Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Now I've Heard Everything

Every once in awhile I read some strange news that makes me stop and at the very least shake my head in disbelief. This week, it was a cop who gave himself a ticket for a driving infraction. Not only did he write himself a ticket to the tune of $ 235 American, but he docked himself four points on his driving record. Check out the story here.

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the story. The way in which the story is reported, it is ambiguous as to if this police chief unconciously broke the law through his carelessness or if this was a planned attempt at bring to light that police officers "do good things every day," as the officer later states. Has this officer really done a good deed if this was planned? Does this sort of action even constitute a "good thing" even if it was not planned?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I Love Paris Anytime

I thought I'd post this picture for JBelle over at Notes from the 'Kan EWA as she recently disclosed that she is head over heals crazy about Paris. I must admit that prior to my first visit, I was determined that I would not like Paris quite so much as everyone else. It seemed to be everyone's FAVORITE city, and so many large cities are just that and not much more. How much different could it actually be? But then I arrived and saw this. How could I not fall in love? There really is something undeniably magic about Paris.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Psst...Check this Place Out

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. If you take a small country road from Bergamo north into the mountains and continue to follow the narrow roads snaking their way continuously upward, you will eventually happen upon a tiny village called Fuipiano. It is here, at its very edge, that you will find the "Albergo Moderno."

This place is of particular note because it serves the best Tiramisu in all of Italy and thus, probably in the whole world. My gracious host, the ever smiling Stephano, took painstaking care that everything was "just so." His father, the absolute spitting image of "Captain Haddock," who had just gotten home from a hunting trip in Ireland, eagerly lit the fireplace to ensure my comfort and attempted small chit chat in his broken English.

The village was quietly serene and the scenery...well, let's just say I felt like I had stepped into a fairytale.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Katey's Firearms Facts

Up until recently, guns had never been a huge issue for Canada. However, it is a growing concern. In Friday's paper it was reported that in BC, 2,349 guns have been stolen and 290 lost since 1999. And of these, only 99 have been recovered by police. More than 500 of these are prohibited weapons which can no longer be legally purchased in Canada. The Canadian government implemented a gun-registry to "tract" guns, but of course the registry does nothing to account for the 90% of guns used by gangs which are supposed smuggled into the country. Thus, since it's conception, much controversy has surrounded this registry. Watch 13 year old Katey's informative and humorous video below for further information.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Gung Hay Fat Choi

Happy Chinese New Year everyone. This year is the year of the Fire Pig. It's supposed to be a good one for me. If you are interesting in knowing what's in store for you in the coming year, check out Sherman Tai's website. He is apparently one of the top Chinese fortune tellers and feng shui masters in both Vancouver and Hong Kong.

To know the road ahead, ask those coming back. (Chinese Proverb)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Women Under Pressure

Jar number 1: Barbie under pressure. This jar is symbolic of women under pressure, striving for perfection. Barbie represents an unrealistic ideal of the female body image, an image that is continually reinforced through media: movies, magazines and TV. The Barbie in this jar is contorted in an unnatural fashion; just as women continually put unnatural pressures on themselves to strive towards the images and expectations that continually bombard them. The fact that Barbie is in water represents the female in today’s society always trying to keep her head above water but not always succeeding. In essence, Barbie is drowning.

Jar number 2: The masks we wear. In one sense, the items in this jar represent the ways in which women strive to be beautiful: a razor to shave leg and armpit hair; anti-aging cream to keep wrinkles at bay; foundation to create young flawless looking skin; lipstick to add colour; lacquer for the nails; tweezers to pluck those stray hairs… These are physical ways in which we try to hide our perceived flaws. However, this jar also symbolizes the masks we wear to hide our vulnerability. It is the difference between our private selves and our public selves. Each and every day with each and every person every one of us chooses what we will reveal. We create the image that we want to project.

Jar number 3: What’s super about that? Superwoman, super mom, the female executive, the domestic diva, and the sex goddess – it’s difficult to be it all. This jar illustrates the many roles the average female juggles and how we cope. The women’s liberation movement has brought about much freedom for females, but in many ways it has also created many pressures: stress and lack of time being just two. Many women work full time (represented by the money in the jar), yet working mothers still do about twice as much housework as their husbands (Morin, R. & M. Rosenfeld, 1998), (represented by the scrub rag). The condoms represent the responsibility of birth control that is often in the hands of the female. The diaper pin represents the female’s involvement in childrearing. The keys represent the running of errands, the transporting of children to various activities and the commute. How does she cope with it all? Is it the five cups of coffee? Mood altering drugs? Or the occasional headache medication?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Religious Landscape

It's astounding that I have posted so many Italy pictures and have yet to comment on the numerous churches. No matter where one goes in Italy, churches dominate the landscape. They are front and centre in every city, village and town no matter how large or small. They are also, in many respects, walk in museums. Art works that are hundreds of years old are open on display.

The following pictures are of the Santa Maria del Fiore Duomo in Florence. Above the dome is visible through a narrow side street. Although I took some pictures of the whole church, it really is quite immense and a picture just does not render it justice.

The construction of this Gothic cathedral commenced in 1296 and was completed by Brunelleschi in 1436. The frescoes that cover the dome (seen above) were painted by Varsari and Zuccari. The paintings on the lower part of the dome depict the depths of hell. As you move up, you come to earth and then finally at the top the heavenly realm.

As many churches this age, there are narrow passage ways and steep stair wells. Going around this one (I no longer remember how many steps...but quite a few) left me dizzy and breathless, and not just because of the view.

Finally, the dome as seen at a lower level. This church was unique in that taking pictures of the interior was not an issue. In many of the churches, because they are considered sacred places of worship, cameras are not welcome.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I am Mystique

Sometimes motherly, sometimes a beautiful companion, but most of the time a deceiving vixen.

Is this really how people view me? Click below to find out which super villain you are.
Click here to take the Super Villain Personality Test

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Canada Goose

I'll be back to posting more travel pics in short order, but in the meantime thought I'd share these photos I snapped today of a Canada Goose feeding. Okay, he doesn't really look like he's doing all that much feeding in the picture, although he was, that is until I started to approach. Then he warily turned and waddled in the opposite direction.

Some interesting facts about the Canada Goose:
  • They fly in V formation when migrating. This apparently minimizes the "drag" on each individual bird allowing them to take advantage of the slipstream created by the bird in front of them...much as cyclists do.
  • Can travel more than 1000 km in one day.
  • Mate for life, however if one dies the other will take another mate, or pine to death at the loss of their mate (depending on which source you're reading)
  • Have 13 different "calls" that scientists have identified so far.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Question of Tolerance

Thursday's papers reported that a "new international study" has found "Canadians among the world's least bigoted." This study polled citizens from 23 Western countries. It gauged the general level of intolerance of following different groups: immigrants in general; people of another race; Muslims; Jews; and homosexuals.

The "Canadian" component of these findings somewhat ironic considering that the day before a BC provincial cabinet minister was forced to resign over a profanity-laced, insulting message with extreme anti-American sentiment directed at one of his constituents. Even more disheartening, were the letters to the editor the next day supporting this kind of behaviour and sentiment.

But back to the question of tolerance. Tolerance as defined by the Canadian Oxford dictionary: a willingness or ability to accept or allow without protest or irritation. Canada is a multi-cultural nation and given our vast geography and weak population we have always had the luxury of keeping a healthy distance from our neighbours which, lets be honest, in many cases helps to keep the peace. We as Canadians are also very sensitive to what is and what is not politically correct. As a result, I would hazard a guess that most of us know which answers to give whether or not we actually believe it. The reality is one only has to look in the papers to see that "hate crimes" are alive and well.

There is of course the question as to if Canada experiences more or less of these sorts of crimes or intolerances than other countries. Aside from the Toronto hate crimes unit which publishes a detailed annual review, complete with ethnic breakdowns and trends that date back to 1993, it seems that other police forces are either reluctant to give these sorts of details or do not have them. In fact one article suggested that Quebec being "very sensitive to our international reputation of being open, tolerant and socially progressive" has a "great reluctance to deal with hate crimes." They fear it would "jeopardize our image."

Finally, when you have large immigrant populations, there is the question of what sort of racist prejudices newcomers bring with them. Immigrants often have different cultural and ethnic residues which they bring to their host country. I, in fact, have been witness to a situation where two Canadian born individuals of different ethnic backgrounds held their parents' prejudices and almost broke into a fight with each other when they first met based solely on their hatred of the other ethnic group.

Don't get me wrong, Canada is a great place to live, but obviously there are a lot of issues surrounding this topic and I am curious to know if Canada actually does meet the mark as one of the least bigoted nations.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

In the Mood for Food?

If you haven't been over at freerangeliving recently, I suppose you are wondering what this is all about. Cheryl has tagged some of us asking us to post pictures of the inside of our refrigerator. So here it is!!! I resisted temptation and didn't tidy beforehand. I didn't include my veggie can't see through them and the aerial view leaves a bit to be desired. But if anyone out there is dying of curiosity I would be most happy to sate. Enjoy. Any of you reading who would like to post pictures of the inside of your fridge, let me know and I will check it out. Cheryl, I've been wondering where your picture is. Are you waiting to be tagged back?

Friday, February 02, 2007

It's Not...

"Well, it's not Versailles," the woman next to me hastily mutters as she turns to her husband.