accept rock music, the ‘official point of view’ of the disc jockeys still influenced it with their commentary. This shows the power of the ‘official point of view’ that Bourdieu speaks of. Hebdige also discusses the power relationship between people and commodities.

Hebdige puts forth the view of Hébert Marcuse in One Dimensional Man that there is a passive consumerism. Marcuse uses examples of a black person who owns a Cadillac and a typist who is made up as if she were the daughter of the boss to show how people, especially those of disadvantaged groups are influenced by the power of commodities. The struggle of one class to become part of another by consuming the commodities of the higher class was a popular theme in the discourse of the 50s and 60s. Hebdige sees a top-down approach to the power structure of the 1930s to 1960s. Nava has a different view on the power structure that is in agreement with Frow.

Nava, like Hebdige, also discusses the view of Marcuse in relation to the more dated view of the power relationship between commodities and people. In relation to Hebdige, Nava sees the lower classes as exercising much more control, and resistance to the dominant group. Nana cites Marcuse as well as Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (which supports Marcuse). Nava downplays the point Marcuse makes that “people recognize themselves in their commodities” (Nava 160) and that these commodities form a social control. Marcuse takes the power out of the hands of the people and puts it into the commodity. For Nava these ideas held by 50s and 60s cultural theorists do not respect ordinary people:

The pertinent features of my argument which emerge from this picture of the cultural theorists of the fifties and sixties are then, first of all, a lack of respect for the mentality of ordinary people, exemplified by the vie that they are easily duped by advertisers and politically pacified by the buying of useless objects. Their pursuit of commodities and their enjoyment of disdained cultural forms are cited as evidence of their irrationality and gullibility (Nava 161-162).

Nava further states that people have more power, especially those who seem to be most at prey – women, children, and the less educated. This power is apparent if you consider the fact that as many as 90 percents of new products fail in spite of advertising (Nava 161).

Consumerism, or the relationship between class and commodities, can be understood “as a form of defiance, a refusal to remain marginalized in class terms” (Nava 165). People show their power with product boycotts as a form of defiance against ‘the power-bloc,’ for example, the product boycotts against South Africa. This same consumer power has been used in the environmental movement where “according to the Daily Telegraph, 50 percent of shoppers operates product boycotts of one kind or another…” (Nava 168). Nava writes of a relationship to commodities that is selective buying, “the buying of products which conform to certain criteria” (Nava 168). This is exemplified in the purchasing of green, or environmentally friendly products. Such purchasing power forms a class identity.

Nava’s position is agreed upon by Frow. For Frow, not only do commodities (or texts in this instance) become part of the culture, but also these texts are passive in themselves. In Frow, we have a popular culture struggling against the dominant one, yet there is an acceptance of the power held by the dominant culture. He also is suspicious of Bourdieu’s idea of a spokesperson and institutionalization, which is a top-down model of social domination. Moreover, he notes that consumers of popular culture are not passive dupes and do hold power which they exercise. His view of the masses is one of empowerment. Frow also locates power more with people than with texts. The “texts are ‘discursively limited or bounded’ and thus ‘offer’ a relevance that is taken up by the reader’s criteria of relevance” (Frow 63). This means that classes embrace commodities that fit into their schema, or social allegiances. The expression of this opposition to the dominant class is expressed by commodities, for example, the wearing of torn jeans, listening to rock music, or going shopping are all symbols of resistance to the ‘the power-bloc’ (Frow 62).

Different from Frow, Bourdieu is concerned with symbolic power and how it relates to constructing the social space, and he seems to have an individual emphasis on this. He speaks of the ‘official point of view’ and how much power that holds.

To change the world, one has to change the ways of making the world, that is, the vision of the world and the practical operations of which groups are produced and reproduced (Bourdieu 137).

Bourdieu goes on to say that symbolic power is exemplified in the power to form groups. He bases this power on two conditions, of which one will be discussed. This condition is more relevant to the topic of distinctions of power. The condition is that symbolic power has to be based on symbolic capital. Bourdieu says, “symbolic capital is a credit, it is the power granted to those who have obtained sufficient recognition to be in a position to impose recognition…” (Bourdieu 138). Bourdieu sees the power of creating a group as associated to the “process of institutionalization” (Bourdieu 138). For Bourdieu, people speak through a representative, while in Nava’s work she writes of a collective buying power, for example, people against apartheid and people against environmental destruction. In Nava, we have the masses exercising a great deal of power and re-creating the social space in a mass movement, different from the view of Bourdieu. For her, this change of the world was able to take place without any clearly identified spokesperson.

This essay has discussed four essays by Pierre Bourdieu, Dick Hebdige, John Frow, and Mica Nava. The purpose of this essay was to show how these authors discuss distinctions of social space and power. What resulted through this discussion was that Bourdieu’s theory contrasts with Frow’s, Bourdieu and Hebdige share similar arguments, Hebdige and Bourdieu differ with Nava in their distinctions of power, and Nava and Frow share similar theories on distinctions of power. Frow and Nava have theories that are more modern than Bourdieu and Hebdige. Their arguments are more relevant to the global village of today where distinctions of social space are sometimes blurred and the masses exercise power that therefore doesn’t come from the top-down.

60th birthday and 25th anniversary of our company‏

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, cars, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on September 7, 2010 at 6:11 PM

By Dennis DesRosiers

This Sunday, September 12’th I turn the big 60 and this November the 28’th the company completes its 25’th year in business.

I guess 25 years is proof that there is a need for the kinds of things that we do around here. And turning 60 explains some of the cynicism that I’m accused of in recent writings. After studying and writing about this sector for close to 41 years I still believe I only understand a small fraction of how this sector works. The one really good thing about having to write my “Observations” column each month is that it forces me to noodle through another issue and to my surprise I still come up interesting stuff most months … not all months … but most months. Re-read the Observations I sent out for August for instance. I think it is quite interesting and one of the better ones I’ve written in recent years.

My staff was wanting to have a big open house and we were trying to pull it off for this week but it was eating a lot of time, I took the summer off so I wasn’t around to Sheppard it through and it was going to cost a fair amount to host. So today I canned the idea entirely. Instead, we are going to make a very generous donation to our Endowments at the University of Windsor and Georgian College.

You will remember that the proceeds from my book went towards establishing two “DesRosiers Endowments for the Advancement of Automotive Studies” … one for each school. All together we were able to raise just under $150,000 for these Endowments and the proceeds are already going to students starting today the first day of school. We funded eight .. yes “EIGHT” scholarships for students this year. This is the best birthday present a 60-year-old could ask for. Coming from a grease monkey family any success I’ve had in life goes back to the decision to seek higher education and it thrills me that my book and other fundraising activities have raised enough money to help send eight young adults on their way to a higher education with an automotive emphasis as the focus of their studies.

So I apologize to anyone who was looking forward to our planned open house but I think funding young adult’s higher education is an adequate replacement.

By the way, I have absolutely no plans to retire. As I tell anyone that asks I plan to be carried out of here in a box and quite frankly a company like ours is not easily sellable so it is unlikely that I can cash out and go into retirement through that window.

Like this year and three years ago I do plan on taking more time off each year and hopefully working my way down to about 7-8 months on and 4-5 months off but being a “type A” personality I’m not sure I’ll reach that goal. I also set a goal of losing 50 pounds by my birthday and failed miserably … got to just over 30 but fell back a few the last week or so and am now only a little over halfway. But I do plan on staying on the treadmill and watching the calories ( I find it nearly impossible to formally diet ) and will hopefully get to my goal eventually. Man o Man is it hard to lose weight as you get older. But this is extremely important since if I want to work I have to stay healthy, so losing weight is top of mind.

Thanks to all my clients for 25 years of support, we strive to exceed our customer’s expectations on every project. And thanks to all my family, friends, extended family and friends and industry executives for the support over our 25 years.

Dennis

Communication as Perfomative: Sticks and Stones

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on September 7, 2010 at 3:00 AM

Communication - September 7, 2010

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me”

The popular chant “sticks and stones” used mostly by children negates the power of communication as performative.

This statement places more importance on physical rather than verbal action. The four essays to be studied in this paper show the significance of the performative, the power of words and how they are linked to action. These essays answer the question: ‘How is that a word becomes the site for power?’ Kenneth Burke’s “Introduction: The Five Key Terms of Dramatism” explores the motive behind the performative. J. L. Austin’s “Performative-Constative” explains different instances have performative and constative statements. Hannah Arendt’s “Action” discusses how speech and action shape who we are as humans and how it contributes to power and politics. Finally, Judith Butler’s “Sovereign Performatives in the Contemporary Scene of Utterance,” writes about how names do hurt people and these names can be known as hate speech. This paper will show how these authors all contribute to an understanding of the power of words and their relationship to action.

Arendt discusses the power of words to reveal who human beings are. She states, “in acting and speaking, men show who they are.” With human plurality there is a twofold character of equality and distinction with action and speech. If people were exactly the same one would not need speech, and if people have the ability to communicate that makes them equal. To Arendt, one looks backwards and forwards through time because of our ability to speak and act. Speech and action are an important part of who we are and how we exist in the public sphere.

Butler sees the power of speech and its relationship to action as having more negative qualities than Arendt. She writes that racist epithets pass on a message of racial inferiority. Unlike Arendt, Butler points out that speech can be used to degrade humans. However, Butler agrees with Arendt on the point of acting and speaking showing that humans are. “The racial slur is always cited from elsewhere, and in the speaking of it, one chimes in with a chorus of racists, producing at that moment the linguistic occasion for an imagined relation to a historically transmitted community of racists” (Butler 359). Butler concludes that the use of racist language links one to a community of racists: it has the power to shape that one is in a negative way. Arendt and Butler contribute to an understanding of the positive and negative attributes to the power of words. Burke can be used to explain why words are powerful. He writes about motive. It is primarily because of the motive that words have power.

According to Burke, the motive is behind the action of humans. Motive explains what people are doing and why they are doing it. A complete statement of motive includes the act, the scene, the agent, the agency, and the purpose. Arendt’s ideas can be used to understand the complete statement of motives. The motive is distinct because different words are used to describe the components. A complete statement of motive is equal because it always contains the five components. The components are like fingers on a hand. Each finger is distinct, but they are all equal in the use of the hand as fingers. As Burke discusses, “men may violently disagree about the purposes behind a given act, or about the character of the person who did it, or how he did it, or in what kind of situation he acted; or they may even insist upon totally different words to name the act itself” (Burk xv) but the motive still comes down to the five components. Therefore, Burke’s complete statement of motives can be linked to Arendt’s theory of human plurality. Burke also introduces a different way of realizing the power of words, through the motive. Whereas Burke emphasizes the statements of motives on the concrete, such as agent, agency, act, scene, and purpose, Arendt introduces an idea from Plato of the motive being from a different, more abstract source:

It is for this reason that Plato thought that human affairs, the outcome of action, should not be treated with great seriousness; the actions of men appear like the gestures of puppets led by an invisible hand behind the scene, so that man seems to be a kind of plaything of God (Arendt 185).

This would negate the power of the performative. It also places the motive in a less concrete source. Man is still responsible for his actions, Arendt implies. She states that Plato’s idea is not based on real experience. According to Arendt, the motive still stems from the words and the power of man. Burke and Arendt agree on the source of the motive. However, Burke presents an idea that Arendt does not discuss – the idea that the same word can have a multiplicity of powerful attributes.

Words can create a combination of meanings and stem from a variety of motives. Burke exemplifies this when he speaks of the body. A portrait painter, a doctor, and a foreign correspondent may all see the body as different things. This gives the word ‘body’ multiple meanings and multiple possibilities as a source for motive. Motive changes with different word use.

Butler exemplifies rappers such as Ice-T in regards to using hate speech. A racist may use the word ‘nigger,’ and Ice-T in his rap may use the word ‘nigger.’ To Butler it is still language that causes injury, but rapper Ice-T is reappropriating it. She cites Delgado who sees no other connotation for certain words. Butler should use motive to understand the different power of words. Ice-T has a different motive than a racist in using the word ‘nigger’ – thus, the word changes. Burke recognizes this point when he writes of the word ‘body.’ In this sense, Butler sees the words of hate speech in a different way than Burke views the word ‘body.’ There is a combination of possibilities linked to motive and the power of words. This raises issues about what are the limits and boundaries of words’ use and power. This is a point raised by Austin.

Austin writes that there are limitations to what one can say. He uses the example of one who confides in another person that he is bored. One could use words to negate the statement, however, Austin concludes that “I can’t state what your feelings are unless you have disclosed them to me” (Austin 20). There are limitations to what one can say, thus for Austin the power of words have their limits and also have their moments when they are not powerful.

Arendt and Butler have different perceptions of the word ‘power.’ For Arendt, “power is actualized only where word and deed have not parted company, where words are not empty and deed not brutal, where words are not used to veil intentions but to disclose realities, and deeds are not used to violate and destroy but to establish relations and create new realities” (Arendt 200). Butler sees ‘power’ as having authority over something or someone. “The utterance thus has the power to affect the subordination that it either depicts or promotes through its free operation within the public sphere unimpeded by state intervention” (Butler 352). For Butler, the state gives hate speech the power to injure.

Arendt disagrees with Austin on the limitations and bounds of words and action. She states that “man is capable of action means that the unexpected can be expected from him, that he is able to perform what is infinitely improbable” (Arendt 178). Arendt sees man’s use of word power as having no boundaries. Anything is possible because man is capable of all sorts of activities. Although Arendt discusses action, she makes no distinction between speech and action in her essay. She refers consistently to “speech and action.” It can be implied that she is also talking about speech when she writes about action.

Butler as well sees a limitless quality to the power of words. The state condones hate speech, making it limitless. She also uses examples of the visual text, such as in pornography as having the power to be actualized into words. The limits and bounds of the power of words also extend to motive.

Burke sets initial limitations on the motive by stating the criteria of the act, agent, agency, scene and purpose. However, this criteria expands when one also adds to the statement, co-agents and the like. There are a myriad of possibilities to a complete statement of motive. Since Burke sees many possible motives – and motive is linked to power – the power of words are limitless. Because there are so many possible motives, this can lead to the fact that sometimes the power of the performative is negated by ‘unhappiness’ – which Austin explains.

Austin discusses ‘unhappiness’ associated with the performative. “If, for example, the speaker is not in a position to perform an actor of that kind, or if the object with respect to which he purports to perform it is not suitable for the purpose, then he doesn’t manage, simply by issuing his utterance, to carry out the purported act” (Austin 14). Austin refers to the examples of a bigamist getting married, naming a ship you don’t own, and the baptism of penguins. This negates the power of words as linked to action. Austin’s view is associated with Arendt’s definition of power. However, Austin also raises that a statement also has a different power when it is “self-voiding.” This illustrates how the word has the power to give and to take away.

Butler writes about the self-voiding statements when she discusses the homosexual in the military. Hate speech as a performative is allowed its free expression by the First Amendment. The hate is allowed to come out, therefore the words have the power to injure. Even Austin agrees with Butler that “to state what isn’t true is one of the Rights of Man” (Austin 19). Words can still have power even if they are not true, such as in hate speech. As Austin points out, one may give advice, but whether or not they are right in their words and their relationship to action is a different story.

This paper explored the power of words and their relationship to action as discussed by Burke, Austin, Arendt and Butler. Burke develops how words are powerful and their relationship to action because of the distinct and equalizing effect of the complete statement of motives. The same words have different points of power depending on who is using them. Austin explains who words are not powerful in their relationship to action by noting their limitations, and the ‘unhappiness’ to the performative. Arendt discusses how words are powerful in their relationship to action because they shape who humans are and they equalize and make humans distinct. Power is actualized only where word and deed have not parted company. Action, and thus speech, is limitless. Finally, Butler writes that the power of the performative has negative qualities. She sees acting and speaking as showing whom humans are. Hate speech has the same negative power regardless of who is using it. She also views power as having authority over something or someone. Overall, with the exception of Austin, these authors give power to the performative.

Stories By Email.com

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on September 6, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Dear Cynthia - September 6, 2010

Ask Aunt Cynthia

a serial by Cynthia McCaffrey

This is the modern version of the old Dear Abby and Ask Ann Landers columns that appeared in newspapers around the USA in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Ask Grandma becomes Ask, Aunt Cynthia – Hello to all of you and welcome to my world! Thank you for joining me. My name is Cynthia, and I am here to answer your questions and hopefully help with your problems. My name (Cynthia) is Greek, although I’m Irish. (Green eyes and all). The name means, ‘The virgin Goddess of the hunt, and the moon; daughter of the Leto & twin sister to Apollo….” Blah, blah, blah. My Mother told me I was named after an Aunt I have never met. As for me, well I just really like my name, it’s that simple.

A Mother’s Love – I believe in God, and I honor His words, respect them, and try to understand them through the Holy Spirit. A mother demanded that her son sell drugs, and he did. Now, both of them are in jail. Could he have honored his mother by telling her that he respects her as his mother but refuses to sell drugs because that is both legally and morally wrong? Please, is there any scripture that can help me to understand?

Baby Brother – Two weeks ago my baby brother, who is 23, came to visit my husband and I. We have no children, yet we’re both in our thirties, so we welcomed the company.

Cheating – I’m positive my husband is cheating on me, but he keeps denying it. This is causing some problems in our relationship, and we fight a lot. I was wondering if there was some way to prove what he’s doing. I won’t leave him, but I think I deserve to know the truth.

Don’t Let The Holidays Get You Down – My husband and I are having our usual argument over how much and what to get our children. Our son is nineteen and our daughter is fourteen.

Family Dynamics – My Mom and I are having a big fight about my boyfriend. She says he’s too old for me and is more suited to my older sister. (I’m seventeen and she’s nineteen) My sister has begun making moves on him when he comes over. When I complain, my Mom says that’s okay, and that’s just the way sisters are. I say it’s not fair I was going out with him first so she should leave him alone. Can you help?

Family Planning – I was wondering if you could help us. My wife and I are arguing about when is the right time to wean an infant. She claims it’s perfectly normal for a two-year-old to still have a bottle. I think at a year and a half we should be considering weaning. Our baby isn’t due until February but we are trying to iron out some of the kinks before the arrival. Can you tell us who’s right, please?

For The Love Of Children – I need some advice; I hope you can help me. My girlfriend is acting really strange. She comes home late and tells me she had to work late. Yesterday was payday, and I glanced at her pay stub; her pay is exactly as it always has been. No overtime or extra vacation time.

Guide Them With A Gentle Hand – I have a three-year-old who will not listen to anything I say to her. When I get after her for being bad, she just looks at me and laughs. I hate to admit it, but I’ve even had to spank her a couple of times (when she was in danger of getting hurt). That too fell on deaf ears.

Is Blood Really Thicker Than Water? – I have a six-year-old stepdaughter who I believe is the spawn of the devil. I don’t mean to sound flip, but this little girl is truly a bad child. She’s been setting fires, running away and hiding for hours; the last time we had the police out searching for her. She will hit, scream, and swear at anyone she feels like doing it too. Short of killing someone, you name it and she has done it.

Life’s Little Disappointments – This week I wanted to deal with getting a fair shake in life. I’m always saying, “If you expect life to be fair, then you’re disillusioning yourself.” I say that not because I’m a cynic but because I believe it. It only makes sense to realize that some really crappy things happen to some really nice people. Sadly life is far from fair, but that’s just the way it is.

Live and Let Live! – Why does it bother people when I show my boyfriend affection? He loves me and I love him (we’re both men) so why shouldn’t the world know we are in love. My straight friends have no problem showing their affections in public. Yet when my partner and I do the same they all shy away from us. I think this is pretty hypocritical on their behalf. What can I say to these people that could make them see how wrong and unfair this is to us?

Mother-in-Law – I’ve just given birth to my first child, a beautiful little girl. Even though she denies it, my mother-in-law thinks I’m an idiot when it comes to taking care of my baby. She’s always looking over my shoulder whenever I’m trying to take care of my child. That wouldn’t be so bad, but she’s also always correcting me. The other day she came right out and said I wasn’t holding the baby properly.

Parenting Today? – Hi, my name is Shirley, and I was wondering if you could give me some pointers on how to discipline my four-year-old son? He has terrible temper tantrums and screams at the top of his lungs if I put him in his room for a timeout. I’m scared my neighbors will think I’m hurting him. But I know I have to keep him in control somehow. I’m just not sure what else to do with him. Can you help us?

Patience, Patience And More Patience – My four-year-old son (James) has slept with Daddy and me most of his young life. We realize this isn’t a good thing, but due to circumstances beyond our control, we were forced to share a room for the last couple of years.

Qualifications – I have traveled most of my adult life, coast to coast in Canada, every two weeks. I have often gone as far south as Texas but that’s a far south as I have been, yet. My Mom always said I was the only child, in a brood of seven children that were born with wanderlust. I love to travel and I love to meet new people.

Spanking – I don’t know what you would call a bad fetish, but my girlfriend of five years can’t seem to reach her climax unless I’m punishing her. The punishment varies, but it always has to be harsh enough to make her cry and beg me to stop.

Step Brother -My Mom doesn’t know I’m writing to you. I don’t think she’d believe it was me anyway, but I need to ask a question. My step-brother and I are in love, and we want to run away together, but he says we have to wait. I’m 16, and he’s 19. I know he wants to save up more money for us to live on, but if we wait too long our parents will stop us somehow.

Taking A Walk In The Real World – My husband is making me nuts. He thinks, just because he’s the only one working, I’m living the life of a queen. We have three little ones, under the age of six! You can imagine what a day around here is like. The oldest is in school, but I have a two- and four-year-old to deal with at home. Some days it’s as if I’ve lost my mind, and then he comes home and begins to bitch about everything that isn’t done. I told him I want a housekeeper, once a week, to help me keep the cobwebs away. He thought I was joking.

The Times They Are Changing – Very good question! Too bad there isn’t anyone standard rule to the length of time for timeouts. Yes, I said it, and I will stand by the statement! I have gone completely cross-eyed reading websites, surfing through pediatricians. I have come across many suggested toddlers times outs. I have even braved the pages of dear old Dr. Spock, (no not the Vulcan), and it seems to me there simply isn’t one firm answer to your question. What I will tell you is my idea of what a timeout should be. I’ll let you decide what you want to do.

Till Death Do You Part – I recently went out for a few drinks with some co-workers (all male); we went to a strip joint not far from work. One of the men started to whine about his overweight wife, and another started to complain about what a nag his wife was. Pretty soon they had all taken a turn gunning their spouses, and they turned to me, waiting for my main complaint. At that moment I considered lying to them, but I didn’t see why I should; so I began to tell them all about my wife and our marriage.

Touchy Issues – Where do you stand on abortion? I made the mistake of bringing the subject up the other night. A co-worker is having a problem with his teen daughter, and it made me wonder about the man’s stand-in things.

Worried Mom and Dad – I am a proud Father of a 12-year-old daughter; she’s really a good kid, but I’m concerned about one of her young male friends. The boy is grubby looking and hasn’t any manners. I have always encouraged my child to have her friends come over to our house. I prefer to know where she is and what she’s doing. This young man, however, doesn’t like to visit her at home. He seems to always be coming up with things for them to do that take her away from home.

Landlord-Tenant Act – Know Your Rights

In Beauty, Business, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, travel, Writing (all kinds) on September 6, 2010 at 2:00 AM

For Rent - September 6, 2010

With many young people moving into new homes, plus international and out-of-province students renting places in Toronto – know your rights. For more information, check out the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/reho/yogureho/fash/fash_009.cfm.

York University’s Date Safe

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on September 4, 2010 at 12:52 PM

York University - September 4, 2010

“Can I Kiss You?” event kicks off school year at York U

Orientation includes learning the secrets to dating

TORONTO, September 3, 2010 — Dating and relationship educator Mike Domitrz will teach York University students how to ask the really tough questions during his “Can I Kiss You?” show on Wednesday evening.

Domitrz, who speaks at schools, universities and other institutions across the U.S. and Canada, draws audience members into his show to role-play awkward dating moments. In the midst of the laughter are some hard-hitting lessons about intimacy, including the importance of respecting personal boundaries.

How do you know how far your partner really wants to go with you? and how do you let your partner know what you want without being too subtle, too bossy, or making the mistake of just “going for it?”

Asking first, says Domitrz, makes all the difference.

In addition to teaching York students how to ask for what they want sexually or intimately, Domitrz will teach them precisely how to handle a “No.” He goes beyond the traditional “No Means No” approach, however, by asking students to consider this question: “Do You Ask?”

“The responsibility must fall on the person who initiates this type of personal contact,” says Noël Badiou, director of York’s Centre for Human Rights, which organized the event. “We want audience members to understand the importance of respecting each other’s boundaries.”

York students who attend the event will not only gain valuable skills to use in their own relationships but will learn how to intervene appropriately in potentially-dangerous situations with their friends, including when alcohol is involved. Domitrz will be holding small training sessions with student leaders and student services staff prior to the main event to train them in how to handle these kinds of situations and how to teach others to do the same.

Organizers of the event will be promoting it on campus on Wednesday with pathways of “lips” leading to a “kissing booth.”

Domitrz is executive director of the Date Safe Project, which provides organizations with educational materials and programming about healthy intimacy and sexual assault awareness.

WHAT: “Can I Kiss You?” event

WHEN: Wed. Sept. 8 at 7pm

WHERE: Centre of Excellence in the Rexall Centre, York University

Building 8 on Map

INFO: http://www.yorku.ca/rights/CanIKissYou-Sept82010.htm

York University is the leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university in Canada. York offers a modern, academic experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in Toronto, Canada’s most international city. The third largest university in the country, York is host to a dynamic academic community of 50,000 students and 7,000 faculties and staff, as well as 200,000 alumni worldwide. York’s 10 Faculties and 28 research centres conduct ambitious, groundbreaking research that is interdisciplinary, cutting across traditional academic boundaries. This distinctive and collaborative approach is preparing students for the future and bringing fresh insights and solutions to real-world challenges. York University is an autonomous, not-for-profit corporation.

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Media Contact:

Keith Marnoch, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 x22091 / marnoch@yorku.ca

Janice Walls, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 x22101 / wallsj@yorku.ca

Toronto Natural Hair and Beauty Show

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on September 3, 2010 at 10:38 AM

Donna Kakonge will be doing a workshop on The Politics of Black Hair.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“We Have Good Hair”

Toronto, ON, August 3, 2010 – The Toronto Natural Hair & Beauty Show, Toronto’s only hair show dedicated to black women and men who wear their hair natural, will have their 6th show take place at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre 6 Garamond Court, Toronto, Ontario.

Scheduled to take place on September 19, 2010 from 11 A.M. – 8 P.M. is The Toronto Natural Hair & Beauty Show, Ontario’s largest air show dedicated to black women & men, who chose to wear their hair natural; the show provides an opportunity for professional hairstylist, cosmetology students, salon owners, and consumers to come together to learn and exchange information about natural hair care, health and beauty tips, and products. The show also provides an avenue for stylist and consumers locally and abroad to show the versatility and the many styles of natural hair. The 6th Toronto Natural Hair & Beauty Show will feature fashion, beauty, health, education and much more! In addition, there will be great workshops, a fashion show, and competitions for, braiding, barbering, and locks as well as natural hair showcase by local salons, vendors, and giveaways.

During show hours, the event will host several workshops lead by some of the best in the natural hair industry and will provide education and training for cosmetologist, barbers, and consumers. Workshops include; Hair Locking 101 by Malaika-Tamu Cooper, Owner of Dredz & Headz, based out of Baltimore, MD, The History of Black Hair, by Anya Grant of iheartmyhair.com, What is Sisterlocks? by Dr. JoAnne Cornwell, Creator of Sisterlocks & Avalon Williams, Owner of Celebrity Unisex Salon, plus much more. Throughout the day we will have several hair showcases by local salons from in and around the GTA, live entertainment by local performers Django, Chatta, Jahvid, and Caribbean Dance Theatre, just to name a few.

The Toronto Natural Hair & Beauty Show is produced by Toronto Naturals and Sponsored by Marsha Patterson of Naturally Me!, and Celebrity Unisex Salon.

Tickets for admission to this event are $15.00, seniors and students are $10.00, children 12, and under are free. Tickets can be purchased at the door. For updated information on the show, please visit our website, http://www.torontonaturals.ca.

Companies or organizations who are interested in being an exhibitor/vendor or sponsor should contact Marsha Patterson
(416) 580-5309 or e-mail vendors.tnhbs@gmail.com, sponsorship.tnhbs@gmail.com

For volunteer inquiries please contact Avalon Williams or Stephanie Joseph-Walker at
(647) 206-1543 or email volunteers.tnhbs@gmail.com

For General inquiries, email torontonaturals@gmail.com

For media inquiries, please contact Stephanie Joseph-Walker (647) 206-1543 or email press@torontonaturals.ca

July 2010 Car Sales

In Beauty, Business, cars, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Sports, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on September 3, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Dennis DesRosiers Writes About Car Sales in July – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Dennis DesRosiers - September 3, 2010 - 2

Dennis DesRosiers – September 3, 2010

Dennis DesRosiers – September 3, 2010 – 1

By Dennis DesRosiers

I was away on vacation last week ( yes I do take time off once in a while) when the July sales numbers were released so didn’t do a write-up. But I wanted to at least send out some quick thoughts.

July was a great month for sales and it shows in the SAAR tracking that we do now. The SAAR at 1.69 million units, in fact, was the best in two years ( see attached chart ). Not at the level we achieved through most of the last decade but still very respectable and trending in the right direction. You will also notice that at 148.8 thousand units it was just under the monthly totals achieved in 2008 and 2005 and above the monthly levels achieved the rest of the decade. This is a good sign. The major concern is the amount of incentive money needed to move this much product and the ability of the OEMs to maintain this level of spending per unit.

July also continued the trend of Ford and to a degree Chrysler and GM taking market share away from the import nameplate brands. Ford was up 22.4 percent for the month, GM was up 22.4 percent and Chrysler was up 40.0 percent. You have to be careful with the GM and Chrysler performance since the comparable year-ago month is tainted by their bankruptcies in the US but Ford’s number is the real meal deal. As a result, the Detroit three’s share this year is tracking at couple points higher than last year at 46.6 percent compared to only 44.2 percent in 2009.

July also continued the trend of the light truck sector significantly outperforming the passenger car side of the market. So much for fuel efficiency targets. Light trucks were up 22.0 percent versus passenger cars down 7.8 percent for the month. YTD results are similar. Some of this is centered on the return of the Detroit three but most of it is the simple fact that much of the light truck market is commercial use related and these customers have no choice but to renew their fleet as the economy improves. Indeed business-related vehicle purchases were more severely hurt by the deteriorating economy the last couple years so companies are taking the opportunity of a better economy to come back into the market to update their fleets. The Detroit three are more focused on commercial fleets than the import nameplates and this is one of the reasons they are having a better year. It will be interesting to see retail vs fleet sales when the numbers are finally released. For some reason, these have been slow to come to light this year but we are hopeful that they will be available shortly.

One of the issues everyone should be careful with anywhere you look at the automotive sector is comparisons to last year. Indeed virtually all comparables should be treated with extreme caution since 2009 was so volatile as well as unique. It would be fairer in most instances to compare performance to two years ago but even that creates some analytical problems so just take the year over year comparisons with a grain of salt and look at the broader picture whenever possible.

Beautiful Hair, Beautiful Child

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on September 2, 2010 at 3:00 AM

Beautiful Hair - September 2, 2010

I found this image under Dreamstime.com and it was titled “crazy hair.” What is up with that?

It is amazing how often natural black hair is seen is crazy hair if it is not tamed and combed. This kind of judgment is absolutely absurd. I honestly do not understand how anyone with even a modicum of education could come to this conclusion.

Natural black hair is extremely fragile. The very act of combing it, especially when it is wet, can actually lead to damaging the hair if not done correctly. More education needs to be put out there about natural black hair. If more black people themselves even understood how natural black hair operates, they would most likely opt for wearing their hair natural, versus using chemical treatments.

The Politics of Black Hair Online Course

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on September 1, 2010 at 3:00 AM

Online Course - September 1, 2010

It is now week four of The Politics of Black Hair Online Course and I am loving it. It is working out so well.

I have had some people need to cancel the class. There is one person who is based in Uganda who needed to cancel because of computer problems. I can completely understand this because when I was in Uganda myself back in the late 1990s, the computer situation there was not very good. It does not surprise me that it still needs improvement.

Another member needed to quit the course, however, she wants to write a story about it for a publication in Washington, D.C. I will be participating in the story, as well as receiving a copy of it.

Other than that though, those people who are participating are doing a fantastic job and I am really pleased with it. I have already started working on the free ebook I will be giving to all of the participants. It’s the first time I have done something such as this and it is really exciting.

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