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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Abandon

In Creative Writing, Culture, Disability, Education, Health, Living, Media Writing, Religion, Writing (all kinds) on June 22, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Struggling Schizoprenic Mother Tries to Make it on Her Own - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

Struggling Schizoprenic Mother Tries to Make it on Her Own - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

By Rachel Muenz

Uneven rows of umbrellas bobbed towards her. Their metal frames frightened her to the edge of the sidewalk and then back into the alley against the cold dumpster. The thin spokes reminded her too much of wing bones. Her fingers dug at the air around her knees. She looked down and jumped, shocked to find nothing there.

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What Happened to the Afro?

In Beauty, book reviews, Business, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Technology, Video Work on June 19, 2017 at 3:00 AM

My hair obsession that has turned into a hair acceptance also turned into a book called What Happened to the Afro? Here is some video was taken in Uganda in 1996 or 1997 of a braiding session going on in Kampala. You can buy the book at http://stores.lulu.com/kakonged.:

Binary Groove – Gemini Nominated in 1995

In Culture, Education, Entertainment, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Technology, travel, Video Work on June 17, 2017 at 3:00 AM

This educational pilot computer show called “Binary Groove” aired in 1995 and was nominated for a Gemini Award. Enjoy the show and for more education stories, check out my book The Education Generation. As well, you would also be interested in Journalism Stories Collection. Both can be bought, plus many other books at: http://stores.lulu.com/kakonged.

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The Politics of Hair (Proposal to Ryerson University)

In Beauty, book reviews, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on June 13, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Everybody Does Something to Change Their Appearance for Advancement - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

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

The politics of black hair shows in books like Tenderheaded to the Princess of Wales plays ‘Da Kink in My Hair and Hairspray to movies like Beauty Shop to songs played on Flow 93.5.

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Two New Books Published

In book reviews, Business, Creative Writing, Culture, Disability, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Religion, Sports, Technology, travel, Writing (all kinds) on June 11, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Donna Kakonge Has Two New Books Published - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

Donna Kakonge Has Two New Books Published - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

The first book is My Mind Book which features an example of creating a book that will be inspiring and bring the things you want into your life. It is based on the law of attraction, as well as inspired by Mind Movies that were sent to me.

The second book is called Stories in Red and Yellow: Digging Up Work Done in Yesteryear. This is a literary collection of non-fiction and fiction work.

Both can be bought, as well as other books at: http://stores.lulu.com/kakonged.

Healthy Sunday

In Beauty, Education, Health, Living, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on June 10, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Quitting Smoking Starts With Making Efforts to Change Your Lifestyle - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

Quitting Smoking Starts With Making Efforts to Change Your Lifestyle - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

I went to a healthfood store called Evergreen up by St. Clair West and Bathurst Streets in Toronto on Sunday. My aim was to find some healthy food after speaking with a friend of mind in Montreal about wanting to change my eating habits.

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Afro Forever: Research Paper on Salon Utopia for the M.A. in Media Studies at Concordia University

In Beauty, book reviews, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on June 8, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Cover Art for What Happened to the Afro? - Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Cover Art for What Happened to the Afro? - Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Donna Kay Cindy Kakonge

Advisor: Dr. Martin Allor

Committee member: Dr. Kim Sawchuk

Outside Examiner: Dr. Lorna Roth

August 12, 1999

Afro Forever

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Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Public Service Announcement (Originally Aired in 2003)

In Beauty, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Health, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Music, Opinion, Technology, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on June 4, 2017 at 3:00 AM

This is a public service announcement I did for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. For more information about health, please check out my books Being Healthy: Selected Works from the Internet and Natural Beauty on my online store at: http://stores.lulu.com/kakonged.

The Radio Call

In Education, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, travel, Writing (all kinds) on February 14, 2017 at 3:00 AM
When It Comes To AIDS, It Is Better to Light A Candle - Photo Courtesy of StockExpert

When It Comes To AIDS, It Is Better to Light A Candle – Photo Courtesy of StockExpert

It was a Saturday afternoon and the radio was on. I was living in Uganda in the fall of 1996 and the winter of 1997. The radio was calling out a list of names. I could not understand why.

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Creating Things: Profile of Roger McTair (Originally Published on Impowerage.com)

In book reviews, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Health, Living, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on February 13, 2017 at 12:00 PM
Roger McTair Creates Magic - Photo Courtesy of Seneca College's Website

Roger McTair Creates Magic – Photo Courtesy of Seneca College’s Website

Roger McTair is a director, poet, professor and writer who lives in Toronto, Canada. He has had short stories air on CBC Radio and BBC Radio.

He was born in Trinidad and Tobago on October 7, 1943. Not having much to do while growing up galvanized his love of creating things.

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Study Finds New Technology For Fossil Fuels Can Cut CO2

In Business, Culture, Education, Environment, Health, Living, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on February 12, 2017 at 12:00 PM
EPRI Did a Revealing Study on Electricity - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert

EPRI Did a Revealing Study on Electricity – Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert

A study by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has found the replacement of fossil fuels technology with electric ones would result in energy savings. The energy savings are as high as 71.7 quadrillion BTUs.

These savings would cut CO2 by 4,400 million tons between 2009 and 2030.

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BC Woman Loves Shea Butter Market Products

In Beauty, Business, Culture, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on February 4, 2017 at 12:00 PM
BC Woman's Favourite Shea Butter Market Product - Photo Courtesy of Shea Butter Market.com

BC Woman’s Favourite Shea Butter Market Product – Photo Courtesy of Shea Butter Market.com

A 71-year-old woman in British Columbia (who preferred not be named) loves the Shea Butter Market products that Gifty Serbeh-Dunn owns. “I love them,” she says. “I’ve used pretty well everything that she’s had out. First of all I’ve used her shea butter and the moisturizing cream and the body lotion and the foot cream.”

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Blue Death: A five-part series by the Teeny Tracer on how protestors are destroying money and lives at Dump Site 52

In Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on February 3, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Rachel Muenz Does a Parody on a Dumpsite - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert

Rachel Muenz Does a Parody on a Dumpsite – Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert

The plight of North Comise garbage: Part one of a five-part series

By Zema Luncher

In homes across North Comise County, the garbage bag is kept hidden from sight in cupboards or garages, unable to socialize with the families it lives with and treated as less than the family dog. After a week, it is stuffed into a bin and left for hours until it is hurled into a truck for a long, crowded journey to an even more crowded landfill. Here, it is dumped in piles with thousands of other bags, left to be torn apart by seagulls, crows and other scavengers, never knowing the taste of clean water or the smell of fresh air.

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Ottawa Woman Loves Shea Butter Market Products

In Beauty, Culture, Education, Environment, Health, Living, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on February 2, 2017 at 12:00 PM
Citrus is Just One of the Many Flavours of the Shea Butter Market Lip Balm Products - Photo Courtesy of SheaButterMarket.com

Citrus is Just One of the Many Flavours of the Shea Butter Market Lip Balm Products – Photo Courtesy of SheaButterMarket.com

Christen Bennett, in her early 30s, is a family friend of Gifty Serbeh-Dunn, owner of the Shea Butter Market company. For a time while in Ottawa, Serbeh-Dunn lived with Bennett’s family. Out of friendship and a deep belief in shea butter, Bennett tries to promote the Shea Butter Market products in the Ottawa region.

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SHEA BUTTER MARKET – BRINGING GIFTS TO THE MASSES

In Beauty, Business, Culture, Health, Living, Media Writing, Pets, Writing (all kinds) on November 26, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Shea Butter Market is the Brainchild of Gifty Serbeh-Dunn

Shea Butter Market is the Brainchild of Gifty Serbeh-Dunn

I CALLED GIFTY SERBEH-DUNN AS SHE WAS FEEDING HER CAT. HER BOYS WALKED BY THE CAT WITHOUT FEEDING HER. HER BIG BOY IS HER HUSBAND WAYNE DUNN WHO HAS A BUSINESS DEGREE FROM STANFORD. HER SMALL 7-YEAR-OLD BOY IS HER SON KABORÉ. SERBEH-DUNN HAS MANY THINGS TO DO SUCH AS FEEDING HER CAT AND RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS SHEA BUTTER MARKET.

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Hard Work

In Health, Living, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on November 23, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Nick Goodwin Does Not Want Stress to Rule His Life - Photo: MorgueFile.com

Nick Goodwin Does Not Want Stress to Rule His Life – Photo: MorgueFile.com

By Nick Goodwin

Hard work. Sometimes I feel that I know the definition of it. Truly, I do not. I have the vision of where I want to be with my successes. This is what sets the tone for how hard I must work. Lately I am coming to discover just how much work is involved with reaching your goals. Endless efforts.

My plan is to stay organized. I am able to think a lot more clearly if everything around me in my life is taken care of. However, it is impossible to live a completely stress-free life. When you are meticulous, little things can throw you off. When you are careless, things build up and the stress is there in an overwhelming sense. It will be there. The only thing you can do is accepting the bad with the good.

So, before I get sucked into my little world of computer graphics and illustrations I plan to make sure my life is in order and organized. If I do this, getting down to business will feel more like a privilege as well as I will have a clear focus when I am ready to crack down on the task(s) at hand.

There are lots to keep a busy person motivated. I think the true challenge is being able to focus on “the now” and still feel motivated by the prize at the end of the road. I see people around me feeling overwhelmed by their work and I sometimes doubt their approach. I have faith in their ability to eventually overcome their state of distress and of course I admire their strength to not quit. The art of working hard and living stress-free is something I will continue to try and understand as well as master.

How To Help Your Dog Prevent Hair Loss

In Health, Pets, Writing (all kinds) on November 21, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Many dogs lose their hair on a regular basis. If you are dog owner, you may find the occasional clump of hair on the sofa or carpet. With double-coated breeds, this is especially true. Examples of breeds with a double-coat are German Shepherds, Collies, Husky and Welsh corgi.

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Garbage Strike

In Culture, Environment, Health, Living, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on November 10, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Nick Goodwin Comments on Toronto's Garbage Strike - Photo Courtesy of Morguefile.com

Nick Goodwin Comments on Toronto's Garbage Strike - Photo Courtesy of Morguefile.com

By Nick Goodwin

Okay, so Toronto’s morale doesn’t seem to be out of whack at all. Maybe a little unfocused but somehow people are remaining happy even with the increasingly gross trails of garbage leading from overflowing containments. Are we to improvise and use our creative minds to construct this trash into something we can all gawk at? We need to come up with something.

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It’s A Great Deal

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, Restaurant Reviews, Technology, travel, Uncategorized, Video Work, Writing (all kinds) on November 8, 2016 at 3:00 AM

The Write Heart

Photo Courtesy of Dreamtimes.com

Can you imagine that I am offering free life coaching on any of your life’s challenges for the low, low cost of one book sale from you? Yes – this is not a gimmick – it is true.

We can do the life coaching through email if you are long distance, or we could do it over the phone if you are local. We can also use such services as MSN and Yahoo Messenger if you prefer a more instant approach to the life coaching. I look forward to hearing from you. Make your dreams come true!

Books You Can Buy With Free Life Coaching

In book reviews, Business, Contact Information, Creative Writing, Education, Events, Health, Living, Writing (all kinds) on November 7, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Cover Art for Story Ideas - Help For Writer's Block by Donna Kakonge - Photo from Dreamstime.com

Cover Art for Story Ideas - Help For Writer's Block by Donna Kakonge - Photo from Dreamstime.com

Donna Kakonge has written 25 books that you can choose from along with FREE  life coaching for your challenges in life. You can contact her at: dkakonge@sympatico.ca to find out more.

Simply People Festival to Celebrate Disabilities

In Culture, Disability, Education, Entertainment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Music, Writing (all kinds) on November 4, 2016 at 3:00 AM
The Simply People Festival is Happening on July 21st - Photo Courtesy of Morguefile.com

The Simply People Festival is Happening on July 21st - Photo Courtesy of Morguefile.com

Simply people was formed about five years ago after forming CANWAPPS. CANWAPPS stands for Canada-wide Accessibility for Post-secondary Students. This is a national non-profit organization that is geared towards increasing accessibility and inclusion for post-secondary students with disabilities.

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Muay Thai

In Culture, Education, Health, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on October 28, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Nick Goodwin is Discovering Muay Thai Boxing - Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

Nick Goodwin is Discovering Muay Thai Boxing - Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

By Nick Goodwin

I have begun researching the art of Muay Thai boxing. The reason being is because I have been given the opportunity to create a mural on the wall of a soon-to-be Muay Thai boxing studio. The Remix Project has given me the opportunity to help with the creation of this mural.

So far, I have learned a few basics in regards to the history and importance of Muay Thai boxing. Muay Thai was born in Thailand. The practice of this fighting technique dates way back to a more primal time. It was originally formed as a technique that the people of Thailand could use to defend themselves from neighbouring countries that had the intentions of invasion. One of the most unique factors is that the techniques of Muay Thai have always been passed on orally rather than through documentation or written instruction. There are few written records.

Muay Thai is a large part of Thai culture. Even in times of peace, the military leaders encouraged the practice of these self-defense techniques. In this cultural environment many people choose to make a living through Muay Thai competitively. In some cases of poverty it is some people’s last resort of survival.

Like any sport, over time it has evolved and become a little safer and more commercial. Still, Muay Thai boxing is a part of the Thai culture that continues to affect the whole world.

I am excited to post more details on this subject as my knowledge and experience increases.

“All Bagged-Up, With Nowhere To Go”

In Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on October 27, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Kirk Verner Writes about Garbage in Toronto - Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

By: Kirk Verner

As the first week of summer drifts through Toronto like a lost locomotive, my nose hairs tingle from the smell of rubble. Toronto’s trash is all bagged-up, with nowhere to go. Soon to be towering high over our heads, our trash will have to sit and decompose in our garages, alleys, and on our street corners until yet another city strike is settled.

As this strike rots its way into “Week 2” I decide to roam the streets in the city’s core, seeking the most unsightly of trash heaps.

I find a bus shelter that has been transformed into a wonderful compost pile. Equipped with blackened banana peels, mustard stained napkins, and more rodent droppings than you could find in any grain elevator, this inner-city glass shelter can now become an impeccable greenhouse…how innovative.

A short journey through the alleys of Chinatown reminds me of why I was warned to steer clear of this area of the city during this garbage strike. The smell of rancid sweet and sour ribs hovers in the air. The stench sticks to the graffiti that has been crudely spray-painted on the brick walls. Dead pigeons rest in peace and are clean of maggots due to the endless menu options for the squirming fly larva. The alley reminds me of photos I have seen illustrating the garbage dumps in Rio de Janeiro.

In my own garage, the problem worsens. Although horrid, the smell is not the concern. It is the sight of all I want to rid that really bothers me. It’s the garbage that reminds me of what I once loved, but now want nothing to do with. An old Playboy, the Farrah Fawcett issue, sits menacingly amidst plastic and Styrofoam; photos I will never again be able to look at due to her passing. A “Thriller” album I bought as a joke from a yard sale sits cracked and faded on the ever-growing pile a junk. A Michael Jackson bobble-head with the word “pedophile” finely painted across its chest frightens me every time I open the sliding door. Please take my garbage away!

The strike, I believe, should be a test for Canada’s largest city. Toronto needs to seriously start recycling more in order to tackle this heap of an environmental issue. Why is it always about money? At least a third of the ruin I come across resting on the city streets is most certainly recyclable. What are we going to do about it?

Toronto…a world-class city with third-world garbage issues!?

Tabi make ninjas happy

In Culture, Health, Media Writing, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on October 24, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Rachel Muenz Discovered There Are Special Shoes for Ninjas - Photo: MorgueFile.com

Rachel Muenz Discovered There Are Special Shoes for Ninjas - Photo: MorgueFile.com

By Rachel Muenz

Most people in Toronto put on high-heels, polished oxfords or running shoes when they go to work. Matthew Wright puts on a pair of tabi.

Tabi are a traditional type of shoe worn in Japan mainly for festivals and are essentially like mittens for your feet, keeping the big toe separate from the rest of your toes. They also happen to be the favoured footwear of ninjas.

Wright has been making training tools and fixing swords for people who practise ninjutsu for about three years.

“I’m very lucky with my profession that I get to say I’m a full-time professional ninja,” he says. “It’s very awesome.”

He says he finds wearing regular clothes strange because he is used to wearing his ninjutsu uniform all the time at work.

“When I go out, I feel I’m putting the costume on. I put the jeans on. I put a shirt on and I look in the mirror and I think I look very funny,” says Wright, who has practised ninjutsu for two years. “I don’t put Gators on, I put my tabi on.”

The shoes look cool but there is more to them than that.

Greg Tremblay, a full-time ninjutsu instructor at Kageyama Dojo in western Toronto also wears tabi every day to work. He says these unique shoes give a ninja’s balance a boost with their split-toe design.

“The big toe is absolutely of prime importance for balance,” Tremblay says, tugging on his own toe  that is poking through his well-worn tabi. “It’s where all your balance comes from and so having that toe separated from the rest of them adds to that feeling of balance.”

You wouldn’t think so, since the cotton tabi tend to slip, but this actually helps with a ninja’s training, says Tremblay who’s at the rank of seventh dan in ninjutsu and bears the title of Shidoshi.

With Canada’s icy winters, training with tabi help simulate a situation where you might be fighting on a slippery, snowy road, says Tremblay, who opened Kageyama in 1996 and has been doing ninjutsu since the early 80s.

The easy-slide fabric forces ninjas to concentrate on their balance instead of taking it for granted.

Wright agrees cotton tabi improve a ninja’s stability.

“They allow me to grip surfaces that are uneven,” he says from the beige mat in one of the dojo’s training halls. “I can feel the terrain so it allows me to really work on my balance.”

Tabi are also easier to clean than other shoes.

“You can throw these in the washing machine and wash them,” Tremblay says, clapping a hand on his tabi-clad foot. “They’re just kind of like really thick, convenient socks.”

There are also more durable, rubber-soled tabi called jika tabi, which ninjas use mostly for outdoor training. In Japan, this type of tabi is used by construction workers.

Wright says jika tabi are excellent for training on hardwood floors because they grip much better than cloth tabi. Jika tabi also make it easier for him to train with his problem knee.

“With a rubber sole, my foot doesn’t slip so I can really feel where the pressure is on my knee,” Wright says, gesturing to his left leg. “It allows me to have a lot more power and accuracy.”

Some moves can only be done wearing tabi.

Amon Kage, who’s been training in ninjutsu for three years but has only been at Kageyama for a week, says he wears tabi just for one type of strike.

“The only reason I actually use them is because of the toe kick,” Kage says. “That’s the only footwear you can effectively use [for the kick].”

This move is a kick with the big toe to any target on an opponent’s body, says Kage, a literature student at the University of Toronto. The split toe is what allows a ninja to pull it off.

When buying tabi, Wright says he wants ones that don’t bite between his toes but have a seam that fits tightly to his foot. He says he still needs some space in the toe area for movement, but not a lot.

“If there’s too much space . . . it doesn’t hold nicely and it’s like wearing a loose sock and you’re trying to move,” he says, running his hand along his new-looking navy tabi. “It’s just uncomfortable all the time.”

Both Wright and Tremblay say it’s best to buy directly from a supplier rather than the Internet. Tremblay finds it easiest to get his tabi directly from Japan, which he visits often.

He says they cost about $15 to$20 Canadian and the larger sizes are around $30 to$35 and last three to nine months before they wear out, depending on how often they’re used.

If you have to buy tabi over the Internet, asking questions is important to make sure you get the right type and best quality, the two ninjas say.

“Ask if they’re Velcro,” Wright says. “If they’re Velcro that’s usually the first sign that they’re not good tabi.”

High-quality tabi have metal tabs at the back that can be adjusted for a better fit.

While Tremblay wears tabi as often as he can, the navy blue ones for ninjutsu, the black jika tabi for outdoor training, and white ones for doing Japanese archery, he avoids wearing them in public. He wore a pair of rubber tabi similar to rain boots when he went out only once.

“I wore them one time on the subway and everybody noticed,” he says with a smile. “It’s totally not something that a ninja would actually wear because then everybody knows you’re a ninja, right?”

Michael Jackson

In Entertainment, Health, Living, Music, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on October 19, 2016 at 3:00 AM

I have most of his albums and he is one of the only performers where I actually had a picture of him up on my wall when I was young. That being…Michael Jackson.

Apparently he suffered a cardiac arrest at 12:20 p.m. this afternoon. I certainly hope he is OK.

I can only imagine the media stir that is going to be created around something like this. I hope rumours do not fly and all kinds of suspicions as to what caused the attack. Let the doctors decide and whether he remains dead or alive – let him rest in peace regardless.

Chaos

In Health, Home Decor, Living, Media Writing, Music, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on October 18, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Nick Goodwin Has a Makeshift Curtain - Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

Nick Goodwin Has a Makeshift Curtain - Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

By Nick Goodwin

I’m sitting in my house listening to music and lightning. I’m listening to old school hip hop. I really like the “old school” stuff. I can hear it raining a bit in between songs and the lightning is chiming in
whenever it feels like it.

Last night it was extremely hot in the house. It probably did not help that I boiled a pot of water. It was so hot that I got up from my bed in a sweaty haze to try and pry open my uncooperative window. In the heat of the moment I managed to accidentally rip down my makeshift curtain. The window then began giving me trouble. I woke up this morning to a scene of clothes thrown, furniture moved, and a surprising decrease in temperature! I made a huge mess trying to get my window to cooperate. I ended up saying forget it and sleeping through the heat.

I’m starting to develop some personal goals for the future. My nature is ambitious, however, I am really not a goals-oriented individual. I know what I want and I go for it; not always with a plan.

My mother always criticized me for behaving this way. I often find it easier to write the blueprint as you go rather than before you engage in an experience that will have unpredictable occurrences.

I suppose my theory is more relative to short-term planning. I’m starting to think a little more long-term in my potential goals. If I develop some personal long-term goals that will add to my motivation to be a successful freelance artist as well as provide me with some focus.

Need help? Just give me a call with tobacco

In Business, Culture, Education, Health, Living, Media Writing, Writing (all kinds) on October 17, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Rachel Muenz Writes About Tobacco - Photo: MorgueFile.com

Rachel Muenz Writes About Tobacco - Photo: MorgueFile.com

By: Rachel Muenz

Before I climbed to the third floor of the North Borden Building on Spadina, I thought tobacco was bad. But now I know that it can be good, depending on how you use it. Tobacco can help students like me get the confidence they need to make their dreams soar.

It is here at the University of Toronto’s First Nations House where I meet Grafton Antone, one of two Aboriginal elders there, to talk about the work he does with students at U of T. In exchange for that information, I must give him a tiny packet of tobacco wrapped in yellow cloth.

Antone explains tobacco is sacred in Aboriginal culture because it is how natives communicate with Creator, their supreme being, when they need guidance.

“The smoke carries our prayers up to Creator and Creator said, ‘if you want anything, just give me a call and here’s my telephone,’ says Antone, holding up a piece of dried tobacco and laughing. This is why elders are given tobacco in exchange for information and counselling. It’s a way of asking for help.
Students can also bring the elders other gifts. Antone shows me the large block of pink salt stone he got from a student earlier that day who told him it came from Pakistan. He turns it in his hands so I can see the hole in the top where a candle can be put inside and lit to make the stone glow.

Just like lighting the salt stone, Antone helps feed the fires of students’ dreams with his booming laugh and encouraging words so they can shine with success.

“I work with people’s dreams and make them happen,” says Antone, who’s been an elder at First Nations House since about the year 2000.

Antone shows me how he does this by asking students questions and learning what their dreams are. Knowing a bit more about students, he can then bounce ideas off them for how they can go about achieving those dreams.

“That’s where we build; we build on our relationship,” Antone says. “We build on our conversations and that’s what I do. I dialogue with you and in dialoguing with you I’m able to work with you.”

But there’s only so much Antone can do to help a student. Overall, the student needs to have a goal and has to want to achieve that goal in order for Antone to give them guidance.
“A bird needs to have a dream to fly,” he says.

Kathy Marsden agrees. She’s been the native counsellor at the Aboriginal Resource Centre at Georgian College in Barrie for the past 12 years.

“If they’re [the students] not internally motivated, nobody can motivate them to change,” Marsden says. “The support services are about empowering, helping them to work things through themselves, not doing things for them.”

Like Antone, Marsden also uses Aboriginal teachings to help native students at the college. Her main way of helping students is by using what she calls “the medicine wheel approach.”

The medicine wheel is another important symbol of most First Nations, though it differs from group to group. It is a wheel divided into four sections: red, black, white, and yellow. The wheel stands for many different things, but Marsden’s counselling methods focus on the four parts of the self the wheel symbolizes: spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental.
Marsden mostly deals with the emotional part in her counselling but she says the four areas overlap.

“If someone’s under emotional stress, it’s affecting them in all those other areas,” she says. “It’s affecting them mentally, so they can’t concentrate on their academics. It’s affecting them physically; oftentimes they can’t sleep, so I don’t just deal with the emotional part.”

Balance is the aim of Marsden’s approach. She has students fill out a medicine wheel chart to show which of the four areas they need to work on. Eating well and getting enough exercise are some of the things she might help a student with in the physical part, while self-confidence issues could be a part of both the emotional and spiritual sections of the wheel.
“Depending on how lengthy the sessions are we may just deal with one specific aspect,” Marsden says. “But that’s OK. If it helps them get on with their lives, then that’s great.”

Helping students with those emotional problems can be hard.
Antone says that every single student that comes to see him is a difficult case in its own way, but it’s especially hard when the student is angry. Surprisingly, to help students get past their anger, he eggs them on to make them angrier.

“Sometimes when people are angry, it sometimes requires you to get a little bit more angry ‘til you realize that maybe that’s not really the right thing,” he says. “They catch themselves, they calm down and then I’m able to talk to them and maybe bring them down the good path.” The good path can mean forgiving people and treating them better instead of being mad, Antone adds.

Marsden agrees that anger shouldn’t be ignored even though most people see it as a negative emotion.

“The way we look at it is, all our emotions are given to us by Creator so we have to honour all those emotions and it’s how we deal with them that counts,” she says.

Smudging ceremonies are also a way that elders and native counsellors might help students deal with stress and other problems.

In his tiny office at First Nations House with the window open a crack, Antone shows me how smudging is done.

He takes a large shell from a table at the back of the room and sprinkles some grey-white sage leaves into it. He lights them on fire and smoke begins to curl up to the ceiling. I sweep the smoke over myself with my hands three or four times as Antone says for me to do. It has a spicy sweet smell and, as Antone says, “it makes you want to start cooking turkey.”

Aboriginals believe everyone has an energy surrounding them. The smoke from the sage or other plants First Nations use in smudging, such as sweetgrass, works like a shower to wash away negative energy, Antone says.

“What it does is it works with the thinking. It’s good for people and it’s supposed to bring understanding and it’s supposed to clear your mind,” he says. “And in the clearing of the mind it gives a new space, a new time, a new beginning for you to be able to walk the future.”

I feel calmer after bathing myself in the sage smoke and wish I had known about smudging during my last set of assignments.
But smudging doesn’t work for everybody.

“You only get out of it what you put into it,” Antone says.
He adds that postsecondary education is a kind of smudging, because by gaining knowledge, the energy around people changes too.

Learning about the Aboriginal worldview helps students with their personal growth, says Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, an Aboriginal studies professor at the University of Toronto.
Unlike mainstream society, the native viewpoint focuses on the success of everyone as a group rather than the success of one person, Wesley-Esquimaux says.

“When it’s all about you and all you’re concerned about is getting to the top of the game, then you don’t care who you step on,” she says. “Whereas with the Aboriginal worldview it’s not like that, it’s not competitive, it’s about trying to help each other get to a good place.”

By thinking of helping other people instead of just themselves, students not only become better people, they also become part of a community, Wesley-Esquimaux adds. Because of this, they avoid the loneliness and homesickness students often experience when they first get to university or college. Taking part in native community activities like potlucks and feasts means that students gain the support of many people and aren’t left on their own to deal with the transition to university or college.

“They [the students] seem to enjoy the inclusive nature of it. They like being involved in putting together feasts and spending a lot of time with each other,” she says. “They like that part. They don’t feel so isolated.”

Marsden says this idea of community and getting students involved is important at Georgian College as well. Though her counselling services are just for native students, the Aboriginal Resource Centre, like First Nations House, also has events and activities for all students and they have an elder on campus who everyone can visit for help.

“We’re not exclusive, we’re inclusive and that’s a huge factor,” Marsden says.

Changing students’ ways of thinking either through seeing an elder or learning more about Aboriginal culture can help them overcome seemingly impossible challenges at school, Antone says.

“It is not impossible, it’s only the space that you’re sitting in or the environment that you’re engulfed in . . . if we move you over just that much,” he says, holding his hands about an inch apart, “All of a sudden you say, ‘Oh I can see it, I understand it now.”

With a bit of nudging, students see solutions to problems that they were blind to before.

Talking with students and hearing their stories is what Antone enjoys most about working at First Nations House.
“I like to listen to people and I hear their stories. That’s how I can get a story.”

But it also makes him happy when he sees students carrying on what he’s taught them by performing various First Nations ceremonies themselves.

Passing on knowledge is what he really seems to love.
“I changed you,” he says with a laugh. “I smudged you. You’re no longer the same person as you were when you came in here.

You now have an access to the Aboriginal understanding.”
It’s true.

When I first climbed to the third floor of the North Borden Building on Spadina, I was nervous and scared. I didn’t know what First Nations culture was, though I’d read a lot about it.
Now I know a little something, and as I walk away from First Nations House, up the dreary wet street, I’m happy and confident. I know more about who I am.

All because of a little bundle of tobacco wrapped in yellow cloth.

Sunscreen

In Beauty, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on October 13, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Nick Goodwin Protects Himself From the Sun - Photo: MorgueFile.com

Nick Goodwin Protects Himself From the Sun - Photo: MorgueFile.com

By Nick Goodwin

The sun. To tan or not to tan, that is the question. We question the reliance of the o-zone layer, the efficiency of sunscreen, and our ability to take in the nutrients that the sun’s light provides.

For adults everywhere it is common practice to know tomorrow’s approximate weather, however, there is nothing wrong with playing it by ear and looking out the window the day of!

This year I am not worried about getting too much sun. I have all the sunscreen I need. I always dress for comfort, so, in the summer heat that means baggy tee shirts that cover most of my arms as

well as long shorts or pants. If anything, my feet need as much sun as they can get. I also have a thin and comfortable hat that provides me with enough shade to stay less than crispy.

For the past two summers I have been very conscious of the sun’s effect on people. I have been highly motivated to use sunscreen and to see what kinds are out there. My skin requires a non-oily sunscreen with a high SPF. The past summer I was using 70 SPF that was really thick, however, I was working at a kid’s camp and they found it amusing to see me running around with TONS of sunscreen caked all over my face.

For kids it is important that sunscreen be fun. It shouldn’t be a worry. Sunscreen should be common practice and promoted as a positive and important thing rather than a threat of skin destruction if not taken advantage of. There is no harm in educating a child on the importance of it.

Growing up I would often visit my Grandfather. He had a divot on the side of his head shaped like a golf ball. He used to tell me that a golf ball had hit him in the head there. I was eventually told the truth. He told me that he had been burned badly by the sun for not wearing the appropriate sun gear and that part of his face had been badly damaged.

For me it was always an entertaining story to begin with, however, the story had a serious twist that brought a lesson to be learned to my attention. I must admit that this little story is probably the true reason behind my “obsession” with sunscreen. If not entirely, it has at least influenced me to be more careful when a beautiful day comes around and everything becomes carefree.

Remix

In Education, Health, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on October 11, 2016 at 3:00 AM
The Remix Project Has Changed Nick Goodwin's Life

The Remix Project Has Changed Nick Goodwin's Life

By Nick Goodwin

So far, I have withheld the fact that I am an artist. I draw, paint, write, make music and play sports. My biggest exercise lately has been both graphic design and skateboarding.

The story goes like this. I was told about “The Remix Project” by a friend of mine. He told me he saw a little something about this organization on television. He thought it seemed right down my alley.

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Hair Chat

In Beauty, Culture, Health, Uncategorized, Writing (all kinds) on October 3, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Four lovely women, a fifth one coming later, volunteered their time on a January afternoon in 1998 to sit down at Salon Utopia and chat about hair. Here are the details of their chat which will hopefully stimulate your own discussions. Read the rest of this entry »

Iris’s Perspective – Wearing Glasses in the 1980s

In Beauty, Health, Living, Writing (all kinds) on October 2, 2016 at 3:00 AM

I knew I had a problem seeing far when I would sit really close to the television by about the age of six. Once I reached higher up in the school and I needed to sit at the front of the class to see the chalkboard, glasses were an obvious consequence by time I turned about 12.

At first I did not want to wear glasses, however I found the frames fun. I came across a pair of white ones and would wear them without the lenses, even though I needed still needed to see.

Growing up in the 1980s in the age of the material girl, looking your best was a priority and glasses did not always go with that image. I had not heard of anyone who had received laser eye surgery – I really did not even know what it was.

At first when laser eye surgery came out there were reports about people going blind. Others would say it changed their lives. I decided to just stick with my contacts, no matter how much they bothered me. I did know of some cultural groups who would get surgery to add an eyelid to their eyes. One of my best friends at the time had this surgery.

By time the 1990s rolled around and I was in university, I wore my contacts exclusively. They were one of the biggest pains in the world. I also find that putting in contacts is a skill itself…something that is developed as a skill with practice. When I would revert to my glasses for a time and then go back to contacts, I could not pry my eyes open long enough to put in those tiny, clear, round circles.

I can completely understand why someone would choose to do eye surgery…especially when it comes to issues of vanity and how important it may be when it comes to how they look. This would depend on the career they are in.

I keep wearing my glasses mainly for convenience. When I heard in a news report that contacts are actually bad for your eyes, I started to wear my glasses. Plus I am older now and less affected by concerns surrounding vanity. I have had flashes in the past of considering laser eye surgery; however figure that the money can be better spent in other ways.

Cosmetic Eye Surgery

In Beauty, Health on October 1, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Many people will choose cosmetic eye surgery to prevent the signs of aging. Surgical methods can lift the eyes, known as an eyelift as well as smooth the contours under the eyes to make you look younger.

Some cultural groups also get a surgical procedure done to add an eyelid where a significant one was not there before.

Laser eye surgery is used to reverse poor vision back to 20/20. The procedure costs anywhere from $4,000 to $5,000 for both eyes – even less in some cases. Those figures are maximum ballpark ones. Laser eye surgery is relatively unobtrusive for those people who are little squeamish when it comes to knives, needles and blood.

One of the benefits of cosmetic surgery is that it is meant to enhance your existing features. If this is something you would like to consider, perhaps you are tired of your eyeglasses and the way they make you look – or you are simply aiming to look younger because that is a value that you hold dear, then speaking with a cosmetic eye surgeon may be a good choice for you.

Make sure you do your homework to find the right ones. Do your research, ask friends who may recommend someone – check the person out with places like the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Good luck on your journey to improving your physical beauty.

The Model World

In Beauty, Health, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on September 30, 2016 at 3:00 AM

I had my days when I was in the model world. Weighing in at 118 pounds at the height of 5 feet 10 inches, my model agent once told me that I should lose five pounds at that time.

The main reason why I got into modeling was because a boyfriend of mine was doing it too. I had a lot of fun doing it and when I was in my late teens and early 20s I did not ever think of getting cosmetic surgery – nor did I plan to in the future.

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Getting Old and Fat

In Beauty, Health, Writing (all kinds) on September 28, 2016 at 3:00 AM

I remember the days when I was young and skinny – they really were not all that long ago. Those days are gone now and it is probably a good thing that I am afraid of knives that keeps me from doing cosmetic surgery.

In general I am happy with the way I look. It is an au naturel look that I strive for, an Earth Goddess kind of thing. At least I tell myself this and it helps me sleep at night so I do not miss being the “hottie” I once was.

There is an expression that “beauty is wasted on the young.” I would say this is absolutely true. All of the beauty I had when I was younger would come in more handy now and be a lot more useful. On the other hand though, I have things like wisdom at my age that I did not have in my teens and in my 20s that is hard to get from a knife.

I do understand why some older people would choose to get plastic surgery to have a look that they feel will give them the competitive edge in the career market. Some occupations really require a certain look. I am glad I am a writer and do not need to worry as much about my appearance. I need to worry more about grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Would I go under the knife? I do not think so. At the end of the day I am just happy that I breathe in and out and I am in a relatively healthy state. I could use some more exercise though and perhaps more soya milk.

Having Energy Naturally

In Health, Writing (all kinds) on September 21, 2016 at 3:00 AM

By Kathy Tapley-Milton

Are you feeling fatigued and listless and wonder why? Is everything becoming a monumental effort? Fatigue can be caused by millions of things from being stressed out to serious illness. If your doctor has given you a clean bill of health, but you still don’t have any pep, there are lots of natural ways to make you full of vim and vigour.

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GINGKO THE MEMORIAL TREE

In Health, Writing (all kinds) on September 20, 2016 at 3:00 AM

By Kathy Tapley-Milton

A Gingko tree in Morgantown, U.S.A was planted by Rueben C. Griffitt who was a Union soldier in the Civil War. The tree commemorates the 630 soldiers who died in the notorious Andersonville Prison.

Gingko, a long living memorial, can be planted in most of continental United States, in zones 2 to 9, and some companies sell kits containing everything needed to plant a memorial tree.

Kits can be obtained at: http://www.gifttree.com/p3/6941/Ginkgo_Tree_in_Their_Memory-106.html

Menopause Hair Loss

In Beauty, Health, Writing (all kinds) on August 16, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Some women experience hair loss as part of menopause. There are ways of getting around this irritating situation.

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Do Supplements Help Hair Loss?

In Beauty, Health, Writing (all kinds) on August 12, 2016 at 3:00 AM

There is one product called Herbalife that is 100 percent organic and is a vitamin supplement. Herbalife is a meal replacement that contains your complete daily nutritional and vitamin intake with fewer calories.

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Excerpt from What Happened to the Afro?

In Beauty, book reviews, Health, Writing (all kinds) on August 6, 2016 at 3:00 AM

What Happened to the Afro?
Afro Forever Research Paper

Intro

Transformation
In Loree’s Beauty Shop
hot combs sizzled
against
wet oily scalps
branding
grown woman fantasies
into tender young
heads.
Thick busy afros
became
long glossy black curls
transforming
natural Black queens
into
commercial mahogany princesses (Boyd, 14).

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Don’t Minimize Children’s Anxiety about Pandemics, says Psychiatrist

In Health, Writing (all kinds) on August 5, 2016 at 3:00 AM

By Gail Bergman and Indira Tarachandra

It takes longer for children than adults to get over traumatic experiences; fears must be addressed to avoid development of more serious conditions

Newmarket, Ontario – May 8, 2009 – The spread and severity of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus may fluctuate as the days go on, but for many children, the anxiety of contracting the mysterious flu remains constant. As a result, parents would be wise to educate and communicate with their kids to calm their fears and avoid the development of more serious conditions later on, says a Canadian psychiatrist.

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A Hair Peace (Broadcast on CBC Montreal)

In Beauty, Culture, Education, Health, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on July 25, 2016 at 3:00 AM

My first hobby was playing hairdresser to my Barbie dolls. I had my childhood in the 1970s and 1980s but I was not much different from Black children in the 1940s who chose White dolls over Black dolls in a landmark study that lead to the desegregation of American schools.

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10 Most Popular Health Care Programs

In Education, Health, Writing (all kinds) on July 6, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Whether you want to be a dentist, a doctor, a nurse, a pharmacist or any thing related to the health care field – these are some of the most popular health care programs in North America.

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10 Most Popular Culinary Arts Programs

In Education, Health, Writing (all kinds) on July 4, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Looking to make cooking part of your career? There are many terrific culinary arts programs throughout North America where you can turn your flair in the kitchen into a profitable lifestyle choice.

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Tougher Physical Education Standards in Florida

In Education, Health, Writing (all kinds) on July 1, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Florida students will now be required to do 30 minutes of daily exercise according to a bill signed by Gov. Charlie Crist.

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