A Covid Barbie?

Barbie’s been around forever. Constantly changing, ever evolving, and still sitting right there on the shelf in your local toy store.

From 1959

To 2020

For 2021, there’s a new release of our favourite doll, but don’t bother hitting up Amazon. You won’t find it there.

The creative mind of Gunnar Montana—not Mattel—brings you…

@gunnarmontana

With the help of some friends, the Philadelphia-based dancer and performance artist, built a seven-foot-tall Barbie box, selected the accessories to go inside it, and turned himself into the life-sized doll.

The latest in a variety of projects designed to keep the artist active during the endless restrictions and lockdowns of Covid-19, Super Gay Barbie pokes fun at gender norms with humour and style.

You can find Gunnar Montana and his art on Instagram and at Facebook.

Super Gay Barbie will not be coming to a store near you anytime soon.

Aimer at Amazon

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Taxes and Other Truths

It’s that time of year again. When KDP sends me an email asking if I want to view my tax forms.

I don’t actually.

I don’t want to know that a book it took me two years to write, edit, and publish is languishing unseen, unsold, and unread. I especially don’t want to know that the three books I’ve written have met the same fate.

Truths I avoid like Covid the rest of the year are ready and waiting for me now. Nice and neat, gift wrapped for me by the Internal Revenue Service.

I don’t have to look. Except, of course, I do. How can I not?

Hope springs eternal for the deluded, a.k.a self-published authors. If it didn’t there wouldn’t be so many of us out there.

The question is how much power do I allow these 1042-S forms to wield? Do I let my lacklustre sales determine whether I finish the book I’m working on now? Do I say, “Hey, I’m no J.K. Rowling. Let’s pack this dream up and call it a day?”

I could.

And I would, except for the fact that I’m stubborn or, as I prefer to think of it, determined—to finish this last book. And maybe, just maybe…

There I go with that annoying hope again.

Aimer at Amazon

New Shoes

Canadian traditions?

You’re thinking maple syrup, poutine, maybe beaver tails—I’m thinking shoes.

Back in 1955, Finance Minister Walter Harris wore new shoes to present the budget and a Canadian parliamentary tradition was born. What started as a coincidence has become a quirky comment on the economy and what the government intends to do about it.

In 2015, Finance Minister Joe Oliver wore New Balance running shoes to brag on the fact that his government was presenting a balanced budget.

Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews presented his 2021 budget wearing made-in-Alberta boots because “economic recovery is key to digging ourselves out of the hole we’re in.” 

In 2020, Northwest Territories Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek tabled her first budget wearing seal fur shoes made by ENB artisan from Iqaliut, Nunavut.

In 2006, British Columbia’s Finance Minister Carole Taylor got a lot of flak for presenting her budget in Gucci shoes.

Some finance ministers have elected to present their budgets in something other…

Finance Minister John Crosbie walked a different path, presenting his budget in mukluks.

Finance Minister Paul Martin laced up work boots in 1994.

In Alberta, Stockwell Day presented budgets in 1999 wearing inline skates and a helmet “to represent the speed at which Alberta could adapt to a changing economy.”

Apparently, finance ministers across Canada have adopted the adage If the shoe fits, wear it.

Aimer at Amazon

Snow White

History gets buried, but not erased. With a little effort and a lot of research, truths long forgotten find their way to the sunlight.

Clyde Wray, a Saint John, New Brunswick poet and playwright did a little digging. Unearthed the stories of Black Canadians who never made it into the history books I read in high school.

In his play, We Were Here—livestreamed by the Saint John Theatre Company Feb. 25-27—Wray gives voice to eight Saint John residents most of us have never heard of.

One of the eight, Cornelius Sparrow escaped from slavery in the U.S. and arrived in Saint John in 1851. He opened a barber shop and then became the owner of the Victoria Dining Saloon, the largest saloon in the city. A local newspaper claimed Sparrow’s saloon was the nicest in Saint John, rivalled by only a few saloons in the whole country.

In the same year that Sparrow arrived in Saint John, Abraham Beverley Walker was born near Belleisle. He became the first Canadian-born Black lawyer in the Commonwealth and the first person of any colour to enroll in the Saint John Law School.

Race issues being what they were, and still are, Walker struggled to build a law practice. While working for a time as a court stenographer, his colleagues ridiculed him in open court. In later years, when Walker was recommended for the designation of Queen’s Counsel, white lawyers who had received the same honour vowed to renounce it.

In Michael Moore’s 1995 comedy, Canadian Bacon starring John Candy and Alan Alda, Canada is portrayed as a “White” country with no minorities. Not true then and not true now.

Our snow may be white, but we aren’t, and never have been.

Aimer at Amazon

Small, Smaller, Smallest

Humans are fascinated by the rare, the strange, and the extreme. The tallest man, the oldest woman, the largest pumpkin. Add the suffix est and you can sell tickets.

Personally, and probably because I’m knee high to a grasshopper myself, I like small. Miniature shoes, tea cups, Disney’s Tinker Bell. Shrink anything down small enough and it’s adorable.

Almost anything.

A German-Madagascan expedition team has discovered what they believe to be the smallest reptile on earth. The Brookesia Nana or nano-chameleon’s total length, from nose to tail, is just under 22 mm (0.87 “).

Tiny, yes, but cute? Not so much.

Frank Glaw

Nothing like this guy…

geico.com

Now, that’s adorable. For a lizard.

Aimer at Amazon