Friday, June 17, 2011

Persians, Oh How I Missed You So!

Oh goodness me. I made it home to Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada for a few days this month and I got to sink my teeth into some of Thunder Bay's famed PERSIANS! It was heavenly. Let me tell you, I have dreams about these things. And for whatever reason, they are exclusive to Thunder Bay. Why? I don't know, but I'm sure glad they exist somewhere. Here is a short video of the memorable experience of being reunited with my favourite dessert item after too long apart.

The Not So Suprising Vancouver Riots

It's not like there are hasn't already been plenty written about it, but I may as well put my two cents in on the topic of the Vancouver riots.

So, last night, I thought I would turn on the final game of the Stanley Cup playoffs to see who would wind being champions and subsequently heroes to legions of hockey loving people. I haven't watched hockey in at least two years, and I can't say I am a huge fan of the sport. But, because Vancouver was involved and seemingly every other Canadian was watching the game, I thought I should as well just in case the subject came up in the future while talking to fellow Canadians and I wanted to participate in the conversation.

I watched hockey for one hour. It wasn't a great game as far as I am concerned, though I admit I don't really know how to judge a good game. Anyway, it didn't really matter. The long and the short of it is that Vancouver lost and the other guys won and then all hell broke loose and I ended up watching one hour of bad hockey and three hours of top notch rioting.

You may have seen the images and the videos and the reams of analysis that have already blanketed television sets, newspapers and computers across the country. If not, then you probably don't have television, newspapers or a computer. Here is a nice little summary of events from the CBC.

Okay, with all of that out of the way, let's get to the opinion part of this. Did people really expect this not to happen? I wasn't even in the city and I expected there to be a riot, or at least some disturbances, win or lose. Why? It's hockey. Now, that may sound unfair to say. It's not like there haven't been other Stanley Cup wins and loses that haven't ended in complete anarchy. What gives? Well, sure, all out riots like this one don't happen everyday which is good. But, I don't think it is far off to say that what happened is partly related to the culture of violence associated with hockey.

We got an arrogant, big mouth, redneck on the national TV (one, Mr. Don Cherry) glorifying violence on the rink and calling those who don't fight "pansies" while hundreds of thousands lap his moronic alpha-male BS up like milk in a....I don't know...thing that milk is in. When a fight happens on the ice, the crowd goes WILD and of course it's shown on the highlight reel during the sportscast with slack jawed, gelled up, fake tanned sports announcers commenting on the "nice left shots" or whatever being used by the buffoons beating the snot out of one another. After a fight, the players head to their penalty boxes, which are more like King's throwns, where people worship at the foot of the tough, brave heroes that end up in there after trying to knock what's left of the opposing teams teeth out for whatever the frick reason.

Then, THEN, you add alcohol into the mix. Who sponsors all of this? Beer companies. Who makes millions off of this? Beer companies. What do these fans do while watching hockey? Drink beer. Drink beer and go WOOOOOO! There is a lot of of WOOOOOOing and high fiving among drunk hockey fans I have come to notice. Oh the alcohol that flows. What was the first thing that happened to trigger the riots? Beer bottles were thrown at the giant screens put in downtown Vancouver so people could watch the game. That's rather telling, isn't it?

So, then comes the finals in Vancouver, with big screen TV's and thousands upon thousands of people flooding into the city to watch the game on them. It's a beautiful night, the beer is flowing, the WOOOOOOOing is at a fever pitch and the hockey is on. And it's not JUST hockey. It's THE event of the year...the final game of the playoffs and the local team can win it all, or lose it all. And they lost it all. And that completed the creation of the perfect storm.

BOOM. The rest is history. Fans riot, burn cars, burn jerseys, burn themselves, burn others, break stuff, steal stuff, jump on stuff, drink more stuff, do a whole lot more WOOOOOOOOOOOOing, fight each other, fight police, fight dogs, fight whatever gets in their way,  drink some more, throw around some porta-potties, some newspaper boxes, some construction material, some other rioters. Oh it was a joyous night, wasn't it?

It has happened before, it happened last night, and it will happen again. Next time, try not to look so surprised.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Our Children's Future VS. Sanity and Reality: Challenging the Edmonton Public School Board

Well, you know, I've been a wee bit busy and stuff, and it's distracted me somewhat from becoming enraged enough by something to write a blog about it. But, I just read something that changed that, and here is my blog about it.

What has me so enraged that I actually stopped being so lazy and took to the keyboard? Well, that damn Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB) in Alberta, Canada wishes to create a safe and inclusive environment for all of their students. What BEASTS! What ANIMALS! How could the Edmonton Public School Board wish to create a school system where a diverse range of children can study together and create a bright and better future for all?? Someone REALLY should protest this.

And, alas, thankfully, someone has! Apparently all of this talk of inclusion was far too much for whoever the frick is behind a weird little, seemingly anonymous website titled "Our Children's Future-Standing Up for Moral Standards in Edmonton".The first red flag is always the "moral standards". When this phrase is used, especially in conjunction with anything to do with children, you know bigotry and hatred is what is to follow.

Apparently, the problem this person/these people have is that under a proposal by the Edmonton Public School Board in a policy on sexual orientation and gender identity, sexual "minority" students and same sex parented families will be (among other things, such as being accepted and protected from discrimination) AFFIRMED by the EPSB. Now, this lovely group or person or entity or whatever that is behind this site states:
We agree that all people regardless of sexual orientation have to be treated lovingly and not subjected to bullying however we will not affirm their unique identities, families, cultures or communities.  Affirming this type of sexual orientation violates the basic tenet of our belief systems, which is not a series of man-made rules and evolving human ethical standards, but the Holy Bible which clearly prohibits this type of sexual behaviour in both the Old and New Testaments.
Gotcha. And your narrow minded beliefs should come first and foremost, is that correct? That appears to be the belief, and they are calling on other like (narrow) minded people to do their duty and write to school board members to tell them that they shouldn't be treating these gays and lesbians and such with the dignity and respect they deserve because it goes against their beliefs. Look, telling people that your beliefs (religious) trump THEIR reality (sexual orientation) is NOT treating them lovingly. It is discriminatory. Telling someone that you will not accept them based on their sexual orientation is pretty mean and low. I always question the moral standards of someone who says something like that. We clearly do NOT share the same morals, and for that I am very glad.

So, here is what the proposal by the Edmonton Public School Board looks like and I think it looks not too bad at all:

If you go to you will see that the site's creator(s) have done a fine job of listing all of the school board members which they are asking other bigots to write to and explain why the school board members should listen to bigots and not give GLBT (etc) students and their families the support and recognition they deserve.You may wish to contact them regarding the issue as well, what the heck. There is also a survey you can take, apparently, to give your views on the EPSB's proposal at this survey link. May as well plug in your answers there, too!

I hope that if you are reading my blog, you feel the same way as I do. I think this is a positive inititative by the Edmonton Public School Board and I want to see it put in place, not only in Edmonton, but across the country. I want to see kids feel at home at school, not as outcasts, and definitely not as being immoral just because of their sexual orientation. And I don't want to see people that believe discrimination and bigotry constitute "moral standards" from hijacking public school systems.