My Takes

Just my humble opinion…

ALS Straight, No Ice

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known by its initials ALS, is a neurodegenerative disease.  There is a known hereditary factor in familial ALS, where the condition is known to run in families.  Early symptoms of ALS include muscle atrophy, weakness, difficulty swallowing and cramping.  Individuals affected by the disorder may ultimately lose the ability to initiate and control all voluntary movement, although bladder and bowel function and the muscles responsible for eye movement are usually spared until the final stages of the disease.  And that is what ALS disease is, in a nutshell.  No need for the ice bucket but you could head on over to your nearest ALS foundation and donate whatever you could. Tell them I sent you.  Take the bucket with you if it helps.

As entertaining as some of these videos are of people taking the Ice Bucket Challenge, I think the message is getting lost.   ALS is a serious disease and needs all the attention it could get. In my opinion, taking ice bucket baths is just a distraction. But that’s just…

My Take.  Go ahead, take the Ice Bucket Challenge, I dare you!

‘Gentle Giant’ Teen Murdered By Overzealous Cop With Clean Record

I have been following the story of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teen shot and killed by police in Missouri.  For the family of both the victim and the officer, I feel for the pain and grief caused by this overzealous act.  I call it over-zealous as I can’t understand why in any situation, a cop would feel that his life was in such danger than it warranted pumping 10 bullets into a young man, (two in his head), whether he be black, white, Asian or other.

The cop was identified as 28 year old Darren Wilson who apparently was given a commendation for ‘extraordinary effort in the line of duty’ back in February.  Michael Browne was described as a ‘gentle giant’ by his family.  He was apparently shot when he was stopped along with his friends for walking in traffic and disturbing traffic. His non-compliance caused the tragic chain of events.  Unknowingly to Wilson, Michael was also the prime suspect in a robbery that had taken place only moments before.

Now, I find it interesting when someone’s past is used as a yardstick to determine whether or not they are bad people.  Having a previously clean record of service with a commendation does not mean Mr. Wilson is not a racist or a rogue cop who relished the chance to use his firearm.  Being a ‘gentle giant’ with no priors does not mean Michael Brown did not have the potential to rob a store.  On the flip side, even if he did commit that crime, it still does not make him a monster deserving to be shot dead and left lying on the streets for hours.  (In my early teens, I gave in to peer pressure and stole comic books from bookstores, not once but a few times.  Until I was caught and reprimanded).  At the time of the Missouri incident, what each of these people did in their past means squat.  I am sure serial killers had a few clean years under their belts too.

So what I’m getting at is this, dispense with the regaling or dehumanizing of the deceased and the perpetrator.  Deal with the incident as what it is.  An unarmed teen was shot by a cop who displayed a lack of judgement and self-control in carrying out his duty.  His act should be thoroughly and independently investigated without bias and he should be dealt with accordingly.  A sequence of unfortunate events saw a life lost.  Maybe it’s black and white, maybe it’s not…


No News Is Good News

Not too long ago, I never missed the evening news. Sure some of it was bad but it had the perfect balance. A feel-good story here, a light-hearted story there, it was just the thing to wind down an evening. We’ll not anymore.

Last night as we lay in bed, my wife and I turned to the late night news for want of nothing better to watch. It started with the protest in Missouri over the shooting of an black unarmed teen by a white cop then an update on the bloody situation over in Iraq where Christians were being slaughtered like hogs by the militant group ISIS. Next up was Libya, didn’t the USA fix that place when they killed Gaddafi? There was another bloody civil unrest going on there too. The news then returned to US soil, thankfully. I was done hearing about wars and bloody killings.

I then learned that two young Amish sisters, 7 and 12 were abducted while they manned their vegetable stand at the side of the street. They were intended to be sexually molested by a couple. Fortunately the kids were found safe. Russia in the Ukraine, more violence in Syria, shaky truce in the Gaza, threat of an Ebola pandemic…I reached out and pressed the ‘off’ button.

With thoughts of the dead, dying and suffering running through my head, I tried to sleep, vowing never again to watch the news.

What The @#$!

English: "No Swearing" sign along At...

English: “No Swearing” sign along Atlantic Avenue in Virginia Beach, Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While holidaying in British Columbia,  I happened to be listening to a local radio station on which they had a call-in to for listeners to give their opinions on whether they think using swear words should become an acceptable part of our society.

I am not one to drop F bombs or any other colorful language, not saying never, but,  I’ve always thought that using them in regular conversation shows a lack of vocabulary skills.  Not to mention the speaker usually comes off as crude.  But here I was listening to both sides of the fence from people who claimed to be well versed on the subject.

The first person to call in was an English Professor.  He agreed that there was indeed a place in our modern society for swearing.  He gave examples where a simple english adjective would not suffice, like being cut off in traffic.  He claimed there dropping and F bomb added an oomph to what you wanted to say that no other word couldn’t.  For a second or even a minute, I agreed with him! Against my better judgement. He was THAT convincing.

Thank goodness for the next caller who jarred me back to reality.  She was an ethics specialist, or whatever you call them.  She was very firm and unwavering in her stance that swearing was not acceptable.  She also mentioned that those who do, display weak vocabulary skills. (Told ya! Sorry Prof.)  The majority of calls sided with her.  One mom pointed out that she hated it when people swear in front of her kids.

It’s a rather sticky subject as many people cannot speak a complete sentence without injecting some form of swearing.  In the heat of the moment, I have uttered the F word so I am not judging.  In my opinion, it should never be something we accept, no matter how accepting we are becoming.


I Don’t Care Who Started It. Stop!

A week ago, Israel’s errant, or were they errant? bombs hit a school in the Gaza.  Inside were innocent men, women and children.  Sixteen of them perished and over one hundred and fifty were injured.  Israel immediately blamed Hamas for using the civilians as human shields and to hide weapons.  So far in this one-sided affair that is reminiscent of the biblical story of David and Goliath, almost one thousand Palestinians have been killed.  Most of them, innocent civilians. Many of them, children.  Why?  Call it what you may but to me, it’s genocide.

I am not anti-semitic or a Hamas sympathizer.   I am not taking side, just appealing for cooler heads to prevail or for the European Union and the world to do something other than look on while Israel rain down carnage on civilians.  Denounce it! Protest it! Countries have been invaded and bombed for less.  Some based on ‘suspicions’ alone.  This is not a suspicion, this is visible for all to see.  Who cares about weapons of mass destruction when a country is killing a mass of innocent people? That’s mass destruction right there.

And that’s my rant and also My Take.

Today, it was great to read that not all Jews were in favor of Israel’s slaughtering innocent people in the Gaza. Here.  I quote below:

“Demonstrators marched in silence through Midtown Manhattan on Thursday to protest the latest escalation of violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

The protesters denounced Israel’s use of force that has killed more than 1,410 Palestinians and wounded nearly 7,000, according to Gaza officials.

Demonstrators from various groups came together. Some wore white face masks, most wore black shirts and held signs reading “War Crimes”, “End the Siege on Gaza” and “We Will Not Be Silent” among others.

According to organizers, the demonstrators wore black and marched in silence to honor all of those in Gaza who have been killed by Israeli shelling.

The “march of the dead” ended at the Israeli Consulate.

“The protest today is a follow up on many demonstrations taking place in the last two or three weeks in regards to what is happening in Gaza. As Jewish people joining these pro-Palestinian demonstrations, we say that all of what’s happening in Palestine – the actions of the state of Israel against the Palestinian people, now or going back decades, this entire occupation and oppression – this is not supported by all Jews and certainty not condoned by Jewish religion,” said Rabbi Dovid Feldman from Neturei Karta International, Jews United Against Zionism.

“This is sad. This is a catastrophe to us, all peoples and we hope that this will stop,” he added.

Tzvia said, “Hundreds of children are killed. Where is U.N.? Where are the people in America? Where are the enlightened countries? Where are they?”

“I’m terribly upset and terribly angry at what Israel is doing. They are murdering people in my name as a Jew and I’m paying for it,” said Fran Korotzer referring to the U.S. tax dollars spent to support Israel.

On July 8, Israel launched its offensive after rocket fire from Gaza intensified.

Fifty-six Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza clashes and more than 400 wounded. Three civilians have been killed by Palestinian shelling in Israel.”





Dating Naked And Afraid

Csupasz túlélők / Naked and Afraid

Csupasz túlélők / Naked and Afraid (Photo credit: lwpkommunikacio)

A while ago, I predicted it wouldn’t be long before reality shows started showing people in the nude.  I didn’t have to wait long. ‘Naked And Afraid’ and ‘Dating Naked’ are two television shows that aim to capitalize on society’s fixation with nudity.  Naked And Afraid is a show very much like Survivor but involves two couples trying to survive the wilds while in the buff.  Dating Naked is just that, a dating show with the suitors all nude.

I am not sure what to make of all this.  I also predicted live killings would soon be aired on television, garnering large audiences. Dear God please don’t let us fall that far!  I understand the premise of the show but please tell me again why the nakedness…

Gaza boys bombed after sneaking out to play on beach latest casualties in Israel, Hamas battle


Stop already!

Originally posted on National Post | News:

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – The four Bakr boys were young cousins, the children of Gaza fishermen who had ordered them to stay indoors – and especially away from the beach. But cooped up for nine days during Israeli bombardments, the children defied their parents and went to the seaside Wednesday afternoon, the eldest shooing away his little brother, telling him it was too dangerous.

As they clambered over a beach jetty in the late afternoon sun, a blast hit a nearby shack. One was killed instantly. The others ran. There was a second blast, and three more bodies littered the sand. One was charred, missing a leg, and another lay motionless, his curly head intact, his legs splayed at unnatural angles.

The Israel Defense Forces acknowledged later that it was responsible for the “tragic outcome” and had intended to hit Hamas militants.

The four dead boys came quickly to…

View original 967 more words

Sports Is Not All Sports For Some

Qatar World Cup 2022

Qatar World Cup 2022 (Photo credit: Lost in Transit [Keep St Joe Weird])

Last weekend, after watching Germany beat Argentina to take the World Cup, I found out something very disturbing.  Did you know that the 2022 World Cup would be hosted by Qatar? Don’t worry, my wife had never heard of the place until I told her.  There is some speculation that one of the big honchos of FIFA actually spent millions in bribes to get Qatar to host it as he’s from there.  Totally expected.  It’s sports, it’s corrupt as a two-headed coin.  But that’s not what disturbed me.

What disturbed me was hearing that over 900 people had already died building infrastructure for this highly-coveted game.  900! Hey, and that’s since 2012! The International Trade Union Confederation estimated that at least 4000 will die before kickoff.  Nice! All for what?  I know that deaths on construction sites are facts of life but when it’s actually factored in like the rising price of steel, that’s unnerving.   In comparison, only about 15 workers died preparing Brazil to host this past World Cup, also, only 25 died preparing Sochi for Summer Olympics. Only. That’s how it was reported. Only. Isn’t one lost life already one too many?

So next time we sit down to watch Olympics and the World Cup and see so many happy people having fun, maybe we should take a minute to reflect on the lost lives that made it possible.  About Qatar, maybe we should voice our concerns in various media and bring this to light.  Is it really worth it?  Is it worth dying, or killing for?

Just My Take.

No Singing On The Bus!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou are on the long ride home on a Winnipeg Transit bus, you have your ear buds in and with eyes closed, you are in your zone.  Listening to some Bob Marley as he sings, ‘One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel alright.’  Without thinking, you start to hum, then it turns into a low singing, at least to you it does as you cannot hear your own voice over Brother Bob’s.  Bad call.  Without warning a shadow looms over you.  You look up to see who dares to interrupt your reverie. It’s the bus driver. Or is it a cop? Or a bus cop? Maybe one of those people they have on planes to thwart terrorists?  Either way, here he/she/it is hovering over you like a bird of prey.  You are ticketed. For singing on the bus.  Don’t laugh, it can happen. If you live in Winnipeg.

City Councillors have put their collective heads together and came up with a bylaw that prohibits singing in City buses.  Offenders will be fined $100.  I am not sure on the specifics, like how and who is going to be that bird of prey. What would they do if someone is singing? Go up to them and say, “I am going to ticket you for singing, please hand over your id so I know who you are” That’s it? What if the rider refuses to accept the ticket or decline to provide their name? What then? Take a photo and pin in up around town asking for people to identify the perp who dared sing on a city bus?

In all seriousness, this is probably one of the most ludicrous thing I’ve heard in a long time, especially coming from City Hall.  While the city burns, the Councillors fiddle. While streets look as if they barely escaped an overnight bombing, the decisions makers chose to ignore this and come up with a law that makes you wonder…

Please remind me again why I bother to vote…oh nevermind, I don’t. 

And that’s My Take. 






Rob Ford’s No Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

world_08_temp-1384602621-52875bfd-620x348One would never thing that ‘right thing’ and Rob Ford would ever be used in the same sentence but here it is. I guess there’s always some ‘right thing’ in even the worst of us.

Yesterday, during City Council meeting, there was a moment where the members were patting themselves on the back for a job well done in terms of hosting a successful World Pride Day Parade in Toronto. Apparently everyone stood up and applaud the announcement.  Well all except Rob Ford.  Krystyn Wong-Tam, the only openly gay member took to the dais as the key catalyst for World Pride, members again stood to applaud. Again Mr. Ford stayed in his seat, drinking his coffee as though he was sitting on his deck enjoying the dog days of Summer.

As you would imagine, the dike broke soon after. (No pun). Rob was asked if he was homophobic, which he vehemently denied. Now this blog is not about whether Ford is or is not homophobic, it’s about a man doing what he thinks is the right thing.  Krystyn Wong-Tam considered the ‘sitting out’ a snub and said he could have ‘at least faked it.’  To that I say ‘no he should not have’.

See, that’s the thing with our society these days. We fake it.  We fake being true friends, we fake being family, we fake love. It’s time we wear our true colors so everyone could see what and who we really are.  Time we stay in our seats and be ourselves instead of standing up and being a Judas.  I am not a fan of Mr. Ford but I still have to respect the man for doing the right thing by sitting this one out. At least we know who he is and what he stands or sits for.

And again, that’s My Take



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