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Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Puns to Ponder

In Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on February 17, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Brikena Ribaj Ponders on Puns - Photo Courtesy of Morguefile.com

Brikena Ribaj Ponders on Puns – Photo Courtesy of Morguefile.com

By Brikena Ribaj

Tip of the hat to Chris for the pointer. He and I have such a great time together playing with language. I thought I’d share with you all what he just sent my way.

Enjoy. And as a medievalist, my very favorite would have to be number one.

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Because ALL One Needs is Music – Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There

In Culture, Entertainment, Media Writing, Music, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on February 16, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Brikena Ribaj Does a Review of Todd Hayes

Brikena Ribaj Does a Review of Todd Hayes

By Brikena Ribaj

I don’t think one chooses music. I truly believe it chooses one. I was asked recently why I’m such a fan of indie music. I remember saying something like, ‘well, I suppose I was born that way. Or something. It’s one of those truths, you know? You just know it. Sort of like knowing your name, you just do, you know?’ The awkward-sounding answer made full sense to me. Can’t say the same for my interlocutor.

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Pet Shop Boys and Nietsche?!?!

In Culture, Education, Entertainment, Living, Media Writing, Music, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on February 15, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Brikena Ribaj Comments on the Pet Shop Boys

Brikena Ribaj Comments on the Pet Shop Boys

By Brikena Ribaj

I often refer to the music-loving Socrates as Nietzsche portrays him in his work Birth of Tragedy. Music is the best form of language, per Socrates. And I concur fully not just because it is Socrates’ attitude per Nietzsche but because I happen to share the same attitude experientially. So, those who get mad over not getting showered with attention when music is playing an active part in the discourse need to, well, find other ways to cope.

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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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Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation

In Culture, Entertainment, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on February 9, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Brikena Ribaj Comments on Lost in Translation - Photo Courtesy of IMB

Brikena Ribaj Comments on Lost in Translation – Photo Courtesy of IMDB

By Brikena Ribaj

Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation (2003) is another good Fall title for me. It takes place in Tokyo and the most relatable bits in the film are Charlotte and Bob, the two main characters, exploring the busy, urban streets of Tokyo together, thus sharing their isolated togetherness and bonding in a place where the leading currency is utter linguistic unfamiliarity and unequivocal confusion.

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Ist Brüno In oder Aus? Ish sage Aus!

In Culture, Entertainment, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on February 8, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Brikena Ribaj Reviews the Movie Bruno

Brikena Ribaj Reviews the Movie Bruno

By Brikena Ribaj

A screening of Brüno (2009) in a German-speaking setting is one thing. A screening of it somewhere else is something else.

I explain.

As a German speaker, I have a healthy list of reasons as to why this film vexed my ears. The whole grammar thing does a number on me. File it under occupational hazard.

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The Inkwell – Selection from Upcoming Book Stories in Red and Yellow

In Beauty, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Living, Media Writing, Movie Reviews, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on February 7, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Larenz Tate is the Star of the Movie The Inkwell

Larenz Tate is the Star of the Movie The Inkwell – Photo Courtesy of Starpulse.com

Set in 1976, this movie features the staple afros, braids and other various styles of Black hair at that time. The interesting thing of note is that the family of Drew Tate, the main character in the movie, are depicted as working class and activist.

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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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SO IS THIS IT?

In Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on January 31, 2017 at 12:00 PM
Hyacinth Harewood's Poem Illustrates the Struggles of Life - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

Hyacinth Harewood’s Poem Asks So Is This It? – Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

By Hyacinth Harewood

I’m a parasite on an interminable past that will outlast my gourmet greed,
I’m Tantalus in consummation, never stopping eating – under the curse of my past.
Yesterday’s spices drive me to wishing wells of the future that never fulfill water,
Not a drip from the cup to the caking lip.

Come tomorrow ….
Tomorrow never comes,
Intercepted by an interfering today.

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Financial degradation at Site 52 puts species at risk: Part three of a five-part series

In Business, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on January 29, 2017 at 12:00 PM
Rachel Muenz Continues With Part Three of Her Series on Garbage - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

Rachel Muenz Continues With Part Three of Her Series on Garbage – Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

By Zema Luncher

Protests at Site 52 are putting a severe strain on the financial ecosystem, damaging the habitats of taxpayers and politicians, says Comise County Warden Tom Gudgeon.

Blockades at the proposed dump site in Teeny Township are not only harming these species but the protestors as well, he added.

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Brainwashed by Site 52 protestors: Part four of a five-part series

In Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on January 28, 2017 at 3:00 AM
Rachel Muenz Writes About a Character That Loves Garbage in Part Four of Her Series - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

Rachel Muenz Writes About a Character That Loves Garbage in Part Four of Her Series – Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

By Zema Luncher

Charlene Rawston used to love garbage. Instead of keeping it in bins or in the garage, she kept the bags in the living room where she could talk to them and share stories. When Site 52 was first proposed she wholeheartedly supported it, happy that other bags like her close friends would finally have a proper home. But then the protestors came and everything changed.

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Camille Nelson’s Album First Words, Why I Love It

In Beauty, Culture, Entertainment, Living, Music, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on November 30, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Brikena Ribaj Reviews the Musical Work of Camille Nelson

Brikena Ribaj Reviews the Musical Work of Camille Nelson

By Brikena Ribaj

This is Camille Nelson, my very good friend.

Camille Nelson is one of my all-time favorite people. Among so many other things, she is also an artist par excellence. Camille is also the one who patiently taught me how to play the guitar, the one with whom I’ve had many an adventure over the years, and the one who simply excels at all she does. And she manages to do it all by being unapologetically good and quintessentially Camille.

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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.

Ode to Silence

In Beauty, Culture, Entertainment, Environment, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, travel, Writing (all kinds) on November 20, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Brikena Ribaj Loves Portland, Oregon - Photo by Brikena Ribaj

Brikena Ribaj Loves Portland, Oregon - Photo by Brikena Ribaj

By Brikena Ribaj

One of the reasons I love Portland, OR, well, other than it being home to the best bookstore I have seen in North America, Powell’s, is how quiet it is.

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Franz Ferdinand Concert Report

In Culture, Entertainment, Events, Living, Media Writing, Music, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on November 16, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Franz Ferdinand Concert - Photo by Brikena Ribaj

Franz Ferdinand Concert - Photo by Brikena Ribaj

Franz Ferdinand is on tour promoting their new album Tonight with Franz Ferdinand. We saw them in concert last night and I am happy to report that they delivered. They performed for one and a half hours and the energy of the band was in harmonious synch with that of the crowd.

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Taylor Swift?! Uh-huh!

In Beauty, Culture, Entertainment, Living, Music, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on November 12, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Brikena Ribaj Rocks to Taylor Swift

Brikena Ribaj Rocks to Taylor Swift

By Brikena Ribaj

Today I rocked to country.

Yes. I did.

I rocked to country music.

The reason I say this twice is because, well, for lack of a better phrase, I don’t do country. I don’t know why. I just can’t. I am not attracted to it. I never was. While I’m sure that country music feeds many people, it doesn’t manage to feed me in any way. Not even with carbs. It’s a preference issue, you see. For example, I love Verdi, Wagner, Beethoven, and Mozart but I don’t care for Schumann. I love Indie rock but basically everything about Grunge bothers me. And, yes, Nirvana is an exception. Kurt Cobain is bigger than any genre. And I loved him. Very much. I still do. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” continues to be a high-frequency track. It’s not grunge, it’s classic. So there are exceptions within certain genres, of course.

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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
This is the Cover Art for the Book The Write Heart - Photo From Dreamstime.com

This is the Cover Art for the Book The Write Heart - Photo From Dreamstime.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!

My Brother

In Education, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on November 3, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Nick Goodwin Pays Tribute to His Brother - Photo Courtesy of Morguefile.com

Nick Goodwin Pays Tribute to His Brother - Photo Courtesy of Morguefile.com

By Nick Goodwin

I don’t see as much of my brother as I would like to, however, we got together for my aunt’s wedding and Father’s Day the day after. He’s busy working all summer. It has been weird being away from home. It has been especially weird since when I do visit home I notice the changes. My brother going away to school and then away working hard. My younger brother, I had considered the day we would both leave home but I was never ready for it.

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The Shelter

In Environment, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on October 30, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Nick Goodwin Transformed His Life With the Help of a Shelter - Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

Nick Goodwin Transformed His Life With the Help of a Shelter – Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

By Nick Goodwin

I’ve come a long way from being kicked out of my house. My parents and I have managed to rekindle our relationship and these days we see eye-to-eye better than we ever have.

You could say that my first two years out of high school were my least productive. I was definitely a lost individual. High school wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, or more over, was too much park walking if you catch my drift. There were some rough times and I lost a few people close to me in those days.

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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!?

No country for shoe schools

In Beauty, Education, Living, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on October 26, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Rachel Muenz Has Discovered There Are No Shoe Schools in Canada - Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

Rachel Muenz Has Discovered There Are No Shoe Schools in Canada - Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

By Rachel Muenz

There are no shoe design schools in Canada and you can blame that on our climate.

Because of our ever-changing weather, Canadians tend to put function over fashion, according to Sarah Beam-Borg, the assistant curator at Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum. “North Americans, traditionally, haven’t been sticklers for beautiful manufacture in footwear also because we need so many different kinds of shoes for our climate,” she says.

There’s a saying at the Bata Shoe Museum, Beam-Borg adds. The average Italian is willing to spend up to $500 for a single pair of beautiful shoes and they’ll have about 10 pairs of shoes in their closet.

The average North American will spend about $70 for a fashionable pair of shoes but they’ll have 30 or 40 pairs in their closet.

Canadians need winter boots, summer sandals, footwear for wet weather, shoes for work, and shoes for play. Paying $500 for each pair would put most people in the poorhouse.
As a result, we don’t worry about style so much and Canada has never gained a reputation for fashion.

“We have our own Fashion Week but Canada isn’t really a fashion centre on the world stage,” says Beam-Borg. “It isn’t known for its footwear design or manufacture and never has been.”

Most shoe manufacture is done in China where labour is cheapest and most of the design is done in Italy, seen as one of the major fashion centres of Europe, Beam-Borg says.
There’s also been little interest in shoe design programs here.
Beam-Borg has worked with the Ryerson University fashion department for the last six or seven years doing shoe design competitions with the students. When the competitions were mandatory, 150 students would show up, but as soon as shoe design was made optional, only nine came to compete.
“Unless it’s a course requirement, students aren’t seeking it out,” she says.

As far as Beam-Borg knows, no one has tried to establish a shoe design school or program in Canada and she doubts anyone ever will.

Greg Flood also says no one has tried setting one up in Ontario.

Flood, a spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities, says if post-secondary schools in Ontario saw shoe design as necessary, they would submit curriculum and criteria for a shoe program to the ministry for funding.

No such submission has been put forward.

“I’m not aware at the present time about a university or college that has identified shoe design as a need within the province of Ontario,” he says.

But, there is one program that focuses on shoes in Canada and it fits perfectly with the North American desire for needs over style.

It is the post-graduate program in pedorthics at Western University.

Pedorthics involves the making of special shoes and inserts for people with foot injuries or ailments. Those who practice it are called pedorthists.

All aspiring pedorthists must take this program.

“Anybody new now entering into this field must graduate and get a diploma through Western,” says Linda Deschamps, a certified pedorthist and kinesiologist who’s also an instructor in the program.

Before, students did an apprenticeship program which involved three years of work to get certified. Deschamps says the new program is better because it is more objective and faster to finish, taking only one year to complete.

With Canada’s aging population, you would think a single program wouldn’t be enough to keep up with the demand for pedorthists’ skills, but Deschamps says this isn’t so.

“If it was just pedorthists that were dealing with the aging feet, it would not be enough,” she says from her clinic in Kingston, Ontario. “But there are other Allied Health Professionals who also deal with the feet.”

Orthotists, who make custom inserts for shoes, chiropodists, who treat foot diseases and deformities, and podiatrists who also care for the foot, are some of the other professionals helping to deal with the increasing foot problems that come with age.

The program at Western is also open to people all across Canada because the courses are offered online with three work terms in between that can be taken almost anywhere in the country.

It was started by one of the first Canadian certified pedorthists, the late Howard Fiegel, and is in its fifth year. Only about 20 students are accepted and around 12 to 20 graduate each year. But, there are advantages to staying small.

“They’re not high numbers from our course but these are very strong students who help another clinic along the way and eventually open up their own,” Deschamps says. “We could take more but those are the numbers that appear to be good candidates.”

She says the program is growing slowly because pedorthics is not a well-known field, having only been in Canada for about 30 years. There are now around 400 pedorthists registered with the Pedorthic Association of Canada.
This slow growth does have its positives though.

“In some ways it’s a very good thing because we have control over the students that come through and the product that leaves in the end,” Deschamps says.

She expects the program will expand to another university in the future, possibly in western Canada, but says it probably won’t get bigger than that.

Also, a second program isn’t likely to open soon.
“There’s only one program because of numbers, because of financing, because of the need at this point,” says the pedorthist, who was certified 17 years ago through an apprenticeship. “We’ve looked into it, [. . . ] but at this point, numbers are only dictating the need for one.”
There are negatives to those low numbers as well.
“If we had larger numbers applying, of course, it would allow us to open more doors and offer more because, financially, we would be more feasible as well,” Deschamps says.
Overall, she says the program is a great one to be in.
“It’s a very strong, young program,” Deschamps says.
As for Canadians interested in the fashion side, there are still options.

Beam-Borg says people usually go to schools in other countries, such as Cordwainers, a shoe design school in London, England.

“You go where the best education is and [. . .], Canada’s never been a traditional place for shoe design or shoe manufacture,” she says.

But she agrees it is difficult for people who don’t have a lot of money to afford the cost of a foreign education. The one-year, post-graduate shoe design program at the Fashion Institute of Design and Marketing in California costs $30,000 in tuition.

“If you can’t afford to go then perhaps you can’t be a shoe designer, which sociologically is a problem, absolutely,” Beam-Borg says. “But I think if you have the skill, a lot of people also get bursaries and grants.”

Many people could also take a fashion illustrations program in Canada and then get into shoe design by gaining experience at a fashion house or shoe design company in the U.S. or Europe, Beam-Borg says. There are three such programs in Toronto at Seneca College, Humber College, and Ryerson.

“If you want to do shoe design, fashion illustration seems to be the quickest way to get into that vein,” Beam-Borg says. “If shoes catch your fancy, odds are really good if you can draw a shirt, you can draw a shoe.”

For the People

In Culture, Entertainment, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on October 22, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Nick Goodwin Watched Sesame Street as a Child - Photo: MorgueFile.com

Nick Goodwin Watched Sesame Street as a Child - Photo: MorgueFile.com

By Nick Goodwin

I wonder if it’s strange that I relate my childhood to movies that I watched as a kid. Or children’s show such as Sesame Street. I guess it’s a good thing. I turned out to be polite, kind, respectful and considerate. Perhaps the creators of these shows had some of our best
interests in mind. It’s the least I could hope for.

I found it interesting the other day when I picked up a plastic bag full of carrots and read the side of the bag. There was an ingredients section listed on this bag of carrots and I wanted to know what
on earth could be added to a bag of carrots so I read in deeper. I was relieved to discover that the only ingredient listed was, of course, carrots. Kind of scary though, that so many of our foods are manmade. Some kids in the world might think that pasta trees or Cheerios plants exist somewhere in the galaxy. Assume not and count out no possibility, on both counts.

I’m 20 years old and at this point in life, the least I can do is try and set an example for people. To live by a code of respect and decency is the least I can do. Truly, it’s the least that all of us can do. Beyond making a living and feeding a family. Beyond politics and laws. People aren’t born to be hostile creatures. You don’t see us with fangs or claws. We weren’t given the tools to be predators. We were given the tools to consider.

We were given the privilege to be opinionated and to build our own stories. Each individual person with a story, a position, an opinion, an up bringing, and a direction.

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.

Live for your element

In Culture, Entertainment, Living, Opinion, travel, Writing (all kinds) on October 16, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Nick Goodwin Enjoys Cottage Life - Photo: MorgueFile.com

Nick Goodwin Enjoys Cottage Life - Photo: MorgueFile.com

By Nick Goodwin

Fishing is definitely one of my favourite things. I always look forward to the summer because I figure there is a good chance that I will find myself out in the wilderness at least once or twice. I love camping and also visiting cottages.

If I go camping with my family it is always a great time. We try to spend time together and play cards, sit by the fire and go for walks, maybe play catch or badminton. We usually have a few laughs and hang out like friends. When I was younger I definitely took advantage of hanging out with my family. Of course, as people get older relationships develop and form new dynamics.

I have loved fishing ever since the first time my Dad taught me how. It is not so much the thrill of the catch as it is the peace of mind. I don’t ever mind if nothing bites. I just love being near the lake and taking in the peace and quiet. Never mind the mosquito bites and sunburns.
When I am fishing I am in my element.

That’s one of the reasons I love skateboarding. When I have my music playing and I’m cruising I am definitely in my element. I live for the peace of mind and the comfort of joy.

I can recognize this focus in others. My mom reads her book with a side of cottage cheese and she is in her element. My dad hangs out in the backyard and he is in his element. My brother plays his guitar and he is in his element.

The point is, if you find yourself going back to an activity for the peace of mind and clarity then you have found your element. Cherish this privilege.

New Book – Listening to Music

In Entertainment, Music, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on October 14, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Cover Art for Listening to Music - Photo: Dreamstime.com

Cover Art for Listening to Music - Photo: Dreamstime.com

Donna Kakonge has a new book that can bought on the Lulu.com E-store. The site is: http://stores.lulu.com/kakonged. The book is called Listening to Music and features the experience of listening to Erykah Badu, Sting and India.Arie.

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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Making Decisions

In Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on October 8, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Nick Goodwin Enjoys His Skateboard

Nick Goodwin Enjoys His Skateboard

by Nicholas Goodwin

I hardly make a decision without thorough consideration. The closest I ever get to stopping time is when I spend the afternoon balancing the pros and cons of my latest dilemma.

I do not live by the saying “look before you leap” to the fullest. I do appreciate living in the moment. I enjoy skateboarding through the heart of the city, or, anywhere for that matter.

Like anything, I try to achieve some sort of balance. Sometimes people say “everything in moderation, including moderation”. If this is the case, then I suppose I’m doing okay.

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I Love Family

In Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on October 6, 2016 at 3:00 AM
Nicholas Goodwin Shares in the Magic Family - Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

Nicholas Goodwin Shares in the Magic Family - Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

By Nicholas Goodwin

I love family. There are fights – sometimes we do something stupid – but still somehow we forgive and forget.

When I say family I don’t mean strict bloodline relations. There are infinite variances of family throughout the universe. A code of loyalty, comfort, inevitable trust, and unconditional love.

When you find your family, you find privilege and purpose and strength. There is no limit, only a comraderie. I can see it in the older members of my family. The understanding of this comraderie and the obvious comfort of company. Something to live for.

The beautiful things flow beyond my comprehension. Simple things that I overlook that come to my attention through observing the examples set by mine.

Bloodlines, friendships, mentors, rivalries, counterparts – anything that brings a family together is a reflection. Good times and the bad. Family.

One love,

ntg

Some of My Dad’s Family

In Living, Media Writing, Opinion, travel, Writing (all kinds) on October 5, 2016 at 3:00 AM

I just spoke with my Dad the other day and he told me about my Aunt Bettie, his late sister who looked so much like him. Even though she had four children, she was so devoted to her work and received a doctor of science degree from Makerere University.

Makerere University used to t he be only university in East Africa and many of the neighbouring countries’ people such as Somalia, Tanzania and Kenya would study at Markerere. My Dad’s cousin Lydia has done very well with her Makerere degree since she has come to Canada.

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Introducing Nicholas Goodwin

In Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on October 4, 2016 at 3:00 AM

by Nicholas Goodwin

Hello. Nicholas Goodwin here. I love hockey, going to the zoo, doing the dishes, skateboarding and I love to chase my dreams.

I am 20 years old. In my life I have seen my tiny world from many angles. I have been inside the window looking out at passers by just as I have been outside looking in. Sometimes I even feel further away from both. What has never changed is my ability to pursue happiness. My ambitious nature, however, keeps me from staying in one place for too long.

I was born in a beautiful suburban neighbourhood where I was raised by two beautiful, loving parents. From birth I was given every privilege. I grew up alongside my younger brother, Josh. We played street hockey, we had water fights. We built forts, we played lego.

A portion of my life’s most powerful privileges are memories triggered by photographs. Just one peek inside any year of my choosing is like selecting a scene on the DVD of my lifetime; with a real connection.

In some cases I would be too young to remember, thus making the privilege of reflection ever more powerful.

The true test is moving forward. The magic of reflection often tempts me to stand still, however, time waits for no man.

My ambitious nature spawns from my desire to be successful, to see a better tomorrow and to share my experiences with many caring individuals.

In a world full of dreamers it is easy to discover through your experience. You can create a powerful moment for future reflection just by living your life and shedding light on your endeavours. In a world full of dreamers it is easy to understand one’s desire to write their own story. I would say that it takes a powerful mind to honestly absorb the true feelings within a storyteller’s experience. On the flip side, it is a team effort. For one to paint a picture so vivid that an audience can potentially understand the portrayed emotion brings forth a distinct challenge.

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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“Death All Around Me”

In Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on September 29, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Kirk Verner Writes about Death - Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

By: Kirk Verner

Death is usually not a topic that dwells in my mind, well at least not the concern for my own faith. The truth is, death is as common a conversation topic as the weather. Talk of violence, gore, and death circles our everyday lives like hungry hyenas, be it in the news, on television, or around a sticky bar in a dank pub downtown in any city.

Death has never really bothered me, likely due to my horror film-of-the-week addiction. Sure, I have lost some important people in my life, but as for being close to death, it’s never happened. I don’t mean myself being close to death, I mean literally being close to someone or somewhere where a death has freshly occurred.

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When the Tax Man Comes

In Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on September 27, 2016 at 3:00 AM

This is a story of someone I know very well. This person received funds from the Ontario government while she was going through a difficult time in her life. She had lost her job and her health was not good at that time, so she turned to the government for help.

Throughout the time she was receiving government assistance, she was still working and claiming every cent she made to the government – including cash. She filed all of her tax returns over the two year period and was as honest as the day is long with that too.

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The Presumption of Racism (Originally Published in the Spectrum Newspaper)

In Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on September 12, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Sometimes it takes something like a report to show how far Canada has come to effectively deal with racism. The Ontario Human Rights Commission hired Canadian law student Donna Young to do a report focusing on collecting evidence of prejudice on the part of the Commission’s staff. The evidence was used to show how biased assumptions affect the decisions of cases brought to the Commission. This report that was completed last October has Deputy Liberal leader Sean Conway and Progressive Conservative leader Mike Harris attacking Premier Bob Rae about its conclusions.

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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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Getting what we want at a Price

In Culture, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on July 22, 2016 at 3:00 AM

Seeing ourselves in the media has long been a long fight among African Canadians and advertisers. Back in the 1990s, it was rare to see a black person on TV with a cell phone or advertising makeup; it was rare to hear the unique voice of the Caribbean in plays and on the radio and it was hard to find positive photographs of ourselves in the newspapers or magazines.

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Is Journalism Education Becoming Obsolete due to Citizen Journalism?

In Education, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) on June 23, 2016 at 3:00 AM

It seems as though anyone can pick up a video camera, a microphone and start a blog today and call themselves a journalist. What does this mean for journalism education?

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Old friend online (Originally Published with AssociatedContent.com)

In Opinion, Technology, Writing (all kinds) on May 11, 2016 at 3:00 AM

I was sitting in front of my home computer. I’m used to going through my e-mail – the usual suspects come up. Once in awhile I’ll get a surprise. That day, I did. The man that broke my virginity e-mailed me at about 2:00 p.m. His name is Chris. I recognized the name immediately. How could I forget someone like that and he was wondering if I would remember. Well, I can understand, it was a long time ago.

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