Category Archives: Our History

A War Ignored

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada and a deservedly important one.  As I wrote this time last year, I fully believe in taking the time to recognize the people who have dedicated their lives to the service of their country and whose sacrifice has allowed me to live as freely as I do today.

I have never been directly affected by war.  Though I have lost distant relatives to it, they were not people I knew or would have ever known even if they had lived to die of natural causes.  I have never had my house bombed, never been forced to flee my country, never had to live in a refugee camp.  I have never had to ration food, hide my nationality or change my name just to survive.  I have never lost a spouse, sibling or child to war and I don’t even personally know anyone who has.  “Lucky” does not begin to explain how fortunate I am to live the life I do. Continue reading

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Licking the Frog

Back in the 1990’s Ellen DeGeneres released a comedy CD called, “Taste This.” In one bit called, Licking a Frog, she describes the bizarre human discovery that licking (certain) frogs can actually give humans a bit of a high.  In it she asks: “How desperate are we to get high that that was a fad going around, that if you licked a frog, you could get high?  And how many animals did we go through to find that out: ‘Here! Lick the anus of a mongoose, see what happens!  Yes, I was wrong about the raccoon but this…’”  Classic comedy.

There are countless human discoveries and inventions that are worthy of admiration, from the discovery of penicillin to the invention of electricity.  Just being able to sit here and type on a computer that has a better brain than me is the result of someone’s remarkable achievement.  It is a testament to both humanity’s strength and weakness that we are always looking for ways to move forward, even though advancement isn’t always the same as improvement. Continue reading

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Lest We Remember

Yesterday was Remembrance Day and it’s always an important day here in Canada.  I believe in taking the time to recognize those who serve although I wrestle with the somewhat contradictory attitude we seem to have towards war.  Despite well-knowing the horrors of them, we continue to participate in them and despite honouring our past with solemn parades and ceremonies, we continue to handicap our nation’s future by enlisting healthy, able-bodied individuals as soldiers only to have them return injured, mentally shattered or dead.  On Remembrance Day I waffle between a thank you to our military personnel and a fuck you to our leaders responsible for these decisions. Continue reading

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Crime of the Century

A friend of mine said to me recently that she believes animal rights are the fight of the 21st century; that fighting for the liberation of animals is the social justice movement taking shape in our time.  If she’s right – and I believe she is – then we have only just begun.

If you look back at any cultural shift in terms of equality, be it civil rights, women’s liberation, gay and lesbian rights – movements that are by no means over and whose struggle continues in various forms across the globe – there was one thing they all had in common, especially in the beginning: they were collectively laughed at. It was a joke to think that black people, homosexuals, women or any previously considered “less than” group of individuals could possibly warrant the same rights and privileges as their white, male, heterosexual counterparts. They weren’t seen as living beings with the same desire to live a life free from suffering, ownership or governing interference of their most basic rights. If occasionally they were seen as equals, it was only on a selective basis, when they were found to be “useful” in some way that further served the already-existing patriarchal establishment. We still do it today: women are given all the room and opportunity to voice their opinions so long as the topics are getting married, raising children, going shopping and staying thin. Continue reading

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It may surprise you to know that I’ve always wanted to go to the Calgary Stampede. I’ve never been even though it takes place every year in July and I’m only three provinces away from Alberta. Of course, were I to go today, I don’t think I would enjoy it very much. But I can still understand why people get excited about it: the crowds, the food, the music, the animals and of course, the cowboy hats.  Continue reading

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