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Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

Youth Music Movement: Four guys in a R/V tour Canada in search of nation’s next wave of young music stars

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Writing (all kinds) on April 30, 2011 at 8:22 AM

In Search of East Coast Music Talent – Photo Courtesy of CNW

Image result for East Coast Canadian music

From east to west coast, group records 11 bands this summer and documents their adventures on webisode series

April 29, 2011 @ 05:30AM

Montréal, QC – Every successful musician remembers the long and hard road traveled on their journey to get noticed. This summer, a group of four, passionate, fresh-out-of-school cultural aficionados from Québec are about to give 11 budding young musicians their first big break.

Last night, Youth Music Movement (YMM) and members of Montréal’s renowned pop punk band Simple Plan announced the launch of a cross-country tour designed to discover Canada’s brightest up-and-coming musical stars.

From May 1 to July 31, the Youth Music Movement Powered by Pepsi tour will make 11 stops across the nation, where the YMM team – armed with a mobile recording and film studio – will produce a sound recording and a video for free, featuring young Canadian musicians on the cusp of making it big.

One song from each band will be featured on a CD that will be released at the end of the tour highlighting the diversity of musical talent across Canada. A portion of the proceeds from the compilation will go to the Simple Plan Foundation, an organization that encourages the practice of music to help young kids find a passion in life.

Canadians can follow the movement on Twitter (using the #YMMove hashtag and the @youth_music handle) and on Facebook (Facebook.com/pepsicanada). While on the road, Youth Music Movement will also produce 12Tracks.tv, 12 weekly webisodes that document their adventure across the country and feature the music videos and songs of each act they record.

While most bands have been preselected to participate, Youth Music Movement has four open spots in the following provinces: Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Yukon. Musicians looking to participate in the Youth Music Movement Powered by Pepsi tour can contact the YMM team on their Facebook page (Facebook.com/youthmusicmovement).

The Youth Music Movement team includes four members – François Del Fante, a gifted sound engineer, and musician; Frederic Bastien Forrest, a versatile cultural journalist; Pierre-Etienne Bordeleau, a prolific cinematographer; and Bruno Mercure, an innovative producer.

The idea for a tour started in Montréal in May 2010 when the group applied for a $25,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project, a program that funds ideas that promote social good. Youth Music Movement campaigned for two-months and won the hearts of Canadians coast-to-coast who believed in their project and helped them win a grant. The Youth Music Movement team has been busy since, researching hundreds of bands from every corner of the country, looking for up-and-coming Canadian musical talent to feature on the tour.

“We can’t wait to hit the road to discover Canada’s next generation of rising stars,” says Frederic Bastien Forrest, Youth Music Movement co-founder. “We have amazing talent in our country and it’s our passion to scout and records the hidden gems of tomorrow. Our Pepsi Refresh Project grant has given us the opportunity of a lifetime, and we’re looking forward to kicking off the tour.”

Leaving from Montréal on May 1, the Youth Music Movement Powered by Pepsi tour will make the following stops over the spring and summer months:

1. May 4 – 8: St. John’s, NF
2. May 11 – 15: Halifax, NS
3. May 18 – 22: Charlottetown, PE
4. May 25 – 29: Edmundston, NB
5. June 1 – 5: TBD, QC
6. June 15 – 19: Toronto, ON
7. June 22 – 26: TBD, MB
8. June 29 – July 3: TBD, SK
9. July 6 – 10: Edmonton, AB
10. July 13 – 17: TBD, YK
11. July 20 – 24: Vancouver, BC

[TPS] – Media advisory, Sunday, May 1, 2011, 10 a.m., Grosvenor St./Queen’s Park Crescent, Ontario Police Memorial Foundation, Ceremony of Remembrance‏

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, cars, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on April 29, 2011 at 3:00 AM

Memorial for Constable Ryan and Other Officers – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Image result for Toronto Police Officers Constable Ryan

Toronto Police Service
News Release

Media advisory, Sunday, May 1, 2011, 10 a.m., Grosvenor St./Queen’s Park Crescent, Ontario Police Memorial Foundation, Ceremony of Remembrance

Thursday, April 28, 2011 – 2:11 PM
Corporate Communications
416-808-7100

On Sunday, May 1, 2011, at 10 a.m., at Grosvenor St./Queen’s Park Crescent, the 12th annual Ceremony of Remembrance for Ontario’s fallen police officers will take place.

All 248 names will be read aloud, beginning at 10 a.m., by two officers representing the latest graduating class from the Ontario Police College.

Police pipe bands will lead officers from across Ontario and the United States in their march around Queen’s Park, arriving at the Memorial shortly before 11 a.m., for the official start of the Ceremony of Remembrance.

The official party in attendance will be the Honourable Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario; the Honourable Jim Bradley, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services; and the families of the fallen officers.

Seven names have been added this year to the Wall of Honour:

Toronto Police Sergeant Ryan Russell, 2011,
Elgin County Constable Harry Fordham, 1942,
Canadian National Railway Constable Robert Mahlig, 1937,
Toronto Police Constable Edward Knox, 1935,
East York Township Police Chief Thomas McCann, 1934,
Port Arthur Police Chief Angus Joseph McLellan, 1920,
Kingston Police Sergeant Samuel James Arniel, 1919,

The Ontario Police Memorial Foundation (OPMF), host of the annual Memorial Service, continues with its research, to fulfill its goal of ensuring that every fallen officer from Ontario will not be forgotten.

The architectural illumination of the CN Tower will be done in blue light on Sunday, May 1, 2011, to honour police officers in the Ontario who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

The Ontario Police Memorial Foundation will be streaming live on Facebook and Twitter throughout the Ceremony.

Click here for President of OPMF Jim Chirstie.

The Ontario Police Memorial Foundation will be streaming live on
Click here for Facebook.com/HeroesInLife and Click here LiveStream.com/HeroesInLife

Police will update the public on Twitter.com/HeroesInLife throughout the ceremony.

Contacts: Jim Christie, President, OPMF, at 705-527-3463 or Constable Tony Vella, Toronto Police Service, Corporate Communication, at 416-808-7094.

Backgrounder

Sergeant Ryan Russell, Toronto Police, January 12, 2011:

Sergeant Ryan Russell was attempting to stop the driver of a stolen heavy-duty pickup truck equipped with a snow plow. It is alleged that the driver had commandeered the vehicle earlier that morning and, for nearly two hours, careened his way through downtown Toronto streets, hitting buildings and striking several cars. Sergeant Russell had exited his police cruiser and was standing on the roadway when the driver ran him down. He was rushed to St. Michael’s Hospital where he died from his injuries.

Sergeant Russell, an 11-year veteran with the Toronto Police Service, was 35, and married with one child.

County Constable Harry Fordham, Elgin County, February 2, 1942:

County Constable Harry Fordham was returning after attending a house fire in the Village of Fingal, Elgin County. He was walking east on the sidewalk along Talbot Road, which is two blocks west of the main intersection in the village. A speeding westbound car lost control after sideswiping an eastbound car on the icy roadway, jumping the ditch, striking and snapped off a telephone pole, then struck the officer, throwing him 25 feet across a lawn. The car came to rest wrapped around a tree. Constable Fordham suffered a broken leg, arm, and internal injuries and died later in Memorial Hospital in St. Thomas.

Born in Yorkshire, England, he was 61, married with four children. Harry and his brother were “British Home Children,” arriving in Canada in the late-1800s. (2010 was the year of the British Home Child in Canada).

Constable Robert Mahlig, Canadian National Railway, January 6, 1937:

Constable Robert “Bob” Mahlig was working in the late evening at Union Station in downtown Ottawa. He was attempting to evict loiterers from the station and was physically escorting one man to the exit when the man punched Constable Mahlig to the side of the head, striking him just below the ear. Witnesses said he dropped to the floor, motionless. Constable Mahlig was pronounced dead at the station. His death was caused by a skull fracture in the area of the head where he was punched.

Constable Mahlig was 51 and had worked with the CNR police for approximately 17 years. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he was married with three children.

Constable Edward Knox, Toronto Police Service, May 10, 1935:

Constable Edward Knox was assigned to plainclothes duty out of the Claremont Station. He was patrolling the warehouse area, along with the western gap of Toronto harbour, on a night which was blanketed in thick dense fog. During his patrol, he missed a curve in the road along Fleet Street, driving the car over the sea wall. The car was found after daybreak, hung up on the railing, dangling over the water, with the driver’s door hanging open. Constable Knox was pulled from the water one hour after the search began.

Constable Knox was with the police department for 22 years. Born in Ireland he was 43 and single.

Chief Thomas McCann, East York Township, November 15, 1934:

Chief Thomas McCann was driving back to the station one evening when he was involved in an accident. He suffered serious internal injuries, having been thrown against the dash of the vehicle. Chief McCann never returned to duty.

After a lengthy stay in a hospital, he was released to convalesce at home. His condition was not improving and he was returned to the hospital on November 8. On November 15, he died from the complications of his injuries.

Chief McCann was the first Chief of East York Township Police. He was 63, married with 10 children.

Chief Angus Joseph McLellan, Port Arthur, May 18, 1920:

Apparently, in perfect health, Chief Angus McLellan was attending to his duties in the police station on a Saturday afternoon. At around 5 p.m., he complained he was not feeling well and was driven home and put to bed. Sunday afternoon, he sank into unconsciousness, from which he never recovered. It was found, through a post-mortem examination, that an old head injury was responsible for Chief McLellan’s death. Seven years earlier, while attempting to quell a riot during a strike at the Port Arthur coal docks, he was struck on the head with a club. He suffered for years from this injury, which ultimately took his life.

Born in Scotland, he was 44 and single. He was a member of Port Arthur Police for 17 years.

Sergeant Samuel James Arniel, Kingston Police, 19 April 1919:

Sergeant Samuel Arniel, a 20-year veteran with Kingston Police, was escorting an arrested drunken man to the police station. While walking, the prisoner attempted to break free and make his escape. During the course of maintaining control of his prisoner, Sergeant Arniel and the prisoner fell to the ground. It was first thought that Sergeant Arniel had stuck his head on the ground as he laid there, with the prisoner on top of him. The call for help was made to the police station, resulting in Chief Robert Nesbitt responding to his Sergeant’s aid. Sergeant Arniel was pronounced died at the scene. A post-mortem revealed he had suffered a massive heart attack during the struggle.

Born in Kingston Ontario, he was 55 and married with two children.

Facts – Ontario Police Memorial

The Memorial is located in a small park adjacent to the Ontario Legislature, at the corner of Grosvenor Street and Queen’s Park Crescent.

The Memorial was built from a grant provided by the Ontario Government. The Official dedication Service was on May 7, 2000.

The Memorial consists of two bronze statues, (approximate 2.5 m), depicting a male officer in duty dress circa 1950-1990 and a woman officer in modern duty dress.

The statues are mounted atop a large granite pedestal base (weighing 30,000 lbs). At the feet of the statues are eight cascading granite walls. The four walls on either side of the main pedestal form a horseshoe shape. The names of all known fallen officers are inscribed on these walls, the Wall of Honour.

Toronto-based artist Mr. Siggy Puchta is the sculptor of the bronze statues. He has many awards and accomplishments. (1986 he designed the trophy depicting the Calgary Saddledome for the Calgary Cup Games (pre-Olympic games). In 1991, he was commissioned to create seven large Canada Geese for the Blue Water Bridge Authority in Sarnia, Ontario. In 1994, he designed the Marilyn Bell award sculpture.

The criteria to add a police officer’s name on the Wall of Honour:

The deceased member must have been a sworn member of a police service.

The death must have occurred as a result of a traumatic event influenced by an external agent.

The deceased member must have been on duty at the time of death, or if off-duty, acting in the capacity of a police officer, or the circumstances leading to the death must have been brought about because of the deceased’s official status.

The deceased must have acted in good faith in doing everything that could reasonably have been expected.

Notwithstanding all of the above, the Committee may consider any set of circumstances which lead to a death of a member of a police service.

A total of 248 officers from Ontario police services are named on the Wall of Honour

The Ontario Provincial Police have 86 officers named, and the Toronto Police Service has 39 officers named on the Wall of Honour.

The Ontario Police Memorial Pin:

This pewter pin replicates the Memorial’s Wall of Honour, which contains the names of all fallen officers who have died in the service of the people of Ontario.

The pin depicts a trillium placed within a badge. The badge is the symbol, which represents the authority of all police officers, and the trillium is the official flower of Ontario. Combined together, they represent the police officers of Ontario.

The words, “HEROES IN LIFE NOT DEATH” are on the Memorial’s main pedestal and on the Memorial Pin.

On August 12, 1998, Waterloo Regional Police Constable David Nicholson lost his life while trying to recover the body of a child who drowned in the Grand River, at the Parkhill Dam in Cambridge, Ontario.

In expressing their appreciation and gratitude to family and friends, Mrs. Wendy Nicholson and sons, Mitch, Reid, and Josh, stated in part, “….Dave’s death has been painful and devastating. He was our hero in life, not death. Our memories of him are rich and immeasurable, filling our hearts with both deep joy and profound pain.”

Wendy Nicholson’s words are the inspiration for this inscription.

The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police and the Commissioner of the OPP have endorsed the wearing of this pin on an officer’s uniform. Police officers, both active and retired, are asked and encouraged to wear the pin.

Constable Tony Vella, Corporate Communications

Diaspora Dialogues – Friday Nights

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Music, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on April 28, 2011 at 3:00 AM

Writers Converge at TPL – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 29: Friday Nights with Diaspora Dialogues

Our Friday Nights series brings you an eclectic sampling of some of our best writers and performers – for free!

Don’t miss this final night of our popular and jam-packed series with the Toronto Public Library’s Keep Toronto Reading festival. Featuring readings by Antanas Sileika (Underground), Jacob McArthur Mooney (Folk), Adebe DeRango Adem (Ex Nihilio) and emerging writer Joyce Wayne; spoken word by Angelica LeMinh; and a short reading from Rebecca Applebaum’s play Complex. Hosted by Dalton Higgins.

WHAT: Friday Nights with Diaspora Dialogues (part of Toronto Public Library’s Keep Toronto Reading)
WHEN: Friday, April 29, 2011, at 7:00 PM
WHERE: Toronto Reference Library, Atrium – 789 Yonge Street (Yonge & Bloor)
COST: Free
CONTACT: Aisling Riordan – aisling@diasporadialogues.com or 416-944-1101 x 363

Biographies

Rebecca Applebaum is a playwright, actor, and musician and was born and bred in Toronto. She earned her M.A. in English from U of T and was a member of fu-GEN Theatre’s seventh Kitchen Playwriting Unit. As an actor, Applebaum works in theatre, film, and television. Recent stage work includes paper SERIES (Cahoots Theatre Company), Harriet’s House (Gailey Road Productions), Project ACT (Mixed Company Theatre), and The Physical Ramifications of Attempted Global Domination (Birdtown and Swanville/ Harbourfront HATCH). She also co-wrote and co-starred in the Next Stage Theatre Festival hit, Don’t Look, and was a member of the 2011 Acting Ensemble for the Women in the Director’s Chair program at the Banff Centre. Applebaum has also worked as a facilitator in theatre for social change with Mixed Company Theatre and Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People and was a member of the indie pop band Europe in Colour.

Adebe DeRango-Adem is a writer whose words travel between Toronto and New York. Her work has been published in various North American sources, such as The Claremont Review, Canadian Literature, CV2, and Descant. Her debut poetry collection, Ex Nihilo (Frontenac House, 2010) was one of ten manuscripts chosen in honour of Frontenac House’s Dektet 2010 competition, using a blind selection process by a jury of leading Canadian writers: Bill Bissett, George Elliott Clarke, and Alice Major. Ex Nihilo was longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, the world’s largest prize for writers under 30. She is also the co-editor, alongside Andrea Thompson, of Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out.

Dalton Higgins’ fourth book Fatherhood 4.0: iDad Applications Across Cultures dissects fatherhood through the lens of hip-hop, popular culture, and multiculturalism. A print journalist who’s penned National Magazine Award-winning features, Higgins spends some of his nights and weekends trolling the web for inspiration (when he’s not fielding a zillion public school level questions from his two seedlings, Solomon and Shiloh) and recently was one of 30 Torontonians blogging for the Toronto Star about ways to make the city more liveable.

Angelica LeMinh is an analog girl in a digital world. She’s been an old lady since she was eight, when the folks at the post office used to cower at the sight of her coming to complain about rising stamp prices. It’s because of a book that she learned compassion for the first time, and to date, she still does everything in her power to read and write. She is ecstatic to contribute “The Hip Hop Reading Rainbow”, a book column for Pound Magazine. Her empire bites back at http://www.metrotextual.wordpress.com

Jacob McArthur Mooney is a Nova Scotian now living in Mississauga, Ontario. He is an editor with the always controversial web journal ThievesJargon.com and the founder of The Facebook Review. A graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland, he is currently an MFA student at the University of Guelph. His work has been widely published, and in 2006 he was shortlisted for the CBC Literary Award in Poetry. The New Layman’s Almanac is his first book.

Antanas Sileika is the author of two novels and one collection of linked short stories, Buying On Time, which was nominated for both the City of Toronto Book Award and the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour. His last novel, Woman in Bronze, was a Globe and Mail Best Book selection. He lives in Toronto, where he is the director for the Humber School for Writers.

Joyce Wayne has just completed her first novel, a historical thriller entitled The Cook’s Temptation. Now she is writing stories, such as the one in TOK 6, about Jewish immigrants in the 1940s and how their sympathies were divided between the old country and Canada. Shortly, she intends to begin a novel about Russian spies operating in Canada at the dawn of the Cold War. Joyce teaches journalism at Sheridan College where she is the head of the Media for Global Professionals program. She sits on the Board of Directors of the college and is a member of the board of the Oakville Arts Council. In the past, Joyce worked as a staff writer at Quill & Quire and as an editor at various Canadian publishing companies.

Diaspora Dialogues is supported by Maytree, Canadian Heritage, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council, the George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation, Ontario Trillium Foundation, RBC Foundation, and TD Bank Group.

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Multimedia: A MUST for PR

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Technology, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on April 27, 2011 at 3:00 AM

Multimedia and PR Go Hand in Hand – Photo Courtesy of CNW

Image result for Public Relations

Media panelists push importance of photos and video for today’s online environment

April 21, 2011 @ 01:15PM

Toronto – More than 300 public relations, communications, and media professionals packed CNW’s Breakfast with the Media in Toronto on Friday, April 15 to hear Chris Hogg, CEO, Digital Journal; Anjali Kapoor, Managing Editor, Digital at The Globe and Mail; and, Sarah Millar, Web Editor, The Toronto Star, discuss how news and communications have evolved.

Each panelist provided a unique perspective on the changing media landscape and the role of public relations, but one thing was clear: when it comes to delivering your news with impact, multimedia is no longer a nice-to-have but a must.

“If you took photos and video out of how you consume media, it wouldn’t be the same experience,” said Chris Hogg. “Multimedia is hugely important, whether you’re in the editorial department or on the business side. Having multimedia and having multiple forms of content helps execute multiple goals as a news organization.”

In particular, journalists and editors are looking for photos for use in print and on the web.

“I’m always looking for art to go with stories,” said Sarah Millar. “A selection of photos is key because every website is different. Ask me how many I’d like and we can go from there.”

The event, moderated by CNW president Carolyn McGill, was part of CNW’s award-winning Breakfast with the Media series.

“CNW began hosting Breakfast with the Media events 21 years ago to give PR professionals insight into the day of a working journalist,” says Carolyn McGill, president, CNW Group. “CNW is in a unique position to connect communicators and the media so both can overcome the challenges of working in today’s digital environment.”

Full video coverage of the event is available for viewing here.

Read CNW’s blog, Beyond the Wire, to keep up to date with CNW’s upcoming events.
Quotes

“If you took photos and video out of how you consume media, it wouldn’t be the same experience. Multimedia is hugely important, whether you’re in the editorial department or on the business side. Having multimedia and having multiple forms of content helps execute multiple goals as a news organization.”

Chris Hogg, CEO, Digital Journal

“I’m always looking for art to go with stories. A selection of photos is key because every website is different. Ask me how many I’d like and we can go from there.”

Sarah Millar, Web Editor, The Toronto Star

“CNW began hosting Breakfast with the Media events 21 years ago to give PR professionals insight into the day of a working journalist. CNW is in a unique position to connect communicators and the media so both can overcome the challenges of working in today’s digital environment.”

Carolyn McGill, President, and CEO, CNW Group
Boilerplate

About CNW Group

CNW connects organizations to relevant news audiences through integrated, intelligent communications and disclosure services. CNW offers newswire distribution, social media releases, webcast, video, photography, translation, regulatory filing services and MediaVantage, a web-based media monitoring application, communications, and workflow solution. CNW has been an industry leader since 1960. http://www.newswire.ca | blog.newswire.ca.

Running Room launches Boomer focused Active-Aging online walking clinic

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Disability, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Sports, Writing (all kinds) on April 26, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Six Out of 10 Older Canadians Not Getting Enough Exercise – Photo Courtesy of CNW

Image result for Running Room in Toronto

Nearly six out of 10 Canadians over the age of 65 are not getting enough exercise and may be at risk for cardiovascular disease

April 26, 2011 @ 11:00AM

Toronto, Ontario – With age and physical inactivity considered risks for developing cardiovascular disease, nearly six out of 10 Baby Boomers are in danger of dying from Canada’s second leading cause of death and disability – cardiovascular disease (CVD).1,2

Recognizing the risk to the Canadian Baby Boomer population, Running Room founder John Stanton is spearheading the launch of his new program – the Active-Aging online walking clinic. This easy-to-follow and convenient program is specifically aimed to Canadians over the age of fifty looking to add exercise into their lives – one step at a time.

“As we start to age, we need to realize that we can’t become inactive,” says John Stanton. “One of the reasons I wanted to start this online clinic was to help people age in a healthy way and walking is a great way to do so.” The Active-Aging online walking clinic can be found by visiting http://www.active-aging.ca. Its goal is to inspire people about the virtues of walking and provide information on how exercise and a healthy lifestyle are an important part of managing risk for cardiovascular disease.

“Thirty to 60 minutes of walking daily offers many of the same health benefits as running and is a great place to start for someone being introduced into a fitness regime. A lack of exercise can contribute to your risk for cardiovascular disease,” explains Dr. Robert Welsh, Associate Professor and Academic Interventional Cardiologist at the University of Alberta Hospital. “The good news is that by incorporating physical activity, this risk factor is modifiable.”

Inactivity, along with age, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history, and diabetes, is considered a risk factor of cardiovascular disease.3 Nearly 60 percent of Canadians over the age of 65 are inactive,4 which can lead to a decline in bone strength, muscle strength, heart and lung fitness and flexibility.5 Since cardiovascular disease is the second leading cause of death and disability in Canada, accounting for 29.5 percent of all deaths nationally,6 incorporating exercise is one of many ways Canadians can begin to address this problem.

“We know that physical activity on a regular basis helps maintain strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination, and can help reduce the risk of falls, which is why it becomes more and more important as we age,” says Dr. Welsh. “Walking is a great way to ease into a new exercise routine, and if done properly, it can offer many of the same health benefits as other types of exercise. Be sure to speak with your doctor before starting a new fitness program.”

To learn more about the Active-Aging online walking clinic, or to view educational videos and heart-healthy content sponsored by AstraZeneca Canada, visit http://www.active-aging.ca.

1. Genest, Jacques et al. “Canadian Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of dyslipidemia and prevention of cardiovascular disease in the adult – 2009 recommendations,” Canadian Journal of Cardiology, Vol 25, No 10, October 2009, page 569.
2. Statistics Canada: Mortality, Summary list of cause Catalogue no. 84F0209X page 6
3. Genest, Jacques et al. “Canadian Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of dyslipidemia and prevention of cardiovascular disease in the adult – 2009 recommendations,” Canadian Journal of Cardiology, Vol 25, No 10, October 2009, page 569.
4. Heart and Stroke Statistics http://www.heartandstroke.com/site/c.ikIQLcMWJtE/b.3483991/k.34A8/Statistics.htm accessed April 7, 2011.
5. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/seniors-aines/publications/pro/healthy-sante/workshop-atelier/physical/physical2-eng.php
6. Statistics Canada: Mortality, Summary list of cause Catalogue no. 84F0209X page 12

Boilerplate

About the Running Room
The Running Room was founded in 1984 in one room of an old house shared with a hairdressing shop in Edmonton. Since 2004, the company has been opening Running Room/Walking Room combination stores to better meet the needs of a growing population of walkers. Today, the Edmonton-based company is one of North America’s most recognized names in running and walking.

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is committed to the research, development, and manufacturing of valuable prescription medicines. We have an extensive product portfolio spanning six therapeutic areas: gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, infection, neuroscience, oncology and respiratory. AstraZeneca’s Canadian headquarters are located in Mississauga, Ontario, and a state-of-the-art drug discovery centre is based in Montreal, Quebec. For more information, please visit the company’s website at http://www.astrazeneca.ca.

Upcoming Events at UrbanEdge Yoga

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Religion, Writing (all kinds) on April 25, 2011 at 5:00 AM

Yoga Class – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Image result for Black woman doing yoga

Dear Friends,

Events for week of April 25th

Tue 26th, Yoga- spring into action: A 60-minute yoga class designed to stretch your muscles. Flow through a variety of postures starting with Sun Salutation. Rhythmic music of traditional Indian drums, cymbals, and tambourine in tune with the pace of the postures. Find details and RSVP at http://urbanedgeyoga.com/2409/yoga-spring-into-action-4/

Wed 27th, Formula for world peace: World peace has occupied the thoughts and minds of politicians and people alike for millennia. Find out what ancient yoga texts have to share about a simple and easy formula for peace. Join us for an interactive discussion and RSVP at http://urbanedgeyoga.com/2412/world-peace-formula/

Thu 28th, Vegan cooking classes-spring delights: Spring is the time to learn a variety of light and flavourful recipes. Learn in an interactive and participative environment so you can prepare quick meals for weekend and RSVP at http://urbanedgeyoga.com/2424/vegan-cooking-spring-delights-4/

Fri 29th, Bhagavad-Gita – Bhakti yoga: A book of the Hindus or a mystery of the east, several myths surround this ancient text. Great mystics, thinkers, and philosophers ranging from Gandhi to Emerson and Thoreau have derived great inspiration from it. Join us for an interactive reading group and RSVP at http://urbanedgeyoga.com/2419/bhagavad-gita-uncommon-sense-4/

Sun May 1st, Krishna Fest: Krishnafest is a unique time out. Come experience mantra chants with vibrant world music and hear the stimulating spiritual knowledge of ancient India. Relax over a super tasty vegan dinner with a diverse range of thoughtful people. RSVP at http://urbanedgeyoga.com/2698/krishna-fest-5/

Quote of the week: The indestructible, transcendental living entity is called Brahman, and his eternal nature is called adhyatma, the self. Action pertaining to the development of the material bodies of the living entities is called karma, or fruitive activities. (Bhagavad Gita as it is)

Regards

Mangal-arti

CRTC Decisions and Regulatory Policies for the week of 26 to 29 April 2011‏

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, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on April 24, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Sugar Cane is One of the Applicants to the CRTC – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Image result for Sugar cane

CRTC Decisions and Regulatory Policies for the week of 26 to 29 April
2011

The CRTC plans to issue the following decisions and/or regulatory policies
in the coming week. This list may not be complete and is subject to change
without notice.

Broadcasting decisions:

Application by Knowledge-West Communications Corporation for authority to
acquire, from Jasper Junior Broadcasting Inc., the assets of the Category
2 specialty service known as BBC Kids
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2011/2011-55.htm#16.

Applications by Quebecor Media Inc, on behalf of TVA Group Inc., to amend
the broadcasting licence for the television station CKXT-TV Toronto
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2011/2011-95.htm#2.

Decisions related to the applications listed below, considered by the
Commission during the non-appearing phase of the 11 February 2011 public
hearing:

• Centre Wellington Community Radio Inc.
Application 2010-0116-4
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2010/2010-935.htm#9

• Asian Television Network International Limited
Applications 2010-1468-8 and 2010-1469-6
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2010/2010-935.htm#4.
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2010/2010-935.htm#5

• Sugar Cane Community Diversity Association
Application 2010-0951-4
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2010/2010-935.htm#17

• Rossland Radio Cooperative
Application 2010-1552-9
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2010/2010-935.htm#18

Telecom decision:

CISC consensus reports – Guidelines for unbundled loops and number
portability and guideline for central office code assignment – File
number: 8621-C12-01/08
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/cisc/eng/scag1102.HTM

The Treasure Trove

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on April 23, 2011 at 2:00 AM

Trove is a Store Filled with Treasure - Photo Courtesy of Trove

‘SUPPORT AFROFEST’ GOOD FRIDAY CONCERT – 4 Great Acts, 1 Great Concert

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Music, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on April 22, 2011 at 6:00 AM

The Drum is a Symbol of African Music – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Music Africa’s Good Friday SUPPORT AFROFEST concert goes tomorrow, Friday, April 22.

Featuring four top African music acts:

The Resolutionaries Marimba Band (Zimbabwe)

Donné Roberts (Madagascar)

Ruth Mathiang (Sudan)

Afrafranto (Ghana). And many special guests.

FOUR GREAT ACTS, ONE GREAT CONCERT

At the Centre for Culture and Arts, 918 Bathurst Street

(Two blocks north of Bloor Street; near Bathurst subway)

Spring into concert season and show your support for Afrofest 2011 at the same time.

At the concert, Music Africa will update fans on the latest discussions with the city to ensure that AFROFEST 2011 TAKES PLACE AT QUEEN’S PARK.

Also, Music Africa will be announcing many of the artists who will be performing at Afrofest 2011, which this year takes place on July 9 and 10.

Doors open at 7 pm, performances shortly after 8.

Tickets $20 at the door, includes free one-year membership to Music Africa.

http://www.musicafrica.org/

COMMUNITY RADIO CONTRIBUTES TO THE VITALITY AND CONTINUED GROWTH OF THE FRANCO-ONTARIAN COMMUNITY

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Radio Podcasts, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on April 21, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Franco-Ontarian Radio – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

TORONTO, April 21 /CNW/ – The French Language Services Commissioner has released a study today on the French-language community radio sector in the province. This document, entitled A Study of Ontario’s French-Language Community Radio Stations: Key Components of the Vitality of Francophone Communities, describes various issues, including the lack of government support for this sector since 1995.

In addition to suggesting solutions, the study includes a recommendation by Commissioner François Boileau asking the Government of Ontario to examine the current status of this situation in order to respond to the specific needs of Francophones with respect to community radio.

QUOTE

“Ontario’s French-language community radio stations not only promote the Francophone population’s cultural heritage but are rightfully part of it,” said French Language Services Commissioner François Boileau.

QUICK FACTS

This study was conducted following a call by the Mouvement des intervenants et des intervenantes en communication radio de l’Ontario (MICRO) lamenting the lack of support by the provincial government for its members.
Ontario has six French-language community radio stations, which broadcast from Hearst, Kapuskasing, Penetanguishene, Toronto, Cornwall, and Ottawa.
The Commissioner believes that Ontario’s French-language community radio stations play an important role in civic engagement and is convinced that these stations contribute to fighting against the assimilation of Francophones.
In 1995, the only provincial program that provided assistance for the province’s community radio stations was abolished. It has never been replaced.
LEARN MORE

This study can be accessed online at http://www.flsc.gov.on.ca

Sinfonia Toronto

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Music, Radio Podcasts, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on April 20, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Laplante’s Beethoven ~ May 13, Glenn Gould Studio

On May 13 the legendary Canadian pianist André Laplante joins us to perform Beethoven’s 2nd Piano Concerto. We recommend you book Laplante’s Beethoven now

LAPLANTE’S BEETHOVEN
Friday, May 13, 8 pm
Glenn Gould Studio
250 Front Street West
~
Nurhan Arman, Conductor
André Laplante, Pianist
~
Legendary Canadian pianist interprets a masterwork

ALBINONI Adagio
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 2
PALEJ Rorate Coeli
SCHUBERT Quartet in G Minor

$49 adult; $39 senior; $19 student
Buy now or 416-872-4255

2011-12 MASTERPIECE SERIES

Join Sinfonia Toronto and Maestro Nurhan Arman for a spectacular series of concerts in Glenn Gould Studio
250 Front St. West

Subscribe to 2011-12 season and enjoy great savings

Buy online 7 concerts for
$189 adults; $169 seniors (60+); $99 students

By phone 7 concerts for
$199 adults; $179 seniors (60+); $109 students
buy now or 416-499-0403

Join us on Facebook and Twitter

http://www.sinfoniatoronto.com

Tel: (416) 499-0403
Email: sinfoniatoronto@sympatico.ca

Upcoming Events at Urban Edge Yoga

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on April 19, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Image result for Spanish man doing yoga

Dear Friends,

Events for week of April 18th

Tue 19th, Yoga- spring into action: A 60-minute yoga class designed to stretch your muscles. Flow through a variety of postures starting with Sun Salutation. Rhythmic music of traditional Indian drums, cymbals, and tambourine in tune with the pace of the postures. Find details and RSVP at http://urbanedgeyoga.com/2408/yoga-spring-into-action-3/

Wed 20th, Earth day special – making a difference: Scientists have coined the term Geophysical force to describe human beings. As the world prepares for ‘Earth Day’, it is important to consider our impact, as a species on our environments. Join us for an interactive discussion and RSVP at http://urbanedgeyoga.com/2591/world-peace-making-a-difference-for-the-planet/

Thu 21st, Vegan cooking classes-breads, and desserts: Join us so you can watch delicious bread being freshly baked with ease while mouth-watering desserts are being assembled by our in-house expert. Classes are very interactive and you will get a chance to make your own thing too. Join us for an interactive cooking class and RSVP at http://urbanedgeyoga.com/2422/vegan-cooking-spring-delights-3/

Fri 22nd, Bhagavad-Gita as it is – the uncommon sense: A book of the Hindus or a mystery of the east, several myths surround this ancient text. Great mystics, thinkers, and philosophers ranging from Gandhi to Emerson and Thoreau have derived great inspiration from it. Join us for an interactive reading group and RSVP at http://urbanedgeyoga.com/2590/bhagavad-gita-uncommon-sense-5/

Quote of the week: The living entity, because he is transcendental, has nothing to do with this material nature. Still, because he has become conditioned by the material world, he is acting under the spell of the three modes of material nature. Because living entities have different kinds of bodies, in terms of the different aspects of nature, they are induced to act according to that nature. This is the cause of the varieties of happiness and distress. (A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)

Regards

Mangal-arti

CRTC Decisions and Regulatory Policies for the week of 18 to 21 April 2011

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, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on April 18, 2011 at 8:00 AM

TV and Radio Announcements from the CRTC – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Image result for TV and Radio

The CRTC plans to issue the following decisions and/or regulatory policies
in the coming week. This list may not be complete and is subject to change
without notice.

Decisions:

Application by Torres Media Ottawa Inc. to change the authorized contours
of the English-language commercial radio station CIDG-FM Ottawa
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2011/2011-109.htm

Decisions related to the applications listed below, considered by the
Commission during the non-appearing phase of the 11 February 2011 public
hearing:
• New Tang Dynasty Television (Canada)
Application 2010-1472-9
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2010/2010-935.htm#6

• Asian Television Network International Limited
Applications 2010-1468-8 and 2010-1469-6
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2010/2010-935.htm#4
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2010/2010-935.htm#5

• 2251723 Ontario Inc.
Application 2010-1231-9
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2010/2010-935.htm#12

• Cochrane Christian Radio
Application 2010-1098-3
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2010/2010-935.htm#10

• Cochrane Polar Bear Radio Club
Application 2010-1222-8
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2010/2010-935.htm#11

• Haliburton Broadcasting Group Inc.
Application 2010-1521-4
http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2010/2010-935.htm#16

The Politics of Black Hair Online Coursebook Available on Lulu.com

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, Writing (all kinds) on April 17, 2011 at 3:00 AM

Everybody Does Something to Change Their Appearance for Advancement – Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

The Politics of Black Hair Online Coursebook

The Politics of Black Hair Online Coursebook is now available on Lulu.com at http://stores.lulu.com/kakonged. Buy now!

Where Does Identity, Beauty and Spirituality Fit into Black Feminist Thought?: The Politics of the Black Women Inside and Outside Education

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Religion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on April 16, 2011 at 3:00 AM

Cover of Garfield Ellis’s Till I’m Laid to Rest – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

It is our roots that give us structure. It is our roots that make us black feminists. It is our roots that give us an identity. It is our roots that give us beauty. It is our roots that give us spirituality. It is our roots that make us black women inside and outside of education.
My father is from Uganda. My mother is from St. Vincent & the Grenadines. I am from Canada. I have always seen these identifying geographical landscapes as placing me where I can find my family roots. These geographical places also help me to form a triad identity of African-Caribbean-Canadian.

My grandfather and grandmother on my father’s side were educators. My father worked as a biology professor at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. My grandmother on my mother’s side was a principal of a school in St. Vincent. My mother has worked as an English teacher in Canada to children in Korea by telephone. I, too, teach at Centennial College and tutor various subjects for Community Outreach Canada, as well as being a Ph.D. Student at OISE/University of Toronto.

With my identity being that of African-Caribbean-Canadian, my beauty stemming from my African super curly hair, Ugandan-woman inspired rounded body, and my spirituality embracing God – where does black feminist thought fit in? What is black feminist thought? How do these markers I have used to guide the way of the path to understanding black feminist thought demarcate with varying shades of brown and black colours to indicate identity, beauty, and spirituality within black feminist thought – to me? How can these markers affect a deeper understanding for those black women inside education? And a question for those black women who are outside education; how do these markers of identity, beauty and spirituality colour their lives and add the much-needed water to keeping their roots nourished?

To answer these questions, I will be focusing on issues of identity, beauty, and spirituality as discussed in the winter 2011 Black Feminist Thought class with Professor Erica Neeganagwedgin at OISE/University of Toronto. This is the beginning of embarking on an exploration of relating Black Feminist Thought to black hair politics. First I will discuss identity, followed with a discussion of beauty stemming from one of the course’s presentation texts, and finally, I will discuss spirituality.

Issues Around Identity

“As Black women, we need not spend time abstractly theorizing because our practice informs our theory” (Massaquoi and Wane, 2007, pg. 5). As supported by Theorizing Empowerment: Canadian Perspectives on Black Feminist Thought (Massaquoi and Wane, 2007), I picked up my pen and wrote about how this triad of my African-Caribbean-Canadian identity shapes my life through a connection of identity and beauty, which the latter will be discussed later. Here is an example from my book Spiderwoman (Kakonge, 2007) that also aired on the CBC throughout Canada:

Black Hair
Get a group of Black women together and the conversation usually turns to hair.
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a Black woman’s hair story – talked about my own hair – seen people talking about hair in a movie – or read about hair in a book – well, I could buy a lot of hair.

I used to think I was the only one who changed my hair just about every week. But now I know that many other women have permed, straightened, coloured, cut, lengthened and shortened their hair as often as I have.

When I was a child, my first hobby was playing hairdresser to my Barbie dolls. I grew up in the seventies and eighties but I was not much different from Black children in the forties.

Back then, Black children chose White dolls over Black dolls in a landmark study that led to the desegregation of American schools.

It was not that I preferred creamy white skin over chocolate. It just came down to hair. I wanted straight, long, blonde, brunette or red hair – hair that blew in the wind – hair that I could toss over my shoulder.

And when wishing it didn’t make it appear on my head, I used a towel instead.
As I grew older, I spent many years in hair salons turning my head of curly hair dead straight – walking out of the salons with the wind blowing through my hair – and tossing it over my shoulder.

Who says wishes don’t come true – for a price.

Although straightening Black hair is known as perming, there was never anything permanent about it for me. There was a war happening on my head. If my hair represented a people, the curly strands were being ethnically cleansed by straight strands with the use of chemical warfare.

Yet despite the chemicals, I’ve always loved the atmosphere of a salon. In this predominantly white country, Black hair salons create a Black world. During the civil rights movement, North American barber shops and hair salons became town halls for discussions on race relations.

Even now, a hair salon in South Carolina is being used to educate people about AIDS. Places for hair are no strangers to political activity.

And it is in a salon that I found peace with the politics happening in my own head. Hairdressers looking at my natural hair – and not opening up a jar of Bone Strait – made me rejoice in the hair God gave me.

Professor and author Gloria Wade-Gayles once said: “my hair would be a badge, a symbol of my pride, a statement of self-affirmation.”

Well, it has taken me a long time, but I finally agree.

Currently researching the politics of black hair at OISE/University of Toronto in a Ph.D. program of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Development, the above shows how much my hair is part of my identity, as well how it inspires me to write and to think. The above also exemplifies the words of Rai Reece’s “Canadian Black Feminist Thought and Scholar-Activist Praxis,” in Theorizing Empowerment (Massaquoi and Wane, 2007). Reece notes that there is a critical need for more black female academics, as well as black female activists in the academy. Reece goes onto her second point that there is no single “axis” (Massaquoi and Wane, 2007, pg. 267) where black feminism needs to be explored. As I discuss in the excerpt from Spiderwoman (Kakonge, 2007), my natural hair was something that made me feel a want to flee from my identity as a black person. My natural hair was something that made me feel a want to perceive myself as ugly. My natural hair was something that made me feel a want to look like the other pretty black women on TV, like Janet Jackson in “Good Times” and Roxy Roper on “The Jeffersons.” My hair became a personal indicator for me of not accepting my roots – not accepting how God made me – not accepting my identity.

Notisha Massaquoi in “An Unsettled Feminist Discourse,” (Massaquoi and Wane, 2007), writes about her identity connecting that with her family roots of a Sierra Leonean father and a Trinidadian mother. Massaquoi was once called a “Diasporic Baby” (Massaquoi and Wane, 2007, pg. 75). Massaquoi goes onto to quote Njoki Nathani Wane (2002): “A black feminist theory from a Canadian perspective is truly a construction of embodied knowledge that is grounded in the bodily experience of specific materiality” (Wane 2002) (Massaquoi and Wane, 2007, pg. 76). The challenges with the natural hair of black women is an embodied knowledge that is played out in images of black women with smooth, straight, controlled hair – hair that resembles whites. I have not ever seen a black woman working in a bank with an afro, whereas I have seen afros among black female professors. I have not ever seen a black woman who was a doctor wearing natural hair, whereas I have seen natural hair on black Canadian singing stars. I have not ever seen a black woman with skin as dark as the reflection of my eyes closed, anchoring the six o’clock news on any television station. Black women have developed an embodied knowledge of their place in society. Black women are viewed, mainly by whites, through visions of their bodily physical appearances and all of the stereotypes and the archetypes embodied in what black women can or cannot do. Our roots to Canada are threatened every time an “other” asks, “Where do you come from?”
With the uprooting of African peoples from the continent, colonization and the diaspora where many of us are born, it can be difficult to answer that question at times: “Where do you come from?” as a black woman in Canada. Although a work of fiction, Till I’m Laid to Rest by Garfield Ellis (2010) also tells a story that is true for many of home displacement for women who mainly conduct themselves outside of education. For the protagonist of Ellis’s story, Shirley Temple Brown, it is Shirley’s beauty, Shirley’s hair, Shirley’s identity, which ultimately embodies her relationship to the men that change her life and create an understanding of black feminist thought that uproots her. Shirley, who settles well in her homeland in Jamaica, makes the choices to aspire to European ideals of success that wind up entrapping her in a web of misery that has her returning to Jamaica in shackles and shame. This results in her disconnection from the strong roots of her Jamaican heritage, which will be explored further through issues of beauty and later in issues of spirituality.

Issues Around Beauty

Shirley Temple Brown in Till I’m Laid to Rest (Ellis, 2010) is viewed as more beautiful than her friend Dawn who is of darker skin and has a coarser hair texture when compared to Shirley’s hair. Shirley is half-Indian on her father’s side and based on her looks, does not identify with being black. An example of Shirley defining her identity with other than black takes place when she is on a date with a younger white man she meets on a Miami beach who claims to be a model agent:

“You know I’ve never dated a black woman before,” he said, as they continued walking.

“I’m not black,” Shirley said.

“I thought you said you were Jamaican.”

“I am.”

“Then you are black.”

“I am half-Indian,” Shirley said.

“Is that like Hispanic or something? Your parents are not Jamaican, uh?

“They are.” She sipped the wine.

“So how do you mean you are not black?”

“Do I look black to you?” Shirley wanted to change the subject. He obviously did not understand.

He paused, unsure. “I guess.”

“It does not matter.” Shirley dropped the subject (Ellis, 2010, pg. 168-169).

However, it does matter. Shirley is denying her blackness or does not realize that she considered black in a country such as America, unlike her more Indian identity in a country such as Jamaica, as Professor Erica Neeganagwedgin has explained in class about identity formation in Jamaica. There is another point in the Ellis (2010) book where Shirley is speaking with her husband Moet and states that she did not know she was black until she came to America. The fact this so-called white model agent was certain she was black at first, then unsure at Shirley’s denial of being black, is a situation that is not resolved since Shirley drops the subject, claiming “it does not matter” (Ellis, 2010, pg. 169). Yet, is there something wrong with being black? Shirley had no problem with the Indian in her family; by stating she is “half-Indian” (Ellis, 2010, pg. 168). When you look at the historical legacy of black people in the Americas, wrenched out in chest-pounding words that spring from the page by poet d’bi young at the beginning of Theorizing Empowerment: Canadian Perspectives on Black Feminist Thought (Massaquoi and Wane, 2007) a thoughtful answer to the question, what is wrong with being black surfaces:

here we have a negro wench
gentlemen and gentlemen
starting at four hundred dollars
strong hands/strong legs/strong spirit
but not stronger than yours (Massaquoi and Wane, 2007, pg. 2).

Shirley, despite her long, black and silky half-Indian tresses had previously lived the experience using her strong hands, strong legs and strong spirit working for a white family and their children who turned her into a modern-day “negro wench” (Massaquoi and Wane, 2007, pg. 2). Later on, in this scene of Till, I’m Laid to Rest with Shirley Temple Brown as its star, Shirley’s conversation with the so-called model agent turns to violence as he seems to stick to his original thoughts that she is black and he attempts to rape her…remembering that Shirley’s power is not stronger than his (Massaquoi and Wane, 2007, pg. 2). Shirley acts fast and runs for safety back to her job of looking after a retired model with Alzheimer’s disease. The brutal violence forced on Shirley by the younger white man goes unmentioned in Till I’m Laid to Rest (Ellis, 2010) after, as though Shirley should have expected nothing less. This disregard and lack of the care of Shirley’s body, mind and spirit was all a part of her life in Miami that began when she met Mark, the older rich businessman who worked in the tourism industry and put the idea of coming to Miami into Shirley’s head. The character Mark in the novel seems to remind Shirley of her late father who died in a car accident. The first man to put the idea of “greatness” into Shirley’s head was her father who even named after the movie star Shirley Temple, hence her name being Shirley Temple Brown. With Shirley’s identity and beauty politics tied into colonization, as many of us of colour do have our identity and beauty politics tied into colonization, thoughts of where “greatness” lies are often seen in the west. Thoughts of where “greatness” lie is not in the west of the Caribbean necessarily, however in America, in Europe at times for some…these are the places where dreams await people of colour – the American Dream is a classic one. Shirley went to America to find her dream and instead because she was acutely made aware of her black identity, she realized a shattered dream.

Shirley first met Mark at the Mutual Security Bank where she worked in Kingstown, Jamaica. Mark was bringing in a lot of money and discussed his banking with Shirley many times since she was the junior manager. Shirley could see that Mark was rich and when he asked her out for a date, she agreed. He took her to decadent places, showing her how the wealthy in Jamaica live. This was different for Shirley, having grown up poor. This was different for Shirley, also having grown up without her father who died in a car crash. Shirley and Mark’s first sexual liaison was on a bed of roses with some thorns:

“What are you doing?” She made to turn and stumbled onto the bed. He pushed her onto it and she fought him back. But he was heavy and big, and although he held her lightly his grasp was firm.

“Mind you scrape yourself on the basket,” he said huskily.

“Stop,” she whispered. “Mark, stop a little. We have to discuss this.”

“Mind you head,” he said, as he tried to shove the basket away. “Mind you head.”

She struggled with him for a while but he held her down and managed to slip both her hands through the strings of her dress (Ellis, 2010, pg. 13).

Mark forced himself on Shirley and took away her virginity. Later in this scene of Till, I’m Laid to Rest (Ellis, 2010), Shirley clearly gives in…simply surrendering to a man that had been lavishing her with pricey restaurants and Victoria Secret underwear gifts once he was tired of playing the game of cat and mouse. Shirley clearly gives in…simply surrendering to her status as a working-class woman, from a poor Jamaican background. Mark trapped Shirley. A beautiful young woman such as Shirley who would not have ever given a second glance at Mark on the street if he did not have the economic capital that he possesses – she was bought out. Shirley was tempted to do so because of her poor economic status growing up and her emotional aspirations to realize the dreams that her deceased father had set out for her. Llana James writes about the “Censure and Silence: Sexual Violence and Women of the African Diaspora” in Theorizing Empowerment. James (Massaquoi and Wane, 2007) writes that points of entry of women of the African diaspora into a country are important considerations when you look at sexual violence. When looking at Shirley Temple Brown’s situation in Till I’m Laid to Rest, the sexual violence of Mark is what links her to this man in a way that leads her to Miami. Another turning point is what was mentioned earlier with the sexual violence of the so-called model agent who forces himself on Shirley without success, however successfully leading Shirley to a party that connects her to Moet – the man she later marries and is also the cause of her serving jail time and being deported back to Jamaica.

Enter Shirley Temple Brown’s mother…a woman who is so devoted to God that she prays and reads The Bible day and night, night and day. She lives in a one-room shanty house with a wall that threatens to fail her in Sufferer’s Heights, Jamaica. She works cleaning for others at a hospital. She has no criminal record. She has a son who is a police officer in Jamaica. She is always there for her daughter Shirley – this…Shirley can ALWAYS count on until the day Miss Ivey passes. Her roots are in Jamaica and Miss Ivey rests and stays there, despite the poverty in her life. Is Shirley Temple Brown’s mother an example that faith in God, or having a spiritual life is exactly what can keep black women become rooted? Is Shirley Temple Brown’s mother an example that faith in God can keep mind, body and spirit, or identity, beauty, and spirit together?

Issues of Spirituality

For Miss Ivey, the life of glamour with a potentially married white man, the life of an illegal immigrant, the life of a maid to white people, the life of marrying a drug dealer is evidently beyond the life she had imagined for her daughter Shirley Temple Brown. Miss Ivey criticizes her daughter’s lifestyle with each meeting with her. The following is also evidently more in Miss Ivey’s mind of the way she would want her daughter to live: “At some deeper level all living things are interconnected and there is a desire or a determination to live a life characterized by humility, empathy, mindfulness and purpose” (Massaquoi and Wane, 2007, pg. 27). This statement was written by Professor Erica Neeganagwedgin and Professor Njoki Wane at OISE/University of Toronto clearly sets a marker for the way many black women would love to live. Despite Shirley Temple Brown’s problems in Till I’m Laid to Rest (Ellis, 2010), she also indicates that she is searching for the same things that Neegangwedgin and Wane point out in Theorizing Empowerment (Massaquoi and Wane, 2007). Shirley is always in search of living a life of “humility, empathy, mindfulness and purpose” (Massaquoi and Wane, 2007, pg. 27). She leaves her mother for Mark in the search. She leaves Jamaica in a search. She leaves the white family in a search. She leaves Miami to return to Jamaica in a search. Then, despite her searching and because her roots are so damaged, as her relationship with Miss Ivey (her mother) continue to erode and she sees her friends move on with their lives – her search for identity, beauty (and the beautiful life), and spirituality land her in jail. She humbly returns to Jamaica in handcuffs as she is deported after four years of being in jail. She serves jail time because she was helping her drug-dealing husband Moet who she at first married to live in luxury (which coming from poverty was something she did not know), and she later fell in love with him because he was a sincere, but dangerous man.

Wane’s (2007) “Practicing African Spirituality: Insights from Zulu-Latifa, an African Woman Healer” (Massaquoi and Wane, 2007), gives tools for the way women such as Shirley Temple Brown can identify and recapture their soul. Many times the spiritual tools that we receive are handed down to us through our mothers. I rebelled against my mother when I was younger – not heeding her wise words. Although I did not end up in the same kind of trouble that Shirley Temple Brown ended up in, this disconnection from her originally connecting me with the Methodist church and the teachings of God was something that I came to understand only through an on-going path to maturity. It is also an on-going path that informs my work as a black female educator.

Conclusion
By exploring issues around identity with my own personal call to pick up the pen and write about the politics of black hair with the support of Theorizing Empowerment (Massaquoi and Wane, 2007), as well as entwining branches with others inside education with a shared “Diasporic Baby” (Massaquoi and Wane, 2007, pg. 75) identity and understanding of how my identity has formed with a lack of representation in Canadian culture and media, I call for more black female academics to pick up their pen and tell their stories, to entwine their branches through words, collectives, and organizing and to push for more representation in Canadian culture and media.
By exploring issues around beauty, I encourage those women outside education who are treated as black to demand just treatment from men and other women – from everyone and everything. Women must understand that their lives also serve to educate others, even if it is through written fiction and through the telling of the truth of their value and beauty – only this way, will their roots be preserved.

By exploring issues around spirituality we must look to our mothers and to the elders of society to guide us on our spiritual paths. As there are many branches on a tree, there are many routes to the creator and we must find one that works best for us to preserve the sanctity of our lives as black women.

It is our roots that give us structure. It is our roots that make us black feminists. It is our roots that give us an identity. It is our roots that give us beauty. It is our roots that give us spirituality. It is our roots that make us black women inside and outside of education.

References
Ellis, G. (2010). Till I’m Laid to Rest. Nsemia Press, Oakville, Canada.
Kakonge, D. (2007). Spiderwoman. Lulu.com: Self-Published.
Massaquoi, N. and Wane, N. (2007). Theorizing Empowerment: Canadian Perspectives on Black Feminist Thought. Inanna Publications: Toronto.

Canadians want their next Prime Minister to have CEO-like qualities: Monster Poll

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on April 15, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Monster Poll Finds Out About the Election – Photo Courtesy of CNW

Image result for No alcohol

Vision & leadership more important than having a beer-buddy

April 15, 2011 @ 07:00AM

Toronto – For Hire: A Prime Minister for Canada who has vision and leadership, is an excellent communicator and a strong role model, is results-driven and has a track record of success. Political experience is important. Being a good person to share a beer with, nice to have, but not a requirement.

Online career resource Monster.ca conduct a national poll by Harris/Decima asking Canadians to think of the Prime Minister as the CEO of Canada, and to identify the qualifications they felt were most important to them. The poll revealed:

1. nine out of 10 Canadians (89%) felt vision and leadership is the most important qualification
2. the least important qualifications: being a consensus builder (67%) and customer-service focused (66%)
3. nearly three quarters (73%) of those polled said having a long political career is an important consideration

“At Monster, we’re good listeners. And what we’re hearing from Canadians is that they want a leader who has vision and leadership, who is strategic and who has a clear goal for the country and our future
— qualities you’d expect a CEO to have in such an important role,” says Mike Jackson at Monster.ca.

Canadians split over beer
Canadians have basically split down the middle on whether it is important to be able to sit down and have a beer or coffee with the Prime Minister. “Canadians clearly prefer leadership and experience over the softer skills like being a good person to talk to over a coffee or beer,” says Jackson. Even so, while most Canadians will never have a beer with the PM, half (51%) still consider it an important quality when evaluating who to vote for.

Less important than being a good person to have a beer with was tweeting: 43% of Canadians feel it’s important for their Prime Minister to be an active tweeter.

Clear vision, strategy, goals tops
“Monster fills thousands of senior-level positions every year, in both the private and public sector,” says Jackson. “Canadians recognize this is a serious job that requires important skills, skills, not unlike those that would be required of a CEO.”

Nearly a third (31%) of Canadians polled said the leader should be strategic; that they could see there as a plan and where it is leading. The number one question Canadians would ask if they could conduct the job interview: “what is your vision for the country and for the future?”

Experience definitely an asset
“Relevant experience is always crucial in the business world, and Canadians are telling us that being a lifelong politician is a valuable or desirable attribute for the country’s top public servant,” says Jackson. “Career politician doesn’t appear to be a bad label to Canadians.” Interestingly, 83% of Conservatives think having a long political career is important, while 65% of Liberals and 77% of NDPers said the same.

Vote for PM, but vote for CEO?
Prime Ministers get voted in, but CEOs? When asked if employees should be able to vote for their CEO every four years, Canadians were split: 47 percent said yes, 47 percent said no.

“The job for Prime Minister ultimately rests in the hands of the Canadian electorate. By showing Canadians that the election is like one giant job interview, Monster wants to encourage everyone who is eligible to get out and VOTE on May 2.”

Rick Mercer for PM?
For fun, Monster asked what Canadians — outside of those currently campaigning — would be best for
the job. Nearly a quarter (22%) said Rick Mercer, followed by Canada’s most recent CEO of the Year Ed
Clark of TD Bank at 16%. Hockey legend Don Cherry received 11% of the vote and hockey great Sydney Crosby came in at 10%. Teen singing sensation Justin Bieber got a mere 1% of the vote (likely because his constituency isn’t yet eligible to vote, nor is he).

This Monster poll was conducted by Harris/Decima via teleVox, the company’s national telephone omnibus. A total of 1,002 Canadians were surveyed from March 31st to April 3rd, 2011. Results are accurate to within +/- 3.1% 19 times out of 20.
Boilerplate

Monster Worldwide Canada Inc. is a subsidiary of Monster Worldwide, Inc., the world’s leading online careers, and recruitment resource. Monster provides powerful tools to help public and private sector organizations connect with the best and brightest candidates in the world.

Easter Weekend at the Canada Agriculture Museum

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, cars, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on April 14, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Child Playing with Easter Eggs – Photo Courtesy of CNW

Image result for Children at Easter

April 13, 2011 @ 11:00AM

Spring is in the air at the Canada Agriculture Museum this Easter weekend! After a long winter, the barns have come alive with the arrival of newborn animals. Welcome the soft lambs, meet a rabbit, and watch the newly hatched chicks from up close. In the demonstration kitchen, help Museum staff to make a variety of Easter bread and even taste a sample. Don’t miss the annual egg hunt, and the “signs of spring” trivia found in the barns. The Museum is located at the Central Experimental Farm, Prince of Wales Drive, between the traffic circle and Baseline Road.

When: April 22 to 25, 2011
9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Canada Agriculture Museum
Prince of Wales Drive, Ottawa

HIGHLIGHTS:

* Meet the Chicks: Can a chick hatch from one of the eggs in your fridge? How long does it take for a chick to gestate within the egg? Get the answers to your questions about chickens and meet the newborn chicks.

Extraordinary Eggs! : Eggs aren’t just for breakfast anymore…they can be fun and fascinating too! Discover all kinds of interesting facts about eggs, compare types, and examine uniquely decorated examples. See an antique egg grading machine in action with these interesting eggs-periments!

Easter Egg Hunt for Tots: Children six and under can take on the challenge of finding eggs hidden throughout the Museum grounds and will be rewarded with a sweet treat.

Making Bread for Easter: Did you know that Hot Cross Buns aren’t the only type of bread eaten at Easter? Learn about the many different types of traditional pieces of bread made to celebrate the season.

Meet the Rabbits: Find out interesting details about the rabbit’s life cycle as well as the reasons for the rabbit’s close association with Easter.

General information: Visit agriculture.technomuses.ca or call 613-991-3053. Parking is free.

Urban Edge Yoga Schedule of Events

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Religion, Sports, Writing (all kinds) on April 13, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Woman Doing Meditation - Photo Courtesy of Google Images

** The centre will be closed from April 12th to 14th **

Dear Friends,

Events for week of April 11th

Mon 11th, Kirtan Yoga – transcendental chants: Kirtan Yoga is a simple yet powerful technique that uses the energy of ancient sound vibrations to tap into the supremely attractive source of all happiness. It will be a guided meditation exercise. Details and RSVP at http://urbanedgeyoga.com/2411/kirtan-yoga-transcendental-chants-2/

12th to 14th: Closed

Fri 15th, Bhagavad-Gita as it is – the uncommon sense: A book of the Hindus or a mystery of the east, several myths surrounds this ancient text. Great mystics, thinkers and philosophers ranging from Gandhi to Emerson and Thoreau have derived great inspiration from it. Join us for an interactive reading group and RSVP at http://urbanedgeyoga.com/2418/bhagavad-gita-uncommon-sense-3/

Quote of the week: For one, who is a neophyte in the eightfold yoga system, work is said to be the means; and for one who is already elevated in yoga, cessation of all material activities is said to be the means. (Bhagavad gita as it is)

Regards

Mangal-arti

SPICE UP YOUR KITCHEN FOR SPRING

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on April 12, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Sico GoPrime All-in-One primer, a heavy-duty alkyd emulsion product, seals any surface – even those previously painted with oil – and provides an even, adherent canvas for the top coat.

 

SicoGo Prime All in One

New Cutting-Edge, Eco-Friendly Sico Paints

Enable High-Quality Kitchen Makeovers at Low Cost

Longueuil, Quebec – March 28, 2011 – Spring is a time of renewal, and with studies showing that kitchen upgrades increase a home’s resale value, why not start by rejuvenating the most frequented room in the house? By applying the right choice of paint and a little creativity, a kitchen can undergo a tasteful makeover at little cost.

That’s the message of leading paint brand Sico, in unveiling two cutting-edge, eco-friendly products designed to transform kitchens with the stroke of a paintbrush. Called Sico GoPrime All-in-One and Sico Furniture and Cabinets Paint, the first-of-their-kind, heavy-duty alkyd emulsion products enable homeowners to give their kitchens a high-quality, long-lasting lift without the expense of having to change cabinets, countertops or backsplash. The paints work well on any surface, from melamine, wood and medium-density fibreboard (MDF) to thermoplastic, ceramic tile and glass.

A breakthrough technological innovation, the two products – made from an original formula that blends alkyd emulsion in a water-based paint – are low-VOC (volatile organic compound) water-based paints, yet perform like alkyds or oil-based paints. The GoPrime All-in-One primer seals any surface – even those previously painted with oil – and provides an even, adherent canvas for the top coat. Delivering an ultra-smooth, super-resistant finish that protects against marks, scratches, water rings and moisture, the Furniture and Cabinets Paint is ideal for surfaces that are exposed to daily contacts, such as furniture, cabinets, doors, walls, and trim.

“The launch of our new paint is in large part a response to consumer demand for high-performing kitchen paints that are as durable and scrubbable as oil-based paints, but are easier on the environment,” said Dominique Pépin, Marketing Manager for Sico, explaining that the popularity of alkyd paints is rapidly declining due to their high-VOC content. “With Canadian government legislation requiring paint companies to lower VOC levels in their products, alkyd paints will ultimately disappear from the market.”

Sico Furniture and Cabinets Paint is a first-of-its-kind, heavy-duty alkyd emulsion product that enables homeowners to give their kitchens a high-quality, long-lasting lift without the expense of having to change cabinets, countertops or backsplash.

Sico Furniture and Cabinets

“Each of Sico’s two new products exceeds Canadian standards for VOC content and combines the best of both worlds – the durability of alkyd, and the ease of use and clean-up of water-based paint,” Pépin said, emphasizing that the formula enables the beauty of furniture and cabinets to be preserved for much longer than traditional water-based paints. An added bonus is that the paints have virtually no odour, are spatter-free, and dry in a fraction of the time of oil-based paints – between four and six hours, she explained.

Hungering to renovate your kitchen but don’t know where to start? Follow this recipe for success from Sico:

Cook up a plan: Look beyond the walls of your kitchen and consider what other surfaces in the room can be given a lift. Besides walls and ceilings, cabinets, countertops, range hoods, buffets, tables, chairs, and backsplashes are all good candidates for a fresh coat of paint. Painting kitchen fixtures mean that you can enjoy an up-to-date look without the expense of buying new items.

Preparation is key ingredient: Preparation can make or break a project, so before lifting a brush, ensure that the surface to be painted is ready. The surface must be clean and free of all traces of dust, dirt, oil, mold, and mildew. Wash with a universal cleaner, and once completely dry, sand the surface using sandpaper (120-grit for previously-painted surfaces and 150-grit for synthetic surfaces like melamine) to ensure good adherence of the primer and paint.

When painting a high-traffic area like the kitchen, it’s important to choose a good-quality paint that is durable, resistant and easy to clean. Featured in this kitchen are Sico’s new GoPrime All-in-One and Furniture and Cabinets Paint in Apple Sorbet (6123-53) green on the walls and new Pure White on the cabinets.

Dish out the right products: After preparation, all that is needed is a good quality paint to ensure a successful, long-lasting job, especially in a high-traffic area like the kitchen. The ideal application tool for doors and trim is a high-quality synthetic (nylon or polyester) bristle brush. For the other surfaces, a shorter (five-millimetre) pile roller or sponge roller will do the trick. Remove all hardware, such as hinges, door handles, and light switch covers, to ensure they stay paint-free.

Develop an appetite for colour: When it comes to colour, the kitchen is an ideal area to try bolder tones since it has minimal wall space and a splash of colour serves to liven up, rather than overpower, the room. While neutral tones are generally preferred for cabinets, a brighter wall or backsplash colour can give a kitchen a dynamic look. Good colour choices for kitchens include shades of sunny yellow, vibrant green, blue or turquoise, such as Sico’s Satin (6112-31) yellow, Apple Sorbet (6123-53) green, Porcelain Plate (6010-63) blue, and Movie Star (6148-31) turquoise.

Sico GoPrime All-in-One and Sico Furniture and Cabinets Paint retail for about $39.00 and $49.99 per gallon, respectively. For more information or to find a local retailer, please visit http://www.sico.ca.

About Sico (www.sico.ca)

Sico is a brand of AkzoNobel, the Canadian leader in decorative paints serving the consumer, professional renovation and construction markets. AkzoNobel produces and supplies a wide range of paints, coatings and specialty chemicals, including the leading Sico brand. The company employs nearly 2,000 people in three manufacturing plants, four distribution centres and more than 225 corporate stores across Canada. Dedicated to delivering high-performance solutions and quality products, AkzoNobel has unrivaled technical expertise that meets the current and future needs of its customers.

The Real World in the Classroom

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on April 11, 2011 at 6:00 AM

OISE/University of Toronto – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

My first practice of trying to re-create the real world through education with writing came when my sister and I would be at home cutting and pasting Miss Sassy Magazine back in the 1980s. The audience for the one-issue magazine was my immediate family. Many years later, I had the chance to have the audience of the Ottawa-Carleton area when I got my first taste of working for a real newspaper at Carleton University while my class of 1994 put together Centretown News. I learned some vital things in that newsroom, such as Canadian Press Style which still serves me well today.

Many journalism schools, such as Carleton University where I did my undergraduate education, and the journalism school at Centennial College offer students an opportunity to be exposed to the real world. There was once a time when practical education such as college was seen to be a place where you made your mistakes so you would not make them out in the real world. This still holds true for many, however more and more students such as the journalism students at Centennial College are receiving the important opportunities of having their work critiqued by some of the best in the field, then publishing to wider audiences, such as The Toronto Observer at the Centre for Creative Communication, as well to a worldwide audience with the online portal (http://www.torontoobserver.ca/). This greatly increases the chances of students getting their name out there to the public, as well as having valuable published clippings for their portfolio that will aid them to secure jobs in the real world.

“Incorporating the Real World into the Curriculum” is a presentation that I was involved in for March with the Women’s Perspectives on Student Development at OISE/University of Toronto. One of the keynote speakers is the famous academic Dr. Janice Stein. My panel will include using case studies such as my experiences with Carleton University, where not only was I involved with the community newspaper, I was also involved with community radio such as CKCU. One of the radio documentaries I put together with a group called “The Green Team,” which was then funded by the Ministry of Environment, was on Aboriginal mothers and their perspectives on nature. I also put together a documentary on Somali youth in the School System called “My Name is…” for Rogers TV in Ottawa with now lawyer Jesmond Parke.

Even graduate education, which is still a possibility of attainment for those who wish to do so at the college level, affords opportunities of being exposed to the real world. While I was at Concordia University in Montréal, I put together a website back in 1998/1999 that was part of my master’s research project, and began my own social networking community called “Salon Utopia.” It is too bad I did not foresee the power that these social networks would have and continue that project from the starting point. Concordia gave me the opportunity to continue the project and Professors at Centennial College such as Ellin Bessner help to encourage her students in the Magazine/Multimedia Beat Reporting class to continue with the hard work they do on their undergraduate research projects in the Centennial program that is in collaboration with the University of Toronto Scarborough campus.

With Beat Reporting, which I have taught in the past, students get a chance to focus on one area of specialization and to produce a magazine, a website and also to create social networks related to the production of the magazine. In the past, students have done such topics as global women’s issues, technology, food, music, hair, shoes, beer…you name it…anything can become a beat out of this class. The subject areas get as creative or interesting as the students, and they are truly the ones who put in all of the hard work. The key is the online component which Ellin Bessner spear-headed, and this gives the students an opportunity to expose their “beat” to the world. Each year, the beat magazines just keep getting better and better, and this year when I was a celebrity judge for the mock “Beat Idol” coined after “Canadian Idol,” where the students get opportunities to win awards also spear-headed by Bessner, I was thoroughly impressed with the potential marketability of just about all of the magazines produced. This also shows that the students are being given hands-on experience of how they can create and generate their own money in this economy where jobs still remain competitive and working for others is not always a guarantee.

Programs such as the ones at Centennial College, Concordia University, and Carleton University will be among the case studies I used at the Women’s Perspectives on Student Development Conference on March 5, 2011, run by OISE/University of Toronto. This gave the attendees a chance to see why education is so important, why going to school is not a closeting away from the real world, rather an opportunity to either be richly trained to develop a career or to perfect and refine necessary skills for further development in one’s field of work. Good practical education is an investment of time and money that ensures success down the road, and journalism schools are a good example of this. Even if one does not end their career as a journalist for which they have been trained, the skills are highly transferable to many other lucrative areas related to the profession, such as sales, communications, gaming, design, writing, multimedia, public relations, research, customer service and the list keeps growing as new professions and new opportunities, such as work-at-home opportunities, also, lend itself to the independent and interpersonal nature of journalism school education.

Kindergarten Voicer

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on April 10, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Full-Day Kindergarten in Scarborough – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Image result for Full-day kindergarten in toronto

By Christina Cheng

Public Affair #2

Kindergartens try out extended hours

Scarborough becomes testing ground for full-day learning

Ninety schools in the Toronto District School Board are getting ready to welcome kindergarten pupils for full-day classes this fall.

Seventy-one of those schools, including 30 in Scarborough, and another 50 in the Toronto Catholic District School Board offer the program already. The province has committed to phasing in full-day kindergarten in all Ontario elementary schools by 2015.

“There are parents that love the idea of full-day kindergarten,” said Corrine Pech, an early childhood educator (ECE) at the St. Rose of Lima YMCA Childcare Centre. “I love the idea because you’re preparing them for what’s really going to happen in Grade 1.”

Monica Dillon, a secretary in the Catholic board, said she’s not too fond of the idea.

“If you look at educational laws, they don’t even have to be in school until the age of six but now we’re making them go all day [at an earlier age],” she said. “It’s the parent’s job to prepare [younger children] to be here.”

According to Ontario’s education ministry, third-parties like the YMCA are running before- and after-school programs in a third of schools offering full-day kindergarten.

Rob Armstrong, senior vice-president of YMCA Ontario, said the YMCA community has been a “strong supporter of the government’s groundbreaking full-day learning program.”

“The government and school boards are looking for more ECE positions,” Pech said. “They want it to be more like a YMCA curriculum where … they are trying to incorporate more play.”

Pech said she believes full-day kindergarten will benefit children.

“There’s one thing that kids have in common: all kids play and when they play, they learn,” she said.

Full-day kindergarten classrooms will each have a teacher and an early childhood educator who will help construct a curriculum of play-based and academic-based learning activities.

“Teachers and ECEs were all trained differently: teachers are more academic but we’re more developmental so it blends really well together,” Pech said.

The full-day program isn’t fair to the teachers, the ECEs or the kids, Dillon said.

“You’re asking for a 4-year-old to listen to someone talk for six hours?” she said. “To me, that’s a long day. To me, they need more of a break.”

The YMCA before-and-after school program will start at 1 a.m. and go on until 9 a.m. when the children go off to class and will then resume after school from 3:30 p.m. until 6 p.m.

The program is a hassle for parents trying to keep their kids to a set schedule, Dillon said.

“I want my child to be able to go to bed at 7 p.m.,” she said. “But if you’re giving them a nap at 1:30 in the afternoon, they’re not going to bed at that time.”

Full-day kindergarten is not set to be mandatory and parents still have the option to enroll their children part-time. The program is provided at no cost to families and the integrated before-and-after school programs are also optional but are offered to parents with a reasonable fee. Subsidies are also available for families who qualify.

Kindergartens try out extended hours Scarborough becomes testing ground for full-day learning

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on April 9, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Full Day Kindergarten in Scarborough Schools – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

 

By Christina ChengImage result for Full-day kindergarten in toronto

Ninety schools in the Toronto District School Board are getting ready to welcome kindergarten pupils for full-day classes this fall.

Seventy-one of those schools, including 30 in Scarborough, and another 50 in the Toronto Catholic District School Board offer the program already. The province has committed to phasing in full-day kindergarten in all Ontario elementary schools by 2015.

“There are parents that love the idea of full-day kindergarten,” said Corrine Pech, an early childhood educator (ECE) at the St. Rose of Lima YMCA Childcare Centre. “I love the idea because you’re preparing them for what’s really going to happen in Grade 1.”

Monica Dillon, a secretary in the Catholic board, said she’s not too fond of the idea.

“If you look at educational laws, they don’t even have to be in school until the age of six but now we’re making them go all day [at an earlier age],” she said. “It’s the parent’s job to prepare [younger children] to be here.”

According to Ontario’s education ministry, third-parties like the YMCA are running before- and after-school programs in a third of schools offering full-day kindergarten.

Rob Armstrong, senior vice-president of YMCA Ontario, said the YMCA community has been a “strong supporter of the government’s groundbreaking full-day learning program.”

“The government and school boards are looking for more ECE positions,” Pech said. “They want it to be more like a YMCA curriculum where … they are trying to incorporate more play.”

Pech said she believes full-day kindergarten will benefit children.

“There’s one thing that kids have in common: all kids play and when they play, they learn,” she said.

Full-day kindergarten classrooms will each have a teacher and an early childhood educator who will help construct a curriculum of play-based and academic-based learning activities.

“Teachers and ECEs were all trained differently: teachers are more academic but we’re more developmental so it blends really well together,” Pech said.

The full-day program isn’t fair to the teachers, the ECEs or the kids, Dillon said.

“You’re asking for a 4-year-old to listen to someone talk for six hours?” she said. “To me, that’s a long day. To me, they need more of a break.”

The YMCA before-and-after school program will start at 7 a.m. and go on until 9 a.m. when the children go off to class and will then resume after school from 3:30 p.m. until 6 p.m.

The program is a hassle for parents trying to keep their kids to a set schedule, Dillon said.

“I want my child to be able to go to bed at 7 p.m.,” she said. “But if you’re giving them a nap at 1:30 in the afternoon, they’re not going to bed at that time.”

Full-day kindergarten is not set to be mandatory and parents still have the option to enroll their children part-time. The program is provided at no cost to families and the integrated before-and-after school programs are also optional but are offered to parents with a reasonable fee. Subsidies are also available for families who qualify.

Is TTC an Essential Service?

In Writing (all kinds) on April 8, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Is the TTC an Essential Service? – Photo Taken by Christina Cheng

Image result for TTC workers striking

By Christina Cheng

It’s 7:30 on a Monday morning. The hustle and bustle of the morning rush have begun. Newspaper stands are half empty. There is not a seat on the subway or even room to stand. Hundreds of people are packed in every subway car, shoulder to shoulder, back to back trying to get to work or school in time.

The TTC is the country’s largest public transit system providing service to over 1.3 million people a day in Toronto.

Is it safe to say that the TTC should be considered an essential service?

Ontario’s Liberal government announced last Tuesday a prohibition on strikes by Toronto Transit Commission workers, declaring the transit system an essential service.

The government and the city are looking to have this declaration officially passed before the first labour contracts expire at the end of March.

A TTC driver for the Malvern Division in Scarborough who only identified himself as Paul W., says he’s not happy about the decision.

“As a union, it’s your own way to get people to listen when everything else fails. It’s either you strike or for years to come your job is in smoke!” he said.

With their right to strike taken away, Paul worries about his and his co-workers’ safety on the job.

“Have you ever been spat on? Abused at your job for no apparent reason?” he asked. “One woman in the union is now half deaf because of a rider who was having a bad day and decided to punch her in the ear continuously. So are you saying we have no right to strike for our safety? For our benefits?”

The government argues that a city as large as Toronto cannot afford to grind to a halt when buses, subways, and streetcars aren’t running.

Vikas Gupta, a student at Centennial College HP campus in Scarborough, relies solely on the TTC.

The TTC is Needed Throughout Toronto – Photo Taken by Christina Cheng

Image result for TTC workers striking

“I totally depend on TTC for my convenience to school, to my job, and even for my weekend groceries,” Gupta said sitting on the 38 Highland Creek bus heading to school.

Paul doesn’t agree with making public transportation an essential service when he believes people have other means of getting around.

“If there’s no bus there’s taxis, bikes, and people can walk. So when you can walk and you are not stranded then it’s not essential,” he said. “Everything in North America is essential because we’re spoiled,” he expressed loudly, gesturing animatedly with his arms.

Due to a recent experience from the 2008 TTC strike, it has shown that TTC workers have had the right to strike for only two days before they were legislated back to work by Queen’s Park. The strike was expensive and disruptive to many. It can cost the local economy an estimated $50 million a day.

However, in the case of Ontario, the legislation says they are not about saving money and by declaring TTC an essential service, it is expected to cost the city more, but for all the right reasons.

Mike Foderick from Ward 17 is Coun. Cesar Palacio’s executive assistant. He mentions that a TTC strike is unnecessary and causes chaos in and around the city.

“I don’t want to generalize but the polls show that those who take the transit are workers and so people can’t go to work, can’t make it to their shifts, and they’ll have to take their vacation days. This causes Toronto a ton of chaos,” he said.

Paul argues that TTC union workers aren’t as important as police drivers or ambulance drivers but according to legislation, that is all about to change.

The legislation has mentioned that they would agree to put the TTC workers within the same category as EMS, firefighters, and police for the sake of labour contracts including a review after five years of the essential service designation.

According to Foderick, he explains that he can only speak on behalf of a Torontonian’s perspective and believes, “making the TTC an essential service is the most pro-worker thing you can do because when transit shuts down, it literally grinds the city to a halt.”

If the motion to make the TTC an essential service fails and the public falls into another strike, Gupta said there would be thousands of students like him who depend on the TTC, left with no alternatives.

Gupta explained that without the TTC, he couldn’t even imagine himself attending school. He sees the TTC as his “lifeline.”

In the beginning of February, the Toronto Transit Commission mentioned they were going forward with the move to cut services to 10 bus routes in Scarborough (41 cuts altogether). Direct money is to go towards overcrowded routes instead.

The transit commission says they are looking to use $4 million to increase services on busier bus lines. As a result, affected bus routes will have no more weekend, late night or holiday services effective as of May 8.

Although cuts are being made, there are negotiations in no longer cutting routes that cater to 10 and 15 bus riders an hour.

Due to labour contracts expiring at the end of March, it has been recommended that part-time students be cut from post-secondary student metro passes. The rationale appears to be strictly financial.

Part-time students may have the remaining year to benefit from the new fare structure before it is retracted.

Reports on whether the TTC will be considered an essential service and updates on changes to cuts in bus routes are expected in May.

Marvin Macaraig: Journey in being City Councillor

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, travel, Writing (all kinds) on April 7, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Marvin Macaraig on Hunt for City Councillor - Photo Courtesy of Google Images

By Christina Cheng

Marvin Macaraig’s story begins just like many other immigrants who came to Canada in the 1970s. He was born in Quezon City, Philippines in 1976. His family came to Canada when he was still an infant, and like many other new Canadians at the time, they settled in Scarborough because of the rapidly growing economy and plentiful housing. Read the rest of this entry »

DJ P-PLUS SPINNIN’ ON THE ONES AND TWOS…

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on April 6, 2011 at 6:00 AM

DJ P-Plus is Bringing Something Unique to Hip Hop - Photo Courtesy of Google Images

By Christina Cheng

Urban Dictionary: Ones and Twos- Refers generically to DJ turntables, etymology is a derivative of the best-selling professional-grade DJ turntables, which has for better or worse become the de-facto standard in the club and/or radio studio world.]

DJ P-Plus…

Tall, dark and handsome would be too much of a cliché, so how about six-feet tall; warm, silky, chocolate-caramel brown skin; deep dark eyes, beautiful wide nose, plump full lips, with a strong face so concentrated and passionate. Read the rest of this entry »

Optical Illusions

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on April 5, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Inside Spectacle Eyewear - Photo Taken by Christina Cheng

By Christina Cheng

See how being a ‘four-eyed freak’ is now considered a good thing! Wearing optical glasses are now considered a huge fashion trend and a great way to flatter the face and the eyes!

Sunglasses have always been a fashion trend but not so much for optical frames… Until now that is! Remember when people had prescription glasses but would be ashamed to wear them out because they’d be called a ‘four-eyed freak’? Well, those days are over and people have made their prescription glasses into fashion statements! People used to be hesitant about wearing glasses that make a statement, largely because tradition frame designs focused on function over form but now, that has all changed. Being a ‘four-eyed freak’ has never been so hot! Even those who have 20/20 vision wish they had a prescription so that they can rock some cool looking frames. Read the rest of this entry »

Is drinking wine apart of your daily lifestyle? Find out how wine could be the new health diet drink!

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, travel, Writing (all kinds) on April 4, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Red Wine is Good for Your Health – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

By Christina Cheng

Wine expertise says drinking wine may help prevent weight gain and help live a healthier lifestyle. Time to sit back, relax and pour yourself a glass of pinot noir!

Wine is not considered just a pleasure drink anymore, it also offers health benefits and I’m a firm believer in that! Although I’m just shy of 22-years of age, I enjoy a glass or two of (either) red, white, and/or Zinfandel at least once (sometimes twice, maybe more) a week. I also exercise from home and from the gym 4 times a week and I can honestly say, I have never felt this healthy and fit until now. A glass of wine after a good workout is ideal because it acts as a relaxant- it is a non-chemical means of relaxing because of the alcohol affect- it tends to soothe my muscles and clarify my blood cells after an intense class of Pilates. When it’s wine time, it’s my time!

If you’re a wine lover who enjoys drinking in moderation (like me), it’s a safe bet that you’re enjoying good health as well! Why do I say that you ask? Well, through new research, it has been found that drinking a glass or two (no more than 8 ounces) of wine a day, has some perks in keeping your health and weight in check by reducing cholesterol and blood pressure. I asked wine expertise, Tony Aspler who is an accomplished wine educator and lecturer, and Christopher Waters who is the editor of VINES magazine and author of a weekly wine column, Waters & Wine to explain. I must say, the evidence is quite impressive.

One of the reasons why a wine may contribute to a healthier life is because wine is considered to be one of the safest, pleasantest, and most wholesome of beverages for us. Containing vitamins A, B, and C and the other thirteen trace minerals necessary to support human life, these vitamins in a balance will not upset the body’s metabolism. In fact, wine is safer than water and milk because you can’t get diseases from it.

“You cannot get typhoid or TB from any wine, be it old or young, cheap and nasty, or rare and costly. No microbes live in wine. It is pleasanter than other safe drinks because it is more gentle as well as varied,” confirms Aspler.

Not only is wine considered a health drink, it is now also considered the new diet drink. Studies show that those who drank wine moderately were likely to eat less and less likely to gain weight. Yes, believe it or not, drinking wine could lead to taking in fewer calories.

“Wine can be used to replace 500 calories of fat or sugar intake in the daily diet. These calories will be completely consumed and not add an ounce of weight,” says Aspler.

In fact, Christopher Waters found that people who drink wine are the ones who tend to lead a healthier, active lifestyle by making healthier lifestyle choices, and he says wine stimulates that.

“Wine digests food and disperses care. It dispels flatulence and clarifies the blood. It clears the complexion and quickens the body,” stated Waters.

I personally have to agree with both Aspler and Waters because I found that since I’ve been enjoying a glass or two of wine every week, I’ve been more motivated to stay healthy and active- I went from working out 3 times a week to working out 4 times a week! I’ve also noticed that I lost some weight and I’m seeing faster results with muscle gain.

Although I’m still in my early twenties, my life isn’t like many 21-year-olds. I have a 5-year-old son, I attend university five times a week, and work three times a week on top of everything else. Skin breakouts and stress have taken over me but I’ve found that through staying active and enjoying a glass of wine here and there, has personally helped my blood pressure go down a bit and my skin complexion has been at its best!

Waters, who studied wine, found that the one particular component in red wine, called resveratrol was the most effective health wise.

“Resveratrol helps rid the body of bad fats. It acts as a scrubbing agent in your veins and arteries and washes away low-density lipoproteins which is the bad part of cholesterol, that can lead to heart disease,” says Waters.

Resveratrol also acts as an anti-age component with the benefits of caloric restriction within the human skin; resveratrol in wine has also been linked to longevity and prevention of cancer.

Susan Benitez is a mother of two who enjoys a glass of wine a day with her supper and revealed that ever since she started drinking wine and becoming more active, she found her cholesterol level had dropped. Benitez’s family physician had recommended that she try consuming a glass of wine at least once a day in order to test if it’ll help with her cholesterol.

“My total cholesterol before was at 6.2 millimoles (mmol) per liter (L) which was borderline high, but now I’m at 5.2 millimoles per liter which are considered a desirable level. I haven’t felt this good in a long time!” expressed Benitez.

Drinking wine alone isn’t considered a weight-loss strategy on its own- if you start replacing food with wine, you’ll be sure to miss out on key nutrients that food offers. Enjoying a glass of wine every day (no more than 8 ounces), along with the proper exercises and a healthy diet seems to be the perfect way to living.

A glass of wine a day keeps the doctors away so here’s to a healthier lifestyle. Cheers!

Long Road to Overcoming Celiac Disease

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Disability, Education, Environment, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on April 3, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Celiac Disease – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

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by Julie Wendell

I’ve always had significant digestive problems my entire life. In fact, when I was an infant, my parents lovingly called me “diarrhea-baby”. By the time I was in kindergarten, my mom was tired of my complaining about having a stomachache every day, so she finally took me to see the doctor, who diagnosed me with lactose intolerance and completely cut out dairy from my diet.

So throughout elementary school, the stomachaches were less severe, but still there. In middle school and high school, I remember not being involved with too many social activities, since I always had to make sure I was within 10 ft of a bathroom. My friends thought I was strange and somewhat of a hermit, and they rarely invited me to go anywhere with them. Besides, I was just embarrassed to be around people and hated that I was always in a lot of pain. No one understood what I was going through, and they all thought I was over-exaggerating and feeling sorry for myself. And honestly, I didn’t know exactly what was wrong with me. All I knew is I barely got any sleep and the toilet became my constant companion.

In college, I continued having pain and diarrhea but finally got to see an actual gastroenterologist when I was 20. (My mom never took me to a gastroenterologist when I was younger because we couldn’t afford it.) The doctor did a colonoscopy and endoscopy on me, and told me that my digestive system and its problems were equal to what he sees in the average 70 yr old. The doctor diagnosed me with GERD and IBS. In my early to mid 20’s, I still suffered from a lot of pain. I should’ve bought stock in Imodium, Phayzyme, Tums, and Pepto Bismol, I took so much of those type of medicines. My entire life seemed to revolve around pain, nausea, and diarrhea.

But by the time I was 26 yrs old, my health took a definite and sudden turn for the worst. I could barely get out of bed every morning and take care of my 2 yr old son at the time. New symptoms flared up severely, and they included severe dizziness joint pain, and also muscle pain/tingling, jolts (spasms) of my whole body, hot flashes, cold sweats, severe abdominal pain where I could barely breathe, major motion sickness in the car, anxiety and panic attacks, and depression. I lost a significant amount of weight in a matter of 3 months, though I was trying to eat anything that would stay down. By this time, I was down to 105 lbs. (And at my sickest point, I was 97 lbs!!!! and I am 5’5 tall!) I was literally spending 5-7 hrs in the bathroom in a 24 hr period.

I kept going back to the gastroenterologist, in desperate need of help. He ran about 15 tests on me, including another colonoscopy/endoscopy, barium enema (one of the most painful tests they ever did!), small bowel series, CT scans, ultrasounds, Xrays, bloodwork, you name it! The most frustrating thing was that every test came back completely normal, except the small bowel series, which did indicate flattening of the villi that would indicate only Celiac Disease, so the doctor ordered the Celiac blood test, and did a biopsy of my small bowel (during the colonoscopy). Both tests came back negative! So, of course, he didn’t further investigate the Celiac aspect.

Finally, the doctor admitted that he was truly puzzled about my case, so when he recommended that I see a neurologist, who wanted to test me for Meniere’s Disease (chronic vertigo) or even a brain tumor. So I underwent 2 MRI’s of the brain, both showing that yes, I had a brain (thank goodness!) and yes, it was healthy. But the doctors were still at a loss as to why I was so sick. All he could do was prescribe Phenergan for nausea, Imodium for diarrhea, and Wellbutrin for the anxiety/depression. And all I could do was pray for a miracle.

I had been eating the bland BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast) to try to stop diarrhea. I had also been eating plain bagels, graham crackers, saltines, anything to alleviate my stomach pains (and unknowingly I was poisoning myself even more!), and yet I was in the bathroom constantly. So at this point, I picked up the yellow pages and looked up dieticians in the area. But unfortunately, most of the dieticians in the area would not even see me, since at the time I was on Medicaid. Finally, I found a wonderful dietician who talked to me on the phone for a few minutes and decided she would see me even though she didn’t take my insurance. She was determined to help me.

After some discussion, the dietician asked me whether I had gotten tested for Celiac Disease because I did have flattened villi in my small intestines. I told her, yes, but the tests came back negative. She said that the celiac tests tend to be only 70% accurate. Therefore, she wanted me to start the gluten-free diet right away, regardless of the fact that Celiac had been ruled out by the doctor. Then she said to call her in a week or so, and let her know how I was doing. I had no idea what “gluten-free” meant, so she gave me some information on it, plus I had to do some research on my own. I didn’t even think this insane diet was going to work, but I was at the end of my wits, so I was willing to try anything!

So the next day, I started the gluten-free diet, and within a few days, I started feeling TONS better! Diarrhea and the abdominal pain diminished, and I stopped feeling so dizzy. I called the dietician back the following week and thanked her for saving my life, both in the mental and physical sense. In the following months, I regained about 8 lbs! I felt so relieved that the worst part of my suffering was finally over, and that there WAS an answer to my problem! And that I wasn’t crazy after all! The gluten-free diet was a complete miracle for me, and the exact answer to my prayers!

I called my gastroenterologist and told him the news. So he reviewed my long-term symptoms, put two and two together, and officially diagnosed me with Celiac Disease, an auto-immune digestive disease. I will have to follow a strict gluten-free diet for the rest of my life. Gluten is a wheat protein, and it has many derivatives that I also have to avoid.

Finding foods that do not contain gluten is a challenge, but I would rather deal with that than what I have dealt with for the majority of my life–excruciating pain! I have found a few health food stores in the area that carry foods I can eat, and have been broadening my food spectrum whenever I can. I have learned to be very open-minded and adventurous eater when it comes to my diet. I eat a lot of tofu, brown rice, potatoes, vegetables, and fruit, and make sure I take my vitamins every day, esp Vitamin B12.

I have been gluten free for seven years, and have gained almost all my healthy weight back, so I’m about 114 lbs now and feeling the best I have ever felt in my life. Yes, I still do have my bad days, but overall I can say my health has improved 3000%!!!! It was a complete miracle that I came across the dietician that was willing to help me even though she didn’t accept my insurance. If she hadn’t been so generous and willing to help me, I have no idea where I would be right now. I sometimes think back at what I went through and wonder how I endured such pain. Sometimes I even get teary-eyed, because I am so thankful that I have my life back. I am a new person!

My wish is to become an educator and spokesperson of Celiac Disease and also an advocate of Celiac Awareness. I want to provide help and support for those who are suffering like I had suffered. Sometimes diseases and tests do not follow the “rules” of the book, and so that’s what makes Celiac disease so tricky. I have already helped 2 friends discover they have Celiac. They both told me how they were feeling physically, and so I suggested that they ask their doctors to test them for Celiac, and sure enough, their tests came back positive. They are both feeling so much better on the gluten-free diet. So I want to help much more people! That is why I wrote this article, and also I have started writing a book about Celiac Disease, and I’m hoping to publish it by the end of the year. It’s important to me to help teach the public about this under-diagnosed auto-immune digestive disease that is not widely known throughout the world.

LIVING WITH FIBROMYALGIA

In Beauty, book reviews, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Disability, Education, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on April 2, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Living with Fibromyalgia – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

 

 

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by Julie Wendell

“Mommy, open this, please?”, my 3-year-old son asked as he handed me a cereal bar early one morning. I tried to tear off the top of the wrapper, but my fingers would not move or grasp the wrapper! Terrified, I tried opening it again, but to no avail. I had lost all strength in both of my hands! As calmly as I could, I asked my 7-year-old son to open the cereal bar for his brother. But inside, I was panicking because the weakness in my hands persisted for about an hour. What was happening to me??? Little did I know that the morning of February 10th, 2008 marked the beginning of a myriad of severely painful symptoms. My life was about to drastically change.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I started to experience alarming new symptoms. In addition to the weakness in my hands, I noticed that the joints in my hands were very swollen and stiff. I even took pictures of my hands from all angles to make sure that their odd shape was not just my imagination. I would often feel sharp zinging pains in my extremities, especially in my hands, wrists, knees, and ankles. My muscles and joints ached like I had the flu. There were times when I would be convinced I had a temperature of at least 101, just to find out it was completely normal every time I checked.

My level of fatigue went from “full time single working mother” to “full time single working mother who also ran 100 miles a day”. I was physically exhausted from dealing with so much pain every day. To make matters worse, I started noticing that when I woke up each morning, I would not feel refreshed, even after full straight 6-8 hours of sleep. Instead, it felt like I only slept for one hour each night. So not only was I physically exhausted, I was emotionally drained as well. The overall level of exhaustion was indescribable, the worst I have ever experienced in my life! But I was hoping that whatever was plaguing me would just stop on its own.

One afternoon in April 2008, after I got off work and picked up my kids, I couldn’t get home fast enough. My body was overwhelmed with pain like I never felt before. As soon as we walked through the door, I immediately headed for the couch, where I spent the next four days. I had to call my mom to help me take care of the kids. In addition to my existing symptoms, I also suffered from oppressive chest pain, muscles/joints that felt bruised, extreme coldness in my arms and face, and TMJ-like jaw pain. I also had the sensation that my aching spine and pelvis were going to slide out of my body. I cried often because I had no idea how to cope with these bizarre symptoms. I tried heating packs, ice packs, Tylenol/Advil, but nothing even remotely helped me. My temperature was still normal at 98.6. My mom, who is a nurse, thought maybe I had a virus, but most of the symptoms did not even resemble any virus I had ever had in the past, plus I was not running a fever. Even after the four worst days of feeling severely “sick”, most of my symptoms never fully disappeared.

At this point, I was at my wits’ end, so I finally decided to get some help. So even though I was terrified of the possible outcomes, I made an appointment to see my primary care physician. After reviewing my list of symptoms and seeing the pictures of my hands, he thought it was very likely that I had rheumatoid arthritis. He immediately referred me to a rheumatologist, who wanted to test me for not only rheumatoid arthritis, but also lupus, mononucleosis, and multiple sclerosis. He ordered some x-rays of my hands and a lot of bloodwork. He also prescribed a week’s worth of steroids to see if that would help.

My daily life started becoming a real chore for me. Everything and anything I usually did without a problem were now unbearable or overwhelming. The mornings and evenings were the worst times of day for my pain, fatigue, and weakness. I tried to stay strong, especially for my children, but there were days where I felt like giving up on everything. I tried talking to a few friends and family members about how I was feeling, but they would just say that I was complaining too much and/or accuse me of being a hypochondriac. I had never felt so alone in my life.

The results of the blood tests and x-rays came back the following week and were completely normal. Also, the steroids ended up not helping me at all. Based on these findings, the rheumatologist suggested that I may have fibromyalgia. He prescribed an NSAID called Mobic to help with my muscle/joint pain and an anti-convulsant/anti-neuropathy medication called gabapentin to help with my nerve pain. The doctor said that diagnosing fibromyalgia was very tricky because there are no actual diagnostic tools. Instead, the diagnosis is made after everything else has been ruled out. He also wanted to wait and see how the next few months went with the new medications before confirming the suspected diagnosis.

During the following months, both of the medications had made a difference to where my daily activities became more tolerable. I still felt very fatigued, but my quality of sleep seemed to be more restorative (due to the gabapentin). My muscle and joint pain were definitely persistent but they were on more manageable levels (due to the Mobic).

When I went back to the doctor in August 2008, he reviewed all of my test results and evaluated me again, then officially diagnosed me with fibromyalgia, a syndrome characterized by chronic pain, stiffness, and tenderness of muscles, tendons, and joints (definition by MedicineNet.com). The treatment for fibromyalgia includes pain medication and exercise. The doctor advised me to continue with the medications I was currently taking and to try doing light exercise when possible. He also warned me that my medication combination was not always going to be perfect. He said it may take a few tries with various medications before reaching optimal pain management, and what works for me now may not work for me in a few years. I was completely devastated, knowing that I was going to live with unrelenting complicated pain and severe fatigue for the rest of my life.

Sometimes, in addition to medication and exercise, doctors recommend a gluten-free diet to help alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms. Coincidentally, I had already been on a gluten-free diet for 4 years already, due to having an auto-immune digestive disorder called Celiac Disease. Unfortunately, being on this diet did not stop me from having fibromyalgia nor had it eased its symptoms. My doctor said that I’m one of the unlucky fibromyalgia patients who was not positively affected by a gluten-free diet. Sometimes I like to think that being gluten-free has stopped my fibromyalgia symptoms from becoming uncontrollable.

A diagnosis of fibromyalgia carries a negative stigma in society because the symptoms are very vague and are not so clear-cut as other diseases/conditions. I have actually heard people say that there is no such thing as fibromyalgia, or that the symptoms are fake and they are all in the person’s head. It is also widely believed that people who have fibromyalgia just want attention and/or medication. There are many doctors do not recognize fibromyalgia as an actual medical condition. Therefore, people who do have fibromyalgia usually have to see numerous doctors before receiving a diagnosis. Luckily for me, reaching a diagnosis for my symptoms only took 6 months and involved seeing only 2 doctors. Some people suffer for years before finding an answer.

Since my diagnosis, additional symptoms have added themselves to the original list, such as hypersensitivity to stimuli. For example, if there is too much light or sound, I start feeling very overwhelmed and need to remove myself from the situation. There are times where I cannot be touched when even my clothes feel like too much overload on my skin and receiving a hug actually HURTS. I also started becoming sensitive to the weather patterns, especially low-pressure systems. I jokingly call myself the “human barometer” because I seem to predict rain better than the weatherman! During periods of damp or cold weather, my muscles and joints heavily protest, and in turn, the pain increases substantially. I found that I have a low tolerance for any kind of exercise, it makes me feel worse rather than making me feel energetic and refreshed. I have also developed difficulty with my short-term memory and concentration (ie-“fibro-fog”), which has affected all aspects of my life, especially work.

Today, it remains difficult for me to deal with the pain and fatigue that I experience every day with fibromyalgia. My doctor has changed my pain reliever from Mobic to tramadol, which is a bit stronger, so my pain is at a tolerable level most of the time. But I definitely have my share of bad days. On a positive note, I have learned a few things from my experience with fibromyalgia. I’ve learned not push myself to do more than I can handle, but I’m still learning that it’s okay to ask for help. I have also learned to prioritize what is actually important and to just take things one day at a time. Having fibromyalgia has made me realize it is so important not to take anything for granted. After my diagnosis, my rheumatologist had pointed out to me that fibromyalgia is not a deadly or destructive disease, which is very fortunate. However, living with chronic pain and fatigue is still a difficult challenge, no matter what the cause. Yes, fibromyalgia is REAL.

Truth, Objectivity and Ethical Space

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 April 1, 2011 at 2:00 AM

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Exploring what is documentary in many ways opens up a discussion about the ethical elements of it. Rotha notes dramatization aspect. Schelesinger notes honesty and plain facts understanding of the word documentary. Ruby raises the question: is documentary art or reportage?

There is a larger global moral dimension: cultural imperialism:

I believe that the filmic illusion of reality is an extremely dangerous one, for it gives the people who control the image industry too much power. The majority of Americans, and soon the majority of the world’s population, receives information about the outside world from the images produced by film, television, and photography. If we perpetuate the lie that pictures always tell the truth, that they are objective witnesses to reality, we are supporting an industry that has the potential to symbolically recreate the world in its own image. Technology grows out of a particular ideology. The western world created image-producing technologies out of a profound need to have an irrefutable witness – to control reality by capturing it on film (Ruby, Ethics, 317).

How does documentary contribute to cultural imperialism? How does it compare and contrast to other forms of media imperialism, such as the fiction films?

Linton sees the documentary as having a greater ethical dilemma than a fiction film.

Pryluck notes that filmmakers share similar problems with ethics with research physicians, sociologists, psychologists, etc. How important are the ethical considerations in media to you?

Things I Cannot Change opened up many ethical questions that keep arising: How responsible are filmmakers to the ongoing lives of the subjects? What level of involvement does the filmmaker have in their subjects’ lives? What limits exist on what can or cannot be used of footage shot or sound recording? (Nichols, Ideology, 237).

John and Judith Katz’s model for examining ethics in autobiographical documentaries involve looking at consent, disclosure, motive, and construction.

Linton’s model for examining ethics in a documentary is based on relationships: filmmaker and self; filmmaker and larger community; filmmaker and subjects; filmmaker and audience.

Filmmaker and Self:

Role of the filmmaker: Is a documentary filmmaker an artist or a technician?

Does he look at filmmaking as a matter of ‘doing his own thing,’ as a freedom from constraints, as an obligation on the part of the artist (based on self-interest) to simply survive? Or does he recognize a responsibility to his fellowmen collectively, an obligation to use film as an instrument for social change, and on that basis ‘to select subjects for their significance,’ as Grierson and so many others have advocated” (Linton, Moral, 17).

Has the filmmaker’s ethical problem become more or less significant over time? Do documentary filmmakers care more or less about morals now, compared to the past?

Motive:

Even when confidant and disclosure seem appropriate, the filmmaker who ‘pries’ for no socially redeeming purpose other than his own personal or financial aggrandizement seems suspect. In our culture, it is not acceptable to ‘use’ people without good cause” (Katz and Katz, Ethics, 127).

Rosenthal questions – why bother to make the film at all? He notes three answers filmmakers give: to state and publicize a problem, to further one’s career, and the most common response is that the public has a right to be informed about a matter of public concern.

Ruby raises the questions: Is it acceptable to use someone’s life to illustrate a thesis? Are the considerations different when you are seeking to aid someone you regard as a victim by using that person in your film, as opposed to using a subject in order to expose him as a villain? (Ruby, Ethics, 316).

Filmmaker and Larger Community

Prosocial relevance:

Rosenthal thinks documentaries do have social relevance for ameliorating social problems.

Against social relevance:

Ruby and Winston think documentaries’ money could be better spent and directed to practical solutions for social ills. Documentaries are just entertainment for the middle class. “Power comes more directly from the end of a gun than it does from the lens of a camera. Few revolutions were won in a movie house or on the six o’clock news” (Ruby, Ethics, 317).

Can a documentary be used for social change?

Media representation:

Ethnic minorities, women, gays, third- and fourth-world peoples, the very rich and the very poor are telling us – the middle class, middle-aged white males who dominate the industry – that our pictures of them are false. Some wish to produce their own representation of themselves and control or at least monitor the ways we now image them (Ruby, Ethics, 309).

Can middle-class, middle-aged white men tell the stories of people who are not like them?

Filmmaker and Subject:

Rosenthal writes that the relationship between filmmaker and subject is the central issue when it comes to ethics.

Linton poses an ideal situation: “in the filmmaking situation, collaboration of filmmaker and subject should be predicated upon equal openness and honesty” (Linton, Moral, 19).

What should be the nature of the relationship between filmmaker and subject?

Aibel notes distance compared to the total involvement of Sunny Yi (and any kind of relationship in between these poles can exist).

“It is important that the filmmaker respect his subjects as individuals and that he does not demean them, for in demeaning his subjects he demeans the viewer and himself as well” (Linton, Moral, 19). For example, films did about developing countries.

“’Every human being, however immature or defective, who has any mental capacity at all is a person and is worthy of respect’” (Linton, Moral, 19). This quote comes from Errol E. Harris.

Consent:

“Margaret Mead stated the case bluntly: ‘the more powerless the subject is, per se, the more the question of ethics – and power – is raised’” (Pryluck, Outsiders, 262).

Some filmmakers like Mamber, do not see any immorality if there is consent by the subject.

Howard S. Becker notes what makes consent an ethical problem is that subjects never know exactly what they are getting themselves into when they consent. Filmmakers, as well as scientists, don’t always know what the outcome of the research will be (Gross, Katz, Ruby, Image, xiii).

Linton’s comments how powerless consent can make the subject. When the subject has given consent, they relinquish control over their own image; they become a performer, rather than a co-participant in the creative process.

Subject power and participation:

Jean Rouch shows his material to the people he’s working with and it serves as the impetus for further filming. An example of Rouch’s stuff is Chronique D’un Été (Pryluck, Outsiders, 264).

What recourse does a subject have when they have been poorly portrayed?

Linton goes on to say that the other consideration concerning filmmakers giving subjects power over their own image, the subjects will most likely work to portray themselves in a favourable light only, and this would be a distortion of the truth.

Exploitation:

Linton writes, “the exploitative nature of the usual documentary can be attributed to the nature of the power relationships of the filmmaking process” (Linton, Moral, 20). Increased subject participation may address this power imbalance.

So the basic question is, what is the duty of care, or responsibility, owed by filmmakers to those they film? (Rosenthal, Challenges, 246).

There is a “political exploitation,” this point comes from Brietrose: “The filmmaker is in the business of using his or her subjects – most often to make a substantive point, to achieve a strategic objective or to fit into a pattern of argument or exposition that transcends individual lives. Film subjects are thus a means to an end, but it is generally the filmmaker’s end, not the subjects.’”
Rosenthal brings up another area of ethical concern between filmmaker and subject, that of “economic exploitation.” He notes that fact that filmmakers are making their living from their work, and building reputations that convert into an economic gain. They don’t pay their subjects for their work, they gain a relationship based on friendship and sometimes bullying.

Filmmaker and Audience:
Ruby in the Rosenthal anthology highlights the fact that filmmakers have a moral obligation to their potential audience (Ruby, Ethics, 310). He raises a number of questions: Where does the documentary artist’s responsibility to the audience lie? If documentaries actually aren’t accurate representations of reality, should the filmmaker tell the audience that it’s not? Is the documentary artist being more ethical if methods and techniques are revealed? Does that knowledge cause us, the audience, to regard the film differently? (Ruby, Ethics, 313-4).

Another power relationship exists between filmmaker and audience, and this involves the camera.

Emile de Antonio in James M. Linton’s article “The Moral Dimension in Documentary” note the significance of narration and sound manipulation.

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