Ryan Reynolds wants me to scratch my balls… and he doesn’t even have a mo!

28 01 2016

Source: Ryan Reynolds encourages men to scratch their balls (for health reasons)





Boob spelled backwards is boob!

13 12 2015

Source: He wrote a song about his mom’s cancer. That’s when famous musicians sent him their version.

When young Archer discovered that his mum’s breast cancer had returned, he decided it was dumb. She’d kicked its arse once, and it was dumb enough to come back for more!

Determined to do his bit to help, he wrote a song. Well, the words of a song anyway. Luckily his dad is a radio DJ and with a little help from the various famous musicians that came through the station young Archer’s song was given form.

Breast cancer affects one in eight women, and Archer’s mum happens to be one. She’s on the mend again and Archer’s creativity has helped shine a bit more light on this disease. Enjoy his song, and look for ways you can help.





Be the best “you” that you can…

12 12 2015

Oscar Wilde is famously quoted (and may perhaps even have really said) “Be yourself – everyone else is already taken”. Whether or not he really said it, it’s an interesting statement. Sometimes being true to yourself is not as straightforward as it may at first appear. Even before our recent tailspin into Political Correctness and all the inanity (and even occasionally: insanity) that that produces, it hasn’t always been easy to say and act in accordance with one’s true thoughts and feelings.

The other night I was driving home late and was listening to CBC’s “Ideas”. The episode was called Shame on You(Tube). Now to be brutally honest I wasn’t listening VERY carefully to it all, but there were a few interesting ideas. Like how perhaps the concept of shame within a group helped us evolve as a species into the highly co-operative (usually) social animals that we plainly are. It is used to bring peer pressure to bear and encourage “acceptable behaviours” as defined by the larger group.

The age of the internet has made “the group” pretty much the entire species… at least those with access to WiFi or a cell signal. This has warped the concept because it is now so easy to use Twitter or FaceBook to yell “J’accuse!” when we see a perceived injustice – real or imaginary. The radio programme gave examples of a web site in China that encourages people to “out” folks with bad table manners or performing other indiscretions. They are publicly humiliated (personal details are published) in an apparent effort to bring them back in line to supposed social norms. Of course, the dark side of this is the mental effect it has on many of those “outed” and almost predictably there are several reported suicides – particularly of teenage girls – of people who see this shaming as worse than death itself.

As is so often the case in my blogging, these two ideas hung like unrelated iota in my consciousness until a third mote of an idea hove into view and created a triangle of related thought. In this particular case, it was some cheap tat of a website I happened across (“10 historic photos you’ve never seen” or “9.37 random images you couldn’t care less about”, something of that nature). This particular site had an image from 1936 of a crowd of Germans at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg. It was taken at the launching of the naval training vessel Horst Wessel on 13 June 1936, and the group were obediently all making the Nazi salute. All, that is, with one defiant exception! The photo was published on 22 March 1991 in Die Zeit, and though there are one or two others not saluting, this individual is quite obviously not doing so with some amount of defiance.

Source: Wikipedia

It turns out that this gentleman is actually quite well known by historians. His name was August Landmesser, and he was not exactly a fan of the Nazi regime. His wife was Jewish (their marriage was not recognised at the time but was retro-actively recognised in 1951), but he’d joined the party in 1931 anyway in the hope that it would help him get a job more easily. As you might imagine in such times, he later ended up being put in a penal regiment and met his death in action in Croatia in 1944. His wife was placed in several concentration camps and died in 1942.

His story is familiar. It was lived in one way or another by literally millions of people under the Nazi regime for a decade or so. But this man impresses me. Despite the huge social pressure to conform (surely all those around him making the salute were not all dyed-in-the-wool Nazis), he stood by his principles and simply chose not to raise his arm. He felt scared, I’m quite sure… but not shamed into conforming. A simple, but incredibly brave act. If anything, I was saddened that today, 12th December 2015 was the first time I became aware of his story. Almost 80 years later.

I’m sure August Lanmesser was not a perfect person.

I’m sure he had as many faults and foibles as any other person we know. But he was not shamed into giving public support to a political system that relied as much on passive submission as it did on active support for its growth in power.

Sometimes being yourself has dire consequences. That doesn’t necessarily make it wrong.





Just Eat It – A food waste story : second helpings

27 11 2015

So do you remember last year’s VIFF? When I blogged about “Just Eat It”? No? Well go and read it right now:

Source: Just Eat It – A food waste story | Quieter Elephant

Anyway, for no particular reason at all, I just wondered if it was available for purchase (wha’? I do buy things I think are important to support!) yet. Or on general release at the cinema. That kind of thing.

Anyway, it seems that if you live in Canada at least, it’s available for streaming on the Knowledge Network and will even air on TV in early January.

Do yourself – and society at large – a favour and watch it. Get educated! Those of you that live here in Greater Vancouver can even have the extra entertainment of constantly saying “I’ve been there!” or “That’s Canadian Superstore!” or “That’s Pemberton!” or whatever.

If you don’t live in Canada I’m afraid I suspect that the streaming won’t work. Try and dig out a copy though… it really is a very educational as well as entertaining documentary.

Knowledge Network: Just Eat It

Knowledge Network: Just Eat It

From the Knowledge Network site:

Year: 2014
Duration: 73min

“Dining out” takes on a whole new meaning in Just Eat It. After seeing how much of our food is wasted, Grant Baldwin and Jen Rustemeyer, whose previous film The Clean Bin Project followed their efforts to live a zero-waste lifestyle, decide to take on a new challenge: to eat only rescued food for six months. Just Eat It follows the Vancouver couple as they forgo restaurant meals and quit grocery shopping cold turkey. They troll supermarket cull carts and rejected produce at the local farmer’s market, and set aside the “ick” factor as they dive into industry dumpsters. What they find is shocking: truckloads of perfectly edible food destined for the landfill.





Supporting Syrian Refugees in BC

26 11 2015

I’ve registered to volunteer and help the 3000 Syrian refugees expected to resettle in BC over the next few months. I can only offer a few man-hours a week  and who’s to say they can use the offer anyway?

Source: Supporting Syrian Refugees in Surrey| City of Surrey

But I’m an immigrant myself. I speak English (after a fashion)  and I still found it a struggle to integrate into a new culture here in Canada. I expect many of these folk – selected as the most needy (single women, children, families) who have been in refugee camps in countries neighbouring Syria for up to 4 years – will have even greater struggles ahead. Not to mention the psychological baggage they can’t help but bring with them.

I hope I can help them adjust, integrate and become part of our rich society. If I’m not needed (many other Canadians have already volunteered – it’s kind of a thing Canadians do), then I hope I can at least bid them a warm welcome and help them cut through all the crap that politicians of various stripes are currently touting.

Source: Imgur





Power of advertising

13 11 2015

After 15 or so years in Canada, there’s not actually a lot I miss about the UK. John Lewis is one though. Their “never knowingly undersold” philosophy saved me a lot of price comparison shopping back in the day. (It’s commonplace in most chains here in BC).

Their Christmas ads have become something of a phenomenon in their own right and this year’s is no exception. Apparently it cost £7M to produce!

Enjoy!





Teary eye alert…

30 10 2015

“I’m expecting a baby. I’ve discovered he has Down syndrome. I’m scared: what kind of life will my child have?”

Source: 15 people with Down syndrome tell a mom what kind of life her child will have.

A great piece to illustrate basic human value.








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