Baby, It’s Cold Outside

It may be cold outside, but people are getting hot under the collar over a popular Christmas song.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside has been banned by several stations in the U.S. and Canada because the lyrics, according to some, encourage rape culture.

In 2018, when we’re trying to get the message across that NO MEANS NO lyrics like

I simply must go / The answer is no

do indeed send up a red flag, but…

This song was written in 1944 folks, and while I’m sure rape wasn’t unheard of back then, women couldn’t be upfront about what they wanted. Especially if what they wanted was sex.

The song is a vignette of an interaction between two people — coercion or collusion? I leave the interpretation to you.

As for me, I like Lady Gaga’s version 🙂

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First Snow

Remember when piles of white stuff on the ground made you smile, back before snow became a four-letter word?  Before the frozen crystals meant winter tires, and icy streets, and double the commute home.

Remember snow angels, and winter forts, and snowball fights?

Most of us growing up in the Great White North don’t remember our first snowfall because snow just is. A part of life, it arrives every year whether you want it to or not.

Newcomers to Canada though, aren’t so blasé about the white stuff.
first snow

These two children, newly arrived from a refugee camp in Sudan, couldn’t be happier with the fat flakes falling out of the sky.

Watching them, I can almost … almost be happy about winter 🙂

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Impulse Buys

Ads pop up on my laptop, emails scream sale price at me, and Amazon and I have a one-click-to-buy relationship. Shopping 24/7, the ultimate consumer dream, brought to you by the good folks at the internet.

I’m ancient enough to remember how excited we all were when stores were first allowed to open on Sundays, but now…

Who needs store hours when you can buy stuff while sitting in your bathtub?

Most of the time, I’m good at reigning in the impulse buying. I don’t order from the Shopping Network, I ignore the ads for creams that claim to be better than face-lifts, and I consider things like currency exchange, custom fees, and delivery charges before pulling out my credit card.

Usually.

There have been times though…

There are two red-velvet covered 1907 theatre seats from the Royal Alexandra Theatre  sitting in my basement gathering dust because I read an email at 5 A.M. after a sleepless night. I thought they’d look great in my living room. They don’t.

Which is not to say that all online purchases are a mistake…

Two years ago, when he was 12 years old, Louis Bilodeau bought a flock of sheep on Kijiji.

Now at 14, he’s a sheep farmer, a high school student, and the lamb supplier to a Montreal restaurant.

He even has a dish named in his honour, Méchoui fumé de Louis.

Obviously, Louis is a smarter shopper than I am 🙂

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Bohemian Rhapsody

True story: A while back there was an entry on my Visa bill I didn’t recognize. Wracked my brain. Nothing. I couldn’t think of what this charge could be — Queen? Not any store I’d ever heard of.

I called Visa and was asked if perhaps I’d purchased concert tickets … Colour me embarrassed.

I had bought tickets — to see Adam Lambert. Okay, yes, I vaguely remembered he was bringing some people called Queen with him, but who knew the concert was actually titled Queen + Adam Lambert?

Everyone 🙂

I’m not a rock band enthusiast, but you probably figured that out by now 🙂

I have never once bought any song Queen ever recorded, but that changed today.

Why?

I saw Bohemian Rhapsody — Twice.

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Hockey, Eh?

You’re thinking the NHL,  or the local arena where you drink coffee early on a Saturday morning while your kids race after the puck.

Uh, yeah, but I’m thinking Kenya.

As in the Kenya Ice Lions. You know the guys from Africa? The ones who taught themselves to skate on the only ice in the whole country. The guys who don’t have a goalie or anyone to play against.

Well, we can’t have that. Can we, Canada?

No, we can’t.

So Tim Hortons did something about it. They flew the twelve member Kenya Ice Lions to Toronto to play a friendly game against the Mississauga Firefighters.

Kenya 1

Two Canadian NHL players, Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon, showed up to help out.

And they weren’t the only ones who wanted to help the Ice Lions get a game in. Gary Mercer, the owner of a Toronto trucking company, pulled friends and family together, found a goalie (his son) for the Ice Lions, a rink in Etobicoke, and a referee.

As Gary says, “We take it for granted here, that you can grab a stick, find some ice, and play a game, but that’s not the always the case in other countries.”

True, and enough to make any Canadian weep.

Benard Azegere, Captain of the Ice Lions, is dreaming big. With the help of a Tim Hortons donation to fund a youth hockey league and new equipment from CCM, he’s thinking Olympics. “It may not happen this year, next year, but trust me, one day, … Kenya will play in the Olympics.”

hockey 2

And you thought we just exported wheat 🙂

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Words Wound

There was a childhood rhyme that used to be bandied about …

Sticks and stones may break my bones, But words will never harm me.

You don’t hear it much anymore, because we know better. Words can and do harm us. Ask any kid being bullied in the schoolyard or on the internet.

Hate speech is a crime for a reason.

Words are powerful. Has there been a revolution ever that didn’t start with words?

Words are tricky. Not only do their meanings change over time, but context and tone come in to play too. Who uses a particular word, and how they use it, makes a difference.

How then do we judge which words are dangerous? Off the top of my head …

Think — less than. 

Any word, or group of words, that label a particular subsection of humanity as less than — those are the words that should never be heard.

I apologize for the preachy tone of this post, but …

I heard a man speak Thursday night, a Holocaust survivor. He ended his presentation by saying:

It starts with words …

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Escape Games

An hour of entertainment or a humbling trip into inadequacy?

Hmmm …

It depends entirely on whether you and your trusty companions manage to escape before the clock ticks down to — you lose.  And BTW, you’re a moron.

Nice, right?

FYI, this is not a game to play with your spouse/partner/anyone you intend to get naked with.

Why not?

Have you ever tried sticking your arm through a hole in a wall and, using a handheld mirror to reflect back the contents of the room on the other side of the wall, find a green button?

That’s the easy part.

The hard part is describing the location of said button to your husband, so that he can stick his arm through an opening cut into a door and hit the button only you can see.

Take it from one who knows, don’t do it.

Apparently, to some people, not naming any names here, the instruction move straight ahead is ambiguous.

We’re not even going to get into the bit where I was too short to see some of the clues and too clueless to get most of the ones I did see.

Considering my abysmal performance, you’d be justified in assuming I won’t be swiping my credit card at one of these escape rooms ever again.

Wrong.

I remain uncowed and unconvinced. I refuse to believe I can’t figure out how to escape … eventually.

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Care

Some days, the news racing across our screens is all bad and the world seems a dark place. Depressing, scary even, but what can we do?

Caught up in the busyness that is our lives, carrying around our own bag of problems, what can any of us do?

Maybe …

Something simple, something small, some one thing that makes a difference to one person.

Hanna Hoswell and Kate Hanafy, paramedics with the Queensland Ambulance Service in Australia, thought to do that one thing that would made a difference to Ron McCartney.

After fighting a seventeen year battle against prostate cancer, Ron was heading back to the hospital for the last time. Hanna and Kate, when told that Ron hadn’t been able to eat anything for two days asked him if he could eat anything right then, what would it be?

His answer: A Caramel Sundae.

En route to the hospital, the paramedics stopped at a McDonald’s and got Ron his sundae.

Ron (2)Picture courtesy of Danielle Smith/Facebook

A small thing, a caring thing —

That sundae was the last thing Ron ate before he passed away.

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Home Away From Home

When you’ve seen enough museums, castles, and churches. When your feet are killing you and you can’t access Google Maps because the battery on your phone has died. When the clouds open up and you left your umbrella in the hotel…

Tourist Overload.

The cure?

Something familiar. Some place that’s just like home.

Don’t think I don’t see the irony here.

We pack our bags and hit the road because we want to see new, different, other — and then all we want is the same old, same old.

Why?

Because being a stranger in a strange land is exhausting. Also interesting, exciting, and amazing, but it fries the brain.

For most North Americans, that little bit of home is a Starbucks or if we’re really desperate a McDonald’s. For Canadians though, nothing says home like Tim’s.

In Belfast, a block or two away from their incredibly beautiful city hall … could it be? Nah. No way, not here.

But, yes. There it was, as Canadian as the Maple Leaf — Tim Hortons in Northern Ireland.

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Did I go in?

Two words for you — French Vanilla 🙂

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