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October, 2011:

Spooky stats…

… but aren’t they all?

No word on the number of human / vampire children, tho’…

100% disgusting!

$616 million — The value of “other miscellaneous by-products, including other processed, frozen or cooked meats” manufactured in Canada in 2009.  This category (311611U) includes “blood, dried, edible” and “blood, dried, inedible” as well as all kinds of other left-over animal parts.

$246 million — The value of “medicinal chemicals and botanical products, in bulk” manufactured in Canada in 2009. This category (3254114) includes plasma and other blood products, mostly from animals.

$62 million — The value of “in-vitro diagnostic substances” manufactured in Canada in 2009. This category (3254130) also contains blood plasma.

Source: Manufacturing and Energy Division.

See also: Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) – List of Goods.

Burial shrouds and bandages for mummies

$26 million — The value of “other apparel findings, trimmings and fabricated textile products” manufactured in Canada in 2009. This category (315999D) includes burial shrouds, used for burying the dead.

$304 million — The value of “surgical and therapeutic appliances and supplies…” manufactured in Canada in 2009. This category (3391139) includes bandages.

Source: Manufacturing and Energy Division.

See also: Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) – List of Goods.

A final resting place

3% — The proportion of households in Canada (more than 398,580 households) reporting expenses on funeral services, cemetery plots and upkeep, and tombstones in 2009.

Source: CANSIM, table 203-0015 (Survey of Household Spending).

$117.1 million — The estimated value of wood coffins and caskets manufactured in Canada in 2006. (More recent data are confidential.)

Source: Manufacturing and Energy Division.

Quiet professionals

Between 1996 and 2006, the number of female funeral directors and embalmers in Canada nearly doubled.

4,600 — The number of funeral directors and embalmers in Canada in 2006. Of this number, 3,235 were men and 1,365 were women.

3,735 — The number of funeral directors and embalmers in Canada 10 years earlier, in 1996. Of this number, 3,015 were men and 720 were women.

Source: 2006 Census, Occupation.

13,684 — The total number of employees in the funeral services industry in Canada in 2010.

Source: CANSIM, table 281-0024 (Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours).


Thinking about sex with a vampire? Planned Parenthood is there to help…

… help watch SoCon heads explode when they see this, that is!

Let’s face it: vampires can rack up a lot of sexual partners over the years. Your vampire might be the same age as you, or she or he might be thousands of years old. But no matter how old you are, if you’re going to jump into bed with a vampire, you’re going to need more than a clove of garlic to protect your health.

Here are some things to think about before you enter into a sexual relationship with a vampire:

I can hear the regressive rumblings over at Blogging Tories already!

Prediction for @OttawaDaddy’s near future Tweet:

#Lefty org wants to kill baby #vampires. Murder is murder! #NDP atheist hordes behind this!! #catholic #prolife



So Rob Effing Ford is the worst person in the world?

Um, I dunno about that. There are worse. Yet Keith Olbermann thinks REF takes the gateau.

The U.S. television personality and political pundit mocked Mr. Ford on the “Worst Person in the World” feature of his CurrentTV show, which aired Oct. 28.

“The new conservative executive [of Toronto] has had a rough start, but never was it rougher than Monday,” Mr. Olbermann said.

But in the WORLD?

Maybe in Toronto. Or in Ontario. Or even Canada when Harper and his Cabinet are out of the country…

Naw, what about Robert Effing Mugabe? Kim Effing Jong-Il? Mahmoud Effing Ahmadinejad? Glenn Effing Beck? Sarah Effing Palin?

They’re worse, I’d wager. REF might be in the top ten though…

Here’s the vid:


Really? Seriously? Part 2…

… cuz I kinda like this theme.

We’re pretty sure that our youngest has a nut allergy – at least to tree nuts, but since tree nut and peanut allergies often go hand in hand, we are keeping nuts of all types away from both of the young ‘uns. We’ll know for sure when he is tested in January, but for now we’re erring on the side of caution.

So when we discovered this soy-based peanut butter substitute, we were darned thrilled! Here was a sandwich spread that both of the little ones LIKED – and that can be a challenge sometimes, as any parent knows – and it was nut-free. I imagine that there are quite a few parents like us who think likewise,

Of course, good things sometimes don’t last forever and I am afraid that this may be the fate of the WowButter. A School Board – The Thames valley School Board – has banned the product in children’s’ lunches because it, uh, looks too much like peanut butter and could be mistaken for peanut butter.

A London, Ont., school board has banned peanut butter substitutes simply because they could be confused with their peanut counterparts, angering parents already frustrated by efforts to find an acceptable lunch their kids will eat.

In a recent memo, Thames Valley District school board director Bill Tucker wrote that “any products considered to be a peanut butter replacement are no more appropriate in our schools than regular peanut butter.”

Parents were asked to “avoid using peanut butter and peanut butter alternatives because of the difficulty in being able to distinguish alternatives from the real thing.”

Really? Seriously?

WowButter even goes above and beyond to ensure that their product isn’t mistaken for the real thing:

To combat mix-ups with real peanut butter, WowButter promotes an elaborate step-by-step labeling program. On the first day of school, WowButter parents send a prepared letter to the child’s teacher indicating their intention to pack the product in school lunches. From then on, every sandwich bag or container carried by the child is affixed with a “100% peanut and nut free” label provided by the company.

And I’m not a parent who poo-poos the whole allergy thing. Daughter #2 DID have a peanut allergy until she was 5 years old, when she grew out of it. We know the seriousness of these things and fully support the decision by schools to ban peanut products – the real stuff.

But there is no evidence that confusion between the real thing and the soy thing has resulted in any adverse health outcome. Nothing.

And then I see a Tweet from someone in Orleans that they had received a letter from the school asking that soy-based butter not be sent in kids’ lunches.

I’m hoping that this is a school-isolated decision and not OCDSB policy!


Really? Seriously?

Medals are bad? Athletic competition is bad? Really? From what I’ve seen, competitive athletics encourages excellence, teamwork, and effort.

But this is apparently now verboten.

And don’t even think about medals and trophies!

And I’m not speaking as some sideline soccer Dad. I coached youth soccer in Nepean and Gloucester for about ten years. I’m certified. I’ve run countless practices and drills and have coached scores of games. I know what I’m talking about.

And yes, medals and trophies are expected.

The awarding of medals at the end of the season is an annual tradition for soccer clubs in the city, just as it is for hockey, baseball, and I would guess most organized sports. The medals are normally awarded at a team’s annual banquet.

And this is what the folks at Ottawa South United (the City’s largest soccer league) expected to pick up when a rep dropped by the offices of the Eastern Ontario District Soccer Association (EODSA). But….

The district office told Ottawa South that there were no medals and there wouldn’t be in the future because medals promote competition.

Thinking this was a mistake the Ottawa South looked to clarify via email. Here is what they received back.

“The EODSA league will not be giving out medals. The decision was ratified by the EODSA board at its September 1 meeting. As you know we have reduced fees in the league to $200.00 per team this season, in addition the presentation of medals is considered to emphasize winning versus player development, which is the new focus of OSA programs.”

Skill development is vital. Don’t get me wrong. But skills can be talk in a competitive environment. And it is this combination that beings out the best in most if not all players.

So my reaction is somewhat predictable : screw your head back on the right way. EODSA!

BUT, as it turns out, this goes deeper than soccer. Brian Lilley (which I have NEVER EVER referenced until now – our politics are a little different and he writes for those Sun reactionaries..) points out the following in his blog:

This move towards eliminating competition goes well beyond soccer and is moving into all children’s activities and it’s backed by the federal government. Specifically Sports Canada, part of the Heritage Department headed up by James Moore.

The Long Term Athlete Development program is being pushed by the feds and national and provincial sports bodies onto leagues that belong to any kind of organized structure.

It has looked at the real problem of some parents and coaches putting too much emphasis on winning and not enough on teaching the fundamentals of a sport and decided to throw the baby out with the bath water.

They are mandating that children’s sports leagues follow a new regimen that drops competition at the youngest ages and focuses on practicing rather than playing a game.

According to the program, there should be no competition, meaning no real, organized active games in team sports until age 8 for girls and age 9 for boys. Even after that age the ratio of practices to games is ridiculous. The recommendation is 7 practices for every 3 games played.

After age 12, you can have 3 practices for every 2 games.

Yeah, I saw parents get carried away – even in the rec leagues that I coached in… but is this not going way too far? Kids want to know what the score was. They want to have  winner and a loser (oops, sorry, “almost-winner”).  I have seen this first hand!

Sigh. So, when can we expect Mr. Pendulum to swing back to a more sane position? Soon, I hope.


A year on…

… since the Ontario municipal elections. Time flies.

So how have things gone here in Ottawa, anyhow? Has the School Board addressed some of the issues around communication and transparency?… issues that I campaigned on last year. Are they any closer to solving their long-term infrastructure deficit?

Has the City Council lived up to its early promise given its new Mayor and several new Councillors? Are our local reps reaching out to their communities to a greater extent? Are they implementing into policy what they are being told?

Lots of questions. And maybe they are a bit unfair, a bit premature maybe? Like, give them some time, Trashy!

But guess what? I’m not here to slam our new and returning Trustees and Councillors – rather, I praise them!

Or at least some of them.

OCDSB Trustees
Some have performed better than others. That’s a given. This term has seen a few Trustees rise as cream does to the top. They are very active and effective in their use of social media. Some are also very active in engaging their constituents the old-fashioned way; by holding meetings and forums. They listen and they act.

In other words, they are carrying out their roles well and their communities should be proud.

Others, not so much.

Bronwyn, Bronwyn, Bronwyn. I had hoped that campaign last year might have twigged you to the fact that you need to be more actively engaged with your Zone! But where have you been? You need to get out more. Hit some School Council meetings. Some school events (woulda been nice to see you at the book sale on the weekend) wouldn’t kill you either.

If you need examples to draw on, talk to some of your colleagues like Mark, John, Donna and Cathy. You could learn a thing or three.

City Council

Overall, I’ve been pleased with what I have seen coming out of City Hall…. especially from my own councillor, Peter Hume, who seems to have solidified his position on Council as the one who speaks for the City vis à vis development and planning issues. I especially liked what he said a few weeks ago to the Ottawa Real Estate Forum – zoning by-laws are zoning buy-laws. Deal with it.

“We believe that community design plans are incredibly important. They are designed to tell you where height is and is not appropriate. And we believe they are not jumping-off points. Once we complete a community design plan, and we zone appropriately to the heights that are designated in the plan, it’s not a jumping-off point for more.

Wow. A Councillor standing up to developers. What a concept.

I do, however, wish that Peter was integrated into social media. It appears that the newbie Councillors like Steve Desroches, Mark Taylor, Tim TierneyMathieu Fleury and Stephen Blais have caught on to itand have carried on with what they started duuring their successful elction campaigns; that is to use Twitter and Facebook to engage in a two way conversation with their constitutents and the wider City community. And Council vets like Eli El-Chantiry have caught on too! Kudos to them!

But Councillor Hume is a smart cookie. He’ll figure it out eventually.

So overall, I’d say that from my own backyard point of view, high marks go to my Councillor but lower marks to my Trustee. But hey, she has three years to make it right…

From a City-wide point of view, I have been happy with the attempts at better engagement shown by many of the Councillors – and the Mayor as well. There have been some policies and developments that I have not been particularly enamoured with (e.g., the OC Transpo changes, the decision to cease the publication of detailed minutes, how Lansdowne has been handled)… but… ya can’t keep everyone happy all of the time, right?

Check back next year for the mid-term review!




…just doesn’t get it.

When you are elected to public office – especially the Mayor of a major city – your civic responsibilities as Mayor usually take priority over your own personal priorities.

The glamour of the gridiron trumped the lure of the arts for the mayor. Press secretary Adrienne Batra confirmed Thursday afternoon that the mayor was attending the last game of the season for the football team he coaches, the Don Bosco Eagles.

I concede that the football game was likely a helluva lot more fun than a dreary awards ceremony – at least from where I’m standing.

But I’m not the Mayor of Toronto.


Friday miscellany: 1,000 posts later…

Yup, this is my 1,001st post on this blog. Kind of a milestone, don’t you think? Or maybe a millstone if you think that most of what I write is crap!

How many words might that be? Figger an average of 300 words of so per post… 300,000ish… lotsa keystrokes.

Yay, me

Anyhow, I do hope that you have found at least some of the last 1,000 pieces of mindless meanderings to be a tad humourous, or informative, or thought-provoking… or have pissed you off.  I have sure as hell enjoyed writing each and every one of them.

Now, go ahead and stick around for the next thou, OK?



Giant Book Sale is tomorrow starting at 9 am! If you’re in Ottawa, it is definitely worth a look-see!


OCTranspo says that things are going to get worse before they get better?

Well, that’s a great way to encourage ridership!

Speaking of transportation…


A “road diet”…

A road diet tries to fix urban arterial roads that were mis-widened to four lanes in the 60′s-80′s in a vain attempt to handle more traffic, but which blighted the neighborhoods along the road instead. A three lane configuration – one through lane in each direction, plus a two-way centre turn lane – can usually handle the same volume of traffic, safer.


If you have kids – something to do BEFORE the book sale if you want to arrive later to scoop up the bar-goons!

Cineplex Entertainment, Canada’s largest motion picture exhibitor, is offering free movies and discount snacks Saturday at theatres across Canada. All proceeds from the chain’s first National Community Day will be donated to the Starlight Children’s Foundation, a national non-profit organization with a mandate to improve the quality of life for seriously ill children and their families. Starlight pins will also be available for a $2 donation. The community-appreciation events will be staffed by Cineplex volunteers. The films have been donated by Warner Bros. Canada. Doors open at 8: 30 a.m., with screenings beginning at 9 a.m. and shortly thereafter. Titles include Yogi Bear (3-D), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (3-D), Green Lantern, Happy Feet, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (3-D) and Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. For a complete listing of movies, local theatres and showtimes, visit


Sadly, this is too late for the Ottawa lad who had been the subject of such merciless bullying, that he took his own life.

Bullying sux and bullies are cowards.

CHEO, the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group and the Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) would like to invite parents in the community to a free information session that will address suicide, depression and bullying.
This session will be held this coming Tuesday, October 25, 2011 from 7 -9:30 p.m. at Sir Robert Borden High School (131 Greenbank Road). Parking is Free.
Our community, like many others, is struggling with these issues. Parents have many questions and need guidance. In this evening event, experts from CHEO and The Royal will discuss suicide prevention, bullying, depression and sexual identity. The event will include break out sessions to allow for more in-depth discussions and a question and answer period.
Representatives from other community partners who help children, youth and families cope with these difficult issues will also be present to discuss the services they offer.
Advanced registration is recommended and you can register on the CHEO website by going to the following link:

For more information please see the following OCDSB weblink:

Last night I had a wee bit of the hottest freakin’ pepper I’ve ever had! NO IDEA what I did (I grew it) to make it so deadly!


This is pretty cool. Too bad they’re available only  in the States for now.



So, Gaddafi is dead. And he was a bad guy who did bad things to good people. I get that and it’s probably not a bad thing that he no longer has a heartbeat, but…

Why the barbarism in the way he was treated after death? I am reminded of the way the body of an American soldier was dragged through the streets of Mogadishu a while back  Have we not as a species evolved beyond that?

I guess not.

The man deserved his due. As did Hussein and bin Laden, but did not even they deserve a private death?

Mark Lawson of the Guardian says:

The most significant (and probably irresistible) change, however, is that the dissemination of contentious images has now largely left the desks of editors and regulators. Symbolically and crucially, the footage of Gaddafi’s capture and assault was shot not by a crew but by a crowd on cellphones. TV or newspaper editors who ethically decide to bin the most distressing images know, unlike their predecessors, that the views will be generally available elsewhere and that curiosity will draw a large part of the audience there.

But the risk is the development of a culture of death porn. For me, as a simple moral position, Gaddafi merits as much privacy in his final extremities as did his victims in the Lockerbie bombing: a germane example from the past of a time when the media by common consent suppressed horrific images in the cause of taste and privacy.

I think that we are leaving a bit of our sense of decency behind…



Can we be annexed by Australia?


Because their PM has balls (figuratively).

More balls than our guys…


Of course, Steve probably curtsied. And Peter shurely did!

The queen should be shown the same degree of respect as anyone her age. No more and no less. She is no different from any one of us except for the luck of birth.

Vive la republique canadienne!




SunNews DOES receive public funding…

… so Levant and the rest of those pseudo-journos should shut their hypocritical traps about the CBC.

Nice to see the MotherCorp fight back.

Get The Facts

October 19, 2011

What Quebecor won’t tell you about its attacks on the public broadcaster

For more than three years, Quebecor has been using its newspapers, and more recently, its SunNews Network TV license to pursue a campaign against CBC/Radio-Canada. But there are some things Quebecor won’t tell you:

Quebecor says we’re not accountable. They’re wrong.

Quebecor says we shouldn’t go to court to protect journalistic sources or program strategies. Why?