Friday 19 November 2010

 

Deja-vu, all over again?

Evidence of Iran's nuclear weapons program may be fraudulent

Remember all those 'weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
Iran's alleged nuclear weapons may be just as unreal
 
By Gareth Porter

18 November 2010 — Since 2007, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - with the support of the United States, Israel and European allies UK, France and Germany - has been demanding that Iran explain a set of purported internal documents portraying a covert Iranian military program of research and development of nuclear weapons. The "laptop documents," supposedly obtained from a stolen Iranian computer by an unknown source and given to US intelligence in 2004, include a series of drawings of a missile re-entry vehicle that appears to be an effort to accommodate a nuclear weapon, as well as reports on high explosives testing for what appeared to be a detonator for a nuclear weapon.

In one report after another, the IAEA has suggested that Iran has failed to cooperate with its inquiry into that alleged research, and that the agency, therefore, cannot verify that it has not diverted nuclear material to military purposes. Read the full article inside, 3,450 words.
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  Cartoon by Ed Stein, Comics.com, 19 November 2010  
 
Republican Arizona Senator Jon Kyl declares war on Obama
 

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

$1.7 Billion and Rising: Taxpayers' Gas Bill for Oil Sands

Extractors gobble natural gas, deducting the cost from their taxes in a huge public subsidy that is only going to balloon ever larger

By Mitchell Anderson
TheTyee.ca

9 November 2010 — Alberta's oil sands extractors' use of natural gas, already voracious and set to rise steeply, is more than half paid for by Canadian taxpayers -- a vast yet little-known subsidy that insiders say encourages profligate consumption of a finite energy source.

The numbers are huge. Oil sands operations currently consume about one billion cubic feet of gas per day, heating thick bitumen so it can be extracted from surrounding rock and gravel. This reverse-alchemy eats up about 20 per cent of Canada's natural gas demand and may balloon to 40 per cent by 2035.

The price is huge, too -- much of it written off against corporate taxes. Bitumen recovery and upgrading will eat up more than 15 billion cubic metres of natural gas this year according to data from the Alberta government. At current prices this will cost $3.4 billion, of which $1.7 billion will be paid for by the public. — Read the full article at TheTyee.ca, 2,305 words.

Our readers write
Villeneuve-Sinclair a beautiful ray of sunshine
 
2010 and the stigma of bipolar disease and mental illness still lingers. Sufferers are treated with much improved treatments but the general public's attitude hasn't changed much! One case in point is the ombudsman for Veterans' Affairs, Patrick Stogan, who had his personal files examined many times by staff and they refused to renew his term of office.

I had my first depressive bout in 1967. I knew what I was up against and sought treatment. My wife supported me 100% but the company I worked for had me followed; they went through my records and nearly dismissed me save for the caring and understanding high management friend.

Today, people are still ostracized if they admit to being medicated to control bipolar or mental illness. My cousin committed suicide a year ago. She was asked to take an early retirement because she was taking too much sick leave. She was lonely, depressed and not getting any help.

We took her in for two years and had her followed by a doctor. As long as she was medicated, she was fine. She got another job at the Federal level and moved to Montreal where she did well for a while but slowly slipped into a depressive state again. Alone and lonely after retiring, she had to be hospitalized. When she was placed in an unsupervised shelter one weekend, she hung herself. She was 59! What a shame!

I respect Margaret Trudeau for speaking out! More needs to be done!Bob Beauchemin, Ont.

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Editor's Notes
 
True North Perspective
Vol. 5, No. 49 (253)
Friday, November 19, 2010

'We can start to talk about how we do things and actually learn how they do things.'

In a regal demonstration of the world's condemnation of the failed U.S. policy to isolate Cuba the British destroyer HMS Manchester sailed into Havana Bay on Monday while a Cuban Navy band played "God Save the Queen". (Please see below: British warship to visit Cuba first since 1957.)

The ship's officers were to meet with their Cuban peers to discuss collaboration on counter-drug and disaster relief operations in the Caribbean region.

Please note: collaboration not confrontation.

The continued hostility toward Cuba is difficult to accept as being serious from the land of the good guys. The hypocrisy is almost breath taking. It's okay to cuddle up, even to mortgage yourself, to Communist China but not to Communist Cuba, an island nation of less than 12 million. — Read the full article inside, 312 words.

 
"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
 
Your support makes it possible for True North to clear the fog of "publicity" and keep you informed on what's really happening in the world today. Please send your donation to:
 
Carl Dow, True North, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.
 
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Shamelessly hoping to reap a share of the Chinese-Canadian vote, Harperites show their game plan

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

12 November 2010 — The 125th anniversary of the driving of the last spike in the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway is a noteworthy moment in the country’s history.
 
That CPR marked the occasion on Nov. 7 with a special event at Craigellachie, B.C. was to be expected. The surprise was the full court press the Harper government attached to the occasion.
 
Political insiders say that day’s performance will become de rigeur in the coming months as the government tries to find a way to move up in the polls in the likelihood of a federal election sometime in 2011. It will use any occasion it can find to gain publicity. — Read the full article inside, 664 words.
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Politics permeates Afghan mission reversal, feeds power to NDP 

Harper calculates Afghan mission reversal

wilpull voters away from Liberals to NDP

By James Travers

The Toronto Star

13 November 2010 — Every once in a while a public policy is shaped here by something other than the rough hands of partisan politics. Leaving Canadian troops in harm’s way is not one of them.

By again extending Canada’s commitment to Afghanistan, Stephen Harper is altering the federal landscape. From the Remembrance Day timing of the Prime Minister’s confirmation of that decision to its safely-delayed repercussions, the abrupt change of course reeks of election positioning.

Only one among the many nebulous foreign and domestic pressures affecting the Conservative flip-flop is potentially measurable. Should the future unfold in the ruling party’s favour, the NDP will get a useful boost from public anger at the broken promise to bring home all but a handful of soldiers next summer. — Read the full article at The Toronto Star, 601 words.
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Big Brother just never gives up
By Michael Geist
MichaelGeist.ca
 
16 November 2010 — The push for new Internet surveillance capabilities goes back to 1999, when government officials began crafting proposals to institute new surveillance technologies within Canadian networks along with additional legal powers to access surveillance and subscriber information.  The so-called lawful access initiatives stalled in recent years, but my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that earlier this month the government tabled its latest proposal with three bills (C-50, C-51, C-52) that received only limited attention despite their potential to fundamentally reshape the Internet in Canada.

The bills contain a three-pronged approach focused on information disclosure, mandated surveillance technologies, and new police powers.  

The first prong mandates the disclosure of Internet provider customer information without court oversight.

— Read the full article at MichaelGeist.ca, 629 words.
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Big Brother just never gives up (Part 2)
The Canadian Press
 
16 November 2010 — Public Safety Minister Vic Toews defended federal legislation Tuesday that would pave the way to providing the U.S. with personal information about Canadians flying over that country.

The U.S. has a legal right to request that information, Toews told a Commons committee.

Earlier this year, Canada's major airlines said they would be forced either to break privacy laws or to ignore new American air security rules unless the federal government comes up with a response to U.S. demands for passenger information.

— Read the full article at CBC.ca, 228 words.
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An MP’s initiative that could help a lot of Canadians

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

Every session of Parliament produces hundreds of private members bills. Most come to naught, often deservedly so, but occasionally one comes along that makes it into law.

A recent initiative that merits support from all parties comes from Liberal MP Kristy Duncan. It would designate the month of March as National Brain Awareness Month.

Cynics will snicker about the feel good nature of her bill. But few Canadians are aware of the impact of brain disease just like too few of us understand the ravages of mental illness, another scourge of mankind. Read the full article inside, 778 words.
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By J Chandler
InDepthNews.net
 
17 November 2010 — Canada's endorsement of the global treaty outlining the rights of the world's estimated 370 million indigenous peoples has been welcomed by the head of a United Nations body dealing with the issue.

Carlos Mamani, Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), described it as reaffirmation of the country's commitment to the principles of respect, non-discrimination and good faith enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Mamani said the endorsement by Canada of the UN Declaration is an "important step in the right direction towards building and strengthening the relationship between Canada and indigenous peoples within Canada and indeed with indigenous peoples throughout the world."

— Read the full article at InDepthNews.net, 1,007 words.
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Book review — Stargazer, by Ottawa cartoonist Von Allan

Stargazer is a down-to-earth, genuinely all-ages adventure

Reviewed by Geoffrey Dow
Managing Editor, True North Perspective

19 November 2010 — Ottawa cartoonist Von Allan's first book, the Lulu Award-nominated graphic novel, The Road to God Knows was a deeply personal story, and a very realistic account of a young girl's struggle with questions of loyalty and self-preservation while living with her severely mentally-ill mother, questions no child can be expected to even fully understand, let alone articulate.

The Road to God Knows was clearly the product of an artist still learning his craft, but was a heartfelt and even a moving book despite its flaws. It was just as clearly meant for readers as young as his protagonist and for older readers at the same time; in the world of North American comics, such a stab at a genuinely all-ages book is still far too much of a rarity.

With his second book, Stargazer, (the first volume in a longer series), Allan stays in the all-ages realm, but leaves realism far behind.— Read the full article inside, 866 words.

 


 
 
This Is It!
 
This Is the Big One!
 
This is the One
We've Been
Waiting For!
 
The Final
Major Event
Of the Season!
 
The Ottawa Authors
& Artisans Fair
 
Saturday-Sunday
November 20-21
10 am to 5 pm
 
96 Empress Avenue
North off Somerset
Three blocks west
of Bronson
 
 

 
 
The Book End

Stargazer, by Von Allan

By Von Allan

True North Perspective will feature a book by a Canadian writer each Friday or, as often as we can. The presentation will not be a review. It will include a profile of the author and information about the product of the author's literary labours. Today we present Stargazer, by Von Allan, also reviewed elsewhere in this edition. — Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor.

 

Stargazer is the story of Marni, a young girl dealing with the recent death of her grandmother. That death has left Marni emotionally devastated and struggling to cope.

Granny Hitchins was a wonderfully curious woman, responsible for giving her granddaughter a rich sense of imagination and adventure, as well as an old and mysterious "Artifact."

While not a replacement, the Artifact is nonetheless a treasured memento for Marni after her grandmother's death. With the love and support of her two best friends, Sophie and Elora, and the magic of the Artifact to comfort her, Marni is just beginning to cope with the loss of her beloved grandmother when her life takes an abrupt and strange turn. — Read the full article inside, 309 words.
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Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Will the real Patch Adams come to Santa’s rescue? He is so SAD!!

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.

19 November 2010 Indian summer is over! It sure made everyone feel happier while it lasted. Humans need their daily dose of sunlight, otherwise they start to feel gloomy and lethargic. Unfortunately at this time of the year, days get shorter and the sun’s rays grow weaker. We must also contend with colder weather. My body always takes a while to adjust to the latter.

This is the time of year where I try to indulge in simple pleasures to counterbalance the effects of less light, less heat and more indoor living. — Read the full article inside, 1,608 words.
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Spirit Quest

Embodying the spirit of public service

Remembering Al Johnson during National Medicare Week

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective
 
19 November 2010 — Talk to any American visitor and he/she will tell you that the parking fee at their local hospital is but a minor expense compared to our experience, where that is the only fee, thanks to Medicare.

Did you know that this past week was National Medicare Week?

 
There was little or no media coverage of this event. It was ignored by politicians and the media, nor did it spark public rallies or marches. Have we come to accept Medicare without much thought except when we are hit by some fee for treatments not covered or unavailable here — and there are some? — Read the full article inside, 604 words.
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The truth will out, they say; but will anyone learn from the crime?

CBC News

19 November 2010 — Secret recordings obtained by CBC News offer proof that Toronto police conducted illegal eavesdropping on a former police board chair.

There have been allegations for years that police began spying on their civilian boss, Susan Eng, beginning in May 1991, days after she was sworn in.

Then police chief Bill McCormack and Julian Fantino — superintendent of detectives at the time and later police chief and OPP commissioner — have repeatedly refused to say whether they requested or were aware of the surveillance.

But now CBC News has obtained the tape recordings of Eng talking to her confidant and friend, Peter Maloney, about everything from police business to the very personal. — Read the full article at CBC News, 351 words.


Always worth repeating

'Give us the tools and we'll finish the job'

— Winston Churchill

Let's say that news throughout human time has been free. Take that time when Ugh Wayne went over to the cave of Mugh Payne with news that the chief of his group had broken a leg while chasing his laughing wife around the fire. That news was given freely and received as such with much knowing smiles and smirks to say nothing of grunts of approval or disapproval. — 688 words.


From the Desk of Mike (the Hammer) Garvin

By John Voelcker
GreenCarReports.com

17 November 2010 — As they say, everything old is new again.

Fourteen years after it launched its very first RAV4 crossover at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Toyota returned to LA to launch an all-electric version of its latest RAV4.

And this one is, as the logos in a teaser photo released earlier said, "powered by Tesla."

The launch of the second version of the RAV4 EV is on a fast timeline, led by a working group made up of Toyota's Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a team from Tesla Motors.

Japan's largest automaker has worked with Silicon Valley electric-car maker Tesla since the May announcement that Toyota would buy a stake in Tesla and the companies would develop electric cars together. — Read the full article at GreenCarReports.com, 435 words.
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Open Letter

They said they would push me "off a cliff"

By Michael Moore
MichaelMoore.com

17 November 2010 — Yesterday, on the TV and radio show "Democracy Now" hosted by Amy Goodman, the former Vice President of CIGNA, one of the nation's largest health insurance companies, revealed that CIGNA met with the other big health insurers to hatch a plan to "push" yours truly "off a cliff."

The interview contains new revelations about just how frightened the health industry was that "Sicko" might ignite a public wave of support for "socialized medicine." So the large health insurance companies came together over a common cause: Stop the American people from going to see "Sicko" -- and the way to do that was to cause some form of harm to me (either personally, professionally or...physically?).

Take a look at this stunning section of the interview with Wendell Potter: — Read the full article at MichaelMoore.com, 974 words.
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Annals of Education

More than 200 students at the University of Central Florida have come forward to admit to cheating after their professor gave a lecture on ethics that has become a YouTube hit

 
By Alastair Good
The Telegraph
 
17 November 2010 — Professor Richard Quinn was so disgusted by evidence that many of his students had cheated in their midterm exam that he gave them a lecture that he hoped would teach them a life-long lesson.

In the lecture, Prof Quinn told the class he had enough evidence from statistical analysis and other investigatory techniques to identify most cheats, but instead of handing the list over to the university authorities for discipling, he proposed a deal.

 
He said: “I don’t want to have to explain to your parents why you didn’t graduate, so I went to the Dean and I made a deal. The deal is you can either wait it out and hope that we don’t identify you, or you can identify yourself to your lab instructor and you can complete the rest of the course and the grade you get in the course is the grade you earned in the course.” — Read the full article at The Telegraph, 235 words.
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By Juan Reardon
Venezuelanalysis.com
 
17 November 2010, MÉRIDA — The Venezuelan government this week distributed the first of an additional 350,000 portable laptop computers to be provided to public elementary school children by the end of the year.
 
In the Caracas neighborhood of El Paraíso on Tuesday, Minister of Education Jennifer Gil, presided over the ceremony in which 109 Canaima computers were handed to first and second grade students at Mario Briceño Iragorry Elementary.
 
“The Canaima Plan is a milestone and a technological innovation. It allows us to keep deepening our integral and massive education system that does not involve just students, but the entire family environment, parents, representatives and teachers,” stated Gil at the event. — Read the full article at Venezuelanalysis.com, words.
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By Lourdes Perez Navarro
Granma
 
17 November 2010 — Fertility studies carried out in Cuba during 2009, based on the Total Fertility Rate indicator, the last year in the region stood at 35.5 children average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime, showed that the country achieved a fertility rate of 1.70─ the highest over the last decade.
 
However, the prospect of this number remaining stable or increasing in the future is quite discouraging, as revealed in a 2009 national fertility survey, undertaken by the National Center for Population and Development Studies and recently published by the Cuban Statistics Office (ONE).
 
This survey is the second of its type to be carried out in Cuba, the previous one being conducted in 1987. The new study opened the scope for a wide range of ground-breaking topics, many of them dealt with for the very first time in Cuba, like that of male fertility. — Read the full article at Granma, 606 words.
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British warship visit to Cuba first since 1957

'We can start to talk about how we do things and actually learn how they do things.'

By Jeff Franks
Reuters
 
15 November 2010 — The first British warship to visit Cuba since before the 1959 revolution sailed into Havana Bay on Monday, where it was greeted by a Cuban Navy band playing "God Save the Queen."

With its colours flying and bright red Sea Dart missiles poised on deck, the destroyer HMS Manchester pulled into port opposite Old Havana, the historic centre of the Cuban capital, at the start of a five-day visit to the Communist-led island.

The ship's officers were to meet with their Cuban peers to discuss collaboration on counter-drug and disaster relief operations in the Caribbean region.

The last time a British warship stopped at the island was in 1957 when the frigate HMS Bigbury Bay visited Havana.

— Read the full article at Reuters, 366 words.
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Makled-Garcia extradition a victory for Venezuela
By Juan Reardon
Venezuelanalysis.com
 
16 November 2010, MÉRIDAToday, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed his intention to extradite accused Venezuelan drug trafficker Walid Makled-Garcia to Venezuela, a promise he made to his Venezuelan counterpart during bi-lateral talks held earlier this month in Caracas.

Walid Makled-Garcia was detained on August 19th in the Colombian border town of Cúcuta and is currently being held at the Cómbita Maximum Security Prison in the Colombian state of Boyacá. Makled is accused of drug trafficking and other crimes by both Venezuela and the United States, and his fate has become a point of contention between the two countries.

According to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, attempts to extradite Makled to the U.S. are politically motivated. — Read the full article at Venezuelanalysis.com, words.
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Phobias and psychoses of modern women

Pravda.ru

2 November 2010 — The rhythm of modern-day society requires a lot of spiritual and physical energy. People do not seem to able to cope with daily stresses, which gives rise to various phobias and psychoses. Many of such phobias did not exist in the beginning of the 20th century.
 
The most widespread manias of modern women are orthorexia (obsession with healthy food), workaholism and a mental disorder known in Russia as Plyushkin's syndrome.
 
The Plyushkin syndrome, described in Nikolai Gogol's classic novel "Dead Souls," existed from times immemorial. It goes about the people who develop an obsession for accumulating useless objects - old newspapers, broken furniture, ragged clothes, etc. Nowadays, the list of such objects continues with broken electronic devices that get piled up in people's apartments and houses. — Read the full article at Pravda.ru, 597 words.
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Naked sleepwalker wins €10m in record-breaking Irish libel case

Man wins Ireland's largest ever libel payout over implication he made advances to company secretary while on business trip

By Owen Bowcott
The Guardian

18 November 2010 — A businessman was celebrating today after winning a €10m libel case following a bizarre naked sleepwalking incident.

Donal Kinsella, 67, from Dunleer in County Louth, Ireland, took the case against his employer, Kenmare Resources, after the firm issued a press release that, he claimed, suggested he had made inappropriate advances to a female colleague while on a business trip to Africa in 2007.

The sum is more than five times larger than any previous Irish libel settlement. The court in Dublin ordered that only €500,000 be paid out pending an expected appeal. — Read the full article at The Guardian, 404 words.
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Pravda.ru

13 November 2010 — The United States found itself embroiled in a major spy scandal. As many as five friendly countries caught the Americans illegally spying on their citizens.

Nobody would think it was strange if we were talking about the citizens of Russia, China, Iran, Syria and Venezuela. With these five countries, everything is clear: U.S. officials constantly refer to them as those presenting threats to the national security. But this time the U.S. was caught by quite friendly countries of Northern Europe - Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden.

The scandal erupted earlier this month. On November 3, Norwegian television channel TV2 released a report which stated that over ten years, a group of Americans have been doing surveillance on 15 to 20 Norwegian subjects - mostly participants of various kinds of rallies. Potential terrorists and other undesirable persons were photographed, and the information was sent to Washington. — Read the full article at Pravada.ru, 1,269 words.
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Why desperate Haitians want to kick out UN troops

The crisis in Haiti follows decades of economic exploitation and gifts with chains attached – no wonder its citizens are angry

By Isabeau Doucet
The Guardian
 
18 November 2010 — You may have heard about the civil unrest in Haiti over recent days, on the heels of a hurricane that thwarted efforts to contain a cholera epidemic that is now a national emergency. All this may fit the image often painted of this much-maligned country: crushing poverty, endemic corruption, the threat of violence so constant that international peacekeepers are required to stop Haitians tearing each other apart.

Well, the poverty and the corruption may be true. But on Thursday, demonstrations calling for the departure of the UN troops, known as Minustah, will be held throughout Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, by students, grassroots organisations, opposition groups excluded from the elections, and – most importantly – citizens united by a common cause: that Haiti's escalating nightmares must end now.

As deaths from the cholera outbreak soar past 1,000, fear is taking hold in neighbourhoods that have been so deprived of any civic investment that sanitation infrastructure often amounts to little more than open sewers filled with rubbish and human excrement. — Read the full article at The Guardian, words.

 

In case you missed it ...
 
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 Country 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 Saunaa groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.