Friday, October 31, 2008

Headline Run Around

It turns out, oh what a shock, that the reason the FDA are not banning bisphenol A or BPA is because the research has been compromised by the very industry who are polluting our brains with it. BPA is the toxic element in plastic bottles, including baby bottles, banned recently in Canada.

But you know, just in case, the FDA said this:

"Parents who, as a precaution, wish to use alternatives for their bottle-fed babies can use glass and other substitutes for polycarbonate plastic bottles; avoid heating formula in polycarbonate plastic bottles; and consult their paediatrician about switching to powdered infant formula."

Now, correct me if I’m wrong here. But weren’t these polycarbonates substitutes for glass in the first place?

And another shocker:

The Vatican are kinda-sorta refusing to release files that implicate the Pope of the time, Pius Xll, in turning a blind eye or both to the Holocaust. No! Mother Church? Never!

The current pope, Bennie, is insisting that Pius helped the Jews and wants to canonize him for his efforts. And those pics of Papa Pi with those Nazis? Courtesy calls only. Get a grip. Oh, just a sec, wasn't young Bennie a member of the Nazis in Germany? Oh, no connection? Alrightee then.

And Amex are laying off thousands of employees. While I sympathize with the 7,000 workers, I’m nastily gloating over this mini-downfall of the corporate vulture. I’ve had to deal with Amex over the years both on behalf of clients and as a consumer and I find them the greatest bunch of wankers out there. On every level. Appalling service, delayed payments to their vendors, obscene commission rates on charges and a total disdain for complaints. Karma. Is. Wonderful.

And Nicole Kidman broadcasts her co-dependency issues. ‘Nuff said.

And last but not least:

One in three women report having sexual problems.

I love those headlines. This one gets full marks for unsubstantive reportage and National Inquirer style journalism. No one gets under the covers of this one, so to speak, and finds out, like, why? Maybe depression, job loss, maybe husband/partner disinterested, maybe work-related stress, maybe illness?

Oh, just toss out that headline with the underlying premise of: eyeroll: Women, now what??

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wacky Wednesday Post: My Tarot Card

Now I have to live up to it?

You are The Sun

Happiness, Content, Joy.

The meanings for the Sun are fairly simple and consistent.

Young, healthy, new, fresh. The brain is working, things that were muddled come clear, everything falls into place, and everything seems to go your way.

The Sun is ruled by the Sun, of course. This is the light that comes after the long dark night, Apollo to the Moon's Diana. A positive card, it promises you your day in the sun. Glory, gain, triumph, pleasure, truth, success. As the moon symbolized inspiration from the unconscious, from dreams, this card symbolizes discoveries made fully consciousness and wide awake. You have an understanding and enjoyment of science and math, beautifully constructed music, carefully reasoned philosophy. It is a card of intellect, clarity of mind, and feelings of youthful energy.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.


Concessions to ( BUT outweighed by advantages of) Aging

(The Cliffs of St. Bride's, Newfoundland. September 2008)

· Decaff cappuccino at night.

· Going to bed when tired and not fighting it with caffeine.

· Eating my greens even when I don’t particularly like them

· No more stiletto heels

· No more nighties, no more slinky flowing negligees, no more baby dolls.
T-shirts and pyjama bottoms with pockets rule!

· Getting up when I damn well feel like it with no apologies.

· Reading a book in one day.
· Spending a whole day knitting

· No more panty hose (tights).

· Comfy bras.

· Saying no to invitations for events I don’t want to go to.

· Embracing my so-called eccentricity.

· Wearing coats,hats and gloves. No, I usen’t to. I hate excess clothing. But now I just get cold.

· Wearing special little snow gliders on my boots as falls now hurt too much.

· Writing well into the dawn hours if I damn well feel like it.

· Taking on jobs that appeal and rejecting the ones that don't.

· Not wearing makeup.

· Going to matinees.

· Seniors' Discounts (and I keep forgetting!!)

· One of the rarely discussed advantages of aging is feeling like that irresponsible child again, with the bills taken care of, less worries, a newly discovered sense of adventure and a feeling of possibility. Once one is blessed with health and a bit of cash. And I do not take either of these enablers ever for granted.

· Being surprised and thrilled (still) at my pension and OAS dropping into my bank account like magic every month. Like pocket money from a benevolent mama. And recently there was a one-time government bonus payment of nearly $1,000 to every pensioner in Newfoundland. Mein Gott! What a country!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Intelligent Blog

Just in case I have any illusions as to why my blog would surface during a Google key word search, I hand you the following in order of importance as to what is being searched for when my blog floodlights the murky corners of the eager inquiring mind:

(1) sixty year old nude women
(2) why do dogs live so short
(3) naked women over sixty
(4) names on republican plot in in st finbarrs cemetery cork
(5) sixty year old saggy breasts
(6) naked flesh of ladies and men
(7) naked ladirs over sixty
(8) nuala o faolain flesh and blood
(9) why do dogs live only for a short time
(10) naked sixty year old women
(11) photos of haemophrodites
(12) nude sixty year old women
(13) wrinkly saggy naked old ladies
(14) naked ladies using unnatural

'Nude' or 'naked' comes up in the search 8 times. My particular favourite is "ladirs" in 7. And 5 and 13 give me enormous hope for my future as a sex-pot extraordinaire.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Faraway Spirits Touching My Daily Life.

In response to my good blog-buddy Twilight, I am endeavouring to offset my sometimes bleak and heavy posts with something lighter.

And I should add that even though I comment on the dismal aspect of this ever-changing new world we have wrought, I am not a pessimist by nature.

There are only two outcomes to the current condition we are in:

(1) Most of us are shaken off by Gaia in one huge shrug of her shoulders

(2) We regroup and reform a kinder, gentler world of equality in an image more befitting to Ghandi’s exhortation: “Let me be the change I want to see in the world”.

Meanwhile, to get back to this post’s topic.

This was my second home for a while, now it is my primary. Even so, I am continually touched by the little gifts that have been given to me over the years that I have painstakingly transported, sometimes unconsciously, and see or use on a daily basis, bringing those who are no longer of this plane or those distant, close to me.

My mother was a fabulous embroiderist. She would sit on the strand in the summer, surrounded by her friends, me playing with sandcastles or reading books or in and out of the water swimming while she diligently embroidered maybe a square inch of a tablecloth. Even at a young age, I was appalled at how little she accomplished in an afternoon. What an effort for so small a result, I thought. But before she died at far too young an age, she had embroidered a tablecloth each for her six children. Mine is in the living room here, on a table in the corner. Reminding me daily of her patience and love and incredible artistry.

I have an ancient electric coffee grinder, it must have been one of the first invented, given to me by an old and dear friend, Toddy, one long forgotten birthday over thirty years ago that I still use every day to grind my beans. It has never needed servicing and I think of her every morning as I reach for it.

On my dining room wall are four canvases created by my granddaughter filled with poetry, each running into the next, meaningful to her and to me, spinning in wonderful rhythms and patterns and colours. A labour of talent and love.

Hanging on a hook is a bag with a picture of my previous, now deceased, dog, her back and her front on each side, now used by my current dog for her ‘gear’. Having a dog and travelling a lot with her is like having a toddler, lots of ‘stuff’ to pack. This was given to me by a dear friend, Judy, who died very suddenly, five years ago. The bag is getting the worse for wear but I will never throw it out.

Hanging from my wooden clock is a smooth stone with my name carved in druidic symbols on it given to me by a dear Irish friend, exiled, like me, to another country.

On my couch is a wild multi-coloured afghan, given to me by a new friend last year, concerned I would get cold in my car in the long journey across Canada. I will now take it in the car with me on all my long trips.

There are more of these mementoes but you get the idea, I am touched and strengthened every day by these beautiful and priceless objets d’art.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The News Beneath the News

It is extraordinary how much real news gets buried beneath the trifling, petty and ultra-light spoutings of the main stream media, who are merely sycophantic outlets for the fascist regime in power. No real issue, no matter how important and alarming, is given to the sedated masses either by broadcast or main stream newspaper. Rightly named “presstitutes’ in recent years.

Radio – and I mean public radio, of course, not the bought and paid for kind - is becoming a curiosity of the past. Sad really, for often there are some extraordinary gleanings from it.

For instance, I heard on CBC radio on the weekend that fiction readers have been deemed more intelligent than non-fiction readers. There was intensive testing and research done. The results were that fiction readers are more cued to nuances, more curious, more open to new ideas.

Did you know that murder and suicide statistics are through the roof in the USA due to the current economic meltdown ? The current repressive regime has resorted in some cases to sending in the military, with guns, to seize property and shooting those resisting in cold blood. Some families, with the threat of foreclosure, feel they have nothing to live for and murder their entire families, including pets, before committing suicide.

My friend at Sparrowchat talks about the voter frauds perpetuated by the current regime and gradually worsening as the election gets closer. He cites this brilliant Rolling Stone piece which explores it all in depth. Good luck down south with the so-called election, long predicted by me (with a heavy heart) to be ‘won’ by the GOP as it ‘won’ the last two.

Did you know that baby plastic bottles in Canada, the first country in the world to do so, are now completely banned? In spite of the U.S. FDA (heavy duty lobbies + massive donations) saying they’re OK? They severely compromise infant health. Read all about it here.

And why on earth would anyone drink from a plastic bottle knowing what we know now?

And finally, on a cheery note:

We ain’t seen nuthin’ yet with regard to the financial collapse of our existing economic system. We are already into irrecoverable debt with our looting and non-replenishment of the oceans and the forestry systems of the world. To the tune of $5 trillion a year according to Monbiot.

On second thoughts, maybe we’re all better off not knowing all the bleak stuff ~ Eat, drink and be merry. Forget about the dying and, um, fiddle?

And posted a little later: Could this be the October Surprise? Why are all these military honchoes congregating in the Adirondacks?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Love Without a Blaring Bonk.

In an effort to remove my mind from all that is happening in this big scary new world of ours, I pondered on the many movies I have seen over the years and reflected on what makes a truly marvellous love scene.

I am writing, of course, from the female point of view but I take comfort in the fact that some men of my acquaintance find these love scenes erotic and sensual also. I’m also far more taken in what is left to the imagination. I find graphic grinding a complete turn-off.

And, as an aside, I am amazed at the dearth of other-than-hetero sensuous love scenes out there in movieland. And mixed race. And First Nations peoples. And ?

Also, please bear in mind I’ve only made a partial list and in no particular order, there are many, many more. I would be interested in comments suggesting others.

The Big Easy (1987) - On the bed as he kisses her back.
Ryan’s Daughter (1970) - Off the horses, in the grass.
Pride and prejudice (1995) – Oh, that long, long look from Darcy as Elizabeth sits at the piano.
Hill Street Blues (1981) - She’s in the bath, with Frank shaving her legs.
Dad (1989) - They dance.
The Ghost & Mrs Muir (1947) - The ending.
Holiday (1938) - He realizes he’s going to marry the wrong sister.
Coming Home (1978) - In the wheelchair.
I know where I’m going (1945) - She dances with him at the ceilidh to “Nut Brown Maiden” – and he sings ‘she’s the one for me’.
It happened one night (1934) - Where else? In the motel room with the blanket divider.
The King and I (1956) - Shall we dance?
Lifeboat (1944) - Tallulah and her smouldering looks at John Hodiak in front of everyone on the boat.
Lost in Translation (2003) - Unstated, but oh so palpable.
Love again (2003) – Philip Larkin and understanding why he attracted so many women.
Million dollar Baby (2004) – Love surpassed the limitations of the human spirit.
Moonstruck (1987) – Cher at her best, loving the unlovable.
Now Voyager (1942) – Why wish for the stars when we can have the moon?
The Painted Veil (2006) – When they realize they are in love.
The English Patient (1996) – Candles in the courtyard.
Persuasion (1995) – Finally. In the busy square.
Prince of tides (1991) – Love as healer.
Impromptu (1991) - George Sand, Frederic Chopin. An unweathered Hugh Grant.
Carrington (1995) – Love and desire, uniquely explored.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Connecting with our food

I don't know how it is in the rest of the world at the moment, but here in Canada, we are stumbling and lurching and sometimes dying over continuing compromises to our (factory) food sources, recently we had a listeria outbreak linked to Maple Leaf Foods resulting in many deaths - still uncounted as autopsies need finalizations. The latest occurrence is in North Bay, in a well-known hamburger fast food chain: Harveys is now implicated in a fresh outbreak of e-coli.

The lingering horror of an e-coli outbreak due to a contaminated municipal water supply in Walkerton, Ontario is still with us, years later. I read in today's paper that the health effects - raised blood pressure, damaged kidneys - are still present in those who suffered from the bacterium. 7 people died and over 2500 were made ill in this small town, 8 years ago. And continued suffering is inevitable.

As we turn our very lives over to agri-business, the Cargills, Maple Leaf Foods, privateer water suppliers, et al, more and more of these types of outbreaks will be visited upon unsuspecting and trusting citizens.

I have read both of Michael Pollan's books:
The Omnivore's Dilemma

in which he explores the ubiqitous presence of corn in nearly all of our entire food supply and the near elimination of the independent farmer, all in highly readable form.


In Defense of Food

Here, he examines how very far removed from real food we have become and recommends how to shop (only buy products that are displayed on the outside walls of the supermarket, for one!). I don't think I'll ever forget the chapter on mushrooms. It has stayed with me.

Michael feels very strongly about what we are doing to our very lives by blindly eating the frankenfood on offer in most of our grocery stores today and has written a wonderful open letter, published in The New York Times, to the president-elect of the U.S. full of suggestions as to how we can reverse the harmful mismanagement of our precious food resources and put measures in place that restore us to healthful and mindful eating.

The key to a healthy outlook of course is in the very fuel we put in our bodies. The old maxim of garbage in and garbage out has never been more manifested than in what we eat. It affects our very souls.

I manage to buy at Farmers' Markets when I can or at the side of the road here. There is nothing more positive than connecting to the grower of your food or the catcher of your fish. Apart from doing it all yourself, of course.

How on earth did we all get to this fast-food, highly processed, Macfood world of ours?

Like Morgan Spurlock, we are all what we eat, unthinking robots, exactly where BigFoodCorp wants us.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pink Me Stupid

Call me cranky.
Colour me jaded.
Paint me cynical.

But am I the only one in Maude's green earth to be so damn sick of the Breast Cancer Awareness fund-raising, product placements, marathons, jarathons, pink-me-into-a-coma campaigns?

Now, full disclosure, I used to 'run for the cure' and raise a sizeable amount of money every year. But no more, no more.

For between the jigs and the reels of fund-raising and actually running something snapped in me a few years back:

The campaign for this "cure", raising billions upon uncountable billions year after year and never uncovering a clue made me mighty suspicious.

It's now become one of those behemoths of corporatocracy: pens, bags, underwear, tee-shirts, crocs, running shoes. You name it we can pink it. (Vacuum cleaners, yes seriously! - See above, no kidding - that is real! No, I will not provide a link. You will not buy it.)

If it can be pink-ribboned it can be promoted. Someone is making one huge shitpile of money out of all of this.

And women are still dying every day, hopeless and uncured. The cause has become the whole purpose of the campaign and it is impossible to find figures of revenues and expenditure. I bet administrative and marketing are through the roof. And it is so successful that I am viewed with disdain every time I refuse to contribute to it or buy the products.

Another final straw for me came with this:

Talk about offensive! And crude. And mysogynistic. All rolled into one. (Not to mention that the toxic plastic in the bottle might have been one of the causes of the cancer to begin with.)

What kind of water bottle will they produce for prostate cancer? One with a built-in droopy straw?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend in Canada

Picture taken yesterday of the changing autumn tide.

Random & Very Partial Gratitude List.

(1) I’m vertical – this is always # 1 with me. The alternative has no appeal whatsoever. The rest of the list is random.
(2) Sobriety
(3) Abstinence from addictive foods.
(4) Being nicotine free.
(5) Writing.
(6) Where I live, the country, the province, the location.
(7) My daughters, my granddaughter.
(8) Ansa, the wonder dog.
(9) Money in the bank.
(10) Food in the larder.
(11) Long walks and hikes and climbs.
(12) New friends.
(13) Old friends.
(14) A car in my driveway.
(15) A fire to warm myself.
(16) Firewood and potatoes in the barn.
(17) Living in a decent democracy as long as we have Harper on a tight leash.
(18) Excellent universal health care.
(19) Beautiful clear cold well water.
(20) Enjoying my own company.
(21) Never being bored in my life.
(22) Books.
(23) Music.
(24) Movies.
(25) Theatre.
(26) Art.
(27) Knitting.
(28) Playing house. Finally.

Enough already!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Eh, Canada!

Canada's just been rated the world's best banking system.

And here the top 10 are:

(1) Canada
(2) Sweden
(3) Luxembourg
(4) Australia
(5) Denmark
(6) The Netherlands
(7) Belgium
(8) New Zealand
(9) Malta

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

One Very Angry Gaia

And boy is She getting our attention!

Of course, like many, I don’t view all of what is happening around me as a bad thing at all.

I’ve long predicted such an outcome of the outrageous unregulated economic engineering system we have adopted, and also the fact that it would happen just as soon and be as suddenly cataclysmic. No time to breathe with the coming meltdown - it will be overnight, I said as long as two years ago.

(And it will be the same with oil. Another year for accessible, reasonable and available oil is my guess, with an equally overnight shock of none available.)

The time to address the gross imbalance of wealth came and went and Gaia had to be appeased sooner or later. And here She is. In all our faces.

Our incessant obsession with gathering, guarding and grooming our Walmarty stuff and our isolation from a sense of community and a complete indifference in the well being of all who share this tiny rolling ball had to come to a sad and sorry end. Our boundless greed served no one else. Just ourselves.

So what now that She has got our attention? I predict two outcomes. The first would be violent and traumatic civil unrest, resultant military intervention, genocides and incarcerations. The second would be more community involvement: gardens, smaller homes (I already see it started here – beautiful two room cabins), community root cellars, off the grid living, a return to slow food, home cooked, healthy. Forget air travel. Bring back trains and boats. I’ve recently seen horses towing a wagon here. It did my heart good. A sustainable, manageable existence for everyone, leaving no footprint behind.

But of course the sad fact that remains of our rampant consumerism is that very few are willing to give up their "pony" or give up the idea of some day owning their own "pony".

But small up beat moment: I am heartened to read that even New York City is considering vertical farming.

We need to do this, ro rid ourselves of the pony idea for once and for all - and immediately - before Gaia shakes Herself more thoroughly next time and rids Herself, for once and for all, of the pestilent and parasitical fleas that we’ve become.

Monday, October 06, 2008


I started blogging when I first moved nearly full time to Newfoundland. Without much thought, really, or reflection. I only get a sense of my own motivations long after their initialization. At the time, I tend to "just do it" without too much navel-gazing or careful evaluation. My best ideas seem to take place that way. They drift in, often disguised in the form of something else. Only afterwards will I think, hey, that was something I put in my "Dream Book" a long time ago and now it's happened. Wow, would you look at that.

I am one of those people who is open to new experiences, new people, new locales. I am a shy person by nature until I get to know someone. I'm not one to toot my own horn on first acquaintance, I prefer to get to know the other person, sound them out, listen to their life journeys, their narratives. Others have always fascinated me. Particularly as to what brought them to a certain place, a certain time, even into a certain relationship. If they're willing to share, great, if not, that's fine too.

Most people in a social setting come in two kinds, those who are voluntarily there because they love going out or those who are dragged there by a partner or friend. I can easily sort out who is who.

Arriving as a stranger here I have forced myself to go out and about and meet new people. Otherwise I would be that weird hermit in the old D--- place, keeps herself to herself and talks to her dog a lot. Not that there would be anything wrong with that. I sometimes am that weird old hermit, particularly when Scriobhnarin, (pronounced for those who care - Screevnareen) my own personal writing muse, descends. I spend a lot of time alone and am happy with my own company.

You may wonder, if you're still with me this far, what the hell is this all about, I've titled the thing 'hunger' after all and rabbitted on a bit about blogging, social scenes and niceties, etc.

The thing is I hunger for good conversation, for an exchange of dialogue, for spouting of new ideas, for throwing down the gauntlet of the fire of creativity. I started this blog because of the dearth of this. I had left many friends behind in Toronto, dear people I would engage with on a regular basis and we would toss stuff around like multi-coloured balloons against the blank canvas of the sky.

This blog and reading other blogs has satisfied so much of that hunger. And I find in the past year here particularly I am finally meeting with like-minded souls. I had such an afternoon today. Lunch in a new friend's house, followed by a great hike overlooking an incredible bay with the fall colours dancing all around us and the blue of the sky so piercing it hurt the very soul.

And I left my new friend's house hours and hours later, loaded down with DVDs, books, CDs, muffins, crab-apples and rhubarb jam. And a head full of ideas for the next time. And a list as long as my arm of more people for me to meet.

How truly blessed I am. My hunger is sated.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Just a skim of some Canadian headlines today amidst the turmoil south of the border.

I am reminded of Leonard Cohen's wondrous ballad 'there is a crack in everything, it's how the light gets in'.

Well, we can't continue living the way we are, right? The party's over. Rampant consumerism, sub-primes, endless oil, outsourcing, financial engineering et al, et al.

We finally cracked. Let there be light.

I think China's bloodless coup d'etat has not been heralded yet. But a coup it is.

The Good:

Finally, finally, a sizeable refundable deposit on those ubiqitous water bottles. Now can we stop using them forever? Did you know that it takes oil filling a quarter of the bottle to make that bottle?

The Bad:

Oh-oh, there goes some more arctic ice. Worse than 2007. Just about gone. We have wreaked this destruction in a couple of decades. We're seeing sediment that hasn't been seen in 1.1 million years.


The Ugly
And our TSX, our Toronto Stock Exchange has taken a really nasty tumble: we have the world record at 800 points down, putting us ahead of all the other tumbles. Who knew potash stock could throw us into the sewer?