Good news and bad news for women at the 2012 Olympics

I don’t generally pay much attention to the Olympic Games. For me, it seems like a lot of money spent on an event that could bring the world together, but instead creates yet even more nationalistic behavior. This time around, however is a different story. The feminist in me is thrilled to see history (her-story) being made. This year marks the first time that all the attending countries have women athletes competing. This is a particularly encouraging step for women in Arab countries.

Saudi Arabia has two women in the games. Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani in judo and 800-meter runner Sarah Attar.

Sarah Attar

Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani

Qatar has one competing woman, a swimmer by the name of Nada Mohammed Wafa.

Nada Mohammed Wafa

Even Brunei has entered a female athlete with runner/hurdler Maziah Mahusin.

Maziah Mahusin

There are women from every imaginable background in London this year. One of the most inspirational and controversial has got to be Malaysian shooter, Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi who is eight months pregnant. Sadly, she recently ended her bid for the gold when she finished 34th in the qualifying rounds.

Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi

Yes, it seems women are making great strides in sports, a field once dominated by men and this is a wonderful thing. But just so women worldwide don’t forget that we are, first and foremost, objects to be lusted after, Yahoo Sports posted an article praising the Dutch women’s field hockey team for being the best looking female athletes at the Olympics… complete with photo gallery. Now I expect men to notice a pretty woman, but to make this a news story is just plain insulting. Yes, it’s another case of one step forward, two hundred years back. If you want to read what the yahoos at Yahoo have to say on the subject, click here

I wish every woman at this year’s Olympic Games the very best of luck in their respective competitions and say to them, thank you for inspiring the next generation.

Another round of Celebrity Butterfly Effect

I love to watch old movies, especially on TCM. One of my favourite parts about watching movies on TCM is the introduction given by Robert Osborne, complete with trivia about the actors, director and film technology. The other night I saw the 1940 movie Too Many Girls, starring Lucille Ball, Ann Miller, Richard Carlson, Eddie Bracken and, making his film debut, Desi Arnaz.

A publicity still for the movie Too Many Girls- 1940

In his introduction for the film, Robert Osborne mentioned that Too Many Girls was originally a Broadway musical, Desi was one of the cast members reprising his role from the play and Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz met on the set of this movie and married later that same year.

Too Many Girls was produced by RKO Pictures, the studio that Lucy was under contract to, and directed by George Abbott. Abbott had an extensive theatre background and was known for hiring Broadway actors to recreate their roles on screen.

Lucy and Desi went on to create and star in one of TV’s most enduring sitcoms, I Love Lucy and start their own production company, Desilu Productions, which, ironically, filmed on a 40 acre lot that they purchased from RKO Pictures.

Lucy and Desi’s union also produced two children, Lucy Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr.

Famous TV Guide cover with first photo of Desi Arnaz Jr.

A budding musician and actor,Desi Jr. was quite the teen heart-throb and landed quite a few acting roles, notably his guest appearance as Marcia Brady’s celebrity crush on The Brady Bunch in 1970.

Desi Arnaz Jr. kisses Marcia Brady

Arnaz Jr. loved the girls as much as they loved him. When he was 15, he got an unknown 15-year-old  girl pregnant. She gave birth to a baby named Julia Arnaz. The child was kept secret for decades and was later confirmed by a court ordered DNA test that she was Arnaz Jr.’s child. Two years later, when Desi Jr. was just 17, he began dating Patty Duke, who was then 23. A few months after they broke up, Patty gave birth to Sean Patrick Duke (now known as Sean Astin), who has gone on to become a star in his own right.

Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings

For the first 13 years of Sean’s life, both  Arnaz Jr. and Patty Duke believed that Desi Arnaz Jr. was the child’s father. This apparently, didn’t sit too well with Desi’s mother.

It was not until a DNA test was performed when Sean was 13, that it was revealed that Arnaz Jr. was not the father. (why do I have visions of Maury Povich announcing that?)

So, if director George Abbott hadn’t given Desi Arnaz Sr. his first role in a movie, Lucy and Desi would likely never have met, the landscape of 1950’s sitcoms would have looked very different, Desi Jr. would not have been born, Marcia Brady would have had a crush on an entirely different teen idol and Sean Astin might have been born knowing who his real father was.




Lately I have been feeling very uninspired. Oh, it’s not like there’s nothing going on in the world, just nothing that is sparking my interest. In the past week, we’ve been bombarded with a lot of “news” that I couldn’t care less about.

For instance, I don’t care if some young “actress”, that I have barely heard of, cheated on her overrated actor “boyfriend”. This only answers my question of who she had to sleep with to get famous… directors, apparently.


Who are these people and why does anyone care?



And pardon me if I yawn when I see yet another “story” about Tom and Katie and how they parent their precious Suri differently.


While Katie chooses the, down to earth, taxicab option…

Tom buys his daughter’s love with a helicopter ride.

Oh, and why exactly am I supposed to give a damn about the publicity seeking Jackson family and their so called drama that seems to be occurring just before young Paris’s first movie is about to debut?

The Jackson kids with their Grandmother/guardian/missing person/ not guardian/ co-guardian, Katherine.

Now I may be jaded, but I am just so sick and tired of all of this manufactured celebrity drama creeping into my consciousness. It’s everywhere you look. It’s impossible to escape knowing all the intimate details of these attention whores’ lives. The best part is when they say they want us to respect their privacy. Meanwhile they are tweeting, calling TMZ and giving interviews to US Weekly and People magazines.

Enough is enough. Isn’t there any actual news worth reporting? Isn’t anyone on the planet doing anything worthwhile? If anyone knows of such a person or persons, please let me know, I could really use some inspiration.

In my lifetime



It was my birthday this past week. I am now just 3 years shy of 50. So, I thought this would be as good a time as any to take a look back and share some of the things I have seen in my lifetime.


I saw television go from black and white,




to colour,




to high definition.




When I was little, we had 3 channels and I was the remote control, now I have over 1200 and there is still nothing on.


I have seen entertainment centers go from this,




to this.




I have seen the telephone go from this,




to this,




to this.


Also an entertainment center.


This was what my first computer looked like.





This is what my computer looks like now.





I have seen particle accelerators go from this,


Bevatron particle accelerator, responsible for the discovery of the antiproton.

to this…

The Large Hadron Collider at Cern responsible for the discovery of the Higgs Boson

and take up this much space.

I have seen vaccines eradicate smallpox and polio.

Although both could soon be making a comeback due to a combination of lack of funds in developing countries and ignorant mothers choosing not to vaccinate their children in developed countries.

I have seen the civil rights movement go from this,




to this.




I have seen the women’s rights movement go from looking like this,




to looking like this.



Sadly, both the civil rights movement and the women’s rights movement are still necessary as neither has yet achieved equality.


I have seen the Berlin Wall come down, signifying the end of the cold war… something I never thought I would see in my lifetime.

I have seen many changes to the world in which we live in my lifetime and I look forward to many more, currently unfathomable, changes to come.









A saying that is making no one ‘happy’


Lately, I have been hearing far too many men and women use the saying, “Happy wife, happy life.” Men say it in front of their wives, who, in turn, nuzzle into them and agree with a smile. Women say it to their husbands who then, roll their eyes and shrug with a grin. What are these idiots grinning about?

As far as I can tell, happy wife, happy life is said when the wife wants something that the husband doesn’t really want or can’t really afford, but acquiesces because he doesn’t want to hear his darling spouse harp on it any further. This saying is incredibly insulting to women because it is akin to saying, SILENT wife, happy husband. But apparently married women these days don’t care to notice the insult as long as they are getting granite counter tops in their new dream kitchen.



The husbands won’t be happy for too long if they find themselves frequently chanting this mantra either. If you treat your wife like a petulant child and continually give in to her demands, not only will you lose respect for her and yourself, but your bank account will soon be as empty as your head for thinking that this kind of behavior is a good idea.


Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t marriage supposed to be an equal partnership where both the man and the woman are working towards the same goals in life? Maybe that’s where my expectations are too high. I am assuming that people who get married are fully grown adult MEN and WOMEN and not boys and girls playing house.

I have never understood why men always seem to want their wives to shut up. Why would you marry someone you don’t want to talk to in the first place. And why does it seem that women are intent on pushing their husbands away with constant nagging for ever more expensive things? If he is not enough in some way, isn’t that your fault for marrying him in spite of this shortcoming?

Instead of spouting cutesy sayings that belittle each other and the marriage itself, perhaps you should try thinking of yourselves as allies that help and support each other and see how that goes. Just because something rhymes doesn’t make it a good idea upon which to base your marriage.

Putting the cart before the horse.

Bill and Melinda Gates

Yesterday, it was announced that the Gates Foundation is about to pledge an obscene amount of money for a campaign to improve access to contraception for women in the developing world. I applaud their excellent intentions and agree that giving women in these countries better education about and access to contraception is a step in the right direction in dealing with the issue of over population, but I don’t think it should be the first step we take. Yes, there are many couples who are having a lot children in developing countries, but most of them will not use contraception because of their religious belief that a child is a gift from God… besides, these couples are not really even the biggest worry in the over population problem.

I can’t help but wonder what, if anything, is being done about one of the main causes of over population in the developing world… rape.

The above statistics are only for cases of rape that were reported and are worldwide. There are countless more that go unreported every day.

The ‘developing world’ is defined as the nations of the world which are less economically and technologically advanced. It’s the politically correct way of describing what used to be called a Third World Country. The map below illustrates the countries that are currently considered to be part of the developing world in yellow.

As you can clearly see, the developing world consists of over half the land on the planet. In many of these countries marital rape is still legal. In many of these countries rape as a weapon of war is a common occurrence. In some of these countries women who are raped are stoned to death for committing adultery. There are many children borne from rape in the developing world. How many of these rapes do you think would not have happened if each of the rapists were forced to pay child support for the children they sired? Do you think there would be  fewer rapes occurring in these countries if each of these men were faced with consequences to their actions, like ostracism, jail time or even chemical castration? I do understand that religion often plays a large role in the way women in developing countries are treated, but for once, I am going to cut religious beliefs a bit of a break. (It should be noted that Gates is receiving criticism from the Catholic church for this campaign because they see contraception and abortion as part of the same issue).

I think it is naive to make women entirely responsible for birth control in countries where rape is so prevalent. If they have no control over, or even consent to, the sexual act, then how is birth control really going to help the situation? A rapist isn’t going to wait until you insert your diaphragm, or sit still while you put a condom on  his willy. In some cases, a woman who is known to be using contraceptives may be even more of a target for rape and even murder  (honour killings).

None of these methods will stop a rapist in his tracks.

If I were lucky enough put in charge of doling out obscene amounts of money to causes that would help women in developing countries, I would first offer a huge sum to any of these countries that would protect women by making rape a prosecutable and felonious offense with real consequences. (I can’t imagine any organized religion, even the Catholic Church, publicly speaking out as pro rape.) Only then, would I move to step two and offer education about and access to contraception. Why are we putting the cart before the horse? Or, in this case, filling the cart with contraceptives and ignoring the horse entirely.

It’s all in how you look at it

Drinks or Death? What do you see?

Recently, I changed careers. This change came with the need to downsize my lifestyle a bit. Currently I live in a two bedroom apartment and am making just enough to cover my monthly existence. That means no extra cash to go to dinner, a movie, go to Montreal Comiccon, or even to put anything into savings. I am not using my second bedroom anymore. It was set up as a massage room, but since I have changed careers, I haven’t used it at all. This led me to the decision that a one bedroom apartment, in the same building, at a monthly savings of over $400 is the way to go.

I was talking to my Mother about this decision yesterday and she said something that stuck with me. She said, “Don’t look at it as a step backward.” The thought hadn’t even occurred to me. I have long considered myself to be a pessimist, but apparently I have some optimistic tendencies. I am looking at this move as a way to a better quality of life.

 My apartment is like this glass, twice as big as it needs to be.

I will be in the same building with all the amenities that I have been enjoying over the past year. In fact, I will be living just across the hall from the apartment in which I currently live, making this the easiest (and possibly cheapest) move I have ever made. All my furniture will still fit into my new, smaller space, so I am not giving anything up… with the exception of a dishwasher (that is a tough one to take, but it’s more important to me to be able to take a trip in a year, than to have hassle free dish washing).

If I do this…

I can be in Berlin that much sooner.

I guess it really is all in how you look at things. So no, I don’t see this as a step backward. For me it’s a step toward the life I want to be living.

A Cavalcade of Canadian Comedy

HAPPY CANADA DAY! I am concluding Canada week with a salute to Canadian comedians through the years.

The cast of SCTV

When I was little, there was a Canadian comedy duo that helped shape my sense of humour as it is today. These men called themselves Wayne and Shuster. Here is one of my favourite, and one of their most famous sketches.

In my teens, the Canadians who made me laugh were a group of comics from Toronto’s Second City troop who did a show called SCTV. Starring many comics who are still enjoying illustrious careers like Eugene Levy, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara and Harold Ramis, SCTV was a great showcase for Canadian talent. SCTV is also responsible for launching the career of the late, great John Candy. Below are a few of my favourite characters in action.

In my 20’s I was watching and laughing with, The Kids In The Hall. With a nod to Monty Python, the sketch comedy of the  Kids in the Hall was often ridiculous in premise, but was always funny. Here are some of my favourite moments from the show.

Stand up comedy has also given us some fantastic Canadian talent. I would be remiss if I didn’t include some of my favourites.










Then there are the comedic actors from Canada… and there are many. Enjoy these clips of some of the best.








Here’s hoping you are all smiling this Canada Day.