Wednesday 30 November 2011

It's beginning to look like a lot...

Nothing like a spot of colour on a dreary November day!
The stores are all dressed up. On a walkabout in town, I spotted some festive decorations.

What a surprising shot!
Me in my trench coat...wearing a tree.


The bright reds truly provide a bright spot on the streets.

Meantime, back at the ranch, someone didn't get the last day of November memo! Can you spot it on the plank?

Tuesday 29 November 2011

My circle of influence seems small

What's up?
$2 billion for the long-gun registry
flushed down the drain?
Give the info to the provinces/territories.
I've written about Slacktivism, how signing a petition often fails to bring change. Growing a mustache may raise awareness, but until individuals take responsibility for their own health, not much will be accomplished. How many encourage us to  'tweet this' if you want to eliminate poverty, homelessness, and cure the common cold.

In bed by 9, asleep by 10, cats woke me up at 4, I managed to doze a bit before getting up at 5:00 a.m. and I think I'm channeling my father. Not to digress too much, but he used to get up at 5:30 every morning, let the dog out for a pee, and build a fire in the wood stove, because 80-somethings are often cold. He was no different. I think of him as I arise in the dark!

Here I am, awake, listening to Australian Broadcasting Corporation. What the heck. They have a radio show called Connect Asia. I usually turn on my radio, put in the ear pods, and try to drown out the cats howling to go out and play with their mice friends. Sometimes it puts me back to sleep. Other times I listen carefully.

I was listening to the appalling story about Shark Fin Soup. What a horrible thing it is. In this day and age, I cannot imagine how people can share their ecosystem with the beautiful creatures, flora and fauna, and still maintain these barbaric practices.

A restaurant in Hong Kong has decided to ban Shark Fin Soup from their menus.
Shark Fin Soup Off The Menu At China Luxury Hotels

... hotels and popular restaurants have decided to take shark fin soup off ...of The Peninsula Hotels chain, said that it will stop serving shark fins...

Tigger follows Oliver on our walkies, April 2011
The laws in Australia say that harvesting just the fin is legal, if you are out on the water, it is illegal. The reason for this is that if you are out fishing, you find a shark and simply hack off the fin, and drop the rest of the shark into the water to bleed to death, or be eaten by prey. There is limited storage, and those aiming to make a buck, don't want to drag the cheap carcass (98% of the shark) back into harbour. What they told listeners is that those fishing can make $1.50 - $2.00 per kilo for shark fleshDried shark fins, however, garner $800/kilo on the market.

Wildlife agencies e.g., WildAid, say that there is a 90% decline in particular species off of Australia's coast, especially the hammerhead. Those who earn a living, especially fisherfolks in Indonesia, claim these to be myths. Store owners, similarly, have a vested interest in this product. With an economy moving from communism to capitalism, everything is fair game. No longer the purview of royalty, the soup is on most restaurant menus. To get back to my point, circle of influence, one wonders what one can do.

Teach a boy to fish. My brother and our cottage neighbours.
Shark fins represent our Chinese tradition. It used to be served only to royalty and is, even now, a very luxurious cuisine from the deep sea,” Kwong said at his store in Hong Kong.

Shark Fin harvesting is illegal in North America. Apparently, two more municipalities have banned Shark Fin Soup: London and Pickering, in Ontario. While I was doing research for this, I realized that there are no Canadian laws regarding the importing of shark fins.

Don't be an ass
Bans on shark fin products have passed recently in California, Hawaii, Oregon and the state of Washington and in the Ontario cities of Toronto, Mississauga and Brantford. This is a good thing, as the municipalities have control of local restaurants.

The answer to this problem, I suppose, is to have the Canadian government to ban shark fin imports.
Unfortunately, our government is busy; pulling out of the Kyoto Accord, getting tough on crime, supporting hard-working families, and ending the long-gun registry. The Speech from the throne, the direction the Canadian Government is headed in this its majority 4-year term, is pretty vague. Spending a pittance on particular items, to suck up to seniors, and the middle class, without showing real economic progress.

Coal-fired steamship, Muskoka
Kyoto Accord
Not that it was anything with teeth attached, but it is a philosophy that demonstrates where our government is putting its energy. Kyoto Accord aim: to reduce emissions in it 1990 baseline year. But in the second round of talks, in 2005 its next baseline year.
Canadians do want action on climate change. It is shameful to model this type of action to the rest of the world.

Getting tough on crime
Unfortunately, our government is busy trying to pass 'get tough on crime' legislation, to force mandatory sentences. Now, whatever we've been doing in this regard has been working. Crime is down. Bbt prisons are overcrowded, and populated by a disparite number of the poor, mentally ill, those with addictions. Delivery of rehabilitation services and counselling are pretty spotty. The disproportional  numbers of aboriginal prisoners are increasing, as with the US prison system, where blacks are disproportionally represented.

Long-gun registry
long-gun registry? Fort George
Provinces and territories are demanding that the federal government give them the information already spent on this registry. I wonder if the American philosophy or the right to bear arms is creeping northward, as PM Harper infests Canada with the Tea Party mentality?

Supporting hard-working families
Yes, by giving tax breaks to families who put kids into arts programs. Seriously. Hard working Canadians, those in the category of the working poor, those living below the poverty line, don't have the money, time and energy to put kids into arts programs. They are holding down 2 part-time jobs. They are juggling latch-key kids, as the rest of us can afford to pay for quality day care placements and after school programs. With the disparities between lower and upper class incomes increasing, this is designed to appeal to the middle class who are hanging in. This shows little attention for the lower 1%, and must appeal to the upper 1%.

Study: High-income Canadians 2004

  • The lowest 95% of Canadians earn 75% of income, and pay 64% of all taxes.
  • Annual income of $89,000+ = 1.2 million Canadians who made up top individual 5% of the country's taxfilers.
  • An income of $181,000+ makes up the 237,000 people in the top 1% of the taxfiler population.
  • Richest one-hundredth of a percent (0.01%) of taxfilers of Canadians have an income of more than $2.8 million. 

The Environmental Kuznets Curve (PDF)
Meantime, in Ontario:
$1500 tax credit 4 seniors doing renos? Big whoop Call me a cynic! Look at some living conditions=> 

Sunday 27 November 2011

I traded books with James K. Bartleman in Perth

My book is in this store in Perth, Ontario.
In fact, someone from Saskatchewan
phoned them asking for a copy!
I am always happy to talk to another author. The Book Nook was hosting James K. Bartleman's book signing for his new novel. They don't carry my book, putting co-published or self-published books on a shelf in a small books store is nearly impossible. Mine is available here and at the Book Worm in Perth, as well as a few other stores. They carry a nice selection of local authors. For that I am grateful!

I explained to Mr. Bartleman that it is hard to get *my* book into smaller bookstores, if you are not famous, as some want to save space for famous Canadians! He giggled!

 Medical broadcaster Dr. Brian Goldman interviews Perth resident and author Jennifer Jilks July 7 for a CBC radio show (WCBA:
Dr. Goldman in my
kitchen/dining room!
Unless you are with a big name publisher, it is very difficult to get air time, and media attention, as well. Local newspapers have been kind to me. The EMC has highlighted my recent air time on CBC's White Coat, Black Art. But despite a vivid web presence, and many interns at various news outlets phoning to pick my brains, there is little fame or glory!

Dr. Brian Goldman, interviewed me for his White Coat, Black Art Unpaid Caregivers Radio show. I've gotten a lot of response from the show. Many asking for help with loved ones.

This man was picking Mr. Bartleman's brain,
wondering how to publish a book!
I was excited to read in our local Perth papers that this former lieutenant-governor of Ontario, a foreign diplomat for 35 years, was doing a book signing in our wee town. An amazing man who has fought tirelessly for aboriginal peoples, he grew up in Port Carling, a small town, near my former home and cottage in Bala, Ontario. (You can read about Snowmageddon in Port, Dec. 2009.)

His incredible autobiography, Raisin Wine, based on his childhood in Port Carling, is used in high schools, he tells me, to help give our young people an understanding of the history of central Ontario, and the embedded racism that Native Peoples faced as whites moved into their world. The horrible stories of institutionalization, and the impact on its people are a difficult part of Canadian history.

International Aboriginal Festival
I am happy to say that I spent a great deal of time in my classrooms speaking of the truth. Part of the grade 6 curriculum, we took our kids to the International Aboriginal Festival, back in the day. It was a meaningful time for me, as I enlightened my students.

The Book Nook – love these old buildings!
In the store, there was a fair bit of Saturday afternoon traffic. Including one man who was asking about publishing a book. I gave him a couple of suggestions!

I have done a fair amount of research on this for my Pen Menthe creative writing classes I taught in Beaver Creek Penitentiary

Saturday 26 November 2011

Kittens raid the cupboard

I featured photos about how it is to feed these kittens, they bounce up and down off of the counter, despite stern warnings, while I'm putting out the cat food. You'd think they'd never been fed. They have the SPCA on speed dial. Starving poor critters they are.

We keep the cat treats in the cupboard, since Felix has been crossing the highway, for no apparent reason, maybe the field mice are greener, I don't know. We shake the little bag of treats and it sometimes calls them in.

I heard a strange noise coming from the pantry, where the cat food and treats are safely stored. Yes, again, I forgot to close the door.
curtain climbers, counter climbers

Felix liberated the treat bag, dragged it to the floor and killed it!

Even while putting said treats into the mason jar he jumped up.

I am trying to be smarter than my twin kittens (9 mos. old).
Cat treats are now in the mason jar

What's with this? 

Starving Buster goes for the crunchies!