February 24, 2010

Do You Live in Burlington?

If you do, you might have already heard about a new initiative taking place, Shape Burlington. It's a committee formed to talk to citizens about civic engagement.

Yeah, talking about talking. But for a change, it's more about listening. Know why it's going to work? Because we're not politicians.

Why do I know so much about Shape Burlington? Because I'm on the Steering Committee. Because I'm the Communications Director. Ha!

We are drafting up a formal report that will be made to the public, the mayor and the council. We are asking as many people as we can for their ideas, their concerns, and their opinions.

Want to be heard? Attend one of the public meetings starting tonight, tomorrow night, and then on March 2. Go to the website and take a survey. Go to the website and say your piece in the forums. Or email me directly and outline everything you've ever wanted to say about Burlington.

I spent yesterday with 3 Civics classes at a local high school. We're going to conduct roundtable meetings with students as well. If your kid is in high school, contact us and we can go and make them part of this. I don't care if they don't vote yet - I want to know what they think about their city.

I'll be at the March 2 public meeting. Please come out to one of them - tonight, tomorrow, March 2 - and join in. It's not a townhall meeting where people line up at a microphone to yell at each other. It's discussions amongst real citizens, conducted by real citizens, and facilitated by people like me.

Want to change Burlington? Then help Shape Burlington.

Lots of info at the website linked.

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February 20, 2010

Where is Lachlan Cranswick?

The 41-year-old Australian physicist worked at the Chalk River nuclear facility. And on January 18, he disappeared from his home in near the Ottawa River.

Keys, passport, I.D. all left behind. Car still there. Gone. this orderly, meticulous man did not go for a walk and get lost - when he went for walks, he took with him the following: a GPS, a whistle, a fanny pack and a flashlight. This is not an impulsive man. I doubt a sudden trill of spontaneity grabbed him.

It's been a month. His family must be frantic.

Where is Lachlan Cranswick?

February 19, 2010

Really? Really You Idiot?

I was one of those who once held great esteem for Elizabeth Edwards. I didn't care much for her coiffed, shallow husband (yes, this was evident to anyone who looked closely enough - sometimes it's pretty easy to see which half of a couple has the actual substance), but now, well, now I'm finding myself stranded with my own silly assessment.

For anyone just checking in she finally left his sorry ass when he finally (2 years too late) admitted to fathering a child with another woman. The lie was worse than the offence - Elizabeth has been battling cancer - now terminal - for years. They have two young children, an older daughter and they endured the sorrow of losing another son in a car accident. Clearly, more than enough trauma for any family.

Today, Elizabeth has finally spoken after her announcement that her marriage was over. This is a public, media savvy woman. Follow this part of the interview:

The reference to her husband's affair came when a student asked: "If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?"

Elizabeth, laughed with the crowd and said "I know the answer...I think you do, too."

Really? That's what you would change? You wouldn't rather have your teenage son, say, alive? You wouldn't rather, say, not have terminal cancer?

When priorities become this messed up, it's hard to know who to sympathize with.

Maybe they deserve each other.

February 16, 2010

Sexting Texting

I thought Adam Giambrone's (see a couple of posts ago) sextmails were embarrassing. Well, no, I knew they were. I will never, ever erase "I like you because you're smart and interesting. You're also good-looking naked" from my brain. Trust me; I would like to. All I can hear is Ben Stiller in that model movie saying 'gOOd-looking'. That movie was funny, actually. Giambrone is not.

Anyway. Today's lesson comes to you from a sex therapist (really? a sex therapist?) in Florida who was banging a client, stealing pills from her and all the while billing her insurance company. Full service provider, indeed. So. First things first. If you end up in Smoking Gun, dunzo. Over. While you're at the link, go check through the other sections of that site.

Now, as a trusted member of the medical community, it is highly recommended that you fix your patients, but not do them. Big, big pond; catch another fish. And if your client is a fragile, depressed woman, the sign you are seeing is not 'bingo'. It is 'beware'.

Where am I going? TEXT MESSAGES. I don't text message. I managed it once, got a column out of it, and swore never to revisit it. I know tons of people who live by the stupid things. I even know some grown-up adult type people who are incessantly doing it. It's remarkable, actually. I can understand teenagers. I would have been all over this when I was, say, 15. And to transfer information ("I'll be out front at 5" "Don't forget to grab some milk"), I can see its value for big people. But mostly, I see it as another tether strap between teenage girls sitting beside each other, and teenage girls trying to figure out if he's somewhere with some other teenage girl.

Sorry. Too much tethering.

But for big people? For big people in love? For big people in love who are in politics or a sensitive discipline? Really? Text messaging?

The Florida shrink? Who was boffing his patient? His sex therapy patient? Who was fragile? And he was ripping off for more than her heart? Yup. Text messaging. Ready? "U r soooo hot!! I worry that I m holding u back from a younger stud who can really meet ur need!! lol!"

The good news? You're off the hook, Adam. Seriously.

For christsakes grownups, stop sending these messages. You're killing me.

February 15, 2010

Testing Positive for Barley

I laughed and laughed at this t from the New York Times.

Maybe you will too. Only a Canadian could have written it.

Thanks, Janie, for the link.

How Stupid Are Mississaugans?

Put your hand down. I'm gonna answer this one.

Really, really, stupid. At the least the ones who take this latest news without a peep certainly are.

You may have elected a mayor who is arrogant enough to not run a campaign. Over and over again. She's taking for granted you love her that much, that she needn't say anything other than 'business as usual' and you will keep electing her. The fact that the world is changing at warp speed and the concerns and problems facing every city - including Mississauga - require far more than a same-old, same-old response seem to elude voters in Mississauga.

Here's something you should do, just for fun: demand that your elected officials exhibit a knowledge, interest and dedication to addressing the world as it will become, not just the one they see in sepia toned photo ops from years gone by.

While I am firmly on the record as believing term limits are a good, sane and necessary thing (sorry, but sitting on yer ass and lifting up your head every four years to figure out how to keep the ride going is not my idea of a dedicated elected official, though many seem to do exactly that), I recognize that democracy has put Ms. McCallion, and many others, in their chairs for eons. Fine.

But read the link. When it came to light that McCallion failed to declare a conflict of interest in a land development deal in her jurisdiction that her son was involved in (oops), there were her supporters, explaining in small words for we idiots that it was okay with them. Nope. No inquiry required, as long as they had McCallion's word that it was a tiny slip up. No big deal, right?


Sorry. Didn't mean to yell. And I really should have saved my ammo for this morning, when my morning paper reveals that now those same Mississaugans who believed this is no big deal will now have the chance to ante up further: Boy McCallion will have his legal bills paid for with taxpayer dollars.

Really? That's awesome! Because now I know that if I screw up, and I can just go down to city hall and ask them to pay my legal bills. Right? This is a great thing. I know from legal bills; I got divorced. Did you know you pay for paperclips? Did you know you shouldn't leave your lawyer a message, because they charge you to read the message? And staples. And the fifty cents for a stamp to send you a billion dollar bill? Yep. That too. And lawyers? Hold your fire. I know some wonderful lawyers, and I know some total disgraces.

Mississauga's legal department admits this is a precedent, paying the legal bills of someone who isn't a member of council. I should think so; I also think this is not quite what most people have in mind when their city is highlighted as setting a precedent in something. Most would prefer to be the first to have 100% participation in a recycling program. That would be a nice precedent. Maybe the first major city to have a council that reflects their community in a truly representational way. That would be terrific.

But no, this is a different precedent. The mayor's son gets his legal bills paid for allegedly trying to set up a deal and no doubt profit off the city his mother runs. And when the city rightfully decided an inquiry was needed (which was fought by way too many counselors, by the way), the poor lad cried poor. He needs funding to sit at the table.

You know, when someone gets their own way for too long, and answers to nobody, everybody loses. When an elected official acts with disdain for their constituents and truly believes 'trust me, everything is fine' is a justified answer, not only should sirens go off about their judgment on this particular issue, but it should call into question every decision they've made on the end of a very long leash.

Smarten up, Mississauga.

February 11, 2010

Ranty Pants

Argh. I feel a rant coming on.

I should blog more often to let it out. Like exercising, I'm sure it's good for you. Like exercising, I rarely do it these days.

Of course you've heard all about the sexcapades of Adam Giambrone . Because no sex story can just blessedly go away, it's being flogged with endless follow-ups. Just when I thought I would never get the text message transcripts of this Romeo out of my brain ("I like you because you're smart and interesting. You're also good-looking naked" - I tell ya, words like those and dinner at Swiss Chalet, and I'm all yours, baby), now things get even more embarrassing.

They're doing man-on-the-street interviews. My favourite? Someone calls this a tragedy. Yup. Haiti isn't a tragedy. Two women murdered in Ontario isn't a tragedy. No, Adam Giambrone getting caught with his pants around his ankles and his head up his ass while texting on his cell phone - now that's a tragedy.

Snow, or don't snow. But enough of this stupid weather already. I want a decent storm. Or spring. Pick one.

We are lucky enough to have a benefits plan through the Poor Sod's work. This is great. But when I was finally vacuuming behind my computer the other day, I found two drug receipts I hadn't sent in. From 2008. I slid them in the latest batch, thinking they might not notice. They noticed. 200 bucks gone, because I'm a miserable slob.

I trust President's Choice products. I bought a new chicken marinade. I cooked it last night. It's Jerk Sauce. Ari asked if it was called Dirt Sauce. Everyone had a bite. It is now called Napalm Chicken. It was so hot, nobody could eat it.

I can't figure out how to use my iPhone. And I'm too lazy to go to the store and have them show me. And I hate reading those little books. I might hate it.

I need to get my chimney rebuilt.

I have to do my taxes. I have all these piles of paper all over the couch in the living room. Do not come over for tea. There is nowhere to sit.

A paper I canceled a subscription to a year ago keeps calling me. I do not want your paper. I will not read it in my house. Not in a boat, not on a train, not in a plane, not in the tub. Stop calling me. And do not ever, ever tell me that making dinner at 5:45 is not 'the usual time for most people we call to be making dinner'. Yes, that is in quotes.

I will probably add to this before the day is over.

February 6, 2010

Arctic Smart

Feature is up here, column is here.

There will be more pics when I cobble together the Adventures, and when Webgod gets them up....

I'm aware the meerkats are far cuter. But they wouldn't hold the banner.