Friday 21 January 2011

 

A savage Class War rages across America — and it wasn't started by the working class or the poor

Countries with wide income inequality are unstable: they have large underclasses, high rates of crime and little opportunity

By Larry Beinhart
AlterNet.org
 
13 January 2011 — We’re in a class war.

It’s the corporations and the very wealthiest against all the rest of us. We’re losing.

In 1962 the wealthiest 1 percent of American households had 125 times the wealth of the median household. Now it’s 190 times as much. Is that a case of a rising tide lifting all boats, just a few of them a little bit higher? No.

From 1950 to 1965, median family income rose from $24,000 a year to $38,000 a year. That’s close to 4 percent a year, close to 60 percent over 15 years. That’s a rising tide.

In 1964 there was a big tax cut. That’s when things started to slow down for average people. By the mid-'70s the rise of the middle class stalled. From 1975 to 2010 median family income rose $42,936 to $49,777. That’s not quite 16 percent over 25 years, less than six-tenths of 1 percent per year.1,116 words.

 
  Cartoon by Matt Borr, Comics.com, 19 January 2011.  
  Cartoon by Matt Bors, 19 January 2011, Comics.com.  

Canadian woman alleges rape by Mexican police

By James Poisson
The Toronto Star

 

Father of alleged Mexico rape victim has little faith in investigation

The Canadian Press

19 January 2011, OTTAWA — The father of a Canadian woman allegedly raped by two Mexican police officers while on holiday says he has no faith in the investigation into the accusations.

Barry Rutland said Wednesday that Mexican authorities have already denied any wrongdoing in their treatment of his 41-year-old daughter, Rebecca Rutland.

What’s more, he said, Ottawa is “known for not being able to take care of Canadians abroad.”413 words.

19 January 2011 — Ottawa said it expected a “thorough and transparent investigation” by Mexican authorities into allegations that a Canadian social worker was gang-raped in jail by Mexican police.

 
“We have asked the Mexican ambassador not only to look at (this case) but we’ve asked him to set an inquiry in place,” Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Tuesday. “We take these allegations very seriously.”
 
Ottawa’s urgings came the same day a Penticton, B.C., man was recovering in a Mexican hospital after being shot in the knee by a stray bullet. Mike Dilorenzo, 68, was on vacation with his wife, Serafina, in Mazatlan when the pair got caught in the crossfire of a gangland execution.
 
Rebecca Rutland, 41, told the CBC that she was out drinking with fiancé, Richard Coleman on New Year’s Eve in the seaside town of Playa Del Carmen (about 60 kms from Cancun) when the 51-year-old found himself in a heated exchange with police. 552 words.
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By Olivia Ward
The Toronto Star

20 January 2011 — It’s four years this week since Jay and Brent Glasier got the shattering news that their father, Clifford Glasier, had been run down and killed near his lakeside resort in Chapala, Mexico.

And they have advice for Canadians Rebecca Rutland and Richard Coleman who say they were brutalized by Mexican police.

“They shouldn’t put their faith in the Canadian or Mexican governments to investigate,” said Brent, who lives in Chatham, Ont. “I’d be very surprised if anything happens.”725 words.
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Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective
 
Editor's Notes 
 
True North Perspective
Vol. 6, No. 3 (260)
Friday, January 21, 2010
 

If she says she was raped by Mexican police, she was raped by Mexican Police

Cuba remains a safe winter holiday destination for almost a million Canadians 

It is characteristic of the guilty to hide behind character assassination.

As you will see from related stories in this issue of True North Perspective that the Mexican police who raped Rebecca Rutland New Year's Eve are trying to hide behind allegations that she and her partner got drunk and started to fight with each other.

True or not, since when is an altercation between a couple, private or public, an excuse for chaining the male naked to a wall, and raping and otherwise humiliating the female?

The police, with the support of Mexican authorities, are of course denying the rape.

However, I have known Rebecca Rutland since she was a babe in arms, She is a stable, brilliant, self-assured woman. Perhaps it's the latter that prompted the police to humiliate and rape her.

Mexico is known for a hostile male attitude toward women. There are even women-and-children-only public transportation arrangements. — 388 words.
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"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:
 
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Global rise in food prices gives farmers the green light

'The cure for high food prices is high food prices'
 
By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

21 January 2011 — During the summer of 2008, food prices around the world shot up, hovered and then settled back down. The spike lasted long enough to ignite riots and protests in some countries and produce all kinds of finger pointing about the cause including foods being used to make fuels. In the end, it was mostly about the influence of speculators on world commodity prices.

In recent weeks, the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization warned of another rise in food prices that would harm the poor around the globe. The U.S. Agriculture Department followed up by saying that American grain stocks were at a low ebb.722 words.
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McGuinty says Ontario still wants to buy 2 Canadian nuclear power plants
 
The Canadian Press
 
19 January 2011 — Ontario still wants to buy two nuclear reactors from Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. but can't because the federal Conservatives are standing in the way, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Wednesday.
 
The province's efforts to move ahead with the purchase have been stymied by Ottawa's decision nearly two years ago to put AECL's nuclear reactor business up for sale, he said.
 
That sale may be in peril now that two major bidders have apparently backed out. But McGuinty insists there's still time to salvage a deal with AECL before the province is forced to go elsewhere. — 607 words.
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From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor
 
 
Boxed out of most global oil plays, ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, ConocoPhillips and Chevron see their fates tied to Alberta crude
 
By Geoff Dembicki
TheTyee.ca

17 January 2011 — Six of the planet's largest corporations, once masters of the global oil market, now control a tiny fraction of world energy reserves. And as their stock prices stagnate, these so-called "supermajors" are shovelling billions of dollars into Alberta's oil sands.

Green observers fear industry expansions, those underway and projected, could shred Canada's climate change commitments and accelerate a global shift to higher-carbon fossil fuels. Still, aggressive oil sands development appears to be one of the few viable growth strategies left for ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, ConocoPhillips and Chevron. These six energy giants are among the top-earning private companies on Earth. Yet their continued corporate existence, at least in its current form, is far from assured.1,362 words.
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From the Desk of Alex Binkley, Contributing Editor
 
 
'Imagine a city the size of Saskatoon hogging a third of all the new income generated by the entire country'
 
By Jim Stanford
The Globe and Mail
 
17 January 2011 — American economist Emmanuel Saez has painstakingly assembled a century-long statistical series on U.S. income distribution. On two occasions, the share of income captured by the richest 1 per cent reached about a quarter of the national total. The first time was in 1928, the second in 2007. As we all know, both peaks in wealth concentration were followed by financial catastrophe and depression. Indeed, maldistribution clearly contributed to both meltdowns.

But there’s a startling difference in the political reverberations that followed the two conflagrations. In the 1930s, outrage at the pre-Depression extravagance of the rich, contrasting with the dislocation experienced by masses of Americans, sparked a decade of left-leaning foment. Government expanded income security, directly hired millions of unemployed, and actively supported a new generation of unions to fight for the common folk. Meantime, it reined in business excess through tough financial rules, anti-trust policies, and high taxes on the rich. — 699 words.

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Half total mounted in 2010 tourist facilities

 
21 January 2011 — The operation of 450 solar water heaters in the province of Ciego de Avila is an example of the increasing use of renewable sources of energy, given the scarcity and cost of traditional fossil fuels.
 
Rodolfo Valenzuela Garcia, head of the area of Energy and Science and Technology in the territory, said that half of this total was mounted in 2010 in tourist facilities. — 279 words.
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Annals of Education

Judge reserves exam anxiety decision

Student failed two exams, granted PhD anyway, professor wants degree revoked

21 January 2011 — A judge in Winnipeg has reserved decision in the case of a math professor who is challenging the granting of a PhD to a student who suffers from exam anxiety.
 
The case pits the University of Manitoba against Gabor Lukacs, who is upset that the university granted the PhD to a student who failed a key exam twice, and later claimed to suffer from exam anxiety.
 
Lukacs is asking the Court of Queen's Bench to revoke the degree. Lukacs's lawyer warned in court on Thursday that the university is risking its academic reputation and could be seen as a diploma mill.277 words.
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'Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up'
By Carol Goar
The Toronto Star
 
11 January 2011 — Sitting tantalizingly in a warehouse in Winnipeg are 2,000 boxes of information about one of the most fascinating social policy experiments in Canadian history.
 
Evelyn Forget, a professor of health sciences at the University of Manitoba, fought for five years to get access to those boxes, owned by Archives Canada. She finally succeeded in 2009, but the bulging files — statistics, completed questionnaires, interview transcripts, all on paper — overwhelmed her. “Until it is computerized, analyzing the data in a systematic way would be incredibly expensive,” she says.
 
Nevertheless, she has been able to piece together part of the story, using the census, public health insurance records and the recollections of researchers and participants.627 words.
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By James Poisson
The Toronto Star
 
15 January 2011 — Ontario's police watchdog has reopened a second investigation into alleged police brutality during the G20 summit following the emergence of new photos.

The Special Investigations Unit announced Friday it will be taking a second look into injuries sustained by Dorian Barton, who alleges police assaulted him at Queen's Park, breaking his right arm and giving him a black eye.

As a result, he filed a $250,000 lawsuit against seven Toronto police officers and the police board this week. — 830 words.
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A True North Perspective Classic:
 
Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Please, don't be a chicken!

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.

1 October 2010 — Years ago, my late husband and I took a day trip to Otter Lake. We wanted to visit Belle Terre Botanic Garden and Arboretum. I was looking for lavender plants that could thrive in our climate. This botanic farm offered organic herbs, bedding plants, perennials, biennials and rare plants.
 
It also had a tea room where one could enjoy a light lunch.
 
I didn’t find lavender but the lady who showed us the gardens was very knowledgeable and suggested a specific type of lavender for Zone 5 gardens. We discussed herbal and plant remedies. That’s where I learned about burdock way before it gained immense popularity.
 
When we told our hostess we would love to have lunch, she invited us to enjoy the nature trail and come back in about half an hour. Brian and I, being nature lovers, really enjoyed exploring the area. At one point, we rounded a small hillock where an old chicken coop stood. I was attracted to that coop and wondered why, despite the fact there was no door and the fence was down, the chickens remained inside. We could see them peering through the open doorway and we could hear them clucking but not a single one came out. — Read the full story inside, 1,160 words.
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Spirit Quest

Gun culture, grief and the Gold Rule

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

True North Perspective

21 January 2011 — I hesitate to add to the verbal overkill on the subject of the Tucson Tragedy. Much has been written and spoken on the subject from both those who are sure that the killing spree was an isolated incident by a demented individual, and by those who believe that there are wider ramifications that impugn the violent political  rhetoric current in the United States. There are also those who blame the ready availability of guns and those who believe that all should be armed.
 
We, and I include Canada, who have our own Ecole Politechnique and Mayerthorpe, live in a culture of violence. Look through your morning paper and count the number of incidents of gun crimes reported in all their gory glory, though not as many as our government wants us to believe. Or look at the ads for films playing at your friendly neighbourhood theatres. The carnage thus portrayed is overwhelming.  Is it really entertainment for a snowy  Sunday afternoon with the family? — 1,050 words.
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By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

Toronto Major Rob Ford got elected this fall on a promise "to stop the gravy train" at city hall.

Included in this "gravy train" apparently, is the Tenants Defense Fund that helps tenants fight landlords.

With the support of the Tenant Defense Fund, the Federation of Metro Tenants Association is able to provide important services and programs to more than 60,000 Toronto tenants annually.

Including a Tenant Hotline, Outreach team, Tenant Education Project, and Online resources.

Mayor Rob Ford promised that there wouldn't be any service cuts and yet, at the first available opportunity, he and his Budget Committee are doing exactly that. — 716 words.
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From the Desk of Darren Jerome, Ottawa, Canada
 
The Home Renovations Show at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa is the place to be if you’re in search of the latest and greatest home renovation products and services.
 
Nifty and new products to be showcased at the 10th annual show on Jan. 21, 22 and 23 will include fireplaces fuelled by ethanol, concrete countertops that create the look of granite and marble, and a garage floor/pool surround coating that withstands wear and tear caused by salt, gasoline and grease.750 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 Ken Jeffries, East Central Ontario Editor

NORM !

Cheers star in Campbellford for documentary

By Mark Hoult
Community Press

CAMPBELLFORD, Ontario — A locally-brewed beer has received a stamp of approval from a famous bar-stool warmer.

George Wendt, who played the laid-back Norm Peterson in the long-running sitcom Cheers,was at The Stinking Rose pub in Campbellford recently to film a segment of History Television's new series, Name This,set to air in the fall.

Wendt sat at the bar, surrounded by a bustling History Television film crew, talking beer with pub and Church-Key Brewery owner John Graham. Blindfolded, Wendt did a taste test, picking out a new Church-Key beer recently brewed by Graham using local barley, wheat, and Durham wheat.

The result of Graham's latest efforts is a French farmhouse ale, Bière De Garde, or Beer For Keeping.

"This is good, very good and very different," said Wendt after tasting the new craft beer. "It's quite tasty, quite amazing. Beer for keeping. I love it." — 576 words.
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Report from Obama's America

The plot remains the same:

How the power of myth keeps the U.S. mired in permanent war

By Ira Chernus
 
20 January 2011 — When I try to figure out why we are still in Afghanistan, though every ounce of logic says we ought to get out, an unexpected conversation I had last year haunts me. Doing neighborhood political canvassing, I knocked on the door of a cheerful man who was just about to tune in to his favorite radio show: Rush Limbaugh.  He was kind enough to let me stay and we talked.
 
Conservatives are often the nicest people -- that’s what I told him -- the ones you’d like to have as neighbors. Then I said: I bet you’re always willing to help your neighbors when they need it.  Absolutely, he replied.
 
So why, I asked, don’t you to want to help out people across town who have the same needs, even if they’re strangers? His answer came instantly:  Because I know my neighbors work hard and do all they can to take care of themselves. I don’t know about those people across town.
 
He didn’t have to say more (though he did).1,842 words.
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From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor
 
 
By Naomi Klein
The Nation

13 January 2011 —  Being out in the open gulf today, I find it is impossible not to be awed by nature's capacity to cleanse and renew itself. At the height of the disaster, I had looked down at these waters from a Coast Guard aircraft. What I saw changed me. I realized that I had always counted on the ocean to be a kind of outer space on earth, too mysterious and vast to be fundamentally altered by human activity, no matter how reckless. Now it was covered to the horizon in gassy puddles like the floor of an auto repair shop. Shouting over the roaring engines, a fresh-faced Coast Guard spokesman assured the journalists on board that within months, all the oil would be gone, broken down by dispersants into bite-size morsels for oil-eating microbes, which would, after their petroleum feast, promptly and efficiently disappear—no negative side effects foreseen.

At the time I couldn't believe he could feed us this line with a straight face. Yet here that body of water is, six months later: velvety smooth and, according to the tests conducted on the WeatherBird II, pretty clean, at least so far. Maybe the ocean really is the world's most powerful washing machine: throw in enough dispersant (the petrochemical industry's version of Tide), churn it around in the waves for long enough, and it can get even the toughest oil spills out.

"I despise that message—it's blindly simplified," says Ian MacDonald, a celebrated oceanographer at Florida State University. "The gulf is not all better now. We don't know what we've done to it."5,434 words.

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From the Desk of Carl Hall, Technology Editor

Canadian firm plans 78-satellite internet service

By Stephen Shankland
CNet.com
 
19 January 2011 — A Canadian satellite maker plans to launch a network of 78 small, relatively low-flying satellites designed to help relieve network congestion that's significantly dampening smartphone enthusiasm.
 
MSCI, which stands for Microsat Systems Canada Inc., is trying to be a bit of a maverick with its project, called CommStellation. The company said today that its approach of using small, inexpensive satellites in low orbit--about 620 miles above the Earth--means better coverage of the world's population, quicker launch, and better network capacity. 601 words.
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No sex, please; we're Japanese!
 
 
Agence France-Presse
 
14 January 2011 — Young Japanese men are losing interest in sex, according to a study commissioned by the government, in a further warning sign for a nation notorious for its low birth rate, a doctor said Friday.
 
The survey also found that more than 40 percent of married people said they have not had sex in the past month, said Kunio Kitamura, head of the clinic of the Japan Family Planning Association, who took part in the survey.
 
"This is directly linked with falling birth rate. Policy actions are necessary," Kitamura told AFP.
The data confirmed a wider social belief that younger men are becoming "herbivorous", a label attached to passive men who do not actively seek women and sex.538 words.
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By Liz Tay
ITNews.com
 
17 January 2011 — Online dating company Gotham Dating Partners has announced plans to create profiles for non-registered individuals based on publicly available information on social networking sites.
 
The company operates several dating sites, including: Dons and Divas, Faithful Lover, Marry Me First, Prison Hookup, and Ugly People Date. Incorporated in New York in January 2010 by Aaron Fraser, it is the parent of online footwear startup LeBron Jordan, which came under fire from Nike this month for potential trademark infringement.
 
According to the company's marketing vice president Damon Jordan, the dating service had about 6.5 million members in the US and elsewhere, including Australia.
 
But that figure was set to rise exponentially in the coming weeks.501 words.
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Chicago mayor Daley says visit by China president Hu is 'big deal'

 
By Chen Weihua
China Daily News


2011-01-20 — Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley has pledged to make Chicago the friendliest American city for Chinese people.

"This means (we'll have) all-welcoming arms to not only tourists but businesses," Daley told China Daily. "They should feel comfortable when coming here to Chicago.

"We want a better relationship with China, its government, and its people."

Daley described President Hu Jintao's inclusion of Chicago on his state visit to the United States as a "big deal".

"Here in Chicago we have a better people-to-people, government-to-government relationship with China," Daley said.

"Chicago is also the economic gateway to America."

Chicago Customs recorded $28.6 billion in imports from China and $2.8 billion in exports to China in 2009.

Besides business links, Daley is especially proud of Chicago's cultural ties with China and Chinese cities.

The Chicago public school system teaches Mandarin to 12,000 students, making the city one of a growing list of US cities teaching Mandarin in public schools.

"It is really important for the young people and minorities to learn the language, customs and traditions," Daley said. — 417 words.
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John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who writes on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years as a university professor and another 20 years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on http://www.jkozy.com/ and he can be emailed from that site's homepage.
 
By Prof. John Kozy
 
Friday 14 January — America's journalists are not "newshounds." They are nothing more than salesclerks, hocking the products their employers want to sell. The pretty faces that now function as most television news anchors are no different than the pretty models used to sell other products. The American "free" press is comprised of nothing more than a number of retail outlets which sell stories slanted to please their target audiences. As such, they exist merely to sell snake oil.


Sometime in the 1960s, I took part in a university symposium along with three other faculty members—a political scientist, a historian, and a journalism professor. The topic was Freedom of the Press—Good or Bad. — 1,898 words.
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Food and Drink: 482 BC ... it was a very good year ...

Archeobotanist brews recipe for ancient Celtic beer

By Esther Inglis-Arkell
IO9.com
 
15 January 2011 — An archeobotanist has figured out how they made beer in 500 BC. With a ditch in the back yard, some barley seeds, and some henbane, you too can drink up like the ancient Celts.
 
Like me, many of you missed Oktoberfest this year, and every other year, for the last two and a half thousand years. We have a lot of drinking to make up for. Fortunately, archeobotanist Hans-Peter Stika, of the University of Hohenheim has been doing research that lets us know how to start. Stika has been spending time at ancient Celtic sites, figuring out how the local groups made their beer.
 
The first step to drinking like the Celts is to dig an oblong ditch. Pour in water and barley, and leave them there until the barley sprouts.542 words.
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China forgives half of Africa rail debt

By Wang Qingyun
China Daily News
 
20 January 2011 — Chinese Vice-Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan signed an agreement with counterparts from Zambia and Tanzania in Lusaka, Zambia's capital, on Jan 19, to forgive 50% of the debt from China to build and operate the Tanzania-Zambia railway.
 
The Chinese government took the action because of the traditional friendship between China and Africa, and Chinese people want to do their best to support African people's development, said Zhong at the signing ceremony. He also said the Chinese government hopes the railway will operate with less debt and boost the regional economy and benefit the two countries.
 
China helped construct the Tanzania-Zambia railway at the request of the leadership of Tanzania and Zambia in 1970, and handed it over after its completion in 1976. The Chinese government provided an interest-free loan of 988 million yuan to complete the project, and continued to provide such loans and technicians to ensure its operation.
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BBC News
 
Blood-spattered, flesh-eating monsters have been roaming the Cuban capital, Havana, in recent months - all part of filming for the country's first zombie movie.

Bearing a similar title to Britain's 2004 comedy horror Shaun Of The Dead, Juan Of The Dead's plot is actually closer to the 1984 ghoul classic Ghostbusters.

In the film, an entire city is overrun by zombies while some leaders insist it is just a plot by US-backed dissidents to bring down the government.

So it is left to hero Juan - played by Cuban actor Alexis Diaz de Villegas - to rid the island of the undead for money. — 663 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.