My very first seasonal collection of stories, features, and blog entries. It’s just a few of the pieces featured here and in my Farm to Table food blog.
In this edition: Internet privacy hoaxes, First Nations genocide, and early Rob Ford media backlash.
Also: Stupid human tricks with bears and tourists, the joys of jerk chicken (with original recipe), and my debut on the Outdoor Journal Radio show.
All this and more.
So pour a cuppa, some wine, or a dram and get comfy. I’m hoping you’ll enjoy a good late summer read.
This piece received roughly 90 000 hits in the first two days that it was posted. It is a critique of internet sensationalism, dishonest reporting, and the resulting over-eagerness for well-meaning Facebook users to spread false information on internet security, public safety, and privacy. It is a direct skewering of the recent Facebook Cell Phone Photo/Child Abduction meme. It also pops some myths about what kind of data is shared on Facebook and Twitter.
“Nowhere in all of this does it point out the obvious: The easier way for someone to find your child? By standing outside their home or school.
Ah, school. You know, that place where hundreds of children are all wandering about, just ripe for the picking.
Here’s the rub, though. Because no one is actually taking the easier route to napping your kid, it is highly, highly unlikely that anyone would be bothered with the more difficult one.”
“Here, bear!” she cooed “Here, bear!”
Not wanting to be anywhere near the confrontation between a bear and naive tourist, I called over to her: “That might not be the best idea.”
She pulled out a pamphlet and shook it at me. “But I’ve just read that black bears don’t attack humans.”
Knowing that pamphlets outweigh shaggy 20-somethings by a large margin in the minds of sight-seers, I decided to take a different approach.
“Ah, but do black bears eat bologna?” I yelled.
“I bet they do!” she shouted back.
“Right!” I replied. “Now just imagine that, for a bear, there is a pretty big grey zone between that bologna and, say… your arm.”
This was on of the more interesting pieces I’ve written in quite awhile — it was inspiring to talk to parents and hear tales of how these dogs changed the lives of both their autistic kids and their entire families.
It originally appeared in Peterborough Kids, Northumberland Kids, and Lakeridge Kids Magazines.
Nine-year old Adamo has always had trouble with bedtime. Like most children on the autism spectrum, he has an irrational fear of night. Until last spring, bedtime was accompanied by frustration, tears and tantrums.
Then Hitch came along. Hitch, a recently graduated guide dog from National Service Dogs, was brought in to help both Adamo and his family adapt to the difficulties of life with autism. And the results have been amazing.
“Our bedtime routine is one of the most notable changes since Hitch arrived, ” says mom Adelina. “I can’t believe how quickly Adamo gets ready for bed. When it is time to go to sleep, there is a lot less fuss.”
She reports that, “At first, when we would leave the room, Adamo would get out of bed, go and lie on the floor beside Hitch, and immediately fall asleep there.” Hitch, being the well-trained dog that he is, made his own adjustment. He began sleeping beside Adamo’s bed, so the child would stay put.
“I never imagined that bedtime could actually be enjoyable,” says Adelina.
It’s rare that the Canadian media use the “G” word when talking about the abuses waged on First Nations People of Canada.
I applaud the the Toronto Star for doing so in its column by Phil Fontaine, Dr. Michael Dan, and Bernie M. Farber. It’s time that more and more media outlets took up the practice.
“I visited the community of Mishkeegogamang, a half-hour south of Pickle Lake,” he recalled. “What struck me was the number of fresh graves. And on these graves – and in the cemeteries – you saw all of these baseball caps, dolls, toys… I talked to the chief and he said that they had lost something close to 200 people from violent deaths over the past decade. And he told me that everyone hated themselves – particularly the kids.”
“You see these brand new houses – and the windows are smashed, the furniture destroyed. They hate themselves. They hate their houses. They burn down the school. The chief tells me it is because they have no hope. There is no hope.”
I’m the Managing Editor of Trent Magazine. This is the summer issue.
In this edition, we go the Canadiana route — we’re telling the stories of a Mountie out on “the Rock,” a big-time CBC decision maker, an unmuzzled Canadian scientist, a First Nations musician, and other truly wonderful Canucks. We’re also helping to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Canadian Studies program. It was an absolute pleasure to read and present these pieces.
So, grab a cold pop, put some back bacon on the BBQ, and enjoy this slice of Canada.
From my Farm to Table Blog:
Jerk Chicken: The Ultimate BBQ Food
There are a few reasons why I choose to make Jerk Chicken a summer BBQ staple, First of all, it’s fun finger food that can be enjoyed while mingling on a patio or porch. Secondly, it’s stupidly easy. Thirdly, well, 2 1/2 million Jamaicans can’t be wrong.
This recipe makes enough for around 8 people. If you are bringing it for a BBQ potluck, serve it as is, with a good hot sauce.* If you are making it as part of a meal, serve it up with some traditional Jamaican Rice and Peas, some cold veggies, and, of course, a good hot sauce.
I’m currently writing for Fish’n Canada, the country’s longest running and highest rated outdoors show, on Global Television. I’m also working with the Outdoor Radio Journal on Sportsnet’s The FAN 590.
I made my debut on the Outdoor Radio Journal earlier this summer. You can hear the entire show here.
In the early days of the Rob Ford “Crackgate” story, I was quick to point out that the Toronto media (in particular, the Star, but they were hardly alone in this respect) had been going after the Ford brothers in a way that questioned objectivity for far too long — and that quite a few people were likely to question the gleeful coverage of the crack story due to the longstanding feud that seemed to exist between the media and
Bob Rob and Doug.
Hard to believe that was just earlier this summer.