Archive for May, 2012|Monthly archive page

The Harriet Tubman Student Summer Programme 2012 at York University‏

In Writing (all kinds) on May 31, 2012 at 8:55 PM

The Harriet Tubman Student Summer Programme Application at York Univ 2012


Please circulate widely. Thanks

Exciting news for youth this summer…

The Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples at York University invites youth ages 14-18 (or grade 9 to grade 12) to participate in its Student Summer Programme.

Youth will participate in daily activities (art, dance, creative writing, sport, storytelling, graffiti, music, workshops, trips, and classes) that will give them an overview of the contributions of African peoples and cultures to the historical development of the world. Experienced educators, facilitators, volunteers and students from York University will deliver all the sessions.

The programme will run from July 2-13th at York University and will be at no cost to the youth selected to participate: there are about 30 spaces available. Meals (breakfast and lunch), as well as transportation (bus tickets), will be provided.

The application form (attached) for the Harriet Tubman Student Summer Programme is available as of June 1st, 2012 on The Harriet Tubman Institute’s website:

The youth will have the opportunity to accumulate community hours and an official certificate from the Harriet Tubman Institute at York University will be awarded to students on completion of the programme.


Prof.Abubacar Fofana León

Summer Programme Director

The Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples,

York University, York Lanes 353, Room 313,

4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON, Canada, M3J 1P3

Tel.: (416) 736-2100 ext. 33058 Fax: (416) 650-8173


A & W in Yorkdale Food court

In Health, Restaurant Reviews, Uncategorized, Writing (all kinds) on May 31, 2012 at 3:00 AM

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I woke up in the morning, got showered and put my pajamas back on ready to delve into doing marking for classes I teach. Then the phone rang.

It was my sister and she was asking me to go to Yorkdale Mall in the northern part of Toronto. She was also bringing my niece Oshun.

My sister, the baby girl and I hunkered down in my sister’s Honda to go up to Yorkdale. I was starving before we even got to the mall. All I had that day was some oatmeal.

After we did some shopping, we took the elevator up to the food court, smelling popcorn inside the elevator. My sister chose Thai Express and I chose A & W.

At A & W, I got the “chubby chicken burger” and even decided to get fries and a root beer – since it had been a long time.

I devoured the food. However, my eyes turned out to be definitely bigger than my stomach because I couldn’t eat for the rest of the day afterward, and we had our meal at about 2:00 p.m.

“They give you a lot of food at A & W,” I said.

I’m not so sure this is definitely a good or bad thing. The important thing was spending time with my sister and my niece. The food was a way for us to spend even more time together.

Pathways to education (originally published with Pride Newsmagazine)

In Business, Culture, Education, Events, Writing (all kinds) on May 30, 2012 at 3:00 AM

successful paths to education

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Pathways to Education

Regent Park is the oldest and largest public housing project in Canada. The average income is $18,000 per year, 50 percent that of other Canadians. Over 80 percent of residents are immigrants, many of whom hold professional training diplomas, degrees, and certificates from other countries that are not recognized in Canada. Englis is a second language for nearly 60 percent of Regent Park adults and the region has twice the number of single-parent families as the rest of Toronto. To top it off, there are no high schools in the community. It is no surprise that prior to Pathways the drop out rates was 56 percent, twice Toronto’s average.

Pathways mission is to reduce poverty and its effects by supporting the development of youth from economically disadvantaged communities and promoting their individual health and the health of the community by addressing the two principal social determinations of health: education and income.

They do this by providing four supports which, taken together, help young people to succeed in high school, post-secondary education and employment. In providing these supports we seek to be responsive to the needs of our young people and to be accountable to our funders and the community by focusing on clear results that demonstrate the effectiveness of the program and the capacities of our young people and the community.

-they are an initiative of the Regent Park Community Health Centre

-a grassroots program

-30 staff, 275 volunteers, and over 700 dedicated young people

-a program model that can be replicated in other “at-risk” communities”

“A feisty and determined team of people who ‘did it anyway’ when everyone said it was ‘impossible.’

“I sincerely hope the Pathways programme will become a model for initiatives in other at-risk communities in Toronto and across the country,” wrote Mayor David Miller in a letter to the Director, Marni Schecter-Taylor. “The Pathways programmed embodies the principles of engagement and skills development that are at the heart of the City’s community safety plan. Commitment to these principles ensures that our communities remain strong and inclusive.”

Marni Schecter-Taylor:

“Pathways to Education is making a difference not only to individual young people in the community but to the families themselves. The summer before we started the program there were nine murders in the community and a 56 percent high school drop out rate. Summer of 2001. It was a very scary time for people in the community because the options that were open to them were few and far between. There was a very palpable sense of failure, rather than success. The prevailing notion, I’ve heard this from people in the community, that you would be lucky if you made it to grade 10. So we were losing most of our students in grade 10. The Pathways to Education program has changed all that. We now have, we’re in our 4th year of operation – we have enrolled 97 percent of the eligible students in this community. Everyone from grade nine through to grade 12. They are staying in school, they are accumulating credits, they’re absenteeism has gone down and in fact, they are out-performing their peers from other neighbourhoods. So we’re proud, we’re very, very proud. Pathways essentially give them an opportunity to achieve their full potential, instead of the grim alternative.”

“The program is a pretty comprehensive one. There were a lot of people who said you’ll never do it, it’s such a big undertaking. First of all, there are a couple of key principles that are core to what we do. This has to be available to everyone, that way you build a critical mass – then there is a shift from an expectation of failure to an expectation to succeed. The other thing we said to ourselves that the parents have to be involved. When you open the story in the Catcham area, it’s opening the program to a lot of kids. It’s almost four programs in one – all the parts responsive to the needs of the kids graduating. We provide academic support, social support in career mentoring, financial support in the form of TTC tickets to and from school and bursaries to school and our advocacy support through the parent support workers and the families and the communities and the students themselves. We provide all of that to all of the students all of the time.”

It’s a year-round program, do tutoring over the summer months for kids who are in summer school.

“In each one of those four supports we’ve built in a rigorous system where we’re constantly measuring ourselves. Each of our supports talks to one another. Each child is surrounded. There’s a huge emphasis on the communication flow. For instance, we have a relationship with the Toronto District School Board.”

A student comes in and there is a log with the student support workers who come in to log what they’re doing. And even if they try to say they’re working on English, the log will tell them they’re working on math.


Gloria Jones, Vice President, Cash Management Services

-look at a press release

BMO Nesbitt Burns and Harris Nesbitt are proud to announce they have raised a total of $1.6 million (US$1.28 million) yesterday in institutional equity trading commissions for charities that support and promote education and diversity.

This is the first year that parent BMO Financial Group (TSX, NYSE: BMO), through its brokerage subsidiaries, BMO Nesbitt Burns and Harris Nesbitt, launched Equity through Education, a charitable program focused on helping people realize their educational and career goals.

“The support of BMO Nesbitt Burns speaks loud and clear about the firm’s selflessness and dedication to others. We feel blessed to have been chosen and 725 young people thank you,” said Marni Schecter-Taylor, Director of Development & Communications, Pathways to Education.

“On May 11th we raised $1.6 million U.S. Prior to that we rigorously looked through all of the charities and came up with seven that we chose to sponsor on that day. So, Pathways to Education is one of those charities. We presented Pathways with a cheque for $212,500 a couple of weeks ago or so. BMO NESBITT BURNS Nesbitt Burns financial group is a strong supporter of programs like Pathways. There are a lot of times there is a hindrance because of money, not because of anything else and then we then get together with our clients to raise some money.”

When asked how their giving helps their bottom-line.

“We’re enabling very bright young students to get an education, and they, in turn, are going to give back to the community.”

“BMO NESBITT BURNS Financial Group and what they stand for around their values around diversity. We have a huge group that works on diversity, and we don’t just do it because it’s a nice thing to do – if we are opening our arms and embracing everyone that is able to contribute in various ways then you are having a truly diverse workforce that will contribute to the bottom-line. We have a face for the community, that can understand the communities. It does help the bottom-line, at the same time being a good citizen.”

Marni Schecter-Taylor:

“Eighty-seven percent of the families in this community are visible minorities. The kids in this program while they might not be economically well off, their diversity is so rich. So many of them speak two or three languages. So, that’s what they’re going to contribute to the workforce. And that’s what they’re going to contribute when they’re BMO NESBITT BURNS customers one day, or traders – this is what they’re going to contribute to the changing face of Canada to BMO NESBITT BURNS’s clients. And BMO NESBITT BURNS is very innovative in harnessing that richness and the resource that exists in these kids.”

Marni Schecter-Taylor tells a story about the importance of diversity and how important it is for their students to see themselves where they want to be. One of the students in the program who had to go up and make a speech in front of BMO NESBITT BURNS’s traders at a video conference that was being played in different parts of the world. He was so nervous. He did his speech and talked about how he would like to go to Queen’s for commerce. This was the right thing to see in a room full of traders. After the speech, he had at least four traders come up to him and give him their business cards who were Queen’s alumni and told him if he needed any help – they would do what they could. All of sudden, that student who may not have seen himself on the trading floor, sees himself there.

“Our relationship with BMO NESBITT BURNS Nesbitt-Burns goes far beyond a cheque writing exercise,” says Marni Schecter-Taylor.

“Our bottom-line is realizing the full potential of these kids. We need money to do it. But that was diversity in practice if you ask me.”

Ikeeda Duncan:

“With school, you get a lot of tutoring. There were times when I would get tutoring in class from different students and the teacher was explaining stuff to me and I would get tutors my age and I wouldn’t understand it. You meet people from different backgrounds and different situations. Sometimes the tutors have actually gone through what you have gone through. So, you’re able to talk to them and they understand what you’re saying.”

“Sometimes I would be in school and the teachers would use aggressive ways to teach stuff and you get really mad and you want to do stuff, but you go to your mentors and you talk to them about it and they’ll give you good advice on how to handle yourself.”

“I love history. Right now, I’m pretty good, but I want to do better. Right now, my average is around 70. One of the courses I want to take is African and Caribbean history, but right now I’m taking a lot of history courses right now.”

My plan is: “basically to stick to it. Actually reading a lot. Because my school is not a semester school, I tend to have to deal with all the different classes.”

If you’re going to a semester school, there are so many different classes and courses and there are homework and stuff. It’s not that you don’t know how to do it or how to understand it – you just may not have the time to do it.”

Shequita Thompson:

She goes to Jarvis Collegiate as well as Ikeeda.

“My favourite subjects in school right now are law, drama, gym, basically all of them right now that I’m taking. The subject that I don’t like as much – I would have to say is math. But, it’s okay – it’s nice – I’m not really strong in math.”

“Study, study – that’s how I overcome that [math]. Because usually what we have to do is practicing, because you have to practice the problems over and over again to fully become aware of all the different methods you can use to overcome the word problems or whatever math problems you need to do. As Ikeeda, I want to study Caribbean history and I also want to do law. But I can take anything at university and still go to law school. I was thinking that I can do something in history, or maybe social science course and study law and sociology around there and go into law.” She’d like to go to U of T or Ryerson – U of T’s downtown campus.

Ikeeda Duncan:

Wants to go to York University.

“Pathways has helped me mainly in tutoring. In a number of ways Pathways has helped me – but mainly in tutoring, because if I need help and usually I just go for math usually. I can go to the tutors to explain it over again since math is the most challenging subject that I face in school – maybe the teachers don’t explain it the way that I should be understanding it and I can go to different tutors to help me understand. The other things that Pathways also helps me with – there’s also a debating club that they formed two years ago and I really enjoyed that and I actually quite liked it.”

They’ve both been involved with Pathways since grade 9.


“When you finish high school through the four years through Pathways there’s a $4,000 bursary for the first year of university.”


“The bursary is there to help us to achieve our goals and it’s going to help get us through as Marni Schecter-Taylor said the registration fees. My plan for making it through all four years – I’d say is to study hard and just focus more on school. I’m a person who gets very busy during the year doing different things – I’m involved in a drama club and things like that so it gets very busy during the year. Since we’re coming up to our last year – I need to focus more.”

Pathways also help them look at different bursaries and scholarships that will help them through all the university years.

“With the debating club – I wanted to go either into doctoring or law – since I liked debating a lot – law was right up my alley.”

Ikeeda’s been in Canada for three years and she’s from Jamaica.

Shequita’s been in Canada since she was about nine and she’s come from Guyana.

Media Teaching on “Ideal Job”

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Religion, Sports, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on May 29, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Harper government announces faster, more convenient air travel to the United States for passengers and their baggage

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, cars, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Disability, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on May 29, 2012 at 3:00 AM

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TORONTO, Dec. 22, 2011 /CNW/ – Following the Beyond the Border announcement made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama earlier this month, the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, announced today that traveling to the United States (U.S.) by air will be easier for Canadian travelers.

The announcement was made at seven airports across Canada. Events were also hosted by the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities, at the Bagotville Airport in La Baie; the Honourable Steven Fletcher, Minister of State (Transport), in Winnipeg; the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, in Vancouver; and Michelle Rempel, Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre-North in Calgary. Also participating were Pierre Poilievre, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities, and for the Federal Economic Agency for Southern Ontario, in Ottawa; and Scott Armstrong, Member of Parliament for Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, in Halifax.

“The Harper government is focused on creating jobs and economic growth, and good news for consumers is good news for our economy,” said Minister Oliver. “By the time spring break is upon us, it will be easier for air travelers to fly to the United States.”

Passengers traveling to the U.S. will soon be able to use NEXUS cards to expedite screening at Canada’s eight largest airports (Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver) using dedicated screening lines. The Government of Canada will work closely with airport authorities to fully offer this service beginning in February 2012. NEXUS lines are already operating at all eight major international Canadian airports at domestic and select international checkpoints.

In addition, travelers will also benefit from the elimination of duplicate baggage screening over the next three years. This means that passengers flying from Canadian airports with U.S. pre-clearance facilities will no longer have their baggage screened once on departure from Canada and again at the connecting U.S. airport. This change will make connections through U.S. cities easier and reduces the risk of bags missing connecting flights. These changes will make air travel more convenient between the two countries while maintaining a high level of aviation security.

“Currently, passengers flying from Canadian airports have their bags screened once on departure from Canada and again at the connecting U.S. airport. This results in delays missed connections and increased costs for airlines and airports,” added Minister Oliver. “Soon, Canadians will be able to book tighter connections while traveling to U.S. cities and have a better chance of getting their bags on the same connecting flight.”

NEXUS is a binational Canada-U.S. program for pre-approved, low-risk travelers into Canada and the U.S. at designated air, land and marine ports of entry. When traveling by air, NEXUS expedites border clearance by enabling members to enter either country quickly and easily by using self-service kiosks. The expedited pre-board screening lines for NEXUS members traveling to the U.S. is an initiative being implemented by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) and Transport Canada in cooperation with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

For more information, visit or call 1-866-NEXUS-26 (1-866-639-8726).

Transport Canada is online at Subscribe to e-news at or stay connected through RSS, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flicker to keep up to date on the latest from Transport Canada.

This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons living with visual disabilities.

From Activism to Shamanism

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Religion, Sports, Writing (all kinds) on May 28, 2012 at 3:00 AM

Mikaya Heart Grew Up in Scotland


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By Mikaya Heart

From a very young age, I was aware that there are many things wrong in this world, and I wanted to change them. I was politically active by the time I was eighteen. In 1973 I became an environmental activist, before the average person on the street had any idea that there were any serious environmental problems. In 1977, I came out as a lesbian, and I was on the front lines of the feminist movement in England for a number of years, involved in a militant campaign to undermine male chauvinism. I was angry.

Now, in my mid-fifties, I call myself a marveling mystic. Although I am still a passionate person, I am rarely angry. I don’t turn up for any kind of demonstration that is against anything because I believe that whatever we resist persists. I am a Minister of Holistic Healing, active in Earth-based spiritual practices that are intended to empower the individual. I teach shamanic self-growth work. My favorite activity, which I consider to be profoundly zen, is kitesurfing.

What happened?

Although I still wanted to change the world, I stopped being politically active in my thirties, mainly because I was working sixteen hours a day running an organic farm and living in the boonies of northern California. I was still angry. The intensity of my anger forced me to recognize that it was far beyond any justification in the present moment, and I went into therapy. Thanks to some invaluable help from both paid therapists and good friends, I identified some childhood traumas and moved beyond them. At this point in my life, I began to study Earth-based spiritualities. A year-long training in Angeles Arrien’s The Four-Fold Way introduced me to shamanic ritual work that helped me to move through my stuff. This work requires a level of honesty and self-reflection that felt very real and valuable to me. Over the next decade, I did a lot of that kind of introspection. I’ve always had a passion for the truth, and I wanted to get to the truth in everything. I wanted to understand what life is about, I wanted to find Truths that are universal.

Although I stopped being so angry, I was still dissatisfied, which often manifested as impatience and irritation. In my forties, my dissatisfaction and my search for Truth encompassed the whole way I was living life, making me question what life is for. This existential introspection went on for years, becoming quite agonizing at times, as I found no one able to give me answers that went anywhere near deep enough for me.

And then, over a period three or four years, I had some very remarkable experiences. Since these were experiential—in other words, they were on a feeling level, and there were no onlookers to identify any kind of happening—they are very hard to describe. The first of them was precipitated by a head injury that occurred when I was alone in the woods. Unable to walk, and too far from anywhere to be heard calling for help, I was astonished to find myself instantaneously transported a mile to the nearest inhabited house, where there was a person to take care of me and get me to hospital. It was a miracle along the lines of a mother who picks up a car when her child is trapped underneath it. Having done that once, surely I could do it again—and I really wanted to find out how without having to injure myself.

The second, which occurred when I was driving, was an experience of bliss beyond anything that I had ever previously known. Perhaps it was what some religions refer to as enlightenment or satori. I certainly knew, in those moments, that this world is an incredibly beautiful place, filled with love. I knew that all is well. I knew that changing this world is more about who I am than anything I can do, because no one could come into contact with me in that moment of my-knowing-of-vastness, without being affected. I understood that to be effective, doing must always arise out of being. All this I knew instantaneously, without thought. I saw that knowing, or wisdom, is a sensation, much greater than anything that can be computed by the rational brain. Even though the radiance of the sensation passed after a few hours, it was now with me forever.

The third occurred when I had a mysterious illness which, even back then, I knew to be a shamanic break—that is, an illness that was intended on some subconscious level, because I had become aware of the possibility of living in joy, and I wanted to change. And I still wanted to know who I was. Who had moved my body when I lay sick in the woods? Who had put me here on this planet? I was advised to look into my eyes in a mirror, with the intention of seeing who was looking back at me. What I saw was simply my own face, yet it was shocking. I could not deny the presence of an eternal being, powerful beyond my wildest reckoning. I understood the truth of Marianne Williamson’s words, in her book, A Return to Love: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”

Now that I had met myself, I knew there was no reason to be afraid of anything. I realized that the most useful thing I could do would be to get into alignment with that vast self. Although my rational brain is still prone to fits of anxiety, my belief systems have changed radically. The last few years have been about translating those changes into a different lifestyle, one that is based on joy and trust rather than fear about the future. I sold my house and most of my possessions so that I could be absolutely free. I am choosing to live with joy. That doesn’t mean that I don’t slip into fear. It means that I make sure that I get a daily dose of things that bring me joy, and I don’t allow my fears to motivate me.

Nowadays the doing that arises out of my being is about helping others to access the sensation of inner wisdom. This occurs through my writing and through coaching. My existential questioning led me to investigate a number of different spiritual practices: Sufism, Buddhism, Wicca. Since none of them, in themselves, helped me to find answers to my questions, I don’t identify with any of them now. However, shamanic spiritual practices, which are about developing a personal relationship to Nature and to the concept of spirit, are right up my alley. I’ve found journeying particularly useful and self-empowering. Journeying is too complicated a concept to explain fully in this article, but the word refers to going to other realms, or planes of existence, to get help and information. Guided visualizations and night-time dreams are about traveling like this. Many people think of it as their imagination. It really doesn’t matter what words you use, it is a way of accessing your own inner truth.

I’m perfectly aware that, on a rational-brain level, none of the above would persuade anyone that I’m talking any sense. This is all simply my experience. I am very sure of myself, yet I cannot communicate my certainty to anyone else, even if they consider themselves seekers, as I did. I certainly haven’t written anything that would change any skeptical minds. That’s not my intention. Life in human form is a personal experience, different for everyone. We all need to be doing whatever we are doing right now, and we are all doing our best. It’s not my job to change anyone else, and I could make myself miserable trying. It’s just my job to be me, as fully and joyfully as I can. My hope is that some people will be moved by my story in a way that will bring more compassion to this glorious world.

For more about Mikaya Heart, please visit her website at

Life Rattle Radio Update #34 introducing new writer Donna Kakonge‏

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Disability, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Music, Radio Podcasts, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on May 27, 2012 at 3:00 AM

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Life Rattle Radio Update #34

Hello Life Rattle listeners,

This Sunday, October 16, Life Rattle host Laurie Kallis will introduce two widely divergent stories by new Life Rattle writer:

Donna Kakonge.

“Church Sunday” has us tag along with a young girl who learns of charity, compassion, and spirit when she escorts her Granny, who is visiting Toronto from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, up Davenport Avenue to a Baptist church where a one-legged woman stands outside the door and the preacher leads a raucous service where more Black people than the girl has ever seen in one place shimmy and shake in the pews.

“Elephant Woman,” swirls us up in the dizzying obsession of a university student who, despite her dislike of the colour, cramps her stomach inflating green balloons, cuts her fingers stuffing invitations into green envelopes, blisters her feet hunting for the right shade of green cushions for her bed and runs up her VISA bill on a green bra and panties in a determined effort to win a gold nineteenth birthday prize—Alistar Abego—her current man of choice.

Be sure to tune in this Sunday and next, to hear stories you won’t hear anywhere else!

Life Rattle Radio

Posted every Sunday Night at 9:00

Laurie Kallis

Academic Life on “Ideal Job”

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Opinion, Religion, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on May 26, 2012 at 10:54 AM


In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Disability, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Religion, Sports, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on May 26, 2012 at 3:00 AM

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Happy Holidays Life Rattlers:

We are giving you the best gift we could think of………….(drum roll)…………

Janine Burigana’s


Yup, the whole thing. Almost 2 hours of rollicking, suburban family holiday fun.

And, so that you can make this event a centrepiece of your celebrations, we will post this podcast on Saturday, December 24th at noon.

This is the funniest, droll, disgusting and heartwarming story we’ve ever inflicted on our listening public. For more than 15 years, J. C. K. I’s Christmas has been the most requested Life Rattle offering.

Forget Dylan Thomas, play this one for the kiddies.


Virginia Ashberry

Life Rattle

New stories posted every Sunday Night at 9:00 at

Life Rattle Radio

Life Rattle was created by Guy Allen and Arnie Achtman

“Ideal Job” on Donna Magazine

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, cars, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Disability, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Pets, Radio Podcasts, Religion, Restaurant Reviews, Sports, Technology, travel, Uncategorized, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on May 25, 2012 at 9:17 AM

Back to Church Sunday - September 15, 2013

This is Donna Kakonge and I have been posting on Donna Magazine, my magazine, for years now. Now I have a new show starting in June called “Ideal Job” that is airing to a world audience through Donna Magazine VideoPress, that has been long-established. I also have 42 self-published books on I will be traditionally publishing a book called Only My Voice with Life Rattle Press to be coming out in the fall of 2012. As well, I am working on a new book tentatively titled Church Sunday.

There is no cost to be on the show! Just contact me at if you are interested!

Look forward to having you on the show!

Expressive Writing: Day Three of Clichés

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 May 25, 2012 at 3:00 AM

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Day Three: On the third day, I listened to my iTunes starting from 11:52 p.m. on Wednesday, February 2, 2011, to 12:13 p.m. on Thursday, February 3, 2011. I listened to five songs. The first three were R & B, with one of the singers being Angie Stone from the U.K. The fourth song was in French (translation included). The fifth song was again R & B. Setting: On the brown couch in my living room at home:

1. “Be forever”

2. “Don’t won’t to be attaché”

3. “What I have done before”

4. “That you love me so much more”

5. “It’s easier”

6. “Baby, forgive me”

7. (Different R & B song with Angie Stone): “Get burdened”

8. “Bird rising high above the trees”

9. “Giving you a show”

10. “Go out of my way”

11. “It’s your love I’m missing”

12. “I want to be that special kind of fool”

13. “It’s about time”

14. “Bring it on me”

15. “I’ll be loving you no matter what you do.”

16. “It’s alright, it’s OK.”

17. “Let your heart run away with me”

18. “Everything I am, everything I want to be”

19. “Oooh, oooh, oooh, oooh”

20. “Really, really loving the way you’re making me feel”

21. “Love supreme”

22. “I deserve everything and more”

23. “Make me feel so good”

24. “Trapped inside an hourglass”

25. “Just so we can be together”

26. “Loving you”

27. “Only think about you”

28. “For all eternity”

29. “Make me feel better”

30. “Making me feel more”

31. “No breaking up”

32. (French song, rough translation will follow) “Sexy repas” = good meal

33. “Plus belle” = most beautiful

34. “Hallelujah”

35. “Bon coeur” = good heart

36. “Devoirs semaine” = weekend work

37. “Sans toi” = without you

38. (R & B again): “Looking back in retrospect it’s funny how we see, the ups, the downs,

the smiles, the frowns”

39. “I was prepared for this”

40. “With love there comes a risk”

41. “Loving you is easy”

42. “In perfect harmony”

43. “Know that spring will come again”

44. “There’s a time to live and a time to die”

45. This was an extremely enjoyable assignment, Professor Allen. Thank you – Donna Kakonge

[TPS] – Wise Winter Walking

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, travel, Writing (all kinds) on May 23, 2012 at 3:00 AM

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Toronto Police Service
News Release

Wise Winter Walking

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 – 3:50 PM
Traffic Services

Pedestrian safety initiatives delivered by the Toronto Police Service are designed to promote cooperative safety strategies with members of our communities, using awareness, education, and enforcement.

Collision analysis has shown that pedestrian fatalities represent approximately 50% of yearly traffic fatalities within Toronto. This year, 17 pedestrians have lost their lives in Toronto.

Winter officially begins on Wednesday, December 21, 2011, and pedestrians can expect poor walking conditions.

Rain, sleet, snow, and ice, along with darker conditions can lead to a decrease in visibility and a lack of stability for pedestrians. These factors can increase the risk of injuries when poor walking behaviours are demonstrated.

Walking tips:

Walking outside in winter can be invigorating and refreshing, however, slick sidewalks/streets may increase the risk of injury for pedestrians if they don’t take basic precautions.

Senior citizens are over-represented in pedestrian fatalities and injuries, according to recent safety data. Seniors are often struck a step or two from the curb, stepping out from behind a parked car or caught out in traffic.

While motorists are at fault in many pedestrian collisions, statistics show pedestrians sometimes contribute to the collision by:

– not often choosing the safest places to cross
– not paying attention to traffic
– not being aware of the timing of traffic lights and pedestrian walk/don’t walk signals
– underestimating the time needed to cross safely.

Winter walking tips:

– wear reflective or bright-coloured clothing so motorists are better able to see you. (Dress children in reflective or bright-coloured clothes as well)

– follow the directions for all traffic signs and signals

– be aware of your surroundings

– if you must walk on the roadway, walk facing traffic and as close to the curb as possible

– hats, scarves, hoods and MP3 players that cover or affect your eyes and ears can also distort or eliminate the sight and sounds of approaching vehicles. Keep warm but make sure that you can see and hear what’s going on around you

– on slippery surfaces, bend your knees a little and take slower steps to reduce your chances of falling. Wear gloves to avoid putting your hands in your pockets, so that you can keep your balance and help break your fall, with your hands, if you do start to slip

Traffic signals tips:

– be aware of traffic signals, but never rely on them completely. While in the crosswalk, pedestrians should continue to be alert to oncoming traffic at all times

– always use pedestrian crosswalks to cross the road. Do not cross diagonally or from between parked vehicles (mid-block) except where permitted. Since drivers are not expecting pedestrians to cross mid-block, risk of injury is much higher

– wait for a fresh traffic signal. Do not start crossing once the countdown or flashing hand begins

– when possible, make eye contact with drivers before beginning to cross the road. Drivers must be able to see you to avoid you. Do not assume drivers can see you or that they are paying attention

To learn more about the Toronto Police, Traffic Services Safety Program, that aims to reduce pedestrian injury and death through education and awareness, please click here.

Traffic Services is dedicated to ensuring the safe and orderly movement of traffic within the City of Toronto. Stay informed with what’s happening at:
Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, Facebook Group and on Blog</a

Constable Tony Vella, Corporate Communications, for Constable Clint Stibbe, Traffic Services

Headlight Anthology

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on May 22, 2012 at 3:00 AM

Image result for Headlight Anthology at Concordia University

Enjoy the rich stylings of Concordia University students with Headlight Anthology. I have a story published in the very first one back in 1998.

Hypocrisy and the Lies of Time: An Angelic Dilemma

In book reviews, Culture, Education, Environment, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Religion, Writing (all kinds) on May 21, 2012 at 3:00 AM
Hypocrisy is Highlighted in this Essay by Co-Authored by Brikena Ribaj - Photo Courtesy of

Hypocrisy is Highlighted in this Essay by Co-Authored by Brikena Ribaj – Photo Courtesy of

Image result for Hypocrisy

By Brikena Ribaj & Scott Bradford

Hypocrisy and the Lies of Time:
An Angelic Dilemma
Hypocrisy of Time
He is ageless, the hunter
With neither beginning nor end
Changeless, yet the father of all change.
His gaze is eternal
Without preference or guile
He loves, yet loathes all.

Existence is determined by time, and as a result, there
is a correlation or parallelism between both existence
and time. Thus, an effort to define one’s self outside of
time is impossible. In Wim Wenders’ film, In Weiter
Ferne, So Nah!, the time-existence conflict is illustrated
through the characters of Cassiel, an existential figure,
and Emit Flesti, an embodiment of time itself.
Time and existence: is it possible for these two intertwined
factors to exist outside of each other’s realms?
Time occupies an almost uncontrollable and untouchable
a role, and questioning its existence is paradoxical, even
laughable. Human existence is often viewed in connection
with the philosophical movement of existentialism.
It is an accepted human trait to question well-set patterns
in order to establish societal variances or to more clearly
define one’s existence.
Wim Wenders, a contemporary writer, and director,
in an attempt to define the interrelationship between
time and mortal existence explores each one separately,
by creating separate characters to portray each phenomenon.
The personality of each character reflects the nature
of the respective phenomena, i.e. time and existence.
Through the physical separation of these characters/
phenomena, Wenders shows that they are intertwined,
that they cannot be understood or defined outside of
each other’s realm. This paper is an examination of the
contrast between socially constructed ideas of time and
existence, versus an individual depiction of them shown
through the interaction of Cassiel and Emit Flesti.
Through the interaction of Cassiel and Emit Flesti, it
is possible to visualize how crucial time is in order to attempt
to define existence. Newton postulated that
absolute time “of itself, and from its own nature, flows
equably without relation to anything external” (qt. in
Slife 17). He explains further that time is the standard by
which all things and phenomena are judged. The order
and directionality of the world is thought to be synonymous
with the absolute and linear organization of events
(17–18). This concept allows time to exist outside of
Emit Flesti or t-i-m-e i-t-s-e-l-f is a paradox in his own
right, because he not only condemns but at the same
time redeems or releases Cassiel from his earth-bound
An Angelic Dilemma
perception of time or his earthly existence. Emit Flesti
dictates the rules of time, and only he can bend or stop
them as visually illustrated in the scene where Emit Flesti
physically stops the hands of time. Cassiel does not fit in,
meaning he cannot comprehend and conform to the
absoluteness of time and its already set regulations; instead
he floats tangent to the circle of time because he
lacks the ability to make time his own.
One becomes aware of Cassiel’s struggle with time
soon after he encounters Emit Flesti. Time robs Cassiel of
the only angelic possession that he has: his armor, his last
tool of identity. He gets a bad deal; his initiation into
mortality foreshadows a harsh human reality. Emit Flesti
ensures that Cassiel will continually struggle during his
mortal existence:
Emit Flesti: Old hunters never die…they just fade
away, I know, but not me never!
Raphaela: What do you want from him?
Emit Flesti: He just doesn’t belong here: he’s
(Wenders 14)
Time offers no preferential treatment, and Cassiel
must adhere to its regulations.
Wenders depicts Emit Flesti as time and uses him as
the ultimate authority and frame of reference. One does
not question him/it; he/it is a given or an absolute. Time,
however, has the ultimate authority to question everyone.
Time binds people by his/its rules as seen in the conversation
between Emit Flesti, Damiel, and Cassiel at the
Casa del Angelo, the pizzeria owned by Damiel:
Emit Flesti to Cassiel: They say: time is money,
but they got it all wrong: time is the absence of
money. Would you agree, Karl?
Cassiel to Emit Flesti: Tja, was soll man dazu
sagen? Time is running away from me,
Mr…Speedy Gonzales.
Cassiel to Damiel: Was der in kurzer Zeit zusammen
redet. War eine Menge Geld. Hast du
Schulden bei dem?
Damiel to Cassiel: Tja, es fällt nicht alles vom
Himmel. Time is precious! (25)
This dialog demonstrates that all individuals must
pay time, that all are life-long, time-tax payers. Emit
Flesti, the human personification of time, possesses an
almost too stoic aura. The man, time, illustrates no feeling
or attachment to anything; he is constant, yet
detached. Time is the factor that determines and encompasses
all human activity including existence and
thought. Thus, time is the establisher or policing force of
all patterns of existence.
For one to exist and to survive one’s own existence,
one must learn how to function within the realm of time.
However, those who do not follow his/time’s patterns are
characterized as misfits or irregulars and tend to fall into
existentialism. Existentialism is the point that humans
achieve their understanding that in actuality, they
(humans) are not what society says they are, but instead,
they have been wrongly perceived. Once humans define
a reality in this context, they encounter feelings of pessimism,
despondency, and loss of hope in self.
An Angelic Dilemma
With this line of reasoning, there is no such thing as
an essential self, rather it is an illusion because human
beings are nothing except what they have become at any
given moment; it is the sum of the life they have created
at any point of reference. As quoted in Rychlak’s book,
Introduction to Personality and Psychotherapy, “[H]uman
beings are probably always more ‘about to be’ something
we are not quite yet then we are anything fixed and
‘given’” (641). Thus, they (humans) are not what or how
they envision themselves, rather what time allows them
to be in specific moments.
This situation creates a nothingness, and it is the
source of their (humans’) freedom, because it allows them
to choose how to act or if to act at all. This nothingness
begins at a distinct point of departure, which entails
human consciousness and mental processes. In contrast
to most previous philosophical systems, which maintain
that an a priori essence precedes or transcends the individual
the existence of people, existentialists conclude that
existence precedes essence.
Cassiel is a misfit of time or an irregular because he
has an angelic essence and lacks a mortal existence. At the
moment of Cassiel’s metamorphosis, he is only a fallen
angel with good intentions. His angelic essence, a dogooder
among humans, forces him to fall into mortality.
Cassiel’s fall causes an angelic dilemma; how can an infinite
being ameliorate humans within the parameters of
mortal or finite time? As an infinite being, Cassiel’s
source of freedom, his nothingness, is his good intentions,
which allow him to act in specific moments of
finite time.
The journey that Cassiel embarks on has a linear
nature. Each moment is the sum of what he has become
at that time, and what he has become evolves from
moment to moment. His linear journey allows him to
progress in time, meaning that the character is immer im
Werden. Existentialists ask existence-related questions
such as ‘why am I the way I am?’; ‘why is life the way it
is?’; ‘what is life?’ etc.
Cassiel epitomizes existentialism because of his focus
on raising questions, rather than answering them. He
becomes lost or loses his identity through defining and
limiting questions, such as: “Warum bin ich Ich und
nicht du, warum bin ich hier und warum nicht dort,
wann began die Zeit und wo endet der Raum” (Wenders
1). Life according to Cassiel should provide definite patterns.
The lack of such patterns causes one to forget the
purpose of life, and one becomes lost in a vicious circle of
The mortal existence of Cassiel resembles a state of
perdition because it is a direct result of his inability to
understand and survive within the mortal constructs of
time. In order for Cassiel to define his mortal existence,
he must apprehend the mortal notion of time. As an
angel, he never worked in accordance with mortality-based
precepts of time. He cannot fully grasp this mortal
notion, and because of this ineptness, Cassiel falls in the
literal sense. Through his fall, Wenders illustrates that the
internalization of the concept of time is closely connected
to one’s survival, in fact, it ensures survival. Time transcends
all previous unearthly experiences. As a result of
this idea, Cassiel’s entire existence is held captive by time
as visually illustrated by Emit Flesti’s desire to control
Cassiel’s every thought and action.
An Angelic Dilemma
Cassiel is inauthentic because he simply belongs
nowhere. He does not have the necessary tools to be a
literal citizen of Earth; he has no mortal identity:
Policeman: Wie heißen Sie denn? Sie haben bestimmt
einen Namen!
Cassiel: Natürlich. Ich bin doch nicht irgendwer.
Policeman: Eben! Was ist denn daran so schwer?
Nur ein Name! Sie können mir auch rückwärts
buchstabieren! Wie heißen Sie?
Cassiel: Raabe.
Policeman: Na, sehen Sie! Nun fühlen Sie sich viel
wohler! Raabe! Mit einem oder zwei a?
Cassiel: Zwei a. Raabe.
Policeman: R-a-a-b…Und wie lautet der Vorname?
Cassiel: Ralph.
Policeman: Ralph. (15)
Another important facet of identity is the ownership
of a passport; a passport represents a tangible symbol of
identity and belonging:
Cassiel: Was ist daran originell? Sagen Sie nichts,
hören Sie zu! Ich brauch’ sofort ‘nen Pass auf
diesen Namen. Er ist zwar nicht schön, aber.
Forger: Ja, ausgesprochen hässlich.
Cassiel: Aber wenn ich nun hochgenommen
werde, bloß weil ich meinen früheren Namen verschweigen
muss, dann bin ich bereit, bis…bis zum
Äussersten zu gehen!
Forger: Beruhigen Sie sich, mal, ja? Schließlich
lassen wir keinen verhungern. Es dauert so ein
paar Tage. Und, uh, dreitausend Eier…haben Sie
eine kleine Anzahlungdabei?
Cassiel: Tun Sie erstmal was für Ihr Geld! Sie
hören von mir! Der Mann mit den Schnittblumen.
He lacks a passport, a place of residence, and he
does not even possess a name. Cassiel is a citizen of no
particular place, and since he abandoned his angelic state,
he does not belong anywhere, among humans or angels.
Upon his arrival, Cassiel finds himself lost among such
unfamiliar human phenomena as artificial light and the
speed at which humans conduct their everyday lives. He
Wir haben uns ja immer gefragt, warum sie so eine
Affengeschwindigkeit an den Tag legen, jetzt weiß
ich es: es liegt an dem Licht, das sie gegen die
Sonne gesetzt haben; sie sind verdammt spät,
Raphaela, soviel kann ich jetzt schon sagen. Aber
genug für’s erste. Du glaubst ja gar nicht, was alles
vor mir liegt, ich muss mich organisieren, planen,
nachdenken; ich kann jetzt eingreifen, mitmischen;
ich bin jetzt ein Mensch! (13)
He also explains that he has not forgotten his mission
on Earth and that he is finally a member of human society.
Humans learn to cope with loneliness, but Cassiel
does not have the ability to comprehend that it is a major
part of one’s existence on Earth. In a conversation with
Raphaela, he expresses his frustration with humans’ refusal
to live with an open heart::
Das ist also die Einsamkeit, Raphaela. Oh, das ist
An Angelic Dilemma
schlimm, sage ich dir! Keiner hört, was im anderen
vorgeht. Keiner sieht dem anderen ins Herz.
Neimand fragt mal was, nicht mal nach dem Weg.
Was mach’ ich denn hier überhaupt? Rumlungern
und zugucken, wie es ständig Tag wird und wieder
Nacht? Nichts macht mir Sinn. (21)
Cassiel yearns for the human warmth, which he experienced
only as an angel. This is ironic because his desire
to do good forces him into an inauthentic status. All that
remains static is his desire to do good. He never falters
from his original mission, “Ich darf meine Mission nicht
aus den Augen verlieren” (21).
The character of Cassiel fails to see that human
things have a double nature. The good is associated with
the bad and vice versa, and they are necessary to define
each other. Cassiel vacillates from one side of the spectrum
to the other, and he cannot find a balance.
Leopardi, one of the most well-known Italian existentialist
writers, addresses issues of disillusionment with present
reality. In his Operette Morali, he literally captures
Cassiel’s situation. In a short story entitled “Dialogo della
Terra e della Luna” he focuses on a conversation between
the Earth and the Moon. The Earth asks the Moon
whether she is familiar with such Earth-like characteristics
as ambition and political arts. The Moon replies in
all honesty that she does not know anything about them.
The following conversation ensues:
Earth: . . . Were you ever conquered by one of
your own?
Moon: Not that I know of. And how? And why?
Earth: For ambition …
*Authors’ translation
Moon: I don’t know what that means . . . (75)*
Cassiel is similar to the Moon in Leopardi’s story. He,
like the Moon, originates from a different source. Their
worlds interact with humanity but are still separate and
distant. Both Cassiel and the Moon observe humanity or
the Earth-they see, but they do not entirely comprehend
and feel because they cannot relate. Humans survive
because they compromise. In a sense, they (humans)
understand the lies and hypocrisy of time.
People are endowed with an instinct to grasp both
the good and the bad, whereas Cassiel shows interest in
only one aspect of the nature of things. Cassiel is not
interested in human traits such as compromise and balance,
and this is a recipe for failure from his initiation
into mortality. In his conversation with Lou Reed, Cassiel
learns that balance is indispensable:
Cassiel: Ich kenn’ dich! I, I saw your concert: Why,
why…can’t I be good?
Lou Reed: I swear, if I knew, I would tell you.
Come on! You can do it!
Cassiel: Why…why can’t I be good, why can’t I act
like a man…why? Why not? (22)
Lou Reed expresses a human’s unconscious ability
to balance the good and the bad. He doesn’t understand
how to do it; he just knows one does it. There is no
definite formula to follow; one learns to balance as one
progresses in life.
Although Cassiel does not learn to balance, his
essence is that of goodness; he comes and then exits life
as a do-gooder. However, to be a successful survivor, one
An Angelic Dilemma
needs to understand how one can exist in the boundaries
over time and accomplish one’s mission. His angelic
the dilemma is that of one who is torn between mortal existence,
and that of an outsider who possesses knowledge
of what was and what could be without understanding
the time-existence relationship. Even goodness on Earth
exists in accordance with the precepts of time.
Emit Flesti or time, the ultimate frame of reference or
mediator of existence must drive Cassiel from his/its
realm. Being the ultimate frame of reference, Emit Flesti
needs to purge himself/itself of misfits or irregulars. One
cannot cheat time.
Cassiel’s second fall is also literal and symbolizes a
falling back into his angelic state, illustrating his ability to
transcend mortality. This is almost paradoxical, because
time or Emit Flesti allows Cassiel to transcend it/himself
without ever having understood it/him.
Because Cassiel is forced to leave mortality through a
violent act, Cassiel’s death could be viewed as tragic. His
exit, however, reflects his entrance; in both cases, he saves
Raissa allowing his essence of goodness to surface. This
defining act mirrors Cassiel’s tenacity to stay true to his
initial cause or mission. Even the eventuality of death
does not hinder him from performing a good deed.
Cassiel’s angelic essence forced him into mortality
and at the same time created his angelic dilemma, which
is his lack of a mortal existence. His angelic essence, however,
condemns but at the same time saves him from his
angelic dilemma. The second rescue frees him not only
from mortal constructs of time but also his mortal existence,
or in other words, his angelic dilemma.
The correlation between time and existence is not
linear, rather they coexist. Time cannot be grasped
outside of human existence, and existence has no
essence outside of time. Wim Wenders clearly demonstrates
in a visual medium that the internalization of
time allows one’s survival. Survival is made possible
through one’s total emersion in the precepts of time,
which creates a mortal existence followed by essence.
Cassiel’s conflict epitomizes the fall of any who try to
create their own existence without time’s permission. It is
his incompetence and unwillingness to conform to set
patterns of time, and it is time’s lies and hypocrisy, that
ensure his eventual fall back into his angelic state.
Emit Flesti as time seeks to corrupt Cassiel by way of
such vices as alcohol. However, Cassiel’s constant and
inner purity frustrates time’s controlling hand. Time’s
own nature is corrupt: he is a control freak and must
bring all under his control. Emit Flesti struggles to completely
destroy Cassiel’s innocence, his angelic essence.
He, therefore, frees Cassiel from his mortal existence, not
out of the goodness of his heart, but rather to regain control
over his realm.
Nick Cave ultimately captures the time-existence
conflict illustrated through the characters of Cassiel and
Emit Flesti in the following song:
It’s a place where you did not belong, where time itself
was mad and far too strong, where life leaped up laughing
and hit you head on and hurt you…While time-out
ran you and trouble flew toward you, and you were
there to greet it weren’t you…But here we are, we’ve
come to call you home and here you’ll stay, never more
to stray, where you can kick off your boots of clay…For
death and you did recklessly collide, and time ran out
of you and you ran out of time…And all the clocks, in
all the world may this once just skip a beat in memory
of you, but then again those damn clocks they probably
won’t, will they, Cassiel?
(qtd. in Wender , 41)
Works Cited
Handke, Peter & Wim Wenders. Der Himmel über Berlin. Frankfurt
am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1987.
Keele, Alan. Unoffical Transcript of In Weiter Ferne, so Nah!. 1997.
Leopardi, Giacomo. Operette Morali. Italy: Garzanti Editori, 1984.
Rychlak, Joseph F. Introduction to Personality and Psychotherapy.
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1981.
An Angelic Dilemma

The Green Movement of Iran

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 May 20, 2012 at 3:00 AM

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The 10th International Diaspora Film Festival

Opens with a Tribute to

The Green Movement of Iran

Back to the Roots is the theme of the 10th anniversary of the IDFF as we pay tribute to the Iranian roots of our festival. What began in 2001 as the Iranian Diaspora Film Festival quickly evolved into the International Diaspora Film Festival.

The IDFF once again uses the medium of cinema to look at the hopes of people seeking a better life in a new country, the challenges of various cross-cultural moments, and the nostalgia of going back to one’s roots.

The festival opens with The Twenty Days that Shook Tehran, an underground documentary with an original twist. The film looks at the final twenty days leading to the much-disputed presidential election through the eyes of an Iranian theatre group. The screening will be followed by a lively panel discussion on the Green Movement with well-known political analysts.

An Iranian theatre group also features in a fictional film by Iranian-Australian filmmaker Granaz Mousavi. My Tehran for Sale, made in the streets of Tehran under perilous circumstances, presents a daring view of urban subculture and the muted rebellion of youth.

From Iran, we move to neighbouring Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq to present films dealing with social and political issues in these countries. These are movies with enduring themes of love and loss, laughter and redemption.

Applauded at the Critic’s Week of the Cannes Film Festival, Shahram Alidi’s Whisper with the Wind is described by Le Monde as “one of the most contemplative films to watch today, a visual poem crammed with unbelievable landscapes, elegiac sequences impressive in their sheer majesty”. Truly beautiful to watch, Whisper with the Wind, filmed on location in Iraqi Kurdistan, tells the story of an extraordinary messenger who records the voices of soldiers and refugees to deliver back to their families.

In Chicas, Yasmina Reza, the luminous French playwright/filmmaker of Iranian descent, tells another “back to the roots” story of the beautifully aging Spanish Pilar (Carmen Maura) and her three grown daughters, brought up in France. The daughters are alternately catty and supportive of each other, yet unanimous in their criticism of Pilar and her new boyfriend. We find a similar theme in the short film Annie de Francia, where a Spanish mother and her two daughters embark on a road trip from France to Spain to attend the wedding of a cousin they have never met.

Rising Canadian filmmaker Noah Pink from Halifax will present his Cannes 2010 hit ZedCrew. Shot on location in Zambia, Noah follows a rap group that resorts to desperate measures to get to New York. Zambian hip-hop artist Alvin Fungo delivers a breakout performance, backed by his own original music. The film is presented as a double bill with Only When I Dance, a documentary that similarly captures the dreams of two black youth from the favelas in Brazil. Despite poverty and prejudice, the two are determined to use dance as an escape from the harsh realities of daily life.

In the entertaining and thought-provoking film Ayla by SuTurhan, cultural and generational clashes within the Turkish community in Germany are explored alongside a traditional love story.

Tony Gatlif’s film Freedom (Korkoro) goes beyond the clash of cultures to unravel the oppression of Gypsies by the Vichy government of France during WWII. Winner of the Audience Award at the Montreal Film Festival, Tony Gatlif (Exiles, Crazy Stranger) mixes his filmmaking and musical talents to produce a bitter-sweet tale of compassion against a backdrop of power gone amok.

Multi-award winning Bandhobi is the tale of a rebellious Korean teenager and her Bangladeshi emigrant friend, while Bollywood Hero follows the theme of cultural differences. When a Dutch actor witnesses a horrific accident in Mumbai where a street girl is killed, he is compelled to try to change the order of things to appease his guilt.

Altiplano, the winner of Best Film and Best Environmental Awareness awards from Bangkok Film Festival, is a Dutch co-production. Shot in the high Andes of Peru and Belgium with multi-national actors, the film tells the story of a small mining village contaminated by mercury seeping from the ground. The politics of the region are artistically conveyed using the beauty of the Andes Mountains and magic realism.

Here and There (Winner, Best Film, Tribeca; Jury Award, Ft. Lauderdale; Best Director, Young Jury Award, FIPRESCI, Geneva) with acclaimed actress Mirjana Karanovic (Grbavica, Underground) is the story of a down and out New York musician (David Thornton) who accepts an offer he can’t refuse from his friend, Bianco. He agrees to travel to Serbia to bring Bianco’s girlfriend to the US but business gets confounded with pleasure. The result is a gentle comedy about cultural differences and mid-life romance.

Roots project is a compilation of works by young ethnic Canadian filmmakers using cameras to discuss their diverse backgrounds. The selection represents the best of more than one hundred films received by CBC’s Roots Challenge. These films will be screened during the Diaspora In a Short program, in collaboration with Radio Canada International. Screening is Free.

The closing film, Miscreants of Taliwood, was a hit at the Telluride Film Festival. This mockumentary transports the audience to the forbidden tribal belt of Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier to reveal the underground film industry that persists under the nose of the Taliban. George Gittoes teams up with Pashto action and comedy stars to make an over-the-top action drama, played out in what must be one of film history’s most bizarre locations-a cave or two away from the reputed hiding spot of Osama Bin Laden.

Light of East: A Music Concert closes this edition of the festival. This instrumental band performs music from the Near and Middle East, including traditional, folk, classical, and modern urban music of the 20th century. The captivating rhythms and melodies will take the audience on a diverse musical journey. The Light of East Ensemble was nominated for the Jack Richardson Music Award and London Music Award in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

The festival runs from 2 to 7 November 2010, at Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Ave., Toronto M5S 1J5 (off St. George, one block south of Bloor, Subway St. George).

Admission is $10/$8 students and seniors. A festival pass ($80) includes the closing concert. To reserve tickets please email (recommended) or call 416 571 2150.

For complete film descriptions and schedule please visit our website

For further information /interviews please contact:

Shahram Tabe 416 773 1780

Paul de Silva 416 571 4168

Paul de Silva

Ph.D. Candidate,

Communications and Culture Program

Ryerson University.

Executive Producer

A4One Media.

East African Restaurant and Bar is now operating

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on May 19, 2012 at 3:00 AM

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I am here by letting you know about our new establishment “East African Restaurant and Bar” which serve dishes from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi.

On our Menu, you will find Matooke, Binyebwa, ngege nebilala bye mwandi yagade okulya.

We do in and outside catering for birthdays, showers, events etc.

Contacts: Sarah Mukasa
Address: 1988 Eglinton Avenue West
Toronto Ontario M6E 2J9

Tel: 647 342-0496/ 647 466-9044

FB: East African Restaurant and Bar

Thank you for your cooperation.

Yours faithfully
Sarah Mukasa


In book reviews, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Environment, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on May 18, 2012 at 3:00 AM
Book Review of Toni Morrison's Award-Winning Book Beloved

Book Review of Toni Morrison’s Award-Winning Book Beloved

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Terry Otten suggests that while Sethe and the other slaves “might be considered simply victims in slavery, once they move towards freedom north of the Ohio River … they assume responsibility for their own ‘criminal’ act and become `victims’ of their own flawed humanity as much as the viciousness of whites.” In this essay, the validity of this statement will be tested against Beloved. References from the novel will show how Terry Otten is incorrect.

Otten compares “the viciousness of whites” with the actions of Sethe and the other slaves. Even a Canadian court of law punishes a crime differently based on the accused’s explanation for committing the crime. Just as sure as there is a battered woman’s syndrome that excuses the crimes of battered wives who kill their husbands, the same should be recognized by for slaves such as Sethe.

I will call them my people,
which were not my people;
and her beloved,
which was not beloved. (Romans 9:25)

The question in this novel, Toni Morrison told PBS host Charlie Rose, was “Who is the beloved? Who is the person who lives inside us that is the one you can trust, who is the best thing you are? And in that instant, for that segment, because I had planned books around that theme, it was the effort of a woman to love her children, to raise her children, to be responsible for her children. And the fact that it was during slavery made all those things impossible for her.”

Sethe is a woman who escaped from slavery but is haunted by its heritage. It shows how even when free, Sethe and the other slaves continually struggle to be free in their lives.

Same as Sethe’s dead baby haunts their house in Ohio, slavery haunts their lives. Just as Denver, Paul D, and Sethe sit in their home talking about the ghost in their house, they also talk about their former home in slavery.

`How come everybody run off from Sweet Home can’t stop talking about it? Look like if it was so sweet you would have stayed.’

`Girl, who you talking to?’
“Paul D laughed. `True, true. She’s right, Sethe. It wasn’t sweet and it sure wasn’t home.’ He shook his head.”
`But it’s where we were,’ said Sethe. `Altogether. Comes back whether we want it to or not.'(Morrison 13-14).

This conversation between Sethe, Denver and Paul D shows the hold slavery still had over their lives. So much so that when Sethe had a chance to bring up at least one of her children without ever knowing slavery, she killed the child herself. Baby Suggs had eight children, all of them taken away from her because of slavery, no opportunity to know what beloved means.

“Anybody Baby Suggs knew, let alone loved, who hadn’t run off or been hanged, got rented out, loaned out, bought up, brought back, stored up, mortgaged, won, stolen or seized. So Baby’s eight children had six fathers. What she called the nastiness of life was the shock she received upon learning that nobody stopped playing checkers just because the pieces included her children.” (Morrison 23).

The “viciousness of whites” seemed to be the playing of a game of checkers. Unmotivated by the actions of blacks to whites, but justified in their beliefs of superiority. Whites in America did not know the horrors of slavery at the hands of blacks. What was freedom after a lifetime of bondage? Sethe had known many tragedies under slavery, and she also knew that this baby’s life was doomed to be hard, doomed to working in other people’s kitchen, hopefully getting some sewing on the sly, and this would be her free life.
Sethe killing her baby is a criminal act. But is she a flawed human being? Do her actions compare to “the viciousness of whites?”

`Men don’t know nothing much,’ said Paul D, tucking his pouch back into his vest pocket, `but they do know a suckling can’t be away from its mother for long.’
`Then they know what it’s like to send your children off when your breasts are full.’
`We were talking `bout a tree, Sethe.’

After I left you, those boys came in there and took my milk. That’s what they came in there for. Held me down and took it. I told Mrs. Garner on em. She had that lump and couldn’t speak but her eyes rolled out tears. Them boys fould out I told on em. Schoolteacher made one open up my back, and when it closed it makde a tree. It grows there still.’
`They used cowhide on you?’
`And they took my milk.’
`They beat you and you was pregnant?’
`And they took my milk!’ (Morrison 16-17).

The action of these young white boys who treated Sethe as though she were a cow, and were then responsible for her beating while pregnant did not have their experience with slavery to explain their actions. These were young boys who saw Sethe not as a human, not as their mother or sister or friend. She was black, a slave, and therefore as useful to them as a cow. This judgment of another human being is indeed a flaw in their humanity. They showed no humanity to Sethe, and most likely not to any black.

Now despite all the horrible things Sethe went through during slavery, she did live to tell the story of what the white boys did, unlike what millions of other slaves went through. Sethe killed her baby, denying it life. The baby was born at the same time that her freedom was born. But even Sethe’s baby did not promise beloved for her.

“Sethe couldn’t think of anything to do, so grateful was she, so she peeled a potato, ate it, spit it up and ate more in quiet celebration.”
`They be glad to see you,’ said Ella. `When was this one born?”
`Yesterday,’ said Sethe, wiping sweat from under her chin. `I hope she makes it.’
Ella looked at the tiny, dirty face poling out of the wool blanket and shook her head. `Hard to say,’ she said. `If anybody was to ask me I’d say, `Don’t love nothing.’ Then, as if to take the edge off her pronouncement, she smiled at Sethe. `You had that baby by yourself?’
`No. White girl helped.’
`Then we better make tracks.’

Sethe’s baby held much promise. Born with the help of the very race who had taken so much of her life away, so many of her children, a white girl helped her give birth to her baby. Sethe herself says that she hopes that the baby makes it. But was this child ever going to be free?

Eighteen seventy-four and white folks were still on the loose. Whole towns wiped clean of Negroes; eight-seven lynchings in one year alone in Kentucky; four colored schools burned to the ground; grown men whipped like children; children whipped like adults; black women raped by the crew; property taken, necks broken (Morrison 180). This was all going on while Sethe and the other slaves lived in 124. Sethe killed her baby because she believed it would have a better life dead than alive. Just as slavery haunted their lives, so did the baby. After Paul D scared the ghost out of the house, it came back in the form of Beloved.

“Beloved, she my daughter. She mine. See. She comes back to me of her own free will and I don’t have to explain a thing. I didn’t have time to explain before because it had to be done quickly. Quick. She had to be safe and I put her where she would be. But my love was tough and she back now. I knew she would be. Paul D ran her off so she had no choice but to come back to me in the flesh. I bet you, Baby Suggs, on the other side, helped. I won’t let her go. I’ll explain to her, even though I don’t have to. Why I did it. Now if I hadn’t killed her she would have died and that is something I could not bear to happen to her. When I explain it she’ll understand, because she understands everything already. I’ll tend her as no mother ever tended a child, a daughter. Nobody will ever get my milk no more except my own children. I never had to give it to nobody else-and the one time I did it was took from me-they held me down and took it. Milk that belonged to my baby.” (Morrison 200).
Sethe tries with Beloved to make up for everything she did to her baby, but Beloved leaves anyways. What Sethe is left with to understand, is what Paul tells her.

`She was my best thing.’

Paul D sits down in the rocking chair and examines the quilt patched in carnival colors. His hands are limp between his knees. There are too many things to feel about his woman. His head hurts. Suddenly he remembers Sixo trying to describe what he felt about the Thirty-Mile Woman. `She is a friend of my mind. She gathers me, man. The pieces I am, she gathers them and gives them back to me in all the right order. It’s good, you know when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.’ (Morrison 272-273).

`Sethe,’ he says, `me and you, we got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow.’
He leans over and takes her hand. With thoe other he touches her face. `You your best thing, Sethe. You are.’ His holding fingers are holding hers.
`Me? Me?’ (Morrison 273).

This is the only point where Sethe comes close to freedom when she realizes that the best thing is herself. She is bound by slavery, bound to the horrible memories, bound to the guilt of killing her child, then bound to Beloved. This is not a woman motivated by viciousness, acting as a flawed human being. She wants to understand what beloved is. She wants to be more than a slave. Paul D once again helps her to chase away the ghosts that keep her from truly being free.

The “`criminal'” acts of Sethe cannot be compared to “the viciousness of whites.” Sethe killed her baby because she did not believe it was going to live. This was a mother, a woman, looking to be beloved, to know what this word means. Everything was taken away from her in slavery, even the milk to nourish her beloved children. Slavery taught her not to love anything, but Sethe still tried. As much as she wanted her baby to live, she killed her child out of love. Without the haunting of slavery, without provocation, “the viciousness of whites” enslaved black people physically, mentally and emotionally. The end of Beloved shows a glimmer of hope, a sign that Sethe may find her beloved within herself, and ultimately finding the finest part of her humanity, rather than the flawed. Sethe remains a victim of slavery until the very moment she begins to realize her freedom. The ending of the novel shows a glimmer of hope. Sethe and the other slaves can not be considered outside the contexts of slavery until their own lives seem free.

MAC Appointment: Alexandre Taillefer, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Radio Podcasts, Religion, Restaurant Reviews, Sports, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on May 17, 2012 at 7:00 PM

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MONTREAL, May 17, 2012, /CNW Telbec/ – The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal is proud to announce the appointment of Alexandre Taillefer to a five-year term as Chairman of its Board of Directors. The appointment was approved by Quebec’s cabinet yesterday, May 16, 2012.

A keen contemporary art collector, patron, and businessman, Alexandre Taillefer initially became involved with the Fondation du Musée d’art contemporain, notably as Honorary Chair of the 2010 Annual Ball. He now takes the helm of the Board of Directors and will sit on all of the museum’s committees. Upon assuming his new duties, Mr. Taillefer announced, “I am very pleased with the appointment. It is a new and extremely interesting challenge for me. Contemporary art could not be more relevant and necessary today. The MAC has a duty to become even more open and welcoming to and representative of the exceptional work of artists from here and elsewhere. I would like to commend my predecessor, Marc DeSerres, on his work over the last eight years as he guided the Musée to renewed popularity. A number of important decisions will need to be made regarding the future of our museum and I intend to work closely with the other Board members and do my utmost to contribute to the Musée’s development.”

A senior partner since 2011 with XPND Fund L.P., an investment fund with interests in technology, media, and entertainment companies, Alexandre Taillefer is a born entrepreneur who has made a name for himself in the development of new technology companies. After studying computer science at the Université de Montréal and administration at the École des Sciences de la gestion at UQAM and at HEC Montréal, he became the founding president of Intellia in 1993, later Nurun, a leader in web development in Canada. In 2001, he founded Hexacto, which in just two years became the leader in mobile games before being bought by Jamdat Mobile and then Electronic Arts. In 2007, he co-founded Stingray Digital, a company specializing in digital entertainment.

Today, Mr. Taillefer sits on the board of numerous companies, including C2.mtl, gsmprjct, Lumenpulse, BeHaviour and iPerceptions, and is a member of the Montréal, Cultural Metropolis steering committee. His involvement in the culture sector began in 2005 with his successive appointments to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ acquisition committees for Canadian and the international art. He was also Chairman of the Board of the Opéra de Montréal from 2006 to 2012.

Director Paulette Gagnon and all of the museum’s staff are delighted with the appointment and extend their sincere congratulations to Mr. Taillefer. The Musée takes this opportunity to thank outgoing Chairman Marc DeSerres for his dedication and support over his two terms of office. The Musée would also like to thank François Mario Labbé, who is completing his term on the Board, as well as Vice-Chairman Robert-Jean Chénier and Treasurer Nathalie Pratte, who will complete their terms on July 2, 2012.

New members are joining the MAC Board of Directors for three-year terms. The Musée warmly welcomes Eleonore Derome, lawyer and partner at McCarthy Tétrault, François Dufresne, partner with Ernst & Young and also President of the Fondation du Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and, starting on July 2, Sylvie L’Écuyer, senior advisor at Société Pierre Boucher Inc., and Jean Claude Baudinet, President of the Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont Foundation and Chairman of the MAC’s Comité consultatif de l’immeuble et des équipements. Dominique Lanctôt, Lillian Mauer and Céline Robitaille Lamarre return to the Board for second three-year terms.

The museum extends its sincere congratulations to all.

Image with caption: “Alexandre Taillefer, new Chairman of the Board of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (CNW Group/Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal)”. Image available at

For further information:

Danielle Legentil, MACM
Director of Communications
Tel.: 514 847-6236

Wanda Palma, MACM
Head of Public Relations
Tel.: 514 847-6232

Retail Council of Canada honours Brian Hill with 2012 Distinguished Retailer of the Year Award

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Sports, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on May 17, 2012 at 6:58 PM

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TORONTO, May 17, 2012, /CNW/ – Retail Council of Canada (RCC) announced today that Brian Hill, Founder & CEO of Aritzia LP, will be honoured with the 2012 Distinguished Retailer of the Year Award.

“We are thrilled to recognize and reward Brian Hill’s vision and passion for the apparel business,” says Diane J. Brisebois, President, and CEO, RCC. “Brian has created a unique and innovative retail concept, offering an aspirational, yet accessible, shopping environment, exceptional customer service and beautiful, well-designed product.  Brian’s vertically-integrated model is compelling to fashionable girls across North America and it has led to Aritzia’s notable growth in the retail sector. Aritzia’s evolution from homegrown success story to a global brand is a testament to Brian’s exceptional leadership.”

The Distinguished Retailer of the Year Award recognizes a retail leader who has led his/her company to outstanding business success and innovation and who has consistently demonstrated community commitment and support. The recipient is seen as a role model because of his/her exceptional leadership within the corporation, in the retail industry in Canada and in the community at large, through personal and/or corporate philanthropic activities.

The Distinguished Retailer of the Year Award will be presented to Mr. Hill at the Excellence in Retailing Awards Gala on Monday, June 4, 2012.  The Gala, part of STORE 2012 – Canada’s Retail Conference, will take place at the Toronto Congress Centre from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

About Brian Hill
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, into a family with a long history in the retail fashion business, Brian Hill spent much of his youth working at his father’s department store. In 1984, he opened the first Aritzia store in Vancouver with his father, Jim Hill, and brother, Ross Hill. Today, the company has grown to 52 locations across North America. With sales per square foot at four times the industry average, Aritzia is the highest performing women’s retailer in Canada.

Mr. Hill has been awarded several prestigious awards, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award for the Pacific Region in 2008. Both he and his wife are actively involved in their community and support the Vancouver Art Gallery, the BC Children’s Hospital and Cause We Care—an organization founded by his wife, Andrea Thomas Hill, that invests in supporting single mothers and children living in poverty.

About Retail Council of Canada
Retail Council of Canada is the Voice of Retail in Canada. Founded in 1963, RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association representing more than 45,000 store fronts of all retail formats across Canada, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, and independent stores, and online merchants. We speak for an industry that touches the daily lives of Canadians in every corner of the country — by providing jobs, career opportunities, and by investing in communities.

For more information about STORE 2012, Canada’s Retail Conference, visit

Media are invited to attend STORE 2012.
For further information: For more information and to RSVP contact:
Sally Ritchie
VP Communications and Marketing, RCC
416 922-9700 ext. 228

Youth find self-expression through words, movement and painting in a AFCY’s Digital Dialogues program

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Radio Podcasts, Sports, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on May 17, 2012 at 4:25 PM

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TORONTO, ON (May 22, 2012): On May 23, more than 60 students from three Toronto public schools will come together to collaborate on an innovative multi-disciplinary arts project coordinated by Arts for Children and Youth (AFCY). Made possible with funding from TELUS, the AFCY project is called Digital Dialogues, and it’s inspiring Toronto youth to use arts/media technology as a tool for communicating what matters to them, and how they want to convey that to an international audience. The collaborative performance takes place between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, at Lord Dufferin Public School located at 350 Parliament Street in Regent Park.

The project combines filmmaking with three other arts disciplines: mural making, dance and beatboxing. Students in Grades 7 and 8 from the three schools have been working with AFCY artist mentors over the past three months to use the arts and technology to convey key messages such as Loyalty, Pride, Inspiration, Education, and Leadership. Students at Lord Dufferin Public School (Regent Park) focused their creative learning on mural making, Silverthorn Community School (Former City of York) students learned the art of beatboxing, and students at Beverley Heights Middle School (Jane-Finch) learned how to express themselves through dance. Each group’s creative journey was documented in three short films. Now that they have perfected their art forms, they will have the chance to share their talent with each other in a collaborative performance piece in which they can share their own cultures and experiences.

The big day on May 23 will be the first time the students from these schools will come together to collaborate and share their talents, with guidance from the artist mentors. The students will demonstrate their art forms for each other and have a chance to try each other art forms, culminating in a collaboration involving all the participants in one giant multidisciplinary performance. The artistic creations and collaborative experiences will also be documented in a short film.

The documentary film from the collaborative performance on May 23, and the three short films from the individual schools will be edited into a longer compilation film, which will be submitted for inclusion in the 2012 Olympic Horizons international film project in London, England, where it will represent Toronto in all its diversity at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

“All of AFCY programs offer young people a platform and a safe collaborative environment where they can have their say,” explains Julie Frost, AFCY’s artistic and executive director. “This special collaborative project aims to position the work of young Toronto artists to be seen by international audiences in conjunction with the 2012 Olympics. 2012 Olympic Horizons, a youth arts initiative based in the UK, will select excerpts from AFCY’s film to be collaged into a collaborative film featuring the creative work of youth from several international cities. We are thrilled to be part of this amazing spotlight on youth arts and culture!” says Frost.

Young people realize that they are the future. Referring to her own aims with the project, one of the young participants emphatically proclaimed, “Kids need to have their voice heard because adults are not going to be here forever, and we are going to be in charge of everything!” Another chimed in, “I chose to depict the word Inspiration because, without inspiration, you’re a nobody!”

The Digital Dialogues film will also be shown locally at community celebrations at the three participating schools in June.

About Arts for Children and Youth (AFCY)
AFCY is a registered charitable organization. We ally with high priority communities in Toronto and empower marginalized children and youth by engaging them in hands-on, community- and school-based arts education programs that respect existing cultural and community activity, resulting in participatory action and social awareness. To learn more about us, please visit You can email us at or call us at 416-929-9314.


Media Contact:
Shehreen Ladha
Marketing and PR Coordinator
401 Richmond St. West, Suite 230
Toronto, ON M5V 3A8
416 929 9314 x 114 (Mon-Thurs.)

TTC Time Travel (originally published in the Toronto Star)

In cars, Education, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on May 17, 2012 at 3:00 AM
Courtesy of

Courtesy of

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I took the hour commute by TTC to Seneca College on York University’s campus to teach. On my way, a woman spoke in what sounded like Polish on a cell during the moment of light on the northbound University-Spadina line. I caught all my buses and subways. I even made sure I was the third person off the bus to Dupont Station through the turnstiles and I think this helped me with my luck at getting the subway right away.

The class went well. I teach media writing on Thursdays, but it takes near daily work in-between.

As I was heading home I smoked almost two full cigarettes before getting onto the bus and this is after listening to the Smoker’s Helpline to delay at least 10 minutes to have another one. I paced. That’s how long I waited. Finally, the 196A Rocket bus came to go to Downsview station. This bus passes by C.W. Jeffreys Collegiate.

I was the second person on the bus and it was packed with kids. I did what I always do – I looked for a seat. I struggled to keep my balance as the bus rounded a corner. As I was heading to the back and the bus moved, I didn’t have enough time to grab a bar. I heard gasps before I fully realized what happened. I oh so clumsily fell at the feet of some seated children. I propped myself on my palms to get up and the teacher escorting the children extended her hand. I was uttering apologies to the teacher and the kids as I struggled to get up.

When I was a child, the TTC was 25 cents. I was mean if I were with my friends I may have laughed to see someone fall. When I fell, no one laughed – not even the kids. This is amazing. How does Toronto find such good people? Even as I moved to the back of a seat, a middle-aged white man gave a fairly young black woman like me his seat saying: “I’m going to get off anyway.”

Rosa Parks – you would be proud how things have changed.

As the bus got to York University the crush of people moved, laughed and stepped off. A few new TTC commuters came on. The ride to the subway station was peaceful.

A small eatery inside Downsview run by South Asian women handed me a chicken patty for $1.35 upon my request. As I took the stairs down to the subway to head home I chose to sit at the front of the train. I had a book in my bag and eyed the newspapers lying around. Since I already had the Star waiting at home I looked through the front of the train and felt like a child, excited by the rush of dark and light as the train headed to Dupont Station.

Maybe it’s the dirty red seats I love…maybe it’s the savings to my bank account. Maybe it’s watching the mice at Yonge station…maybe it’s having the pleasure to say “hello” to a kind bus driver. Maybe it’s the crowded smelly bodies I love…maybe it’s the visual circus of people-watching while being driven. Whatever the reason, I’m grateful for the TTC and public transportation. It sure is better than being in Africa and trying to hitch a ride in a minivan (“taxi”) and getting your favourite dress ripped because the taxi was moving with the doors open.

I have no bruises after my fall on the 196A Rocket – and no one laughed – not even the kids. There was even change on the floor and a pen – no one dashed to pick it up. It was still there when I got off the bus.

It was a beautiful and bumpy ride on the TTC.

Donna Kakonge’s Books Available at Accents on Eglinton

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Disability, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Religion, Sports, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on May 16, 2012 at 6:24 AM
Location 1790 Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto, ON M6E 2H6

Tue – Sun: 10:00 19:00


Public transport TTC – Eglinton West subway stop to #32D bus going west
– #29 bus north/south on Dufferin: Eglinton bus-stop. For those who drive, the main intersection is Eglinton/Dufferin: street parking is free after 6:00 pm and there is parking across the street and a Green P parking lot on Eglinton, just west of Dufferin.

Contact info

Phone 1 (647) 352-8558



Natural and Colourful Beauty in Education

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Religion, Sports, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on May 16, 2012 at 3:00 AM


Natural and Colourful Beauty in Education

This is a book of the academic discovery of natural and colourful beauty in education by Donna Kakonge in her first year of Ph.D. studies at OISE/University of Toronto.

Buy Today!

Dim sum for the Murmur Project aired on CBC Radio 3

In Entertainment, Health, Music, Radio Podcasts, Restaurant Reviews, Writing (all kinds) on May 15, 2012 at 3:00 AM


Murmur Project

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Dim Sum & Friends

“Every time I see you falling, I get down on my knees and pray.”

The techno-rhythms and words of New Order blared in Sharon’s car as six teenagers were squeezed inside. We were going down to Kensington Market as part of our late 80’s ritual, coming from “Asiancourt.”

Finding parking and walking through alleys to get to Pearl Saigon was all part of the adventure. The whole way, in the car, while parking and through the alleyways, me and my friends chatted about our week at school and our part-time jobs so we could have the extra cash to shop at all the second-hand stores in the market.

The owner of the Saigon knew us by now. Every Sunday brown-faced me and my Asian girlfriends would enter the restaurant and fight the crowds for a table to fit us all. That day I had news for them.

“Did you see what so-so was wearing on Thursday?” Sharon asked us.

“Of course!” said Catherine. “Fuchsia is not a colour to be worn or a colour to be missed.”

That was all I heard the conversation. My mind was drifting on finding the right words to tell my girlfriends my news.

“Donna!” Yoko snapped her thin fingers in front of my eyes. “Come back to earth.”

“Oh, sorry.” Okay, now was my moment. “Ladies, this is the last time we’re having Dim Sum together.”

I almost let the tears fall. Meeting with my friends over Dim Sum was like the therapy I’m lucky enough to have OHIP cover now. It was a good, old-fashioned, positive moaning session.

“Oh ma God. You don’t like the food or something, Dee?” asked Sharon.

“No, that’s not it. I’m going to school in Ottawa. I got my letter on Friday.”

There was silence. Out of those six girls who were my chums, the silence continues to this day.

I never knew then that it would take more than a decade to eat Dim Sum again and have my morning sessions. This time I had one companion, my friend David. He would pick me up from downtown and we would drive to the market. The first time we went, I marveled at the fact he took me to the same place. We even parked in the same lot and started our moaning (I guess his groaning and my bitching) in the alleyway on our way to the Saigon.

I still do shopping in the market with whatever job I have at the moment. Now my tastes have changed. I shop for Shea Butter at 426, drums from Uganda at the African shop on St.Andrew, and incense and candles at the store next door.

What hasn’t changed is my love for Dim Sum and friends.

How To Drop 10lbs In 7 Days (6 Exact Steps)

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Pets, Sports, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on May 14, 2012 at 6:00 PM

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This Is From Celebrity Trainer Josh In Austin TX

Chances are if you’re like most people you don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to dropping flab.

ESPECIALLY with summer and swimsuit season already upon us (it’s actually already here in Austin).

With that in mind, is it possible to really drop 10 lbs in just 7 days? It is if you follow these steps (and you have 30 or more pounds to lose overall).

1. Ditch all the “white stuff.” White bread, sugars, potatoes, cereals and even rice. (Exception: Cauliflower. It’s a great choice.) These foods quickly convert to stored body fat.

2. Get to work. If you want extreme fat loss then you have to be willing to move that body. I’m talking about at least 60 minutes of rather an intense exercise a day. (Not a leisure walk in the park… literally.)

3. Confuse your calories. If you just eat carrot sticks all day you’re going to end up shutting down your fat-burning hormones and slowing down your metabolism; you’ll gain weight in the long run. The trick is to “trick” your fat burning hormones by eating different amounts of calories each day. (And some days you need to eat a LOT more calories than others.)

4. Up your protein. Many people are eating too many carbs and not enough protein (like cottage cheese, beef, chicken, and turkey). And the cool thing about protein is when you eat it, your body will use up to 30% of its calories just to digest it. That means 1000 calories of protein really equals about 700 calories. That’s 300 free calories!

5. More fibre, please. Many Americans have a digestive tract that is loaded with “toxic waste.” The reason is they aren’t eating enough fiber (at least 30 grams a day) especially from sources like beans, vegetables, and certain fruits. Up your fiber and you will rid your body of pounds of waste.

6. Drink like a fish. Drinking water causes you to retain water and feel bloated right? WRONG! Drinking the right amount of water helps your body burn fat and release excess water weight. Take your body weight and divide it by two. That’s how many ounces you should get each day.

I hope you enjoyed these tips.
Best of health

Christine !

Power of the Third Eye Geomancer and Feng Shui Expert

In Business, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Religion, travel, Writing (all kinds) on May 13, 2012 at 3:00 AM
Paul Ng Addresses a Crowd with his Feng Shui and Geomancer Expertise

Paul Ng Addresses a Crowd with his Feng Shui and Geomancer Expertise

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Paul Ng is a geomancer and feng shui expert that helps to improve the lives of others, as well as a former corporate manager. He has worked with Ernst & Young that was the largest accounting firm in all of Canada at the time as a data processing manager. He has been vice-president manager of a subsidiary of Canadian Pacific called Marathon Realty. This was the largest company in Canada. He became a director at CIBC and then gradually owned his own company.

Ng was born on May 8, 1947, in Hong Kong. His sister died when he was in his teens from suicide. He predicted her death. He also predicted the death of his father. Being able to predict the death of others is a gift of sorts that he has had since very young. He would spend a lot of time at the seminary when he was young and read the tombstones by the gravesite nearby. From as early as possibly grade four up until university, Ng only had 20 to 30 percent of his hearing. This taught him to read other people’s body language well. He went through three surgeries in Kitchener, Waterloo to restore his hearing. He also had a phobia of heights. He would climb to the highest peaks to combat this fear. He truly believes that everything has a reason.

“I always had some kind of a bond with an unexplainable skill,” says Ng. “Since I was very, very young I was very capable of observing people, especially in terms of death. My sister died when I was in my early teens, if not more.

“I took the bite of one bun. I told my father I would be surprised if he would live beyond the weekend. He died that Sunday night. I’m really connected with that psychic power. I studied in a boarding school. And I made a habit of going to the seminary school after school. When I would go and see the tombstones. Why are we here? I have been searching for years what is the meaning of life. Religion is really an escape from reality. So I read up a lot about Chinese culture. I read a lot of books and kept getting quite confused.”

He came to Canada to study electrical engineering at the University of Ottawa in 1968. He transferred in his second year to the University of Waterloo in computer science. In 1972, he did a master’s of business administration degree at the University of Toronto. Now it costs tens of thousands of dollars to study such a degree. In Ng’s day, he spent $600 CDN.

He did his business degree part-time while working for Ernst & Young. In 1982 he became vice-president manager for a subsidiary for Canadian Pacific. The subsidiary is called Marathon Realty. This was the largest company in Canada. He was there for five years in the management department. After that, he became director of information technology at Wood Gundy. Gradually over several years, he had his own company. He became director of CIBC only for a short period in 1992. Then in 1993, he left the corporate life to be a geomancer and feng shui expert full-time.

What started Ng’s career in geomancy and feng shui was when he contracted bone cancer in 1974 (the first turning point in his life), plus his gifts displayed as a young child. He went to Hong Kong in 1976 and became a disciple of a guru.

“Then I was at the point of life and death. They removed a bone from my leg. They said the cancer was to the right bone. I was lucky. The surgery left me weak. Then I refused to do anything with chemo or radiation. When I became a disciple of a monk I learned Qi Gong. It completely transformed my body into a different person. That is why I do not show my age even at age 63. They taught me the basics to bring me into the door. The house of feng shui and master arts basics. He [guru] said that one day I would way surpass him. So I understand my passion.”

Ng began doing the feng shui in 1985. He was invited to a house-warming party and he told his friend the way to lay out the apartment. The way she laid out her apartment was very detrimental for marriage. It had already happened one week earlier that her husband had left her and he did not know that. He began doing what he does on a part-time basis from 1985 on. That became the second turning point in his life.

The third turning point in Ng’s life was in 1990. He ran for MP in the Scarborough-Rouge Region of Toronto in 1993 knowing he would not win. When he got back to work, he could not even sit at his desk for half a day. So he quit his job and then he began his business full-time.

In 1994, the World General Newspapers organized four master debates and in his work, they regarded him as one of the four top feng shui masters in Canada and that got his name out. In 2000, he was further renowned as the top master in Canada. January 2008 the media came and announced him as the top feng shui master in Canada. And that happened in November. Also in October 2009 he will be showcased across the country with OMNI-TV, as well as judging a Miss Asia contest at the end of August 2009.

He was invited by the United Nations to discuss feng shui to improve functionality and reduce crime in Jamaica.

“That was really something.”

Ng finds his current occupation far more interesting and the money is better too. However, he says he does not find the money important.

“People would have had a lousy life,” Ng says of how his skills help to improve the lives of others. “It really can change your life. I can say that decent people live today because of that. I find that life works for karma energy and cycles. If we need to do something fantastic in our lives, then we need to go through fantastic challenges. If we want to achieve nothing then there are no challenges. Then there was the bone cancer and every single thing had a meaning. Most people would be depressed and be miserable and give up. I treat them as an opportunity to bring me to bigger and better things.”

Ng has a wife who is a Chinese medicine doctor. He has two sons, one of the 30, the other 31. The older one is doing manual work and the younger one works at Nestle.

CRTC supports the evolution of advanced telecommunications networks across Canada

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Radio Podcasts, Technology, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on May 12, 2012 at 3:00 AM

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Thursday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
(CRTC) introduced a new policy that will encourage large telephone
companies to rapidly adopt Internet Protocol (IP) throughout their
networks. This shift will promote the development of innovative services
for Canadians.

“The networks of the future will be primarily based on Internet Protocol,”
said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “We have
established basic principles to ensure this technology becomes the
industry standard for voice networks as quickly as possible. The industry
was able to reach a consensus on many key issues during this proceeding,
and we appreciate their commitment.”

At the moment, companies are at different stages in their adoption of IP.
Large telephone companies have traditionally relied on voice
circuit-switched technology (known as TDM) to transfer telephone calls to
and from other service providers. Although they are gradually migrating
their networks to IP, large telephone companies continue to rely on the
older technology.

By comparison, companies that began offering telephone services in the
last few years, such as cable companies and wireless providers, have built
IP-based networks. At present, they are responsible for converting their
IP telephone calls to the older TDM standard.

In areas where a large telephone company uses IP to transfer telephone
calls to either an affiliated or unaffiliated provider, it must provide a
similar arrangement to any other provider that asks for it. The CRTC is
requiring large telephone companies to negotiate such arrangements within
six months of a formal request.

The CRTC has also simplified the rules under which the costs of
transferring telephone calls between a wireless and a wireline provider
are shared. A key point was the different obligations between independent
wireless providers and those that are affiliated with a larger
communications company. Currently, independent providers are responsible
for paying the entire cost unless they allow alternative long-distance
providers access to their networks.

Under the CRTC’s new policy, wireless providers will no longer be required
to give this access to alternative long-distance providers since they
already offer a variety of plans and Canadians can choose from other
long-distance options, such as prepaid cards and local access numbers.
These changes will reduce costs for many wireless providers, particularly
for those that have recently entered the Canadian wireless market, and
level the playing field between independent providers and those that are
affiliated with a larger communications company.

Today’s decision follows a proceeding that included a public hearing that
was held in Gatineau, Que., from October 24 to November 1, 2011.

By the end of the month, the CRTC will have completed a comprehensive
review of its major telecommunications regulations. This exercise was
launched in response to the government’s policy direction to rely as much
as possible on market forces, and today’s decision represents one of the
last steps. During the last five years, the CRTC has deregulated many
segments of the telecommunications market and reduced the scope of
existing regulations.

Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2012-24

Reference document:
Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2011-206

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

In Beauty, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Religion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on May 11, 2012 at 3:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

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Friend —

Moments ago, the Senate voted to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

When that bill reaches my desk, I will sign it, and this discriminatory law will be repealed.

Gay and lesbian service members — brave Americans who enable our freedoms — will no longer have to hide who they are.

The fight for civil rights, a struggle that continues, will no longer include this one.

This victory belongs to you. Without your commitment, the promise I made as a candidate would have remained just that.

Instead, you helped prove again that no one should underestimate this movement. Every phone call to a senator on the fence, every letter to the editor in a local paper, and every message in a congressional inbox makes it clear to those who would stand in the way of justice: We will not quit.

This victory also belongs to Senator Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and our many allies in Congress who refused to let politics get in the way of what was right.

Like you, they never gave up, and I want them to know how grateful we are for that commitment.

Will you join me in thanking them by adding your name to Organizing for America’s letter?

I will make sure these messages are delivered — you can also add a comment about what the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” means to you.

As Commander in Chief, I fought to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” because it weakens our national security and military readiness. It violates the fundamental American principles of equality and fairness.

But this victory is also personal.

I will never know what it feels like to be discriminated against because of my sexual orientation.

But I know my story would not be possible without the sacrifice and struggle of those who came before me — many I will never meet, and can never thank.

I know this repeal is a crucial step for civil rights, and that it strengthens our military and national security. I know it is the right thing to do.

But the rightness of our cause does not guarantee success, and today, celebration of this historic step forward is tempered by the defeat of another — the DREAM Act. I am incredibly disappointed that a minority of senators refused to move forward on this important, commonsense reform that most Americans understand is the right thing for our country. On this issue, our work must continue.

Today, I’m proud that we took these fights on.

Please join me in thanking those in Congress who helped make “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal possible:

Thank you,


Donna Kakonge – Owner/Head Instructor – Offering Media Arts Classes

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Radio Podcasts, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on May 10, 2012 at 3:00 AM

Donna Kakonge is Heading Media Arts Classes Online – Photo Courtesy of Google Images

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Quality instruction in media arts online teaching, affordable Donna Kakonge book purchases and to-your-home coaching and training, and publish your stories for free on this magazine.

This is an opportunity for me to deliver these services online, in-person and over the phone.

These are specialty classes focused on anyone interested in continuing education.

Since these are not accredited courses – I would like to make this crystal clear to all students. What I can do is offer a recommendation to participants/clients – in writing or verbal (potentially a certificate that I create, however it is nothing they could use to actually have certification, rather an acknowledgment of completing the course). As well the students can develop a publishing history by publishing to my magazine.

It is an independent business.

The class costs $510.00 CDN for 17-week sessions. The classes will be offered three times a year with a maximum group of three students for each class with an agreed upon schedule throughout a 24-hour time clock. Payment must be made at the beginning of class, as it would be with any school. Payment can be made through electronic bank transfer to the following email address: Or to PayPal at A maximum of three classes will be held each day over a seven-day time span.

For more information, please feel free to phone: (416) 530-9792.

Yesterday: Position Paper on Media History and Historiography

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Radio Podcasts, Writing (all kinds) on May 9, 2012 at 3:00 AM

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Yesterday and all the yesterdays there ever were have a tremendous impact on our present life, and also on our future. Media history is a relatively young area of study, but with roots that are very old. This paper takes a position on three main questions of media history and historiography focusing on two readings selected from a list of readings in the History of Media class at Concordia University.

The readings include Hans Fredrik Dahl’s “The Pursuit of Media History” and Fred Inglis’s “A Short History of Public Communication.” The three questions that will be focused on first, how does history media relate to history proper?; second, to what extent can historical knowledge be objective or factual?; should it be?; thirdly and lastly, should communication technologies be the focus of media history?

History Media Relates to History Proper in a Variety of Ways:

What is good to remember is that media history is history and it relates in a variety of ways. Two of the readings in particular highlight this point, Dahl and Inglis. The media as a historical object is far from fully understood at present. However, comparing media history to the study of history proper does aid in understanding it better.

According to Dahl, when compared to church history, media history shares some of the qualities of this older discipline. Above all, the complexity of objects, ranging from economics to culture, and of methods, spanning from hard number counting to text analysis and soft hermeneutics. But in other respects, media history lacks just those qualities that blessed the older learning, that is, a clear thematic identity and great depth in time.

The communication historian is a historian engaged in uncovering the communication aspect of any broader social process. Communication history is part of the mainstream of history because its subject matter is integrated into the general currents of history and cannot be separated. Media history is a branch of history dealing with institutions of a particular type that are distinguished by much more specific purposes than the overall quality of communication.

Inglis says that to speak theoretically is to speak of understanding as a goal. And there are three stages of this – puzzlement, deliberation, and understanding. This relates the history of media to history proper. Inglis also notes that the first 5,000 years of media emphasizes that to attempt media theory is to bring together the history of ideas and the history of economic production.

History relates to history proper in a variety of ways, such as in the way that it relates to church history. The communication historian looks at the social process in a way that many other historians do, and the theory element of it is supposed to ultimately lead to understanding, which is the goal of history proper as well.

Historical Knowledge is not Objective and it should not be expected to be:

Objective means to deal with facts or objects, not with the thoughts and feelings of the speaker, writer, painter, etc. It means to be impersonal, like a science. As it deals with dates, it is indeed factual, but the very nature of a telling a story which history involves, makes it more subjective than objective. Even in universities the way history classes as a human rather than social science alludes to its more interpretive nature. Although as was mentioned in class there is a move towards social science history, popular history as most people know it and was educated by it is classed in the humanities.

A theory is a storytelling that explains things – it is not factual or objective. Even in Dahl as he encourages the historian to use theory as a scientist uses hypotheses for one’s own work, there are still possibilities and alternatives in the discussion of the events disclosed.

Inglis highlights the point of theorizing that is important to the objectivity or factual nature of media history. It is an attempt to create an objective truth but is indeed a way of storytelling. Inglis concludes that media history is a telling of a story – what is the temptation to make a story more interesting by the storyteller, in logic, observation, deduction and so forth – brought about by writing and reading is a question raised by Inglis. Inglis mentions Walter Benjamin and something he has written called “The Storyteller.” He wrote this sometime in the 1930s and states “the art of storytelling is coming to an end” (83). I would disagree with this. There is a tendency towards being an alarmist. The nature of storytelling has bloomed since the 1930s much more voices of colour have had a chance to tell their historical stories. Certainly, the art of storytelling is not coming to an end but has had many new beginnings.

Media history is not objective or history in general as it is more popularly known, and it should not be expected to be. Essentially the historian, or storyteller, get facts with dates, but much of the rest is an interpretation of events, an attempt of chronology that in some cases can be difficult to prove. Reading as much history as possible, from different perspectives, may indeed bring about some semblance of the truth.

Communication Technologies Should Not be the Focus of History:

Dahl says what historians tend to do is to write particular histories of particular media and nearly always prefer to do so within the frameworks of particular nation states as well. Media history or communication history has a lot to do with technology, and there is a tendency for it to be concentration on that technology. Everything from oral storytelling to the multimedia environment with DVDs that we live in today is the gamut of communication technologies that exist. Although these technologies are important to understanding media history, they should not be the focus of history. There are other elements as well.

Inglis points out that is monomaniacal to provide one notion of a theory in the babble of radio and television and the communication technologies of these times. Inglis notes “my potted history shows that books changed the mind of Europe in the space of a century” (15).

Media history should not only be focused on the technologies it, but also on the people involved with these technologies, and the culture at the time.


By analyzing two articles coming out of the history of media class, a position was taken on three questions raised earlier by the professor of the class, Bill Buxton. Media history relates to history proper in a variety of ways. Historical knowledge is not objective, and it should not be expected to be. Also, communication technologies should not be the focus of media history. These questions that were raised many yesterdays ago and answered in this position paper will lead to an individual growth of understanding on media history and historiography.

Radio Scripts from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Published

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, Restaurant Reviews, Sports, Technology, travel, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on May 8, 2012 at 11:19 AM

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Radio Scripts

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Students worrying about finances tomorrow, but building debt today: RBC poll

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on May 8, 2012 at 3:00 AM

Online budgeting tools help students save cash

August 17, 2011 @ 06:00AM

TORONTO – One-third (33 percent) of first-year post-secondary students (37 percent of females and 27 percent of males) expect to have significant debt on graduation day, and are deferring worrying about it until then (38 percent), according to the 2011 RBC Student Savings and Spending Poll. Females (44 percent) are more likely to be concerned than males (30 percent).

This student worry is well-founded. According to a January 2010 Statistics Canada report, the class of 2005 graduated with student loan debts averaging $18,800, up from $15,200 a decade earlier. In addition, the proportion of post-secondary graduates who owed $25,000 or more on their student loans jumped to 27 percent in 2005, from 17 percent in 1995.

“Many post-secondary students are living on their own for the first time, juggling school and living expenses – all of which can be very stressful. It’s not surprising that students tend to keep their worries about loans and expenses on the backburner,” said Kavita Joshi, director, Student Banking, RBC. “A budget can certainly help you stay on top of your debts and alleviate your financial stress.”

The RBC poll also found that 34 percent of students say that, thanks to online and mobile budgeting tools, they are spending less cash than they used to (36 percent of females and 30 percent of males). Still, having enough money for school is a worry for many students (54 percent) – and females (61 percent) are more likely to worry about their finances than males (48 percent). However, only 20 percent plan and stick to a monthly budget.

“Online financial management tools are a great resource to help you keep track of how much you are spending and where you are spending it,” added Joshi. “When you have your finances under control, it’s much easier to focus on what you want to achieve in school and after graduation.”

Joshi offers three budgeting tips to help students avoid graduating with a “D” for debt:

Prepare a budget and stick to it – A budget will help you live within your means and avoid unnecessary debt upon graduation. To help alleviate financial stress set a maximum budget and financial parameters for yourself. The RBC online banking tool myFinanceTracker can help you see where your money is going.
Take control – Identify all of your expenses and assess how much you’re actually spending. Tools such as RBC’s Student Budget Check Tool on the Better Student Life website and Student Loan Calculator can help you manage your money. As well, take advantage of advice seminars such as RBC’s newly launched 20-minute seminars for students, which gives you advice on budgeting, stretching your dollar further and alternative financial sources, just to name a few.

Look for alternative financial options – Explore all financial options available, especially those that do not need to be repaid, such as grants, bursaries, and scholarships. Then consider government loans and student bank loans. RBC awards over $300,000 in scholarships each year. As well, there are various contests for students where you have the chance to win cash.

About the 2011 RBC Student Savings and Spending Poll
The 2011 RBC Student Savings and Spending Poll was conducted by Vision Critical through an online survey, with a nationally representative group of 1,000 first year university/college students between March 14 and 22, 2011. Students in this survey are defined as those who attend a Canadian university or college and are in the first year of their studies. In total, 86 percent are 18 or 19 years of age, split relatively evenly across gender. The maximum margin of error is ±3.1 percent, 19 times out of 20.

About RBC’s debt management and other financial tools
RBC’s myFinanceTracker, a new online financial management tool, offers all personal RBC online banking clients the ability, at no cost, to create a set budget and track their spending habits. Whether Canadians want to get more from their day to day banking, protect what’s important, save and invest, borrow with confidence or take care of their businesses, the RBC Advice Centre can help answer their questions ( With the guidance of RBC advisors who are available to chat live, Canadians have access to free, no-obligation professional advice about RBC products and services and personalized one-on-one banking service.

In God She Trust: the biography of Ida B. Wells Barnett (Originally Published with

In Culture, Education, Religion, Writing (all kinds) on May 7, 2012 at 3:00 AM

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God has raised up a modern Deborah in the person of Miss Ida B. Wells, whose voice has been heard throughout England and the United States…pleading as only she can plead for justice and fair treatment to be given her long-suffering and unhappy people…(Duster, 1970, 1972: xiii)

Ida B. Wells-Barnett in her lifetime from 1862 to 1931 was an early judge (condemner) of racism in American, like Deborah in the Holy Bible was an early judge of evil in Israel. Deborah aroused the scattered tribes to oppose Canaanite oppression (Judges 4:5). Ida aroused the scattered interests of many black people to oppose their oppression.

As a journalist and political activist, Ida fought evil by almost single-handedly organizing an international anti-lynching campaign. She also was the first black person in the south to bring legal action against a railroad for discrimination. A founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, she set up the Negro Fellowship League that provided jobs and a reading room for disadvantaged blacks in Chicago and a she was a leader in starting organizations for black women.

Deborah drew her strength from God, and so did Ida. Ida’s parents were deeply religious people who influenced her with an identity and a path in life defined by the Bible. Ida, who had read the Bible many times throughout her life learned how living under God’s laws brought a woman like Deborah to Heave, and how women like Eve who did not follow the Lord’s words were punished. Ida spent her life paving a path to Heaven by fighting evil.

Evil is defined in the Bible as “…wickedness; a slanderous or injurious action” (The Holy Bible, New King James version 1982; 9). She spent her life-fighting evil and living a good Christian life. The essay will show how religious beliefs influenced her journalism career, anti-lynching crusade, forming organizations for black women and her choice to be a wife and mother. Beginning with her childhood, the beginnings of Ida’s religiously influenced life will be discussed.

Ida Wells was born in Tippan County, Mississippi, on July 16, 1862, before the close of the Civil War (Thompson, 1990; 11). Wells family lived in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Her parents, Jim and Elizabeth Wells, were married as slaves and married again after being free. The qualities of Ida’s parents “…fused to add fire and zeal” (Duster 1970, 1972; xiv) to her character.

Ida’s mother, who worked as a cook, won the prize for regular attendance at Sunday school, taking all six of her children along with her. On Sundays, Ida was allowed to read nothing else but the Bible, so she read it repeatedly. Her mother, who had not received an education under slavery, would follow her children to school. Elizabeth Wells became literate from learning to read the Bible. The associations Ida had with her mother were religious ones. Elizabeth Wells instilled the beliefs of the Bible in Ida. Her mother would tell her stories of how she had been “…beaten by slave owners and the hard times she had as a slave” (Duster, 1970, 1972; 9). Ida’s symbol of her mother was one of strength. It would not be hard for Ida to see how her mother’s strength and religious beliefs were associated. Ida acknowledged and respected her mother’s abilities:

She was not 40 when she died, but she had borne eight children and brought us up wit ha strict discipline that many mothers who have had educational advantages have not exceeded (Duster, 1970, 1972; 9).

The Bible says like mother, like daughter (Ezekiel 16:44). Ida following her religious teachings modeled many of her ways after her mother. Ida’s father also helped to add “fire and zeal” to Ida’s character:

My earliest recollections are of reading the newspaper to my father and an admiring group of his friends. He was interested in politics and I heard the words Ku Klux Klan long before I knew what they meant (Duster, 1070, 1972; 9).

Ida learned from an early age that she could be a smart woman and keep the admiration of her father. Her father, a carpenter, was involved in the Holly Springs community as a trustee at Rust College, a school founded by Reverend A. C. McDonald and the Freemen’s Aid in 1866. Ida attended Rust College throughout her childhood. Her father often exemplified Christian values in dealing with people.

In 1878 a yellow fever epidemic broke out in Holly Springs. When it broke out, Ida was told by a doctor how her father, while working, would pass through the town’s courthouse that was also being used as a hospital. When he saw sick people he would comfort them and when he saw dead people, he would pray with them.

Ida grew up with a strong and kind father who was proud of her intelligence. Ida’s interest in politics developed from reading the news to her father. She also came to value community involvement by her father’s influence. Ida grew up in a religious household wit ha strong mother and a kind and respected father. The qualities of her parents influenced her long after they died.

In 1878, her parents died of yellow fever during the Holly Springs epidemic. Friends of Jim Wells became guardians to the Wells family and they found different homes for the children. The eldest of six children, at 16-years-old, Ida wanted to keep the family together (Duster, 1970, 1972; xvi). She said her “…father and mother [would] turn over in their graves to know their children had been scattered like that…” (Duster, 1970, 1972; 16).

Honouring her father and mother like the Ten Commandments in the Bible says, Ida with money her father left her and a teaching job took care of the family. Her grandmother also helped her out:

Ida Wells’ youthful experience as guardian and provider for five siblings was preparation for the independence and determination that she exhibited throughout her life (Thompson 1990; 127).

Proverb 20:11 in the Bible says, “even a child is known by his deeds/by whether what he does is pure and right.” Ida knew acting as her siblings’ guardian was the pure and right thing to do. Bringing up her siblings was only one of the examples of how Ida’s religious upbringing affected the way she lived her life. She clung to a good life (as defined by the bible) is hoping to pave a path to Heave. One way that she brought herself closer to Heaven was by fighting evil.

Evil is defined in the Bible as “…wickedness; slanderous or injurious actions” (The Holy Bible, New King James Version, 1982; 9). She fought evil with the written word.

Many of Ida’s siblings grew up and out of her care, and an aunt took care of two younger girls. Ida secured a position in Memphis as a teacher. In Memphis was the first she heard of the A.M.E. church and saw a black bishop, whose name was bishop Turner.

The bishops I had known were scholarly, saintly men in the Methodist Episcopal Church and most of the pastors we had were the same. All my teachers had been consecrated white men and women from the north who came to the south to teach immediately after the end of the war. It was they who brought us the light of knowledge and their splendid example of Christian courage (Duster, 1970, 1972; 22).

Through her parents’ experience with slavery and what she had read of politics, Ida knew of the evils white people had done to blacks. However, through religion, she also knew the good of some white people.

Ida expected a lot from religious leaders. Seeing religion as a way to help in daily life, she faulted preachers who did not give people in the congregation practical talks. She found that in the country, “…people needed guidance in everyday life and that the leaders, the preachers, were not giving them this help” (Duster, 1970,1972; 22). She found people would come to her with their problems because as their teacher, she had been their leader, “…but I knew nothing of life except what I had read” (Duster, 1970, 1972; 22). Ida, being a woman, did not have the opportunity to be a preacher like Bishop Turner and give people in the church religious help they needed. She did know a lot about life through reading, having spent much of her time forming her ideas on May Alcott’s, Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney’s and Charlotte Brontë’s books (Duster, 1970, 1972; 21). She had never read anything about black people. By writing for the Living Way, she wrote about black people, preached the gospel and fought evil.

Always cherishing the friendships of religious leaders, her association with Reverend R. N. Countee, pastor of one of the leading Baptist churches and publisher of the Living Way, got Ida an invitation to write for the paper in her spare time away from teaching. The Living Way, a religious weekly was started in 1874 and was for the interest of Negro Americans.

I had an instinctive feeling that people who had little or no school training should have something coming into their homes weekly which dealt with their problems in a simple, helpful way. So in weekly letters to the Living Way, I wrote in plain, common-sense way on the things which concerned our people (Duster, 1970, 1972; 23, 24).

In 1886, at 24 years old, she began a writing career. She signed her name more simply as “Iola,” rather than Ida B. Wells so it was easier for readers to remember her name. With the Living Way, Ida could help black people with their daily problems by offering religious advice, the same things she wanted preachers to do in church. Her writing gave her a chance to fight the evil of such things as poor quality school buildings for black children. Her article on the school buildings resulted in her losing her teaching job.

…I thought it was right to strike a blow against a glaring evil and I did not regret it. Up to that time I had felt that any fight made in the interest of the race would have its support. I learned then that I could not count on that (Duster, 1970, 1972; 37).

Not only id Ida lose her job, but many of the parents who had children in the schools told her she should not have done something that would have her fired. Ida may not have had the support of others, but she received her support from the words of the Bible: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). Losing her teaching job turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it led her to be able to devote her full attention to writing. Ida got a new job with the encouragement of Reverend William J. Simmons, D.D. who was among many things, editor of the Negro Press Association:

In every way he could, Dr. Simmons encouraged me to be a newspaperwoman, and whatever fame I achieved in that line I owe in large measure to his influence and encouragement (Duster, 1970, 1972; 32).

He began to pay Ida $1.00 a week to be a correspondent with his paper. She received a lot of attention as a newspaperwoman, she was the first woman representative of the paper at a press convention in Louisville, Kentucky. With journalism, some of the work she did was influenced by traditional gender role expectations. She edited the Home Department of “Our Women and Children” for Dr. Simmons. She also wrote editorials criticizing the treatment of blacks by whites. The praise she received compared her accomplishments to men:

She has become famous as one of the few of our women who handle a goose quill with a diamond point as easily as any man in newspaper work. If Iola were a man she would be a humming independent in politics. She has plenty of nerve and is as sharp as a steel trap (Duster, 1970, 1972; 33).

‘Iola’ has been called the Princess of the Press, and she has well earned the title. No writer, the male fraternity not excepted, has been more extensively quoted, none struck harder blows at the wrongs and weaknesses of the race. Her readers are equally divided between the sexes. …She believes there is no agency so potent as the press in reaching and elevating a people (Duster, 1970, 1972; 33).

Ida’s journalistic work was seen as equal to a man’s in importance and it was acknowledged for its efforts at uplifting her race. Her political actions through writing were influenced by her father Jim who did not isolate her mental abilities around men. Ida expected to be treated as an equal when it came to her journalism career.

In 1869, at 27 years old, she bought one-third of the interest in a Memphis newspaper for black people with her savings from work. The newspaper was called the Free Speech and Headlight and she became the editor. She refused to be part of the paper unless she was an equal partner with Reverend F. Nightingale and J. L. Fleming who also owned it. The reverend was the pastor of the largest congregation in the state, so 500 copies of the Free Speech were sold every Sunday in his church. Ida’s involvement with journalism gave her an opportunity for things many women could not do in the 1880’s.

Being a female editor and correspondent was a novelty at that time (Duster, 1970, 1972; 39). It gave her an opportunity for travel, which would be socially accepted because it was a paper that was sold to and appealed to religious people. She traveled to solicit subscribers for the Free Speech in order to make a living from the paper. She did not seek to be rich because of the love of money, as the Bible says, was the root of all kinds of evil (I Timothy 6:10). Her lack of seeking riches kept her as a white-collar working class person. But the publicity her work gave her exposed her to upper-class people, like members of a lawyer’s association, where she solicited to get newspaper subscriptions. Newspaper work helped to give Ida a good name, “a good name is be chosen rather than great riches, loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1).

…my good name was all that I had in the world…I was bound to protect it from attack by those who felt that they could do so with impunity because I had no brother or father to protect it for me (Duster, 1970, 1972; 44).

A minister she stayed with while soliciting subscriptions to the paper made remarks to discredit Ida to friends. The remarks were that southern girls were not morally virtuous. Ida confronted the revered with his comments and made him publicly apologize to her.

I also wanted him to know that virtue was not all a matter of the section in which one lived; that many a slave woman had fought and died rather than yield to the pressure and temptations to which she was subjected. I had heard many tales of such and I wanted him to know at least one southern girl, born and bred, who had tried to keep herself spotless and morally clean as my slave mother had taught me (Duster, 1970, 1972; 44).
Her mother’s teachings instilled the value of a woman’s good name and the reputation that went with a woman’s name. Those who through slanderous actions soiled her name were evil and she fought against them. Her fight to defend her name and retain her honour as a black woman later became a fight against lynching. Ida learned the evil of lynching first-hand by becoming a surviving victim to its wicked ways.

In March of 1862, it was the lynching of Ida Wells’ good friend Thomas Moss that changed the course of her life and prompted her religious fight against lynching.

After the 1883 Supreme Court decision to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1875, contempt for black Americans was epitomized by lynchings that increased in number and violence…estimates [show] that this form of brutality in the United States reached a peak average of 150 a year during the 1880s and the 1890s, excluding the exceptional year 1892 when 235 lynchings took place. Most of these incidents occurred in the rural south (Meier, 1968; 20).

Ida was unable to expose the evils of lynching in the churches herself and began her anti-lynching crusade for justice with help of the Free Speech. Just as Deborah with God’s will was able to stop the evil against the children of Israel by encouraging them to confront their oppressors (Judges 5:7), Ida leads a campaign to speak out, through writing to as many people as she could about the injustices of lynching.

Moss was reported just before his death to have urged black people to go west because there was no justice for them in the south (Duster, 1970, 1972; 51). As Deborah encouraged Barak to go to Mount Tabor to build a strong army against the oppressors (Judges 4:6). Ida with the help of the Free Speech prompted blacks in editorials and articles to move from Memphis:

Memphis had never seen such an upheaval among colored people. Business was practically at a stand-still, for the Negro was famous then, as now, for spending his money for fine clothes, furniture, jewelry, and pianos and other musical instruments, to say nothing of good things to eat (Duster, 1970, 1972; 53).

While away from Memphis, seeking to banish white-made rumours that migrating black people were in worse places than Memphis, Ida was threatened to be killed by whites if she returned home. After she left, an editorial that appeared in the Free Speech, May of 1892, stirred up anger among whites:

Eight Negroes lynched since the last issue of the Free Speech. Three were charged with killing white men and five with raping white women. Nobody in this section believes the old threadbare lie that Negro men assault white women. If Southern white men are not careful they will over-reach themselves and a conclusion will be reached which will be very damaging to the moral reputation of their women (Duster, 1970, 1972; 65-66).

Ida never feared the lynch mob, she had faith in God to protect her: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalms 23:4). A threat to her life was not going to stop her from her crusade.

I had bought a pistol the first thing after Tom Moss was lynched because I expected some cowardly retaliation from the lynchers. I felt that one had better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or a rat in a trap…I felt if I could take one lyncher with me, this would even up the score a little bit (Duster, 1970, 1972; 62).

As the Bible says, Ida saw taking the life of a lyncher to simply be an “eye for an eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” (Deuteronomy 19:21). Ida Wells never got to use the pistol on the white people in Memphis who threatened her life. After the death threat, she did not return to her home. Instead, she stayed in New York and became co-editor of a newspaper called the New York Age. The Age was an important newspaper to black people (Aptheker, 1982; 67).

In the north of the United States where lynching was not as frequent, Ida Wells was exposed to more people who supported her anti-lynching efforts. She was fortunate to grow up with advantages that made her a member of the middle-class. She was in social circles of other black people with money who could help her fight evil. Once in New York, she felt an obligation to all black people “…to tell the whole truth [about lynching] now that I was where I could do so freely” (Duster, 1970, 1972; 69).

Before the lynching of Thomas Moss, Ida, like many other Americans, was mislead to believe by the white-owned news media that there was a justification for lynching. She thought that most of the time, black men were lynched because they raped white women and thus, the man deserved his life taken (Duster, 1970, 1972; 64). The lynching of Thomas Moss made her realize the wickedness of lynching. Seeing that a good man like Moss could be killed for simply quarreling with white men. She wondered how many other black people could have died innocent of a crime. As the Bible says, “and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:22). Ida looked for the truth. She looked into the names, dates, and places of many lynchings of alleged rapists. The facts showed illicit associations between black men and white women. Due to the fact Ida had lived in the south, she knew such relationships between white men and black women were notorious. They had breached the black race. The offspring of these unions were known as mulattoes, quadroons, and octoroons.

I also found that what the white man of the south practices as all right for himself, he assumed to be unthinkable in white women. They could and did fall in love with the pretty mulatto and quadroon girls as well as black ones, but they professed an inability to imagine white women doing the same thing with Negro and mulatto men. Whenever they did so and were found out, the cry of rape was raised, and the lowest element of the white south was turned loose to wreak its fiendish cruelty on those too weak to help themselves (Duster, 1970, 1972; 70).

Rather than hold white women responsible for their relationships with black men, black women were blamed.

Many aspects of slavery had carved out the image of the promiscuous black female. Slaves were not allowed to legally marry, meaning many black women were having six without marriage. In the 19th century, women like Rose Williams in Texas was forced to have sex with a black man to breed more slaves (Norton, 1989; 150). Inferior views of black women made their sexual purity valued the same way as cattle, whose only purpose was to breed good animals for labour. The same Bible from which Ida drew strength, southern whites used to justify the inferiority of blacks.

Black men were expected to be sexually potent to satisfy their lustful women.

Now released from the constraints of white masters, the black man found white women so ‘alluring’ and ‘seductive’ because…of the ‘wantonness of the women of his own race’ (Giddings, 1984; 31).

Ida knew the negative image of black women embodied in the justification of lynching slandered and injured her name and her identity. This was exemplified in the comments the reverend made about southern women. She saw evil in the lynching that affected the good name of black women like herself, her mother and others. She found other black women who also wanted to fight lynching and defend their honour.

In October of 1892, Ida Wells published the conclusions of her investigations of lynchings, with the help of her wealthy black female friends. Influential black women like Boston’s Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, a suffragist, activist, and wife of a prominent legislator and judge. She planned a gathering that collected $500 to help Ida Wells publish a pamphlet called Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases (Giddings, 1984; 30). Ida Wells dedicated Southern Horrors to “…the Afro-American women…whose race love, earnest zeal and unselfish effort made possible this publication” (Giddings, 1984; 30). She later published two other pamphlets on lynchings, A Red Record in 1895 and Mob Rule in New Orleans in 1900.

Ida fought the evil of lynching with the fellowship of other black women that started organizations for black women. The Bible said, through the efforts of the apostle Paul, the importance of finding “…the right hand of fellowship”(Galatians 2:9) in defending the gospel. The gospel says a gracious woman retains honour (Proverb 11:16). The organization consisted mainly of women of the same social class as Ida Wells. Between 1892 and 1894, clubs spread throughout America, because of Ida’s anti-lynching campaign. It was also seen as a good time for the black women’s club movement to get its start (Giddings, 1984; 83). White women abolitionists had started organizations for women in the 1840s and 1850s (Norton, 1989; 387). Many black women were not interested in joining the white women’s movement. “In their worldview, many of the obstacles that white women faced simply didn’t apply to their circumstances” (Giddings, 1984; 52). Black women all over America were succeeding, like Mary Church Terrell and Sojourner Truth, however black women often did not have the opportunity to collectively display their talents and the club movement gave them a chance to do so. The image of black women was inhibiting them from being respected n American society. Some organizations led by white women ignored such things as suffrage rights exemplified by the Women’s Council of the Methodist Episcopal Church (Norton, 1989; 316). It was time for black women to help out in the campaign for racial and sexual equality, as trailblazers like Maria Stewart had called for since 1832. Stewart, an abolitionist, had spoken of the important role black women had to play in the race’s moral and intellectual development (Giddings, 1984; 50). Seeking allies overseas to fight the evil in America, Ida began an international anti-lynching campaign.

In 1893, a lynching in Texas got worldwide press coverage. Two women reformers in Scotland, Isabelle Mayo, and Catherine Impey, read of the lynching. They wanted someone to come to the British Isles to lecture on lynching and they came to invite Ida.

At 31 years old, Ida preached the evils of American lynching, from April to June, throughout the United Kingdom. She was so well received there that she returned to England a second time in 1894 to continue her fight against evil.

Many whites were particularly concerned about English opinion. The views of the British elite carried great prestige in the minds of their American cousins. More importantly, England’s role as their leading importer of American cotton gave British views additional weight in American affairs. And here was Wells, arousing the same kind of moral indignation that had proven so useful to American abolitionists in the antebellum days (Giddings, 1984; 90).

Before she left the United Kingdom for the last time, the British Anti-lynching Committee was formed and it included such notables as the Duke of Argyll, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and members of parliament (Giddings, 1984; 92).

Her planting of good seeds overseas bore fruit in the American anti-lynching campaign.

The number of lynchings decreased in 1893 – and continued to do so thereafter. The decline in the murders can be directly attributed to the efforts of Ida B. Wells. The effect of Wells’ campaign was aptly demonstrated in her home city. Memphis exported more cotton than any other city in the world, and Wells’ assertions had been especially damaging to its image. So, as a direct result of her efforts, the city fathers were pressed to take an official stand against lynching – and for the next twenty years, there was not another incident of vigilante violence there (Tucker, 1990; 1394).

The American white-owned press persecuted Ida for successfully fighting evil overseas. Yet, Ida could again know her good work lead her closer to Heaven through God’s words: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). The persecution and criticism she received focused on discrediting her as a black woman, exemplifying the evil slander towards many black women:

A Memphis paper suggested that she be tied to a stake and branded with an iron. The New York Times ran an article insisting that Black men were prone to rape and that Wells was a ‘slanderous and nasty-minded mulatress’ who was looking for more ‘income’ than ‘outcome’ (Giddings, 1984; 92).

The Indianapolis Freemen, a black newspaper, wrote of Ida Wells, referring to her by her pen name: “’Iola makes the mistake of trying to be pretty as well as smart. She should remember that beauty and genius are not always companions’” (Tucker, 1990; 1386).

The Bible has done much to influence the view of blacks as inferior, for those who interpret it that way. It has also done much to portray women as inferior from the very beginning with the interpretation of Eve giving into sin and thus causing the fall of man from God’s grace. Ida by-passed this barrier of religious thought by her own interpretation of the Bible echoed by women like Maria Stewart:

‘What if I am a woman?’ Stewart declared. ‘Did [God] not raise up Deborah to be a mother, and a judge in Israel? Did not Queen Esther save the lives of the Jews? And Mary Magdalene first declare the resurrection of Christ from the dead?’ (Giddings, 1984; 52).

Stewart also challenged the views of men like St. Paul who said it was a shame for women to speak in public (Giddings; 53). Stewart believed that at different times, St. Paul would see things differently and so must have Ida. The importance of her mission to fight evil and her duty to God made gender restraints non-existent and it also gave her a chance to earnestly preach the gospel as she was unable to do in churches.

I am only a mouthpiece through which to tell the story of lynching and I have told it so often that I know it by heart. I do not have to embellish; it makes its own way (Duster, 1970, 1972; 231).

In July of 1893, at 33 years old, Ida married Ferdinand Barnett, a man who was also devoted to fighting evil against blacks. Ida and her husband begot four children. Their first child was Charles, followed by Herman, Ida, and Alfreda (Duster, 1970, 1972; xxiii). She mothered her children the way she was mothered, “…a kind and loving parent, but firm and strict…her ‘look’ was enough to bring under control any mischievous youngster” (Duster, 1970, 1972; xxiii-xxiv). Knowing that according to the Bible even children were judged by their deeds, Ida saw the good conduct of her children in her absence as most important. Both parents stressed education, producing children who all led good lives, having careers in everything from the printing business to civic activity in parent-teacher associations.

The Barnett family had power and influence in Chicago. They lived in an upper-middle-class neighbourhood that did not stop them from helping the poor by means of the Negro Fellowship League. As the Bible says, “he who gives to the poor will not lack” (Proverbs 28:27). Ida’s civic duties did not cease, but they did decrease.

Ida married older than most women because her political activities and journalism career did not give her time for a family. When she gave her time to her family, it did not give her a lot of time for her political activities. Marriage was very important to Ida, having a family was part of the Christian values that would lead to her rewards in Heaven. In 1897, after the birth of her second son and viewing motherhood as a profession in itself, Ida became a full-time mother and homemaker:

…I wonder if women who shirk their duties in that respect [motherhood] truly realize that they have not only deprived humanity of their contribution to perpetuity but that they have robbed themselves of one of the most glorious advantages in the development of their own womanhood (Duster, 1970, 1972; 251).

Ida did not take any work outside the home until the youngest child was eight-years-old and able to attend school alone. When Ida slowed down her political activities, she was missed by many of her supporters. While she was a guest to suffragist Susan B. Anthony’s home, Anthony expressed disappointment in Ida marrying and having children:
‘I know of no one in all this country better fitted to do the work you had in hand than yourself. Since you have gotten married, agitation seems practically to have ceased…you have a divided duty (Duster, 1970, 1972; 255).

Considering how dedicated and successful Ida was in her political activities and journalism career, it is surprising that those elements did not become the sole focus of her life. As Maria Stewart, a religious convert had asserted earlier, Ida did not see why her political activities needed to stop because she was a wife and mother:

Black women saw no contradiction between domesticity and political action. So Stewart could talk about dependence on men and excel in good housewifery, and at the same time make an unmistakably feminist appeal to Black women (Gidding, 1984; 52).

Ida could still fight evil even though she was a wife and mother. Even while married, Ida still did political activities such as helping to form the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909 and making a bid for the state senate in 1930.

At 69-years-old, in 1931, Ida died of a urine disorder called uremia (Duster, 1970, 1972; xxxi). Would she have gone to Heaven? Deborah in the Bible rejoiced in a song of her achievements in Israel, “Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7). Ida had much to rejoice about. She honoured her parents and kept her family together by raising her siblings herself. Influenced by religious leaders, her journalism career exposed the wicked, slanderous and injurious actions perpetrated against black people. Her organized fellowship with black women developed organizations for black women – their work combated their negative image. Her anti-lynching efforts in the United Kingdom caused lynchings in the United States to decrease. Her exemplifications of religious values left a memory of a woman that still lives in Ida B. Wells Clubs across the country and the Ida B. Wells Garden Homes that serve disadvantaged people. She lived a good life in which she deserved to rest in Heaven.

Depart from evil, and do good;
And dwell forever more.
For the Lord loves justice,
And does not forsake His saints;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked shall be
cut off.
The righteous shall inherit the land,
And dwell in it forever.

WCLC – PICK 3, and EXTRA winning number

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Sports, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on May 6, 2012 at 9:44 PM

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WINNIPEG, May 6, 2012, /CNW/ –

The PICK 3 winning number was 796.

The EXTRA winning number for the top prize of $250,000 was 1821241. There are subsidiary prizes for matching the last six, five, four, three, two and one digits.

In the event of a discrepancy between this list and the official winning numbers, the latter shall prevail.

For further information: Western Canada Lottery Corporation, 1-800-665-3313 or

Bargains Can Make You Poor

In Business, Writing (all kinds) on May 6, 2012 at 3:00 AM

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By Kathy Tapley-Milton

Bargains are a double-edged sword. They can save you money, but they can also make you poor. If you are trying to stick to a budget grabbing up bargains can easily blow that budget.

I am experiencing the pinch of the current economic recession, having lost three-quarters of my income. However, I have to confess that I am addicted to bargains at Thrift Stores and yard sales. I actually get an adrenaline rush when I see something that is marked down.

When you are nearly broke, buying up bargains with reckless abandon can take what little bit of money you have and make it vanish. Then when medical expenses or essentials need to be paid, there isn’t any money left and you are in a crisis.

I think the antidote to addictive bargain buying is to ask yourself, “Do I really need this or am I buying it just because it’s marked down?” Also, keep in mind that medications and other essentials have to be paid for. Try to outsmart your bargain-hound self. Don’t keep all of your money in your purse or where it is easily accessible. Keep an emergency reserve somewhere safe. Also, avoid online shopping as this can lead to financial ruin. With just a few clicks of the mouse, you can rack up big bills and shoot yourself in the foot financially. The following systems are time-honoured suggestions for saving money.

PHASE # 1: Save all change and put in the bank.

PHASE #2: Stop spending C$5.00 bills and put in the bank.

PHASE #3: Stop spending $10.00 bills and put in the bank.


If something costs $5.00 you have to use a $10.00 bill; put the $5.00 left over in the bank.


If something costs $10.00 you have to use a $20.00 bill and put the $10.00 left over in the bank.

The Envelope System:
“Paying cash for as many things as you can is a really good way to save money.” It can get confusing though when you get your cash out of the pay period and you have a few hundred dollars in your pocket. Confusing to try to sort through what you need to spend that cash on AND tempting to spend it all right then. The cash envelope system is a great way to get all of that organized.

The first step is to make a plan for your paycheck. Decide how much needs to go towards bills this pay period and how much is for the more adjustable items, such as food, eating out, clothes, medical, toiletries, etc. Once you have figured out how much cash you need to cover the expenses that you can pay cash for, withdraw it from the bank.

Then get an envelope for each category and label them accordingly. Put the amount you have decided on the back at the top. We did this for a couple of years. Then we took Financial Peace University, a class by Dave Ramsey and the kit came with an envelope system that we have used since.

Dave Ramsey has a great program and he details the cash envelope system in his books.”
Whether you use the envelope system or the easy way to save money, remember bargains can make you poor, so spend your money wisely! If you can’t afford it don’t buy it.

Katherine Tapley-Milton is a writer living in New Brunswick. You can find her latest book, Daily Meditations for Cat Lovers at Her book Mind Full of Scorpions can be found on

Romance in South Africa

In Entertainment, Living, travel, Writing (all kinds) on May 5, 2012 at 3:00 AM

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It was an opportunity of a lifetime – a free ticket to South Africa. My boyfriend at the time wanted to show me the country of Nelson Mandela, the country of Kwaito music. South Africa had been on my travel list for eight years.

We flew KLM through Amsterdam and my cigarette habit had me craving and cranky. The first thing we did once we touched the ground is going to the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which offered a job to my boyfriend. He desired to live there, but we continued to the place where we were staying in Johannesburg with a woman who worked for the SABC.

At night, we could hear gunshots and during the day we stayed within the safety of a car. I got used to placing my belongings in the trunk of the car when walking about for fear that someone might break in at the sight of something considered desirable.

We went to Sun City, which was vastly different in its greenery from the rest of Johannesburg. At that time in September and October, the grass in Jo’burg was beige, but the grass at Sun City was a vivid green. The sprinklers were on at all times to keep the lawns attractive to the tourists. It felt strange walking around grounds that blacks once were forbidden to go – and I was not the only black person there.

We moved to Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, where colonial-looking government buildings lay on cracked sidewalks. We passed through and moved further north, close to Botswana, then onto Zululand.

I had the most interesting experience in Zululand. A group of us tourists were inside a cave with Zulus. You could see so much history in their faces, in their eyes. They mentioned that the Zulus believe that when a person sneezes, the thought they are having at the moment will come true.

With a feeling of wanting more, we left Zululand and went to Durban. The beaches there aren’t bad and the Indian Ocean is quite a sight to see. We stayed at a hotel that had a beautiful view and my boyfriend proposed. I said yes and we went to Cape Town to look for an engagement ring.

Apparently, many people are choosing to select the shiny blue of topaz to a diamond for their rings. We did find one at Shimansky Jewellers that was shaped in a flower with seven tiny diamonds. I don’t have that ring anymore or the boyfriend.

I do have my memories of South Africa and a safari where I saw a lion (the animal symbol of my sun sign) for the first time.

Canada Makes Steady Progress on Corporate Social Responsibility in Developing Countries

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on May 4, 2012 at 3:00 AM

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Report on Mining, Oil and Gas Companies CSR Initiatives Released

OTTAWA, Jan. 19, 2012 /CNW/ – The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) today released a report providing an update on the status of recommendations arising from the National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing Countries.

In 2007, Mining Association of Canada staff participated in an advisory group to the federal government that included representatives of the extractive industry, the investment community, civil society, academia, and government. The advisory group reached an unprecedented consensus and produced a report that included 27 recommendations related to different aspects of CSR in the developing world. These recommendations remain an important reference for on-going discussions about CSR and the extractive industry in Canada.

The report released today by MAC is the result of a research project commissioned by MAC’s International Social Responsibility Committee to review, identify and understand the actions taken by the government and other actors to implement the Roundtables’ recommendations, as well to identify current gaps. The report shows that 18 of the report’s 27 recommendations have been fully or partially implemented, such as the following:

The Government of Canada has become a participant country in the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and has joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

CIDA has supported a number of new initiatives to help build capacity in Host Countries, including support for the Andean Regional Initiative for Promoting Effective Corporate Social Responsibility.

The Export Development Corporation became a signatory of the Equator Principles and applies the IFC Performance Standards and World Bank Environmental, Health and Safety Guidelines in its lending practices.
The RCMP has established anti-corruption units in Ottawa and Calgary and launched investigations and prosecutions under Canada’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act.

“We are encouraged by the findings of this report that show that while more work can be done, Canada has not been idle and has taken meaningful steps to advance corporate social responsibility. This research will help us and others, including government, to take stock of progress made and what other opportunities may exist to make further progress on CSR,” stated Pierre Gratton, MAC’s President, and CEO. “MAC looks forward to continuing to work with government and civil society on the development and implementation of CSR standards and best practices.”

This report is the first piece of research commissioned by MAC’s new International Social Responsibility Committee, itself an outcome of the Round Table process. Over the coming year, the committee will be commissioning and making available further research related to the Canadian extractive industry operating abroad. Two such projects include an analysis of the relevant international laws, standards and host country laws and regulations that the Canadian extractive companies are accountable to; and a look at the various transparency initiatives and requirements that apply to the Canadian mining sector operating in developing countries. The full report is available at

About the Mining Association of Canada:

The Mining Association of Canada is the national organization and voice of the Canadian mining industry. Its members account for most of Canada’s production of base and precious metals, uranium, diamonds, metallurgical coal, mined oil sands and industrial minerals and are actively engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining, and semi-fabrication.


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 May 3, 2012 at 3:00 AM

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In the true spirit of this day, Monday, June 22, 2009 – I changed my mind again. I decided to start off by listening to Brand New Day. The first song “A Thousand Years” is something that really suits the nighttime and it is actually 11:12 a.m. at this precise moment. I love the opening…it sounds as though it could be in a movie. Sting has such a husky voice, a smoker’s voice. I am sure he would be considerate enough to smoke outside.

I have not ever seen Sting in concert, however, he seems to have one of those voices that is the real deal. I think he would be amazing in concert, however, I think I would have to take out a loan to afford the ticket price. Sting is big time – and his career is one of extreme success, even when he was with The Police.

It is interesting because I did not actually get the name for my main character from my book My Roxanne from Sting’s song “Roxanne.” I was actually motivated by the name of an old friend I used to have while in school that I have no idea what she is doing now. This young woman as I knew her is nothing like Roxanne, my character in My Roxanne. I just simply like the name – the same way my Mom chose my name because she simply liked it.

I just love this song “A Thousand Years.” It has that Arabic undertone to it that is just fantastic and gives me the feeling that I traveled. It is truly a transcendental type of song, taking your brain to all kinds of places to travel to. Even the next song “Desert Rose” just rocks in a gentle, dare I say, fairly exotic way. The fact he has an Arabic singer doing the backup singing on this song is fantastic. It just sounds superb. This is meant to be played at high volumes. I do not want to disturb my neighbours though. They are students and probably need the quiet to study.

Most of the CDs I have received have come from the library. There was a time when I went out CD shopping with a former friend of mine and spent $200.00 CDN on CDs. They were even second-hand and I went to the Bloor and Bathurst area in Toronto to shop with my former friend.

When I was in financial problems, I had more than 200 CDs before that and sold them so I could pay my debts. I highly recommend not doing this. Do not sell books or CDs no matter how broke you are. Also, do not do anything illegal. At least the latter I am happy to say I did not do. It broke my heart to sell that CD collection that took me years to develop. I had CDs from all over the world and would even buy CDs from different places I would travel too and they were part of my collection as well.

The Toronto Public Library and my sister became a saviour. My sisters helped to give me the idea that I could go to the library and borrow CDs, then burn them onto my computer. I ended up doing this a lot. It was terrific because I was able to build my CD collection again. I would not be able to write this book if it were not for my sister and the Toronto Public Library. Plus, book and CD gifts from my brother.

Sting is still playing. This is a more jazzy song. It’s called “Big Lie Small World.” This would be a great time to take a break.

Last week in Toronto there was quite a bit of rain. This song by Sting is “After the Rain Has Fallen.” Today is a bright sunny day. The upbeat tones are perfect for a day like this in Toronto. His voice sounds more assertive, more forceful. He is commanding the mic. The levels are terrific as anything that is published should be. I know these things from teaching radio at the University of Guelph-Humber and news announcing at Seneca College on York’s campus.

There is a terrific backbeat that easily could get your fingers snapping. This is dancing music – no doubt – or hey, even writing music.

Some of the drawbacks of borrowing music from the library are not everyone takes care of the material they borrow. There was a skip or scratch on the CD. No major problem – these are the kinds of things that would seriously make me consider seeing Sting in concert.

Erykah Badu who I mentioned in the first chapter is someone who would play well in a small forum. The thing is she is such a huge artist that she could fill up the Air Canada Centre in downtown Toronto. Oh well, perhaps one day I will get my intimate audience with a singer like Erykah Badu. I would love private lessons actually.

I have decided to get some other things done around the house while I just let Sting play. He is good for a day like today. I hope that by time Fields of Gold comes on I will be ready to comment on that.

Actually, I am ready to comment on that now. I know that album so well. It was actually a friend of mine at the CBC who introduced that CD to me.

Oh…I must interrupt for a moment with this latest song by Sting. It’s called “Perfect Love…Gone Wrong.” There is some rapping in French by an artist who honestly I do not know who it is. It does sound like MC Solaar. I love listening to French. I listen to many of my French CDs that I will mention later in this book series. It is terrific to hear the rap in French by the artist. It just absolutely rocks. How wonderful. The end is really strong with an almost choir-like, funky feel to it. OK…Sting has me hooked again even though I have listened to this CD so many times. Just have to answer an email now.

From my memory of the music on this CD, there is a cowboy kind of song. Something that sounds like a modern western. The song that is playing now is a bit jazzy. It actually reminds me of “Roxanne.” “Fill Her Up” is the cowboy song. I think I will bypass this song to “Brand New Day.” This song is kind of moody and eerie. Definitely not a song I would want to hear before going to bed. It’s not that bad…however, you get the idea. It has a benign sinister quality to it.

OK…now I am onto “Brand New Day.” Something much happier. I have always enjoyed this song. It starts off great (again, the kind of music you would hear in a movie). Great driving music too. The harmonica is terrific and really gives it a cheery sound. I just want to clap along, however, I must type this, I must write this book.

Just got an email from one of my students actually that she had a friend die last week and things have been rough. I should have recommended to her to listen to this song. It is such a pick-me-up. It is inspiring and full of hope. We all go through rough times and it is so wonderful when we have music that will inspire us. Thank you, Sting. I want to end this before the song does. I want to keep thinking of all my brand new days.

OK…now is Fields of Gold. It is so tranquil. I love this CD. I have felt so much calmer ever since I put on Sting’s stuff, in general really. The interesting story about this CD is that a friend of mine I know from the CBC told me about it. We would listen to it and discuss it. She used to live in a beautiful apartment with deep dark brown wood on the walls and beautiful furniture on the Danforth in downtown Toronto. She is now married to a nice man and has so many children I have lost count . This first song on this CD is called “When We Dance.” Definitely, my friend has been dancing to some wonderful songs with her husband and children. It is a shame I did not make it to their wedding.

Now I’m listening to the title song, “Fields of Gold.” This one is my favourite. It is so lyrical and literary. Very well written. It makes me feel as though I am in a Scottish field somewhere walking through knee-high green grass. This is a great song for wine. Unfortunately, I do not drink anymore. Perhaps, fortunately,…we will see about that in time. My liver probably appreciates it.

He even mentions summer in this song and it is terrific for a summer solstice that we are in now. It’s now still Monday, June 22, 2009, and summer has officially begun. There is so much going on in Toronto, however somehow, outside of work, I feel just as happy remaining at home and traveling in my mind. Especially when I have great music from Sting to keep me company.

Girl power in hockey

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Sports, Writing (all kinds) on May 1, 2012 at 3:00 AM

Image result for Fran Rider - hockey Canada - women

Fran Rider, Executive Director of the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association says Canadians are born with an interest in hockey. She came from a sports-minded family and started playing around 1967.

“It has powerful opportunities, many of the girls are teachers, professors, they’re highly educated,” she says. “There are many police officers. The young girls have role models in life, not just in sport.”

When Rider was younger, she says there weren’t many opportunities for women to play hockey. They could watch the sport, but the playing was a different story.

“I saw an ad in the Toronto Telegram, I used to go to the Leafs’ games and played in the backyard and always desperately wanted to play and when the opportunity arose I got involved.”

Currently, there is no professional women’s hockey like in basketball, football or hockey for men. The AA league is for recreation. The AAA team is national women’s hockey where the women travel and are in the Olympic Games.

The Ontario Women’s Hockey Association was formed in 1975. When the association first started out they received support from Shoppers Drug Mart and Mississauga Mayor, Hazel McCallion. The International Ice Hockey Federation moved towards a full world championship in 1990 making it possible for Canadians to play in the Olympics.

“The goals of the OWHA have been to grow the interest of the game throughout Ontario, Canada, and the world,” says Rider. “It’s a universal game, the bigger objective of hockey is to win the game, but the bigger objective is to get more support for women’s hockey and the sport.”

Rider also says diverse women playing hockey creates role models.

“Angela [James] was one of the superstars by far and way ahead of her time,” Rider says.

Angela James played for the Olympic women’s hockey team. She grew up in Flemingdon Park in Toronto.

“It’s funny because I’m retired from hockey now,” says James. “When I was younger, I played in my neighbourhood with my friends, played in the outdoor arena. It’s pretty much what everybody did in my area.”

James is a Senior Sports Coordinator at Seneca College on York University’s campus.

“I’m biracial,” James says. “My father’s from rural Mississippi and my mother’s from Ontario. My father who probably has never put on a pair of skates in his life – most of his kids play hockey and are [good] at it. I don’t know if it goes back to the faster muscle twitch.”

James, who lives with her partner, has three children. Chatting with her on a traditional hockey night in Canada, she reflected on the highlights of her hockey career.

“The first world championship…the second world championship was another. The provincial championship was always a great highlight. There were so many it’s hard to say which one. The action on the ice, the way the game is played, the skating. It’s a winter sport, I enjoy that. Also friendship, it’s a team sport off the ice.

“I was playing up until last year,” says James. “I officiate; I’m involved in coaching my son’s team. It’s pretty much still a hockey house here.”

James hasn’t decided yet whether she will be returning to hockey this year.

“I’d play out of York University; they do have a league there. I’d probably play the AA, I could play the AAA, but it’s just too much of a time commitment.”

For all of James’s success with hockey, she has recently been inducted into the Black Ice Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame based in Nova Scotia.

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