Category Archives: Fairness

Hey! Wise Advice for My Butthead Neighbour

I am so irritated I could spit. I wish I was the kinda gal who could chill when people are behaving like total a-holes. It’s one thing if smokers want to kill themselves, go around smelling like ashtrays, become a burden on the health care system which our tax dollars are paying for, make their children sick, loose productivity at work because they are outside caging a smoke…wait, that’s more than one thing…the point is, I only believe minimally in smokers rights, because when their addiction impacts ME and invades my personal space, I have to draw the line! The butthead who recently moved in next door (anorexic-looking twit with a 8-4 job, a stupid boyfriend who makes her squeak when they’re having sex, and a cat that I feel VERY sorry for), might be very quiet tenant (except maybe for all the knocking on her door by people using a ‘secret code’ on the door seven thousand times a night, golly gee, is she selling drugs too?!), but it turns out the common wall we share, transmits her cigarette smoke. Great. I pay an obscene amount of rent money for my haven, my oasis, my mecca of personal space…and I am forced to suck up the result of HER addiction. Hey Butthead! Capital District Health Authority is giving FREE smoking cessation aids if you join their program. Com’n babe. You can do it! Quit killing yourself and that stupid cat of yours, and most of all, stop irritating ME...and then maybe I won’t be so inclined to use all of the 200 watts of speaker power (‘Van Morrison Live’ tonight) to blast out my frustration. The fact that my window must be open during a wacky March blizzard, just so that I don’t croak, seems a little silly. Sigh. Maybe I wouldn’t have felt so touchy about the smoking thing tonight, but this morning, I walked by a Metro Transit bus shelter (ironically, it was outside the hospital), and a bunch of QEII hospital employees were using it as a smoking hut. Very nice. Where are you HRM by law enforcement officers?! You guys just blew a $350.00 fine TIMES at least three or four buttheads! If you added up all the potential butthead infractions and collected the fines, maybe we could afford to run this city efficiently. OK, Now I need to put on some music again…let’s see…I really like that John Mayer CD…


Wise Advice for RCMP

That’s right. I just had to step out of my incognito state. I’ve been away, not dead! Give me a break RCMP! Mr. Robert Dziekanski is dead, however, thanks to a bunch (one in particular) of Tazer-trigger happy goofs (oops, I mean officers) who zapped the life out of this poor Polish guy who simply had the bad luck to choose the Vancouver airport to land in on his first visit to Canadian soil. I guess he never got to the ‘soil’ part of Canada. He was too busy wandering aimlessly for a zillion hours, lost, tired, jet-lagged, jonsing for a smoke, in a bloody nightmare welcome to the land-‘O-moose- on-a- postcard, imitation- maple- syrup- products-come-Duty Free shops and baggage carousels, trying to get ANYBODY to speak to him in his own language in an INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT! His big mistake was picking up that most dangerous of weapons, the dreaded ‘stapler’. Yeah right, coppers, take down this exhausted guy who’s been on a plane for 15 hours and in an airport twilight zone for 18 hours with FIVE TAZER BLASTS! Then, goof around some more (make sure he’s REALLY dead, eh?) while you all try to decide what to say to the boss (that would be the RCMP big cheeses?… then a public Inquiry)…oh, I guess the whole damn country wants to know now, huh? Who would have thought that it would get all blown out of proportion like this?! I bet that’s gonna put a crimp in your Easter holidays. Ah, shucks fellows. You forgot to watch out for the babe walking by with her dreaded cell phone/video camera! May you (especially you, Millington) all get nailed to some big internal cross of conscience come this Easter time as you celebrate the christian tradition. Frankly, I’m not into that ‘jesus rises’ stuff, being a broad-minded, liberal thinking UU and all…but I still like the chocolate. Sigh. I guess I’m back from Hiatus

What if?……..

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What if,  when we awake tomorrow, to a new day and a New Year (and a boatload of snow in Nova Scotia), we also awake to…the complete absence of news items relaying the tragic traffic accidents and deaths which occurred after too many people got ‘happy’ with liquor in celebration tonight.  What if we never hear another announcement of soldiers dying in Afghanistan and elsewhere? What if the federal and provincial governments suddenly decided to support their poor, elderly, ill and disabled citizens with programs, services and benefits that would allow these people to lead dignified lives? What if a collective consciousness suddenly finds world leaders talking about “the Interconnected Web of All Existence” (knowingly and lovingly) and galvanizes them into immediate action to resolve issues that threaten our planet, like global warming? What if individuals across the globe are hit by uncontrollable urges to be honest, kind, generous, patient, and loving to one another? Imagine that! …but, John Lennon already did, “and I’m not the only one”, he claimed.  So, what if we just give peace a chance?…oh wait, John Lennon already sang to us about that too. (By the way, the ‘B’ side song on the single,  “Imagine” was “It’s so Hard” in the USA and “Working Class Hero” in the UK). Happy New Year everyone.

Do Guide Dogs Misbehave?

Short answer to this question? Yes, of course! They’re dogs, just dogs with special training. All dogs will misbehave, given the opportunity (and all you people with allegedly ‘perfect pooches’ need to rethink that plan to nominate your canine for sainthood!)

I must say that I get a lot of comments from people (bus and taxi drivers, store keepers, hospital staff etc.) who remark that Opal is a very well behaved dog. I would agree, given what I’ve heard about other guide dogs, much to my surprise and horror.  Sure, Opal has been known to lick women’s bare feet in public when I’m not paying attention.  Her passion for soft and fuzzy things has overwhelmed her more than once too; she stole a ladies gloves off a seat at the ferry terminal once, and she has tried to boost a stuffed animal or two from Walmart’s and other stores. Ok, so maybe she has also shredded a basket  (‘off the job’) and torn several pairs of my panties into confetti. At least I caught up with her when she tried to destroy my bra, in time to rescue it. See a pattern here? Oral fixation…jaws and tongue in action? Like many labs, she loves to carry stuff. The first thing she does when  her ‘saddle’ (harness) comes off at home, is to pick up the nearest object that will fit in her mouth and run like a dog possessed.

I have said this more than once: Dogs are a lot like kids. They are opportunistic.  They need good structure, routine  and enforced rules in order to behave like good dogs. I think that most of the stories I hear from cab and bus drivers about guide dogs jumping around, barking, annoying the driver or passengers (!!!!) in their vehicles, is not about a ‘guide dog being bad’.  Nope. It’s about a handler that does not ‘sort their dog out’. These are the handlers that give the rest of us a bad name by allowing the public to develop a negative impression of guide dogs. I have been at functions with other people who had guide dogs, in one instance, 35 blind people and handlers. All  were relatively very well behaved (even the people). I have also been at meetings, and parties where only one other guide dog and handler were present, where  I became irritated beyond belief (the handler irritated ME, the dog irritated Opal), ’cause the handler was asleep at the switch and not paying attention to, or doing anything about his wandering and misbehaving dog.

The off-duty guide dog will eat that chocolate birthday cake, those half dozen blueberry muffins (low fat), the marinating steaks etc. IF THEY HAVE OPPORTUNITY. They will bother your guests, demand attention, ‘act out’, just like small children, unless you enforce the rules which YOU  create, consistently. It makes them feel more secure to know who is leader of the pack (or parent). It is  really about ensuring that they do not have opportunity, and preempting the food theft, destruction of property, annoyance of guests etc, BEFORE IT CAN OCCUR. Put your stuff away! (like my panties which should not be lying on the floor next to the hamper). Put your foot down  firmly (but do not carry a big stick!–be kind and fair to your dog).

Remembering Rosa Parks Today

53 years ago today, just 19 days before my mother gave birth to me, she would have sat quietly with  bulging belly, and listened to a New York City station on the radio. (Mom loved to tune in New York City because of the great dance tunes). She would have heard the following item on the evening news report that night;

“A colored woman in Montgomery, Alabama was arrested by police today, after refusing to give up her seat to a white person. Mrs. Rosa Parks faces a fine for breaking the segregation law. It is not the first time that Mrs. Parks , a seamstress who works at the Montgomery Fair department store, has defied the law on segregation. In 1943 she was thrown off the bus for refusing to leave by the back door reserved for black passengers. She became known to drivers who then would refuse to let her on. Ironically, Mrs. Parks recognized James Burke today, as the same driver who threw her off the bus some 12 years ago. Mrs. Parks is a youth leader in a local branch of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). Her husband, Raymond takes part in voter registration drives. The NAACP and Mrs. Parks have been  involved in raising money to help defend 15 year old, Claudette Colvin, removed from a bus earlier this year for a similar segregation law-related refusal.”

Five days later, (just two weeks before I entered the world) mom would have heard another related news story on her radio, about the thousands of black citizens of Alabama participating in an organized boycott. A young man, named Martin Luther King spoke to the crowds that night and urged them to continue with the boycott. Almost all of Montgomery’s 40 thousand black residents did so for 381 days, crippling the city’s transportation system and signaling the start of the modern civil rights movement in the United States. On December 20th of 1956 (my 1st birthday), the Supreme court upheld a lower court decision to end segregation on Alabama busses. Mrs. Parks was fired from her job and  then moved to Detroit in 1957 because of harassment. She worked for Democratic congressman, John Conyers until her retirement in 1985. Rosa Parks died in October of 2005.

Unwedded Unbliss

California voters were swept up by the strong, religious conservative lobby to ban same sex marriages in the recent  American election campaign.  The result? In California, Proposition 8 repealed the right which gay couples won last June, and passed  by a 52% margin on Election Tuesday.  ‘Project Marriage’  was managed by Frank Schubert and was the force which led the Proposition 8 attack. It was backed by huge amounts of  money (Schubert raised 5 million in 5 days) from a united religious alliance of Catholics, Mormons and other predominately white, Evangelical groups.  Same-sex marriage supporters were hurt by the heavy turnout of Black  and Hispanic Obama drawn to Obama’s candidacy. President-elect Obama opposes gay marriage.  I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it too, though it seems to me, that the whole point of having cake, IS to eat it. California will now join the thirty other states banning same-sex marriage. Gay marriages  are only legal in Massachusetts and Connecticut. New York and Rhode Island will continue to recognize ceremonies performed elsewhere (“Not in my backyard” philosophy?)

I’m not sure why so many people have put so much effort and money into denying gay couples the  right to marry.  Many of them (like Hilary Clinton, Obama, and others) are quick to claim support for same-sex UNIONS, but cave to the Religious American Conservative Right when it comes to supporting the right for gay couples to marry.  There is something deeper going on here which I’m not sure I really want to think about too much.  Frankly, all I can say to those sisters and brothers in the United States who are in this sad  state of Unwedded Unbliss, is: Keep the faith (not the one dressed up as the Religious Right) and carry on with the fight…or come to Canada.

Give Me a Break!

Hey ‘M’! Yeah, you, the clerk at the grocery store (that would be the Barrington Street Superstore, a subsidiary of Loblaw Canada). Thanks a whole heck of a lot, buddy. Maybe I’m being too harsh on you and should really be bitchin about the flaky and shoddy management of the store. Who knows?! Who cares?! YOU’RE in my line of fire. Do ya think I’ve got nothing better to do than wander aimlessly through your store for 40 minutes after I asked the manager (in expectation of a reasonable and truthful response),  “can someone  WHO KNOWS THE STORE help me find five or six items; produce and bread?” The manager’s mistake was 1- to hook me up with a cashier (you) who does not have a clue where 2- the produce is located (why is that?), 3- can’t find a  produce clerk who would know where their own department’s stuff is located, 4- doesn’t ‘get’ that leaving a blind person standing endlessly ( 5-10 minutes THREE times) in the middle of a store while you disappear who knows where, is not a a good thing, 5- does not ‘get’ (despite repetition) that guide dogs should not be petted, 6- does not ‘get’ (despite repetition) that there is no need for ALL THREE of us to walk endlessly, back and forth through the produce department, after I asked you to find bananas, peppers, apples, and tomatoes, you  could (or should) have managed that all by yourself quickly and easily while Opal and I stayed put and out of foot traffic,  7- you really need to learn what a loaf of multigrain bread is and where to find it (or the bakery department clerk)…’com on! bread?! How hard is that?! 8- should not have been shocked when I abandoned this little shopping nightmare (which should have taken 5-10 minutes tops) after 40 minutes ’cause I had a meeting to get to! What an incredible waste of your time. More importantly, it was a gigantic waste of MY TIME! and totally preventable. Someone (that would be the manager) should have simply told me from the ‘get-go’ that no one was available capable of actually locate anything in an efficient and timely manner. I’d rather be refused help, than go through a frustrating and pointless adventure that tired me, my dog and wasted my time AND left me without the food I wanted to BUY. Did I mention that I don’t like to waste my time? Did I mention (you bet I did!) to the manager that they really should have followed up on the suggestion and offer I made last month to provide free training sessions (touchy-feely, warm and cozy,  non-threatening, unlike my tone today) ) with the bean head  Superstore staff who tend to be totally clueless when assisting blind patrons who want to  SPEND MONEY IN YOUR STORE! This is not about being ‘nice’ or ‘charitable’, it’s about business practice and common sense!