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Mad Dogs and Englishmen


demonstrators-defy-curfew-ferguson

“Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.”

~Rudyard Kipling, Gunga Din

With apologies to Kipling, the need to describe the word “mad” has come up as of late.

When I was a boy, my mother said something to me.  “People don’t get mad.  Dogs get mad.  People get angry.”  My mother is very well versed in the structure and word usage of English, and she is quite Victorian in her tastes, though from time to time when she does become quite angry, the Scottish in our family starts to come out.  But she’s got a very valid point regarding the word “mad”.

Mad is a word that has a connection to insanity.  And thanks to Kipling’s Gunga Din, the word can be equated to dogs.  Mad, or madness, equals insanity or rabid, as in what a dog goes through when inflicted with rabies.

And I’ve heard the word used in media outlets to describe the protestors in Ferguson and other areas of the States, if not in different parts of the world.  “Protestors are mad” some news reports say, and by doing so, they underline their own feelings about those who are protesting their for their rights to be recognized and for their lives to matter.  By equating those protestors with the word “mad”, media outlets are doing their best to have viewers who aren’t directly affected by the events in Ferguson to think of those protestors in one light.

Insane.  Inhuman.  Mad.  Dogs.

Darren Wilson, the officer who murdered teenager Mike Brown, has already helped dehumanize Brown by calling him “it” and describing him as demonic.  Which is a tradition used by those who ally themselves with extremist groups like the Klu Klux Klan.  They enjoy hearing the word “mad” to be used against the protestors, because the word itself dehumanizes them.  The mostly black protestors are, in their opinion, insane.  Inhuman.  No better than dogs.

The protestors are angry.  They’re frustrated.  And they’re furious.  But they aren’t mad.  Their reaction to the killing of Mike Brown, along with the killing of other black youth by police officers around the States (along with the assaults committed by the police against, essentially, children), is not something irrational.  It’s not something insane.  It is completely justifiable.  These are people fed up with the justice system that gives huge breaks to white people who break the law by murdering a black person (or other person of colour).  They are frustrated by a system that vilifies black teens who have been killed, who are victims of crime often committed by white men in authority, yet white criminals who kill numerous people in a shooting rampage are called quiet, an honourable student, and given the boy next door treatment.

The use of such words is coded language, make no mistake of that.  Calling the predominantly black protestors mad is not by accident.  It’s not even the “new” use of English.  It’s coded language to call them insane.  It’s coded language to dehumanize them, just as language has been used to dehumanize black and brown people for hundreds of years.

Of mad dogs and Englishmen indeed.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2014 in Life, randomness

 

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Before we start saying “That doesn’t happen here”


A lot of Canadians right now are looking at Ferguson and saying “thank God that doesn’t happen here”.  Stop saying that right now.  Because, in this country, we’ve got a history that may not involve African Canadians, but there is another group which does have a history of such conflicts.  And it dates back to before the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.

In more recent history, First Nations people in Canada have had clashes with the police as they protest to demand the same rights that every other Canadian has.

The Oka Crisis

Beginning July 11, 1990, a 78 day armed standoff took place near the town of Oka, Quebec.  Between Mohawk residents of Kanesatake, the Quebec provincial police, and the Canadian Armed Forces, Mohawk leaders demanded that developers stop a planned expansion of a golf course on land that had been disputed for over 300 years.  Deemed a sacred burial ground, Mohawk people began with peaceful barricades which were met with armed police and soldiers.

The Innu occupation and blockade of the Canadian Air Force/NATO base at Goose Bay, Labrador

Largely started by Innu women to challenge the further dispossession of their territories and the destruction of their land-based way of life by the military industrial complex’s encroachment onto the Innu peoples’ homeland of Nitassinan.

The Lubicon Cree struggle against oil and gas development on their traditional territories in present day Alberta

The Lubicon Cree have been struggling to protect a way of life threatened by intensified capitalist development on their homelands since at least 1939. Over the years, the community has engaged in a number of very public protests to get their message across, including a well-publicized boycott of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics and the associated Glenbow Museum exhibit, The Spirit Sings.

First Nations blockades in British Columbia

Throughout the 1980s, First Nations in B.C. grew extremely frustrated with the painfully slow pace of the federal government’s comprehensive land claims process and the province’s racist refusal to recognize Aboriginal title within its its borders.  The result was a decade’s worth of very disruptive blockades, which at its height in 1990 were such a common occurrence that Vancouver newspapers felt the need to publish traffic advisories identifying delays caused by First Nation roadblocks in the province’s interior. Many of the blockades were able to halt resource extraction on Native land for protracted periods of time.

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake

By 1989, the Algonquins of Barrier Lake were embroiled in a struggle to stop clear-cut logging within their traditional territories in present day Quebec because these practices threatened their land and way of life. Under the leadership of customary chief, Jean-Maurice Matchewan, the community used blockades to successfully impede clear-cutting activities affecting their community.

The Temagami First Nation blockades of 1988 and 1989 in present-day Ontario.

The Temagami blockades were set up to protect their nation’s homeland from further encroachment by non-Native development. The blockades of 1988-89 were the most recent assertions of Temagami sovereignty in over a century-long struggle to protect the community’s right to land and freedom from colonial settlement and development.

To the more recent activities of the Idle No More protests, First Nations people in Canada have been met by armed police and military walls.  Go back further to 1885 when Louis Riel organized First Nation and Metis people against the federal government when land settled and farmed by Metis settlers was being taken away for the more European settlers the federal government was trying to get in the territory which would eventually become the Province of Saskatchewan.  Or years earlier, when Riel began his organized protests that helped usher in the Province of Manitoba.

We live in a country where Aboriginal women don’t grow up with the fear of if they are ever raped but when they are.  Aboriginal women suffer and massively disproportionate amount of violence, with the largest perpetrator of that violence being white men.  Called a silent genocide, Aboriginal women suffer the most of any violence that is inflicted against First Nation people.

Don’t get me wrong, we have a problem with an anti-black attitude in Canada as well.  Alberta has a high number of organized KKK.  In 1991, Leo Lachance was shot and killed by Carly Nerland outside a pawn shop in Prince Albert.  Nerland, a member of the KKK and lead of the Saskatchewan branch of the Church of Jesus Christ Christian Aryan Nation.  There have been white supremest groups in Canada identified with names like Heritage Front and Final Solution.

Almost one hundred years ago, in 1919 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, The Halifax Race Riots began as a group of drunk men with nothing better to do, and ended up with a two day charge of destruction.  The targets were mostly Chinese, Jewish, and black owned businesses.  Decades later in 1991, a similar event would happen as young black men believed they were targeted by a white bouncer who would not allow them to enter a night club in Halifax.

So we have this problem in Canada.  The main difference being it doesn’t happen as often.  But it does happen.  It may not be as extensive as what is going on in Ferguson right now, but it does happen.  We’re on the cusp of something like Ferguson happening in this country with First Nation people.  They have been frustrated ever since the Meeche Lake Accords excluded Aboriginal people.  They have been frustrated with the lack of protection and the lack of interest in solving the disappearances and murders of Aboriginal women.  There is also the racially charged attacks against those people who are identified as being of Middle Eastern ancestry.  Ever since 911, these attacks, whether considered verbal or physical, have happened in this country.

So do not look at Ferguson and say “thank God that doesn’t happen here”, because we’re not without blame for our own misgivings.

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Life, randomness

 

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Stuff I’ve written, characters I’ve created


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Stuff I’ve written.  From clockwise top right:

  • Free Spirit II (Yolanda Morgan) – Ravenport
  • Yellow Jacket (Richard Hargrove) – The Heroic League
  • Pania Alow (The Pale Rider) – The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider
  • Lt. Senia Felix – Rocket Fox
  • Canadien (Jean Pierre Turgeon) – The Heroic League
  • Mannekin III (Elanor Tanaka) – The Heroic League
  • Johnathon Tiberius Walker – Canyons of Steel
  • Free Spirit I (Regina Morgan-Simms) – The Heroic League
  • Britannia (Col. Melanie Cooper) – The Heroic League
  • Shani Wennemein (The Black Mask) – The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider
  • Acadia (Michelle Villeneuve) – Flag on my Backpack
  • Canadienne (Dominique Turgeon) – Flag on my Backpack
  • Mannekin I (Donelda Stewart) – The Heroic League
  • Canad-ARMED (Ari) – The Heroic League

And here’s the downloads for each series.

Flag on my Backpack

Canyons of Steel

Rocket Fox/Swift Fox

Black Mask & Pale Rider

I’m still working on The Heroic League.  If anyone would like to purchase a copy of either Black Mask & Pale Rider or Canyons of Steel (which is a part of the Heroic League universe), this is how ya do it.

Lulu.com (where both books were published)

  1. Tim Holtorf Author Spotlight the front page store for my books on lulu.com.

Amazon.com (both in paperback and in kindle versions)

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider
  2. Canyons of Steel

Amazon.co.uk (both in paperback and in kindle versions)

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider
  2. Canyons of Steel

Amazon.ca (price not listed and currently out of stock)

  1. Canyons of Steel

Barnes & Noble (for the Nook)

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider

iTunes iBook store

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider

Or, go to your local brick and mortar book store and request that they bring the book in.

 

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It’s colder


It’s colder outside.  Couldn’t think of anything witty to write.  So in lieu of writing something, here’s a photo dump of foxes.

l-Sweet-foxes

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Arctic Fox Walking Along The Arctic Coast Of Alaska

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Red-foxes-fox-28337613-500-333

Foxes-national-geographic-6909703-1024-768

Red-foxes-fox-28337570-500-330

Captive_red_foxes

foxes

Red_Fox_(Vulpes_vulpes)_-British_Wildlife_Centre-8

Hope that helps keep everyone warm.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2014 in Fun, photos, randomness

 

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Brrrr, F*****G COLD!


It was -17 today (Celsius, naturally).  At least, that’s what the temperature was when I woke up.  With a light breeze, the temperature feels like -19 (it’s that windchill thing, the temperature isn’t actualy -19, but it feels like it is, suffice to say windchill is basically the amount of time it takes for skin to freeze, and I don’t mean get cold, I mean fucking freeze).

I think it’s safe to say that Saskatchewan (along with many other regions of Canada… with the exception of those who live in British Columbia) is now firmly in the grip of winter.  Winter isn’t coming, it’s already here, mutherfucker.

Now we have to deal with four more months of this shit, as well as really shorter days of light.  No, we don’t suddenly have 20 hours in a day, it’s that the sun rises later and sets earlier in the day. Ergo, less sunlight hours.

The good thing; we have lots of things to keep us going until New Years Day.  the busier we are, the faster the time goes.  The bad thing; after New Years Day, it’s a holiday wasteland until Easter (okay there is Family Day in February, but that’s one day off and the only reprieve, three day weekends are all about going to the lake and relaxing, not huddled in a comforter trying to keep warm).

Such is the life of someone who lives on the prairies.  At least one thing is for sure, we’re all in this together.  We can survive, we’ve done it for several years already.  We live and die by our unofficial motto in this province.

What doesn’t kill us, only makes us stronger.

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2014 in Life, randomness

 

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How five famous authors found the time to write


The Night Shift — How five famous authors found the time to write – Writers Write.

Finding the time to write with a full-time job
Most writers have a full-time career, children, family and social commitments. Where do you find time to work on your own stories? Let’s face it, only those at the top of the pyramid have the luxury and security of writing all day. The rest of us have to carve out time to write after hours. Here are five ideas to help you find a workable solution.

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2014 in Fun, randomness

 

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Being middle aged (or older) and using tech


I can speak on this with some degree of experience.  I’m 44 after all.  That age of “I’m middle age” and “when does my midlife crisis begin”.

Fortunately, the latter really hasn’t happened.  At least not in the stereotypical go buy a sports car kind of way.  I couldn’t afford a sports car even if I wanted one.  I also live in Saskatchewan, where a sports car isn’t really practical.

But one thing I love seeing is people my age using tech in unique and interesting ways.  It completely throws the stereotype of “the old dog” who is stuck in their ways and refusing to learn new technology.  In particular, someone like my dad, who not only has a netbook but also a pretty decent laptop (better than mine, may have to rectify that soon).  He doesn’t have a cellphone, but there’s a cost with that and mom and dad aren’t will to shell out the extra bucks for that.  Yet.

I honestly don’t like hearing older people say things like “why do we need things like that” or “when I was your age we didn’t have such and such a thing”.  Well, in the days of carving texts on rock faces, we probably thought “hey, there’s gotta be an easier way of doing this”.  And now there is.

We’ve advanced our ability to communicate so we no longer need to keep a flock of pigeons in order to send people messages.  Now we can have pigeons just for the fine feathered companionship.  Though, the immense piles of shit is a problem.

But when I do see others my age, or older, using Twitter or Tumblr or blogging or posting to Instagram, I think that’s awesome.  It’s another aspect of communication that’s incredible.  It’s even better when those people get excited about technology.  Or go out and buy an e-reader because it’s something handy to have (hint: yes it is because it’s portable and removes the old problem of “which book will I take with me today”).

Babies, infants, toddlers, and preteens get a pass if they don’t know technology very well.  They haven’t lived a very long life.  But we who have seen four decades, we’ve gone through high school, community college, maybe university, possibly college, and we’ve been in the workforce.  There should be no excuse for us not embracing technology and learning new stuff.

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Fun, Life, randomness

 

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