Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Goys in your hood.

As mentioned this past Sunday I was helping RB move a mattress. It belonged to a friend of his, whose father had passed and it was the spare guest mattress (not his fathers). They were getting rid of the contents and offered it to RB, so we headed over to the family home just West of Bathurst near St. Clair, otherwise known as beautiful Forest Hill. The area around Bathurst is predominantly a Jewish area, as the Jewish Synagogues and schools and shops are all close by. It's a tight knit community, which I am not unfamiliar with as I lived at Bathurst and Steeles for 10 years when I was younger and loved the area and the people. However, that Sunday morning I got the sneaking suspicion that I was not welcome. Maybe I am being a little too sensitive or maybe it was my imagination, but I have a bit of experience when it comes to racism and stereotypes (on the receiving end) and what it feels like to be in a minority group (several minority groups at that).

When we arrived at the home, we sat and waited for the mover to come. We were not dressed in suits or dress shirts, but we were also not in rags. As we sat there, neighbours walked by the home and stood looking at us as they walked their dogs or played with their kids. Both RB and I looked at each other each time wondering if theer was food on our faces or if we looked odd. Four separate times, neighbours came and asked us if we worked there or were we purchasing the home. In one occassion the lady across the street drove into her driveway and came over to me to complain about the car parked in front of her home. The dialogue went as follows:

Her (gesticulating and beckoning me to come across the street - which I did not) As she gets within ear shot she begins speaking very slowly: Do you speak English?
Me (bewildered): Ummm, Yes.
Her (haughtily): Oh...Well, would you please tell your boss that we do not appreciate the car parked out front of our home, when they have a perfectly good driveway to park in? My kids can't park their carsthere when the car is there.
Me: My boss?
Her: Yes. Yoooouuur Boss...you know the owner of the home?
Me (getting red in the face): Listen lady, I am not some Filipina maid or gardener if that is what you are getting at. This is not my home, nor is the dead owner my boss. I am sorry that the car is parked in front of your home, but from what I can see, the sign says Parking with no time limits. Oh, what are you surprised that I can read as well?
Her: Oh, well I just thought, that, well, you know...
Me: Actually, sadly I do know what you thought and it was wrong, incredibly rude and uninsightful of you.
Her (taken aback): Excuse me?
Me: Actually, I don't think I will. You haven't quite apologised as yet, so why should I give you the comfort that our exchange was okay?
Her: Well, it's not like I would know who you were!
Me: That's fine, but why assume I was an employee?
Her(turning red): Well honestly I don't know. Your obviously not from around here, so....(stopping, and getting redder)
Me (angrily): Not from around here? or not belonging around here? Honey, let me give you a little lessen on stereotypes and racism, something that you should only be all too familiar with. Just because I am some Goy who doesn't fit into your little secular world does not mean that I don't belong or am not welcome. Your pissing me off now and I have to help my friend, but it would be nice to get an apology from you.
Her (redder in the face): An apology? For what? It's not like I intended it.
Me (laughing incredulously): One doesn't need to have intention to hurt someone, but one needs to realise the law of unintended consequences. Besides, if I have to explain any further then I must be the idiot here, because I thought you would have had a little more intelligence than that...(Turned and left, not looking back).

RB was a bit taken aback by the whole thing and said that she just stood there with her LV purse dangling on her arm, wondering what to say, until she just turned around and went home. He says she looked at him and kinda said sorry but he wasn't sure.

Was I wrong here? I don't think I was.

Busy busy busy

The last few weeks have been super busy, both work-wise and extra-curricular. The May 2-4 weekend consisted of helping my friend RN move to his new apartment on the Westend and also helping my other friend AK clean and decorate his balcony with plants and furniture. Didn't leave much time for sleeping in, but I had a good time doing both of them.

This past weekend, I went to my friend S&S's house to build a waterfall for their pond. Once the heavy lifting and digging were done, the job took only 3 hours to complete. I think it looks pretty good and they were happy. Sunday I moved RB's new mattress up 4 flights of stairs and then went to my brothers to sand his deck. Want to finish that by the end of the week and have it all stained/sealed.

On top of all this, my dog got sick on the May 2-4 and literally had a leaky ass. My poor girl went all over the Solarium carpet and I had to clean the nasty mess up. These things happen with older dogs and you can't get angry because it ain't their fault.

So, I'm just a wee bit tired now, after all the sanding, digging, moving and ass wiping. I think I am either staying in the city to volunteer for Fashion Cares again this year, or will be heading up to T&Y's cottage to open it and relax. Will post pics of all the chores and the cottage soon.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Re-defining Marriage or Church & State?

I recently read A Priori Ad Lib’s blog, and that got me thinking about religion. The following bit was conceived from that blog.

With recent events in Canada regarding the re-definition of marriage and other occurrences around the world, I have been re-assessing my views on the Church and what it stands for. Despite my upbringing as a Roman Catholic, I was never what you would have called a religious fanatic. I have always been fascinated by religion, but I questioned my teachers often, and was often kicked out of class for “questioning authority”. This blurb is simply my take on things and my belief that open discussions and open forums about policies and belief systems are necessary for a just and fair society.
For Centuries, the Church has had a steadfast influence on its congregation, and in many cases, on the State. Decisions and policies were intertwined and the morals that the Church deemed fit for the times reflected upon the laws that were administered during those times. Church and State were very much a symbiotic entity – just think of France and England as quick examples. These laws may or may not be in effect now, but they have strong roots in much of our communities, whether they are rural or urban. Many of these ideas have become ingrained as part of a belief system that doesn't hold much water in current times. The Church is an extension of the House of God, and since it is run by Humans the Church is not a perfect institution. Humans according to the Church are out of grace with God due to original sin (Adam and Eve) and because of this we (well, not I) spend our entire lives trying to reach perfection in order to enter Heaven.

But how does the Church morally and ethically guide and instruct when it has been embroiled in controversy with pedophilia amongst its priests? The Pope and the church have turned their heads and brushed much of it under the carpet, instead focusing on gays and marriage, who have not hurt anyone else. How does the Church then oppose marriage between two consenting individuals who just happen to be of the same gender? Is this not hypocrisy and unethical as well as immoral? We know this much - the Church and any religion has its basis in superstition and moralistic behaviour associated to its times. In the Old Testament, Moses on Mount Sinai berates his Israelites for creating a “false image of God”, which is reflected in commandment numero deux. Does this mean that the 10 commandments are applicable to Hindus, who are polytheistic? Does this mean that those who do not follow the Judeo-Christian religion are sinners? Historically, the Church has also approved slavery and the supremacy of the ‘White man’, but would anyone suggest such an idea nowadays? I highly doubt it. So the question begs, how does the Church take a stance on one particular topic and avoid so many others, and should the State align itself with these beliefs?
Canada, in 2003, legalized the definition of marriage to include man and man. It has since been an uphill battle to gain the same rights as every other citizen under the law (constitution). The Church in retaliation, has gathered her forces to enforce the definition of marriage as two heterosexuals (ergo Man/ woman), who wish to be bound together in matrimony. Part of their tactics is to misuse Biblical scripture and parables to "prove" emphatically that the Bible, therefore God, has deemed homosexuality as a sin. Obviously, Sodom and Gomorrah comes to mind as it is the story that has become a banner for most parishioners who follow blindly the morals of being straight and the evils of being gay.

Not to get all religiously acadaemic here, but I am going to go off on a bit of a tangent here. For those religious fanatics out there who simply follow religious dogma blindly, Sodom Gomorrah really is a lot more symbolic than what people think it is. Due to the mis-interpretation of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the word “sodomy” has made it into our lexicon synonymous with anal intercourse. If one were to read the script closely, it states that Lot met the angels at the gate of the city and invited them to his home for dinner. The angels were sent to Sodom because Yahweh saw that there were many sins taking place in the Valley of Jordan, none of which had anything to do with sodomization or homosexual sex. Afterwards, all the men of the town gathered outside of Lot's house and demanded that the angels be released to them so that they may “know” them. Historically references of “know” in the bible are direct references to sex or interrogation - the exact interpretations in this case are unclear even to Biblical scholars. Rather than give up the angels, who are supposedly non-corporeal (and androgynous) and beyond physical harm, Lot offered the crowd his two virgin daughters to be raped at their discretion (Genesis 18:26-33). I would hardly say, that offering your daughters up to be raped is godly…maybe god-fearing, but hardly godly. After Lot and his daughters are whisked away by the Angels to safety, they find shelter in a cave, where the daughters concoct a plan to have sex with their father to carry on the lineage, as their husbands and Lots wife were killed when Sodom was destroyed. I know I am off on a tangent here, but people have to understand that there were many political issues occurring at this time and that the Old Testament (OT) was written by Jews who at the time hated the Canaanites, Moabites and the Ammonites. The Jews who hated these groups of people created this story to show their contempt by creating a lineage derived from incest. In other words, the story is a historical bastardization of these people, and likely very inaccurrate.

The Bible is a historical reference and like all historical references, it is flawed by personal and religious bias. One cannot tell me that every historical news article from any country is not going to biased or influenced in some way by the political climate. The Americans have one view of the war in Iraq, as do the Iraqis. In Communist China, it is still forbidden to go against the State and government – it would hardly be logical to then believe that the last 30 years of Chinese history are going to be accurate. Catch my drift? What I am getting at is that we cannot blindly follow and believe everything we hear and see. Religion was a human construction and it serves a great purpose for many people, but not all. It brings people together under a common belief, but at the same time, it divides and destroys under false pretenses and misguided perceptions. When religion becomes entwined with the State it is used by the powerful to distort and influence, where it should not. As a gay male, I find it offensive that we are not given the same rights as every other citizen. We are not asking for “special privileges”, we are simply asking that we be guaranteed the same rights as everyone else as stated in the Constitution. The US and Canadian constitutions each guarantee that individual rights must be protected and that the Church and State must be separate to allow for these guaranteed rights. It even goes so far as to say that the political leader in power should not align him/herself with any religious belief or institution. So why is it, that President George Bush has made such a daring and bold declaration of war against Iraq in the name of God? He has also said that God is "watching over America" and alluded to God being on America’s side, fighting a war against evil. What this suggests is that all who do not follow the Judeo-Christian conviction, are evil. What about the Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, etc? In countries such as Canada and the States, where individual rights and freedoms are guaranteed under the law, there should be no place for an elected political leader to align him/herself with one religion. It may be his/her upbringing, but that upbringing and conviction is not representative of the state and its people. These are elected officials who are supposed to represent society as a whole, and not just one favoured sect or portion of society. To be a truly judicial and fair society, one must appreciate, accept and allow for all religious freedom and not suggest that one is better than the other. Government should be a representative of society as a whole, and not be biased by religion. Yes, this is a difficult thing to achieve, but it is a necessity if we want to achieve a future that respects and values the relationships, belief systems and lifestyles of all in our multi-dynamic society.

We were born with this thing called a brain, and if you believe in god, that means he created it, so use it. Go do your research and think about things first before spouting religious rhetoric.Thanks for listening to my rant.
"When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion it conveys a message
of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored beliefs. A government
cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it
asserts that God prefers some."
~Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun in the Lee v. Weisman ruling, 1992~

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Blonde Ambition Tour


You'd think I were speaking of a big blockbuster movie, but alas I am referring to Canadian Politics. What with the recent political events in Canada unravelling, I have begun to wonder what exactly has been running through the frazzled minds of citizens across our great country. It seems that the recent Floor crossing by Belinda Stronach has caused a furious backlash from both Conservative parliamentarians and her local Aurora/ Newmarket ridership, and I am left wondering why.

She has been likened to as a whore, prostitute, traitor and Judas.

Am I the only one who has taken offense to this language and reference? If this were a man, would he have been called a Whore? I won’t even get into that discussion, since we all know that men (when promiscuous) are termed “studs” – hardly a derogagatory remark!

So she didn’t win the seat as PC leader. So she crossed the floor and abandoned her party. So she left Peter Mackay.

So what?

Do people truly believe that a woman of her stature and her qualities and strength would standby and allow her vision of what Canada is and should be, be thrown to the ground and trampled upon? I realise there are a lot of angry people on both sides, but people need to get a grip and realise that nothing is ever permanent in the political landscape. This is not the first time that a Parliamentarian has crossed the floor from one party to another. Within the last year, both Carolyn Parrish (Liberal to Independent) and David Kilgour (PC to Independent) have shown that standing up as a lone voice amongst a sea of others was an act of bravery and integrity. They had their reasons and they made it publicly known. One must also remember Scott Brison, who crossed over to the Liberals as a Progressive Conservative 2 days after the dissolution of the Progressive Conservative party and the birth of the New Conservative Party of Canada. Brison was clearly perturbed by the merger between PC and Canadian Alliance parties, something that Peter MacKay had been long dreaming of, despite his promises to David Orchard that there would never be an alliance with the Alliance Party. And Peter MacKay feels betrayed by Belinda Stronach? Puleaze! Imagine what David Orchard and so many other PC's felt when they announced that news.

What I’m getting at here, is this - no one holds the same political ideals all their life unless they are infantile idiots. You learn and grow and you find your niche. The problem is that there are only 4 distinctive parties in Canada to choose from, and people have it in their tiny little minds that they need to fit into the mold of one or the other.


I have learned over the years that there are aspects of each party that I respect or like and that I have to find the median, or the political group that I have most in common with. I am completely gobsmacked by those who declare that Belinda Stronach is a Judas for abandoning her party, saying that she did so for ambition.

And again, what is wrong with that?

She has the ambition to lead this country to a place where it should be – an accepting, moderate, fiscally conservative, but socially responsible country. She knew her ideals would never reach fruition with the Conservative Party, not simply because she lost the leadership vote, but also because the Party was not heading in the direction that she saw it should be.

We as voting citizens listen and watch Parliament and local politics to ensure that our interests and concerns are being properly addressed in our registered voters name. We are the voice and in essence the power that drives these political parties, and if they were to tell me that I had no right to change my vote I would have a full-out conniption. The idea that we as voters cannot change party alliance is ludicrous. Things happen, people change, and people make new decisions. I always said that Belinda Stronach was in the wrong party and that if she was a liberal that I would be right behind her. It has nothing to do with her looks or her money. It has everything to do with her ability to see past the party, and into the ideals of what Canadians want. One should never fit themselves in a box.

I say good on ya Belinda. You have my vote and my support and I feel damned good about it.

Stronach is breaking that box, and if a few balls are broken as well, then I say bring it on. Now, we just wait for the Parliamentary votes to determine if this government is dissolved.

Stay tuned...This is so much better than that Desperate Housewives show.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Belinda Stronach joins Liberals

Conservative Stronach joins LiberalsLast Updated Tue, 17 May 2005 14:11:54 EDT
CBC News
OTTAWA - Belinda Stronach, who ran for the leadership of the Conservative party in early 2004, has crossed the floor to the Liberal party and will sit in Paul Martin's cabinet.
Belinda Stronach

Paul Martin welcomes Belinda Stronach into the Liberal party in Ottawa, Tuesday.
The millionaire businesswoman becomes minister of human resources and skills development, the prime minister said Tuesday morning. She will also help the Liberals implement the recommendations in the Gomery report on the scandal-plagued sponsorship program when it is delivered later this year.
Stronach's defection could keep Martin's minority government in power as it faces two key votes on its 2005 budget Thursday.
"After difficult reflection, I reached a conclusion," Stronach told reporters in Ottawa. "I cannot exaggerate how hard this was for me, but the political crisis affecting Canada is too risky and dangerous for blind partisanship."
She also said Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is not sensitive to the needs of all parts of the country, and is jeopardizing national unity by allying himself with the Bloc Québécois.
"The country must come first," she said.
Send us your thoughts
Stronach said that someday, the Conservatives will grow and strengthen to become a worthy challenger to the Liberals. In the meantime, she thinks her place is with a party that is more responsive to the needs of cities, women and young people.
She also said she is looking forward to tackling the Gomery recommendations when they are presented.
"Only when the people of Canada have renewed confidence and faith in the systems of government can we return to economic prosperity."
Small-l liberal in Conservative ranks
Stronach, 39, is a small-l liberal who has not always been comfortable within the Conservative ranks, especially on the issue of same-sex marriage.
Last week, she said it would be unfortunate if the Liberal government fell before the 2005 budget was passed because it contained measures on municipal funding that were of great importance to her constituents in the Toronto-area riding of Newmarket-Aurora.
FROM MARCH 10, 2004:
Belinda Stronach secures nomination in riding
The former president and CEO of auto parts maker Magna International Inc. lost the Conservative leadership race to Harper in March 2004.
Stronach's father, Magna founder Frank Stronach, ran unsuccessfully for the federal Liberals in 1988 when John Turner was leader of the party.
Stronach said she broached the matter with former Ontario premier David Peterson, who is a family friend, after running into him and his wife at an event in Toronto last week.
Peterson, a Liberal who led a minority government in Ontario in the 1980s before winning his first majority, spoke to her at some length before arranging conversations with federal Liberals and eventually the prime minister.
'I can count,' Martin says of budget vote
The alliance with Stronach could keep Martin's minority government alive in two key budget votes expected Thursday.
Her defection from the Conservatives gives the Liberal-NDP coalition on the budget a total of 151 votes, not including Speaker Peter Milliken, a Liberal MP who votes only in the case of a tie.
The Conservatives and Bloc have a total of 152 votes.
There are three Independent MPs, one of whom, Carolyn Parrish, has said she will vote with the Liberals. The other two, Chuck Cadman and David Kilgour, have not said which way they will vote.
"We still don't know whether the budget will pass or not, [but] I've got to tell you, I can count," said a visibly pleased Martin, calling Stronach a "gutsy" new part of his team.
In the June 2004 election, Stronach beat Liberal Martha Hall-Findlay in her riding by 689 votes.
Martin said Hall-Findlay, who has already earned the Liberal nomination for Newmarket-Aurora for the next election, has agreed to step aside in favour of Stronach's candidacy.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Lucienne Robillard had been leading the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development since mid-January, when cabinet was shuffled.
Robillard will now be intergovernmental affairs minister only.
Pressed on how her decision will affect her romantic relationship with Central Nova MP Peter MacKay, the deputy leader of the Conservatives, Stronach called that a "personal matter" that she did not intend to comment upon.
She also said she had the "greatest respect" for MacKay.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

More useless crap about me...

As much as I like the thrill of rollercoasters, I hate emotional rollercoasters, which is what I have been riding for the last few weeks. Anyhow, in an effort to make myself feel better I have decided to reveal some odd truths to ya'll to lighten the mood and get myself to think about other things. :)

1. What obsessive things do you do?
I will obsessively sing the same song in my head or count numbers until something else distracts me.
2. If you could be any animal on earth what would it be and why?
A Dolphin, because they are free and always smiling.
3.What makes you happy?
The small things in life.
4. Sunrise or sunset?
Tough one. I love both, but have to say sunset as it is so calming and peaceful.
5. Bath or shower?
6. How often do you clean your house?
2-3 times a week.
7. Where are the 3 most unusual places you have had sex?
i) Purolator truck
ii) A gift shop during business hours.
iii) Stairwell
8. Leftie or rightie?
9. Cat or Dog?
Dog at the moment and fish, but love cats as well.
10.Do you cry at movies?
No, but I will cry when no one else is around.
11. Tattoo or piercings?
Yes, both.
12. What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?
Hmm, the fact that I am thinking about this means I need to venture past my comfort zone more often.
13. Do you volunteer?
14. Do you vote?
15. What calms you?
meditation, stretching, yoga, and ME time.
16. What is your most valuable possession?
Hmmm - my life, friends and family.
17. Have you ever been in love?
18. Do you believe in change?
Yes, and I embrace it as difficult as it may be at times.
19. Are you religious?
Not religious, but spiritual.
20. What makes you sad?
Hate, people in hurt, sadness.
21. What makes you tick?
The energy from other people. If your happy and energetic, so am I.
22. What is your comfort food?
Breakfast or traditional Northern Chinese food.
23. Can you cook?
Yes, pretty good.
24. Are you more likely to stay in or go out?
50/50. Depends on the mood and who is around me.
25. If you mey an Alien, what would you say to it?
Umm, is that a phaser gun in your pocket? or are you just happy to meet me?
26. Deoderent or Anti-perspirent?
Neither, as I don't have be B.O (seriously, I don't. And your'e welcome to whiff if you don't believe me).
27. Morning or Night person?
Both, but get tired after lunch.
28. Do you like to nap?
No, not really. Find it a waste of time, but will do it if really tired, or sick.
29. Do you have a green thumb?
Yes. Love to garden and take care of plants.

30. Give 8 adjectives that describe you?
thoughtful, introspective, out-going, friendly, calm, (too) rational, flighty (at times), geeky.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Almost back... :-)

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

I can't say it enough. Thank you for the wise words, comments, and the emails of encouragement from all of you. I have had a considerable amount of time to think things over, and have spoken with RB and am at a content place now. I am sure I will have a few more emotional shifts, but I am getting back on track, and I am glad for it.

My absence from the blogging was partially due to my need to retune my senses and ground myself, but mostly due to my crazy schedule at work. Things have been, to say the least, hectic and overwhelming. Long hours and days and work weekends are hopefully coming to an end, and I will need a well deserved break then.

Once done, could I interest anyone in a night out for drinks and grub?