Monday, January 31, 2005

Don't let life slip by

"He spends his whole life being too young
to live the life that's in his dreams
and then he lies awake and he wonders
why can't that be me?

... cause in his life he's filled
with all these good intentions
he's left a lot of things
he'd rather not mention right now
just before he says good night he looks up
with a little smile at me and he says

If I could be like that,
I would give anything,
Just to live one day in those shoes,
If I could live like that,
What would I do, what would I do?

- Three Doors Down

Hearing these lyrics made me think of my brother... he certainly spent his short life in some sort of catch up mode, never quite getting it together, never quite getting what he wanted, never quite staying out of trouble, never quite shaking that "too young for the life he wanted" dilemma. Always seeming to think that in the future everything would work out. Always in the future. But sometimes the future is too late.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Our Culture. Our Heritage. Our Game. Our Cup.

Tom Thurston, Mark Suits and Michael Payne  Posted by Hello

Our name is forever etched into the bowl at the very top of the sacred Stanley Cup. It clearly says Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup - From Stanley of Preston.

That’s the Dominion of Canada, folks. And that’s Lord Frederick Arthur Stanley of Preston, Earl of Derby, and our 6th Governor General, who gave us the cup on March 18 1892.

On that now historic evening, Lord Kilcoursie relayed the contents of a note from Lord Stanley to those in attendance at a dinner for the Ottawa Amateur Athletic Association:

"I have for some time been thinking that it would be a good thing if there were a challenge cup which should be held from year to year by the champion hockey team in the Dominion of Canada... I am willing to give a cup which shall be held from year to year by the winning team."

He intended the Cup to be awarded to the best team in Canada. As a challenge cup. Year to year.

Free Stanley is the brainchild of Edmontonians Tom Thurston, Mark Suits and Michael Payne but it carries with it the hearts, minds and spirits of hockey starved Canadians who are gearing up to dream a dream we thought had been iced for the year.

And we want the cup back.

When the Cup was formally ceded to the NHL it was with the understanding that it would continue to be awarded annually through the NHL providing the league continued "to be the world's leading professional hockey league as determined by its playing calibre."

Moe Litman, Associate Dean and Professor of Trust Law at the University of Alberta, points out that "It seems to me that the argument is there that this year, the NHL is not the best league. They can't be, because they're not playing. It's not an abstract requirement."

And while the NHL gradually disintegrates through one lost season and contemplates the loss of future seasons, all of us are being denied the Stanley Cup.

"If you guys don't want to play for the Stanley Cup, that's up to you, but you can't just hold it hostage from hockey fans," says Mark Suits, the webmaster. I agree with him.

It really is our cup. It even has our name on it.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

In the shadows of Auschwitz the depravity of the Final Solution is as clear as the light of day

Shapiro was Commander of the Russian troops who first entered Auschwitz 60 years ago to liberate the mere 2000 survivors left there by 1945. What they found there had his men begging to be allowed to leave. As many as 2 million people were killed at Auschwitz.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Nazi's too killed disabled people...

I have blogged about Terri Schiavo before, and it's really no secret how I feel about the situation. Her "husband" (read the man who abandoned her 12 years ago and is patiently waiting to officially marry his new wife with whom he has two children) seems determined to spur her death, and today it seems closer than ever.

Terri and her Mom  Posted by Hello

In 1990 Terri Schiavo suffered severe brain damage following a heart attack caused by an improperly diagnosed potassium deficiency. The incident left her disabled, and ever since she has recieved her nutrients and fluids through a feeding tube.

Terri is not brain dead. Actually, she is unlikely to die anytime soon. Her brain operates with low level brain functions that apparently make it possible for her to make eye contact, smile and respond to people around her - albeit in primitive ways (smiliar to other severly disabled people). Most importantly, she persists in life.

Currently, Terri lives in a hospice. After her heart attack and initial hospital stay she returned home where she lived for four years before going to a nursing home in 1994, and then transferred to the hospice in the year 2000.

Michael Schiavo, her husband, wants to remove her feeding tube and allow her to "die naturally".

For Terri, "dying naturally" in her present condition means to starve to death. Literally.

This is not the first time Terri has faced this threat. In April 2001 Michael was successful in having her feeding tube removed, it was restored by court order two days later. Again, in October 2003 her tube was disconnected but this time it is not restored for 6 full days, and not until the Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities filed a federal court action claiming that removal of Terri's feeding tube constituted abuse and neglect.

Doctors can't seem to decide whether Terri's condition is truly a "persistent vegetative state" or not (defined as a permanent and irreversible condition of unconsciousness in which there is (a) The absence of voluntary action or cognitive behavior of any kind. (b) An inability to communicate or interact purposefully with the environment."). It seems to me that a state of persistant unconciousness should not be hard to determine... Regardless, she is alive. She displays cognitive tendencies. She smiles, laughs and cries. If her husband, as her current guardian, refuses to protect her, then the court should appoint a new guardian.

The lessons we should take from all of this are simple: each of us should have a written document that legally expresses our desires should this type of situation befall us and appoints power of attorney to someone we truly trust. Oh yeah, and be careful who you marry.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

How to make a puppy happy with 9.00 or less...

Luna's new collar

Luna has outgrown her puppy sized collar and as such I had to get her a new collar this weekend. This made her very happy and she bounded around like, well, a lunatic... and then she proceeded to eat her old collar. Ah, puppies. But at almost 11 months old, our puppy is not quite a puppy anymore. Next stop, adult dog food. Posted by Hello

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Live and Let Live

At 66 years old, Adriana Iliescu has become the world's oldest woman to give birth. She and her daughter, Eliza Maria, are in good condition in the intensive care units at the Giulesti Maternity Hospital in Bucharest. Eliza weighed in at 3.19 pounds when she entered this world, maybe below the norm but not terrible by today's standards.

Why does so much controversy surround the choices that this woman has made? It is her body, her life, her family, and to a large degree none of our business. Yet it was the topic of much discussion for successive days in my office lunch room. I am getting very tired of it. I mean, really... what is so wrong with it?

Iliescu has lead a good life as a successful author and academic. She was artificially inseminated using sperm and egg from anonymous donors, and after nine years of trying to conceive she finally has the baby she wanted, dreamed of, longed and hoped for. This wasn't a whim of fancy.

There are no guarantees in life. None. How many of us can guarentee our children we will be there until they are grown? Until they have babies of their own? How many of us can guarantee we will even be around next year? We might want to be there, but that’s not always how life works. Live for the day. Love while you can. The same people that would take care of your children, the same financial planning and legal protections that you put in place for your families, all these will be there for this child too when she loses her mother. And she will lose her mother - we all will.

In a world that is so full of pain, unwanted children, abuse, extortion, anger and violence is there not room for love and acceptance? No matter how things turn out, this little girl’s life is worth it. She is here now. She deserves to be here.

Welcome Eliza.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Super Size that please...

Bush and his Administration have just Super-sized the Axis of Evil... North Korea, Cuba, Myanmar, Iran, Belarus, and Zimbabwe are now officially designated as "Outposts of Tyranny." Look out over there... the next four years have begun already.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

It's only -14 degrees!

Only one way to celebrate this warming trend... go out and buy some chocolate!!!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Patriotism Held Ransom

Artifacts from a life of bravery  Posted by Hello

At age 29 (then Lieutenant Colonel) Brigadier-General Dollard Ménard was the commander of Les Fusiliers de Mont Royal Regiment, and one of only 125 survivors who made it through the disastrous Dieppe raid on August 19, 1942. Despite being injured five separate times during the raid, he continued to command and lead his troops and was even able to evade capture. For his efforts, in the war and afterwards, he was awarded a dozen medals, including the Distinguished Service Order, the French Legion of Honour and the United Nations Bronze Medal for Peacekeeping.

He is a Canadian Hero.

Now Charles Ménard is apparently unable to afford the continuing costs of storing his father's medals so, instead of donating them to the Canadian War Museum, he has decided to redeem their "value" by auctioning them off. Originally he offered to sell the medals (for "fair market value," $20,000.00 plus) to the Canadian War Museum, but the Museum, which does not have a budget for purchasing artifacts, offered Ménard the tax credits typically available for a donation of this kind instead; Ménard declined the offer.

Cliff Chadderton, chairman of the National Council of Veteran Associations, says "This is what I'd call a slap to the faces of French-speaking soldiers who were at Dieppe."

How about a slap in the face to all Canadians?

Abraham Rogozinsky, the auctineer, claims their value lay in them being awarded to a single man. "One man received [them] for a lifetime of service, not just to Canada, but to the world," he said.

The medals are due to be auctioned off between January 23 and 27, 2005.

"These medals will most likely end up in England or in the United States," said Rogozinsky, adding that "If they were French or American or British, they'd be priceless. But Canada treats its heroes a little differently than most countries in the world. And it's sure a shame."

It is a shame. Shame on us.

In the past when the decorations awarded to John McCrae, Tommy Prince, and Fredrick Banting were auctioned off, Canadians rallied to come up with the money to buy the medals and donate them to Canadian museums. Almost $1 million was spent in the combined efforts to keep these treasures in Canada.

Come on everyone. If it comes to it, we can do it again.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Reaching out when help is most needed

The mind, the Buddha, living creatures - these are not three different things.
—Avatamasaka Sutra

A Buddhist congregation in Mission, British Columbia has sold its temple to raise money for Asia's tsunami victims.

Buddhist Abbot Thick Nguyen officially handed the Canadian Red Cross a cheque for $500,000.00 on Monday, representing the entire proceeds from the sale.

I am truly inspired.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Another Radio Star in the family!

I just found out Wesley is going to be on CHED 630 radio on Thursday to talk about raising money for UNICEF! I am excited!

Way to go Wes!

Wesley is accompanying his Principal downtown to UNICEF today to turn in his donations that he raised to help the children impacted by the Eartquake and subsequent Tsunami's. All together, including online donations, personal cash and cheque donations, and the event he held at his school (donations from student's and staff) Wesley raised just over $1200.00!! Double that with the matching funds promised by the federal government and that becomes $2400.00!!

I am so proud of him! He did an awesome job, and all in the past six days. He inspired and motivated everybody around him and certainly did manage to make a difference. Good job Wesley. Good job Canada!

The Canadian Government has promised $265 million in aid to include humanitarian aid, the deployment of Canada's DART, debt moratorium for the affected countries and $150 million to match the donations made by individual Canadians. ($150 million in personal donations made by Canadians!) A further $160 million will go toward reconstruction efforts between 2005 and 2009.

"At a time of crisis, of disaster, the response of Canadians has been truly extraordinary."
- Prime Minister Paul Martin

Monday, January 10, 2005

Schnappi Schnappi Schnappi!

Making German musical history as the youngest artist to make the top ten (let alone number 1), 4 year old Joy Gruttman's song, "Snappy the Little Crocodile" ("Schnappi, das kleine Krokodil") is the number 1 hit song right now on the German charts. Joy made up the song and for fun her family posted it on their website. A radio station in Cologne found it, aired it and it has become a hit, even being remixed for use at German night/dance clubs.

I like it. Very Snappy.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

The Game of Diplomacy

Ah, Diplomacy. I won my first game of it, but my darling husband suggests there is more to the game than, well, just simply winning. After some research I have decided he is right. In playing Diplomacy moral posturing seems untenable and anti-social tendencies are triumphant. Diplomacy is a game of skill... the art of letting someone else have your way for you... it's like feeding a crocodile so it will eat you last and then using that time to plot how you are going to kill it before it is hungry enough to come for you (Hat tip: Winston Churchill). Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Music of the Night

Duncan and I saw the Phantom of the Opera last night with Brett and Beatrice. It was Phantastic. Although I must admit it was nothing close to seeing it performed live on stage (which I have done twice), something about the way they weave the magic of the story on the stage that just can't be captured in a movie. But, still, made me remember why I love Phantom so much... So moving, so dark, so romantic, so sad... the characters are real enough to feel yourself in them.

No more talk of darkness,
forget these wide-eyed fears;
I'm here, nothing can harm you,
my words will warm and calm you.
Let me be your freedom,
let daylight dry your tears;
I'm here, with you, beside you,
to guard you and to guide you.

Say you'll love me ev'ry waking moment;
turn my head with talk of summertime.
Say you need me with you now and always;
promise me that all you say is true,
that's all I ask of you.

Let me be your shelter,
let me be your light;
you're safe, no one will find you,
your fears are far behind you.

All I want is freedom,
a world with no more night;
and you, always beside me,
to hold me and to hide me.

Then say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime;
let me lead you from your solitude.
Say you want me with you, here beside you,
anywhere you go, let me go too,
that's all I ask of you.

- Christine and Raoul

Floating, falling, sweet intoxication
Touch me, trust me, savour each sensation
Let the dream begin, let your darker side give in
To the harmony which dreams alone can write
The power of the music of the night

You alone can make my song take flight...
Help me make the music of the night

- Phantom, trying to convince Christine he loves her

Words to live by

"Ninety-nine per cent of the things you worry about don't happen; the other one per cent you can't do anything about, so why worry at all?"
- Lieutenant Governor Lois Hole

Friday, January 07, 2005

Long Live the Queen of Hugs

Lieutenant Governor Lois Hole
 Posted by Hello

Lois Hole, Alberta's beloved Lieutenant Governor, died last night at the age of 71 after a long 2 year battle with cancer.

Lieutenant Governor Hole was a fabulous woman who touched and inspired us all in very unique and meaningful ways. We will miss her.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

How do you spell relief?

"It's a natural disaster but if one person dies because of disease or because of malnutrition because of this, then shame on us."
- Tom Cochrane

Wesley's campaign is going fabulously! He has three online donations so far, 10% of his stated goal, he has organized a big fundraiser at his school and challenged the teachers to match or beat the students donations, he has cash donations from people we all know and work with, he has sent out many emails asking for help and even delivered letters to local businesses. I am so proud of him and his efforts. He has always been a caring and empathetic child, but I think this is a great way to learn that you really can make a difference. Good for you, Wesley!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

That's the N.D.P. for you

The Manitoba New Democrat Party government just posted a 604 million dollar deficit (despite having actual legislation to prevent them from having a deficit). This is their third consecutive deficit and the largest since 1993, when the N.D.P. in that province overspent by 822 million dollars.

No wonder those spend happy freaks are so eager to try to get into government here in Alberta. They could spend all of Alberta's riches in a heart beat. I hate the N.D.P.

Monday, January 03, 2005

...and you will know that the life you loved somehow goes on forever...

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
- the Prophet Kahlil Gibran

Today we remember you. May peace be with you.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

We are supporting Unicef Canada

Wesley is raising money for Unicef Canada to help the children affected by the Earthquake and subsequent Tsunamis. He has set a personal goal to raise 1000.00 both online and at his school. If you would like to support his efforts, click here.

All donations made by January 11 2005 will be matched by the Canadian government.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Wading through the after shocks of tragedy

Pain and tragedy comes in all shapes and sizes for us humans, that is the way of life. But I have come to learn that it is in the aftermath of tragedy that we find our truest strengths; that it brings out the best in us as we strive to survive, help, cope, start again, to perservere. It is that aspect that is so integral to our humanity. It is what sets us apart.

With 150,000 people suspected dead from the Earthquake and Tsunami, and many more millions of people hurt and needing help, with perhaps even the worst still yet to come, Canadians are recognizing the need to pull together. The Canadian Government has just announced that (in addition to it's aid package) it will match, dollar for dollar, all Canadian contributions to a list of approved NGO's. They are as follows:

Also, Telus is contributing a cent from every long distance call made between Dec 31 to midnight on Jan 3, (with several million calls expected), so do your part - call home, call your friends, take the opportunity to let someone know you are thinking of them.
 Posted by Hello