Thursday, September 28, 2006

Budget Cuts

In the wake of the recent Federal Conservative budget cuts (while agreeing to put about a billion toward the national debt), my partner wrote the following letter to the Toronto Star, which they published today:

Reassert values of social justice
Sep. 28, 2006. 01:00 AM
Tories cut $1B despite surplus
Sept. 26.

The announcements of budget cuts made by Jim Flaherty and John Baird clearly demonstrate they are still operating from the agenda of Mike Harris's Common Sense Revolution. The common sense being that the poorest and most in need do not matter. Program cuts to the unemployed, immigrants, those struggling with literacy and cuts to the advocacy of human rights for women, gays and minority groups. These are all programs aimed at improving access and opportunity for the marginalized. Failure to reinvest the vast surplus into education, housing, health and employment is grossly negligent.
It is time to give these bullies the boot and reassert the values of social justice and equality.

Chris Dowling, Toronto

Friday, September 22, 2006

Hugo Chavez Calls Bush the Devil

View the approx. 9 minute long video here of Chavez (President of Venezuela) recent remarks to the UN. He calls Bush the devil, saying that he can still smell the sulphur! He makes some excellent remarks about the global South: the Imperialist attitudes of the US, the fact that the South is waking up and mobilizing against it, and suggests that perhaps the UN should be moved to another county, one in the South.

OK, Venezuela is not perfect, but I love this man. He alone (with the exception of the leader of Iran) makes very pointed remarks about the US policy and Bush, without denigrating the US people themselves. It doesn't hurt that he is an excellent, and amusing speaker!

Influence of Television

A recent study shows that in the States, many homes have more tv sets than people. Canada is slightly better, but not much.

About 6 years ago I made a conscious decision to give away my tv. It was the best decision that I have ever made. I have since noted the following 2 important benefits:
  1. More time to do "real" tasks, ie: spend time with loved ones, read, etc.
  2. Less influence of the media leading to more independent thinking. Believe me, you do not realize how much of an impact the television media has on you (especially for young women with particular emphasis on issues such as body image). Without tv to tell you what your priorities are, you are free to define them for yourself.

As someone who watched an alarming amount of tv growing up, I will admit that it was a hard habit to break. However, it was infinitely worth it. When I tell people that I don't have a tv, their usual first reaction is "What do you do?". My answer to that, is that you have no idea how time sapping tv is, until you manage to break free from its hypnotic spell. You will then discover how much time you can spend doing things that are much more intellectually, spiritually and physically gratifying.

I'm not trying to be holier than thou, there are some good things on tv: my partner and I own DVD sets of The Simpsons, Family Guy, Kids in the Hall and Keeping Up Appearances. What I'm saying is that most people find it difficult to engage in selective viewing. You know the scenario: you mean to watch a particular halfhour program, and before you know, you'ven been sitting there for 2 hours, wondering where the time has gone.

I challenge you to try life without, or with reduced, tv watching for a week and see what happends. The result may surprise you.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Spacing Votes

The always excellent Spacing Magazine's site the Spacing Wire has just launched a sister site dedicated to public space issues in the upcoming election. A great way to keep up with these issues without having to wade through the rest of the election rhetoric.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Skool Me Daddy!

Update: I did go to the show, and boy did my friend and I feel old amongst the 20-ish crowd. Big Norm had his moments during his stand-up routine (although his mom, watching in the audience in a cute yellow raincoat, did flee the stage after he mentioned her), and the crowd seemed into it.

Isis was amazing, that girl has a voice and minor-key backing melodies and dope beats that made it sweet!

Great hip-hop show coming up this Thursday at the El Mocambo. As is appropriate for this time of year, its called Skool Me Daddy, and will include some fantastic Canadian performers such as Isis and Brassmunk.

Isis alone should be worth seeing...she's only 20, but has an amazing voice and uses great old jazz samples in her music. Should be sweet!

As a side note, now that I'm now back to school I may not be able to post as many of my Toronto outings as I have over the summer, but I always strive to keep up to date on interesting events/issues going on in the T-dot. Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Waspinator

I happened across this product, the Waspinator, which claims to keep wasps away. Its basically a replica of a wasps' nest, which apparently keeps other wasps away, because they think that they have come across an enemy wasp nest in their midst. I love these products: the ones that actually use animal knowledge to come up with a simply solution, instead of simply killing them or using harsh chemicals which are harmful to other creatures (us included) as well. Happy fall picnicing!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Toronto Book Award Winner - Dionne Brand

Congrats go out to Dionne Brand, the winner of the Toronto Book Award! The judges noted that Brand managed to make Toronto itself a main character in the story.

Learn more here.

Read my post from a few months back on why you have to read this book here.