Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saudi Women Get Right to Vote but Not to Drive

Hi Everyone:

Saudi women now have the right to vote as well as be appointed to Shura Council but still remain unable to drive or travel abroad without male consent ( .

While King Abdullah's ultraconservative country is slightly modernizing itself, it still remains backwards in allowing women to enjoy the rights that men have.

Where's the logic in being able to vote but not use a car? Would women endanger society if they drove?

Are women children that they must ask permission to travel? I'm surprised they can go to the bathroom without informing someone.

Patriarchy, religious fundamentalism, oppressive Shariah law, fear and ignorance are all factors that limit the rights and freedom of these poor women.

Ending stonings and lashes for adultery (the last time I checked it takes two to tango) and honour killings would be a huge victory.

However, equality will likely never come to pass in countries where women are viewed as having half the worth of men.

At least Saudi women can vote (they just have to wait until the 2015 nationwide local elections). Some progress is being made.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

Hi Everyone:

It's kind of hard to believe that today is the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

I've rewritten this post many times and wish I had something profound to say, but I don't.

My heart goes out to the families of the nearly 3,000 innocent people who died that tragic day (

I also cannot forget the first responders who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or illnesses and conditions associated with the Ground Zero clean-up. I was reminded of their situation while watching 60 Minutes.

May God bless and keep you. May we never forget.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Freddie Mercury Will Rock You... Even 20 Years After His Death

Hi Everyone:

I grew up listening to Queen and learning to appreciate and love the band thanks to my Dad (I'm so jealous that he saw them from the second row!).

It was, however, by surfing online today that I discovered it would have been Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday had it not been for the bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS, which killed him in 1991 (

Not surprisingly, Mercury is still inspiring musicians 20 years after his death.

Artists such as Katy Perry, Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan and the Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins were a few of the artists to honour the late rock legend through video posts on You Tube (

Perry sang "Happy Birthday" and said she wanted to be a "killer Queen" as well as spoke of how much of an influence Mercury had been on her

While Hawkins said his first concert was Queen in 1982, Corgan said he wished he "could sing half as good as (Freddie) did" (I agree that it would make Corgan's annoying nasal voice a tad more bearable) who was a "warm, loving person" and "loved grandeur" and that "If (Queen) were a band that was coming out today they would still be massive"

I will always think that "Bohemian Rhapsody" is one of the greatest rock songs of all time. I've seen footage and Mercury's unique voice and flamboyant antics made him a memorable showman. He definitely enjoyed being on stage, and I bet he would still be shaking his stuff if he was alive.

Made in heaven? I think so.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Book May Send Wrong Message

Hi Everyone:

Although Paul Kramer says that his book Maggie Goes on a Diet ( is meant to promote healthy eating, I believe a different message may be sent to the children aged four and up who read it: being skinny equals being popular. Isn't it enough that magazines already say that? Do kids as young as four or five need to be reading about dieting and perhaps feel shamed into watching what they eat? It's no surprise then that there is controversy surrounding the book before its October release.

Maggie is a 14-year-old girl who gets teased for being overweight but becomes a popular soccer player after going on a diet. Sure, she makes healthier food choices. But what if she hadn't gotten popular or good at soccer? Would her efforts have been in vain?

I definitely agree with promoting healthy eating but not by portraying a teenager dieting. The example should start at home with nutritious (or at least fairly healthy) meals being served. Exercise should also be encouraged. The sad reality is that dieting may lead to an eating disorder, which can sometimes turn deadly.

I'm not saying the book should be censored, but that Kramer should have been more careful when he wrote it and decided who his target audience should be. Kids are extremely impressionable after all.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Feeding Ducks and Relaxing Near Water

Hi Everyone:

This summer I have been fortunate enough to spend some time relaxing near water and feeding ducks. I love when the brave ones take bread right from my hand and laugh when I feel the nip of their beaks. I feel so carefree.

I also enjoy watching them swim around gracefully or waddle about on their webbed feet. It's hilarious when they dunk their heads under water and stick their bottoms in the air. Ducks are such beautiful creatures, and I've never found myself appreciating them as much as I have this summer.

Some of the greatest things in life are free. Nature amazes me, and those adorable quackers have certainly stolen my heart. It's nice to feel like a carefree child sometimes. Life is too often so serious.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Taking a Hike... Literally

Hi Everyone:

Yesterday I took a hike with a friend for the first time in a long time. Neither of us had hiking boots but still managed the nearly hour-long trek through the woods. As I huffed and puffed, sometimes struggling to keep up with her, I was reminded of how out-of-shape I am.

I know that it's good to start slowly when you haven't exercised in a while. But sometimes spur-of-the-moment adventures are good too. Just remember to not push yourself too hard and to take breaks.

A recently published Taiwanese study ( found that getting 15 minutes of exercise per day is good for one's health and can extend the life expectancy of people who don't exercise.

While some people might argue that one should exercise for a longer amount of time, I think it's better than nothing. I confess, however, that I have a long way to go before I master the 15 minutes of exercise routine. I'm lazy. I haven't had a regular exercise routine in months. I have access to an elliptical but don't use it. I don't walk even half as much as I should.

Mind you, I'm proud of myself for having walked to a friend's house last week. I'll try to do that again tomorrow if the weather gods are on my side.

Also, I wouldn't mind taking another hike with my friend sometime soon. There's nothing like being outside in nature. The birds. The trees. Walking through the woods felt like being in another world. As we stepped over branches and rocks, I kind of felt like Frodo on his journey to Mordor. Of course, my lame joke about how we might find a dead body was the result of watching too much Criminal Minds.

So, take a hike, a walk, a bike ride or a swim... for 15 minutes. I'll try if you do.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Condolences to Jack Layton's Family

Hi Everyone:

I would like to extend my cyber space condolences to Jack Layton's family, Olivia Chow and his children Sarah and Michael Layton.

The NDP leader, 61, passed away this morning after succumbing to a new form of cancer (

Although I am not an NDP supporter, I must commend Layton's passion for politics and social issues. His drive enabled him to lead his party to Official Opposition status this past May. He never gave up and fought for what he believed in.

The new NDP leader has big shoes to fill.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Addicted to Criminal Minds

Hi Everyone:

I know it's been a long time since I last wrote. A writer with nothing to say? Alas, life does sometimes throw a writer such a curve ball.

Addictions. Many of us have them - chocolate, nicotine, soap operas, video games. While I am a chocoholic, I have become addicted (need to watch the Internet usage!) to Criminal Minds over the past few months.

I love the way the Behavioural Analysis Unit (BAU) characters interact with each other (e.g. Derek Morgan and Penelope Garcia playfully yet harmlessly flirt, the team, usually Morgan, teases Dr. Spencer Reid, or how everyone respects head honcho Aaron Hotchner, a.k.a. Hotch.) and are able to solve the crimes and catch the unsubs (i.e. unknown subjects). Although some of the episodes (those serial killers are sick and I don't mean cool) make me squirm a little more than others, I appreciate their complexity as well as the quotes that begin and end each of them.

Watching Criminal Minds sometimes makes me feel tempted to pursue a Criminology degree. It's just a crazy thought.


Monday, April 4, 2011

The Case for Crying: It is Good for You!

Hi Everyone:

Tears are too often thought of or seen as a sign of weakness. However, they can bring strength such as helping you gain a clearer perspective after the fact. There is certainly nothing weak about that or ridding the body of toxins. Toxins?

Please check out the article ( that my uncle recently sent me about why crying is beneficial and a good thing. It definitely enlightened me!

Have a good day, and don't be afraid to cry!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

VERSe Fest 2011: Long Live Poetry!

Hi Everyone:

Today marks the eighth and final day of VERSe Fest - Ottawa's new annual poetry festival and the first of its kind.

I've been to regular poetry readings before but only experienced my first poetry slam last Friday.

In a slam, poets read or recite their work in front of five judges and receive numeric scores over multiple rounds until the winner is declared. There were two rounds on Friday night.

Not only did I admire the beauty of the poetic language but the way the poets were able to memorize their work. I also enjoyed the energy of the crowd, which did things that included snapping fingers, cheering and clapping.

Although I do not like rap music, I found myself enjoying and even appreciating the kind of rap-like way (I guess it's because the poets didn't focus on pimpin' the hos among other things) in which many of the poets performed their poetry. Some were more dramatic than others with their tone and gestures, and each poet found a method that worked for him or herself.

Writing this post makes me wish that I had attended more of the VERSe Fest ( events, but the great thing is that the festival will happen again next year.

Congrats to the VERSe Fest 2011 organizers and volunteers who pulled off the wonderful festival, and long live poetry!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy International Women's Day!

Happy International Women's Day, everyone!

Do you know that it's been 100 years since this day was first celebrated?

"The last century has seen an unprecedented expansion of women's legal rights and entitlements," former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said, pointing to virtually universal voting rights for women, major inroads for women in professions from which they were banned, laws penalizing domestic violence in two-thirds of the world's nations, and U.N. Security Council recognition of sexual violence as a deliberate tactic of war

However, the head of the new U.N. women's agency added that the fight for equality is far from over.

"Girls are still less likely to be in school than boys, almost two-thirds of illiterate adults are women, and every 90 seconds a woman dies in pregnancy or due to childbirth-related complications despite the knowledge and resources to make births safe, she said, and women continue to earn less than men for the same work and have unequal inheritance rights and access to land" (

But Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund, pointed out that "equal rights are advanced when girls can avoid child marriage and enjoy equal access to education, both men and women can plan their families, and pregnant women no longer fear losing their jobs" (

For more information about International Women's Day, please check out:


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Encouraging Mental Health News for Cops

Hi Everyone:

Say what you will about cops, but they do an important and dangerous job that not only puts their lives at risk but has a significant impact on their health (physical and mental).

It is encouraging then to hear that they will be receiving more mental health support (

"What we want to do is save our members' lives," Canadian Police Association president Charles Momy said at a news conference on Parliament Hill" (

I appreciate the work that cops do and am happy to hear that this support is available to them. They need it too after all!

Just wanted to share the good news with you!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy 1st Year Anniversary, Red Chair HR!

Happy 1st year anniversary, Red Chair HR!

It was exactly a year ago, Kimberley, that you opened your staffing agency and didn't look back! You were determined to help people with disabilities find employment and are doing just that.

I commend you for not allowing your MS to prevent you from pursuing your dream.

I also admire your and Sandra's hard work, enthusiasm and the way you treat people with dignity and respect. Yours is truly an example to follow!

Here's to many more years of continued success!



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hope - Something We All Need

Here's a poem by Emily Dickinson that addresses something we all need - hope! May we remember that "the little Bird" does exist!


"Hope" is the thing with feathers-
That perches in the soul-
And sings the tunes without the words-
And never stops-at all-

And sweetest-in the Gale-is heard-
And sore must be the storm-
That could abash the little Bird-
That kept so many warm-

I've heard it in the chillest land-
And on the strangest Sea-
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a Crumb-of Me.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Enjoy Freedom to Read Week!

Happy Family Day, my fellow Ontarians!

I hope you had a good day with your family and friends if you were able to get together.

I want to remind you that this week (February 20-26, 2011) is Freedom to Read Week ( and to encourage you to enjoy a good book if you can.

Unfortunately, reading is a freedom and right that not everyone has. However, it is one that we should not take for granted.

Reading both educates and entertains. It transports us to different worlds and time periods and teaches us wonderful things. It is also more active than watching television and truly challenges and exercises our minds.

Two of my favourite banned books are D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover and Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. I commend the authors for having written about the important issues of sexuality and racism in an intelligent and provocative way. They depicted the reality of the time and were unapologetic about it, which makes their classics ones that everyone should read.

I say we be unapologetic as we read and enjoy the many wonderful books of the past and present.

Life is short, so what are you waiting for?


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Serenity Prayer - It's Not Just for People in AA!

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference - Reinhold Niebuhr

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dahlia's First Article of 2011: Evolution Theatre

Happy New Year, everyone!

Sorry that I'm six days late!

Here's the link ( to my first article of 2011 - enjoy!

Although I'll be taking a bit of break from article-writing during the first few months of the year, I'll try to blog more faithfully. "Try" is the key word. :-)

Have a great night!