Save the Trillium

John Tory, the leader of Ontario’s Conservative Party, is angry. Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government commissioned a new logo for Ontario, and Tory doesn’t like it:

“What we have here is the tried and true traditional trillium being replaced by the partisan political pork-barrel poison-ivy look-alike, and I think they should put a stop to it right away.”

He’s so upset he’s launched a website called Save the Trillium. Tory is not content just to protect the trillium from heedless hikers and flora filchers. He’s taking aim at the trillium’s most serious threat: liberal graphic designers.

Ontario’s trillium has long been the symbol of hope and opportunity for all. The classic T-shaped logo was first used by the Ontario government more than 40 years ago. It’s been used no matter which political party was in power.

That is, until now.

Now Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals have changed the logo to more closely resemble the Liberal Party logo.*cue ominious organ chord*

[Emphasis in the original. Organ chord added.]

Let’s take a look. This is Ontario’s new trillium logo:


And here is the Ontario Liberal Party logo:

Ontario Liberal Logo

At first glance, they may not seem similar. But if you stare at these long enough – and John Tory has – your screen will go black and a large Microsoft Windows logo will start to appear in random locations – shit. Where was I…oh yeah:

  1. The new trillium logo is black and white. There are black people and white people in the Liberal logo.
  2. The trillium in the new logo has three petals. So does the trillium in the Liberal logo.
  3. The direction of the petals in the new logo is distinctly partisan. Two petals point left, and only one points right. The previous logo, where one pointed left, one pointed right, and the third, representing the NDP, pointed straight down, more accurately reflects Ontario’s political traditions.

[tags]politics, Ontario, liberals that have no regard for tradition or vegetation[/tags]


Should Canada join the European Union?

Whenever our country happens to catch the attention of someone from beyond our borders – a rare occurrence – I always get a little thrill.

I gain inordinate pleasure whenever Seth Bullock, the sheriff on Deadwood, mentions that he is from Etobicoke, Ontario.

When something unpleasant happens here, like the arrests of our homegrown terrorist wannabes, I enjoy reading the reports from American and international media, even when they are grossly sensationalized.

I especially enjoyed it when John Hostettler, chairman of the House of Representatives subcommittee on immigration and border security, condemned “South Toronto” after the arrests as “the type of enclave that allows for this radical type of discussion to go on”, because it’s nice to hear an American mention a part of Toronto, even if it doesn’t exist.

Today in The Guardian, Timothy Garton Ash recommends, half-seriously, that Canada ought to be in the EU:

Driving through Toronto earlier this week I saw a shiny black 4×4 with an English flag sticking out of one side window and a German flag out of the other. Presumably a Canadian family of mixed English and German origin, so rooting for both teams in the World Cup. A little later I saw a car with the Portuguese flag on one side and the Italian on the other. It occurred to me that this pretty much sums up what we’ve been trying to achieve in Europe since the second world war. Welcome to the European Union – in Canada.

In fact, why doesn’t the European Union invite Canada to join at once? In most respects it would be a much easier fit than Ukraine, let alone Turkey.

The United States isn’t our only trading partner or our only ally. We have long-standing friendly ties with many European countries. Should Canada pursue closer ties with the EU?

[tags]canada, politics, european union[/tags]


Forbidden Fruit

It’s a frequent sight right now in Southern Ontario: trees carrying loads of fruit that look like elongated blackberries. The ground underneath is littered with crushed fruit and stained a deep purple.

When I was a kid I was walking home from school one day with some friends. There was a massive tree of this sort on the route, and a large branch had broken off and fallen to the ground. It was covered in fruit. We didn’t know what it was, but we feasted on it like kings.

I arrived home with face and hands stained purple, and my parents immediately demanded to know what I had been eating. My explanation – “berries off a tree” – alarmed them, and they gave me a stern lecture about how we could have been poisoned.

Even now, when I stop for a moment to grab a bunch, I get odd looks from people who seem to be wondering if I have a death wish as I gobble the fruit no one else seems to want. But mulberries are delicious, and until our culture started mistrusting any food not found in grocery stores, people ate them all the time.

MulberryBig, black and juicy: just the way I like ’em

If people grew big stands of raspberries right next to city sidewalks, I imagine the ripe fruit would not last long as passers-by furtively helped themselves. But mulberry trees by the side of the road – even those whose branches dip low enough for easy harvesting – go untouched.

I can only assume this is because people don’t know what they are, because it’s certainly not due to their taste, which is like a rich, sweet blackberry. You owe it to yourself to try them if you haven’t before!

I wonder just how much free food grows right under our noses. Hamilton has a tree-planting program and I requested a serviceberry for it’s gorgeous spring-time flowers. A friend noticed it and pointed out that its berries are edible. As it turns out, not just edible, but delicious!

ServiceberriesA favourite of robins, serviceberries taste the way they look: like red blueberries

The origins of its name are interesting:

The name serviceberry is derived from the practice of isolated mountain communities in early America to postpone funeral services for those who died in the winter until the spring when the ground was no longer frozen. The flowers of the tree, the first to bloom in the spring, were gathered for church services.

Both of these trees are in season right now, so go eat some berries!

[tags]nutrition, cooking, botany[/tags]


Is it ethical?

I saw part of a documentary last night about four children in the United Kingdom who suffer from Harlequin type ichthyosis. This is a serious, hereditary skin disease that causes skin to become abnormally thick and cracked, as well as eyes, ears and noses to be stunted.

Because the skin is the body’s way of keeping moisture in and bacteria out, people with this disease can become dehydrated very quickly and the risk of infection is also very high. For this reason, babies born with this disease never used to survive the first few hours or days after birth.

The disease can now be managed to some extent by an intensive regimen of bathing and “creaming” – smearing thick, greasy cream all over one’s body three or more times a day. In spite of these treatments, few people with this painful, disfiguring disease live into adulthood.

Harlequin Ichthyosis
A diagram showing symptoms of harlequin ichthyosis in a baby. Copyright Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types.

When Dana Bowen, one of the children with this disease that was featured in the documentary, was born, her condition was obvious. Her parents cared for her over the next seven years, becoming intimately familiar with the debilitating disease and what it was doing to their child.

They were told that if they had another child, the chance of it being born with the same disease were one in four (twenty-five percent). They decided to risk it. When Lara Bowen was born, she had the disease too. Seeing the tiny child’s reddened skin covered in scales was heartbreaking.

Is it ethical to have a child when the risk of it having a severe hereditary disease are so high?


You are my lovely One

I received a very caring email yesterday, from a complete stranger:

lovely kiss

I am so happy for your health may almighty God be with you by understanding this message. I want to tell you that I really want to been relationship with you.Though we’ve not met before now but it take one thing for two to be together in unity and peaceful life, which I will like to confide in you and also visit you as soon as possible.

I’m Jane Garuwa Address: Avenue 5 lot 175 Cocody Quaters Abidjan, Coted’Ivoire West Africa.

I am 22years old . I weigh 56kg, I lost my parent, and I have an inheritance from my late Father. My father was an Exporter and Importer in my country my late father deposited the sum $9.6million us dollar in bank in bank of africa. Before his death he told me that I should looking for a trustworlthy man or woman that will help me to transfer the money to his country for investment, I will like you to help me to transfer this money in your account for investment.Then I will prepare to come over to your country we can live as family there then I continue my education. My type of ideal man must be the honest type, caring, loving and forgiving as a devoted Christian.

I do hate deceit and cheating in all its ramifications.I do not like a man that goes after everything in skirt. I detest alcoholics For my hobbies: I love listening to good music, reading of newspapers and magazines,good novels, watching adventure films, swimming, table tennis and indoor games. I love going to holidays. Age: Our difference in age means nothing to me as long as you love and remain faithful to me. This is my word. Language: I can speak and write the English, French and my native tongues fluently.

Education: I am ungraduate of just a secondery school out. I was born and bred a Methodist. I was baptized so many years and I am a confirmed member. I take my holy communion also. I am a full fledged member of the church founded by Wesley brothers the great singers.I will like to know more about you. I need to know more about your love life. Your hobbies? Feel free to ask any question that agitates your mind because I want us to build a solid relationship with all my heart and transfer this money into your bank acount then I will come to stay with you.

I we want to speak with you on phone so you will forward your numbers and fax to me. I will scan my picture to you later as we don’t have enough conexion here.

You are my lovely One.

I will kiss you as soon in your country.

Your lovely Jane

I responded:

Dear Jane,

I am a skirt-chasing atheist drunk.



And, of course, that’s all it took:

Dear Adrian,

Thanks for your kind mail and your sincere willingness to help me out of this my present situation to have this fund transfer into your bank account so that I will come and stay with you there in your country…[blah blah blah]

[tags]email scams, 419[/tags]

Life, politics, code and current events from a Canadian perspective.

Adrian Duyzer
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