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A woman is dead.

Everyone should cry out in horror and shame and mourn her death. Who was she? Was she a world leader like Margaret Thatcher? No. A religious figure like Mother Theresa, then? Not at all. A celebrity like Bette Davis? No. Who was she, then?

I don’t know, but I cry for her.

She was just a mother and wife. Maybe she had brothers and sisters. How many children? I don’t know. But her death is immortalized on this video. You can see her crouching in the background. Just a grey spot on the ground while men mill around her. The guns fire and she drops. The men show no more emotion than if they’d just killed a hyena. Less, probably. They’re probably late for lunch.

So what did she do? She must have killed her children. No. She poisoned her husband. Not at all. She must have stolen another woman’s child. Not even close.

She is accused of committing adultery. Accused. She wasn’t even found guilty of adultery. Only accused.

This is what happens when ANYONE feels the need to control another being’s sexuality so much that the mere accusation of wrongdoing merits death. This wasn’t about her. This was about the MEN of the Taliban. This was about their lack of manhood. Their lack of understanding, appreciation and respect for what their own god, Allah, created.

I am not Muslim. I am Wiccan, but I can have respect and understanding for another’s faith. Islam is a wonderful religion and full of rich traditions and stories. As a writer, I have found my writings have been enriched by reading the religious texts of various faiths. I highly recommend it.

The Taliban are not true Muslims. They are a small extremist group much in the same way that Jim Jones’s People’s Church was an extremist version of Christianity. What the Taliban do disgusts me.

Three women in burkas standing on a streetcorner

Three women in burkas standing on a street corner

Publically, the Taliban has stated that they instituted changes for women in the attempt to protect their dignity. Women are banned from working except in health care, going outside their home unless they are covered from head to toe in a burka. As well, girls were not allowed an education until the Taliban finally relented and allowed girls under 12 to get an education.

It’s fairly common for women to be beaten, raped and tortured for something as simple as being  uncovered. Ladies, imagine having to wear your bedsheet all day long while shopping or taking the kids to the park. This is one very psychotic, very fringe element preserving women’s dignity. Thank whoever you pray to that these nutballs didn’t get ahold of the idea of female circumcision (which I will talk about another time).

Men, can you imagine your wife going to the store. A man on the street sees her and lusts after her. The man goes to the local “authority” and tells them she committed adultery. The Taliban come and get her and shoot her. You come home from work and your wife is dead.

Reports say that things are improving in Afghanistan for people all around. However, there are still problems in the small towns and outlying areas. Let me state this again VERY CLEARLY; the Taliban are not Muslim. They are an extremist group and should not been seen as the standard for Muslim practice.

Let me tell you what I’ve seen of the Islamic tradition. If you walk into a shop owned by Muslims and say, “Salaam,” they will smile broadly and greet you back warmly. They cannot welcome you enough. I don’t recommend drinking the coffee, though. That stuff is enough to keep you awake for a week. My Muslim friends answer all my questions happily even though some of them are pretty silly (for example, “what is the Islamic stance on life on other planets?” A debate that lasted several hours). Most Muslims, men and women, are educated, well-spoken, polite people. They have a great deal of respect for others and even welcome an old witch like me to their mosques (so long as I don’t cast any spells which I’m good with). The food is good, if spicy (I’m allergic to peppers) and the company is wonderful. I even knew a Muslim family that took in their friend’s child for a period when the friend was unable to look after her due to health reasons. The child was loved and cherished by all and regards that family as her second family.

Muslims are good people.

The Taliban are just power-hungry psychopaths who feel the need to control everyone.

Our troops went to Afghanistan to help make things better. It couldn’t have been easy and I, for one, thank them for their work. They faced conditions most of us will only see in the movies and, even then, have difficulty imagining. If you know of someone who went to the Middle East. Thank them and give them a hug.

Some day our children’s children will look back in horror in the same way we now look at Auschwitz and say, “how could you do that?” It is my dream that they will never hear about a nameless, faceless woman crouching in the grey dirt being shot to death for something she’s only accused of doing. Some day these horrors will be a thing of the past.

Until then,

a woman is dead.

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Guess what? Banks are in business to make money!!

Okay. I can hear you laughing at me from here. Stop that.

When I was a kid my family had a change jar. Lots of families have them. You take whatever change from your pockets at the end of the day and put it in the jar. Change adds up and when you need some, you take it. For most of us, this was our first taste of banking. We learned that when we put money away it’s there for us when we need it. That’s simple.

I’ve been in bankruptcy twice. Obviously there’s something about this system I don’t understand. I put my money in the bank and… wait… what do you mean it isn’t there? Where’d it go? Fees? Fees for what? Banking fees. Oh. I see. Now, a bank has to pay its staff to do their jobs and help you understand their system and get the most for your money. I get that. I’m willing to pay what’s fair, for the services I use. Except I don’t use them.

Other than today, the last time I was physically in a bank was about a month ago. The bank had switched me from my student status to their regular status without telling me. Instead of putting my account in a low fee account (which would make sense since I just graduated school), they put it in their regular fee account. The result was that my habit of paying by debit cost me nearly $70. Yes, you heard me, $70. I’m not kidding.

I discovered they had a flat rate account that would accommodate my debit use and would only cost me $13 a month. When I asked why they didn’t revert me to this account they said it wasn’t their policy. When I asked why I was told simply that changing it to the regular fee account was their policy. Huh? Redundant is redundant.

Now, as I said, I do think that I should pay a fair rate for the services I use. Except, I don’t use them. I have mentioned before that I’ve gone paperless in my life and that means doing banking by phone or computer. Rarely, very rarely, do I ever go into the bank itself. Yet, I just realized today that I’m being charged to have a bank there.

Today I went into the President’s Choice Financial Bank. I’m sure you’ve seen them, they’re tucked away in the corner of your local Real Canadian Superstore. They’re tiny, little corners, usually a desk, a cabinet, a bank machine and a computer. Not much more than that. They’re kind of cute, actually. However, this small little office made me feel more welcome than the bank I’ve been dealing with for more than 20 years.

Let’s do a comparison, shall we? My regular bank is a nation-wide financial institution. If you enter into the bank you will see a main reception desk where a lovely lady sits. Unfortunately, due to the placement of her chair and me standing above her, I can usually see directly down her shirt. I’m not opposed, but I don’t think I need to pay for that. Keep moving in the bank and you will see rows of offices where the bank managers sit. Move a little further and you see rows of tellers. Men and women positioned behind a large shelf-like counter. It’s all professional and clean and cold. This is what a bank is, isn’t it?

I went into the President’s Choice Financial Bank and there was a lovely young lady using a rug sweeper to make sure her area was clean. Just her. No rows of managers and tellers. One computer. Not banks of them. Wait a minute. Where were the managers advising me on how to give them my money? Where were the tellers taking my money? Hmm…

This woman was wonderful. She was one-stop shopping. She advised me on saving my money, different account types and what would suit my needs best. She talked about interest rates and how to save for the future. She even advised me on GICs and RRSPs. I don’t get that when I go to my regular bank. I have to make an appointment and wait. Sometimes for days. This woman joked with me and talked about the events of the day. I discovered she has an 11-year-old son and is a single mother. As a writer, I love these details. She’s a real person with real cares. In turn, I felt as though she cared about me.

That’s when I discovered that President’s Choice Financial doesn’t have any fees. Like the change jar, I put my money in, I take my money out. My money. I’m not paying to have a teller I never see or managers who never do anything for me. As I said, I do everything myself with an occassional phone call to straighten out a glitch or error. I like doing it that way. Gives me a greater sense of control over my money. I do believe it’s a lack of control that led to my two bankruptcies.

There was one last problem with my regular bank. I’ve been banking with them for almost 20 years and have let them have their own way for that time. I was told something was policy and left it at that. Recently I’ve been trying to recoup my credit rating and get back on steady footing financially. That’s where a bank comes in, right? Not in the case of my regular bank. Many times I’ve tried to find a solution for myself that the bank will help me with. Turns out, bankruptcy twice means “we don’t have to do crap for you.” When I tried to apply for a line of credit, my regular bank drew a line in the sand. I couldn’t even get the five-day hold on my incoming cheques released. My regular bank will do nothing.

At President’s Choice Financial, I still have the five-day hold for now. However, that depends on me. If I deposit money on a regular basis, don’t bounce checks and keep a positive balance, that hold should be released in about six months. Not only that, but President’s Choice Financial also helped me to apply for a line of credit. I wasn’t simply turned away and told there was no sense in applying. The woman at this bank offered me solutions that the bank can help me with. Real solutions. I may not get the line of credit, but I’m closer than I was before.

Bankruptcy has taught me a lot about myself and my finances. I’m far more careful now than I was before and I’m much more savvy than I was. This isn’t to say I’m a financial genius. Numbers still confuse me. However, I now realize that paying for services I’m not using is stupid. I don’t mean this blog to be an advertisement for any one financial institution. Banks do need to know, though, that their ways aren’t going to cut it for much longer. People aren’t going to keep paying for them to line their pockets.

It’s my jar. It’s my money.

Gay Pride Couple With Bare Asses

A gay pride couple with their asses bared to the world

I’m proud to be who I am. I may not stand on tabletops, but I also don’t hide it. Let’s get the labels out there. I am a pansexual, polyamourist, switch libertine. Okay. That’s out of the way. When I saw the above photo, I got angry. I recognize the need to go out and be public. That I have no problem with. Seriously, though, is there a reason for hanging your ass out for the world to see? Every single other person in that photo is covered up and dressed normally. I don’t care how great your ass is, does it add to letting the world accept GLBPT people? Or are you just another exhibitionist who needs to be in a different type of parade? All too often I hear people saying gays are “fine” but that their behaviour is weird. These are generally open-minded people saying this. I’m often told that the objection is not about who the person wants to love or is attracted to or how they define their sexuality. Rather, people tell me they object to the behaviour. Oh, I know I’m going to get a lot of hassle about this, but come on, people. We’ve all met the butch lesbian and the flaming gay. I’m not talking a woman who is a tomboy. I am more tomboy than feminine most days. I’m talking the woman who goes out of her way to display her masculine qualities. Not a trans woman, just a lesbian who acts like she just walked off a pirate ship. Or how about the gay man who is so effeminate he has flames shooting out his ass? These are people who act in extreme ways to get attention. No one; straight, gay or other; likes to have behaviour thrown in their face. We condemn the Goths and Emos for doing it, why is it okay for the GLBPT group? When you’re marching in that parade, ask yourself why you’re there. Are you there to offer support to the community and show the world you don’t want or need to hide? Or are you there to get a cheap thrill? Does having your ass hang out further the GLBPT community’s agenda in any way? Or does it give the world another bit of weird behaviour to stare at? I, in no way, suggest that people be quiet about their sexual orientation but there is a time and place for everything. Come on, people. Our community needs to help the world understand and accept us. We don’t need to push the public further away through idiotic behaviour. Sgt. Brandon Morgan with boyfriend Dalan Wells kissing

This photo was posted on Facebook and showed a very happy Brandon Morgan and Dalan Wells reuniting after Morgan had returned home. It’s a touching, wonderful photo and no one’s ass is hanging out.

If our community is to be truly understood and accepted, we have to help people to understand. Understanding stops, communication stops, everything stops when your behaviour alienates people. A man I truly respect and admire is George Takei. Here is a man who lived in the internment camps of World War II (a pretty name for something so ugly done to a culture) and then came out as being gay at a time when “that sort of thing just wasn’t talked about”. He’s intelligent, witty and fights for what he believes in. If we have anyone to thank for forward movement in the GLBPT cause, he is certainly one. Yet, he doesn’t engage in outrageous behaviour. When it’s appropriate, he flames and has fun with it. When the situation calls for it, he’s all business.

Let’s be smart, people. If your behaviour is alienating others, then stop doing it. You have the right to love whom you choose but you don’t have the right to scare people. We are all human and humans are a social creature. We need each other to survive. That means making allowances for each other. If you’re straight and are curious about the GLBPT community, come ask. We like questions and we’re generally friendly. If you’re GLBPT, please don’t be a stereotype. You’re our spokesperson. How people see me depends on how you behave. Please represent me well and I’ll do the same for you.

And please cover up your ass.

Condom

Condom

I have a high sex drive.

A phenomenally high sex drive.

I always have. It’s something I’ve learned to live with and work around. I’m fairly certain that if I were a guy I’d have a hard on at least once every couple of hours. As a woman, it’s easier to hide sexual arousal.

My first sexual experimentation began when I was six with a female friend who was eight. We had an idea that if touching ourselves felt good, then touching someone else must feel good, too. Our experimentation continued and grew for about a year and a half when I moved away. After losing my friend, I continued to experiment on myself.

For a long time I was ashamed of this. The first horror to strike people is the idea that a six year old would even consider such a thing. After all, little girls wear pigtails and play with dolls, not each other. Understand that while there was arousal, it wasn’t the same as adult arousal. This was simply a physical response to stimulation. Neither of us knew, understood or cared about the psychological or emotional arousal happening. It was merely a matter of “let’s see what happens when I do this.” To this day people are horrified when they find this fact out about me. Personally, I don’t see it as bad or good, it just is. What amuses me, though, is little boys will masturbate as early as being in the womb and it’s seen as natural. Boys will be boys. However, a girl who does the same thing is seen as being unnatural. Boys will “play doctor” and that’s a source of amused pride. Girls experiment and it’s horrifying.

The second source of my shame was the fact that I was playing with another girl. I learned early and I learned fast that girls belong to boys. That’s it. In my early 20s I went to a psychologist because I thought I was somehow broken (I wasn’t, took me until my 40s to learn that). I told him of the incident and he let me know that unless I was willing to “purge” myself of the event, he couldn’t help me. When I refused, he stated that I was addicted to being sick. I never saw him again.

So, all through my life I’ve had an unbelieveably high sex drive. I would date men and wear them out. I had one guy break up with me because he complained he couldn’t keep up. I tried desperately to remain monogamous, but I hated that I had to curb my appetites. Of course, as I said earlier, I get aroused throughout the day so I’ve learned to ignore the feeling and go on. However, in an intimate relationship, it seemed like I should be able to go all night like I want to. By my 30s, I hit on something of a solution.

While going to the University of Alberta, I met a young engineering student. A hot little 20-something who was willing to play. For the first time, I met someone whose appetites matched my own. Since then I have actively sought out engineers. I have yet to be with an engineer who is a bad lover. I don’t know what it is, but I highly recommend engineers.

Younger men, it seemed, could keep up with my needs. I like young men. They have nice, hot, tight bodies and are generally willing to try most things. However, a relationship was not in the works.

I had grown tired of relationships. Always masturbating someone’s ego for the price of dinner. I never felt cared for, just like property. Younger men generally don’t want relationships with older women (though there are exceptions) and I’m good with that. Once I rid myself of the idea that I had to be in a relationship to be a whole woman, monogamy quickly followed out the window.

In the ensuing years I also found that I liked to play with some women, depending on their personalities. I’ve had a few alarming encounters but, for the most part, I’ve found that women are willing to play for longer periods. I like variety so, my new awareness of my sexuality enabled me to have various partners without guilt.

However, I am very aware of sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

Let me state this bluntly; if you are a sexually active adult and you do not get tested for STDs regularly, you’re an asshole. This may mean yearly or every couple of years. I try to do this every year or every couple of years.

Now let me make a confession. I’m kind of an asshole. It’s been more than two years since my last testing (which was clean at the time). I could give lots of excuses for this; I always use condoms, I haven’t had the time, I’ve been too stressed, whatever. They’re excuses and I admit it. As a sexually active adult I understand and am prepared for the outcomes of my actions. However, others shouldn’t have to pay for my actions. Tomorrow I go for testing like a responsible adult.

It’s at this point I have to make a plug. I always, ALWAYS use condoms. My preferred brand is Lifestyles “Skyn”, but I also like some Trojans as well. I prefer the thins, but I never have sex without a condom. I currently have a playmate (a friend I have sex with) and have been playing with him for a year and a half. We still use condoms.

I think of all the lives that have been lost because of STDs like AIDS. My hero, Freddy Mercury, succumbed to AIDS and died tragically. He still had so much more to do. I have more to do. Tomorrow I go for testing not because I think I have an STD, but to be sure that I don’t.

The Goddess holding a moon

Goddess Moon

I am a Wiccan High Priestess. Few realize it, but there are responsibilities that go along with that whether I have an active circle or am just a solitary practitioner. I take these responsibilities very seriously and try to carry them out to the best of my ability. 

It may seem self-evident, but one of those responsibilities is to listen and actually hear what the Goddess and God are telling me. This doesn’t mean watching for a bunch of omens and portents, but simply being open to what the world around you is showing you. The Goddess and God aren’t always obvious; most of the time they’re rather subtle and it’s hard to hear. Then there are times like this when it’s a blatant slap across the face.

For the past month it’s been raining off and on in Edmonton, Alberta. Not something that overly concerns me, I know the sun will come out sometime. If it doesn’t, I know how to swim and the Bible has great instructions on boat building. So it’s not something I’ve worried a lot about, especially since we had an incredibly dry winter.

However, over the past weekend, I’ve become more aware of the environment and the world around me than usual. I live in one of the most ecologically friendly buildings in Edmonton; built from recycled materials, it has geo-thermal heating/cooling and solar panelling. This building is what housing will feature in the future and I am proud to live here. I am also one of these people who take the bus or walk everywhere I need to go. I don’t own a car but I will use one occasionally whenever someone’s silly enough to hand me their keys. Most of the time, though, walking is enjoyable and good for the heart. I recognize, though, that this green-friendly activity isn’t mine by choice, but is one of the wallet. So, to take a more active role in saving the earth, I have gone paperless in my life. I don’t take receipts and use my debit card so I always know what transactions I’ve done, I have yet to refill the ink in my printer, all my edits and I do all my writing on the computer. I now use about 10% of the paper I once did. I’ve challenged other writers to go paperless, but so far none have accepted the challenge (see “Suckling at the Paper Teat“, January 7, 2012).

Things finally came to a head when I watched a neighbour watering the pavement on Saturday, June 9, 2012. Rain was imminent and I sat, stunned as this man took a hose with a high pressure water attachment and watered newly paved parking lot. Maybe this is an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder thing. I don’t know. Whatever it was, it made me angry.

When I told my sister about this pavement-watering moron, she stared at me like I’d suddenly started speaking a foreign language. She honestly didn’t understand why it bothered me so much. I then looked around her house and realized she is one of Canada’s resource gluttons. I was ashamed. When I went home that night I was disillusioned and depressed. My sister is a big advocate of the environment. So I thought. She’s always going on about recycling and environmental issues. She sounded like one of the eco-weenies I have so much problem with. Turns out, like so many others, she’s a hypocrite. Somewhere along the line she’s learned to mouth all the environmental platitudes but takes little or no action.

That night I found an earring I’d lost. It was my favourite, in the shape of a dragonfly. I feel very fond of the dragonfly, he’s seen as the messenger of the gods. I don’t look for omens, but sometimes the Goddess and God are rather blunt when they’re speaking to me. Okay. I got the hint. Time for action.

Canada has about 7% of the world’s renewable fresh water supply according to Environment Canada but we are also the biggest consumers of water in the world. It may not seem like much at first glance, that little 7% but let me assure you, that’s a vast quantity. This water supply has made Canadians water gluttons. I’ve seen people run the dishwasher (which is not an ecologically friendly dishwasher, usually) to wash two or three pots because they don’t feel like scrubbing. I know of people who take two or three showers a day because they feel like it or it makes them feel good. I’ve seen people watering their lawns a half hour before it’s about to rain. If these things don’t make you angry, they should. If it still doesn’t make you angry, then stop reading. You won’t give a damn about the rest of what I’m about to say.

I predict that in 20 years the country that it will be water that is the world’s commodity, not oil or gold. When that happens, the country with vast renewable fresh water resources will become a world power and Canada, which is one of those countries, is not ready for that responsibility. We have been idiots in regards to conserving our resources. I do share certain sentiments with David Suzuki in that Canada must act now to take care of its country or we will quickly become impoverished in ways we scarcely imagine.

I’m a science fiction writer. Let me paint a picture of the future if we do not take care of our environment now.

Disease will be rampant. Without access to clean water supply, our bodies will not be able to adequately fight off infection and diseases. Not to mention the increase of insects like mosquitos which often carry such diseases and are quite adaptable to adverse environmental situations. Certain species, like birds who eat insects, will decline drastically without water to supply. Our vast forests which we rely on for wood and paper products will quickly dry up. Vast quantities of prairie farmland will become as useless as a screen door on a submarine. The beloved Oil Sands will also come to a screeching halt. People will begin to work for food and water instead of money as both become scarcer and scarcer. Scared yet?

Unlike many environmentalists (I, by the way, am not an environmentalist. I am merely practical), I don’t just shout out dire warnings and then leave you shaking under the covers. There are some very real things you can do.

  1. A shower once a day is fine. If you happen to work a job that is very dirty by its nature then have that second shower just to clean up. A bath should be reserved for those particularly stressful days. Have a baby? I know of two mothers who would shower with their infants. It was a bonding time for them and the infants loved it. Of course, I don’t have children, so I don’t know how practical that is.
  2. STOP WATERING THE PAVEMENT!! If you’re like my neighbour and wants a clean sidewalk, get a broom. The exercise will do you good. Also, maybe if you feel silly doing it a few times you’ll come to the realization that IT’S PAVEMENT, not your kitchen and doesn’t need to sparkle. Maybe then you’ll stop.
  3. Green appliances are your friend. I don’t know of any company that doesn’t offer low-energy or low-water appliances. Buy them. You don’t need the water-guzzling or energy-sucking appliances of old. Along with that, invest in low-water spigots and shower heads. My building has them and I really don’t notice the difference.
  4. Green isn’t always good. There are unscrupulous companies out there who use the green name for marketing and don’t actually have anything environmentally friendly about it. Bamboo is not a good thing. Leave it to the pandas and stop clear-cutting bamboo forests. Be aware of what you’re buying. Like fish? Stop buying it. Fishermen often catch things other than that wonderful tuna or salmon you like so much. Dolphins in nets are one small part of the problem. Rare crabs, oysters, even coral reefs get caught up in them. Stop buying fish. Besides, our oceans are another problem area we need to work on.
  5. Recycling is everyone’s responsibility.It takes an extra 10 seconds to put something in the recycle. If you don’t do it, you’re an idiot and should stop reading. I don’t waste my time on idiots.
  6. Go paperless. With computers today, there is very little reason to print anything out. You can do almost everything paperless now. Pay bills, buy groceries, even do editing.

There’s a lot more that can be done, these are just the ones I’ve thought of. Oh. One more thing; tell your neighbours. Tell your friends. We’ve come to the point where watering the pavement is no longer an option. Canada is on the brink of something. We can either be a world leader or we can be gluttons.

As a High Priestess, I have a duty to listen when my Goddess and God talk. They spoke and I took action and wrote this blog. I hope everyone who reads it will pass it along or Facebook it or Twitter it. It’s time to stop watering the pavement.

King George

I am a horrible human being.

Yes, you heard me. Horrible. Awful. Evil. Okay, well, the evil part is kind of fun sometimes, but I should be ashamed of myself. I’m not. Not really, but I should be.

See, I’m racist. I’m not. Not really, but I am. Do you understand? No? Neither do I, but I’ll try to explain.

As a writer I’m hyper-aware of racism, political correctness and neutral writing. If I want a job, I’ll Bobbitt my writing until it’s emasculated, wimpy and huddled in a corner. It’s gotten so bad that I can no longer use the term “he” when referring to a generic person. I have to use a clunky “he/she”, which sounds like some odd hermaphrodite or the neutral “they”. Writing for the Government of Alberta is so neutral and without any life or colour that by the time I’m done I want to hang myself. That’s okay. I simply drink heavily and don’t write for the Government of Alberta.

Proofreading, though, is a different beast and I will happily take the Government of Alberta’s money to do this. Proofreading, for me, is monkey work and is horribly simple. It’s like a game. Someone has put a document together and has put errors into the document. They can be anything from the wrong font to the wrong line size to a typo. They can also be anywhere. The result is the proofreader goes by letter by letter to find the errors so that you, the reader, has a document that looks nice. It’s tedious work and encourages heavy drinking but it pays the bills.

So it was that I found myself proofreading for my nemesis, the Government of Alberta. This is a little like Batman darning the Joker’s socks, but money is a big motivator. However, my problem wasn’t with the job itself, but with the office. This is where the racism comes out so I’m going to warn you in advance that the following will not be pretty.

I was born, raised and now live in Alberta. I most likely will die here and contribute who I am as a person to this province. I’m proud of this place I call home. We have every kind of ecological system from swamps to desert to tundra. We have every kind of individual from entrepreneurs to the insane to family people to, well, me. You can yell at stupid drivers cutting you off and have a stranger listen to your woes as you sit in a downtown park. We’re a friendly folk, we try to welcome everyone and welcome all views. I once lived on a street that allowed me to try goat for the first time. Not that I recommend goat, that is.

However, when I worked for the Government of Alberta, I noticed something disturbing. On the floor where I worked, there was perhaps 15 to 20 people. Of those, perhaps 5 were born and raised in Canada, let alone Alberta. The rest were immigrants. This is where things get problematic. Most of those people spoke English as a second language and had come to Alberta in recent years. Now I’m starting to feel horrible.

Don’t get me wrong. If someone’s qualified, they’re qualified. I want the best person doing the job that services me. Don’t care much beyond that. However, if you’re working for the Government of  Alberta, that means you’re running my province. My home. Shouldn’t the people operating the system that governs my home at least have lived here for no less than 10 years? If I want a student loan, I have to live in Alberta for at least 12 years. If I want a government job, though, I don’t even have to speak English or French as my first language. We are a bilingual country, so either is fine.

Forgive me here. Now is the time I tell the naked truth. If someone is working for my government and running my life, I want them to be like me. Yes, I want them to have been born and raised here. I’m even willing to give some leeway on this. At least have that person be an Alberta citizen for the last 10 years. Someone who knows and understands the culture and people.

Here’s the scary part; the people running the government day-to-day life are people who are not native Albertans. Is anyone else nervous? The people executing government policy and interpreting how that policy is implements on a day-to-day basis don’t understand Alberta culture or people. How can someone who doesn’t speak English fluently interpret documents written in English? Our language is rich with colour and words can have a variety of meanings depending on the context. Every writer knows this. Those policies are then applied to the citizens of Alberta by people who have lived here a handful of years. For example, last year I worked with a woman whose job it was to do research. She was Russian and didn’t speak English well enough for me to understand one sentence in three she was saying. Yet, she held the very important job of researching issues and telling her managers and, eventually, the Ministers, what was important and what wasn’t.

There are those who will say that diversity of cultures is what’s needed in our government. Okay. Let’s say I go along with that. I don’t, but I can pretend. In three floors of the building I worked in, I did not see a single First Nations, Metis or Inuit person. Alberta has a rich French and Ukrainian population. Not one that I noticed. All I noticed was a rich representation of immigrants who have not lived here long enough to truly understand the province they are working for.

All I want is for the Government of Alberta to recognize who they are truly representing. If their focus is the immigrants to Alberta, they’re  doing a wonderful job. However, as a citizen of Alberta, I don’t think it’s a lot to ask that the Government start making citizenship a mandatory requirement for employment. Beyond that I don’t give a damn about race, sexual orientation, religion or any of that other nonsense. All I want is the same criteria that is required for obtaining a student loan; must have lived in Alberta for the past 12 years.

So, there it is. My confession. I’m a horrible human being. When I made comments to people on this subject one friend noted that to think that the criteria for employment with the government needed changing was fine. To actually say it was racist. In our horribly correct times we’ve gone overboard. I cannot point out a fundamental wrong without being a horrible human being. Ironically, the people who demand that I be an Albertan citizen for at least 12 years to get a student loan probably haven’t lived here half that long themselves.

That keeps me awake at night.

I often think about what is fair and what isn’t. I’m a libertine which means I don’t feel bound by the moral constraints of society although I do have my own strong moral code. In living this lifestyle I recognize that I do have one set of rules for myself and another for everyone else. I’m okay with that. I don’t push my morality on anyone else and happily ignore what everyone else feels I should do. A kind word for this is independent. Let’s call a duck a duck, shall we? I’m unfair to most of the world. It’s good for me, but not for you. This is not a code everyone can or should live by and I get that. It’s not fair, but it is what it is. In truth, most people are the same way but most pretend to some sham of equality so they can look good to their neighbours. Personally, what others think of me isn’t a big problem for me.

One of life’s early lessons for me was life isn’t fair. The bad guy doesn’t get it in the end nor does the hero always win. That’s okay. Life would be very boring if everything was fair. If the bad guy always got it in the end, we wouldn’t need heroes to try to serve justice. We wouldn’t need to strive to become better people or to live better lives. Let’s face it, if life was fair, you could live your life, be happy and that’s it. Sometimes the unfairness hurts or tragedy stikes and we cry bitter tears. Sometimes the pain that the unfair situation brings can cause us to raise a wall of fear around ourselves. That is life. That wall gives us something to overcome. Those tears cleanse us. Whoever said “don’t cry” is a fool.

There is a difference, though, between unfair and unjust. Unfair is the circumstances of life. When the cancer strikes or when the car goes over a cliff. There’s no malice in the act. Cancer doesn’t strike because it’s evil and wants to hurt people. The accident doesn’t happen because some demon has decided to plague mankind. Unjust is what we do to each other. Terri-Lynn McLintic abducts a young, beautiful Victoria Stafford. Trayvon Martin is shot to death by George Zimmerman. This is unjust.

Racism is unjust. I agree with that statement. I cannot fathom how a human being can look at another and deem them unworthy simply based on beliefs, gender, sexual orientation or colour. Somehow I’m not seeing what these people see and it confuses me. What confuses me more is reverse racism. The idea that all of those of us in the majority (usually whites) are racist. Or that being in the majority is bad. I was once told that I was a racist because I’m white. I’m not. I’m Metis. I was also fired from Indian and Northern Affairs because I “didn’t look native enough.” When I tried to take that one to the union I was told it was okay to fire me for that reason since First Nations were a minority and they could hire whomever they wanted. That one is still bitter to me.

Last year I worked for the Government of Alberta in Education. Anyone who reads my blog regularly will remember what a horrific time that was. So much so that, while I’m currently desperate for a job, I’d rather be homeless than work for the Government of Alberta again. I digress.

During the time I worked for Education we had National Aboriginal Day. Being Metis, I was the token Indian and had to go to a speech given by a First Nations Elder. I sat through an hour to an hour and a half listening to this man and his wife tell me the problems the First Nations people were having because of whites. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

First, let’s look at the treatment of the First Nations people toward the Metis. The First Nations people have refused to acknowledge the bridge between themselves and us. At best we are ignored by the First Nations. At worst, the First Nations accuse us of being wanna-bes. I cannot count the number of times an Elder has told me that only people who can’t get their treaty status get Metis status. For myself, my family has been Metis since the Europeans first came here. Our family heritage is just as rich and varied as any First Nations.

Second, let’s look at the accusations the First Nations level against whites. How is it that the First Nations get to call a Canadian of European descent “white” but I can’t call them “Indian”? The First Nations cite examples of children being taken from homes to go off to boarding schools to be educated. They also cite beatings that occurred and other abuses. Let’s examine this.

While I don’t condone taking children away from a perfectly happy, loving household; the Europeans of the time believed they were doing what was best for the child. European education, the type of education that we know and love today that takes place in the classroom, was believed to be the only kind of learning. In other words, if you didn’t read or write, if you hadn’t gone to school, then you were an ignorant savage. Narrow minded, but it was the belief at the time. We now understand that learning occurs in many different environments and ways and I hope we’re smart enough to embrace them all. How is it I’m being blamed for something that was done a hundred years ago? Does this mean I get to blame Italians for what the Romans did to the early Christians? How about blaming the Spanish for what they did to anyone who lived in South America? Blame is a tricky dish. There’s always enough to go around.

As for beatings, well, that was the standard of the day as well. Again, I don’t condone beatings, but I do remember the strap being still used in school when I was a kid. It was scary and awful, but I don’t blame the principals of my schools for nightmares I have today. It was a part of my life. Shall we shake hands and move on?

Another part of this talk was how the First Nations people were somehow privy to a more ecological way of living. That somehow they had secrets that the white man didn’t know. Really? Okay, then why is it that there are First Nations people using dynamite to fish? BOOM!! Yep. Very ecological. As well, according to the 2009 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada, landfill sites, sewage treatment and disposal on First Nations Reserves were not operating according to regulations laid out in the Indian Act. Let’s lay this out; First Nations reserves are dumping their shit wherever they please and, as of the report, were not called to task on it. Yet, there have been health issues on First Nations reserves. However, instead of blaming their own waste disposal system, people (the vast majority who listen to big media) have chosen to blame the Oil Sands.

Yet, the Government of Alberta has an active land reclamation project underway as do many of the oil companies that operate there. For example, Syncrude Canada has an extensive reclamation project that is a major undertaking by this company. Cheryl Robb, Media Relations Advisor for Syncrude Canada, explained that Syncrude has an active relationship with the First Nations people regarding reclamation and suggestions for moving forward with sustainability projects. This relationship is one of the six pillars of the Syncrude corporation. Syncrude will soon be able to boast they’ve planted over 7 million trees. Yet, it’s okay for the First Nations reserves to literally dump their shit wherever they please.

The First Nations also claim they have the right to self-govern. I’m Scots. I’ve decided that the Brits were shitheads for taking us over and I’m going gather other Scots and govern the way we did before the Brits came. Now all I need is a druid. I’m a witch. I don’t qualify.

Let’s take a look at what the First Nation’s self-government has gotten. There are stories of addiction, sub-standard living environments, crime and rampant poverty. In Hobbema, a reserve in Alberta, the chief’s 5 year old grandson was killed in a gang shooting spree. His was not the first death and I’m sure it’s not the last. So if the First Nations can govern themselves so well, shouldn’t they have fewer problems than us whites? Yet do not criticize them. What about the Attawapiskat reserve in Northern Ontario where living conditions were so deplorable that the government was forced to step in and take over the governing of the reserve? By that winter, 2000 people had to be evacuated from the reserve because the housing was so bad the government feared that people would not survive the winter. How on earth did the situation get to that point if the First Nations people are able to govern themselves so well?

Life is unfair and I accept that. I don’t want everything to be fair because it gives me something to work towards. However, it’s unjust when a minority group like the First Nations are able to point the finger of blame towards everyone else and not once do they address the issues on their own doorstep. Jesus said it best in Matthew 7:4, “Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull the speck out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye?”. Worry about your own backyard before you begin laying accusations elsewhere.

Full body picture of me

All of me

I am fat. Clinically the term is “obese”, but let’s call a duck a duck. Fat. I’m okay with that. It’s taken me a long time to sort through the garbage I hear from well-intentioned friends, family and even strangers. You’ve all heard the lines, “you’re not fat, you’re big.” Or, my favorite, “oh, don’t call yourself fat.” This one is usually mouthed by those who have been taught that hard truths are not to be spoken and hearing them makes them uncomfortable. Men will sometimes say, “I like you the way you are.” Really? Then why are you drooling over that hot little 20-something?I gained this weight while being mis-medicated for a condition I didn’t have. I’ve spoken about this before, but let me give you the soundbite. For years I was diagnosed with anxiety when, in fact, I had a sleeping disorder. I wasn’t anxious, I was tired. I was put on anti-anxiety meds that made me more anxious than what I was. This didn’t happen quickly, it happened slowly. I am one of those few people who reacted to the medication over a period of a year. By the end of two years on this medication my life had become a living nightmare. My sleeping was worse, I could barely function while trying to care for my parents, it took everything I had to just go out in public. Most days I went grocery shopping I wound up throwing up. Talk about a way to cut down your grocery bill. Most importantly, I gained weight and type II diabetes. When I finally came off the meds, it was a fresh set of hell. I’d been on them for years. I shook, I cried, I laughed hysterically, my sweat was rank and smelled like chemicals and I was not sleeping at all. That took about two months to get out of my system. However, the damage had been done.

The result of all of this was a big change in who I am. Once I was an outgoing, gregarious person. Now I’m horribly shy, prone to anxiety and fat. Before I was active and sexy. Now I love my computer far too much and am badly overweight. I’m reclaiming myself, but this isn’t an overnight thing. That’s important for people to understand. Most people I meet feel that since the medications are out of my system, I should just rebound back to who I was. That’s nice and it works in Hollywood, but reality is something different.

Let’s take stock of what happened. I was living in a hell that few people can understand. Yes, I’m out of there now, but when you’re there survival takes over and you do whatever’s necessary to keep going. You learn quickly that the coping mechanisms serve to keep you safe. When you take away the medication there’s no longer a need for the coping mechanisms but you’ve been doing them for so long you don’t remember any other way. I’d like to be that gregarious, outgoing person again. However, shyness and being socially awkward served to keep me safe. There is a part of me inside that screams in terror whenever I try to break my old habits. I try not to listen, but it’s still there.

What has this to do with me being fat? That’s simple. Just as it took me years to build up these habits, it’s taken me years to get fat. If I cannot be expected to change those anxiety habits overnight, what on earth makes me think I can change being fat overnight? That’s a secret that has been eluding me for years and now I’m sharing it with you.

Dr. Arya Sharma has been saying for a long time now that there are no instant fixes for obesity. I was shocked to hear that if a doctor sees a 400 pound patient and all that happens is the patient doesn’t GAIN weight it’s considered a win. Let’s look at that. Pretend you are 400 pounds. Dressing in the morning is a chore. Sweats and t-shirts are easier so you resort to those. If you’re a woman, forget about bras. Underwear is obnoxious at that weight. Cleaning the house? Ha! Hire a maid. People laugh at you and point. If you have kids, they’re ashamed of you. You go to the doctor because finally you’re going to do something about it. The doctor and you create a healthy eating plan and exercise regimen. Six months later you return to the doctor and you’ve lost five pounds. You’re discouraged, but your doctor is ecstatic. Why?

In our Barbie-driven, Disney hallucination world, we believe that eat right and exercise is the Be All And End All of weight loss. Isn’t that what Dr. Oz says? Weight Watchers has built an empire around that philosophy. Jenny Craig relies on it to make money. The mantra goes that if you eat right and exercise you will lose weight. That is true. To a point.

Eating right is always a good idea. We live in a wealthy society where we can get sufficient food and water for our nutritional needs. We should take advantage of that. However, what all these diets and health gurus and nonsense fails to mention is time. A person like me doesn’t get here overnight. This has taken 44 years to build up. What on earth makes anyone think that I can undo 44 years of damage, both mentally and physically, in six months? If I said to someone who had degenerative arthritis that exercise could help them and then expected them to be up and walking normally in six months, I’d get laughed at. Yet, fat is different in our minds.

We link obesity with laziness and stupidity. There was an episode of “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” where Will is given a fat suit by Susan Powter. She makes the point that Will is in shape and is healthy but that he knows nothing of what life is like for his uncle. Will is challenged by Susan to wear a fat suit all day. It’s a hilarious episode, one of their best, but it makes a point. Will finally sees what carrying all that weight around is like. He finally sees the day to day problems the obese have like doing simple things like grocery shopping. There is another side to this episode, too. Things that aren’t said. His uncle is far from lazy or stupid. He tries to lose weight and is seen interacting with his family in a healthy way. When they show him eating it’s generally healthy (a few snacks to get laughs) and he is not a stupid man. He’s a judge. This episode is one of my favourites and I wish I could email Will Smith and thank him for airing it.

Obesity is a lifelong challenge. As problematic as alcoholism and as difficult to treat as addiction. Every day we see stars who have babies and lose the weight within a month or two. Sometimes less. We forget they have personal trainers and dietitians and money to get liposuction and Photoshop. I don’t. Oddly, I find that obesity is most often a problem among those who are poor. This isn’t a statistic I’ve looked up, it’s just a personal observation.

We need solutions to obesity that are going to treat it as the lifelong problem it is. Don’t tell me to eat less and exercise. I already know that. Don’t blame me when I’m not losing weight as fast as you think I should. Don’t stare at me when, for the first time in a month or two, I’ve bought fast food. I’m treating myself. Let’s start changing the way we look at obesity. The obese are not the sub-human creatures painted in Hollywood. We’re real people with a real problem. Maybe the first step in treating obesity is changing what we think obesity is.

Danielle Smith Boob Bus

Danielle Smith Boob Bus

I suffer from night terrors. Night terrors differ from nightmares in that when you wake up, you don’t fully come out of the dream. So, you wake up and the monster you’ve been running from is now there in your bedroom. Not fun. In these dreams things start out innocuous enough; things look normal until the family you’ve been having dinner with decides you’re very tasty. This whole Danielle Smith campaign has been a little like that for me.

Smith is charismatic. She can sure talk and she looks pretty on the side of a bus (by the way, how on earth did that slip by her office?). Let’s face it, she talks better than Ralph Klein ever did and looks better than Stelmach. So much so she slipped this whole “conscience rights” things past me. I didn’t pay attention to it at all. I was so busy listening to the promises of payouts and improved health care that I missed this one. Like David Copperfield, Smith has an amazing ability to get her audience to watch what is happening in the right hand while her left is doing the pickpocketing.

Let’s look at this whole “conscience rights” thing for a moment. I first heard of it when Warren Kinsella of the Toronto Sun wrote about it in his article, “Smith Changes Her Tune and Is Completely Off-Key”. Wait a minute. I don’t usually watch the news and such, but come election time I do keep up with the politics. I love the Internet for giving me that ability. So how did a journalist in Toronto click into this and make noise about it before Alberta journalists did? To be fair, perhaps there was an article or two that I missed. Still, he’s in Toronto writing about Alberta politics and drawing attention to where it needs to be focused. You’re being ripped off, people and Kinsella is showing you.

Conscience rights, as I understand it, means that if an official does not agree with a particular issue and it conflicts with his job, he does not have to perform that function. So, let’s explain that. Let’s suppose there is a judge that does not agree with gay marriage. That judge does not have to perform the marriage. What? If there is a doctor who does not agree with abortion, he does not have to perform the abortion. Now, if you’re a judge who does not agree with gay marriage, you tend to stay away from marrying people. A doctor who does not agree with abortions would probably go into another field. No problem there. Right? Let’s take this one step further; let’s suppose you’re a prison official who does not agree with gay rights. Does that mean that official no longer has to care for them? Let’s say you’re an apartment manager who does not agree with the swinger lifestyle. Guess what? You don’t have to rent to “them” any more. Restaurant manager who doesn’t agree with First Nations’ rights? Don’t serve them. Welcome to the slippery slope, people.

Yes, some of the examples I’m showing are extreme, however, do you really believe there aren’t those who won’t go there? I’m a Wiccan and once lost a job because of it. No, that wasn’t the official reason, but was something that was said from my manager to me on my way out. She later denied saying it. Who is easier to believe? I have met racists, skinheads, gaybashers, and religious nuts; all of whom believe that “those” people should be grateful for what they got. I actually met a man who once said, “Rosa Parks should have stayed at the back of the bus. Then we wouldn’t have all these problems.” They’re out there and this policy gives them a blank cheque.

Okay. Those people do exist. What about the woman who really believes that shielding her children from swingers and Wiccans is best for her kids? I have to ask, what do these people think will happen if they meet a swinger couple? That the couple will start indoctrinating a five year old? “Yes, Billy. Your Mommy and Daddy are going to hell because they only sleep with each other.” Do these people believe that Wiccans will steal their 10 year old to perform a “Drawing Down of the Moon”? Do they think gays will infect their children? Come on. Let’s get real here. I’m all for raising kids right, but not when that means they get the idea that stomping all over the rights of those who are different is okay.

I did try to contact Danielle Smith’s office. I was a good girl and sent an email via their website. That’s a nice way of doing it. I can be polite when I try. That was a week ago. They never responded. So, when I called Smith’s office today the alarm bells really rang. I first called her campaign office and was told that the website email goes to her “other” office (they never really explained what the other office was). So, I called there and tried to get someone in the media office. No answer. I hate leaving messages. Besides, they’ve had a week to respond. So I got ahold of the receptionist who stated that the office “wasn’t sure where that email is routed to.” WHAT?? Let me get this right; you have an email for constituents (and nuts like me) to get ahold of you but you don’t know where it’s going? There’s a unique solution. Don’t want to have to answer questions? Create an email link and dump the email into the ether. Then you can honestly say, “nope. Didn’t get your email.” Does anyone else find that hilarious?

All I can do is write this blog, send a letter to the editor of local papers and cross my fingers. I won’t be voting for Smith, I can tell you that much and I urge others to do the same. Yes, the flash and dazzle is pretty, but all that gets annoying after a while. Then, when reality sets in, we’re left with “conscience rights”. I’m awake, but the night terror goes on and the monster is in my room.

All my life I’ve been the kid on the edges. You know the one; the one sitting on the side of the playground, reading. She’s the one pretending it doesn’t hurt to be left out or made fun of. The one standing along the bleachers at the high school dance, bouncing along to the music that no one asks to dance. She’s the one that’s learned to do things on her own. No one’s going to ask her to join them. It hasn’t been easy, and sometimes it has been very hard, but there’s an advantage to knowing how to do things on your own.

That life I have integrated into myself and embrace it. I am who I am and make no apologies for that. I’m a libertine, a polyamorist, pansexual, lover of life who makes her own way mainly by brute force and sheer determination. Would I like to have a clique? Sure. Then when things go horribly wrong I have someone to blame. I only have a small group of very good friends who remind me that when things blow up in my face, it’s my responsibility. They also come to the front and help me celebrate life’s victories. Those are many and they are sweet because I got there on my own.

I have battles I choose to fight. One of which is bullying. Of course, bullying comes in many forms including; abuse, rudeness and racism. To me, all of these are just bullying. They don’t always take priority; I simply don’t have that much energy. Which form I’m battling depends on what’s happening in my life. This time it’s racism.

By now, everyone’s heard of Trayvon Martin and how he was gunned down by a bully. Yes, George Zimmerman was nothing more than a bully with a gun and a stupid Florida law behind him. There are so many issues here that I want to address that it’s hard to keep them from crowding each other out. However, recent events in my personal life pushed me towards making a statement.

Let me say I never intended to say nothing. This is such a huge issue I felt it was vital, as a writer, to take my time and really mull over what I felt and wanted to say about this. This is not a simple situation and, as a Canadian and a writer, I felt it would be irresponsible to pound out words said in the heat of the moment. Now I’ve had a chance to think about it and I have something to say.

I am no stranger to racism. Growing up, my father was a closet racist. He held to the idea that “those” people were inferior, but tried to keep that to himself. I loved my father, don’t think I didn’t. I was very close to him but I heard the “jokes” and the snide comments. They were very subtle and I only heard it as I stood at the periphery of the adults speaking. When I got a bit older I questioned this attitude and the rest of my family defended him. It was harmless, I was told. Or, I was told that he was simply pointing out a truth about a certain culture. Indians drink, for example. Blacks like hot weather (please don’t ask me how this one came to be. I’m not sure myself).

As an adult I protested this subtle racism and was pushed to the edges of my family. I was being over-sensitive. I should learn to live and let live. I was tilting at windmills. Yet, my mother contended that Chinese were the best accountants and my father insisted that blacks were best at blue collar jobs. Finally I told my family that it had to stop or I would never talk to them again. Luckily, it never came to that.

I have friends from all walks of life; asian, white, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, pagan, black, you name it. I try to respect everyone’s beliefs and am very curious about their lives (which generally leads me to asking questions other people don’t ask). It was a shock, then, to be the victim of this subtle racism I’ve fought against all my life.

One of my friends is Polish and is very proud of his heritage. I ask questions and try, in vain, to pronounce his name as it’s meant to be said. Usually I give up and revert back the Anglicized version of his name. Recently, he posted a picture on Facebook with a caption in Polish. I assumed it said something positive so I posted, “I agree”. The picture was pretty.

He sent a message back to me saying how rude I was to post in English on a Polish posting. That I shouldn’t have said anything and stayed in my place. I wondered why my place suddenly became the back of the bus. When I replied, I pointed out that ostracising someone based on their culture or language was racism. He didn’t like that. I cried.

So let’s go back to Trayvon Martin. I would like to make a comment about Florida’s “stand your ground” law. From what I understand, this allows a person to shoot first and ask questions later. Okay. I’m Canadian and maybe I’m being a bit dense on this, but it seems that this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of.

Let’s do a comparison. A police officer, in most places around the world, has to train for months, learn the laws of the land, take counselling and generally prove he is worthy of both the badge and the gun. If a shooting does occur, an inquiry is called. He is questioned by his superiors and by the local internal affairs department, has to fill out paperwork and takes more counselling. In all of this he MUST have “just cause”. This means he has to be able to prove, beyond a doubt, that he believed his life or the life of someone else was in imminent danger.

In Florida, if I understand right, if you’re a private citizen all you need to have is a gun. This law says that the owner of said gun only needs to PRESUME the threat of imminent danger. The danger doesn’t actually need to be there. No one sees a problem here? What about a gun-happy idiot like Zimmerman who was told by the 911 operator to take no action? No. Zimmerman creates some imaginary threat in his head and kills a boy with skittles in his pocket. I imagine there are unicorns and werewolves in Zimmerman’s world, too.

Now, why was Martin killed? He was a black kid wearing a hoodie. That was the threat. I’m not sure which Zimmerman found more threatening; the hoodie, the fact he was black or the skittles. Skittles can be scary, you know. That whole “taste the rainbow” sure sounds ominous to me.

Racism is such an odd creature. I’m not sure I understand the idea of ostracising or hurting someone because they’re different. To tell me I can’t comment because I don’t know the language is patently silly. To shoot a boy because he’s a black kid wearing a hoodie is criminal. All of it is just sad.

My heart goes out to the family of Trayvon Martin. I would like to show my support but, as there are so many ribbons out there, I’m choosing a different method. I’m going to wear a hoodie for Trayvon. Maybe if more people wore them, people like Zimmerman wouldn’t find them so frightening.

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