Friday 16 September 2011

We can't do this without you

Please see Editor's Notes below


Please take time to read the following short story especially written for four and five year olds. Print it and read it to your children, your grandchildren, your greatgrandchildren and share with them the pleasure you'll find in this yarn.

Our School Bus Is Missing

(But Not For Long)

A short story by Carl Dow

Detail of image by H. Michael Miley, courtesy of Wikipedia.As far back as the seniors in kindergarten could remember, their school bus would arrive at their stops each and every school day. It was almost always right on time.

The seniors called their school bus Old Number 75. The seniors called it Old Number 75, not because it was old in years, but because they rode in it last year too.

But at the start of school, the juniors, who were four years old, didn’t call it anything at all. This was their first year. They were too busy wondering about everything.

The school bus driver was called Charlie. His real name was Charles. But everyone agreed that calling him Charlie was friendlier.

Charlie was a very friendly man who had a voice with a smile. He also wore a funny hat.

Some called it a cowboy hat. But it wasn't a cowboy hat. Some called it an Australian hat. But it wasn't an Australian hat.

One of the seniors said, "I think we should call it a Charlie Hat."

Everyone thought this was a good idea. So did Charlie.

To the juniors, especially when school began in September, Charlie's funny hat was important. It was easier to understand than the number of the bus.

No matter the weather . . . Sunshine . . . Rain . . . and, later . . . Snow . . . it was always easy for the juniors to know that their bus had arrived because there was Charlie behind the steering wheel in his funny hat.

Charlie was not only a friendly school bus driver; he was also funny. He liked to laugh and sing. He liked to hear his passengers laugh and sing too.

One of the songs Charlie sang was,

Be nice now
Be nice later
Be nice like
A sweet potater.

Everyone enjoyed that song. They would sing it almost every day.

The time for junior kindergarten children to go to school was in the morning. The time for them to go back home or to daycare was just before noon. 1,937 words.
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True North Perspective publishes in
the best traditions of Canadian journalism
If you think it's too radical, please read
Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective
True North Perspective
Vol. 6, No. 29 (288)
Friday, September 16, 2011

Editor's Notes

Where have all the women gone?

Before the illiegal attack on Libya thousands of women were attending university. Their acadamic achievement was recognized not only with marks but also with scholarships that allowed them to study abroad. When they married, the government of "Mad Man" Qaddadfi gave the couple, aside from free education, a $50,000 start-up, free healthcare and more, all of it paid for by the state-owned oil industry.
 
Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton with a billion dollar budget engineered what they referred to as a humanitarian war and the women are back in their homes terrified at having to live under Sharia law as the new puppet government insists. No women on the streets now; just young thugs shooting automatic rifles.
 
It is to the eternal shame of the mainstream media that they have been part of this deceit. Character assassination is a key weapon and those employed as psychological attack dogs scratch the bottom and come up silly. A photo has been circulating of a room in Qadaffi's centre in Tripoli. The cutlines and the voice overs refer with mock horror to a double bed with a conservative quilt and two bedside table lamps giving off soft light.
 
Is that the best they can do? Shame on them. 296 words.
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Small thinking destroys the potential for innovation

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
 
The Canadian Wheat Board seems headed for extinction, a victim of small thinking by friends and foes.

The official cause of death will be legislation that Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has promised to present in Parliament this fall. However, a major contributing factor will be the failure of the “friends” of the CWB to consider alternatives to its current structure.

They’re far more interested in proving their contention the Board can’t survive without its monopoly on wheat and barley sales. By the way, the biggest crop in Western Canada in recent years has been canola. — 681 words.
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Lies, damned lies, and (made-up) statistics

Strange math in Ontario PC's changebook

By Jim Stanford

XRay Magazine

15 September 2011 — The Ontario election is in full swing, and the Conservative party’s campaign is guided by a platform booklet called the “changebook.” 

It’s an audacious manifesto for significant change in the policy and the philosophy of government in the province, mapping out a long agenda of measures to cut taxes, balance the budget, privatize government assets and agencies, get tough on criminals, change labour laws and arbitration systems to reduce wage increases, end government support for business investments, and many others. 

The changebook has drawn criticism from commentators on all points of the political spectrum, most pointedly for its implausible claims to cut taxes, balance the budget faster, yet still increase spending for health and other “priority” services---all funded from very small cuts to non-priority services.

 
As I examined the numerous charts and graphs that illustrate Mr. Hudak’s platform, niggling concerns began to gnaw away in the statistically-inclined regions of my brain. The lines were too smooth. The contrasts too dramatic. The proportions too extreme.460 words.
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Oh, Canada! American lobbyists' delight

Ottawa sought U.S. approval on new copyright Bill

before tabling it in the House of Commons - Wikileaks

By Michael Geist
Michaelgeist.ca
 
3 September 2011 — Copyright, U.S. lobbying, and the stunning backroom Canadian response gets front page news treatment today as the Toronto Star runs my story on new revelations on copyright from the U.S. cables released by Wikileaks.
 
The cables reveal that former Industry Minister Maxime Bernier raised the possibility of leaking the copyright bill to U.S. officials before it was to be tabled it in the House of Commons, former Industry Minister Tony Clement’s director of policy Zoe Addington encouraged the U.S. to pressure Canada by elevating it on a piracy watch list, Privy Council Office official Ailish Johnson disclosed the content of ministerial mandate letters, and former RCMP national coordinator for intellectual property crime Andris Zarins advised the U.S. that the government was working on a separate intellectual property enforcement bill.1,150 words.
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Backpacking in the Rockies Dennis Carr and family

are challenged by a Grizzly bear crossing their path 

By Dennis Carr
Contributing Editor
 
To start, full leadership and logistical credit must be given to wife Janet who not only insisted we do a backpacking trip, but also undertook the required research and borrowed a dehydrator to provide yummy food for her tired, hungry and cranky charges.  
 
We set off from Vancouver early Sunday morning, drove for hours and spent the evening in a thoroughly down-market motel on the outskirts of Golden BC. Davis would have approved; the sheets were threadbare, the TV old, small and fuzzy, and the bar fridge had a menacing drone. I'm pretty sure Tom Waits, Nick Cave and Lou Reed were jamming in the room next door. 1,176 words.
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Spirit Quest

A school spirit that made education more than an empty shell

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective

After being dead for 62 years there was a resurrection.
 
Frankford Continuation School (FCS) closed its doors at the end of spring in 1949. Henceforth the students of grades 9 to 12 were bussed to high schools in Trenton and Belleville for their ongoing education.
 
The public school that had housed the four grades in two classrooms on the top floor of the ugly red brick building in the hamlet of Frankford, 10 miles north of Trenton on the beautiful Trent river, took over their space. — 1,198 words.
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Covet not thy neighbour's sash

Hanns Skoutajan risks spiritual gluttony

By David McLaren
Special to True North Perspective

David McLaren has worked with First Nations in Ontario for over 20 years and he lives on the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation. He wrote two reports for the Ipperwash Inquiry which help to explain why Canada is not a Métis Nation. They can be found at: http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/inquiries/ipperwash/policy_part/projects/index.html (scroll to Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation).

I have great respect for Hanns Skoutajan, whom I know to be on the side of the angels and one of the brave few who stood up to a nasty backlash against Native fishing rights in Owen Sound several years ago.
 
However, when he covets a Métis sash, as he does in his “Spirit Quest” article of 12 August, 2011 (see "Some thoughts inspired by an encounter with a Métis sash"), he is risking spiritual gluttony.726 words.
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ParkTales

Get to know your neighbours

There are some nice surprises out there 

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

Frances Sedgwick's keen eye and ear for the human condition reveals the heart and soul of Parkdale in southwest Toronto, one of the country's most turbulent urban areas where the best traditions of human kindness prevail against powerful forces that would grind them down. True North Perspective proudly presents a column by writer Frances Sedgwick. Her critical observation combined with a tender sense of humour will provide you with something to think about ... and something to talk about.

I highly reccommend you get to know your neighbours. 

You may be pleasantly surprised.

I  have been a casual friend with Ruth, who has lived in my apartment building for years.

 I knew her in passing with friendly hellos and how are yous. 

One day recently she invited me into her apartment.
 
I was so pleasently surpised to see that her apartment was also her studio where she produces some truly nice works of art.

I was so impressed that I want to share with you beautiful examples of her talent. Please click on her blog below. 

http://ruthdraws.blogspot.com

So go ahead, be sure to get to know your neighbour, you may also be pleasantly surprised.
 
My Parkdale

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How I spent my summer holiday,

Exploring the land, exploring words

“Explore. Dream. Discover.”
(Isaac Walton)
 
“Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.”(Isaac Walton)
True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more www.albertevilleneuve.ca.

Yes, Kathy! I finally did it. I went on vacation… on a trip I had been yearning to do for almost twenty years ...
 
From August 16th to the 22nd, I discovered the beauty of the Georgian Bay, Lake Superior, Sault Ste. Marie area. It just came about spontaneously when my friend, Françoise, told me she was going on an organized trip in that area.
 
As I confessed my desire to travel there but lack of opportunity, she called the local organizer of the trip who promptly gave me the details and advised there were just a few seats left. Shortly after, I booked with Groupe Voyages Québec.2,279 words.
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Libya: Arab spring or NATO summer?
 
 
 
By Murray Dobbin
XRay Magazine
 
15 September 2011 — When the U.S. invaded Iraq riding a pack of lies and monstrous manipulation, the entire U.S. elite, including major news services, academics, and politicians from both “sides” of the spectrum, lined up to cheerlead and off they went to war. It was one of the most shameful chapters in the long history of shameful acts of U.S. imperial foreign policy.
 
But it actually didn’t take too long for dissenting voices to come out of the woodwork. The lies were exposed, the liars identified, the manipulation denounced.
 
Watching the sorry spectacle of media coverage of the tragic farce unfolding in Libya, one has to wonder if anyone will ever expose the lies and hubris that have run throughout this faux Arab spring. 1,433 words.
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Money and Markets

Iceland thaws, while E.U and U.S. face economic deep-freeze

(In Canada, me-too Harper Government prepares its own slash and burn response to a slowing economy)

By Paul Krugman
Truth-Out.org
 
Icelandic exception: Mt. Eyjafjallajökull erupts in 2010.15 September 2011 — In the United States, we have zero job growth, with unemployment still at nosebleed levels, according to a recent government report.
 
Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, “Is Austerity Killing Europe’s Recovery?” asks The Washington Post.
 
It is tiny Iceland that has bucked the trend. Iceland still has high unemployment and is a long way from a full recovery, but it’s no longer in crisis. It has regained access to international capital markets, and it has done all that with its society intact. And it has done all that with very heterodox policies — debt repudiation, capital controls and currency depreciation. It was as close as you can get to the polar opposite of the gold standard.
 
And it has worked.430 words.
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Third Ways

Hammered by climate change, Nepali women sow secure

future with traditional seeds as 'modern' hybrids fails

By Sudeshna Sarkar

 

IPSNews.net
 
7 September 2011 — Learning a lesson from crop failures attributed to climate change, Nepal’s women farmers are discarding imported hybrid seeds and husbanding hardier local varieties in cooperative seed banks.

"I had a crop failure two years ago," says Shobha Devkota, 32, from Jibjibe village in Rasuwa, a hilly district in central Nepal which is part of the Langtang National Park, a protected area encompassing two more districts, Nuwakot and Sindhupalchowk.

"The maize was attacked by pests, the paddy had no grain and the soil grew hard. I had a tough time trying to feed my three daughters and sending them to school."

 
"Daytime temperatures are rising, rainfall has become erratic and there are frequent landslides and hailstorms," she says.963 words.
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Reality Check (privatizers take note!)
 
 
 
By Dina Rasor
Truth-Out.org
14 September 2011 — The nonprofit group, Project on Government Oversight (POGO), has released a breakthrough analysis and report that blows away much of the outsourcing assumptions.
 
The report shows that the federal government actually pays these service contractor employees much more than the federal government pays its own employees, and is substantially more than what employees in the private sector make.2,362 words.
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Mark Twain called Jews the world's intellectual aristocracy 

Non-Jew today tells why the IQ of Ashkenazi Jews is so high 

Ethical Technology

Hank Pellissier, an IEET Affiliate Scholar, is the author of Invent Utopia Now: Transhumanist Suggestions for the Pre-Singularity Era.

19 July 2011 — Ashkenazi Jews are smart. Shockingly brilliant, in general. Impressively greater in brain power than the bulk of the human population. How did they get that way?

Ashkenazi Jews, aka Ashkenazim, are the descendants of Jews originally from medieval Germany, and later, from throughout Eastern Europe. Approximately 80% of the Jews in the world today are Ashkenazim; the remainder are primarily Sephardic.

Their median IQ is calculated at 117 in From Chance to Choice: Genetics and Justice (2000), published by Cambridge University Press. This is 10 points higher than the generally-accepted IQ of their closest rivals—Northeast Asians—and almost 20% higher than the global average.

Other researchers who study the Ashkenazim have asserted an IQ number a trifle bit lower than 117, but all have agreed that these children of Abraham are on top of the IQ chart. Plus, contemplate this astounding tidbit: Ashkenazi “visual-spatial” test scores are typically lower than the norm; this means their abilities in the other two categories, language and math, are absolutely astounding.

I’m not asserting Ashkenazi cognitive specialness because I’m philo-semitic, or a Zionist, or pro-Israeli. I’m pointing it out because it is irrefutably true. People who can’t comprehend the easily understood data verifying high Ashkenazi IQ may not simply be anti-semitic; they must also be crippled in the math/logic zone of their inferior parietal cortex, with subsequent IQ in the ~85 range. 1,421 words.
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Science
 
 
Scientists have identified the part of the brain responsible for controlling whether we conform to expectations and group pressure
 
By Richard Gray
The Telegraph
 
3 September 2011 — esearchers found they were able to control whether volunteers conformed to social pressure by using powerful electromagnetic pulses that changed the activity of a small part of the brain.
Volunteers whose posterior medial frontal cortex, an area in the middle of the brain that is associated with reward processing, were exposed to the magnetic pulses suffered reduced levels of conformity.
 
The researchers believe this part of the brain dates back a long way in the evolution of animals and is responsible or automatically "correcting" our performance when we fall out of line with a group.
 
They say that by suspending this mechanism, it allows people to think and behave differently. They now believe it may be possible to develop drugs or behaviour changing techniques that could increase or decrease people's conformity.443 words.
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Health Watch

Testing the five second rule

Never mind five seconds, or even 10 — it takes food time to get really dirty

By Esther Inglis-Arkell
io9.com
 
Gummy and the grease.13 September 2011 — Are you questioning the five second rule for how long food can stay on the floor before it's inedible? Well, don't. That's disgusting. But the important thing is that science has put the rule to the test! Find out just how gross you've been, over the years, and how much it matters.

Plenty of people have heard of the 'five-second rule'. It is otherwise known as the 'I really want that cookie rule,' or as its variation, 'There's no other bread in the house and I'll be damned if I'm going to the corner store at this time of night rule.' (The latter one is a favorite of bloggers. I've heard.) It turns out that there have been many tests conducted on just this rule. — 470 words.

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The G-spot - and other sex myths

iol.co.za

26 August 2011 LONDON — As tight-lipped as the average persons is about discussing sex, there are loads of rumours about the act — probably stemming from the playground — which seem to have worked their way into the mainstream.

Seeking neither to debunk nor promote, we take a look at some of the most enduring conjecture, scaremongering, ridiculous theorising and (some strangely compelling) ideas about sex.

The G-spot

The mythical G-spot, an erogenous zone in the vagina which, when stimulated, can lead to powerful orgasms, has been a matter of some debate among men and women for the 60 years since German gynaecologist Ernst Gräfenberg hypothesised about it. 1,311 words.
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The Glass Teat — Serial-reviewing Torchwood: Miracle Day

The Thin Blood Line: Torchwood bleeds to a sad close

September 12, 2011, OTTAWA — One of the most shockingly bad television series in recent memory crawled to a bloody close on Friday night.
 
The end of Torchwood: Miracle Day was not quite as obscenely amusing as some had predicted, but its climax prompted laughter in this reviewer, not tears.
 
No dangling plot-lines were tied up, no extraneous characters rescued from irrelevancy. The program is over — and so too, probably, is the franchise — but not even the most generous critic could with a straight face say that it was concluded.
 
Snark? Oh yes. For snark and bullet points and a reviewer's exhausted post-mortem, visit, Where have you gone, Russell T, Russell T?615 words.
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Too controversial for U.S.,

Kids' book on evolution a hit in Canada

But Santa Claus still welcome in author's home

By Tom Hawthorn
The Globe and Mail
 
14 September 2011, Victoria BC, Canada —  Daniel Loxton, an illustrator and writer, created a children’s book so outrageous, so outlandish, so controversial no American publisher dared touch it.

It does not depict nudity. It does not contain curse words. It does not include blasphemy. The love scenes, such as they are, involve males with females.

It does include a straightforward explanation for the complexity of the natural world through a simple scientific theory.

“So many of the publishing professionals I was talking to were leery,” he said.

“When push came to shove they declined to publish the book. Several did indicate to me it was too hot a topic.”

The book wound up being published by Canadian-owned Kids Can Press, which also expected objections from creationists.548 words.

 

 
The Old Man's Last Sauna
 
A collection of short stories by Carl Dow

An eclectic collection of short stories that will stir your sense of humour, warm your heart, outrage your sense of justice, and chill your extra sensory faculties in the spirit of Stephen King. The final short story, the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna is a ground-breaking love story.

The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. FlynnSharing LiesFlying HighThe Richest Bitch in the County or Ginny I Hardly Knows YaOne Lift Too ManyThe Model A Ford, the out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only and O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series closes with the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna, a groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.


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