Halloween Tricks & Treats

A few Halloween classics on this spooky day...

My favourite Halloween clip! Donald Duck faces off with a witch. Guess who wins?! (Link)

Disney - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Link)

Disney - Sweet Dreams (Link)

Michael Jackson's Thriller (Link)

Disney - Lonesome Ghosts (Link)

Garfield - Scaredy Cat (Link)

Disney - Monster Mash (Link)

Happy Halloween!

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Busy busy busy busy....

No time to write, so I leave you with pictures of fabulous libraries. I'd love to spend days wandering in these!!!

(click on the photos to see enlargements and other libraries)

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Less than a week left

In only a few days, the Canadian Breast Cancer Network's online auction will be over. Check it out now to buy some great Christmas gifts while contributing to a worthwhile cause.

They're auctioning tickets, trips, books, music, artwork, toys and much more!

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OJ Simpson tells how he might have done it...

Totally creepy.

OJ Simpson is reportedly writing a book called If I Did It; a hypothetical account of what might have happened if he had murdered his ex wife Nicole and Ron Goldman (via Sympatico/MSN and MSNBC).

At this point, he has nothing to lose, due to double jeopardy laws which prevent him from being re-tried for the murders.

It will be interesting to see if this report is true. If it is, it proves that he is one sick man.

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Rick's rant

Click here to watch Rick Mercer's latest comedic rant on the Clean Air Act (which is actually only a Bill).

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5 things feminism has done for me

Scott from Progressive Bloggers asked me to write a list of 5 things feminism has done for me. For those of you who haven't read one of these lists yet, here's the background: Despite having a $13 billion surplus this year, the government has cut $5 million of funding to Status of Women Canada. In response, many Canadian bloggers have been posting lists of '5 things feminism has done for me', to show their support for the goals of the SWC.

Before I begin, I'll say that although I support women's rights and equality for all, I've never really considered myself a 'feminist'. I'm not quite sure why.. perhaps it's because today feminism almost seems to have become a dirty word. It seems like a lot of people associate feminists with radical man-haters, although that's certainly not a universal trait. But, while I may not agree with every stance of feminist groups, I value the changes that women's groups have made in our society, and many of those that they continue to lobby for.

5 Things Feminism Has Done For Me

1. It has made me realize, from a young age, that women can do anything.
Women can be politicians, scientists, astronauts and firefighters, and they can do their jobs as well as men. We need not be forced into predetermined gender stereotypes.

2. It has made me realize that while women can do anything, we don't have to do everything.
We can be anything we want, but we don't need to force ourselves to try to be superwomen. To me, feminism is about recognizing your options, and making the choices that work best for you. Someone who is a stay at home mom isn't necessarily less of a feminist than the CEO of a large company. We all advocate in our own, different ways.

3. It has made me expect to be judged on my merits, not only my looks.
Realistically, almost everyone is judged on their looks these days - men included. But I'm happy to see that most women no longer expect to get (or not get) a job because of the way they look. They expect employers to read their resume and evaluate their relevant skills. Thankfully, in many professions, employers do that.

4. It has made me proud to live in a society where I have the freedom to speak my mind, regardless of my gender.
I have the right to vote, debate in a public forum, enter politics, and challenge my husband or father if I think they're wrong. I need not keep quiet because of my gender.

5. It has shown me that while we like to think that we live in an equal society, we still have far to go, and must continue working.
The funding cuts to the Status of Women Canada are a big one here, but two big (personal) moments of enlightenment for me were firm interviews, and also hearing young, well educated male university classmates scoff at the idea of pay equity. We still have far to go to reach equality in practice, and in people's minds and hearts.

Wikipedia entry for feminism

Over at Progressive Bloggers, they're suggesting that everyone who writes a list should 'tag' 5 other (male or female) bloggers to see if they're willing to participate. I'd like to invite Apartment Girl, Vickyth, Becky, helmut, and Heather.

Thanks to Politics & Poetry for the link to Status Report.

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Score one for Belinda

I can't say that I'm a big fan of Belinda Stronach, but I found myself appreciating her recent zinger at the Conservatives.

Referring to the recent cuts to the Status of Women Canada, etc., apparently Belinda asked during Question Period: "Why does the government insist on turning its back on women's rights and the groups who advocate on their behalf?"

Conservative MP Lynne Yelich responded:

"I would like to remind the member that it was a Conservative government that gave women the right to vote in 1917, a former Conservative government. The first female cabinet minister was in the Diefenbaker cabinet. The first female premier in British Columbia was from a Conservative government."

Belinda responded:

"Mr. Speaker, may I also remind the House that they also took the word “progressive” out of the name of the party."

Thanks to Liberal Catnip for the chuckle!

Offensive T-shirt pulled from stores

I'm so happy to hear that this T-shirt was pulled from at least one chain of stores carrying it!

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Have you heard about Freecycle?

It's a great grassroots movement; a collection of forums from around the world where people can request and give free items to others in their community.

Chances are, your city or municipality will have a Freecycle group, and once you sign up you can get in on the action. It's a great place to find a home for the good used items that you have in your house. Chances are, someone has something you want, and you have something that someone else needs. I haven't received anything from Freecycle yet, but I've posted an office chair, pull-out couch and vacuum, and never have any trouble finding someone willing to pick up the items (which was wonderful in the case of the couch; it was heavy and we don't have a truck).

Donating items to your local used goods stores like the Diabetes Association or Salvation Army are great ideas, but Freecycle is one more way to send your used items to good homes.

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Gotta love the snarky comments

So the pageant moms have come out swinging.

A month after I posted about child beauty pageants, I've had a ton of visits to the post, several... um... interesting comments, and lots of visits to my personal website.

Sorry folks, I still don't buy the argument that the wigs, fake teeth and spray-on tans that some toddlers wear in pageants are like equipment for sports.

The photos, along with dozens more, were on the Total Nockouts website until the discussion on Suburban Turmoil got too hot to handle (link, link, link, link and link). I'm hardly exploiting those kids by posting their public glamour shots on my blog (with limited readership, I might add) to make a point about letting children be children.

Of course most of the girls will say that they like pageants. A 4 year old child just wants to make their parents happy, even if it means smiling on cue and wearing a wig and makeup (but it's worth noting that there are also ones who cry and don't want to perform on stage).

So many girls have body image and self esteem issues. In my opinion, girls in our society are sexualized way too young, and I don't think child pageants help the problem.

Charming Belles

National winners (some of them are so young that they have to be held by their mothers in the group photo!)

Part 1 of the documentary Living Dolls:

(Link - in case the player doesn't work for you)

Barbie Girl

Another body image video. Hope you have a strong stomach for this one!

Link (in case the player doesn't work for you)

Thanks to IzzyMom.

New Music

Sarah McLachlan's new Christmas album, Wintersong, is available on eMusic.

I've written about eMusic a couple of times before, but here's the summary:

It's a music subscription service, similar to PureTracks or iTunes, but much cheaper, and you get MP3s unhindered by restrictions on how you can use them. I'm signed up for a package where I get 40 songs a month for $9.99 ($0.25 each), and I never have any trouble finding 40 to download. In fact, my 'Save for later' list has about 30 CDs I still want to download tracks from!

They cover all genres, from classical to punk, children's music to country. You can try it out and get 25 free downloads (and no, I don't make any money for promoting it, I just think it's a great site, and I've discovered some great music through it).

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"Serious message. You should to read."

I get a lot of junk mail sent to my work email account, and there are always a few gems, whose subjects make me laugh. This week's funnies:

  • Serious message. You should to read.
  • This watch is fictitious
  • Hometown couldn't soup
  • humor Milk Cookies Lazykiller
  • Essential letter. You require to read.
And then there's the sender's names. My favourite this week is "Herb Stinky".

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Photoshop 'magic' & self esteem

"No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted."

I like these commercials.

Thanks to Weary Parent for the video of the model - I hadn't seen that one before!

Link, link and link (in case the video players don't work for you).

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Critical questions to ask about pink ribbon products

On October first, I wrote a post about the overwhelming amount of pink ribbon products, and how you should question how much money from each sale is donated to which organization(s), and where the money is spent (Locally? Nationally? Internationally?).

A list of BlogHer blogs posting about about breast cancer and women's health led me to a post by MotherPie about shopping for a cause, which led me to the Think Before You Pink website, which lists some more critical questions to ask when buying pink ribbon products:

  • What is the maximuim amount that will be spent? (some companies will only donate up to a maximum amount, no matter how many items are sold)
  • How much money was spent marketing the product (vs. the amount donated to the cause)?
  • What is the company doing to assure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?
If you don't receive satisfactory answers to your questions, consider whether your money would be better spent by donating directly to a breast cancer organization which funds programs that you support.

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Possibly the most disgusting T-shirt in the world

Saskboy's blog led me to two posts by insanitycase about a sick children's T-shirt she saw in a local discount store. Can you believe people actually manufacture and sell shirts like this?!

This isn't made for 17 year olds - the shirt is made in girl's size 6x.

It's horrible that we live in a world that encourages pedophilia by making clothing like this.

Finding the T-shirt
Buying the T-shirt

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Many, many things I've been meaning to share for a long time...

Link update! Here are a bunch of interesting sites that I've had bookmarked for a while:

  • I read about this cool site on Simple Essentials: It's called Earth Album, and it's a mashup of Google Earth and Flickr, so that when you click on an area of the world map, you can see photos of that location.

  • Translate your blog with one click

  • Tips for quickly greening your new home

  • Altered Oceans: It's sad and disgusting to see what we've done to our oceans...

  • A "Best Of" Sesame Street DVD will be released on October 24th! This will be great for all of you who to show your kids the best sequences from the classic children's show. Old School Volume 1: 1969-1974 contains "I Love Trash," "Rubber Duckie," "C is for Cookie", the Ladybug Picnic, Alligator King, King of Eight, and the Pinball Number Count, as well as numerous skits and the original pilot.

  • Cute flashlights for the kids to take around at Halloween... or stocking stuffers for the young-at-heart!

  • When you wash your hands, how much time do you take? 5 seconds? 10 seconds? Do you *gasp* just flick them under the water without even using soap? Medical professionals recommend that you vigorously scrub your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, in order to kill the germs on your hands (that's about the time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday). Enter: Squidsoap. According to designverb, "the soap dispenser has an ink marker that stains your hand once you pump out some soap. The stain marks your hand until you thoroughly scrub and wash your hands clean of all germs including the new stain (which acts as a layer of germs). This somewhat forces your to actually SEE something and scrub it away."

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Thanksgiving weekend

Have a nice Thanksgiving weekend, everyone!

One thing I actually agree with the federal Conservatives on...

I've voted conservative in provincial elections in the past, but I really dislike Stephen Harper and much of what the new Conservative party stands for.

The Conservative party's stance on the gay marriage issue particularly bugs me. I totally support same-sex marriage. People are people; marriage need not always be a religious union, or for procreation, and I believe that two consenting adults who want to get married should be legally allowed to (let's not start the incest & polygamy debates right now, shall we?).

It frustrates me to no end that the party hopes to re-open debate on the legality of same-sex marriage, and I wish they'd just let it go. But while I feel that way, I actually support one idea behind their proposed Defence of Religions Act.

I don't know the details of the Act yet, so I'll reserve judgment on the whole thing, but I at least agree with the main principle - I don't think that religious officials should be compelled to marry same-sex couples if it's against their religious beliefs (I'm unsure if I agree with allowing civil servants to opt out, so that's something I'll have to think about more).

But back to priests, ministers, etc. I don't think that they should be required to marry same-sex couples, just as I don't think that medical students should be required to learn how to perform abortion procedures in medical school. I know, they're very different issues, but they're both strong and widely-held values/beliefs issues. While it would be really disappointing for a couple wanting to have a religious ceremony to be told that their local minister won't perform the ceremony for them, a couple doesn't need the religious element to get married, and it's just a gut feeling for me that someone whose whole life and profession is based on his/her religious beliefs shouldn't be legally compelled to do something that violates those beliefs.

As for the legislation protecting religious leaders' rights to publicly voice criticism of homosexual behaviour without risking complaints of human rights violations, I don't agree with that! Sounds like preaching discrimination from the pulpit, to me.

Just a few thoughts.

Shopping for a good cause

The Canadian Breast Cancer Network is hosting an online auction from October 1-31. They have some really neat items, and it's a great opportunity to do some Christmas shopping, while contributing to a worthwhile cause.

They're auctioning:

  • Live theatre and film tickets
  • Jazz, blues and folk festival tickets
  • Museum and art gallery passes
  • Spa packages
  • Hotel, ski and golf packages
  • Sports tickets and memorabilia
  • Books, agendas and calendars
  • Toys and games
  • Artwork and photography
  • CDs
...among other things. Check it out!

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Kiddie costumes

Oh my God, so cute.
See more baby Halloween costumes here.

On a related note, we had our ultrasound today. Cute to see the little one moving around in there. We have one active little baby!

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Teacher loses it: Man vs. Machine

What do you think? Was this teacher out of line, or do you applaud his action?

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Pink for October

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this blog has gone Pink for October.

It's hard to miss the pink this month, with the Run for the Cure merchandise in stores, commercials on TV, and segments on the news. While some people may feel that they're being overleaded with pink, breast cancer is a serious issue that must be thought about all year round, not only when the marketing is going full speed.

Did you know that breast cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian women? And did you know that an average of 407 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every week? (from the Canadian Cancer Society)
I just returned home from meetings of the Canadian Breast Cancer Network, and they were very eye opening. I'm not a member of the provincial networks, but it was really interesting to see how they work together, and hear about the work that they do.

The most interesting conversation of the week was one about the marketing of 'pink', saturation, and where your donations go.

When you go in a store, you'll inevitably see a bunch of products sporting a pink ribbon. But have you ever thought about how much money from that loaf of bread, package of candy, etc. goes towards the charity? Sometimes it's as little as 1 or 5 cents! Also, do you know where your money goes? Does it go to a local organization or chapter? A national one? One in another country? Keeping donation money in their community/region is very important for many people, as is knowing how much of their donation is used for administrative costs rather than research/education/equpiment, etc.

Next time you're in a store selling pink ribbon products, look for that information on the package. Ask a sales associate. Call the 1-800 number on the package. And if you get a vague answer like "your money goes to breast cancer research" - no organization or amount specified - ask for details (I tried that this week at a store in Ottawa). The more you inquire about your donation, the more companies will stop using the pink ribbon merely to sell products, while giving a, quite frankly, pathetic donation to the cause.

Some companies giving substantial per-item donations:

Marks Work Warehouse - In addition to special discounts and prizes, Mark’s will match 100% of the proceeds raised from the sale of their One Night, One Cause t-shirt, benefitting the Breast Cancer Society of Canada

Penny People Designs - 50% of the proceeds from pink ribbon notecards goes to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

Avon - Depending on the product, Avon will donate all net proceeds or full proceeds from its pink ribbon products to breast cancer charities

Holt Renfrew - 100% of proceeds from the HR Private Brand pink cashmere turtleneck go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

WonderBra - $5 from each 'Me collection' bra will go to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

More CBCF sponsors here.

More information: Many breast cancer donations don't go into research: study (CBC)

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Oh baby, where to shop?!

This whole 'becoming a mom' thing is really fun. The anticipation, the decorating, the shopping...

Living in Fredericton (a small Canadian city, for those of you not familiar with it), presents its own problems for baby shopping, though. I've looked in Sears, Zellers, Wal-Mart and Toys R Us, and quite frankly, I'm sick of pastel. Not that there's anything wrong with pastel, but does every baby sleeper have to be in pastel colours with cutesy animals on it? Not that I have a problem with cutesy animals, either, but come on, a little variety would be nice.

There are a couple of cool stores in Fredericton that sell unusual baby stuff: A Room to Remember, Urban Almanac, and the toy store Think Play. But beyond that, it's pretty tough.

I've been doing a lot of Internet searching, and while there are hundreds of cool online baby stores in the U.S., I've been dinged with a lot of duty by Canada Post before, and I don't do online shopping from the U.S. anymore.

But... I've finally found a decent amount of Canadian online stores that sell hip baby/children's gear. So in case there are other parents in the same predicament (or if there's anyone wondering what style of baby things I like, hint hint), check out these great stores!

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